Star Wars Trilogy – The Magic and the Mystery – Omnibus – Making of Dante’s Peak – tape 2422

Here’s something vaguely familiar. I’ve looked at Star Wars Trilogy – The Magic and Mystery before, when it was shown on the Sci Fi channel.

But this one isn’t quite the same – gone is the chiselled American presenter, and in his place is our own Eamonn Holmes. Yes, it’s one of those ‘internationalised’ documentaries of the type much beloved by UK TV. Strip out the unknown American presenter and replce him with Eamonn Holmes. Or Alan Yentob if Holmes is busy.

At least they made the effort – here’s Eamonn standing in front of some cosplayers. (You can tell because the stormtrooper sways slightly.)

Eamonn Holmes

After this, recording switches to a news bulletin, with a story about a whale stranded inland in the Firth of Forth.

There’s a trailer for The Big C, and (in a timely way) a trailer for Barry Norman, Live at the Oscars.

Then, we continue with the Star Wars celebrations with Omnibus – George Lucas – Flying Solo. Nice titles.

George Lucas Flying Solo


If you know much about Lucas, not much of this will be new, but it’s interesting to listen to Lucas talk about how the studio cut the original version of American Graffiti, and how his later success allowed him to release the original, “and now the original, mutilated version doesn’t exist any more”. Clearly, his original vision is very important to him.

There’s a lot of angst from Francis Coppola about how Lucas abandoned his indie-movie roots to become a movie mogul.

The very final shot was also a lovely tease, as Rick McCallum pulls open a stage door to a huge empty soundstage. “Here on stage B at Leavesden is where it all begins.” This was produced right at the start of production for the Star Wars Prequels, so that was quite tantalising.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 23 March 1997 22.30

After this, recording switches once again. We’re with Carlton, which always slightly depresses me, as I grew up with Thames Television, and Carlton replaced them.

This is Eruption: The Making of Dante’s Peak. It’s one of those ‘making ofs’ that combines some real-life science and history with the making of the movie. But I love volcanoes, and I also love Dante’s Peak too, so this is all good fun.

Pierce Brosnan

Next on the tape, more ‘Making of’ – this time, the making of Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. There’s a very tiny bit about Flatley’s ousting from Riverdance, but mostly this is about the new show, including contributions from its director, a young Arlene Phillips.

Arlene Phillips

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 28 March 1997 13.55

Staying with the Irish Dancing theme, it’s off to Channel 4 for Riverdance – A Journey. Tracing the history of Riverdance from Eurovision onwards. At least this one talks to the composer, something Lord of the Dance managed to avoid doing.

Bill Whelan


(Whelan wrote Riverdance – Lord of the Dance’s music was written by Ronan Hardiman, although its main theme was the traditional shaker melody which was used in the hymn Lord of the Dance). Riverdance – the music for the main dance – remains one of my favourite pieces of music, especially the climax which starts with the strangest time signature – all broken bars – and moves into 12/8 for the finale seamlessly. It always gives me chills.

This documentary is Flatley-heavy at the start, so I’m wondering if it predates his allegedly acrimonious split from the show. It does – with the same clip from the Big Breakfast when Gaby Roslin asks Michael Flatley if it’s true he’s leaving the show, and he denies it, saying negotiations are still happening.

The programme is still careful to be very nice about Flatley, despite Moya Doherty, the producer, calling the negotiations “painful, tortuous, long”.

After the show, there’s a trailer for Riverdance: The New Show.

Then recording stops, and underneath is the end of a previous recording – It’s Christopher Lee and Bette Davis (and Ike Eisenmann) in Disney’s telekinetic sequel Return from Witch Mountain.

Lee! Davis! Eisenmann!

there’s about 20 minutes of this before the tape stops.


  • Polaroid cameras
  • American Express
  • Nike
  • Dante’s Peak in cinemas
  • Sure
  • cK be
  • Quality Street
  • James and the Giant Peach on video


  1. I’m not at all a fan of reversioning (which is also done on US TV) – in addition to documentaries and commercials it affects a number of cartoons as well, mostly on Channel 5 and Nick Jr. Dubbing cartoons not originally made in the English language is one thing, but what’s the point of doing it when it isn’t necessary? No one in Britain seems to have a problem with “The Lego Movie” not being done over, and Americans don’t seem to mind Wallace keeping the voice of Peter Sallis…

    1. I think there’s an argument to be made when the documentary has an in-vision presenter, or just a narration – I’ve never felt, for example, that Horizon suffered from having all the US-produced films re-voiced by Paul Vaughan. And when it’s in-vision, the American presenter is often a totally unknown mid-range US TV personality – you know, *exactly* like Eamonn Holmes. I certainly couldn’t recognise the guy they replaced in this one, and he didn’t even get a credit at the end (his was probably at the beginning, when he says “Hi, I’m Troy McClure”).

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