Month: June 2015

Joe 90 – tape 1829

Here’s a dip into Children’s BBC for some junior spy action. The tape opens with the end of a Felix The Cat cartoon. This new version had theme music by Mark Mothersbaugh, formerly of Devo, now a film composer.

Then, Phillippa Forrester does a link from the CBBC broom cupboard. She seems a little tired, but I guess it is 7:45am.

Then, Joe 90, with the episode Most Special Astronaut. A space station is left dangerously short on air when a restocking mission blows up on launch. There aren’t any more trained astronauts (!) so Joe has to step in, but the world Intelligence Network take great pains to hide him from mission control.

Most Special Astronaur.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 7th May 1994 – 07:45

Next, there’s more from Phillippa in the broom cupboard.

Judging by the football reference, this is probably 14th May. It’s hard to say, and the Radio Times isn’t any help as it doesn’t distinguish episodes.

Then, Hijacked, where Joe has to take on a dangerous arms dealer with no qualms about killing a little boy.


BBC Genome: BBC One London, 14 May 1994 7.45

Another very short intro from Phillippa Forrester before the next episode, Colonel McClaine, in which Joe has to convince two military drives that he’s a colonel, and guide them as they transport dangerously unstable explosive aross some very rough terrain. I think Gerry Anderson’s writing team really loved The Wages of Fear as this is the plot from that film, and they’ve done it before in Thunderbirds.

Colonel McClaine

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 21 May 1994 7.45

There’s more Felix and a little bit of the broom cupboard before the next episode, The Fortress. Joe goes camping.

The Fortress

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 28 May 1994 7.45

Before the next episode, more Felix, and another short burst of ms Forrester. Then, King For a Day, in which Joe has to black up to pretend to be a young Arab King in waiting.

King for a Day

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 4 June 1994 7.45

That’s the last episode of Joe 90 on this tape, but this recording runs on for quite a bit longer. Here’s more of Phillipa Forrester.

There’s an episode of Prince Valiant, with what sounds like a theme tune by Mister Mister. There’s a trailer for Activ-8 and Parallel 9, then Phillipa introduces Round The Twist.

After this, Phillipa bids us goodbye, and Parallel 9 starts. Here’s the introduction.

This recording finishes during this show, but underneath there’s an older recording, with snooker between Steve Davis and Steven Hendry. The tape ends after five minutes of this.


Robocop – tape 1952

When I saw the title on this tape, I must confess I was happy. It’s been a while since I’ve watched Paul Verhoeven’s masterpiece.

Sadly, it will continue to be a while, because this is the TV spinoff. And it’s as bad as I remember.

In the first scene, Robocop has to enter a siege building, take out some bad guys, then capture the chief bad guy. He does this without actually shooting at anyone – he drops a chandelier on one, topples a cupboard on another, and the chief bad guy has the bomb detonators shot out of his hands (without injury) before being pushed out of the front door at speed in a wheelchair.

This is Robocop as written by Roy Clarke as a Last of the Summer Wine episode.

The main plot concern’s Cliff De Young as a scientist who has developed some kind of AI system that can control everyone who works for the city. The head of OCP is adamant that they have it ready in time for the ‘Shareware Expo’. Whatever that is.

The secret behind the AI system is that he’s been using human brains to build it, kidnapping homeless people from the streets. There’s a cute kid who’s escaped from family services who witnessed one of them being picked up, but the police don’t believe her.

At one point, Robocop declares that the retina of a dead person holds an image of the last thing they saw, an idea that was hokey back when Dario Argento used it in Four Flies on Grey Velvet.

And the use of human brains has an unexpected side effect, when the personality of the last subject – De Young’s former assistant – becomes part of the system and manifests as a hologram.


This is a double length opener, and it feels like it. There’s a lot of things that happen – Robocop gets ‘killed’ at one point, and later gets given amnesia. But the whole feel of the piece is off.

