Month: August 2015

Chiller – tape 1961

What is Chiller? It’s such a generic title it could be a lot of things. Off the top of my head, without looking at the tape, I’d say it was an ITV anthology horror show, maybe written by Stephen Gallagher. Let’s fire up the VCR and find out.

Chiller titles

Well it’s a good start. This is the first shot in the titles.

There’s a good opening. A woman is taking a life class – featuring a male model with the hairiest arse you can imagine – well done, ITV – who gets a phone call – there’s a regular telephone right next to her, so maybe she’s the teacher, but she’s painting too. Her husband, Martin Clunes, is reminding her not to be late home.

Cut to her travelling home. Creepy music, and a cat walks across the road, followed by a frankly unconvincing crash scene. But it’s got some energy. Cut to the woman being treated in the ER. Cut to her recovering in bed with hubby Clunes at her side. When she wakes up, he turns the recordings of whalesong off and breaks the news that their unborn baby didn’t survive the crash.

All of this takes up less than two and a half minutes of screen time. It’s very economical storytelling.

The episode is Toby by Glenn Chandler. (I checked the series credits, and Stephen Gallagher write two other episodes, so I was right, really.

They move in to a new house, presumably wanting a new start. One of the rooms is a nursery. At first they’re finding it hard to cope with the loss of the child.

Then, she discovers she’s pregnant again. He’s sceptical about all the ‘alternative childbirth’ stuff she was into. That’s probably where the whalesong came from.

Things are happier now. But when the 16 week scan comes around, the sonographer can’t find a baby. “You’re just not pregnant my love” says the nurse. “Then what can I feel kicking?”

I can’t help feeling that Martin Clunes isn’t being very sensitive. When she says “If I hadn’t lost the baby, he’d be due now.” he replies “Well you did lose the baby.” I know her phantom pregnancy would be rather disturbing, but I’m not sure that level of tactlessness is helpful.

But then she starts to experience labor pains, and we have one of the scariest delivery scenes since Cronenberg’s The Fly. She’s screaming in pain, looking terrified (on her back, of course, as are all labouring women in TV, despite that being the least helpful position to be in), in a darkened delivery room, with the doctors shouting at her without the least sense of reassurance. In the end “There’s nothing. Just blood” says the doctor, annoyed at having his time wasted, despite her just having experienced a unique medical event.

That night, she wakes up to the sound of a baby crying. She goes to the nursery to find the crib rocking, but empty.

The old boyfriend of her mad old neighbour consoles her, but turns out to be a medium, and starts passing messages from her dead son.

She still thinks she must be having a breakdown of some sort, but then, in another creepy scene, hubby Martin finds her nursing her invisible baby. She’s now fully accepted the reality of her ghost baby, but Clunes still thinks it’s a breakdown, and gets her to go to a clinic. While she’s away he burns the things from the nursery, and when she comes back he says they should “make a baby. A real baby.”

After the adverts, she is pregnant, for real this time. I like a happy ending. Only Toby is still making noises in the house. And when she goes to investigate, he makes a model train fly into her stomach.

The doctors think she’s self harming, so she panics, packs a bag, and gets into the car. And because symmetry is always important in these stories, it ends in tragedy, in a much more convincing car crash this time.

Car crash

Not a bad story. Even Martin Clunes’ lack of empathy and support isn’t unrealistic, just disappointing, and from a story point of view serves to isolate his wife further. And if the whole film is seen from her point of view, we could just be seeing her interpretation of how people are behaving.

The next episode is Here Comes The Mirror Man, this time it is written by Stephen Gallagher, and I presume it’s based on the Human League song of the same name.

It stars Phyllis Logan and John Simm.

John Simm in Chiller

he plays a young man living rough in an abandoned church. When his social worker tracks him down, he secretly follows her and pushes her under a lorry, under the baleful influence of the man in the mirror, played by Paul Reynolds off of Press Gang.

The Mirror Man

Phyllis Logan is the social worker who picks up the dead colleague’s cases, and makes contact with Simm. This makes the Mirror Man jealous. Logan is suspended from work after another case goes bad, and gets a bit disturbed.

Mark Arden plays her former boyfriend, a policeman.

Mark Arden

Simm has developed a dangerous crush on Logan, and kidnaps her.

                                 SIMM
                    If it wasn't for the murders, and all 
                    the psychiatric problems, me breaking 
                    into your house, bringing you here and 
                    everything, do you think... do you think 
                    you could've taken to me at all?

Somehow Policeman Mark tracks her down, when Simm takes her to a derilict property out in the middle of nowhere, wearing a deeply unflattering beige duffel coat, possibly as a disguise, although he keeps it on after they’ve caught Simm. And Simm has been forsaken by his Mirror Man, who in the last shot clearly now has designs on Logan.

