Monday, 22 March 2010

Star-Swamped ITV Schools Gameshow...

ITV Schools - The English Programme - A Question Of Talk (1987) 1/3

The golden age of Schools TV may've been the late-70s and early-80s, but taken from some serious proof here, Schools TV in the late-80s could still being in the big boys, an almost star-studded episode by Schools TV standards, with "The English Programme" in a one-off gameshow about "A Question of Talk" presented by gameshow presenter Robert Robinson (of "Ask The Family" and "Call My Bluff" fame), along with team captains Bill Oddie, who used to be quite synonymous for appearing on kids TV in the 70s and 80s, and BBC Radio 1 DJ and "Top of the Pops" presenter Janice Long.

"I'll See Thee" - Beer Swigging Yorkshire Pub Sports on Weekend Telly, Real Men's Sports Y'know!

Indoor League 1

When you go to the pub today, your gaming facilities are normally either a UK version of "Pool", a Dartboard or a fruit machine, or all both. Go back 15 to 30 years ago, maybe the odd arcade, "Space Invaders" or "Pacman" being the favourite to rest in the local boozer counter. However this "sports" show the "Indoor League" which ran circa 1973 to 1978, opens up a feast of now old-fashioned and bygone pub games of a bygone age. Ever heard of Bar Billiards? Skittles? Shove ha'penny? Well find out about them in this 4 part regional Yorkshire Television produced episode, presented by Yorkshire Cricket great Fred Trueman, regarded as one of best fast bowlers in the history of the sport. What's great about the show, is it's non-pc as you like. Shown on daytime TV on a Tuesday, you had old Fred on the lash with his pint of beer and sometimes smoking a pipe on-camera as he presents the show, this was as small-time in sports you could get. This was a ratings success in Yorkshire.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The First Ever British Soap, Before Even Coronation Street...

The Grove Family - Episode One - Part One

The first ever episode of the first soap, or television serial, to reach Britain's screens. This the "The Grove Family", a rather orfinary soap of middle class family who live in Hendon, London. The episode is entitled "Cure and Prevention", and this is only 1 of 3 episodes that still exist in the archives, all the rest have been scrubbed.

A Look Into Indian Subcontinent Culture...

Bharatanatyam by Alarmel Valli Spirit Of Asia

"Spirit of Asia" was a documentary series narrated and presented by David Attenborough. Long known for his wildlife programmes, started exploring human culture from the early 1971 documentary film "A Blank n the Map". This long-ish clip shows aspects of India's long-established dance and thatre culture. The very elaborate theatrical dance is Kathkali, which is a dance-drama which plays out stories of the Hindu Gods Rama and Krishna.

The solo female dancer is Alarmel Valli, who specialises in the dance form of Bharatanatyam, and is India's interpretation of ballet.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

If You Thought the Best Bit About Teletext Were the Pictures, Then You'll Love This!

Hands Up! Episode 1

Animated Teletext! This is a brilliantly obscure upload -probably one of the best finds on this blog so far- I have found of many episodes, from a Channel 4 educational show called "Hands Up!", which gives a really good diagnosis of the basic sign language for the deaf. It's blocky graphics galore! Al 10 episodes of the series is on Youtube.

The show was produced by Intelfax, I've never seen anything like it. The usual animation you would get on a normal teletext, would be flashing still images, as well as pressing the "reveal" button on you're remote control, to unveil an appearing and disappearing graphic. Brilliant!

When Simon Cowell Was a Mere Pawn on a Satellite TV Gameshow!

Simon Cowell - TV Debut

Simon Cowell, now a mult-millionaire, and now one of the most recogniseable faces on the box, makes his first TV appearance in these humble beginnings. As a contestant of the Sky TV version of "Sale of the Century", no longer presented by Nicholas Parsons, but Peter Marshall. Cowell's still got that smug grin and showing cut-throat determination to answer the questions, to win the star prize of the Fiat Uno and a few utensils! However, none of the harsh, biting comments Cowell lashes out on the shows that made him famous like "The X-Factor", "American Idol", "Britain's Got Talent" and not forgetting "Pop Idol". The clip here is an edited highlight reel of Cowell's exploits on the show. Cowell is announced as a record producer in the show.

Simon Cowell was on a bit of a downer in this period. After serving with his father in the indie pop label Fanfare, it came under the branch of the famous Stock, Aitken and Waterman (SAW), which was a leading team of songwriters that cruised to great success in the 80s with a string of No.1 hits with a large variety of artists under their own brand of synth-pop. Cowell lost control of Fanfare financially, and BMG bought it over. Cowell was now back living with his parents and living with debt. However that was short lived. The true intention of being on the show was the car and not the money.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Fancy Dr.Fancy Murdering Ernest Spratt? Oooh, Fancy That!

armchair theatre 1960 fancy.wmv

A short and rare clip of  "Armchair Theatre" which ran on the ITV network from 1956-1968. The ABC logo you see at the beginning, were the original producers Associated British Corporation, later to be Thames Television, after it's mergeance with Rediffusion Television in 1968. Each episode was a different play running for an hour. It wasn't all about court drama, taking from this clip!

This clip is from what is regarded as the programme at it's best from 1958-1962, under the tutelage of Canadian producer Sydney Newman, where it breached upon touchy issues, sensitive at the time.

It's Louis Armstrong Meets the Sugar Puff Monster; It's Tom Waits!

Tom Waits - Tom Traubert's Blues - 1977

A young looking Tom Waits here, with that even more unbelieveable deep, gruff and powerful singing voice. This a pretty long song, it's "Tom Traubert's Blues" from Waits' 1976 album "Small Change", and is the opening song on the collection. Tom Waits vocal delivery is indeed inspired by Jazz great Louis Armstrong, I didn't realise that before I did the title, honest!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Quite a Creepy Sketch...

Les Dennis Laughter Show - Thunderbirds

It's the legendary "The Les Dennis Laughter Show"! At the height of his career when impressionist sketch comedy was booming, Dennis was also presenting the popular gameshow "Family Fortunes", soon becoming the longest-running presenter on the show after such illiuminaries of the comedy game such as Bob Monkhouse and Max Bygraves. Les had been a budding stand-up in the 70s and 80s, and was always seen tied-to-the-hip with Russ Abbot series of comedy sketch shows such as "Russ Abbot's Madhouse" and later "The Russ Abbot Show", so this was the apprentice, as you might say, coming into his own. However, it just wasn't as funny, but "The Laughter Show" in it's first form, began in 1984, and ran until 1991. It was a good run to say the least, and it's fair to say that alot of this type of impressionist comedy was starting to fizzle out after 1991, with the likes of "Little and Large", Bobby Davro and "Cannon and Ball" steering away from the limelight.

In this edited clip, it's been 20 years since the life-size puppet children's Sci-fi "Thunderbirds" came on our screens, so how would they look and act like now? Featuring all the favourite characters of the show like Lady Penelope, Parker (in his boxers), Jeff Tracy and Brains. It's still a great upload here. I'm still waiting for his mavis impression to appear, in the full gear!

I Could Tell, Come On...

Kronenbourg 1664 (lager) 'lesbians' advert 1998

I thought this was going to be our first 1999 induction to the blog, but this ad is actually from 1998, but I'm certain it ran into 1999. The ad these days is only talked about for the suggestive lesbians, with the guy giving that "Oh, that's a relief, I got rejected but that's OK because your lesbians" reaction. I also like the music and the ambience, in the classic setting for any alcohol advert; the bar. Or is it a nightclub?

The music is a French rap song called "A La Claire Fontaine" by MC Solaar. The song seems recent, but it was actually 4 years old by the time, from his 1994 album "Prose Combat". Solaar is one of the few French rappers to have become internationally recognised and to break into the English-speaking world with his music. His early music was topical on the aspect of black migrant hardship in urban France. The gaulish tongue definetely sounds goods as a Rap medium, unlike German rap...if any exist beyond "Rock Me Amadeus"! Solaar has come from strength to strength in the States after his 2001 single ""La Belle et Le Bad Boy" increased his fanbase over there, after an appearance on "Sex and the City's" final episode in 2004.

