Month: March 2014

Star Trek – tape 185

Three episode of Classic Star Trek.

I’m not sure why an episode from the first season should be recorded after the final episode of the third season – they might have been playing them again

Following the third episode, there’s a trailer for Jazz Week, then the start of The Romance of Betty Boop. The tape ends during this cartoon.

LA Law – Film 87 – tape 277

Yet more LA Law, with these episodes:

  • The House of the Rising Flan (4L04)
  • The Princess and the Wiener King (4L05)

After the second episode, recording continues with some ads, a trailer for Doubletake and some snooker, and the opening off News at Ten. Then recording switches to BBC1, for the end of Question Time. The topic under discussion is the sacking of Alasdair Milne as Director General of the BBC, leading to suggestions from the audience.

Following this, there’s an episode of Film 87. Russell Harty is in the chair, depping for Barry Norman. He reviews:

Tom Brook reports from New York about the success of Platoon.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 26th February 1987 – 23:10

After this, recording switches, and there’s a snatch of the credits for Tutti Frutti, There’s a trailer for The Secret Servant. Then, more Film 87, again with Russell Harty. Reviews are in for:

Tom Brook talks to the stars of Crimes of the Heart. There’s a tribute to Danny Kaye, who had died recently.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd March 1987 – 22:30

Following this episode, there’s a bit of a programme on the history of NATO, Questions of Defence. Then the recording ends.


  • Harmony Hairspray
  • Happy Shopper
  • Bernard Matthews Turkey Breast Roast
  • London Daily News
  • Citroën BX
  • Dolmio
  • Abbey National
  • Go-Cat
  • Oracle
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Amstrad PCs
  • Batchelor’s Savoury Rice
  • Daily Express
  • Sheba – famously lampooned by French and Saunders
  • Bird’s Eye Menu Master
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Smith’s Square Crisps
  • London Underground
  • Lurpak
  • Duckhams
  • Play It Today
  • VW Polo
  • Olivetti
  • Colgate
  • Oracle

LA Law – tape 278

More episodes of LA Law, from the first season. The episodes on the tape are:

  • Simian Chanted Evening (4L06)
  • Slum Enchanted Evening (4L07)
  • Raiders of the Lost Bark (4L08)

After the third episode, recording stops, and underneath we find some World Figure Staking championships. The tape stops during this.


  • Midland Bank
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Successful Gardening
  • Calvin Klein’s Obsession – the most pretentious advert in the world.
  • Delight
  • Oracle
  • Bounty
  • Amstrad Video Recorder
  • Bowyer’s Sausages
  • Joy of Knowledge
  • Ford Sierra
  • The Mortgage Corporation
  • TV Times
  • Whiskas
  • Crest
  • Successful Gardening
  • Amstrad PCs
  • PG Tips
  • Blue Band Margarine
  • Smith’s Salt & Shake
  • Lufthansa
  • Daz
  • Obsession
  • The Very Best of Hot Chocolate
  • Capital Radio
  • Midland Bank
  • Successful Gardening
  • Dimension shampoo
  • Amstrad PC
  • Swissair

Never Say Never Again – tape 197

The infamous “unofficial” James Bond movie, Never Say Never Again came about because of an epic contractual dispute.

Before Broccoli and Saltzman began their series of films with Dr No, Ian Fleming worked with Kevin McClory to develop a James Bond movie. Over time, a script was developed, and eventually given the title Thunderball. However, the movie deal never happened, so Flaming took the story elements from the screenplay and wrote the novel Thunderball. McClory sued to try to stop publication, but in the end, the case was settled, one stipulation being that McClory owned the film rights to the story.

When the Broccoli Thunderball was made, McClory had a screen credit as producer, and this film prevented McClory from making another film based on his screenplay for ten years.

Once this time limit expired, McClory would spend several years trying to set up his script as another movie, and eventually managed to get former Bond Sean Connery interested in returning to the role. The only constraint the movie was under is that it had to be based on what was in the original script, which is why the film has the same story as the first Thunderball movie.

Never Say Never Again has some charm, but it’s saddled with a dull Michel Legrand score, and a lot of the performances and direction veer very close to parody. Bond has often not taken itself 100% seriously, but here it feels like they’re just taking the mickey. I’m think particularly of Rowan Atkinson here, but Edward Fox’s M obsessing about budgets also feels like a joke. Klaus Maria Brandauer gives good value, although he keeps calling Connery ‘Bont’, and then there’s Kim Basinger being Kim Basinger. Alec McCowan as Q has some good lines, but still feels like he’s doing a funny character. But it’s always nice to see Pat Roach playing a heavy.