The next episode opens on a dark and stormy night. A woman is frightened by something we can’t see, runs to the top of the big house, trips on an electrical cable and falls through a glass ceiling. Nice stunt work.

Cut to Peter Egan talking to Angela Rippon about how ghosts just aren’t real.

Peter Egan and Anglea Rippon

This episode is The Man Who Didn’t Believe in Ghosts by Anthony Horowitz, creator of Crime Traveller.

Just after the interview, Egan suffers a stroke. Then he and his family move house. They meet the former owner of the house, Peter Walker, who pointedly tells them that the building society now owns the house. He also does odd jobs, so he’s at the house occasionally, which is awkward. Egan’s wife Sophie even invites him to their housewarming dinner.

Sophie has a close shave when a chandelier falls from the ceiling and almost lands on her in the bath. And during the dinner party, after Egan does a pretend ghostly encounter with a floating wine glass there’s an unfortunate culinary disaster.

Maggots

(Those are maggots, if you can’t make it out.)

Then the dog goes missing. When he visits the police to report it, the local officer tell him that he discovered the former owner’s wife, who was the woman we saw at the start falling through the glass ceiling.

Meanwhile, Sophie is trapped in the house’s cold store. She’s discovered by former owner Peter who takes her upstairs and starts vigorously rubbing her to warm her up. Unfortunately this warms him up far too much, and he starts to rub inappropriately, despite Sophie’s protests.

Egan finds the dog in the pond. Their son is seeing visions of a woman.

A Face at the Window

But Egan is insistent there’s no such thing as ghosts. And it turns out he’s right. After his son falls from a balcony and is seriously injured, his wife has had enough and takes her son back to London, but Egan stays, wanting to learn more about the supposed haunting.

But then he sees the figure of the woman in the greenhouse – pouring petrol everywhere. It’s Turner, trying to burn the house down, and they both die in the fire.

In a coda, another couple are buying the house. The estate agent mentions the house has a ghost. “But a friendly one.”

The Friendly Ghost

Following this episode, there’s News at Ten leading with Tony Blair facing setbacks modernising Labour, and protests over tough new rules for benefit claimants.

After a bit of news, the recording stops, and underneath there’s the very end of an episode of Revelations, devised by Russell T Davies and Antony Wood.

Then there’s an insane trailer for late night programmes.

Then there’s an episode of Big City, presented by Paul Ross and Carolyn Marshall. This really is the lowest of low rent arts programmes. Here’s Marshall coyly censoring one of their murals.

Gilbert and George

Here’s Paul Ross giving the lowdown on a great nightspot.

Paul Ross dancing

After this, there’s an episode from an american sitcom I’d never heard of called The Powers that Be, starring John Forsyth from Dynasty, and created by Marta Kaufmann and David Crane of Friends fame. It features David Hyde Pierce from Frasier.

David Hyde Pierce

Recording stops during this episode.

Adverts:

  • McVities Chocolate Cookies – Jane Asher
  • McDonalds
  • Ritz Crackers
  • trail: Surprise Proposals
  • National Lottery Instants
  • Rover
  • Somerfield
  • Lucozade
  • Esso
  • Midland
  • Boots
  • Lottery Instants
  • network Q
  • Anchor Spreadable
  • Twiglets
  • Viennetta
  • Lee Jeans
  • Milk Tray
  • Orbit/Extra
  • trail: News at Ten. Marvel at a serious newsgathering organization which illustrates the headline “What were the real benefits of the billions spent on Space” with a clip of the robot aliens from the Cadbury’s Smash adverts.

  • JustFruits
  • Pantene
  • Twiglet
  • Revlon
  • trail: European Football
  • crinklin’ mini cheddars
  • Argos
  • Anchor Spray Cream
  • Creme Eggs
  • Radox
  • Clairol Nice n Easy
  • Vauxhall Corsa – Ruby Wax
  • National Lottery Instants
  • Asda
  • Special K
  • Pantene
  • Nokia
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Bernard Matthews Turkey Breast
  • Monster Much
  • Texas
  • Milk Tray
  • Irn Bru
  • Paxo
  • Allder’s
  • Vauxhall Frontera 4×4
  • Time Out chocolate bar
  • McDonalds
  • Tortella
  • Enigma lager
  • trail: News at Ten
  • trail: A Village Affair
  • Polo
  • Johnson’s pH 5.5
  • Wall’s Romantica
  • Santa Maria Tacos
  • Carlsberg
  • trail: Champion Children
  • Tetley
  • Frosties
  • Clorets – Julie Walters
  • Surf
  • Flash
  • Colgate Total
  • Radox
  • trail: The Turnaround
  • Saab
  • Mercury Minicall
  • harvester
  • Bird’s Eye Baker’s Bistro
  • Crinklin’ Mini Cheddars
  • trail: My Good Friend
  • Lee Jeans
  • McDonalds
  • Tetley
  • Cadbury’s – Nigel Mansell
  • Goodfellas pizza
  • Crimestoppers
  • Vauxhall Corsa
  • Lucozade
  • boursin
  • Kit Kat
  • Always
  • Dolmio

Blake’s Seven – tape 1959

It’s UK Gold on this tape, and you can tell immediately from the titles that this is season 4 of Blake’s 7.