Kronenbourg 1664 is of course a French premium lager made in Strasbourg, situated near the border with Germany.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Hughie Green (last interview?) Discusses "Double Your Money" Gameshow with Gordon the Gopher Sidekick...

Television's Greatest Hits - 1966 - Game Shows

This was a 1992 nostalgia series presented by "Going Live's" Phillip Schofield which focused on a selection of different years and their worth of fondly remembered Television shows. The focus of this episode (not in it's entirety here) is Hughie Green's ITV quiz show "Double Your Money" featuring clips of the show, along with a then interview with the star of the show. The show, which began in 1955, is proudly boasted by Green as the first gameshow to feature in the old Soviet Union. A clip of the Soviet Union version follows with an English spelling challenge, and it's all in English. Hughie Green also explain where he got his catchphrase "I mean that most sincerely".

Schofield then gives us what was the five biggest hits of 1966. The programme ends with Hughie Green singing a trio rendition of "Let's Do It" on "A Royal Gala".

"Double Your Money" lasted from 1955 to 1968, axed after the TV company that produced it, Rediffusion London. A consistentley popular quizshow, where the amount of prize money doubled after each correct answer. Hughie Green would star alongside a stream of different female hostesses, from good friend Monica Rose to elderly cleaner Alice Earley, a former contestant recruited off the show herself.

Ooooh! That's All I Have to Say...

Jonathan Ross Frankie Howerd trailer 1991

This was too good to miss out. A trailer for "Tonight with Johnathan Ross", an early Ross chat show lasting 1990 to 1992. This followed his first chat show also on Channel 4 "The Last Resort with Johnathan Ross".

Frankie Howerd here, gives his trademark "oooh" expression. Simple but still funny.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Come Aboard the Toy Monorail Folks...

ITV Schools - Physics In Action

Been quite hard to find the year and even the decade for this, but I think it's from the 1980s. This short clips talks about the laws of motion, involving these gliding magnets along a railing, something like a minature monorail. Narrated by Charles Foster, "Physics In Action" as far as I know was still being made for ITV Schools in the late-80s.

The presentation of the show is eerily similar to the 2000s spoof 70s/80s schools series "Look Around You".

There Was A Time Everything Barrymore Touched, Turned to Gold...

Michael Barrymore - Funny Acceptance Speech

Michael Barrymore at his peak here perhaps. Here he wins the "Best ITV Entertainment Presenter" award. There was no overall award for the category, only split between the 3 stations, of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Barrymore by this point, was well-loved and his antics, especially at award shows, became more and more outrageous. Here he rips out the monitor giving the autocue for the now household furniture of the awards show every year, Johnathan Ross. Did he go too far? Maybe, but this is the British Comedy Awards, where many outlandish shenanigans have transpired...the proprietor being usually drunk. The audience loved it. Basically you could say Barrymore, trying to be funny was basically trying to be a twat. Some of it could be known as insensitive, which is maybe why we don't sadly see the likes of him today after all the drama and allegations he has had from his wife Cheryl leaving him, then coming out as gay, then the party pool incident, and you know the rest! You kind of feel sorry for him, but at the same time, you're never quite sure...Is every bloody post about Barrymore going to end on this note!?

The British Comedy Awards has run annually since 1990, the first presentation by the-rather-more-straight-man Michael Parkinson or "Parky". Johnathan Ross has presented the show ever since bar one year - 2008- after the BBC Radio 2 controversy with Russell Brand. Angus Deayton was the replacement that year, but Ross came back for 2009. Various award titles had changed and chopped about over the years, but there's always a lifetime award to a comedy great. which is usually one of the highlights.

There's a plethora of controversial moments from these awards. We'll be seeing more of this here, on the blog. Another thing, the stage backdrop from 1995 and around the time was brilliant, hosting an ancient Greek outdoor setting.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Hughie Green's Farewell from "Opportunity Knocks" + The Musical Muscleman. Ouch!

Tony Holland The Musical Muscleman (Also Titles And End Credits) - Opportunity Knocks

This is from the last edition of the first and last run of "Opportunity Knocks" on ITV. Hughie Green would soon disappear from the limelight and moved on to other variety show work, presenting on the likes of Australian and Irish TV. This final edition featured the best and most famous performers throughout the run, and none more are unforgettable as "The Musical Muscleman" Tony Holland, who first appeared on the show in 1964.

The tune of "Wheel Cha Cha" (composed by Joe Loss in 1961) is synonymous with the bodybuilder's almost muscle hemorrhaging movements to the beat of the music. Those shoulder blades look like they're getting dislocated to move like that, my giddy aunt. Unbelievably, some people couldn't get enough of him, and he won the show six times. Since then, apart from the odd appearance on reminiscing TV shows, he has done work for the local community, running a children's home, becoming a social worker, and a gym worker throughout his lifetime.

Not to mention, Hughie Green's farewell speech, not THAT infamous speech, that probably put him in this situation of saying farewell(Stand Up and Be Counted Speech). Although cut at the beginning, at his over-dramatic best, with instrumental strings playing in the background, thanking all the stars and auditionees over the years as well as the behind-the-scenes staff, and officially declares his retirement from TV. It was thopught

Get Your Facts Right Harty!

Fred Dibnah - Russell Harty show 1979

This is taken from Russell Harty's ITV chat show, after looking at the year this took place, "Russell Harty Plus" (1973-1981), before moving to the BBC, the stint he was more well known for, Grace Jones et all. He is interviewing the colourful character which was Fred Dibnah, not an entertainer, but had the erstwhile job of being a "steeplejack". This was a traditional job repairing and most famously, demolishing steeples and chimneys such as factory and church steeples. He would be required to climb these tall structures with rope or ladders before going onto the next stage of scaffolding.

Fred Dibnah's work was captured on film in 1978 in a documentary called "Fred Dibnah, Steeplejack", and much like reality TV, the very likeable and passionate Lancastrian became a celebrity on TV appearing on various shows, as well as his own TV series in his later years. 1998's "Fred Dibnah's Industrial Age". In this Youtube clip, one of his most famous scenes from the original programme, the felling of a factory/mill chimny in Rochdale, showing Dibnah dashing away from his handiwork, in this spectacular felling, and you're wondering "has he run in the right direction away from the chimney?".

Away for a Few Days but Videos are Still-a-coming...

They'll be scheduled posts at 8pm, and due to that, there will not be much readable content until I'm back. What to expect over the week? We'll be seeing quite a bit from Comedy, as well as Chat Shows, Gameshows, Music, Schools TV, Light Entertainment, Adverts, Continuity and Idents and Drama.

Hopefully I can drag all new posts to that time permanently. EDIT: Looks like I won't have any descriptions for now.

Welcome, to the Magical World of SAW Land, Still Stuck in the 80s as of This Post

The Hitman and Her at Sheffield, 1989 (intro)

This seems a good time to wheel out "Hitman and Her", a now obscure joy, after Pete Waterman's recent step back into the limelight as the "make-a-hit-song-in-15-mins" powerhouse steps to back to claim why he comandeered the biggest wealth of UK Single No.1's in the 80s! Yep with another 80s song for the Eurovision this year, 2010.

We'll talk about Waterman in a later edit, but let's focus on this long clip from this show in Sheffield. Waterman and children's presenter Michaela Strachan host the show, which tours around different nightclubs each Saturday night. As Waterman was behind a  producing trio of record producers and song writers Stock, Aitken and Waterman (SAW). So no surprise, many of the hits played were played came from SAW, artists as famous as Kylie Minogue to one-hit wonders like "The Reynold Girls". They all appeared, questionably live. We hear a remix of Minogue's "Never Too Late" hit. The feautured dancers are on the stage, who play a role as cheerleaders for the clubbers to follow, and visual entertainment, for the half-stewed audience back home. Denim is everywhere, bleeding denim jackets (with thick perms) and all the women are wearing denim shorts, a la, Daisy Duke, and not forgetting that one vital 80s ingredient...lycra! They are lead by "Wiggy", a black dancer wearing a white wig, all the time, every time. Wonder if he goes to bed in that?