Pat Roach

This broadcast had a glitch in it. As Brandauer is showing a young lady how to play Centipede (video games are new enough to be featured in an incredibly expensive casino) the picture goes black but the sound stays on. Presentation put up the title card until they get the picture back.

Brandauer challenges Bond to play his two-player video game that he designed himself. This plays out like a game of Calvinball, since Largo knows all the rules, and keeps saying ‘Oh I forgot to mention’. But of curse, Bond wins in the end. I’d like to see this scene set today, where the villain challenges Bond to a game of Words With Friends.

Barbara Carrera is way over the top as the evil Fatima Blush. And he costumes are somewhat exotic. In one scene her clothes appear to have been made from bin bags and plastic sheeting.

Fatima Blush


Immediately after the film, ITV show a trailer for The Spy Who Loved Me, and I’m afraid the comparison isn’t good. One of the most disco Bonds is still way better than Never Say Never Again. There’s also a trailer for  Torville & Dean’s Ice Dance Spectacular Fire and Ice.

There’s also a trailer for Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly, with Peter Ustinov, of which I’ve never heard.

The recording continues with A Duty Free Christmas. I never watched Duty Free much so it’s still a mystery to me how they managed to eke out multiple series from a show centred around a package holiday with the same couples.

the recording stops during Duty Free.


  • Heineken
  • Comet Sale
  • Asda Sale
  • Quick Brew Tea
  • Allders Sale
  • McDonalds
  • Arding & Hobbs
  • Coca Cola – Future of the World
  • Baileys
  • Texas End of Year Sellout
  • Kleenex
  • Alta Rica / Cap Colombie
  • Philips Compact Disc
  • Erinmore tobacco
  • Carling Black Label – Levi Jeans parody
  • Lamot Lager
  • Colgate
  • Selfridges
  • British Coal
  • Twiglets
  • Coca Cola
  • Debenhams
  • Piat D’Or
  • Swan Beer
  • Interflora
  • Dettox
  • Gold Blend
  • Jaeger
  • Texas Sale
  • Lloyd’s Bank – Leo McKern and Simon Callow
  • Martini Extra Dry
  • Long Life beer
  • Selfridges
  • Seat Ibiza
  • Rumbelows
  • Mars
  • Tefal
  • MFI Sale
  • Castlemaine XXXX
  • Allders Sale
  • Coca Cola
  • Queensway
  • Whiskas
  • Croft Original
  • Martini Extra Dry
  • Allied Sale
  • Kleenex

Victoria Wood – As Seen On TV – Tales from the Darkside – tape 187

The tape opens with Victoria Wood – As Seen on TV. This episode includes the shock axing of Mrs Overall and Mr Clifford, and the absolute classic Two Soups sketch.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 15th December 1986 – 21:25

This is followed by Tales from the Darkside, the low budget TV horror anthology show, introduced by your host, Patrick Macnee. The episodes here are:

  • Inside the Closet, written by Michael McDowell and directed by Tom Savini.
  • I’ll Give You a Million.
  • The New Man
  • Snip Snip
  • All A Clone By The Telephone – featuring a guest appearance by the great Dick Miller
    Dick Miller Tales from the Darkside
  • Answer Me starring the great Jean Marsh

After the last episode and some ads, the recording stops.


  • Television and Radio 1987 – the IBA yearbook
  • Oracle
  • Kattomeat
  • Shell

Quantum Leap – tape 188

Sam Beckett continues his jumps through time, from life to life, and from one thinly disguised movie knock-off to another, in more Quantum Leap. I’m being harsh. Although the scenarios weren’t always totally original, this was always an immensely charming show that was fun to watch.

The Wrong Stuff is one which pushes the jumping to a new extreme when Sam jumps into the body of a chimp who’s part of the space programme. Cue lots of failed attempts to communicate, and much embarrassment at the ignominy of the situation.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 13th April 1993 – 21:00

The starkly titled Raped is a big shift in tone. He’s jumped into the body of a woman who’s just been raped. The story is set in 1980, so it’s almost contemporary to the show itself, meaning it can deal with the reality of rape, particularly ‘date rape’ which is the scenario here. The rapist is a popular boy at school, a sports jock, and they’d been on a couple of dates. The town closes ranks around the rapist, so Sam, as the victim, has to face the same kind of character assassination and social ostracism that is still common today.

As the story moves to the courtroom, the problem of how Sam can credibly give testimony is handled brilliantly and sensitively by the writer, Beverly Bridges, allowing the victim to give her own testimony, but maintaining the body-swap fiction of the show.