Blake's 7 Titles

This is one of my favourite title sequences ever. At the time the Head-Up Display wasn’t a visual theme that had been done to death, unlike today, and it looked fresh and utterly cool.

This episode is Traitor, written by the great Robert Holmes, one of the best writers to write for Doctor Who and a stalwart of the BBC drama department.

The show opens with a ‘matte painting’ which appears to have been stolen from the titles of A Very Peculiar Practice.

A Very Peculiar Matte Painting

Christopher Neame guest stars, sporting a fetching eyepatch. Not quite up to Travis standards, but you can’t get a better signifier of evil than an eyepatch. Except, perhaps, a goatee.

Christopher Neame Blake's 7

Anther signifier of evil: “I don’t know what the pacification police use but I wish I could get hold of a shot of it. Next time I go on leave I could use it to get my entertainment for nothing.”

I don’t think the teleporter on the new ship, Scorpio, is as impressive as the Liberator’s.

Blake's 7 Teleport

This story takes place on Helotrix, where federation forces are pacifying the locals, and installing a new, federation friendly president.

This is early in Season 4, so Servalan is dead, killed in a big federation civil war. The new golden boy is Commissioner Sleer, who has developed a pacification drug. The new president of Helotrix tells one of Sleer’s men that he knew Servalan well. Shortly afterwards, he’s killed by a shadowy figure. Ooh, the mystery.

Mysterious Figure

There’s a very confusing battle scene where all the combatants are dressed in a similar dull brown colour. I wish they’d brighten themselves up, or wear funny helmets or something.

Tarrant and Dayna find the source of the pacification drug – a scientist kept prisoner by Sleer – and also an antidote to its effects. They lead an attack, having taken the antidote, so the federation use their pacification weapon thinking it will work. And look who’s leading the federation troops.

Servalan

It’s Servalan.No, wait a minute, she’s actually Commissioner Sleer, the mysterious man in charge. And she’s killing everyone who used to know her as Servalan, which would seem to be a long list.

I don’t know if this is the first reveal that she’s still alive – certainly it takes the regulars by surprise. I love a good villain coming back from the dead.

Next episode is Headhunter so we’ve skipped a couple (according to Wikipedia). It guest stars Lynda Bellingham.

Lynda Bellingham

Tarrant and Vila are after Muller, a cyberneticist, and Bellingham’s husband. When they find him, he’s a bit nervous, and very scared of a black box, and so angry that Vila brought it with them onto the Scorpio that he goes a bit mad. Vila clonks him on the head, and accidentally kills him.

Meanwhile, back on his planet, someone there finds a dead body without a head and thinks it might be Muller.

So what’s in the box?

What's in the box

I love the environment suit designs. Very retro.

Blake's 7 Suits

Eventually, they discover that the man they thought was Muller is his android with Muller’s head on it. The headless android is less than convincing.

Headless Android

It wants to get Orac and create a brand new ruling class based on computers. So the gang have to blow it up in a spectacular explosion in the middle of some woods.  think the effects team had a lot of fun that day.

I’m enjoying this series a lot more than I remember enjoying it the last time I watched. There’s a zest to the episodes and dialogue that I think might have a lot to do with Chris Boucher as script editor.

One thing I definitely don’t like is the arrangement of the closing theme. They’ve added a drum part which makes it sound very Stars on 45. I believe the producer also wrote some lyrics for it, and wanted to release a single. We should be thankful this never happened.

The next episode is Assassin by Rod Beacham. My goodness the Scorpio is an uninspiring spaceship when you compare it to the Liberator.

Scorpio

The crew intercept a message from Servalan to someone called Cancer. Avon knows him by reputation – a hired killer. Infallible.

                           TARRANT
              Oh come on, nobody's infallible.
                           AVON
              All right then he's not infallible, 
              it's just that up to now he has never 
              failed.

Avon and Vila teleport to the surface of a planet, and immediately drop down to a defensive stance. I wonder why they don’t teleport while crouching.

Richard Hurndall, who played the First Doctor in The Five Doctors guest stars. He furnishes Avon with information about Cancer, saying that his ship arrived, but nobody got out. Servalan went in for a time, then left and returned with a slave, whom she left on the ship.

