Month: February 2015

Have I Got News For You – tape 2419

After yesterday’s single episode, here’s another tape – and this one only has one episode of Have I Got News For You on it.

Guests on this episode are Will Self

Will Self

And Hugh Dennis

Hugh Dennis on HIGNFY


I best remember this episode as the one where Will Self instructs the panel (perhaps erroneously) on the pronunciation of the comet Hale-Bopp.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 25 April 1997 21.00

After this episode, there’s a trailer for The Election Night Armistice.

There’s a trailer for This Life.

then, the start of the second episode of Sunnyside Farm. The recording finishes about 3 minutes in, and that’s all there is on this, one of the shortest tapes I’ve yet come across.

Triumph of the Nerds – Have I Got News For You – tape 2418

First on this tape is episode 1 of Robert X Cringeley’s documentary Triumph of the Nerds. it tells the story of the beginning of the home computer boom of the late 70s – The Altair, Apple, Paul Allen and Bill Gates writing BASIC. All the usual suspects. There’s even a sequence where Cringeley shares a hot-tub with West Coast Computer Faire founder Jim Warren.

Hot Tub

I do apologise.

There’s even a brief contribution from Douglas Adams. “I think a nerd is a person who uses the telephone to talk to other people about telephones.”

Douglas Adams Triumph of the Nerds

This starts with the development of the MITS Altair, and ends with the looming threat of IBM entering the fledgling home computer market.

Before the next episode, there’s the end of a Channel 4 politics programme, featuring Billy Bragg singing a very political song in front of what looks like a Question Time panel. Particularly amusing is the panellist with her fingers in her ears.

Billy Bragg is very loud

Then, episode 2 of Triumph of the Nerds. I’ve looked at this programme before, when half of this episode was recorded after a Babylon 5 episode. That was a different broadcast, which I can tell because this recording doesn’t have the strange edit I noticed at the start of the previous recording, where Ed Robert’s name is omitted from the recording.

Cringeley reports from 1995 PC Expo – the scenes of row after row of big grey computers with huge bulky monitors place it very firmly in the just pre-iMac era.

Big old computers

Before the next episode, more from the Channel 4 ‘Question Time-alike’ programme we saw last time. Then there’s a trailer for Thatcher’s Children, looking at new voters who grew up during the long Conservative government.

And the final episode of Triumph of the Nerds in which Cringeley talks about how Microsoft built Windows on the back of lots of ideas from elsewhere.

This episode is interesting, because it’s made about the time that Windows 95 launches, and although most of it concerns the development of the Mac and Windows, including Steve Jobs ousting from Apple (“I hired the wrong guy” he says about John Sculley) the last part of the programme looks at the current challenges, which includes the internet. Let’s not forget that Windows 95 launched without a web browser. Internet Explorer was produced separately as, I think, the Windows 95 Plus Pack. And this was also the time that Bill Gates sent his now famous memo, “The Internet Tidal Wave” which effectively pivoted the entire company, and put the internet, and particularly the World Wide Web, at the heart of their strategy.

To show what a lack of hindsight gives you in 1995, Cringeley’s last interview is with Oracle’s Larry Ellison, a man who combines the raving ego of Steve Jobs with the lack of taste and class (at least according to Jobs) of Bill Gates. The ‘Information Appliance’ that Ellison foresaw never happened in the way he saw it – but it’s pretty much exactly what the iPhone and iPad are – tools for finding and consuming information. But they are definitely still PCs in that they still do lots of work themselves.

And when Cringeley does the ‘Where are they now’ section, he talks about Steve Jobs making another fortune from his stake in “a computer animation company”. Toy Story would be out that year, but Pixar weren’t yet a brand everyone knew.

After this, recording switches to BBC2, and the end of an episode of Sunnyside Farm, a programme I don’t think I ever saw. It boasts theme music by Damon Albarn (presumably helping out his mate, star Phil Daniels). BBC Two England, 9 May 1997 21.30

There’s a trailer for Later with Jools Holland. And a trailer for a series of TV films.