And while the climax was a bit of a crowd pleaser, where the rapist does finally get his comeuppance, I think the show has earned that with its handling of the story up to that point.

It’s heartening to see Quantum Leap deal so sensitively and so well with a difficult subject, but it’s also sad to think we’ve hardly made any headway as a society. This story would play out much the same way today. I’d like to think that sooner rather than later, this story could be seen as a reflection of its time, rather than a still relevant drama.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 4th May 1993 – 21:00

Next episode is Dreams. More of a psychodrama, as Sam leaps into the body of a detective o the scene of a horrific murder, and feels as though he’s still experiencing the thoughts of the body he’s leaped into, as if he’s possessed. Then it becomes literally a psychodrama when a psychiatrist gets involved, and it looks as if Sam might have leaped into the body of the murderer.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th May 1993 – 21:00

The last episode here is A Single Drop Of Rain, as Sam leaps into the body of a ‘Purveyor of Precipitation’ in a town that’s desperate for rainfall. The story ends up being a love triangle between two men and one woman, resolved in the end by a fistfight and a rainstorm.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 18th May 1993 – 21:00

After the last episode, trailers for Singers and Swingers, a Radio 1 trail, and this trailer for a Ken Campbell gameshow called It’s a Stitch Up which draws a blank from me.

And with that, the recording ends.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – tape 201

When a programme opens with the voiceover “The year is 1987, and NASA launches the last of its deep space probes” it’s hard not to treat this like a period piece, but 1987 was eight whole years away when this was made.

The year is 1987

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century came from Glen A Larson, who was a TV Science Fiction powerhouse in the 70s, producing this, Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, as well as those two underrated classics Automan and Manimal.

Buck Rogers was an update of the classic Buster Crabbe 30s serial, which in turn came from the comic strip created by Philip Nowlan and Dick Calkins.

“For 500 years Buck Rogers has been miraculously preserved, frozen by temperatures beyond imagination.” Well they might be beyond your imagination, Mr Larson, but I think Lord Kelvin has a better imagination than you do.

Henry Silva’s Killer Kane appears to have had all his dialogue redubbed. But then so does a lot of the dialogue.

Buck wants to find out more about the holocaust that almost destroyed the Earth after he left, so he leaves the city with Twiki and the computer Dr Theopolis. They visit the ravaged city. We see lots of creepy figures running around watching them. These figures start banging on pipes and walls, making a lot of noise.

                                           DR THEOPOLIS
                                   Twiki thinks we're being watched.

                                   It's just his imagination.

I’m not entirely sure quite why Buck should think they’re not being watched with all the banging and clattering going on. It’s almost as if the director hadn’t bothered to read the script, and thought it would be dramatic to put in all the banging.

“My gold circuits and parts bring a lot of money on the black market. As for Twiki, well, I’d hate to tell you the use they’ll put him to.”

Whilst being pursued by the horribly mutated creatures still living in the ruined city, Buck find a cemetery and starts looking at gravestones. After check a handful of gravestones he finds his parents’ grave. This is 500 years later. Following a holocaust of some form. In a city the size of Chicago. Maybe his parents had pre-bought a plot.

The Earth society appears to be governed by intelligent computers. They don’t seem to mind.

buck rogers computers

Only in the naïve 70s could this happen, where the full malevolence of any computer system was yet to be discovered. We know better now.

There’s some lovely model work on this show. Maybe nothing to match Battlestar Galactica’s Vipers, but still classic model ships.

buck rogers model

This is the Draconian starship. All pointy and detailed in that classic 70s model shop way.

The costumes, too, are typical of the era. Sadly, that’s not a positive recommendation.

buck rogers Princess Ardala

I know she’s a Princess, but that’s just stupid.

Naturally, there’s a big space dogfight, and naturally, Buck’s seat-of-the-pants combat techniques save the day when Wilma Deering’s flight computers totally fail to deal with the pirates. Who would have seen that coming.

Dr Huer addresses the citizens of Earth:

At this profound moment in our history, we see hovering in the skies above us and alien vessel. A military spacecraft, a ship of war. This war machine comes to us, stripped of all weaponry, completely unarmed, a shining symbol of peace, lasting peace and great goodwill between the people of Earth and the Draconian realm.

Didn’t he watch Battlestar Galactica? This is how that whole mess started. It’s almost as if they’ve only got one story. And they\re called Draconians for goodness sake. They have to be evil.