Richard Hurndall

Sometimes I think the costume department were taking the piss.

Freaky Sci Fi hats

Avon lets himself get captured by slavers to get close to Servalan. While in the cell, he discovers the unappetising prison food is called Mangan.

After a bit of a scuffle, Avon escapes, and he’s obviously getting a bit soft in the head, because he takes old Richard Hurndall with him.

They find Cancer’s ship, and go aboard. But he’s waiting for them. He’s the kind of cold, hard killer who’s so frightening that he can draw on his beard with charcoal and nobody would dare to laugh at him.

Cancer

He’s about to shoot Avon and Tarrant when he’s stopped by a woman in purple. She’s the slave Servalan brought to the ship. She’s there to help him celebrate after finishing a job.

Caroline Holdaway as Piri

I don’t know if this is supposed to be a robot spider, or whether it’s an unconvincing real spider.

Unconvincing Spider

We finally find out Cancer’s big secret.

The Real Cancer

Nice to see she’s had time to get her hair done. Her (spoilers) death scene is particularly hammy.

Another fine episode. Does Blake’s 7 get the credit it deserves for having good roles for women? It puts a lot of modern TV to shame. If it were only Servalan it would be doing well, but Dayna and Soolin are brilliant, and our guest star here, Caroline Holdaway, is a lot of fun, as she gets to play both the scared prisoner and the scary assassin. I don’t begrudge her her epic death scene at all.

The last episode on this tape skips over another few episodes, as it’s the penultimate episode in the whole show, Warlord by Simon Masters. Avon has gathered some planetary leaders to tell them of the federation’s increased use of its pacification drug, and show them scenes of federation troops massacring pacified people. He’s fomenting revolution.

Warlord

The leader on the right is Charles Augins, who is also a dancer and choreographer, and who played Queeg in Red Dwarf.

The Warlord of the title is Zukan, one of the leaders, and one of the more violent ones. His daughter is played by Lady Gaga.

Zeeona

Or is that Bobbie Brown? She’s in love with Tarrant, and we’re treated to a frankly creepy smooch between the two. Her father’s not happy about this and want her returned to their planet. But he’s got a different reason for not wanting her there, as he’s conspiring with Servalan and blows up all the exists from the base. But his daughter has teleported back to the base.

Incidentally, Zukon’s home planet is called Betaphile.

This is another rollicking episode. Passions run high, and sacrifices are made. In the end, Lady Gaga volunteers to go back down to Xenon base to try to repair the ventilators, and flush out the radioactive virus that was put there by her father. This being Blake’s 7 there’s no happy ending.

After this, there’s a special trailer for the end of the series, Blake featuring Gareth Thomas himself.

Then there’s a strange porny trailer for Miami Vice, and the recording finishes.

Adverts:

  • Boddington’s Cream
  • Gillette Gel
  • American Express
  • Craftmatic Adjustable Bed
  • Biactol
  • Bold
  • VW Golf
  • Kellogg’s Frosties
  • Centerparcs
  • Glade Plug-ins
  • Tic Tac
  • Prospero Direct
  • American Express
  • McDonalds
  • Nationwide Security
  • Predators of the Wild
  • Daz
  • Pedigree Chum

The New Adventures of Superman – tape 1969

This will be a slightly shorty entry than yesterday’s, not least because the recording is quite a lot shorter.

First on the tape is The New Adventures of Superman. In A Bolt from the Blue Lois and Clark are wandering through a graveyard at night when Clark sees a man about to kill himself. He grabs the gun just as they are hit by a bolt of lightning, so you know something odd is happening.

Sure enough, there’s a new superhero in town.

New Superhero

Denise Crosby off of Star Trek The Next Generation guest stars as a woman who has a hidden laboratory under the graveyard, and is in possession of the (frozen?) body of Lex Luthor. So naturally she wants the secret of how he got the powers.

Denise Crosby

Its an indication of how moribund this show is, that when the story calls for a big fight between Superman and ‘Resplendent Man’, it’s done entirely off-screen, with only the reactions of Jimmy Olsen to indicate anything’s happening.

I seem to remember enjoying this show when it was on. What was wrong with me?

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 8 April 1995 18.20

Next, another episode, That Old Gang of Mine. Perry and Jimmy are carjacked by Bonnie and Clyde. I’m not making this up.

Bonnie and Clyde

And President Heller from 24, William Devane, plays Al Capone, although he pronounces it ‘Al Capony’ – must be a My Little Pony fan.

Al Capony

As if all this tosh weren’t bad enough, the man behind the reappearance of al these gangsters is Professor Emil Hamilton, who was a much nicer character in the comics, even though here they go out of their way to assure us he’s not really a villain.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 15 April 1995 18.25

Following this, there’s a trailer for Easter Monday programmes, and for Do The Right Thing, a gameshow based on Radio 4’s successful Moral Maze hosted by Terry Wogan.

