LA Law – tape 1896

Here’s some late-vintage LA Law. I see Cybill’s ex-husband Ira has joined the firm. What I didn’t know (until looking at Wikipedia) is that this character is transferring from a different Steven Bochco series Civil Wars. I don’t think that aired over here, certainly not anywhere I saw.

Kathleen Wilhoite pops up, not as a wastrel this time, but as Benny’s girlfriend.

Richard Masur plays an old friend of Stuart and Anne, who reveals he’s a fugitive from justice. Right after Stuart asks the FBI if there’s a deal open for him, the feds swoop in and grab him when Stuart next meets him. I wonder if he and Richard Dysart swapped reminiscences about working on The Thing?

In the next episode, Harry Shearer plays a security consultant.

Arnie and Denise get locked into the newly built safe room.

The next episode has a brilliant opening. Arnie is in his new Bentley (which has been showing up in the opening titles, replacing the BMW trunk closing). He’s chatting up a woman in a car next to him, when someone runs into the back of him.

And this is the opening shot of the titles. Lovely.

Incidentally, the woman he was chatting up was Carrie Ann Moss, Trinity from the Matrix.

Dennis Dugan plays a man going through a divorce. Incidentally, he also directs the next episode.

The next episode sees a guest appearance from Joanna Cassidy, Zhora in Blade Runner. So that’s Trinity and Zhora in consecutive episodes.

After this episode, recording continues for a bit, with the start of Star Trek The Next Generation. The tape ends during this programme.

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Elidor – tape 1902

This tape opens with the end of Newsround. Once again I’ve no idea who this young man is.

There’s a trailer for Live and Kicking.

Then, Toby Anstis (at least I know who he is) does some presenting.

There’s also Ant & Dec, talking about their new year’s resolution. Ant tells us it’s to grow up a bit, and be more mature. I wonder how that’s worked out for him?

Then, the first episode of Elidor. The titles are amazing, an early 90s CGI masterpiece.

It starts off with some fantasy type folk, talking about protecting the treasure, unlocking gates, playing the fiddle and finding the four children.

Then we’re in the real world, and a family visit their new house, with lots of complaints from the four children, who really are the surliest teenagers imaginable. “We can’t live here” they whine, at the nice house out in the country.

Still, maybe they’ve got a point when they’re met by a couple of Morris Dancers.

The four kids go into Manchester to do some shopping, and they’re whining all the time. They visit the strangest game shop in the world.

Its proprietor gives them a cartridge. He looked vaguely familiar, and the credits tell me it’s Freddie Davies, Mr Parrot Face himself.

They wander around, and one of them (the most miserable one) keeps seeing strange figures lurking about. Then, when he kicks a ball through a stained glass window into an abandoned church, he goes in to find it and meets Mr Fantasy bloke from the start. Then he goes through the church door and ends up on a beach somewhere where the colour has been rather desaturated.

There’s two people on horses chasing around. One of them in some kind of gimp mask, the other only ever says ‘Malebron’.

This is all very atmospheric, as much as a Children’s BBC budget will allow, but by the end of the first episode I’ve still no idea who any of these people are, or what they want.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 4th January 1995 – 17:10

Another slice of Newsround before the next episode, and another young presenter.

Episode 2 of Elidor and it isn’t improving. The young hero is still wandering around the world (called Elidor by the man who brought him there) and whining about everything. There’s more monochrome walking around until he finally finds his brothers and sister, and now they all have the treasures they’re supposed to guard. At least the colour has been turned up for this scene. Where they got the treasures isn’t explained.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 11th January 1995 – 17:05

At least in episode 3 the kids get back to the ‘real’ world, although the two horsemen are pursuing them. There are a lot of interesting stylistic things going on here, with the pursuers being ‘outside’ the real world.

The treasures have turned into mundane bits of tat, but wherever they go, they cause electrical equipment to go haywire. The father is particularly upset at missing A Question of Sport.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 18th January 1995 – 17:10

Another slice of Newsround before the next episode, with a trailer for Grange Hill. Then these two presenting Children’s BBC.

Elidor episode 4 and the story still seems to be moving glacially. The kids have buried the treasures, and the tree they planted on top has died.

The two horsemen are still searching for the kids, and are getting closer.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 25th January 1995 – 17:10

Another burst of Newsround, including news about tighter rules about advertising food and sweets to children.

There’s a trailer for Grange Hill.

Anorak seems to be a regular co-presenter. Any idea if he was (or became) someone famous? Edit to add: Is he Angelos Epithemiou? Wikipedia suggests no, but…

Now episode 5 of Elidor. Life goes on in the real world. The kids even go to a party.

While some sub-Game of Thrones mob action is happening in Elidor. At no point in the entire series do we learn anything about any of these people.

