The location report is on Wall Street. There’s also a report about an article written by historian Norman Stone about the quality of recent British films, which he condemned as left wing propaganda and wondered why all those nasty lefties are the ones making films. He was Margaret Thatcher’s speechwriter, which probably indicates the level of his artistic achievements.
Before the next episode, there’s a newsflash – parliament had voted in favour of televising the house of commons. Quite why this particular piece of news warranted a newsflash, interrupting the schedule, is unclear, although since the people it most affected at the time were the people running the BBC newsroom, I guess there might have been a little self-interest in deciding not to wait until a regular news break. I suspect the cold hand of then-deputy DG John Birt, who was head of news, was behind that decision – exactly the kind of puffed-up self-important News Uber Alles decision he was famous for. Or am I just biased?
After the last episode, there’s a public information film about driving in fog, then BBC1 closes down, with the national anthem. Then that recording stops, and an earlier recording appears – Dirk Bogarde in HMS Defiant. The tape runs out on this film.
Ah, Doctor Who Season 24. Sylvester McCoy’s first season. Not the show’s finest hour. This is my second recording of the first episode – the first was on a packed tape that was recorded when I was on holiday, I think, so I was obviously taking no chances that I might have missed the first episode of the show. Not sure it was worth the effort.
Before the first episode there’s the end of an episode of Wogan featuring Peter Ustinov and Spike Milligan – which might have been nice to have in full. Then there’s a trailer for Truckers.
After the fourth episode, recording switches to the Labour Party Conference. Luckily not for long. Then there’s Open Air with Patty Coldwell, the programme where the TV makers are hauled over the coals by the public. This episode talks to Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and John Nathan Turner. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this (or part of it) on one of the BBC DVDs.
The fact that the guy manning the phone bank is called Mike Shaft makes it seem a bit like a KYTV sketch.
After Open Air, recording switches to some wrestling, which turns out to be part of Sharp’s Funday with DJ Pat Sharp, in his full mullet glory.
There’s no excuse
But Pat Sharp wasn’t the reason for this recording – it’s an episode of Henson’s sitcom Dinosaurs. This was a fairly well written sitcom featuring a family of dinosaurs, and the Henson Studio animatronic costumes are excellent. Often a lot of fun.
Following Dinosaurs there’s the beginning of the big movie, Airport III starring loads of famous people, including James Stewart. The tape runs out fairly near the beginning of the movie.
In 1978 LWT broadcast a series of six plays by Alan Bennett, one of which (the second on this tape) caused a minor amount of shock at the time. These are the channel 4 repeats.
The first play was safe enough, Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge in Doris and Doreen. It was the next one, acutally No 3 in the series of six, The Old Crowd which caused the fuss. In one scene, during a dinner party, one character is under the dining table, and sucks the toe of another guest. This outrage, combined with the occasional glimpse of TV cameras in shot (completely deliberately) actually caused complaints, to the extent that (as I recall) Alan Bennett himself made a trailer for a subsequent episode making mention of the kerfuffle. It was a simpler time.
Here is a picture of one of these shocking moments.
Won’t somebody think of the children?
Between the two plays there’s a trailer for Danny Glover in Mandela.
Following the second play, recording switches to some end credits, a bit of iMDb hunting says it’s Enigma. There’s a trailer for Fortunes of War before we have an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, as obscure 1970s comedy show that nobody really talks about these days. The tape runs out before the episode finishes.
Time Travelling fate fixer-upper Dr Sam Beckett (no, the other one) hops into more thinly disguised movie ‘homages’ in these episodes of Quantum Leap. The episodes recorded here are: So Help Me God – To Kill a Mockingbird clearly an influence here.
After these, the third part of a documentary on Britain’s class structure, Class Rule. Followed by the beginning of Newsnight on a fairly important day at the Maastricht treaty conference, with lots of talk about the Tories being clueless about Europe. So no change there. The tape ends shortly after Newsnight starts.
After the end of an episode of the Ronnie Corbett sitcom Sorry we have Walter Hill’s The Driver starring Bruce Dern and Ryan O’Neal. For the younger readers out there, Ryan O’Neal was the Ryan Gosling of his time, hence his making a movie about driving.
This is followed by part of an episode of The Old Grey Whistle Testedit: Genome lists it as ‘Video Jukebox’ and it’s an Omnibus production (missing both the start and the end) about pop videos, talking to some of the people behind them. Rather curiously, this recording also has teletext pop-up announcements of general election results, which places this recording very precisely at 11th June 1987 (or more likely, the early morning of 12th June, since results don’t tend to appear much before midnight). At first I thought I must have turned on the results myself to keep track of what was happening, but these must have been burnt into the transmitted image, otherwise they would never have been recorded (since teletext was a feature of televisions, not videos).
There are quite a few videos shown, and they talk to some of the artists and directors, including David Byrne of Talking Heads, Toni Basil, John Landis and Godley and Creme, and among the videos featured are several Michael Jackson videos including Thriller, and The Power of Love by Frankie goes to Hollywood. The tape finishes while Kevin Godley is talking about Go West and We Close Our Eyes.
After the end of an episode of The Tracey Ullman Show, and a trailer for Dead Lucky, we have Arena on The Beano and Dandy. They did a special version of the Arena titles, in a tribute to the Scottish home of the comics.
Woody Allen’s early, funny Play It Again Sam opens this tape, from Channel 4. There’s a badly edited ad break there, where I managed to miss the start of the next part, which is annoying and not like me.