Then, an episode of Have I Got News For You featuring Neil and Christine Hamilton and Maureen Lipman.

Neil and Christine Hamilton

This was the first edition of the programme since the 1997 election, so Ian Hislop had a lot of fun at the Conservatives’ expense. “Just when you thought you could go to bed – no, there’s another one gone.”

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 9 May 1997 22.00

After this, there’s a trailer for The Lying Game, a series by Angus Deayton about liars.

Then, there’s the start of an episode of Newsnight. About half an hour of this, before the tape ends.

The Simpsons – Star Trek Deep Space Nine – tape 2307

Lots of stuff on Sky One, so it’s mostly adverts I’m afraid. First, The Simpsons, with Much Apu About Nothing.

Following this, we go to Deep Space Nine where O’Brien and Bashir are relaxing with a holosuite program.

Bashir and O'Brien

This episode is Bar Association.

Next is Rules of Engagement. Worf has a nightmare about kilngons killing a whole ship’s crew, and wakes up in the brig.

Next on the tape is The Simpsons and the episode Homerpalooza.

Then, in the DS9 episode For The Cause, Sisko’s girlfriend Kasidy Yates (played by 24’s Penny Johnson) is suspected to be a Maquis spy. Given her behaviour on 24, I wouldn’t put it past her.

This is the last programme on the tape.


  • Ariel Future
  • Hawaiian Tropic
  • Frosties
  • Fresh Hits 96
  • trail; Police Stop
  • trail: Sky 2
  • Independence Day in cinemas
  • Frosties
  • WH Smith
  • Sunkist
  • Sky TV Guide
  • trail: On Dangerous Ground
  • trail: Summerslam
  • Polo
  • AA
  • Dettol
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
  • Lucozade
  • Clairol Ultress
  • Voices of Tranquility
  • trail: Sports
  • trail: Sky 2
  • Orbit/Extra
  • Predictor
  • UK Gold
  • Johnson’s baby Lotion
  • Eraser in cinemas
  • Potato Waffles
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken Dippers
  • Daily Mirror
  • Sky TV Guide
  • trail On Dangerous Ground
  • trail: X Files
  • Winalot
  • Indepedence Day
  • hawaiian Tropic
  • Winalot
  • Pantene ProV
  • Walker’s Crisps
  • Five Alive
  • Winalot
  • trail: Star Trek Generations
  • trail: Boxing
  • Walker’s Crisps
  • Alton Towers
  • Carex
  • Five alive
  • Argos
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Sensodyne
  • Mirror
  • trail: The Outer Limits
  • Dulux
  • Rice Kripies
  • Winalot
  • Just Cause
  • trail: X Files
  • FA Premier League Collection
  • Surf
  • Disney Channel
  • Scotland
  • Phenomenon in cinemas
  • Five Alive
  • Special K
  • trail: Just Kidding
  • trail: Sky
  • Index
  • Dynamite
  • Asda
  • Fairy
  • Burger King
  • Disney Channel
  • trail: Star Trek Generations
  • trail: Simpsons
  • Sharps
  • Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles
  • Index
  • Cheerios
  • The Times
  • Sega Saturn
  • Sharps
  • trail: Earth 2/Jag
  • trail: Xena Warrior Princess
  • trail: Lois and Clark
  • Bird’s Eye Meatfree Sausages
  • Bird’s Eye Peas
  • AA Home Insurance
  • Hovis Cobble
  • Uncle’s Bens
  • trail: Springhill
  • trail: Springhill
  • Dolmio
  • Enjoy!
  • Burger King
  • Vodafone – Kyle Machlachlan
  • trail: Dumb & Dumber
  • trail: Profi
  • Asda
  • Wella Experience
  • Direct Line
  • KFC
  • British Lamb
  • trail: Di-Catchers – a retrospectively creepy programme about the paparazzi who pursue Princess Diana.