Then the recording stops, after about ten minutes of Simon Mayo’s Confessions.

Fist of Fun – tape 1971

Here’s the first ever TV episode of Fist of Fun. Stewart Lee and Richard Herring were quite influential in mid-90s comedy – they wrote and performed in several Radio series, including the original incarnation of Fist of Fun, and also worked on On The Hour where (Richard Herring frequently claims) they created the original character of Alan Partridge. There’s a story I’ve heard that, when they asked for more money to work on the second series, and left when they didn’t get it, Armando Iannucci was so cross he cut all of their sketches out of the commercial compilations of On The Hour so they wouldn’t get any royalties.

Edit: My recollection of this story is faulty (or the version I read several years ago was garbled) and Richard Herring has kindly posted a full correction in the comments.

We wrote on both series and were writing the TV show too, but we wanted to own a % of rights to the character that we had created (which is fair enough and quite wise given the way that some of them took off) but we weren’t given the rights so we withdrew (very reluctantly in my case at least) from the TV series. Armando then had to edit our bits out of the CD release over a matter of about £50, but he felt strongly enough about the principle to spend a whole night doing that. It was a shame but we didn’t seriously fall out over it and are still friends. Only Patrick Marber seemed pleased.

In any event, they didn’t make the move to the TV version, The Day Today and their subsequent careers have been interesting.

Stewart Lee and Richard Herring

But back to the programme. Fist of Fun was basically a comedy sketch show hung around a loose concept of being a grown-up version of Why Don’t You…? the programme the BBC used to put on in the mornings during the school holidays where a gang of children in a studio would demonstrate lots of hobbies and games that the watching audience could do instead of watching TV.

They flash a lot of captions up during the show, and I’ll try to catch some of them as they go by.

Fist of Fun Contract

There are some regular sections and characters, one of the more memorable being Simon Quinlank, played by the actor Kevin Eldon. He’s the self-appointed king of hobbies and each week he describes a new hobby. This week it’s “Ringing up Norris McWhirter at 3am and asking him what the biggest leaf is.”

Simon Quinlank

Rich goes computer dating, and Rebecca Front finds his perfect match: John Thompson

Rebecca Front and John Thompson

The programme used a lot of almost subliminal flash frames – here’s the first section. All these frames were two frames long.

Fist of Fun Frame 1 Fist of Fun Frame 2 Fist of Fun Frame 3 Fist of Fun Frame 4 Fist of Fun Frame 5Fist of Fun Frame 6 Fist of Fun Frame 7 Fist of Fun Frame 8 Fist of Fun Frame 9 Fist of Fun Frame 10Fist of Fun Frame 11 Fist of Fun Frame 12 Fist of Fun Frame 13 Fist of Fun Frame 14 Fist of Fun Frame 15Fist of Fun Frame 16 Fist of Fun Frame 17 Fist of Fun Frame 18 Fist of Fun Frame 19 Fist of Fun Frame 20

Make of that what you will.

There’s a few Why Not?s

Fist of Fun Why Not 1 Fist of Fun Why Not 2 Fist of Fun Why Not 3 Fist of Fun Why Not 4 Fist of Fun Why Not 5

Also on the show is lifestyle guru Peter Baynham, now an Oscar nominated writer.

Peter Baynham

Something from the Gallery

Fist of Fun Cornish

The Celebration of Medioctiry featuring the films of Steve Guttenberg. I love the pointless detail, like that he dies early on in The Boys from Brazil.

Fist of Fun Mediocrity 1 Fist of Fun Mediocrity 2 Fist of Fun Mediocrity 3 Fist of Fun Mediocrity 4 Fist of Fun Mediocrity 5

Naked Stewart Lee and Richard Herring Naked Stewart Lee and Richard Herring 2

There’s a couple of flash frames of a Naked Lee and Herring, as part of their bid to use subliminal advertising to establish themselves as the gods of a new world order. Warning: only click if you want to see a couple of young comedians naked.

There’s a stern warning about shoplifting

Fist of Fun Shoplifting

Peter Jones is the chancellor of the University of Life.

Peter Jones

The programme finishes with the events diary.

Fist of Fun Events Diary 1 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 Fist of Fun Events Diary 5 Fist of Fun Events Diary 6 Fist of Fun Events Diary 7 Fist of Fun Events Diary 8 Fist of Fun Events Diary 9 Fist of Fun Events Diary 10 Fist of Fun Events Diary 11 Fist of Fun Events Diary 12 Fist of Fun Events Diary 13

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 11 April 1995 21.00

Before the next episode there’s the end of The Oh So Beautiful Bugatti. A trailer for Homefront. And a trailer for Steptoe and Son.