Malebron (the fantasy chap from Elidor) is sending a message to the kids.

Which they receive on a computer. I suspect this was different in the book.

It looks like an Atari ST to me. And this isn’t even the game cartridge they were given in the first episode. That plot strand has been completely forgotten.

At last, a unicorn turns up.

The two people pursuing the children seem to have made it into the real world. But they don’t immediately kill the children. It’s never clear what their limitations are, making the drama very inert.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 1st February 1995 – 17:05

Another Newsround before the next episode. There’s a trailer for The Biz.

Then, the final episode of Elidor. Malebron seems to be holding off an entire army on his own.

At least now it appears that something is happening. The two pursuers are actually chasing the children, although their inability to catch them when they are two feet away makes it seem like they’re not trying.

Finally, something resembling a plot turn happens, as the children are running away from the pursuers, and they get on a bus. Then, a man who accosted them earlier in the series accusing them of looting from the abandoned church, turns up drunk, recognises them, and takes the treasures from them. He’s played by Ken Sharrock, a very familiar face from loads of different shows.

But he’s a drunk, and gets into a fight with the gimpy pursuer, gets thrown out of the pub and the kids get their treasure back.

More unicorn chasing happens.

Finally, there’s a big fight in a deserted warehouse. Our hero, Roland actually gets to fight the gimp a bit.

Malebron, who has spent part of this episode floating face down in the sea, is suddenly excited again, and actually gets transported to the real world. Great special effects. For 1995. On a children’s TV budget.

So with Malebron’s help the two pursuers are defeated, so now Elidor has to sing. And we reach the point at which I remember throwing my hands up when I watched this originally.

Because, to sing, the unicorn has to die. Roland, our hero, whom we’ve followed for six episodes, has to kill a unicorn.

HE HAS TO KILL A UNICORN. AND HE DOES.

Fuck this story. Heroes don’t kill unicorns. Ideally they don’t kill anyone. I was wondering if I’d misremembered this ending, but no. The unicorn is killed, Malebron gets to return to his rainbow coloured land, and that’s the end. What kind of kid-based unicorn snuff movie is this? And where the hell does Elidor get its rainbow from if there’s no longer a unicorn around to fart them out?

I am genuinely amazed they stuck with this ending (which I am assuming came from the original book). I find it quite shocking, and also, it’s unearned. This ‘having to kill the unicorn’ magic rule is only introduced right at the end. It just feels cruel for no purpose.

If the rest of the serial had been better, perhaps this wouldn’t bother me so much, but it’s so inert and leaden, and the central performances are not very good, so this is just a final insult.

Sorry to get so cross. I do try to be positive on this blog, but this does really rub me the wrong way.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 8th February 1995 – 17:05

There’s a trailer for Thursday’s programmes, and a trailer for Live and Kicking.

Then, there’s an episode of Neighbours. No sign of Kylie and Jason here, though.

After this, a trailer for The Buccaneers. And a trail for Newsroom South-East.

Then, a whole episode of the Six O’Clock News. It leads with suggestions from the Irish government that the prevention of terrorism act should be scrapped.

Also in the news, the Princess of Wales won a court action against a newspaper which published pictures of her exercising, taken without her consent.

After the news, there’s Weather from Suzanne Charlton.

There’s a trailer for How Do They Do That?

Then, Newsroom South-East on the Menace of Crack.

During this, the recording stops, and underneath is part of an episode of How Do They Do That? the strange Desmond Lynam show about… doing stuff. It’s a programme that doesn’t really have a format, but pretends it does. A shiny-floor entertainment show, with an audience, that’s a weird hybrid of Tomorrow’s World and That’s Life.

The only segment here is one about the McLaren F1 supercar. It’s designed by Gordon Murray, presumably not the man who made Camberwick Green.

This segment is weird all round, in its delight in the excess of a car. The engine is coated in gold, to help with heat dissipation.

It’s way ahead of its time, with a computer engine management system. “If there is a problem, this gizmo called a modem, allows you to plug your phone directly into the car’s computer, press the little red button, and hey presto, the F1 automatically tells a computer at McLaren’s HQ exactly where the problem is.”

It says something about our miraculous modern world that I first thought they were plugging a mobile phone in, until I remembered this is from 1995. What they actually mean is you have to run a cable from your home phone line to your car, so the car can use dial-up to talk to home. Still pretty state of the art, though.

“Phew what a car, girls, it certainly took my breath away, I don’t know about yours” says co-presenter Jenny Hull.

She’s talking to McLaren sales director David Clark.

Everything about this studio section is insane.

                               JENNY HULL
              Well I'd just love to have a go at driving one but 
              I don't think that David Clark, the sales director 
              for McLaren, would probably let me.

                        (Clark raises his eyebrows)

              David, tell me what does it feel like to drive a car 
              like this?