This was written by the same writers as wrote the movie, so it’s difficult to pinpoint quite where it went wrong. Part of the problem is the show’s desperation to avoid the kind of violence the movie revelled in. Robocop never kills anyone – I’m not even sure he shoots at a single human body. All the action sequences play like a videogame that has just discovered physics and deformable levels, as Robocop shoots at the environment to defeat the baddies. I wonder if this was a studio mandated change – it feels like it.

The other problem with it is the general tone. The movie was funny – very funny – but it was a vicious satire, and all the actors played entirely straight. The actors here seem to be playing to the comedy, tongue in cheek.

Robocop himself is played by Richard Eden, and it’s noticeable how different the performance is from Peter Weller. He’s much jerkier, which I think looks worse. Smooth moves look better for this character.

I think the blame for the faults in this show might have to be laid at the feet of the Director, Paul Lynch (who directed Prom Night back in the day). The dialogue itself sounds OK most of the time, but the delivery is too often accompanied with a wink. Its just trying too much to be a comedy. And that doesn’t work for this story.

The first episode is called The Future of Law Enforcement, by the way.

The next episode opens with a cartoon, Commander Cash.

Commander Cash


He’s raising funds to maintain life support for thousands of brain-dead veterans in cryogenic storage.

In this episode, Prime Suspect, Robocop is accused of killing a televangelist.

The next episode, Trouble in Delta City, where a diet pill causes an outbreak of criminality. And the police get a new weapon in their fight against crowds – a foam which makes people slip around a lot.

After this episode, recording continues with the start of an episode of Picket Fences. Which has Zelda Rubenstein in its regular cast.

Zelda Rubinstein

The tape finishes during this show.


  • trail: Space Precinct – with lots of newspaper quotes
  • Vision Express
  • National Lottery
  • Thera-med
  • Carling Black Label
  • Loctite Super Attak
  • Bird’s Eye Baker’s Bistro
  • Surf
  • Dance Zone
  • mars
  • trail: Super Mario Bros

  • trail: Walker Texas Ranger
  • Ferrero Rocher
  • Ford Escort
  • McDonalds
  • Pantene
  • Fresh Brew tea bags
  • Orbit
  • Jungle mania
  • trail: The Thing Called Love
  • trail: Deep Space Nine
  • 1995 Grammy Nominees
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken Marinade
  • Club
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles
  • Surf
  • trail: Boxing
  • trail: Hawkeye
  • Renault Clio
  • Fresh Brew
  • Max Factor
  • Lee Jeans
  • Unlaced
  • Guinness
  • trail: Football
  • Eurotunnel
  • Tic Tac
  • Salon Selectives
  • Always
  • Gillette
  • Nivea Visage
  • 100% Acid Jazz
  • trail: Robert De Niro Week
  • trail: Wrestlemania XI
  • Smash Hits 95
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Elton John – Made In England – Wollworth’s
  • Maltesers
  • Comfort
  • Pedigree Chum – Peter Davison
    Pedigree Chum Peter Davison
  • National Lottery
  • trail: Spectacular Spider-Man
  • trail: Picket Fences
  • Munchies
  • McCain Pizza
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Persil
  • Sky/BT
  • Clorets – Julie Walters
  • The Aristocats on video
  • Dolmio
  • mars Miniatures
  • national Lottery
  • No7
  • trail: Hawkeye
  • trail: Space Precinct
  • Rimmel Silks
  • Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
  • UK Gold
  • Dairylea
  • Visa Delta
  • On Deadly Ground on video
  • direct Line
  • trail: Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
  • trail: Walker Texas Ranger
  • Mars Miniatures
  • Argos
  • Lynx Systeme
  • The Aristocats
  • Pepsi
  • L’Oreal Perfection
  • Mars Miniatures
  • trail: Wrestlemania XI
  • trail: Highlander
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Crown
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Wall’s Romantica
  • Carlsberg
  • trail: Picket Fences
  • Lottery Instants
  • Aquafresh
  • Whiskas
  • Lottery Instants
  • trail: Man Without A Face
  • trail:Hawkeye
  • Clairol Nice n Easy
  • Right Guard
  • Lucozade
  • Hygena – MFI
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral on video
  • Special K
  • Salon Selectives
  • trail: The Firm

Seinfeld – tape 1970

First on this tape, the Seinfeld episode The Handicap Spot where the gang park George’s car in a handicap parking place, and when they return there’s an angry mob waiting.