Then, episode 2 of Fist of Fun. There’s a pro-active apology for a joke about Bill Oddie.

Fist of Fun Bill Oddie

Here’s a young Al Murray

Al Murray Fist of Fun

Spot Jim Davidson

Fist of Fun spot Jim Davidson

Some pointless schoolboy revenge

Fist of Fun Deep Sea Diver Fist of Fun Deep Sea Diver 2

Here’s Alistair McGowan auditioning as a priest.

Alistair McGowan

Here’s some ideas for Pet Holidays

Fist of Fun Pet Holidays 1 Fist of Fun Pet Holidays 2 Fist of Fun Pet Holidays 3 Fist of Fun Pet Holidays 4 Fist of Fun Pet Holidays 5

Sally Phillips plays a menstruating woman in one of Stewart’s parables.

Sally Phillips

And finally here’s this week’s events diary

Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 1Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 2Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 3 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 4 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 5 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 6 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 7 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 8 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 9 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 10 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 11 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 12 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 13 Fist of Fun Events Diary 2 14

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 18 April 1995 21.00

Next it’s the third episode, and Stew shows us an old school photo.

Stew's school photo

Tony Parsons is the face on the Cornish Curmudgeon punchbag

Fist if Fun Cornish Tony Parsons

Sue Perkins appears in a bit about imaginary friends, as does the gentleman behind her, who is actually technology writer Danny O’Brien, famous in the 90s for appearing on The Net, and creating the hip tech newsletter NTK.

Fist of Fun Sue Perkins

And in the very next shot, when Stew is going to Ben Moor to ask hm about his imaginary friend

Fist of Fun Danny O'Brien and Ben Moor

Friendships:

Fist of Fun Friendships 1 Fist of Fun Friendships 2 Fist of Fun Friendships 3 Fist of Fun Friendships 4 Fist of Fun Friendships 5

The mysterious Danny O’Brien again

Danny O'Brien again

There’s a nice money-saving tip before the events diary this week.

Fist of Fun Money Saving Tip

“This programme could look as ridiculous ten years in the future as the Glam Metal Detectives does now.”

Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 1 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 2 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 3 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 4 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 5 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 6 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 7 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 8 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 9 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 10 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 11 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 12 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 13 Fist of Fun Events Diary 3 14

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 25 April 1995 21.00

Straight into the next episode, and the boys have a go at Somerset TV reviewer Chris Rundle for describing the show as “not at all funny” and basically do the 1995 equivalent of setting their twitter followers on him. I love the bit of BBC balance at the end.

Fist of Fun Chris Rundle

They’re being inundated with letter and knickers.

Fist of Fun Knickers

And Richard’s dad looks like an aardvark apparently.

Fist of Fun Aardvark Men

Use your organ donor card to annoy Patrick Marber

Fist of Fun Organ Donor

And there’s another dig at Patrick Marber a bit later.

Fist of Fun Patrick Marber

Plus a Star Trek joke.

Fist of Fun Star Trek

Gangs:

Fist of Fun Gangs 1 Fist of Fun Gangs 2 Fist of Fun Gangs 3 Fist of Fun Gangs 4 Fist of Fun Gangs 5

Peter introduces us to his friend Donny Oddlegs.

Peter and Donny Oddlegs

Curmudgeons:

Fist of Fun Curmudgeons 1 Fist of Fun Curmudgeons 2 Fist of Fun Curmudgeons 3

Ronni Ancona and Alistair MacGowan are modern day vampires

Ronni Ancona and Alistair MacGowan

Blood Warning

Fist of Fun jarred bodies

This week’s events diary:

Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 1 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 2 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 3 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 4 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 5 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 6 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 7 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 8 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 9 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 10 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 11 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 12 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 13 Fist of Fun Events Diary 4 14

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 2 May 1995 21.00

For the opening of the fifth show, Rich and Stew’s packing crates were left in the Grandstand studio.

Fist of Fun Grandstand

Fist of Fun Peter's Card

An apology for David Attenborough

Fist of Fun David Attenborough

A cigarette Warning

Fist of Fun Cigarette warning

Fist of Fun on CHristianity

And the Events Diary.

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BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 9 May 1995 21.00

The last episode opens with And and Dec in the crates.

Fist of Fun ant and Dec

Whatever happened to them? Older viewers were helpfully informed.

Fist of Fun Ant and Dec for older viewers

An insight into Rich’s French Exchange partner.

Fist of Fun French Exchange

A tip of the hat to late Wurzels frontman Adge Cutler

Fist of Fun Adge Cutler

Rich wonders about his old friend Mike Cosgrave

Fist of Fun Mike Cosgrave

And the girl who smelt of spam – played by Sally Phillips

Fist of Fun The Girl who smelt of Spam

And there’s no events diary this week.