Princess Ardala has changed again. This is what she thinks is appropriate for a diplomatic meeting. Perhaps they learned about Earth culture by looking at the only media that survived the holocaust: Showgirls and Jamiroquai videos.

Buck Rogers Ardala Showgirl

Then the horror really starts. They start folk dancing to some kickin’ modern choons.

These people deserve to die.

It gets worse. Buck asks Ardala to dance, then asks the musician if he knows any Rock music. “You know, just let yourself go” he says, as if this is any help at all in articulating a long lost musical style. Luckily the 25th century Vince Clarke gives it a good go, and starts playing a funky disco beat, rather than loosening his waistband and tucking in to a doner kebab. Buck and Ardala start disco dancing. I swear at one point, if the camera had panned down slightly, we’d have seen Ardala’s handbag at her feet as she dances like a bored fifteen year old.

Naturally, Ardala is revealed as the enemy, Buck saves the day, and all is well. Until the end credits. Which have words.

It’s worse than the Enterprise theme song, if such a thing were possible.

After the show, there’s a trailer for another ‘star studded’ adaptation, this time it’s The Little Match Girl. Starring Roger Daltrey and Twiggy. It looks great.

Who produced this? The team responsible for the Crackerjack musical numbers?

This is the way the tape ends.


LA Law – tape 276

Here’s the pilot episode of LA Law. If you’ve never seen it, it’ll answer the perennial question you might have about the law firm of McKenzie, Brackman, Cheney, Kuzak: Who the hell is Cheney?

In the pilot episode, they use the same trick that Eastenders used in its first episode: Arnie and Roxanne arrive at the office first thing, only to discover that Mr Cheney, one of the partners, has died at his desk.


This is a show that hit the ground running. It knows who its characters are, what they want, and shows us while moving all the stories along. Alfre Woodward as a dying rape victim is superb, especially when giving her testimony, then confronting Kuzak over his defending her rapist. The conclusion to this story was very touching. If only all our problems could be soothed with a hug from Harry Hamlin.

Following LA Law, there’s a trailer for Morecambe and Wise on Stage – the only film of Eric and Ernie performing live on stage, amazingly.

Morecambe and Wise

There’s a trailer for Quincy after the next episode. Then, News at Ten. is it just me, or is their choice to use a squashed image of the clockface of Big Ben incredibly annoying?

News at Ten asect ratio

Edwina Currie is in the news, this time for saying that ‘Good Christians who would not dream of misbehaving would not get Aids.’ And my friend Sean’s former next door neighbour Robin Corbett argued ‘But what about the hæmophiliacs who got it from dirty blood?’ Which is about the worst riposte to Currie’s comments you can imagine. It’s worse than Chris Morris’ ‘Good Aids and Bad Aids’ piece from Brass Eye because that, at least, was satire.

Robin Corbett

That’s what was known, when I was at school, as a ‘Footballer’s Perm’

And the CofE Bishop of London was raising names for a petition against women priests. It’s a very bigotty news broadcast.

The tape ends during the news bulletin.


  • Amstrad Video recorder
  • Twix
  • Timotei
  • NatWest
  • Dolmio
  • Viennetta
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Marmite
  • Canderel
  • Cookeen
  • Walkers Crisps – Chris Tarrant
  • TV Times
  • Wall’s Smithfields Grills
  • Shake & Vac
  • Wisk
  • Ferrero Rocher
  • Kit e Kat
  • Spry Crisp n Dry
  • Tetley
  • Oracle
  • Ariel Liquid
  • All Bran
  • Empathy Shampoo
  • Coman’s casseroles
  • natwest
  • Lockets
  • Amstrad Video recorder
  • Studioline
  • British Airways
  • Smiths Square Crisps
  • Midland Bank
  • Tunes
  • Actifed
  • Renault 21
  • McDonalds
  • Ford – Cars with a Future
  • TV Times

Halloween IV – Halloween V – tape 267

The Halloween franchise hasn’t had a good run. John Carpenter’s original was brilliant, establishing so many of the horror tropes which are now so wearily familiar. Halloween II was more or less a retread, adding only one element to the story – that Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode was actually Michael Myers’ sister. Which was a fairly dumb addition really.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch tried something very different, setting a completely new story on the same holiday. I like that one quite a lot. I know the writer, Nigel Kneale, was unhappy with the finished film, and fans just wanted more Michael Myers, but I thought it was a nice idea to turn the series into an anthology series. At least that showed imagination.

Then come these two movies, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Even the subtitles are generic and interchangeable. These movies show no imagination. The only addition they make is to introduce yet another relative of Laurie and Michael (No Jamie Lee Curtis in these ones, except photos). And she’s a little kid! That’s always a good idea. And she’s called Jamie! Do you see what they did there?