  • trail: Little Woman
  • trail: The X Files
  • Colgate
  • TV Licensing
  • Bird’s Eye Meatfree Sausages
  • Brylcreem
  • Beverly Hills 90210
  • trail: Springhill
  • trail: Sports

Blood Simple – Barton Fink – tape 2411

A Channel 4 Double Bill of Coen Brothers films on this tape.

First is their debut film, Blood Simple. Right from the start you could tell these were filmmakers to watch. Their first film is a noirish thriller about adultery, jealousy, double-crossing and revenge, and features enough twists and surprises for half a dozen films. It’s beautifully written, with a terse dialogue style, and the performances of Dan Hedaya as the cuckolded husband, and M Emmet Walshe as the sleazy private detective (who never gets a name) are superb. Longtime Coen composer Carter Burwell supplies a memorable score, and the cinematography from Barry Sonnenfeld, who would go on to be a director himself, is beautiful. There’s some arresting images here.

Sparky pictures

Right from the beginning, the Coens show they are smart filmmakers. The title sequence takes place in a car. We see the backs of our two protagonists’ heads, John Getz and Frances McDormand (wife of Joel Coen) as they drive through a heavy rainstorm. The simple dialogue sets out the situation. The Coens make the most of their low budget by post-syncing the dialogue. In fact, the entire scene might well have been played out with the car stationary – all we see are lights approaching occasionally.

Following this is a later effort, Barton Fink. Now, I like this movie a lot. It’s brilliantly designed, has more superb performances, particularly Michael Lerner as the studio head who wants ‘that Barton Fink feeling’ and is so surreal that frankly, it allows almost any reading you like. No wonder the arthouse critics fell in love with it. When all it basically is is an exercise to overcome writers block.

Director of Photography here was Roger Deakins, who became a Coen regular when Sonnenfeld pursued his directing career, and this movie is another impeccably photographed film. There’s some great sound design, too, like the bell at the front desk that continues sounding for far longer than it really should, and the sound of the mosquito that plagues Barton.

Anther thing to like about this movie is that the lead is not particularly likeable. He’s a pompous, self-important pseudo-intellectual who thinks he’s doing great work for the working man, but he’s just another puffed-up poseur, with less artistic integrity than the plain-speaking studio chief he’s enslaved by.

The whole movie feels damp. From the slimy, peeling wallpaper, the unaired sheets on the bed, John Goodman’s infected ear, this is not a clean movie, and you feel like you’re itching as you watch it.

One thing I’d really like to know is whether the very last shot, of the sea bird diving into the water, was planned, or whether it just happened at the time they were shooting and they decided to use it?

Diving bird

Following the films, the start of The Puppet Master, and the tape stops a few minutes into this.

Adverts: Trails:

  • Goldfish credit card – Billy Connolly
  • Boots Multivitamins
  • Royal Mail
  • Cellnet
  • Toyota Corolla
  • trail: Equinox – Science Beyond the Horizon
  • Vauxhall Vectra
  • Sanyo Digicam
  • Air Canada – Mike McShane
  • Prudential
  • The Times
  • General Accident
  • Guinness
  • American Express
  • XFM
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • Foster’s Ice
  • Boots
  • Renault Scenic
  • Eurostar
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • Spawn  in cinemas (or as the voiceover guy pronounces it, “Sparn”
  • Quattro
  • Army
  • B&Q
  • DHL
  • Lloyds & TSB
  • trail: Raising Arizona
  • trail: A Dance to the Music of Stars
  • Eurostar
  • Vision Express
  • The Times
  • VW Polo
  • CK One
  • Pantene
  • Carlsberg
  • trail: Marc Bolan: Dandy in the Underworld
  • Minidisk
  • Aero
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Carlsberg
  • Gay Chat
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Army
  • Pantene
  • Twix
  • Clearasil
  • Concern for Comfort
  • Chatline
  • Boots Vitamins
  • trail: Raising Arizona
  • Australia
  • Anglian
  • Vanish Liquid
  • Lotus – Denis Leary

  • The Times
  • Golden Wedding Anniversary Coin
  • Gay Chatline
  • Inland Revenue
  • Singles Network
  • Listerine – Keith Allen as the Tooth Fairy
  • Weetabix
  • trail: Out of Africa

The Spirit of 76 – Cameron’s Closet – tape 2407

Did anyone order a wacky time-travel comedy starring David Cassidy and Devo? Well you’re in luck, because here’s The Spirit of ’76.