The Handicap Spot


Next episode is The Junior Mint where Jerry can’t remember his girlfriend’s name, even when she says it rhymes with a part of the female anatomy. And there’s a mishap with a Junior Mint at an operation.

The Junior Mint

That’s the last episode recorded on this tape, but the tape runs on, so let’s see what delights Sky Television have for us this evening.

First, there’s Richard Jobson on The Movie Show, looking at OutbreakMuriel’s Wedding and Once Were Warriors. Here’s the Outbreak segment, with interviews with Dustin Hoffman, Wolfgang Peterson and Rene Russo.

After this, there’s an episode of Raven, about a surfing detective who does kickboxing to relax, probably. It was created by Frank Lupo, creator of the A-Team

At the start of the next programme, a family gather around the TV to watch their favourite programme, Monsters.


I don’t recollect this show. It looks like an anthology show, along the lines of Tales of the Darkside. Indeed, the production company is Laurel, who made that series. This episode was written by Batman writer Paul Dini.

Next is an episode of The Edge, a show I’ve never seen. It’s a comedy sketch show, featuring, among others, Jennifer Aniston, Julie Brown and Wayne Knight.

Jennifer Aniston

It has interstitials by Bill Plympton.

The Edge Interstitials

Credit spot: One of the writers on this show is Charlie Kaufman.

Next programme here is The Adventures of Mark and Brian. Two men with bad mullets pretend to join the army for this reality show. They are Los Angeles disc jockeys, according to iMDb.

Mark and Brian

Those hairstyles wouldn’t pass muster.

Rounding off this tape is the start of Hitmix Long Play, some pop videos to fill up the schedule.


  • Crinklin Mini Cheddars
  • trail: Easter Weekend on Sky
  • trail: The Movie Show
  • Clairol Nice n Easy
  • Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles
  • Tate & Lyle
  • Dove
  • Phone Day
  • Sky Travel Service
  • trail: The Substitute
  • trail: Hawkeye
  • Midland Bank
  • Braun Oral B
  • L’Oreal Perfection
  • trail: Movies in May
  • trail: The Simpsons
  • Dove
  • Ambrosia
  • Rimmel Silks
  • Enigma Draught Lager
  • Oil of Ulay
  • trail: Sleepless In Seattle
  • Ariel Future Color
  • Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles
  • Hellmann’s Light
  • Lenor
  • trail: Bank Holiday Sport
  • trail: Highlander: The Series
  • Coca Cola
  • Monroe Shock Absorbers
  • Polo
  • Pond’s
  • Dulux
  • trail: Monday Nights
  • trail: Walker Texas Ranger
  • Viennetta
  • Tomy
  • Budweiser
  • Pond’s
  • Corn Flakes
  • Sensodyne Switch
  • Viennetta
  • trail: Boxing
  • trail: Sunday
  • Always
  • Johnson’s pH 5.5
  • Romantica
  • Mr Muscle
  • Nytol
  • trail: Wind
  • Pond’s
  • Flora
  • Holsten Pils
  • trail: Superbikes
  • Time Out
  • Barclaycard
  • Pepsi
  • Doritos
  • trail: Red Rock West
  • trail: Highlander the series
  • Budweiser
  • Harpic
  • Max Factor
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Andrews Antacid
  • Tomy
  • trail: Movies in May
  • Maxwell House
  • Glade
  • Outbreak in cinemas
  • Tesco
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Tango
  • Sky Travel
  • trail: Boxing
  • trail: Sleepless in Seattle
  • Levi 501
  • Pond’s
  • Pampers
  • Levi 501
  • Abbey National
  • Outbreak
  • trail: Red Rock West
  • Special K
  • Dulux
  • Daz – Danny Baker
  • Club Class
  • trail: Movies in May

A Very Peculiar Practice – tape 1968

After the sight disappointment recently that Game On wasn’t very good, it’s nice to be reminded what Andrew Davies can actually do.