There's some unintentional humour in this clip. Surely the 2 male clubbers interviews are parodies? The first guy, as said in a Youtube comment on the video, talks like and has the sleaziness to be Keith Lemon, a 2000s comedy characters invented by comedian Leigh Francis. The second guy, swirling his hips throughout his on-screen appearance, the Chuckle Brother, really thinks he's a hit with the ladies, or will be. The first woman interviewed, Jeanie a part-time glamour model, who looks like American "The Fly" actress Geena Davis. Very classy looking for a glamour model compared to today, that's shocking that. Today it would be a bucketload of eye liner, and the Grand Canyon screaming at you're face!

"The Hitman and Her" ran continuously on Sunday early,early mornings for 4 years from 1988-1992, on the ITV's "Night Time" schedule.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Rabies is a Threat? That Character from "Maid Marian and Her Merry Men"? I Knew It!

Rabies Outbreak (1976) - Public Information Film

Although Rabies never really gets talked about much these days, it's still a serious infection, it's just that us, western spoiled-types are all vaccinated, as well as domestic warm-blooded animals and livestock. Old news, maybe but, if you live in a poor country in Africa or Asia, you can still be killed from it. It's fatal from the word go. That doesn't mean this overly-charged PIF isn't immune from some of the classic scaremongering that was going on in PIF's in those days. You can get rabies from basically any mammal, but why is so much to blame on the dogs? This PIF warns of all domestic animals being a danger, but 1 poor dog is the centre of the piece, revered like a killer. Dogs get most of the stick because, out of the 2 domestic mammals that are allowed to roam freely, not from a farm, cats are more controlled in their behaviour, although not perfect. Dogs like to put just about anything into their mouths out of curiosity or whatnot.

The situation of the film, poses like it's a nuclear fall-out zone. Rabies areas are cordoned off, all foxes are to be killed, no free moving of mutts and felines and worst of all, no cat shows and dog shows! Better off without them actually. The dog featured, faces execution as non-verbally told by the PIF.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Guitar Meows for a Girl from the Future Trapped in Present Day Earth...

the girl from tomorrow

This was an Australian part Sci-fi, part family drama for CBBC in the early nineties. On Youtube, all 2 series of the show were in it's entirety, but are no longer around. However, if it's any consolation, here's the under-rated instrumental theme tune and intro. I can feel the pain in that guitar.

Basically, it's about a teen girl from the year 3000 -where the world is at peace with one another, like heaven on Earth - called Alana (played by Katherine Cullen), who hails from a time where they use a telepathic power of healing through a hair band looking item they strap around their foreheads named a "transducer". It can also destroy too. A scientist named Bruno invents the Time Capsule, looking like the "Crystal Maze" dome but smaller. In a blunder, on one escapade to the year 2500, in an Earth gone bad and polluted, Alana's mentor Tulista, comes back with a deadly surprise. Silverthorn (John Howard) escapes from his time and is the main villain of the show, a rough and ready big guy who doesn't take no for an answer. He wants to take over the weaponry and technology of the future, but his weapons are inferior to the transducer. He kidnaps Alana and travel to Earth in 1990, to Sydney Australia. Alana escapes Silverthorn, but is shattered by the "belief" that the Time Capsule has been destroyed. She meets a similarly-aged friend, Jenny Kelly. Alana soon lives with the Kelly family, as they help her foil Silverthorn's plans, and get back to the year 3000!

There were 2 series of the show, this series is mostly set in 1990. The second series is subtitled as Tomorrow's End. This follows Silverthorn upsetting time and history, and Alana and Jenny having to travel to the still murky, polluted Earth in the year 2500, and put a stop to Silverthorn and his accomplices, a unitlateral law and order control known as "Globecorp".

Ah, So You're a Waffle Man!

Does anyone want any toast? - Red Dwarf - BBC comedy

Classic moment from one of the UK's most revered sit-coms, well the most revered British Sci-fi comedy "Red Dwarf". Here is Kryten and Lister getting angry with "Talkie the Toaster", who obsessively talks or asks whether folk would like to have toast! This is from the 1991 fourth series and from the episode "White Hole".

The Talkie Toaster made an earlier appearance in series 1, with a different voice and look (the voice of American illusionist Jon Lenahan) and came back in this series, now voiced by David Ross. Does that name ring a bell? It was Ross who first played Kryten in his first appearance in Red Dwarf II. He simply wasn't availiable at the time of series III, from which Kryten's popularity made him a regular. You can't now think of Kryten without Robert Llewellyn under that heavy, heavy make-up and rubber and his faux-American accent. David Ross also played Elgin on the "Only Fools and Horses" spin-off for character Boycie, "The Green, Green Grass" in 2005 and onwards.

"Red Dwarf" began in 1988 on BBC2, however the famous title sequence was made in 1987. This was due to production delays and industrial strikes at the time, behind the scenes at the BBC. Red Dwarf refers to a a whale of a mining spaceship that's 6 miles long. Both the beginning and end credits show it's massive size. The story goes, that an on-board radiation leak of cadmium II kills all humans apart from technician Dave Lister (Craig Charles) who survives by being coincidentally  kept in the stasis chamber after being punished for keeping his black cat Frankenstein on the ship. This all proves fruitful, but Lister remains frozen and preserved in time for another 3 million years by the ship's computer Holly (Norman Lovett) as radiation from the accident still leaks. After he's released he discocers to his dismay, his smug roomate Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie) has been brought back to life via hologram thanks to Holly. Frankenstein the cat has delivered generations and generations of cats until they have evolved into human-like life-forms, with still the agilty and scent of a cat. The one relative aboard is merely called "Cat" or "The Cat"(played by Danny John-Jules).

By the point of 1991, "Red Dwarf was now an established sit-com with an even larger budget compared to the 2 first seasons, with more action and special effects, losing none of it's comedy value. By this point Holly was played by a woman, comedienne Hattie Hayridge, replacing Norman Lovett from series 3.

The relationship between the 4 main characters differs, but one thing they all have in common is, even Kryten they all hate Rimmer, who likes to be regimented while noone else cares, has an ego, and is an odious twerp really, until he becomes "Ace Rimmer" and everybody likes him. The Cat was quite a one-dimensional character to begin with, but gained depth as the series ran on, a vain but cool character, but with limited intelligence. Lister is seen as the leader of the group, although has a knack for curry and can be extremely lazy, to Rimmer's disgust. Kryten cares for Lister the most and is like a servant to him. Kryten is honest and reliable, as well as the most intelligent.

Craig Charles, before "Red Dwarf" was an urban performance poet. An unusual and inspired role! He was a scouser with a funny bone, and was picked up sooner or later by TV bosses.

Friday, 12 March 2010

The English First Division Review: 1991/1992

Barclay English League 1991/92 Season Review Part 1/6

The Sport genre returns with a heavyweight pick here, with the return of our national sport on this blog. A 6 part highlights show on the 1991/92 Barclay English League season. This was the last year before the First Division became known as "The Premier League". This was the last time England's top clubs were under the full control of the Football Association. More money was thought to needed into the game, after the downturn in success in Europe for the top clubs since the early-mid 80s, the deteriorating state of stadia and making a brand new start as the threat of hooliganism had become more controlled by improved stadia and police techniques.

The programme highlights the battle at the top and the bottom battle for relegation, featuring the best moments and goals, the story of the campaign and build-up, and some of the funniest/silliest moments too, along with player interviews.

Would George Graham's Arsenal retain their league championship? The focus is on Howard Wilkinson's Leeds United and Alex Ferguson's Manchester United, as the title chasers. This was regarded as the second golden age for the Leeds team, recurring back to memories of Don Revie leading the team in the 60s and 70s to 2 league championships. Some of the bizarre moments include a referee being knocked out cold mid-game by a football to the head. Also to note, are star players like Gary Lineker, in his last year in the english league before playing in the Japanese League or "J.League".

If This is Real Fish, Then Where's the BONES?