Sadly, the recording starts after the film starts, so some of the intricate plot details might be missing, but from what I can gather from the opening, some future people decide to use a time machine (which appears to be made of Papier Maché and papered with banknotes “because money is worthless where we come from”) to travel back to 1776 to learn from the founding fathers, but of course their machine malfunctions and they return instead to 1976.



It’s a very colourful 1976 – clearly America still had access to colours other than brown for their clothes and decor, unlike Britain (if most 70s period dramas are too be believed).

Some of the the cultural references raise a wry smile.

Future Shock

Given that one of the time travellers is David Cassidy, I wonder if they’re going to watch an episode of The Partridge Family at some point? Although this film looks so cheap they probably couldn’t afford the clearance fees.

David Cassidy

Rob Reiner turns up as a self-help guru running some kind of self-actualisation seminar.



This is as close as they could get to a clip from The Partridge Family.

Partridge Family Lunchbox

I think the best way to describe how bad this film is, is to say that my enjoyment went up quite a few notches when the Bay City Rollers started on the soundtrack.

I hear a recent grammy-winning male rock artist is going to star in a sequel, to be called ‘Beck to the Future’.

Next on the tape is Cameron’s Closet. I don’t think I ever watched it, so here goes.

Cameron is a little boy who has telekinetic and psychic powers. But his father believes something evil lives in his closet, goes a bit mad with a machete, and ends up decapitated in the closet.

Hope from thirtysomething turns up as a Freudian psychoanalyst, first assigned to analyze the police detective who started having strange visions after investingating the case, then she gets assigned to Cameron after his mother’s new boyfriend gets attacked by a strange monster from the closet, and defenestrated.

Hope from thirtysomething

There’s some fairly random but gory creature effects, courtesy of Carlo Rambaldi, and sometimes it seems like it’s taking Joseph Campbell a little too literally, when Cameron appears to be imagining his inner cave, into which the hero detective must travel.

A couple of credit spots – editor Frank De Palma is a writer on a few episodes of Bugs, and the screenplay is written by Gary Brandner, author of the original novel The Howling on which Joe Dante based his far superior film version (believe me, the novel was awful and bore little relation to the final film). Music by the Friday 13th composer Harry Manfredini.

Director Armand Mastroianni’s name was vaguely familiar too – he directed the 1980 slasher He Knows You’re Alone, one of the many films in that genre that proliferated, following the success of Halloween. I think I enjoyed that film more than this one, but I was younger then.

I do this blog in the hope that I’ll rediscover a lost classic. Today is not that day.

After this film, because it’s Sky Movies, there’s another one. Donna Mills stars in Overruled, which looks like a TV movie to me. There’s a fair chunk of it before the tape finishes, but given the subject matter, I won’t be watching it.


  • trail: Boomerang
  • Mentadent
  • Ariel Colour
  • Max Factor
  • Fairy dishwasher
  • Weightwatchers Cheescake
  • Lenor
  • TSB
  • Do It All
  • Too Good to be True
  • trail: Bob Roberts
  • trail: Code 3
  • trail: Summer on Sky

Our Friends in the North – tape 2413

The tape opens with the end of the Open Golf, then a trailer for All Mod Cons. Then a moviedrome trailer for Dazed and Confused and The Sexual Life of the Belgians 1950-78.

Then we get the first episode in Peter Flannery’s epic Geordie drama Our Friends in the North. This is a recording from the repeat run.

It’s a big series, and I’ve never seen it. But my database tells me this is the only set of episodes I have. So I’m reluctant to start watching if I can’t see it all.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 19 July 1997 21.40

Before the next episode there’s a bit of Til Death Us Do Part. A trailer for Rab C Nesbitt. And a trailer for 3rd Rock from the Sun.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 26 July 1997 21.30

Before the next episode there’s a bit of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads – more James Bolam after yesterday’s The Missing Postman. Then a trailer for Neil Morrissey in Room 101. There’s a moviedrome trailer for The Warriors and La Haine.