Following the movie, there’s an episode of The Cosby Show. I didn’t record many episodes of Cosby – it was a bit anodyne for my tastes.
The tape finishes with one of the oddest things I’ve found so far. It appears to be a genuinely serious programme about assertiveness, hosted by Andrew Sachs, called Assert Yourself. It looks, for all the world, like a company training film. Like the kind of thing John Cleese’s company Video Arts would make. And if we look at the Video Arts catalogue, they have a film with exactly the same title, but this one has Kris Marshall in it, so it’s probably a remake. It would make sense for Video Arts to regularly update their films, otherwise they’ll start looking out of date and be less useful as training materials.
It seems a slightly coincidental juxtaposition having Andrew Sachs following Jonathan Ross, and talking about situations at work where you might come in for criticism. I wonder if Jonathan Ross watched this film as part of his training, and if it helped him when he came in for a lot of criticism for insulting Andrew Sachs.
The tape ends during this programme.
Cockburn’s Late Bottled Vintage Port
Terry’s Chocolate Orange
Woolworth’s – The Pretenders
Braun cordless curling tongs
Budweiser – Jerome Flynn does an A Capella version of Tracks of my Tears. This tape was recorded in 1987, Robson and Jerome didn’t make it big with Unchained Melody until 1995. So this is another example of an advert ripping off a TV show that hadn’t been made yet. Lucky they had Top Gun to rip off instead. Advertising: It’s like an unoriginal Inception – it’s rip-offs all the way down.
First on this tape is the end of a documentary about underwater exploration, Discoveries Underwater, which ends with the discovery of the Titanic.
Then, the glittering panoply of stardom that is the Bafta Craft Awards. Once more (see previous entries for 1988 and 1991) Bafta shunt the craft awards out to the provinces. No Covent Garden Royal Opera House for the craftsmen. This time, 1987, it’s in Liverpool, for the first broadcast from the BBC’s new studios in the Docklands.
Royal guest is Prince Edward, and he’s introduced to a dazzling array of old men who run the BBC and Bafta. “Then two of this evening’s star guests. From Hollywood, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Allo Allo’s Gorden Kaye.”
“And Now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for this evening, Mr Frank Bough.”
“Back in the early twenties, when Holiday was churning out two-reelers by the dozen” – yes, he really said ‘Holiday’ instead of Hollywood.
First presenter is Simon Ward, who had recently recovered from a rather nasty mugging. Because of the nature of the attack, he had no recollection of precisely what happened, which led to the following, slightly awkward exchange:
Now then, we all saw you lying in bed after
the mugging, are you well recovered?
Well I can't really remember how well I was before
so it's a moot point.
The hair's back, too.
I know, certainly.
How do you do that, by the way?
We don't want to talk about that, Frank.
That was something I was going to avoid.
Best Videotape Editor had two different nominations for Tutti Frutti, for two different episodes and two different editors, and one of those editors won. Must have been a bit frosty on that table.
When Paul Nicholas arrives to announce another winner, introduced by Frank with “a man whose sex appeal is almost as legendary as my own.” When he appears, Frank says “What an introduction. I didn’t write that myself.” Paul replies “But you’re bald, Frank, that’s very sexy apparently.” Frank hits back with a laugh, and “I know, indeed. You’re getting a bit thin up there too I see.” Is hair, or the lack of it, going to be a running theme of this show?
And the next category is Best Film Editor, where Tutti Frutti is nominated again. I always thought it was strange that Tutti Frutti had some episodes shot on film, and others on video, which seemed an odd choice, so I wonder what the motivation for that was. Financial, probably.
Next, a real treat, as the Dougie Squires Dancers and Ronnie Hazlehurst and his orchestra pay tribute to the art of costume design with an all-dancing romp through the streets of Liverpool and the old costumes bin at television centre.
Even Doctor Who isn’t immune from the showbiz assault.
Yes, that’s a William Hartnell dance-alike exiting the Tardis, high-kicking his way past a black dalek, then joining a line of dancing girls.
Here’s the whole thing. Enjoy.
The award for TV Graphics is preceded by a short piece about the new technology that’s being used for TV graphics – Quantel’s Harry. It’s always fun to see what the state of the art is at any particular time – at this point, 3D graphics is available, but everything’s flat-shaded and shiny.
The ceremony eventually reaches the ultimate award, when the soon to retire Bill Cotton, managing director of BBC television, comes up, gives a very long speech about the importance of protecting the BBC, and then presents the most important award of the night: Best Video Lighting. Ummm. Well, clearly, the craft awards don’t hand out important things like Fellowships, so I guess something had to be last.
After the Baftas, the recording continues straight on, with a Screen Two presentation of Shadow on the Earth, a slightly SF-inflected drama set in a small Scottish mining town in 1961. Although this isn’t labelled on the tape, we have the complete recording here, which is very nice.
Commenter Ross Kilpatrick was an extra in Shadow on the Earth
Continuing on from that, the action moves to Alexandra Palace in London, where future-truther David Icke presents coverage of the World Indoor Bowls championships. Bowls must have been really popular on TV around this time as this is the third or fourth tape where it’s been on last thing at night. Perhaps it appealed to the snooker lovers, although if you’re watching the snooker and accidentally fall asleep, if you woke up and the bowls had come on, you might think the Snooker had been overrun by borrowers.
There’s quite a bit of bowls on the tape, but eventually, the recording stops, so we’ll never know who won.