                               DAVID CLARK
              I think the first thing you feel is the privilege of 
              being able to drive the car. Secondly, it's the 
              ultimate driving car, and it's amazing.

                               JENNY HULL
              Is it a man's car or a woman's car?

                               DAVID CLARK
              It's both. I mean a woman can get in the car and just 
              drive the car, it's not a heavy car to drive.

                               JENNY HULL
              Well let's just look inside at some of the gizmos in here. 
              The seating arrangement is truly fascinating, but the 
              passenger seats are very near the engine, which is sort of 
              at the back. Do the passengers get a kick when you start 
              the car?

                               DAVID CLARK
              Yes, I think, er, when you're driving it, because you can't 
              see them, you can imagine their faces, you always want to 
              give them a kick in the back.

                               JENNY HULL
              OK, what about the acceleration of the car, what kind of 
              acceleration does it have? 

                               DAVID CLARK
              0-60 in 3.2 seconds. 0-100 in 6.4 seconds.

                               JENNY HULL
              Now what kind of people would buy a car like this?

                               DAVID CLARK
              A very wide range of people. A lot of them are car collectors. 
              They want to buy the ultimate car. 

                               JENNY HULL
              But you've got to be seriously rich, haven't you?

                               DAVID CLARK
              You've got to be rich.

                               JENNY HULL
              £600,000

                               DAVID CLARK
                   (smiles at the size of his commission)
              Yes. You've got to be rich. That's the first thing.

It’s the bit about your passengers needing a kick in the back that gets me. It looks like there’s a slight cut between two shots there, so I wonder if there was a little more context there for that comment, which otherwise sounds insane.

But that’s where the tape ends, so there’s no more of these delights for me.

Moonbase 3 – tape 1939

Moonbase 3 is a BBC science fiction series broadcast in 1973. It has a link to Doctor Who, sharing producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks. This episode was also directed by veteran Who director Christopher Barry.

It almost feels like it’s in the same universe as the much later Star Cops, and in a weird coincidence, the head of Moonbase here, played by Donald Houston, is called David Caulder. You might recall that the head of the Star Cops, Nathan Spring, was played by the actor David Calder. I love that coincidence.

One thing I really like about this show is its efforts to portray a convincing portrait of what life might be like on a lunar base. The future setting and the existence of a moonbase is the only ‘science fiction’ element in the show. This isn’t Space 1999.

But this does mean that the stories they are telling are sometimes not much more than the kinds of stories they’d be telling in any other workplace drama. Like if The Brothers was set on the Moon.

When he needs to call up someone’s records, he has to stand up and hunch over his computer.

And the readout is on a teeny tiny screen. I imagine they wanted the actual readout, but weren’t able to build that working screen into a desk prop. It’s the peril of having to build absolutely everything futuristic.

Edward Brayshaw plays a man with a heart condition who’s therefore missed out on an expedition. Such a familiar face, but I could only place him as a bad guy in The Changes. I’m ashamed to say, his role as the War Chief in the Doctor Who serial The War Games didn’t occur to me, but an even greater memory lapse is that he played Mr Meaker in Rentaghost, a show I loved as a child.

Another familiar face is Ralph Bates as Michel LeBrun. I thought he was Russian from the accent, but I guess he’s French.

Nice to see News on the Moon is being disseminated in big, badly formatted blocks of upper case text. Even Pages from Ceefax would be better than this. But Ceefax wasn’t introduced until the year after this programme was made.

There’s some nice model work. Not a lot of it, but it has style.

There’s a bit of inappropriate proximity from Brayshaw, but nothing a slap in the face won’t sort. I’m liking the presence of plenty of women with responsibility, and in charge of science stuff in this show. But they still have men talking about ‘nice to see such pretty faces’ so some aspects are still a bit 70s.

There’s an amazing crash scene, where the moon buggy tips over the edge of (I presume) a crater, and falls down, a lot. They clearly pushed the boat out for this sequence and used every frame of footage.

The script consultant on the show was James Burke.

James Burke has been recently all over my Twitter feed with references to this, described as ‘the greatest piece to camera ever’. Apologies for the aspect ratio – it’s not my video.

The next episode is Outsiders, and the continuing plot of the Moonbase being pushed to produce financially useful results.

Two scientists have to show successful results, and they handle the pressure in different ways. One of them fakes a demonstration to buy time for his actual process to show results. He gets away with it, just.

Another researcher, Peter Conway (played by John Hallam, who played Light in the Doctor Who story Ghost Light) gets his process to work, but the pressure to perform leads him to walk out of the base, then take off his helmet. This show is fairly grim.

Before the next episode, there’s the end of an episode of Hazell, the detective series that was co-created by Terry Venables. Yes, that Terry Venables.

