Before the programme starts, there’s a trailer for Traveller’s Tales.
Then, episode 4 of Alan Bleasdale’s GBH, Message Sent.
This episode, though, was notable to me at the time as much of the action takes place in a hotel, so there’s lots of characters avoiding each other, bumping into each other. But for added flavour, and not specifically referenced in any dialogue, the hotel is hosting a Doctor Who convention, so there’s scenes of drama and intrigue being played out between our characters while badly made daleks trundle around behind them. Given this show was broadcast in 1991, and Doctor Who had been off air for a couple of years, it was nice to see some recognition of the show’s cultural impact, even if it did take a rival broadcaster to do it. I guarantee this scene would not have happened had GBH been a BBC production.
After this episode, there’s something different. The Strange Case of The Pope, The Fish and Robbie Coltrane is a seemingly serious behind the scenes documentary about The Pope Must Die presented by Jools Holland – Holland’s presenting style makes it hard to know if he’s genuinely trying to be serious, or poking fun. But when he talks to esteemed critic Derek Malcolm about the movie, who then proceeds to confuse it with Silence of the Lambs, it’s clear this is not a serious, thoughtful documentary.
However, some things are beyond parody. Here’s Mary Whitehouse giving her verdict on the film – or rather, just the film’s title.
The documentary plays with the idea that criticising the Pope might be a dangerous thing for the filmmakers to do – several cast members seek to distance themselves from it. Paul Bartel: “I thought it was called The Pope Must Fly“.
Peter Richardson even turns up in character as Spider Webb, from Bad News.
It’s nice to see so much effort being put in to a BTS piece like this. It’s not many such documentaries that have a writing credit.
After this documentary, the video switches into Long Play, and we’re treated to Amnesty International’s Big 30, a concert to celebrate 30 years of Amnesty International, presented by Jonathan Ross and Alexei Sayle.
Tom Jones does some Otis Redding.
The Spitting Image puppets get an airing. Pre-1997, Diana was fair game for satire.
The Greatest Show on Legs trundle out to do their thing.
With special guest Keith Chegwin.
He’s not as fast as the other members, so the post-production team have to be very careful.
Smith and Jones muse on the importance of Amnesty.
Morrissey performs “We hate it when our friends become successful”
Eastenders, Coronation Street and Brookside send heartwarming messages of support.
Andrew Strong, off of the Commitments, struts his stuff.
Mike McShane does some Improvisation.
After some filmed contributions from French and Saunders, Hale & Pace, Reeves & Mortimer and Have I Got News for You, Mark Little does some stand-up.
Jason Donovan and Kim Wilde perform a song.
More messages of support, from Drop the Dead Donkey, Red Dwarf and DJ Mike Smash.
Trev and Simon introduce ELO. Sorry, EMF.
There’s a greeting from a ridiculously young Simon Mayo
In a ‘why we’re all here’ segment, Michael Aspel talks about Aung San Suu Kyi – in 1991, in detention in Myanmar, one of several periods of detention.
Naturally, no gathering of this kind would be complete without Jools Holland, banging on about boogie woogie and his big band. Here, he’s joined by Paula Yates.
They’re joined by Rick Astley, desperately trying to make the transition to serious performer, so he doesn’t do ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.
Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis do some comedy.
Seal sings a song. Oddly enough, Adamski is nowhere to be seen.
The great David St Hubbins and Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap make an appearance.
And they’re joined by lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel by satellite from Los Angeles.
Phil Cornwell and Steve Coogan to a synchronised Bob Geldof impression.
Spinal Tap (sans Tufnel) perform ‘Big Bottom’ with Dave Gilmour on bass guitar.
Gilmur himself gets to sing as well, after accompanying most of the other acts.
After an ad break, messages from Jeremy Beadle, Anneka Rice, Roseanne Barr Arnold.
Dave Stewart performs a specially composed piece with a choir. A bit like Mike Oldfield Lite. Very influenced by Tubular Bells.
Next, the very wonderful Emo Phillips.
Lisa Stansfield sings her song.
The Prime Minister, John Major, gives a glowing congratulation to Amnesty. Funny, the Conservatives aren’t always very good friends with Amnesty. Neil Kinnock and Paddy Ashdown also send messages.
Frank Skinner does some football-based comedy.
Frank is followed by Daryl Hall (sans Oates).
Then, Julian Clary entertains.
Tom Jones returns to close the show with a performance of Prince’s Kiss.
After the show, there’s a trailer for Arts Review of the Year. Then, this recording stops, and underneath is a nature documentary about some forest-dwelling people. The tape ends after a few minutes of this.
- Walkers Ruffles – Kyle Machlachlan
- Yellow Pages
- Naked Gun 2 1/2
- Rover Metro
- Dry Electric
- Curly Sue
- Carling Black Label
- Midland Bank
- Thames Ford Dealers
- Fiat Temra – Mark Strong
- The People
- Singapore Airlines
- Fiat Tipo – also Mark Strong
- Alliance and Leicester – Fry and Laurie
- Fiat Tempra – Another Mark Strong
- Direct Line
- Fosters – Jerome Flynn
- Ambrosia Devon Custard
- Stowells of Chelsea
- News of the World – Mystic Meg
- Lunn Poly