Fist of Fun No Events Diary

And at the end of the show, Peter gets a limo home.

Fist of Fun Peter's Limo

I love that they’ve got chicken lollies.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 16 May 1995 21.00

After the programme, there’s a trailer for Mrs Hartley and the Growth Centre.

And then the tape finishes. And if you’ve made it this far, I salute you. I think I’ve just blown half my storage allowance on WordPress with this one entry.

The Beast Within – tape 1957

Now then, here’s an obscure one. This is a low budget horror film that I had read about in Fangoria magazine years before. About the only thing I remember is the makeup effects were by Tom Burman, a Fango favourite. Is it about werewolves? Director Phillippe Mora would go on to make Howling II: My Sister is a Werewolf and Howling III: The Marsupials as well as the enjoyable Return of Captain Invincible.

Well, let’s give The Beast Within a try, shall we?

Well, the titles seem to feature a rising full moon, so I think I might be right about the werewolf thing.

One good sign is the screenplay is by Tom Holland, who made the excellent Fright Night.

Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch are driving through Mississippi when the car gets stuck. He heads for the nearby gas station while she stays in the car with the dog. But there’s someone or something shambling through the woods.

Pretty early on, they break one of the golden rules of movies – they kill the dog. Besch goes running out, but hits her head on a tree branch and falls unconscious, just as the shambling thing finds her.

When Cox returns with the pick-up truck, he finds her still unconscious but now naked.

When they’ve brought her back to the pick-up, and it heads away, we hear shotguns going off.

It’s a nice opening.

Cut to 17 years later, and Cox and Besch’s son is terribly ill in hospital. The doctor says it’s “an occult malignancy” which is a curious term for a doctor to use.

They decide to return to the small town where she was attacked to find some information about the man who attacked her. While they’re there, drawing a blank, their son, Paul Clemens, wakes up and leaves the hospital, following some kind of unconscious impulse.

He goes to the same town and attacks the editor of the local newspaper, but the next day he has no memory of that, and seems recovered from his malaise.

He falls in love with a local girl, whose father is violent and abusive, which can’t be good. And he keeps killing people while under the influence of the malign force – which he says is ‘like the cicadas’ as it waited 17 years to come back.

Cicadas. Not werewolves.

Not all of the special effects are entirely successful.

The Beast Within

Once he’s completely transformed into a walking cicada monster, he finds his girlfriend and attacks and rapes her before he’s finally killed.

Thankfully, we’re spared a sequel, 17 years later.

Credit spot: “Country songs composed by Les Baxter and Ronny Cox, and sung by Ronny Cox. I wonder if there’s a ‘Music From and Inspired By’ album?

In the end, this is a fairly forgettable 80s horror. The cinematography is murky, the acting is often a bit creaky, and some of the makeup effects are a bit ropey. The centrepiece transformation sequence goes on way too long, and seems all the more ridiculous because it’s witnessed by three or four people standing around the room, at least one of whom has a shotgun.

After this, recording continues, and there’s another ropey looking film, Mystery Mansion.

Then, there’s some ‘Showcase’ segments, covering Black Beauty, Quiz ShowDisclosureNell, Pret a Porter, The River Wild

Adverts:

  • trail: Friday Night on Sky
  • trail: Hawkeye – a very long trailer/making of to promote the new show on Sky One
  • trail: This Boy’s Life
  • trail: Wrestlemania XI
  • trail: Deep Space Nine/Renegade
  • trail: The Firm
  • trail: Sky news
  • trail: Premiering in April
  • Sky Travel Service
  • trail: Deep Space Nine
  • trail: Sky News
  • trail: Basketball
  • trail: Fashion Television
  • trail: Oprah
  • trail: Coca Cola Hit Mix

Bafta Awards 1995 – tape 1983

The tape starts with the programme just starting, and our host for the 1995 Bafta Awards is Billy Connolly.

Billy Connolly presents Bafta

It’s a very fast moving ceremony. Connolly announced up front that he’d like the speeches kept short, and all the winners (so far) are obeying. Even the actors.

It’s the year of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Kristin Scott Thomas wins Best Supporting Actress.

Chris Evens is very sniffy about not being nominated for Best Light Entertainment Performance, so I wonder if he knew he was getting the award for originality.

Juliet Aubrey, latterly of Primeval, wins the Best TV Actress award looking incredibly young.

Juliet Aubrey

Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein presents the best news coverage.

Carl Bernstein

A surprising winner of the Lloyd’s bank audience award is Cracker. As Robbie Coltrane says, it shows you don’t have to chase ratings with crappy game shows.

Christopher Lee presents Best Single Drama.