The next episode is Castor and Pollux. The Russians are visiting, being partners in the Moonbase project.

There’s a rather underwhelming rocket launch, only shown on a small monitor. There’s also sound from the launch heard in the control room. I guess that could be vibration from the ground, though.

Something goes wrong when docking with a faulty satellite, and the ship and satellite are pushed out of orbit.

It’s looking like a rescue would be impossible, given the range, and the inability to open the hatches on the damaged spaceship. The pilot is considering his future. Things are looking grim, as he considers his poison pill.

Luckily, there’s a famous Soviet Cosmonaut on the base, a good friend of the doomed pilot, and he offers to pilot the rescue ship. All this is done without the permission of the Earth authorities.

Base commander Caulder is removed from command, and second in command LeBrun, who was against the rescue in the first place, is given command. And at the crucial moment, when the head of the Russian space delegation is ordering him to halt the rescue, because if it fails, their best cosmonaut could be lost, he gives the order to continue.

I am genuinely surprised that the rescue actually works. Given the tone of this series, I expected another depressing, bleak ending.

The next episode is the last in the series. It’s called View of a Dead Planet. I like that their videophone technology is able to do a pull out and reveal to show the man is playing chess. All video chat services should have dramatic camera moves.

A VIP arrives, played by Michael Gough. He’s influential, but his opposition to a high profile joint US/USSR project, the Arctic Sun Project, has made him a bit of an outsider. “What is your main objection?” “It will destroy all life on the Earth.”

Arctic Sun was originally his idea. An orbital nuclear fusion device, melting the polar ice caps and making the Arctic Circle usable for agriculture or habitation. The loss of ‘some land’ in places like Britain was ‘a small price to pay’ for all the land reclaimed at the poles.

So the mass flooding and total destruction of many islands was not a problem for him. But he’s now calculated that the fusion device will explode, and will set off a chain reaction with ‘the hydrogen in the atmosphere’ which will burn up the entire atmosphere.

This grave pronouncement is delivered while the people of Moonbase were celebrating Bastille Day.

So when Moonbase loses contact with Earth, they suspect the worst. Earth is looking bad, it has to be said.

It’s all really bad. Caulder discusses whether there’s a humane way to kill everyone on the base. LeBrun, the hot-headed Frenchman, wants to take his share of what’s left, particularly the drink, so he can get totally drunk then kill himself.

Bruno Ponti, played by Garrick Hagon (Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars) tries to assault Dr Helen Smith, a textbook entitled whiny manbaby.

A rocket is sent back to Earth, manned by LeBrun, to discover if there’s anything left there. Meanwhile, the Moonbase residents appear to be recording podcasts about Earth history.

Caulder decides that, after dinner the next day, he’ll kill all the crew with Carbon Monoxide poisoning without telling them, letting them go to sleep and never wake up.

Lucky, then, that someone had left the big screen TV on in the dining room, as all of a sudden it springs back into life, with an appalling looking quiz show.

LeBrun reports that everything is OK back on Earth, and Gough surmises that the atmosphere didn’t blow up, but it became opaque to sunlight and radio waves for a time, and everything will get back to normal. Another almost hopeful ending, to my great surprise.

I like this series,. mostly because it’s so emblematic of a particular time in TV. A vaguely depressing workplace drama, some special effects that clearly were made for next to no money, and a 1973 colour palette that’s so brown it could a level in the original Quake. But it really felt like they were doing proper science fiction, really speculating on what life might be like, and not taking the easy route with fantastical plots or fantasy devices.

It really is the spiritual ancestor of Star Cops, which had the added bonus of being allowed to be light and funny occasionally.

After this, recording stops, and underneath there’s an old episode of Neighbours. Jason Donovan, Kylie and Alan Dale are all in the cast. The tape ends during this programme.

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Tales From The Crypt – Seinfeld – tape 1934

Over to Sky One for a packed tape, starting with Tales from the Crypt and an episode called Spoiled. Danny Elfman’s theme is very familiar, but I think it was from the compilation CD of Elfman music.

It’s another of the seemingly endless anthology series that proliferated in the late 80s and early 90s. I can list about ten of them just off the top of my head, and that would only cover a fraction of them. And yet, it’s not a format that’s perennially popular. I don’t see tons of new ones on Netflix or HBO – Black Mirror feels like an exception, but in the 90s it would just have been one of many.

This one was a bit more high profile than some, having a glittering array of Executive Producers – Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis.

This episode features Faye Grant, off of V, as Janet, a woman who’s very bored with her home life.

Her heroine is Fuschia Monroe, played by Anita Morris, who was great in Ruthless People.

Her husband, too busy with work to bother with her, is played by a bewigged Alan Rachins. I almost didn’t recognise him.

Anthony LaPaglia plays a cable guy who becomes a target for Grant’s pent up emotions.

