Either this tape started very early, or BBC2 was running late that night. It opens with the end of an episode of Rab C Nesbitt.BBC Two England, 1 August 1997 21.30
Followed by a fairly long trail for This Life.
Then, we get an apology for BBC2 running late, due to an earlier, live, Proms concert. So that answers that question.
Then, a new series of Room 101 starts, with Nick Hancock in the host’s chair, and Jeremy Clarkson as the guest.
This is an intermediate Clarkson. No longer the boyish, bushy-haired cub reporter for Top Gear, but not yet the greying, reactionary we now know and (sometimes) love.
Unsurprisingly, his first item for Room 101 is Caravans. He also chooses Flies, Last of the Summer Wine, and Golf, wherein he castigates golf for excluding people, sounding almost liberal.
When discussing his next choice, vegetarianism, he tries to walk in some marrow shoes.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 1 August 1997 22.00
Before the next programme, a brief trail for the Mark Radcliffe breakfast show.
Then a trail for Spanking The Monkey, a moviedrome presentation of a movie about incest, apparently.
Then, more Room 101, this time with Neil Morrissey.
He picks Mornings, 3,2,1, Germany, The Bay City Rollers and American Football.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 8 August 1997 22.00
Before the next episode, there’s a trailer for Moviedrome showings of Logan’s Run and Farenheit 451.
Then a trail for Third Rock from the Sun.
Then, Terry Wogan joins Nick Hancock in Room 101.
His picks are Eric Cantona, sex in nature programmes, chat show guests who don’t want to talk (using Anne Bancroft as his prime example), Have I Got News for You, and Eastenders.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 15 August 1997 22.00
Before the next programme, the end credits of an episode of Rab C Nesbitt, then a trailer for the Mercury Music Prize which captions all the nominated acts, but spends considerably less time on John Taverner and Mark Anthony Turnage than, for example, Suede or Radiohead.
There’s a trailer for Mark Radcliffe’s breakfast show.
Then, Alan Davies joins Nick Hancock in Room 101, banshing Live Television, keeping birds in cages, posh people talking, jacket and jeans, actors eating, Liverpool
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 22 August 1997 22.00
Before the next episode, there’s a trailer for Holding On.
Then, the next guest on Room 101 is Chris Tarrant, who is introduced as the presenter of the current programme Man O Man, which I seem to recall was pretty dire.
His choices are Sooty, Nouvelle Cuisine, Mystic Meg, Opera, soap stars who release records (prompting Nick Hancock to show some DJs – DLT, Wogan and Tarrant’s own Bucket of water song), and clowns.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 29 August 1997 22.00
Next, Mark Lamarr joins Nick. This is a change to the programme billed in the Radio Times (BBC Two England, 5 September 1997 22.00) which was supposed to be Ulrika Jonsson. The reason for this change is not stated, but there’s a clue later on..
Mark chooses the song YMCA, chatlines, baby talk, Subtitled films (illustrated by Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane), and men’s toilets.
After this, recording switches to a shock appearance of Dave Lee Travis as one of the contestants of Shooting Stars. It’s the end of an episode, and one I’ll wager won’t get repeated. There’s quite a bit of this episode, since programmes are running ten minutes late (according to the continuity announcement).
There’s a trailer for Holding On,
Room 101 this week features the great Arthur Smith.
He cooses Skiing, Puppet on a String, dinner parties, Mike Powell beating Bob Beaman’s long jump record, and balloon modelling.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 12 September 1997 22.00
After the programme, a caption trail for VR5 the virtual reality SF show. Remember that?
Then there’s a trail for Radio One Night celebrating 30 years of Radio One.
This is followed by Newsnight with Kirsty Wark, on the scottish referendum for a Scottish parliament. They voted Yes for that one.
There’s a few minutes of this episode, but then the recording stops, and underneath is another Newsnight. This one is on the eve of the funeral of Princess Diana, which might explain why the recording of Room 101 with Ulrika Jonsson was postponed – perhaps where was a reference to Diana or the Royal Family.
This episode closes with a reading of a new poem by Ted Hughes by Ian McKellen, along with other poems used by mourners to mark the occasion.
This was supposed to be followed by the first episode of VR5, but in its place, there’s an episode of The Outer Limits, the modern incarnation, which is, oddly, about virtual reality.
The recording stops a few minutes in to this episode.