This tape starts with the end of an episode of The Simpsons. I’d completely forgotten that the BBC used to show The Simpsons on a Saturday evening.
There’s a trailer for Comic Relief fundraising featuring Paul Whitehouse as Michael Caine.
There’s also a trailer for The Mrs Merton Show.
Then we have an episode of The New Adventures of Superman, the second part of a two-part story, which seems to involve a group of kryptonians, from ‘New Krypton’ coming to Earth. Not General Zod this time, which makes a change.
Their leader appears to wear a circuit board as a badge of office.
This episode is called Battleground Earth. Credit spot – Buffy’s Tim Minear was an Executive Story Editor.
BBC Genome: BBC One London, 15 February 1997 18.10
Before the next episode, there’s the end of an episode of Dad’s Army.
There’s another advert for Comic Relief fundraising packs, featuring Geoffrey Palmer.
There’s a trailer for Crime Traveller. Oh the Humanity.
And on to another episode of The New Adventures of Superman with an episode called Swear To God, This Time We’re Not Kidding. Really. Lois and Clark’s wedding day approaches. Will it go off smoothly? Doesn’t look that way.
Their planned wedding is disrupted by the ‘Wedding Destroyer’ but after sorting them out, Clark unaccountably flies Lois west to meet Bosley from Charlie’s Angels. He plays a character called Mike who is a guardian angel. And all the regular cast magically appear on the strange island they’ve flown to, and the wedding goes ahead. Yes that’s right, Lois and Clark are married by a guardian angel.
It’s Battlestar Galactica all over again.
More Dad’s Army before the next episode, and trailer for Goodnight Sweetheart, and Comic Relief.
Then, more Superman, and we appear to have skipped an episode, as this opens with Lois and Clark return from honeymoon. Which is a shame, as the honeymoon episode apparently features an appearance by HG Wells.
This episode is Brutal Youth. An old man arrives at th Planet, drops dead, then is revealed to be a friend of Jimmy’s, and only twenty years old. Cue an adventure with Jimmy getting unnaturally old, and ending up being played by Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen alongside George Reeves in the 1950s Adventures of Superman serial.
Before the next episode there’s another snatch of Dad’s Army, and trailers for Hamish Macbeth and Noel’s New York House Party.
Then the next episode of Superman, featuring LA Law’s Alan Rachins.
This episode is The People V Lois Lane, the first part of a two part story, of which we’ve already seen part 2. Twice. Lois is framed for murder.
BBC Genome: BBC One London, 15 March 1997 18.15
After this episode, recording continues, and there’s trailers for Eastenders and Chalk.
Then we have something slightly unexpected. It’s a whole episode of Noel’s House Party. And not just any old episode – it’s broadcast live from New York. Featuring Tyne Daly, David Hasselhoff, Barry Manilow, Joan Rivers and William Shatner.
Tyne Daly does a bit as a broadway agent, and takes it utterly seriously, even when working with Mr Blobby.
Joan Rivers’ Gotcha is actually quite sweet. She’s invited to the first exhibition of paintings by Stephanie Beacham (“star of Dynasty and Captain Pugwash” as the ‘Daytime UK’ interviewer says) which are actually all painted by children from a London school. Rivers is beautifully diplomatic about the pictures, even when Beacham unveils her portrait of Joan.
David Hasselhoff is sent running around the studio and it environs to find bags of spending money for a competition winner – a stunt that lends itself to the programme being broadcast from David Letterman’s studio on Broadway.
And the programme closes with Barry Manilow at the piano, singing ‘Mandy’. I know Manilow gets a lot of stick, but I’ve always liked that song, and he really sings it well, shorn of any big production number, just him at the piano. You can see why he’s remained a huge star.
So, somewhat to my surprise, this was a really good show. Even the Mr Blobby bits were funny. You can see why this show dominated Saturday evenings.
As an extra treat, the whole show is on YouTube, so you can enjoy it too.
BBC Genome: BBC One London, 15 March 1997 19.00
After that unexpected highlight, our nostalgia is rapidly quashed with a trailer for Animal Hospital featuring Rolf Harris.
There’s a trailer for Hamish Macbeth.
Then, we have the start of the National Lottery show. It’s a special episode which includes the unveiling of the winner of the Great British Song Contest. Just from the brief snatches they play, this one is my favourite.
However, when it’s up against Katrina and the Waves, and Love Shine a Light, it doesn’t really stand a chance.
However, it did come second.
It’s clearly a great time to be a creepy sex offender, as the UK’s entry competition was organised by Jonathan King.
The tape runs out during this show, although the very end of it can be seen on one of my Crime Traveller tapes.
BBC Genome: BBC One London, 15 March 1997 19.50