It took a long time to get to the ‘Tales from the Crypt’ twist and I’m not sure it was worth it.

The next episode is Deadline and it’s directed by Walter Hill. Richard Jordan plays a reporter.

Richard Herd plays an editor.

Jon Polito plays a man who kills his wife

This is a particularly unpleasant story, deeply misogynist.

Before the next episode, there’s the end of an episode of COPS.

The next episode is Mournin’ Mess. It features Vincent Schiavelli

And Rita Wilson

Who turns out to be a ghoul.

This is another story about a washed up reporter. I sense a theme.

Another chunk of COPS before the next episode.

The next episode is called Top Billing. It’s got a heck of a cast. Sandra Bernhard

Jon Lovitz

Bruce Boxleitner

Louise Fletcher

John Astin

This is a bit more fun, and is about a washed up actor instead of a washed up writer.

After this, recording continues with an episode of Seinfeld. This one is a good one, as Jerry and George somehow make a young reporter think they are a couple. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

After this, another chunk of COPS before another episode of Tales from the Crypt called Loved To Death.

It features Andrew McCarthy as a writer, struggling with a romantic story.

His neighbour Mariel Hemingway is an actress, and he falls for her, but it appears he has no idea how to talk or interact with a woman. He also has the habit of fantasizing her into his story, which explains the costume here.

The apartment’s manager is David Hemmings, who offers to help McCarthy with a love potion.

This is just all sorts of creepy and wrong. I know all these stories came from the comics from the 50s and 60s, but this is really horrible stuff.

The next episode is Undertaking Palor. There’s a couple of familiar faces. Jason Marsden was in Eerie Indiana.

And Jonathan Quan was Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (as Ke Huy Quan)

John Glover plays a creepy undertaker.

And Aron Eisenberg, Nog from Deep Space Nine.

This episode, at least, isn’t horrifically sexist.

Then next episode is Beauty Rest. Mimi Rogers plays an actress who isn’t getting parts because she’s not sleeping with the directors.

Writer Buck Henry also makes an appearance.

This is yet another story that frames sexual harassment as the fault of the women involved. And I’m not even going to start with the grotesque twist ending.

Finally on this tape, another episode of Seinfeld. This one is The Implant. Teri Hatcher appears as a woman Jerry’s dating, and Elaine claims she’s had a breast enlargement.

George goes to a funeral, and gets told off for double-dipping the nachos.

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  • trail: The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • Anchor Spreadable Butter
  • The People – Bill Treacher
  • trail: Robocop
  • McVities
  • Fairy Liquid
  • UK Gold – Morecambe and Wise
  • Tesco
  • Drugs & Solvents
  • Mr Sheen
  • trail: Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
  • trail: The Movie Show
  • McCain Pizza Perfection
  • Pond’s Facial Cleanser
  • Bravo
  • All-Bran
  • Kit Kat
  • Sky TV Guide
  • trail: Dangerous Heart
  • Daz – Danny Baker
  • Sunflowers – Elizabeth Arden
  • All-Bran
  • Sky BT Offer
  • Lynx Systeme
  • trail: Easter Weekend on Sky
  • trail: The Movie Show
  • All-Bran
  • Always
  • Family Channel
  • Neutrogena
  • Kit Kat
  • trail: The Man Without A Face
  • trail: Hawkeye
  • Viennetta

Heroes and Villains – tape 1932

This tape opens with the end of Newsroom South-East. There’s weather from John Kettley.

There’s a trailer for Dangerfield.

Then, the first episode of Heroes and Villains. I’ve been seeing the trail for one of these episodes on several other tapes, and thinking it’s the kind of thing I might have taped, but I couldn’t remember taping it at all. Yet here it is, proving I’m predictable, but forgetful.

The first episode is Queen of the East. It’s written by Patrick Barlow, who also appears as Doctor Meryon.

The programme tells the story of Lady Hester Stanhope, played by Jennifer Saunders. She’s the niece of the Prime Minister William Pitt, a woman who likes being in charge of things, but whose social standing all but disappears when the Prime Minister dies of gout.

She travels to Malta and meets a young man, Michael Bruce (Freddy Douglas) and persuades him to get his father to fund a trip to Egypt.

The trip doesn’t go well.

But while in Egypt she impresses Mehemet Ali, the viceroy, who tells her she must go to Palmyra and rule there for Egypt and Britain. The British Consulate tries to object, because Palmyra is not Egyptian territory, but he’s ignored.

It’s a very strange story, presenting Lady Hester as something of a fantasist, whose dreams of a glorious destiny, stoked by fortune tellers, are enabled by Barlow’s character, her physician Dr Meryon. And in the end it’s a little sad, as she sees out her life alone.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 26th January 1995 – 21:30

The next episode, the one that had been trailed so much, is Full Throttle, starring Rowan Atkinson as “Tim” Birkin, a famous racing driver. This episode is dramatised by Kit Hesketh Harvey.