UK TV Adverts 1969 x 8

Pretty good set of late-60s ads with star power. How about the much lusted after George Best starring in a commercial for "Fore" aftershave? Or Alf Garnett(Warren Mitchell) moaning about Findus Fish Fingers not being real fish? We also have the late and great Dusty Springfield sounding a little raggamuffin here (she did have soul mind you) for "Mother's Pride" loaves, coming down your humble bricks-and-mortar street. And the now laughable and nonsensical slogan for Trebor Mints, "Trebor Mints are a Minty Bit Stronger"(?). Good set of ads though.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Think Intrique, Think Unsolved Mysteries of a Forgotten Age when you Hear this...

World In Action 1970 Titles

Another great documentary series with a title theme that gives you the goosebumps. This was ITV's main current affairs investigative journalism show which lasted from 1963-1998. It's axing in 1998, replaced by "Tonight", prompted many accusations of the channel dumbing down.

The theme song comes across as rather chilling and the organ sound harps back to an older age, maybe a more mythical age. The visuals do well to unfold the awe and mythical of this tune, with various moving images through a circle styled as a magnifying piece. The icon of the show, Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man drawing, appears at the very beginning. Some images seem random, like the boy balancing a bubble, but probably affiliated with a previous populist news story featured. The music is entitled "Jam for World in Action". The original composer of the tune is disputed, between Johnathon Weston and American musician Shawn Phillips.

He's Dead, but he's not "Dead" Dead

Third Doctor regenerates - Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders - BBC

One of the  famous regeneration scenes from renowned Sci-Fi drama "Doctor Who". Well, it needs no introduction. Here we see the changing of actors for the role of "The Doctor" to arguably the Proverbial measuring stick from what all past and future Doctor Who's are measured: Tom Baker. In online polls, Baker is nearly always voted as the best Doctor ever. Jon Pertwee, the third actor to play Doctor Who, regenerates into Tom Baker in this Youtube clip after being fatally affected by Metebelis crystals. What are they? Blue crystals from planet Metebelis III of course. Tom Baker only features for a microsecond in the clip. This regeneration is much different from the more modern day regenerations like David Tennant to Matt Smith, full of all the bells and whistles, cosmic rays flying all over the place. Pertwee just goes to sleep peacefully.

The Doctor's assistant who appears here is Sarah Jane Smith (played by Elisabeth Sladen), in which is the climax of the six-part "Planet of the Spiders". The strange broken-English character who appears is abbot K’Anpo Rinpoche, who is a Time Lord like Doctor Who, who has newly regenerated. A bit of a hippy, he leads a peaceful exile on Earth.

Jon Pertwee played the Doctor from 1970 to 1974. Tom Baker became the longest incarnation of the Doctor, and still, lasting 7 years from 1974-1981. David Tennant became the second longest running Doctor, with a good 5 years in the Tardis (2005-2010).

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Video Gaming TV Takes Centre Stage in the Early 90's...

GamesMaster S2E3 - Part 1/3

And this is a one for all you retro Nintendo/SNES/Sega Mega Drive generation gaming fans out there. It's Channel 4's "Gamesmaster", where acid-tongued Scotsman in a blood-red suit Dominik Diamond (with hair) dabbling with contestants, celebrities and so-called videogame magazine expert, for the aim of one visual ideal : The Golden Gamesmaster Joystick!However, the star of the show is "The Sky At Night" head honcho Patrick Moore, as the big giant computer generated head on the giant screen, that was a great casting choice. Although you fear this "all-knowing gaming god" in real life, may've known diddlysquat about Sonic or Mario, he has a great voice of reason, that made it believeable. This is part 1 of 3 parts, of this episode from the second series, now set in an Oil Rig, changed from it's original 1st series Church setting.

The episode first begins with a game challenge for one worthy contender on one of the best SNES games of all-time, "Super Mario World", to collect 200 coins and complete the "Donut Plain" level in 1 minute flat. This follows with the "Review Booth" where critics from gaming magazines discuss a few of the lastest games, with 3-D industrial themed graphics whizzing around  and cut scenes of critics talking nonsense. In the middle of the show, there would be a celebrity challenge against an ordinary pleb, this one being (at the time) Wimbledon footballer hardman Vinnie Jones playing against said pleb on the appropiate game of "Soccer Brawl", a futuristic soccer game. One of the funniest segments of the show was the Consoletation Zone, where (pre-recorded?) gamers are transported to the Gamesmaster's virtual world set on an oil rig, the entire theme for the second series, and they ask for help with games or ask for a level select cheat. The all-knowing head honcho of course knows the answer. The last part of the show is interesting, a self-confessed gaming expert and games tester challenges anyone in the audience to beat him on any Sega Mega Drive game!

"Gamesmaster" ran from 1992-1998, usually scheduled on a weekday evening once a week. There hasn't really been a successor to the programme after it had finished. Video gaming on terrestrial TV has been flushed down the toilet, regarded as "for kids", but the gaming industry has boomed in the late-90s with kids and young adults alike, and now there are games out there for both sexes and adults, so it's a crying shame whatever gaming shows there have been, are hidden away on at a graveyard slot or on an obscure satellite channel.

The show would differ from setting and look of the Gamesmaster (although still Patrick Moore) each series.

Rare Short and Sweet Clip of ITN From the 60s...

60s ITN clip

From 1967, is a rare short 47 second ITN clip (BBC 50s and 60s news clips are plentiful, but ITV's are hard to find on Youtube!) featuring news presenter Reginald Bosanquet. The first news story is about Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh's successful operation to remove a cyst from his right wrist. A cyst is potentially something more serious than pus in the skin caused by spots and acne. Cysts can close off a certain area of human tissue, which can sometimes lead to a tumour forming. That's enough of that. The Beverley Sisters mentioned in the following story, were a very successful female Britiah vocal group composing of twins Babs and Teddie, along with older sister Joy.The last story is how a new advisory scheme for mechanic

Reginald Bosanquet was an ITN journalist since it's beginning in 1955. His career elevated in the 1970's as a main anchor for ITV, albeit only for 2 years (1974-1976), and retired from the newsreading game in 1979. Bosanquet has had a colourful off-screen personality, as portrayed by the media, which may be a falsehood. He was known for his slurred speech while presenting, popping up accusations that he was an alcoholic, however he suffered from epilepsy. Other rumours were he wore a toupee, and had an obsession with one-time co-news presenter Anna Ford, penning love poems about the lady. What?! Bosanquet died in 1984 of pancreatic cancer at the age of only 51.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Breakfast TV First Came in the 70s, not the 80s!

Good Morning Calendar - Bob Warman - Part 1 - 1977 - YTV - Slightly HQ!

I didn't realise this one myself. "Good Morning Calendar" ran only in the Yorkshire region for six weeks, along with Tyne Tees "Good Morning North" as an experiment to have news, weather reports and a look at tonight's Television in an intimate looking studio, although the presenter of this show, Bob Warman, is decked up to suit and tie. A nice little jazzy 70s tune begins the programme, and an orange colour is the key theme. There's also those flirtations outdoors with the normal folk, asking whether they are in a romance, or have any romantic thoughts. Also, some adverts at the end. Despite it's basic 10 minute or so guise, it was a pioneer for Breakfast TV, although it wasn't until 6 years laters, both "Breakfast Time" and "TV-AM" came to our screens.

Bob Warman is a TV presenter during the 1970s and 80s and still presents the regional news from the Central region on ITV. Born in the West Midlands he enjoyed a career at the old ATV presenting regional news for the Midlands, as well as the Yorkshire region from 1976-79. Another interesting fact to point out, is he presented Sky TV's version of "The Price Is Right" in 1989.

Brookie: Die Harder

Brookside explosion 1.mp4

The soap genre returns in some style tonight, as we see one of the more memorable moments from Merseyside soap "Brookside" on Channel 4. Hollywood couldn't have done it better! This is the gas explosion that occurs on Brookside Parade(an extension to Brookside Close since 1993), thanks to Ron Dixon (Vince Earl) trying to keep the pounds in his pocket and trying to fix the gas leak himself. Was he the daft so-and-so? Well, the background story is, Sinbad (Michael Starke), a Brookie favourite, being a suplier of kitchen equipment and such, sold Ron the gas cooker, for his new flat above his shop.