A Very Peculiar Practice is set in a modern university (described as ‘New Brutalist’) and Peter Davison is a young GP taking up a new post as a Doctor in the university’s health centre.

The centre is staffed by a lot of awkward characters who all seem to be at each other’s throats over the various office politics in play. Graham Crowden is the elder statesman, who takes Davison’s one refusal of a drink as total abstension; David Troughton (son of Patrick) is Bub Buzzard, a social climber who’d be happy to cut treatment for faculty family members to cut costs; and Barbara Flynn is Dr Rose Marie, for whom every problem has a root cause in the patriarchy.

Dr Rose Marie

Davison tends to play to type, as a very diffident, nervous new boy. The idea of having to give a speech to all the freshers gives him anxiety dreams. He’s also a bit of a snob, although he’d like to think he isn’t.

There are some guest stars of note. Hugh Grant plays a charismatic preacher in one of his first TV roles.

Hugh Grant

Timothy West plays a frightening professor.

Timothy West

The Episodes on this tape are the first three in the series: A Very Long Way From AnywhereWe Love You, That’s Why We’re Here and Wives of Great Men.

After the third episode there’s trailers for A Sense of Guilt, Comedy, and Miss Marple. Apart from that, there’s no extras on this tape at all, as I was extra ruthless with the pause button on the VCR, despite it being on UK Gold.

Once Upon a Time in the West – tape 1966

This tape opens with the end of a programme called Myths and Memories of World War II. Afterwards, there’s a trailer for the next episode. Then there’s a trailer for Monday Night programmes.

Then, as part of the Cinema 100 season, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time in the West. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of Westerns, so I don’t think I’ve ever watched this epic. Plus, the sound on this recording is pretty bad, so I don’t think I’ll be watching now. I just sat through The Big Blue for you, what more do you want?

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 25 June 1995 22.00

After the film, there’s a trailer for Rio Lobo with John Wayne.

There’s a trailer for Gaytime TV.

Then , recording continues with The Trial of OJ Simpson, one of a weekly review of events in the infamous trial.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 26 June 1995 0.40

And because I feel like I might be shortchanging you by skimming this tape, here’s a trailer for the Saturday Night Armistice, plus a Monday Night trailer, and the BBC2 closedown. Please remember to turn off your television set.

The Fugitive – The Big Blue – tape 1960

Movie time now, with two movies on this tape, one a firm favourite of mine, the other one I’ve still yet to watch.

The Fugitive didn’t have to be a good film. Films based on old TV properties have a chequered past. Dragnet was pretty lacklustre, and I don’t know anyone who liked Sgt Bilko. So The Fugitive could have gone either way. But director Andrew Davis had just made the one proverbial good Steven Seagal movie in Under Siege, and the casting was top notch, with Harrison Ford as Richard Kimball, the husband wrongly accused of his wife’s brutal murder, and Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard,  the US Marshal who has to track him down.

But the real reason this film is so good has to be the script, by Jeb Stuart (one of the writers on Die Hard) and David Twohy, who would write Pitch Black, and also wrote the highly entertaining Warlock. Their script is full of lovely moments, especially among Jones and his team. You can tell that despite his barked orders and gruff manner, he cares about all his team.

The story is credited to Twohy alone, which implies that he was the original writer, and Stuart was a rewriter.

By the way, this film has six credited film editors. I wonder if it had a compressed post-production schedule.

The opening of the movie is cleverly structured. It cuts between Kimball’s interrogation by police, and the trial, back to the night of the murder. It’s a good structure because it assures the audience of his innocence, so we can share in the injustice in his conviction.