Geoffrey Palmer plays his father.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 2nd February 1995 – 21:30

The final episode stars Jim Broadbent as Col. A D Wintle, known as “The Last Englishman”. This one is written by Anthony Horowitz, creator of Crime Traveller.

Tony Haygarth makes another appearance, as a solider who knew Wintle.

Another returning face from a recent tape is Cheryl Hall, spotted on the Peter Sellers tape, who plays a barmaid.

Robert Gillespie plays a French collaborator who has to deal with Wintle as a prisoner.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th February 1995 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for The Buccaneers. And a trailer for Dangerfield.

Then, the start of an episode of Question Time.

The recording stops here, and underneath there’s some Coronation Street. Definitely the era of the show that I recognise.

After this, there’s a bit of an episode of Des O’Connor Tonight. Given that this is almost certainly just some stuff on the end of another recording, it’s nice that his first guest is the first appearance on Prime Time of Alan Davies.

There’s a Spanish singer, Miguel Bosé

Actor Cherie Lunghi

Lily Savage

Music from Deuce – not a group that troubled my memory.

The tape ends here.

In the ad breaks, a couple of things I noticed. First, in Coronation Street, there were two adverts for denture products. I almost never see ads for denture products, so I’m guessing that’s audience research.

And here’s a nicely animated advert for Weetabix. It doesn’t look obviously like Aardman, so I wonder who the production house was.

Adverts:

  • Steradent
  • Centerparcs
  • Ariel Future
  • Creative Hands
  • Iceland
  • Crest
  • trail: Des O’Connor Tonight
  • trail: Outside Edge
  • trail: The Glass Virgin
  • Partners against Crime
  • Going Places
  • Ribena
  • Australia
  • Poli-Grip
  • McDonalds – Amanda Abbington?
  • Going Places
  • Partners against Crime
  • trail: Wayne Dobson Close-Up
  • P&O
  • Sheba
  • The Health File
  • Danepak
  • Daily Mail
  • Weetabix
  • Ribena
  • Seven Seas
  • Holiday on Ice
  • Direct Line
  • Young’s Ocean Pie
  • trail: Taggart

The Danny Baker Show – Your Guide To Star Trek Generations – Chiller – A Captain’s Log – tape 1929

You can date this tape quite accurately to the time when Star Trek Generations was released in cinemas.

First, a segment from The Danny Baker Show, celebrating Star Trek, where Danny quizzes William Shatner about British TV, and talks to Nichelle Nichols mostly about kissing Captain Kirk.

Then, something I’ve presumably copied off a rental video.

Rick Berman: “I’ve always been fascinated with stories that start in one century and then stop and pick up in another.” Yes, that burgeoning subgenre of science fiction we’re always seeing.

Visual Effects supervisor is John Knoll of ILM, co-creator of Photoshop.

Patrick Stewart in shades.

Villain Malcolm McDowell

Jonathan Frakes talks about the opening scene. He liked the uniforms.

Marina Sirtis didn’t like filming on board an old ship at sea. “Some of us did not have our sea legs.”

Brent Spiner talks about Data having a bit more of a character now. I always found the ’emotional’ data annoying. I’m sorry.

Michael Westmore, makeup supervisor, who comes from a whole family of makeup artists.

After this, recording switches again, and there’s the end of The Trouble with Mr Bean.

Then, an episode of Chiller, the horror anthology series. This one is Prophecy, with a screenplay by Stephen Gallagher. A group of young people have a seance which elicits the words Non Omnis Moriar. I shall not entirely die.

Soon after this, while working at a cafe, she sees a woman hit by a car and thrown through a bookshop window.

Five years later she’s working as an archaeologist at the British Museum, and being hassled by one of her co-workers, in what was probably, at the time, meant to be charming dialogue.

She bumps into Nigel Havers while rushing for her train. He helps her with her cello and seems taken with her.

So does his previously recalcitrant young son, who’s suddenly helpful and polite, when before he was surly and angry.

One of her friends from the seance is Kate Isitt, off of Coupling.

She goes back to the cafe where she worked, and where the seance took place. The owner has lost the lease and is packing up, and she’s played by Zenia Merton, Sandra Benes off of Space 1999.

She hooks up with Havers, who invites her to come and stay with him in the country. It turns out he’s Lord of the manor, and his family motto is a bit ominous.

The young son seems unduly interested in one of his ancestors, the second Lord Halkin, who was a satanist, a sadist and a paedophile. “And those were his good points” says Havers. Could the evil spirit of this ancestor be trying to return? And why is his motto also inscribed above Havers’ conjugal bed?