So this a 2-parter of the event, but not a full episode. Watch out for the shock second explosion after all the hysteria burdgen on, near the end of the second part. Only one dies from the gas explosion and that is Candy the dog, of the new family of the Shadwick's. It's a great episode, it features all of the main characters from the time but no Jimmy Corkhill I see, but the rest of his family is there, like daughter Linda (Claire Sweeney), possibly the most hysterical of the bunch as the fear of her daughter Kylie still inside the complex. There's your old favourites like Jackie Corkhill (Sue Jenkins), Mick of the pizza parlour fame and Max Farnham, who gets caught in the rubble also with anothe regular. In this period, there were 6 fires and explosions over a 5 year period, unbelieveable for a tiny corner of Liverpool. The soap depended more and more on sensationalism rather than realistic hard-hitting issues in it's final years. This was followed by a bomb detonation in the local nightclub "Millenium Club" (or vice versa, but I think it's in the right order).

Monday, 8 March 2010

"Right-On!" Belinda Carlisle Receives the Schofield Treatment...

Belinda Carlisle on UK Kids TV show Going Live!

Big star back in the day, singer Belinda Carlisle speaks about her participation with Animal Rights, while her music blethers on in the background. Phillip Schofield presents Carlisle with a silver platinum record for 300,000 sales in the UK. Nice craftmanship from 2 kids in the audience. And what a first question it is from Schofield. This is the section of the show, near the end(?), where kids from home on the phone and in the audience quiz Carlisle over being nervous about singing live. Also, who is the guy that suddenly appears alongside Carlisle, when they're picking out winners from the mailbag?

Belinda Carlisle was a former member  and lead singer of the 80s new wave girls band "The Go-Go's" before splitting with them, and enjoying a most successful solo career with her biggest hit in 1987, with "Heaven is a Place on Earth"  or "Ooh Heaven is a Place on Earth" and was a No.1 in the UK and US Singles chart. Belinda is promoting her new thrid album at the time, "Runaway Horses" in which she collaborated with ex-Beatle George Harrison. It had limited success, compared to her 1987 "Heaven On Earth" album, with a peak at No.4 in the album charts. Her best performing song from the album was "Leave a Light on".

An 80s Song You Can Still Freely Admit to Liking...

Big Audio Dynamite-E=MC2

Former "The Clash" guitarist and singer Mick Jones made a strong start with his new band "Bad Audio Dynamite", with this bouncy hit from the mid-80s, which apart from the obvious synth chorus, has dated quite well, especially from the period it's taken from. The mid-80s was not only the centre of the decade "That taste forgot", but it was in music terms the softest, mushiest and cheesiest part of the decade. The grittiness of Punk music and ska was fading fast, as the economy grew on both sides of the Atlantic, and there was a hell of a lot to be angry about. Also, it was shortly before the likes of rap and house came to the mainstream. You had light pop music called Euro-disco, coming from the likes of Stock, Aitken and Waterman acts like Dead or Alive and Bananarama. Rock music even at this point, appeared cartoonish and over-blown like faux rock chick "Cyndi Lauper", "Heart" and "Bon Jovi". However, "Bad Audio Dynamite" or "BAD", did not fit into this mid-80s mould.

Mick Jones was fired from "The Clash" after much in-fighting and tension between himself and lead singer Joe Strummer. He never returned. However Jones did collaberate with Strummer on the second BAD album in 1986's "No. 10, Upping St.". However, one of their best songs seen here, "E=MC2" is from their 1985 debut album "This Is Big Audio Dynamite". The original group members, also seen in the video, consisted of Mick Jones, Don Letts(sound effects & vocals), Dan Donovan (keyboards), Leo Williams (bass & vocals), Greg Roberts (drums & vocals).

The song is known as the first example of "highly defined sampling technologies". The song uses talking samples from a a film known as 1970's "Performance" directed by English film director Nicholas Roeg. The music video also contain film clips from various other Roeg movies. The song reached a peak high of No.11 on the UK Singles chart. However the album didn't do as well, peaking at No.27. in the UK album charts. Their second aforementioned album performed better, at No.11. By 1990, Mick Jones reformed his band with a completely new set-up, with only himself the original member. So BAD II, got off to an even better start, with a No.1 hit single in the US charts "Rush", well, only the modern Rock US charts. The feel of the band was more like "The Clash", consisting of Nick Hawkins (guitar and background vocals), Gary Stonadge (bass and background vocals) and Chris Kavanagh (drums and background vocals).

The band slightly changed it's name to "Big Audio" for a short while, but hasn't achieved any real amount of success. In 1998, their record label Radioactive Records, refused to release their "Entering a New Ride" album after disagreements. The band released it for free from their website. Pretty much years before Radiohead or Prince released an album for free.

"We Want Muffin!" The Mule with Strings and All That...

Muffin the Mule- Muffin's Aquarium Part 1

At last, our children's genre goes back to the 1950s, heralding one of the most iconic shows of the decade. A non-pc decade where smoking was given the thumbs up, TV was a very expensive luxery and we were beginning to let our ration books gather dust, as western prosperity rose to great proportions. "Muffin the Mule" was a simple delight for kids and adults alike on the BBC. Broadcast live from 1946 to 1952, the string puppetry show was screened in the late afternoon. In this 2 part, full episodes Muffin the Mule, the main puppet of the show, keeps stock of a small aquarium on top of a piano, while Annette Mills the presenter speaks to Muffin, and plays the piano with her angelic voice. The show may be dated, but still relatively amusing and lively, string puppetry from all the characters. The Mule first appeared in a 1930s puppet circus known as Hogarth Puppet Theatre. It first appeared on TV in 1946 in "For the Children". Annette Mills worked on the show, and named the puppet "Muffin" herself, in agreement with the puppet creators Jan Bussell and Ann Hogarth. The theme song is also well known, as "We Want Muffin" san by Mills via piano. Now that's probably street slang now...ahem. At the end of each episode, Mills sings "Goodbye Muffin".

Muffin of course became very popular with children in the 1950s, and the character is always mentioned when it comes to 50s children's TV. Like most 50s TV in it's day, the production value was crude and small-time, but it doesn't take much to entertain people. Other string puppet characters appeared on the show, though less remembered. The ones that appear in this "Aquarium" episode, are Mr. Peregrine Esquire the penguin, a snappy billed, menacing looking thing, and the much more elegant Oswald the Ostrich, along with dancing sea snakes and a smiling Octopus who plays the bells.

The show abruptly ended in 1955, after the sudden heart attack of Mills, at the age of 61. After the death, new episodes were made for rival channel ITV, presented by Sally McNally, daughter of puppet creator couple Hogarth & Bussell. They all though contributed to a final farewell to Muffin, back on the BBC in 1957. Muffin the Mule returned after a long hiatus, in a new animated series of the same name, on CBBC in 2005.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Crude Animation Humour Brought to you by Channel 4...

Beastly Behaviour - The Dog

Don't be fooled kids by the bright colours! "Beastly Behaviour" was an adult animation that was screened on late-night Channel 4 in the mid-90s. Not all of the episodes are on Youtube (There's a cat one too). These 1 minute plus animations, feature the very different way animals and other beasts like marine life, have male-to-female mating. The animations are crude, but the narration is pitched in the style of a wild-life narrator, and if your not aware alot about animal biology and how they mate, well many of the facts may astound you, as they're all true. The show was produced by eggtoons, which has it's own website, but the main brains behind it is Andrew Wyatt. Wyatt was a freelance animator who had worked on such well-known cartoons like the Ninja Turtles and the Ducktales movie for Disney. He joined Honeycomb animation, and produced this obscure classic.

4 episodes feature on Youtube, but I'm sure there are more. Rodents, Mantis and Marine Bristleworm are the other 3, however I feel this Dog one is the funniest of the lot, and the least gory. I like the dig at humans in this one too. This is definitely not for kids! The Mantis one is probably the most gory, as true to life, as the female bites the male's head off, as he is having sex with her. Thank god that doesn't happen in humans, I'd be a virgin all my life then!

New Look Youtube!

I've already seen previews of the new look, where you are randomly selected to view this mess...just kidding! Well tonight, it looks to be here for full-time? The new look appears more cleaner with a lack of borders around related videos and comments.