Then we cut to Ford in shackles, on his way to prison, in a bus full of other convicts, when an escape attempt goes wrong and the bus ends up across a railway track, leading to one of the film’s big setpieces, as Kimball escapes the train just in the nick of time. The effects here are very good, a nice mix of miniatures and (I’m guessing) some front projection.

Fugitive Train Smash

After another breathless chase in the drains of a dam, Kimball eludes Gerard after a face-to-face confrontation – almost their only one in the movie. Then the film settles down a bit – although there’s a nice fake-out where we’re led to think that they know where he is, set up a raid on the house he’s staying in, then it turns out it’s one of the other inmates who escaped from the bus.

The tone of the movie then changes, as Kimball turns detective himself, searching the hospital records for a trace of the one-armed man who killed his wife.

There’s a couple of famous faces at the hospital – Glee’s Jane Lynch plays a colleague of his.

Jane Lynch

And Julianne Moore plays a doctor at the hospital in which Kimball is hunting for the one-armed man.

Julianne Moore

And, of course, the one-armed man himself is played by Andreas Katsulas, Ambassador G’Kar off of Babylon 5.

Andreas Katsulas


After another tense cat and mouse scene where Kimball is almost caught by Gerard, he finds his way to the one-armed man’s house, and finds evidence that links him with a drug manufacturer. From there he traces the conspiracy to a surprising source close to home. He overcomes the one-armed man in a good fight in a train car, then goes on to confront the true mastermind behind his wife’s murder, leading to a tense encounter on a hotel roof and i the hotel laundry – always a good location for a chase, with lots of things to hide behind, and the potential for severe injury in industrial equipment. Poor Joe Pantoliano gets a steel girder in the face for his troubles during this sequence.

There’s an odd fireworks sequence, towards the end of the credits. It doesn’t appear to have any narrative function, and it’s only 20 seconds long. Perhaps they liked it so much they couldn’t bear not to use it.

After The movie, recording switches, and we get the end credits of Tonya and Nancy: The Inside Story.

Then we have The Big Blue, Luc Besson’s film about divers. Jean Reno and Jean Marc Barr are boyhood friends, both free divers. Rosanna Arquette is an insurance agent (possibly a loss adjuster, it’s unclear) who meets Barr in the arctic, then contrives to meet him again in Sicily where the world champion free diving is taking place. Reno is the world champion, but wants Barr to compete, for some macho competitive reason. He also falls for Arquette, but she prefers Barr.

Griffin Dunne pops up in a small role, to remind us that Rosanna Arquette has been in better films.

Griffin Dunne


The film consists of the two divers competing in the world championships in several places over an unspecified period of time. Nobody says anything of consequence, or indeed does anything of consequence, until the depths they dive to become too deep for the human body to tolerate.

Luc Besson, the director, might as well have made The Big Yellow, in which two men compete in pissing contests in various picturesque towns in Europe, and the overall effect would have been the same.

There are dolphins, though.


  • trail: Fire
  • Bold
  • Linda McCartney Kievs
  • Christian Aid
  • Domestos
  • trail: Models Inc




Babylon 5 – tape 1962

Here’s another random dip into Babylon 5, perhaps the worst show to watch random episodes. Our last look had the start of season one, so here’s some episodes from near the start of season two. Commander Sinclair (the ever-so-slightly wooden Michael O’Hare) has been replaced by the slightly cuddlier, but equally gravel voiced Bruce Boxleitner. He played Tron, you know? And, trivia fans, Peter Jurasik (Londo Mollari) was also in Tron – he played a character called Ram.

The first episode here is Soul Mates, one of the few season two episodes not written by series creator J Michael Straczynski. This one’s written by Peter David, a well known comics writer who also wrote several Star Trek The Next Generation novels.

the main plot is Londo’s Acension plus 30 years – some kind of Centauri milestone, so he’s asked the Emperor if he can divorce two of his three wives. He summons the three of them to the station so he can decide which to keep.