Even more ominous is her discovery that her friends, with whom she had the seance, have started dying. And Havers’ son has clippings in his scrapbook.

Kate Isitt is late to pick up her daughter, and gets into an accident, then her car catches fire. And explodes.

Then she discovers how Havers’ wife died. She was hit by a car in London while they were waiting for her at a cafe. So the son recognised Ward when they met years later at the railway.

Another of Ward’s friends gets her arm chopped off by a falling sign when cycling.

She goes to see another of her friends, but just too late, as he falls down the lift shaft onto her lift.

There’s a big climax, with Tony Haygarth as a priest trying to exorcise the cafe where it all started. Nice to see Haygarth in a straight role for a change.

This is quite fun, and even has a nice twist at the end. Ghost stories aren’t my favourite genre, as it’s often hard to know what the stakes are, but this has a nice Final Destination thing going which gives us the jeopardy. It’s a bit genteel, like a spooky Inspector Morse, but I guess that’s the audience they have.

I had a few other episodes of this series, and I looked at them three years ago.

Edited to add: I watched this last week, it’s being published in a few days, and I just learned, on Twitter, that Zenia Merton, Space 1999‘s Sandra Benes, has died. She appeared in Chiller as the cafe owner. I’m so very, very sorry.

After this, it’s over to Sky One for yet another celebration of Star Trek. It’s another small coincidence that all these shows are appearing in my queue on the weekend of the 52nd anniversary of the start of Star Trek.

This one is Star Trek: A Captain’s Log, a fairly in depth reminiscence of the show. It’s hosted by William Shatner.

Most of the familiar faces appear, including Leonard Nimoy

DeForest Kelley

James Doohan

George Takei

Walter Koenig

And once again, Nichelle Nichols, who tells the now famous story of when she met Martin Luther King, who urged her not to leave the series because she represented the kind of diverse future he was talking about.

So much of this is so very familiar, and yet, when they show Spock’s final scene in The Wrath of Khan I’m still in tears. But that’s just me, I suppose.

After this, the recording continues, with an episode of The Late Show With David Letterman.

Guest on this episode is John Turturro.

With Music from Oasis. Once again I’m reassured that I missed nothing by ignoring most of the popular music of the 90s in favour of classical music, film soundtracks and musical theatre.

After this, there’s a small bit of Littlejohn. Then the tape ends.

Adverts:

  • trail: Sport In Question
  • trail: Animal Detectives
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken Marinade
  • Pedigree Chum Complete
  • Viennetta
  • trail: She’s Out
  • Vauxhall Corsa – Ruby Wax, Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • British Airways
  • Disclosure in cinemas
  • Rimmel Silks
  • Argos
  • Cadbury’s Fingers
  • The Aristocats on video
  • Tesco Clubcard
  • No7
  • McVities Digestives
  • San Marco
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
  • Muller Light
  • trail: News at Ten
  • trail: Space Precinct
  • M&Ms
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken Marinade
  • Daz
  • Airwick Neutrair
  • Going Places
  • British Airways
  • trail: Boxing
  • trail: Robocop
  • McCoy’s
  • Centerparcs
  • Ford Escort
  • Milky Bar
  • Phone Day
  • trail: The Fugitive
  • trail: Football
  • Surf
  • L’Oreal Casting
  • Energy Efficiency
  • NBA Jam
  • Flash
  • trail: Deep Space Nine
  • Doritos – Judge Reinhold
  • Natrel Plus
  • Proton
  • Pantene
  • Airwick Neutrair
  • Fresh Brew
  • Royal Insurance
  • M&Ms
  • trail: Models Inc
  • Daz
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • Pedigree Chum Complete
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken Marinade
  • Crest
  • NBA Jam
  • trail: Football
  • Persil
  • Ford Escort
  • Alpen
  • Halifax
  • Safeway
  • trail: Sunday on Sky
  • trail: Robert De Niro Week
  • trail: The Late Show With David Letterman
  • M&Ms
  • Surf
  • NBA Jam

Glam Metal Detectives – tape 1941

At least, the wait is over. After being trailed to death here (and, at the time, on BBC2) we at last meet the Glam Metal Detectives.

Before we start, though, there’s a very short clip, which looks like it might come from the show itself, right at the start of the tape. It’s a naked man sitting at a desk, saying “I would stand up but it might just drive you stark raving berserk.” If it’s not GMD, then maybe it’s Saturday Night Live, and that’s a famous TV host. That does look a little like the background to Weekend Update. Anyone know? Judging by the stripes at the side of the picture, it’s from a satellite channel, so SNL is a good bet.

This recording lasts long enough for just that line, then the end of Top Gear comes up, with some rally driving.

There’s a trailer for The X Files – the episode Born Again we saw a couple of days ago.

Then, the first episode of The Glam Metal Detectives.