Christopher Lee Bafta

One thing I notice is that all the presenter are reading the nominations from the envelopes, so you can’t see their faes very well. Moving to autocue was a good move for these shows.

Connolly: “This is the Lloyd’s Bank award for the… (laughs) Oh Lloyd’s, please forgive me. God knows I’ve tried to remain interested.”

John Travolta presents the award for best film actress. He even manages to get most of the names right. And yes, young people, John Travolta was once an attractive man.

John travolta

Shallow Grave wins the Best British Film award, and the team are slightly ill at ease on stage. Danny Boyle in particular is lurking behind writer John Hodge very awkwardly.

Shallow Grave Team

About the only speech of any length in the whole ceremony is from Hugh Grant, for Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The fellowship this year goes to Billy Wilder, who sensibly stays in Los Angeles, with Jack Lemmon.

Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder

The show rounds off with another two awards for Four Weddings, and the whole thing concludes in 2 hours 8 minutes, surely a record?

Afterwards, there’s a trailer for Absolutely Fabulous and Panorama on the truth about cannabis. Then the recording stops just as Everyman is starting.

BBC Genome:BBC One London, 23 April 1995 20.35

Chicago Hope – The Net – The Music Biz – NYPD Blue – tape 1977

First on the tape, an episode of Chicago Hope. Mandy Patinkin wants to transplant a baboon’s heart into a human patient to keep a heart patient alive. Then E.G. Marshall wants to take a bone marrow transplant from the baboon to treat an Aids patient. And the chief of staff has a coronary when having sex inside the MRI machine.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 15 April 1995 21.15

Then, recording switches, and we get the end of Today at Wimbledon. There’s a trailer for Delia Smith’s Summer Collection and  The Travel Show,  and another trailer for Hancock’s World.

Then, an episode of The Net, the BBC’s disappointing 90s reboot of Micro Live. Benjamin Woolley invites you to his homepage, one which predates the bbc.co.uk domain.

Benjamin Woolley's Homepage

Don’t look for it, it’s not there any more.

The first piece is about remote controlling robots over the web, and features an awful lot of slowly scrolling grey webpages in Times New Roman, culminating in an offer to viewers that they can control a robot that’s in the Chamber of Horrors in Madame Tussauds. I wonder how many did.

The next piece is about hackers. A husband and wife team, Josh Quittner and Michelle Slatalla, wrote a book about hackers, Masters of Deception, then found their telephone service disrupted by the hackers. It seems like a slightly more benign world than today.

Next, Mixmaster Morris looks at a lot of sites dedicated to music, particularly ambient music. “This is a really beautiful site” he says, looking at yet another grey background and Times New Roman website.

Next, Michael Strangelove, who wrote a book called How to Advertise on the Internet. “One of the most central dynamics of the internet, its ability to create a sense of expertise almost at light speed.”

Finally, here’s the ‘netcetera’ – the frames of links and information that you used to have to wear out your VCR trying to watch. Plus, Marcus Berkmann looks at a Web soap opera.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 26 June 1995 20.30

Then there’s a trailer for the Friday Night Comedy Zone, and for the excellent Rock Family Trees.

Then, the final episode in the series The Music Biz which looks at how the modern music industry is run by a few mega corporations. Towards the end there’s an interesting quote:

“Some day you will be able to log on to your home computer, call up a menu of songs or albums that you want. There’s really no need for inventory.”

It’s the days before iTunes. Even before Napster and MP3s.

Slash, from Guns ‘n Roses is interviewed, looking a bit different to normal.

Slash

BBC Genome:  BBC Two England, 26 June 1995 21.00

After this, a trailer for The Saturday Night Armistice. And a trailer for Gaytime TV. Then the start of another Wimbledon summary show.

Recording switches to Channel 4, and the end of The Nick.

Then, an episode of NYPD Blue. Amongst all the police happenings, Dennis Franz gets married, and nothing goes wrong during the ceremony. A TV First!

Jimmy Smits Dennis Franz

After this, recording continues with the Secret Asia season, and a programme called Raskols. The whole film is here.

Adverts:

  • trail: True Stories: The Making of a Doctor
  • American Express Traveller’s Cheques
  • Yellow Pages
  • Pantene
  • Direct Line
  • Mitubishi Shogun
  • trail: Cutting Edge: Road Rage
  • trail: Homicide: Life on the Street
  • Cuprinol Ducksback
  • NatWest
  • Saab
  • PCTV – a mystifying advert for a product that never took off

  • NatWest
  • Volvo
  • Nescafe
  • Natwest
  • Nokia
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  • Trail: Naked Lunch
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  • Listerine
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  • Kelloggs Corn Flakes – Katy Carmichael
  • Swinton
  • Dove
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  • TV-X
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