Elsewhere, Talie Winters’ ex husband appears, and tells her he knows a way to remove her telepathic powers, so she can quit the Psi-Corp. He’s played by Keith Szarabajka, who used to have a recurring role on The Equalizer, and is one of those actors who you like seeing pop up in various TV shows.

Also, Ambassador De’lenn has a bad hair day, so she and Commander Ivanova bond over hair products.


The next episode, The Coming of Shadows, sees the visit of the Centauri Emperor to the station. G’Kar isn’t happy. He plots to kill him at a reception, but before he gets near, the Emperor collapses from a pre-existing condition. He asks Dr Franklin to take a message to G’Kar – that he is sorry for the way the Centauri has treated the Narn.

Meanwhile, Londo asks Morden for his help in destroying a Narn outpost, and has a prophetic dream.

Londo's Dream


Garibaldi is visited by an unknown man, bearing a message from none other that Commander Sinclair, telling him about the Rangers.


By the end of the episode, the emperor is dead, as is the Centauri Prime Minister who was loyal to him, and the Narn have declared war on Centauri

This is what we used to call an arc-heavy episode, with most of it affecting the long-term story. There’s nothing here that doesn’t resonate further down the series.

Next episode is one of the less interesting ones. It’s GROPOS, which stands for “ground Pounders” – footsoldiers, basically. 25,000 soldiers come aboard the station under the command of General Franklin, played by Paul Winfield, who is also the father of Dr Franklin.

Paul Winfield

The crew form various bonds with the guest troops, which makes the end of the episode rather heartbreaking, as the friends they made all died in the first battle of the mission they were on. As that great philosopher Boy George told us: War. War is Stupid.

The next episode is All Alone in the Night. Sheridan decides to take a ship out to investigate a routine problem. “What could go wrong?” he says. Does anybody in the real world ever say that non-ironically? Naturally, something does go wrong, and he’s captured and put in a cell with a Narn and forced to fight.

Delenn is summoned back to Minbar, where the Grey Council decide whether she should remain on the council. They throw her off the council, but, when she returns to Lennier she “feels very positive about this.”

Sheridan has a prophetic dream while in captivity. They’re always a bit lumbering and mannered. David Lynch did the dreams better on Twin Peaks.

Prophecy Dream

At the end of the episode, General Hague tells Sheridan that he believes that President Santiago was murdered, and hints of a conspiracy.

Following this episode, there’s an episode of Deputy Dawg. It’s The Pink Flamingo, a family friendly retelling of John Waters’ cult classic. (This may not be true).

Then, Channel 4 News starts, leading with “The multi-billion pound crime of the 90s, mobile phone cloning, that the law here is powerless to combat.” I’m presuming this was in the analogue days when it was easier to sniff the signals.

The tape finishes during this broadcast.


  • Vauxhall Corsa – Ruby Wax
  • Directors Bitter
  • Lee Jeans
  • Now Dance 95
  • Wrigley’s Doublemint
  • Doritos – Judge Reinhold
  • Coca Cola
  • Anchor Spray Cream
  • BT – Phone Day
  • Terry’s Chocolate Orange Bars
  • Foster’s Ice
  • Lynx Systeme
  • Citroen Xantia
  • Successful Gardening
  • Tortella
  • Guardian Direct
  • Daily Mirror
  • trail: The Great Outdoors
  • trail: Without Walls
  • Audi
  • BT Phone Day
  • McCoy’s
  • Adidas
  • Foster’s Ice
  • Renault 5
  • Andrews Antacid
  • Polo
  • Dulux paint
  • Direct Line
  • Boddington’s – with Anna Chancellor?
  • Next
  • Irn Bru
  • Shout
  • Trail: Father Ted – this is a trailer for the very start of the series.