This was the brainchild of Comic Strip creator Peter Richardson, and was made to look like a whole bunch of programmes being channel surfed, all anchored by the core show, the Glams themselves.

Among the Glams are some familiar faces. Doon Mackichan

Phil Cornwell

Sara Stockbridge

Gary Beadle

Less familiar to me are George Yiasoumi

and Mark Cavan

Among the supporting cast is a return appearance from Red Dwarf’s Mac McDonald, here playing the villainous Rolston Brocade

Among the other shows in this episode, Betty’s Mad Dash

Scandal in a Diving Bell

Jack Nicholson is James Herriot in All Things Bright and Beautiful

The Big Me, featuring host Morag who doesn’t let the guests get a word in.

Colin Corleone – just in case the joke in this segment isn’t obvious, they have a caption for it. I wonder if that betrays a lack of confidence in the material?

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd February 1995 – 21:00

The next episode is Splat. The credits for the Glams’ title song are impressive.

Guitarist Gary falls under the influence of the fizzy drink Splat.

David Schneider pops up briefly.

OK, so this caption made me laugh.

Once you notice David Schneider, it’s hard not to notice him. The policeman on the right.

And as Lucifer, both in Betty’s Mad Dash

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd March 1995 – 21:00

There’s another bit of Top Gear before the next episode, and a trailer for Cardiac Arrest.

Then another episode of The Glam Metal Detectives. This week, in The Abominable Drummer there’s a Yeti on stage.

I’m sure one of my old VCRs had a remote control like this.

Some of the running gags don’t really make sense to me. Like Popeye as a policeman. Copeye? Is that the whole joke?

I’m still not feeling Colin Corleone.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 9th March 1995 – 21:00

There’s another slice of Top Gear before the next episode. And a trailer for Bottom and Game On.

Then, more from the Glams in Never Never Land. Another role for David Schneider.

He plays a beefeater who kidnaps Mary Pippins

Paul Putner pops up in some small roles.

The Bloodsports TV segments don’t seem to have any real jokes.

Call Mickey is at least a simple idea, and short enough not to get tired.

And Willy Witless, the useless comedian, always playing out over the end credits, is a really accurate performance from Phil Cornwell.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 16th March 1995 – 21:00

Another chunk of Top Gear, with a Comic Relief competition.

There’s a trailer for Vietnam Stories.

Then, episode five of The Glam Metal Detectives. It’s called Give Me Your Money. I spotted Hugh Quarshie in one of the B Movie TV segments.

That’s Chrissie Hynde playing Bob Dylan. Years before Cate Blanchett did it.

Everyone is falling under the spell of a cult, and in a nice bit of internal continuity, the solution is to bring Willy Witless, the awful comic.

I’m also quite liking Morag’s journey in The Big Me.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd March 1995 – 21:00

A tiny sliver of Top Gear, then a trailer for Fantasy Football League. Also a trailer for Timewatch.

Episode Six of GMD is The Cat, The Witch and the Microwave, and sees another appearance from David Schneider.

Cleo Rocos appears in a B Movie TV segment

I think this is a young Robert Popper calling on Mickey’s services. He’s not listed in the cast, but he is credited as Director’s Assistant Researcher.

God, there he is again in Colin Corleone.

Gary Beadle plays Offal Winsome interviewing David Schneider’s Dracula.

I like that the show does maintain a continuity of sorts, and Willy Witless has now become a massive star, even affecting the end credits.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th March 1995 – 21:00

The final episode is part two of The Cat, The Witch and the Microwave.

One thing I do like is the credits that appear at the start or end of the longer segments, making it easier to recognise the performers.

This week’s Betty’s Mad Dash has yet another performance from David Schneider.

And there’s yet another Robert Popper appearance.

There’s a new running segment called Happy Hour in the last few episodes. Another segment with not many jokes, but another good performance from Gary Beadle. In fact, if this series has shown me anything, it’s that Gary Beadle really should have been a much bigger star.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 6th April 1995 – 21:00

The series was already available on video. I wonder how many they sold.

Well, you can’t claim that they didn’t try everything for this series. Such a lot of effort on all parts, it’s just a shame that so little of it lands successfully. Is there still GMD fandom? Do people cosplay as Rolston Brocade at conventions? I’d like to think so.

The recording continues, with a trailer for the first series of Fist of Fun.

After this, there’s the start of some golf. Then the recording stops.

Underneath, there’s a bit of a Liberal Democrat Party Political Broadcast.

There’s a trailer for East. And a trailer for Late Review.

Then the start of Newsnight, leading with the sentencing of Eric Cantona to 14 days for launching a flying kick at a spectator.

After this story, recording stops again, and there’s a bit of Late Review, with Tony Parsons, Cristina Odone and John Carey talk about the new version of Little Women. The tape ends during this discussion.