Then, the next episode of Our Friends in the North1967.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 2 August 1997 21.35

Following this episode there’s a trailer for the next episode. And a trailer for Rab C Nesbitt.

Then, there’s thirty minutes of This Life. Even the ‘previously on’ gives me no incentive to watch this. The tape ends here.

Crime Traveller – tape 2416

This tape opens with the National Lottery Live – a bigger chunk than normal, so perhaps the programmes are running late, as we get to enjoy Mystic Meg and her ludicrous announcements.

The big guest is Pierce Brosnan, who’s promoting Dante’s Peak.

Pierce Brosnan releases the balls

There’s a trailer for a James Bolam comedy drama The Missing Postman. And Angus Deayton in a trailer for Before they were Famous. Which is a bit like this blog in many ways.

And now we come to another episode of Anthony Horowitz’s much loved Saturday evening drama Crime Traveller.

Sins of the Father features a diamond heist, the main suspect of which is played by Stephen Greif, Space Commander Travis himself. And the man leading the investigation has a history with Jeff’s father.

Stephen Greif

Coming home that night, Slade is attacked in his flat and injected with magic knockout juice.

Although they are locked in Sue Johnstone’s safe, in the morning the diamonds are gone, and visiting detective Oldroyd knows exactly where to look – Slade’s flat. Three of the diamonds are found there, frozen in ice in the fridge.

I think you can work out what’s going on here. Especially when, during his interrogation, Sue Johnstone asks ‘Do you know the combination to my safe? 36, 17,25? You see, nobody knows those numbers.’ Yes, until now.

In this episode, we learn that Jeff’s father is in prison for corruption, and by the end of the episode, he’s been freed and exonerated. Justice works fast in the Crime Traveller universe.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 29 March 1997 20.05

After this episode, there’s a trailer for Dame Edna’s Work Experience, and one for The Ice House.

Then we have the first episode in a two part comedy drama The Missing Postman. It’s certainly got an all star cast – James Bolam, Jim Carter, Stephen Moore, Alison Steadman.

James Bolam is a postman who is offered early retirement. As he surveys the lives of other people he knows who have retired, it doesn’t appeal. So on his last day, rather than returning the mail he’s picked up to the sorting office, he goes to deliver it himself, and becomes something of a folk hero in the process.

Rebecca Front turns up as a Daily Mail reporter.

Rebecca Front in The Missing Postman


BBC Genome: BBC One London, 29 March 1997 21.00

After this, recording switches to the end of Birds of a Feather. Then a trail for programmes for Easter Monday.

There’s a trailer for Army of Innocents, with contributions from John Peel, Willie Rushton, Michael Aspel.

Then we have the second part of The Missing Postman. The credits for the second episode promise Barbara Dickson and Larry Lamb.

Clive the Postman’s wife seems to be having something of a breakdown, remodelling the house with a disturbing fervour.

House remodelling


Clive has a dalliance with the aforementioned Barbara Disckson, as a widow running a B&B in Scotland, where he shelters during a storm. Meanwhile, Clive’s wife is becoming friendly with Stephen Moore and his fringy jacket.

Stephen Moore and Alison Steadman

BBC Television Centre makes a guest appearance towards the end, which always makes me a little wistful and nostalgic.

BBC TV Centre

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 30 March 1997 21.20

After the programme, another trail for Before They Were Famous.

Then a news bulletin. Car bombs in Northern Ireland, and the Hamiltons and their sleaze are the lead stories.

But in the bulletin is the launch of Channel 5.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 30 March 1997 22.40

After the news there’s a trailer for Rough Justice. Then some Weather, and a trailer for The Ice House.

Then the tape plays out with the start of The Jesus ConspiracyBBC One London, 30 March 1997 23.00