  • trail: Drop Dead Fred
  • Renault Espace
  • Cocacola
  • Virgin FM
  • Lee Jeans
  • McDonalds
  • Budweiser
  • Renault Espace
  • Renault 5
  • Doritos
  • Alton Towers
  • Thornton’s
  • Anchor Spray Cream
  • BT Phone Day
  • Holsten Pils
  • Irn Bru
  • Landmark Express
  • Vodafone
  • Crinklin Mini Cheddars
  • Blockbuster video
  • Now 30
  • trail: The Big Breakfasst
  • trail: Home Improvement
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • Sky – Corbin Bernsen
  • Harpic
  • Enigma Lager
  • Renault Espace
  • Raleigh Max
  • Currys
  • Remegel
  • Irn Bru
  • Lynx
  • Carlsberg
  • Renault Espace
  • trail: Father Ted
  • trail: Bob Roberts
  • Toyota Carina E
  • Radio Rentals
  • Polo Spearmint – voice by Danny John Jules
  • Weeta-Flakes
  • trail: The Big Breakfast
  • trail: Goldring
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Guardian Direct
  • Nissan
  • Power Macintosh 6100
  • Daily Telegraph – Tony Parsons

Drop The Dead Donkey – tape 1841

After yesterday’s entry, it’s good to get something a little lighter, with some Drop the Dead Donkey.

We’re right into the first episode here, The Undiscovered Country, and it’s a funeral scene.

To A Great Newsman

It’s a nice fake-out, as we’re clearly meant to thing it’s Henry’s funeral, until he pops up.

The funeral affects Gus deeply – he becomes obsessed with the idea of not dying, and finds a cult which says constant aerobic exercise with stave off the ageing process.

The next episode is Quality Time. Helen worries about the lack of attention she’s able to give to her daughter. Dave is bet by Damian that he can’t date Joy.

Tony Gardner appears as an NHS hospital manager.

Tony Gardner Drop the Dead Donkey

Joy takes part in Gladiators.

Joy the Gladiator

The next episode is The Day of the Mum, wherein Damian has mummy issues. Then Births and Deaths sees Damian testifying at a trial of a drug lord, and receiving death threats for it, while Henry is contacted by a man claiming to be his son. Andrew Lincoln guests as his supposed son.

Andrew Lincoln

I’ve missed the start of the next episode. It’s Helen’s Parents, in which Helen gets Dave to pretend to be her boyfriend because she hasn’t come out to them yet. Sally is Pregnant, and is unsure whether to keep it.

Next is Sally in TV Times. Sally is starting to mellow due to her pregnancy. Joy gets a sleazy photographer into a compromising position, and George learns more about his new fiancée but still intends to marry her. It’ll all end in tears.

Just after this episode, there’s a tantalising glimpse of Peter Cushing’s Tardis.

Cushing's Tardis

But almost immediately, recording switches, straight into another Drop The Dead Donkey. In Crime Time, Gus goes all Sam Peckinpah with his Crimewatch knock-off, and Dave engineers the end of George’s engagement. Also, Sally has had a miscarriage – mentioned once, at the top of the show, and never discussed again. I’d be interested to know the creative reason behind this abrupt plot change.

Edited to add: I’m just a slack watcher. Commenter chriddof points out that Sally’s miscarriage was revealed in the previous episode, just after the ad break, and I just missed it. My fault for sometimes having these tapes playing when I might be doing other things.

Next, in No More Mr Nice Guy, George turns into a power-suited hard-nosed executive type, but can’t quite manage it.

In the opening Damian report for the next episode, his cameraman’s voice is clearly writer and producer Andy Hamilton. This episode is Henry’s Autobiography – Henry writes his autobiography, but after an idealistic young journalist tells him his later career seems wasted, he scraps it. And George has an interview on Newsnight.

After this episode, the recording stops.


  • Levi 501
  • Nivea Visage
  • Legal & General
  • Radio Times
  • Blur – Parklife – Woolworth’s
  • Bupa
  • Midland Bank
  • Sun Alliance
  • Lynx Systeme
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • trail: Pleasure

Shoah part 1 – tape 1904

After watching  On The Beach for the previous entry, I’m not sure I can muster the emotional courage to watch Shoah, so consider this a bonus entry, to assuage my liberal guilt. Claude Lanzmann’s documentary was, in total, over 9 hours long, consisting of interviews with survivors of the concentration camps, along with interviews with the German officers who operated the camps.

