Hot Metal – tape 481

This tape opens with a fawning piece of documentary about the royal family – Hello magazine levels of banality.

Then, the first in the second series of Hot Metal, Andrew Marshall and David Renwick’s brilliant newspaper sitcom. Geoffrey Palmer’s editor has gone missing, so he’s replaced by Richard Wilson. The Daily Crucible’s newest columnist is God himself, speaking through a retired naval man. And scurrilous reporter Greg Kettle looks for the government’s central register of Aids carriers.

Greg Kettle

As always, the programme is pitch-perfect with its television advertising.

The Crucible moves its operation to a highly fortified building in Chiswick, mirroring News International’s move to Wapping, and their move to computer-aided publishing. The Crucible’s results aren’t promising.

First computerised edition

Before the next episode there’s the end of a drama – A Place of Safety, written by Kay Mellor.

Episoe 2 sees Greg Kettle stirring things up at a local primary school. And young reporter Maggie Troon, played by Caroline Milmoe, inadvertently gets a tip-off to a story that could be huge. Milmoe’s character replaces John Gordon Sinclair from the first series in the young idealistic reporter role.

Caroline Milmoe

Investigating some mysterious deaths at the home of a high court judge she visits the village where it happened, and learns there’s a psychopathic killer on the loose.

Next episode sees Greg Kettle rescue a horse in El Salvador.

Dicky Lipton is trapped in a conjuring trick when the magician has a heart attack, so they have to bring in the experts to free him. Cue the great Ali Bongo (playing himself).

Ali Bongo

And Maggie’s story gets more complicated when she tracks down the high court judge’s lover, and finds her dead.

Next episode sees Maggie finding more anomalies in her murder story, while Twiggy Rathbone launches Rat World.

Greg Kettle gets demoted to the lowliest rank possible on a national newspaper – Showbusiness Reporter. In his new role, he inflitrates an Eastenders story conference.

Russell Spam and Twiggy Rathbone plot to put pressure on Dicky Lipton, and he shows signs of cracking.

Richard Wilson and Sooty

He wakes up in what he thinks is a hospital bed, and in his confused state he goes wandering naked, looking for a nurse, straight onto the set of Blue Peter (or an approximation of such).

Blue Peter Interrupted

Before the next episode, there’s the end of a drama about Diabetes.

In the next episode, Greg Kettle acquires what purport to be the bones of Elvis, and the Crucible offers them as a competition prize.

Meanwhile Maggie gets ever closer to the truth about the story. A neighbour claims to have seen a large-footed alien creature lurking around the house, and the local US airbase say there was unusual activity on that day.

Dicky is caught in Saudi Arabia with the videos he was promoting in Japan, and sentenced to a public flogging.

And there’s a nice cliffhanger when Maggie has an unknown someone or something in the back of her car.

In the next episode, the lurker is revealed to be a Sun reporter. There’s a Leveson-like investigation into press abuses.

And the murder story is resolved with the discovery that the judge’s family died from a deadly artificial virus accidentally released by the US airbase. And when the Sun kidnap the dying judge from his house, 27 journalists die from the virus in Wapping.

After this episode, there’s the very start of The South Bank Show profiling Doris Lessing. The recording stops shortly after this starts. Underneath, there’s a short segment of some kind of drama that I can’t pinpoint. Then the tape stops.


  • Daily Express – Waldheim The Missing Years
  • Holsten Pils – Griff Rhys Jones, Marilyn Monroe
  • Volvo 340
  • Nationwide Anglia
  • Real McCoy’s
  • B&I Line
  • trail: The South Bank Show – Lenny Henry
  • Save & Prosper
  • Renault 5
  • CU
  • Philadelphia
  • Ski
  • Daily Mirror – The Untold Story of Michael Jackson
  • British Telecom
  • Brook Street
  • Duckhams
  • Mobil Green Shield Stamps

  • Belle Colour
  • DHL
  • Quality Street
  • Hitachi
  • trail: The British Academy Awards
  • Prudential
  • Amstrad Televideos
  • Esso Superlube
  • Ross Chip Shop Ships
  • Tennent’s Extra – Dick Spanner
  • trail: Countdown
  • Esso
  • Prudential
  • Hotpoint
  • Ford Montego
  • Today – Michael Jackson
  • Eagle Star
  • Nat West – Jesse Birdsall
  • AA – “In the sand”
  • BP
  • Daily Mail – yet another Michael Jackson story
  • trail: ITV telethon

  • British Telecom
  • Today – More Michael Jackson stories

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