I'm not sure whether I prefer the new look. The best thing about it, is an even longer list of related videos, however it seems less accessible to get to the members videos. I know you can select the member's down arrow, and you can scan the list of his/her videos from there, however, the video screen is in the way, so that's not very good. However, that's just a glitch, and I've seen from previous experience, the video screen jumps down to make way for the videos. However, just looks untidy now. Another plus though, is more people might subscribe to users now, with the button and username being in a more central position. That's all I have to say now, but a mixed responce from me.

Also, I have heard about the news of the "Digital Bill" being passed in the House of Lords. So there's threats that Youtube could be blocked from the UK, which is worrying for a "westernised" country like us, now wanting to emulate China. There are some things in the world, which are just too big to stop. If Youtube was blocked in the UK, well, this blog might as well become "UK TV Nostalgia On Dailymotion" or just in more general terms.There would be riots in the street if Youtube was blocked in the UK. Plus for Youtube, the UK is a big market, Youtube may receive a large chunk of revenue away, but America must make up over half the market, in saying that. Plus some of their biggest shows like "Britain's Got Talent" get worldwide appeal and huge youtube viewings, and hence more viewers for the TV show. So you mean to say, all those BBC channels and Channel 4 videos are all going to go to waste with their target audience gone and only overseas viewers. This is gestapo-like proportions if it happens, but I'm veering towards no, it won't happen!

UPDATE 8TH March: The old look Youtube is now back on my computer. Must be just testing, but that was a long test!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Great Idea! Let's have a Wife-beater Advise Kids on Strangers!

Strngr Dngr!

Gotta love the 80s, eh? "Punch", of "Punch and Judy" fame, advises the kid audience to never trust strangers, demonstrating this, by not climbing into the Crocodile's motor. The West country voiced policeman warns the children if knowing where they are, when alone, and not to take rides from strangers, otherwise your a "naughty, naughty, naughty man"! The Crocodile sounds a bit like the other puppet croc from CITV's late-80s show "Round the Bend".The PIF was made in 1980, and does, even then seems a bit dated to be using such a politically incorrect technique. But that's why we love that age!

Perhaps the Coolest or the Creepiest Schools TV theme...

BBC Schools - Zig Zag

Another landmark BBC schools series that began in 1983, replacing "Merry-go-round" that focused on historical content. This was a series of programmes that focused on the early middle ages and the Normans in 1985. Continuity is shown first, much to type, for TV was much slower paced in those days. We see the old striped 70s/80s BBC2 ident, and then we're off to an intro of Tron-like proportions at 1 mins 5 seconds in. Very 80s, with creepy sounding 80s synth, and wire-frame computer technology. The robotised voice at the end, was to creep you out further with rapid interjections of "Zig Zag!".

The educational programme is still repeated today, and new programmes were being made right up to the 2000s, focusing on Tudor history and ancient history.

Fun In the Sun

peters and lee

This was a variety show, that sort of alternated with the Victorian throw-back "The Good Old Days", although much more president in the summer months of the year, on once a week from June to September. It was 70s kitsch wrapped into a family seaside outing for all. The main show was usually presented in a circus big-top tent with some acts outdoors, if the weather's nice. This clip shows only presenter links from musicians Peters and Lee, and their actual performance, but we do get to see those all-important title for the show, which I can't find anywhere else. Well, the titles aren't that great, a cameraman walks in the way of an on-going act. What's up with that? Plus too much emphasis on women's posteriors. Oh, you'll have a look now won't you!

"Peters and Lee" are a male-female singing duo, most well known for their hit song "Welcome Home". Seaside Special ended in 1979, but came back in the 80s with a less gimmicky beach setting, under "Summertime Special" beginning in 1981, to 1988.

Friday, 5 March 2010

2 Fallen Stars...

Simon Dee Interviews Jack Wild very very rare

Although their paths later down the line differed immeasurably, it remained as a sad demise for both, to different extents. Simon Dee was sacked from his chat show seen in the clip, "Dee Time", in 1970, and by 1974, was signing on the dole with some embarrassment due to media coverage, and became a bus driver with little other prospects back in the world of showbiz. He also ended up in prison for a month after failing to pay his house bills. For Jack Wild, it was a more tragic spiral from the bright lights of fame and even, Hollywood. After his much cherished and fondly remembered role as a child actor in the 1968 film adaptation of Charles Dicken's novel "Oliver!", the promising boy actor took on the role as the charming pickpocket "The Artful Dodger". Wild reached a career-high of being Oscar-nominated for the role, for Best Supporting Actor. However, like too many child actors, the transition of child to adult became a "crash and burn" scenario. Wild did well in the short-term after "Oliver", achieving more fame in the US as the shipwrecked boy Jimmy in children's US TV series "H.R. Pufnstuf". He played the same role in the film version that followed. Despite launching pop career, successfully evolving him into a teen pin-up in the 1970's, Wild had been drinking and taking drugs since the age of 12 on a regular basis. This drove his career downwards and it brough his on-screen career to an end. The 1980s was the lowlight of his life, with his marriage to childhood sweetheart Gaynor Jones finished due to his alcoholism. He suffered multiple cardiac arrests before giving up on the drink. Although successfully beating the drink and drugs after rehab, his looks were wasted, but he began acting againin the early 90s with limited success, taking a bit-part in 1991's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" starring Kevin Costner. Wild suffered from oral cancer in his later life, and agreed his heavy smoking and drinking in the past were much to blame. He died on 1st March 2006 at a young age of 53.

Dee talks about, rather ironically and at the same time prophetic-like now, about Wild's career possibly flailing after he leaves childhood. This is repeated again later. Other discussions like who Jack Wild idolises and who his favourite football player is. Riveting!

"Dee Time" was a twice weekly show from 1967-1970 on BBC1. Simon Dee was plucked from Radio Luxembourg and other radion work on "BBC Light Programme" to host this prime-time show. Dee became very popular with great TV ratings and lapped over into presenting such prestigious shows like "Top of the Pops". This interview with Jack Wild is one of the few surviving clips from the show. Some live shows were just never recorded, as it was felt to hold no real value in the future. Dee though, interviewed a great wealth of stars from Hollywood and the UK.

"Dee Time" was stopped on its tracks, as Dee became too big for his boots, asking for higher wage rises and was kicked out of the BBC. He moved the show to ITV for one series in 1970, however more arguments between Dee and LWT (London Weekend Television) management and tension between Frost's chat show and his. So he was kicked out once again. He did have one final flourish, as people started remembering what good he brought to TV, and was awarded with a one-off new live episode of "Dee-Time" in 2003 on BBC Four. Dee died of bone cancer in August 2009 at the age of 74.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Grace Jones Citroen CX Car Advert

Well I was looking for a certain Grace Jones chat show interview (but was open to others though) on Youtube, but when I came across this, I had to add this. The truth is, Grace Jones, wants to scream you into submission to buy this Citreon CX, and if you don't, she will devour you. Knowing her, that wouldn't be far from the real truth. If that type of advert was produced now, you would have the likes of Cheryl Cole charming the pants off you, but no, back in the 1980s, this was the age of power walking, power napping and power women. The banshee like howls from Jones wants to grab your the balls.

This advert was alledgedly too pertrifying for some countries, and the advert was banned. It's not only Grace Jones impeccable manners, but the large winding, turning head model of Grace Jones with headlights for eyes, is pretty damn creepy, and the mouth opens so much, gold splits from her sides, and then it burps, obviously some computer trickey going on there. The advert is actually quite cool though perversely bizarre.

Grace Jones was a larger-than-life character of Jamaican-American origin, who became firstly a model, then a singer and then as an actress in some high-profile movies like "Conan the Destroyer" and James Bond's "A View to a Kill" as villain "May Day". Jones sported a very iconic "flat-top" haircut beginning in 1985, and together lumped with her 5'10" athletic frame, she appeared adrodynous in nature, and very scary looking. This where she achieved her greatest fame in the UK with her 1985 album "Slave to the Rhythm", which also, by coincidence or not, has a distorted looking Grace Jones on the front cover with a large mouth very extensive up and down, like the mechanical head in the advert. The album reached No.12 in the UK album charts. Maybe as no surprise as to why it did well, this album having been produced with a British edge, produced by Trevor Horn. Jones had started her singing career in the late 70s, and had already had a major American hit in 1981 with "Pull up to the Bumper", staying at No.2 in the Billboard US charts for 7 weeks.

