Month: March 2014

Star Trek – tape 185

Three episode of Classic Star Trek.

  • All Our Yesterdays
  • Turnabout Intruder
  • The Gallileo Seven

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.

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.

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

Adverts:

  • 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.

Adverts:

  • 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.

Adverts:

  • 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.

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.

Adverts:

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

                                           BUCK
                                   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.