Jamie is played by Danielle Harris, and is perfectly good in the clichéd role. I thought she looked familiar as I was watching, and indeed she also appears in a much better movie, as Bruce Willis’ daughter in The Last Boy Scout.

Donald Pleasance returns in both movies, and seems to be reading from exactly the same script as in movies One and Two. In fact, there is nothing new here at all. Michael Myers is still unkillable, still stalking teens when they’re having sex,and still favouring the kitchen knife as his weapon of choice.

Some sequels try to do something different. Even the Friday 13th series kept trying the odd new thing, and that whole series started as a rip-off of the original Halloween.

Take my advice, watch the original and number 3, and leave the rest of them (event the later ones) alone.

While I’m complaining, it also includes one of the most ridiculous examples of a car exploding on impact.

Oh, and the second movie is preceded by a really ugly video distributor logo. Well done, Sky Movies Plus.

After the movies, there’s a trailer for Ghoulies go to College – there’s a franchise that wanted to stretch.


  • Rover Metro
  • Viennetta
  • McCain Oven Chips
  • Persil Liquid

Dumbo – Strike It Lucky – tape 195

It’s Disney Time!

Disney at Christmas

This whole tape was from Christmas Day 1986.

Not much to say about Dumbo. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll squirm at the borderline racism of the crows. And you’ll believe an elephant can fly.

It’s a very short film – barely over an hour – but it’s still lovely.

The recording continues. And next on Christmas Day, you lucky people, it’s Michael Barrymore presenting Strike It Lucky.

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of Michael Barrymore. On this evidence, my opinion hasn’t changed. The banter with the contestants is stilted and awkward. Barrymore seems never to have heard of Muddy Waters when he’s mentioned. And it’s nice to see that the gameshow tradition of civil servants not being allowed to say what they do is a long one – this is a running joke on Pointless.

The set for the show is huge. The contestants have to make their way past each screen, which display prizes they can win.

Strike it Lucky

The whole set seems to be built to make Barrymore run up and down stairs a lot. I guess if you’ve got a physical comedian, that’s probably a good idea.

I think I’ll stick with Pointless.

After Strike it Lucky there’s a specially shot trail for The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

Then there’s a news bulletin, and this is followed by a ‘Star Studded’ ITV version of Cinderella. Danny LaRue! Cheryl Baker! Jimmy Cricket! Brian Conley! Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog! Roy Walker! Shaw Taylor! Jim Bowen!

However, the script is by Barry Cryer and Dick Vosburgh, and it’s narrated by Willie Rushton, so it’s not all bad.

Danny LaRue’s a bit weak on his lines. There’s a couple of flubbed cues and fluffed lines in the first scene. It’s not a live show, but they clearly didn’t want to bother going back. Frankly, I’ve seen better shows on Crackerjack.

And then Brian Conley turns up as Prince Charming, singing ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie. It’s like scientists at the CERN hurled a billion Butlins redcoats around the Large Hadron Collider at speeds approaching that of light, and smashed them together to produce the Higgs Boson of ITV entertainers, one single individual who embodies everything that made ITV light entertainment what it was.

Mercifully, the recording stops during his performance. Not soon enough.


  • Allied sale
  • Coca Cola – an attempt to replicate ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’.

If the description is to be believed, it was shot in Liverpool, although you’d swear it was the US (especially given the accents singing). Interestingly, there were regional variants:

  • British Coal – a nightmarish vision. It looks like Toy Story as directed by David Lynch.

  • Boat Show 1987 – Leslie Crowther.
    Leslie Crowther Boat Show
  • Weetabix
  • Gourmet cat food
  • Courts
  • Arding & Hobbs
  • Seat Ibiza
  • Nescafé – Sarah Greene, Diane Keen, Gareth Hunt
  • Heartbreak Ridge
  • McDonalds
  • Milk
  • MFI Sale
  • Allders Sale
  • Heartbreak Ridge
  • Rumbelows
  • Harvey Nichols
  • Allied
  • Christmas Line
  • Army & Nave, DH Evans
  • British Coal
  • Alta Rica, Cap Colombie
  • Courts superstore
  • Boat Show – Leslie Crowther again
  • Coke
  • Debenhams Sale
  • Christmas Line
  • Queensway Winter Sale
  • Alta Rica, Cap Colombie
  • Nat West – Online account
  • Ever Ready Gold Seal
  • Allders Sale
  • Twiglets
  • Jaeger Sale