This tape has the first four hours of the first part of the film, as shown on BBC2.

It was part of a series of programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and preceded by a short ident for the season,


BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 7 January 1995 21.00

Clive Anderson Talks Back – Tim Allen Rewires America – tape 1874

After yesterday’s diversion into the unusual, we’re on more traditional ground with this tape, opening with Clive Anderson Talks Back.

Since Clive’s monologue starts with John Major’s surprise win in the conservative leadership election, that places this show at Friday 7th July 1995, although given the next recording is clearly from close to Christmas I wonder if this is a repeat, or if I really did leave this tape for 8 months before putting something else on it. Which is entirely possible.

His first guest is PJ O’Rourke.

PJ O'Rourke

Next, on the opposite side of the political spectrum, it’s Eddie Izzard.

Eddie Izzard on Clive Anderson

And his final guest is the great Norman Wisdon (or ‘The Funny Lee Evans’ as I like to think of him).

Norman Wisdom

After this programme (the last in the series according to the announcer) recording switches to the end of an episode of Roseanne.

Then there’s Tim Allen Rewires America, which starts off like some crazed Men’s Rights rally. His first line, “we are here to discuss men’s stuff” is greeted with a huge cheer that sounded rather predominantly male.

Then, when talking about the car he’d rented on the way to the show, he commented “No Jap parts in there.”

“My daughter, 18 month old bitch from hell.” (huge laugh)


Speaking of Tiresome, after this, recording continues into an episode of The Word. The titlle sequence features a couple stripping off and having sex (almost). The first announced guest is a topless model.

Terry Christian can’t even get through his first line without fluffing it.

Woeful. But I accept it’s not aimed at me, and never was.

After this, recording continues with something a little better. It’s Tetsuo The Iron Man, the strange Japanese body-horror film.


Then, the tape comes t an end during The Anniversary, a Hammer production starring Bette Davis. Written by Jimmy Sangster and directed by Roy Ward Baker.


  • trail: Jo Brand Through the Christmas Cakehole
  • trail: A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Tesco
  • Braun
  • Oral B
  • Philips styler
  • Tetley Tea
  • Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Mercury Pages – Harry Enfield
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • trail: Chick Change/Caddyshack
  • Eden
  • American Express
  • Sinutab
  • Timex Indiglo
  • Grolsch
  • Mercury One 2 One
  • Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port
  • Anais Anais
  • trail: Jo Brand Through the Christmas Cakehole
  • Milky Way
  • Strongbow
  • Totes
  • Toys R Us
  • Woolworth’s – Rock Anthems
  • Benylin 4 Flu
  • Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Grand Marnier
  • trail: Black Xmas
  • XS Pour Elle
  • Princess Caraboo
  • jungle Mania 2
  • Much Ado About Nothing/The Piano on video
  • Woolworth’s – REM
  • Fujifilm
  • Seal
  • John Smith’s
  • Sinead O’Connor – Universal Mother
  • paco Rabanne
  • Coca Cola
  • Kenzo
  • Tower Records – Madonna – Bedtime Stories
  • Dune perfume
  • Sting – Fields of Gold
  • Worthington’s Draught
  • trail: Baadasss TV
  • XS Pour Elle
  • Coke
  • REM Monster
  • Man Without a Face/Tombstone on video
  • Ultimate Jungle
  • Philishave
  • The Cranberries
  • Worthington’s Draught
  • XS pour homme
  • Kodak Gold
  • trail: Ann Summers – Sex in a Cold Climate
  • Safeway
  • Lurpak
  • Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Zanussi
  • Worthingon’s Draught
  • Felix
  • Burger King
  • Seal
  • Bisto
  • Safeway
  • Fujifilm
  • Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • Energizer
  • Black & Decker
  • One Plus One
  • Nivea
  • Halfords
  • Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Stella Artois
  • trail: Into the West