The Citreon CX actually appears in the music video for the single "Slave to the Rhythm".

Hey You! Nicholas Parsons' Dancing at 2:47

No. 73: Series 5: Programme 4: TXN 23.2.85

Here is a small clip of an episode of ITV's "No.73" from 23rd February 1985. Although alot less hyper and anarchaic from it's predecessor "Tiswas", this was still a ground-breaking Saturday morning live kids show. Featuring Danish-born English comedienne, author and presenter Sandi Toksvig starring as Ethel Davis, who is jolly well excitied about going skiing, delivers much japes and puns in a show that was mostly improvised. We first come across the 2nd theme for the show with "Hey You" as the stand-out feature, featuring stock footage of wacky stunts such as jousting knights, cycling monkey's and black and white clips of ridiculous inventions.

After Toksvig's witticisms, we come to the end of the show (edited highlights?). Wondering who the reggae/ska band is? Well, it is Jamaican reggae and dancehall music artist Barrington Levy with the song "Under Mi Sensi". He achieved his best performing singles in Britain at this time in 1985. The rest of the No.73 cast join in coming down the stairs, to dance to the musing sounds. By this point, the other chracters were Andrea Arnold as roller-skating Dawn Lodge, Nick Wilton as Tony Deal, a local call man and Nick Staverson as the amazing mullet-haired Harry Stern. Look at Nicholas Parsons dancing with that wild look of open-mouthed joygasm on his face.

Also, there a brief of clip of Nick Wilton as the con-man sitting on top of Rani the Elephant. Anyway, the show by this point was increasing in it's popularity. The show was set in the home abode of No.73, an ordinary setting in a coastal town by the sea, however the main character Ethel Davis (Sandi Toksvig) had started off as an old woman in the first series but gets younger in each series. Harry Stern was the nephew. Dawn Lodge, believe it or not, was a lodger. We also had inventor Percy Simmonds (Patrick Doyle) playing as Ethel's love interest. Local con man Tony Deal was a new character from the 1984 series. I this 1985 series, there was also a mini series within entitled "Roman Around" set in Ancient Rome. This was also played for laughs, presented by Ethel's fictional theatre company "Front Door Productions". It also starred a young Neil Buchanan, who would later present in Saturday morning's "Motormouth" and more famously in CITV's "Art Attack" in the 90s.

The show lasted from 1982-1988. In the last series (1987-88), the name of the show was changed to "7T3". The show was now set in a mock western setting with the saloon doors conveying "7T3". Maybe the show had lost the plot by now. "Motormouth" replaced it in September '88.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Wonderfully Weird Gameshow...

The Adventure Game - The main puzzle (episode 1)

A clip of the main presenters - or shape-shifting dragons- setting up the main puzzle for the celebrity and non-celebrity contestants in this wonderfully bizarre gameroom puzzle gameshow. An ingeniously, contrived and convoluted layout of this puzzle is explained by the presenters, in this masterhood of trickery, all this talk about left-handed screws, left-handed Grandfather clock, just layer upon layer of intricacy, it goes on and on. Snatch the key from the clown's face on the blue door to unlock the red door, ohhh, it's just nuts, then all three contestants have to stand in certain spots to allow ping pong balls in a tube/funnel levitate. ohhh, I'm getting a headache.

This was a pre-cursor to "The Crystal Maze", and whatever it lacked in budget compared to the latter, damn was it hard for a kid's show. Screened from the 1980-1986 on the BBC, the plot is, 2 celebrity contests and one normal person land on a spaceship on a planet called "Arg", and to travel through different rooms with different puzzles. Produced by Patrick Dowling, the show was inspired by the "Dungeons & Dragons" board game. The sci-fi element was implemented by Douglas Adam, famed for his radio series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

So on this planet Arg, were the shape-shifting dragon race of the Argonds. Maybe to look less ridiculous with men in suits, mostly they were in human form. In this clip we see BBC newsreader Moira Stuart, who was then an actress, playing as one of the Argonds. Argonds, by the way, was an anagram of "dragon". Moira starred as Darong, another anagram of the same word. Another famous face, or rather the face-behind-the-robot, was "Star Wars" R2D2 controller Kenny Baker controlled a talking and moving spider plant in later series, which was the ruler of the planet Arg, Rangdo. The butler in the clip was Gandor (Chris Leaver) was half-deaf and could only hear when he was earing his glasses. I'm sure the other actress is Charmian Gradwell playing Gnoard. The most famed piece of the show was the final round of cat-and-mouse-like proportions "The Vortex". This did not appear until the second series.

Curse You, Army Deserter!

Dixon of Dock Green Part 1 of 3

"Dixon of Dock Green" was certainly was of the most iconic programmes of the 1950s and 60s. Many Brits who lived and grew up in this era, fondly remember the "British Bobby" as friendly, communicative and strived to do good deeds, no mater how small the issue was. No insane loads of paperwork to fill in, no ridiculous political correctness was in sight back then. This is glorified in "Dixon of Dock Green", following the tales of London policeman George Dixon (Jack Warner) of Dock Green, an area of East London, but not as we know it, boasting a low-crime rate. It was an easy-going show, where Dixon would be par-taking with the local community in a big way as a bobby on the beat, with the most serious crimes being only petty, and mostly non-violent. However, the show is much loved for it's community spirit, the likeability of Dixon, and hosting a strong moral backbone, with Dixon expressing messages of keeping on the right side of the law and more, in statements to the camera, at the beginning and end.

This is a full episode entitled "The Roaring Boy" in 3 parts, where Dixon is searching for the whereabouts of army deserter Kenneth Cope. It was a live broadcast, so actors had to remember their lines very well!

The show was immensely popular in the 50s and 60s, recieving TV ratings of 13 million and above. The show is still regarded as one of the best British TV shows ever, despite it's unrealistic nature, with the immortal line of "Evenin' All" from actor Jack Warner. Warner was of a mature age already when the programme began in 1955. He played the role onwards tot he 1970s, where the show declined, looking increasingly more dated compared to the more edgy delights of "Z-Cars" and "The Sweeney", and the show ended in 1976, with an increasingly inactive Dixon, the actor now in his 80s, and promoted then, as a Sargeant.

Michael Foot Appearing on the First Ever BBC "Question Time"

The First Ever Question Time (BBC - 25 September, 1979) [Part One]

In light of the death of former Labour leader (from 1980-1983) Michael Foot, who has died at the age of 96 today, here is the most extensive footage I can find of him on Youtube. Coverage of Foot is pretty scant on the website at the moment, but I'm sure that will correct itself soon. This is when Michael Foot was a leading candidate to become the next leader of the Labour Party after Prime Minister James Callaghan's downfall to Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives at the May 1979 General Election. Presented by Robin Day, the panel is completed by former Scottish Conservative MP Teddy Taylor, (who lost his Glasgow Cathcart seat at the previous election) Irish novelist Edna 'O Brien and Archbishop Derek Worlock. This is the first and full edition of "Question Time", in six parts of 10 mins+.

"Question Time" was a topical discussion show that tour in studios, church halls and various other venues around the UK, and would contain a local audience with a scale of wide-ranging view. Members of the audience would be able to ask pre-selected questions (sometimes wonder if they're not their own questions but volunteers for BBC production staff allowable queries for the show), asking a selected number of politicans plus religious leaders and artistic intellectuals (now, pillored with perhaps a celebrity, who is sometimes clueless!). Mostly serious issues are discussed, lighter issues may be asked at the end of the show.

The issues discussed in this episode are the Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland and whether he should've went to Northern Ireland ("The Troubles" era) and how a story of animals trapped in an aeroplane in Rome had top billing over the state of the economy in the news (aww, we're such animal lovers us Brits), and more.

