Now we have the first tape recorded off Bravo. Remember Bravo? The satellite channel that really didn’t know what it was, and seemed to change its identity (and target audience) every six months.
Before the programme, there’s a trailer for Master of the World.
Then, we have an episode of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. A sitcom that’s not afraid to admit it’s a sitcom, and which has removed the fourth wall entirely.
In this episode, following the Writers’ Strike, Garry has had to take a job in a travel agents.
In the next episode, Garry’s family and friends start advertising their products and companies on his show.
It gets even more meta when Ian Buchanan, who plays Nancy’s boyfriend, also appears on the set of General Hospital as the character he plays on that show.
Before the next episode, there’s a clip of Lulu, from the sixties by the look of it, performing Shout.
The next episode opens with credits over black, in silence. It’s a strange episode where Garry reminisces about playing ping pong when he was young, ending in a terrible injury that ended his ping pong career. 18 years later he’s asked to play in the condo ping pong tournament.
The next episode is a live election special. Much fun is had with Garry calling the 1988 election for Michael Dukakis.
Following this, a switch to BBC1, and there’s a trailer for a magic show I’ve never heard of, The Rudy Coby Show.
Then, an unlabelled treat (for me, at least) with Jonathan Ross Presents David Copperfield. It’s mostly a compilation of his TV illusions, with some conversation between Ross and Copperfield. But his TV stuff is usually pretty good, if you can handle the mullets and baggy jackets.
This looks like a repackaging of a previous Copperfield special, the one where Claudia Schiffer ‘interviewed’ him, and some parts of that are included. Among the illusions presented here are:
- Vanishing the train carriage – a very good effect where he appears to levitate, then vanish an entire carriage from the Orient Express
- Graffitti – a lower-key illusion where he predicts things that are shouted out from the audience
- Passing through the Great Wall of China – not one of my favourites. Too much of the illusion relies on shadow effects, which I never find too impressive, and there’s a moment where it’s supposed to look like Copperfield is reaching out through the other side, pressing into a sheet, which is fairly obviously just the hands of the two assistants holding the sheet.
- Death Saw – One of my favourites. It uses James Horner’s music from Aliens, which I love, and it’s set up as an escape, which goes horribly wrong. But mostly because it’s an exquisitely constructed illusion that really does look impossible. Frankly, even if it’s done in the most obvious way, it means that Copperfield must be pretty limber to fit into a space that just doesn’t look like he’d fit.
- Flying – hands down my favourite of his illusions, and possibly my favourite illusion ever. OK, when all is said and done, it’s a man flying on wires, albeit incredibly cunningly designed and disguised wires. But what makes this a great illusion is not the pure mechanics of it, superb though they are, it’s the whole presentation. He starts by talking about the dreams he used to have as a child, of pushing against the air and flying, and when the illusion starts, he doesn’t start from a standing position – he’s lying down. He performs the flying well, really selling the idea he’s flying under his own power, and the narrative of the illusion works to reinforce that. First, there’s the rotating hoops, a classic way to ‘confirm’ there are no wires, then he’s ‘trapped’ in the glass box, which can’t prevent him flying. Finally, he takes a member of the audience and flies with her in his arms. The show finishes with him flying offstage, as a hawk flies to his arm. It’s just beautiful, and I can’t watch it without crying – I’ve had those dreams too.
BBC Genome: BBC One London, 26 August 1994 20.00
Following this, there’s a trailer for a season of classic ITC programmes.
Then a trailer for Common as Muck, a comedy about dustmen.
Then, the start of Commonwealth Games athletics. 26 August 1994 20.50
After a couple of minutes of that. recording switches back to Bravo, with a trailer of The Mind Benders, and The Wild Affair, and a trailer for a season of films from ‘the wild generation’.
Then, another episode of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, with the second part of the two part story – I’m missing the first part on this tape. Leonard is marrying a girl in Las Vegas, so Garry is on the plane when the episode starts.
After the show, there’s a trailer for 9 1/2 weeks.
After some ads, recording switches to BBC2, and a trailer for programmes on Bank Holiday Monday.
Then, another unbilled programme – an episode of Michael Moore’s TV Nation. In the first segment, they try to find out how suspicious a neighbour has to be before the neighbours notice something wrong.
They try to find out if you can buy small sized condoms. And Merrill Markoe looks at the national talk show guest registry.
Michael Moore tries to get tax breaks by threatening to move the show to New Jersey.
And Louis Theroux looks at the war in Mexico between Coke and Pepsi.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 26 August 1994 21.30
Following this, there’s a long trailer for ATV Night.
Then, a trailer for Stages: Low Level Panic.
Then, an episode of Sean’s Shorts from Norwich.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 26 August 1994 22.15
There’s a trailer for a new series looking at technology, White Heat. Then, a very short episode of Video Nation with a young girl from Cardiff receiving her exam results.
There’s then a trailer for War Babies, looking at the generation of children in Northern Ireland who grew up during the ‘troubles’.
And Northern Ireland is the lead story on Newsnight, which closes out the tape with 3 minutes of this episode.
- Seabond denture adhesive
- Fairy Non Bio
- Skytours holidays
- Cornhill insurance