"Question Time" was not intended to last long, as it has. The BBC, much like the viewing audience, had tired of the 5-nighter that was "Parkinson" the chat show, and reduced it to 3 nights a week, and to be replaced by something different in tone, more serious. Little to be known at the time, the show has now been running for over 30 years. Robin Day hung up his anchoring boots in 1989, then-Channel 4 newsreader Peter Sission took over for a few years, and David Dimbleby has presented the show since 1994.

Michael Foot was leader of the Labour party at a tulmutuous time for the party. Foot was one of the intellectual members of the left wing of the party. A somewhat eccentric manner and look to the man, infamous for wearing a "donkey jacket" at the cenotaph at Remembrance Sunday in 1981. He was though a great orator of the old guard of politicians, never a man to personally please the media, but did things his way. His leadership from 1980-1983, was very unsuccessful, as his anti-war stance and plea for unilateral nuclear disarmament, was not greeted well by voters, especially as PM Maggie Thatcher boldly went to war with Argentina and won quickly, after their invasion of the Falklands Island, a British colony. This bolstered Thatcher's Conservatives they smashed Labour in the 1983 General election. Despite that, Foot was also set back by the plight of the Labour party almost coming to breaking point in 1981, when right wing Labour MP's "The Gang of Four" left for a breakaway party, "The Social Democratic Party", headed by Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Shirley Williams and Bill Rodgers. Further party in-fighting continued, and Foot's manifesto for the 1983 election was labelled "the longest suicide note in history" by right-wing Labour MP Gerald Kaufman.

Although Foot's leadership was a failure, he was a vital part in keeping the party together, until it blossomed under his old apprentice Neil Kinnock. Also, some experts claim, some economic warnings heeded by Foot could've helped Britain stop the full brunt of the 2008 recession.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Last Sighting on TV of a Music Legend...

Freddie Mercury Last Appearance 1990

Good but short upload of the legendary lead singer of British Rock band "Queen", Freddie Mercury (birth name: Farrokh Bulsara) last ever TV appearance, a year and a half before his death from AIDS on November 24th 1991. Queen receive the "Outstanding Contribution" Award at the 1990 Brit Awards, the British Phonographic Industry's celebration of modern pop music. Guitarist Brian May does most of the speaking on behalf of Queen. Freddie handles the award, but only speaks the words "Thank you, goodnight" at the end. The other members of the band present here, were Roger Taylor and John Deacon.

By this point, Freddie Mercury was losing weight since contraction of AIDS in 1987. You can see that now, but at the time, the general public did not know he was suffering from AIDS, but many suspected it, including the newspapers. He was asked himself in an 1987 interview whether he had AIDS and it was denied, claiming to have been tested negative. Mercury was a very private man, but he did not fear people knowing of his sexuality according to some reports. It wasn't until a day before he died, Freddie Mercury released a public statement through Queen's manager Jim Beach.

Mercury, known as one of the most charismatic singers and entertainers in the music business ever. Freddie Mercury and Queen were still producing records and albums into those 2 last years of his life, along with some solo efforts from Freddie including "Barcelona" the official song (and name of Mercury's solo album) for the 1992 Summer Olympics, in duet with Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé. However, the band were still going strong with the album "Innuendo", with the very last poignant single release and music video being "These Are the Days of Our Lives", Freddie Mercury's last performance on film. His final last words, at the end of the song was "I still love you".

Cut-off but Viewable, If Only for the Intro...

Arena - A Pirate's Tale

The BBC Two's landmark documentary/biography series, with the landmark intro and music. This is a short excerpt from 1991's episode focusing on the plight and drama of "Radio Caroline". The intro is simple, a bottle with an illuminated "Arena" sign is floating on the water of an ocean? Lake? River? it's a somehow wonderful 20+ seconds of a priviledge to watch, always has been. The night sky and moon looks artificial, hence filmed in a studio, but that doesn't take away any of this quite eerie but soothing atmosphere in this misty setting, almost reflective. That stunning instrumental too. definetely now, as it's now nostalgic gold. For confirmation, it's a green bottle floating, with a neon sign inside it.

"Arena" has covered all kinds of subjects from painter Salvador Dali to Superman. It's a highly raved series that began in 1975, and still exists to this day. The intro is still intact, I can't name any other programme which has kept the exact same intro for 35 years. Over 500 episodes have been made over the years.

This episode focuses on Radio Caroline? What's so special about this radio channel/frequency? Well, it was an off-shore radio broadcast outside of British territory and into international waters, located off south-east England, from a Danish boat renamed from "M.V. Fredericia" to "Caroline" in 1964. Britain treated it like a pirate radio station, and was rendered illegal in 1966 by the British Government. Founded by Ronan O'Rahilly, it was a pop music station, it's reason being, for defiance against the grasp record labels had on on-shore radio stations. Not greatly dependable, it struggled on and off-air periods over the years, and switched between various ships. It's heyday was the 60 and 70s. By the 80s it began focusing on more Euro-Pop concentrated material. After much legal wranglings, it was forced off-air for most of the 1990's, but has come back in various forms around Europe in the 2000's, still being transmitted via the sea-faring lifestyle.

What we don't see on the Youtube clip is interviews with Ronan O'Rahilly, record producer Mickie Most, DJ's Simon Dee and Ian Ross.

Monday, 1 March 2010

"Ah Say What Ah Like, and Ah Like What Ah Bloody Well Say!"


One of my favourite Harry Enfield sketches, from "Harry Enfield's Television Programme" on the BBC. Enfield plays the role of a stereotypical Yorkshireman with much relish, as 2 different world's collide between the sexist, racist, homophobe and straight talker when he is now the boss of an advertising company filled with yuppies. Even for it's time, the humour is still risque, but Enfield is fantastically bold as the character. It suits his in-your-face style of comedy. The woman in the sketch, looks like she's trying not to laugh at 1 mins 35 secs. Charlie Higson, one of the writers of the show, makes a rare appearance on show, as the pony-talied yuppie. Very little-known at the time, while Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, would receive most of the applause. Higson would go onto greater fame, starring in "The Fast Show" in 1994.

English comedian, actor and writer Harry Enfield, first came to viewer's attention in the 1980s, making appearances on Channel 4's drive to be popular with, "Saturday Live", making appearances as comedy characters kebab shop owner Stavros, and most famously as Loadsamoney, which pretty much summed up the yuppiedom and "Greed is Good", which many people related to at the time. It was a very one-dimensional and crude character, but came at the right time. The characters were co-created by both himself and Paul Whitehouse.

During his tenure as one of the impressionist voices for "Spitting Image", and a successful spoof or mockumentary special called "Norbert Smith - A Life" in 1989, he was awarded with his won sketch show. His catchphrase-laden comedy became a big hit. "Harry Enfield's Television Programme", as it was known in 1990-1992, went on to even greater success with the renamed, but really the same show, "Harry Enfield and Chums". This was because of the growing star power of Paul Whitehouse and Kathy Burke. Whitehouse was most known in the show as "Mike Smash" of the sketch spoof-radio DJ double act "Smashy and Nicey", and Burke was best known as Waynetta Slob, of "The Slobs" sketch.

The show wasn't all about the catachphrases, but some characters people could relate to, become more developed, especially Kevin the Teenager(other wise known as Kevin Patterson"), who we see from a spurty and happy 12 year old boy to a miserable and hateful 13 year old. We meet his parents, and we go on to meet his friend Perry(Kathy Burke). Kevin takes temper fits, as you do, and calls his parents so unfair, he hates them!

Other memorable characters included Tim nice-but-dim, Mr You-Don't-Wanna-Do-It-Like-That The Self-Righteous Brothers (Oi! Edmonds! Noooooo!) the Scousers (Calm Down! Calm Down!) and The Old Gits (mmmmyeaaaahh - well, sounds like their catchphrase, which is just a noise).

I'm sure "The Yorkshireman" came back in some form after Enfield;s BBC heyday, and appeared on his Sky One now-not-so-new sketch show "Harry Enfield's Brand Spanking New Show". It was badly recieved as was some future TV projects like sitcom "Celeb". He came back to sketch comedy with the equal billing of "Harry & Paul". It's a change in tone from his previous show, as not all the characters have one outlining catchphrase, but some are of a repetitive nature. It's received mixed reviews and had been commissioned for a third series.