Month: October 2015

The Supergrass – tape 479

Is The Supergrass well remembered? I remember enjoying it a lot, possibly only when it reached TV, after its cinema release. But I don’t know if it’s one that people generally remember.

Ade Edmondson plays one of his losers, Dennis, who tells his girlfriend Andrea (Dawn French) that he’s a big-time drug dealer, and she has to go with him on holiday as a front for a massive drug deal.

Ade Edmondson in Supergrass

His plans are scuppered when policeman Michael Elphick overhears the conversation and arrests them. Despite his lack of a criminal record of any kind, the computer tells them to cease questioning and await a senior officer, who appears in the guise of Ronald Allen (famous from the soap Crossroads).

Ronald Allen

He’s connected Dennis’s story about a west country drug deal with an ongoing case he wants to crack before he retires.

Peter Richardson, who also co-wrote and directed the film, plays officer Harvey Duncan, tasked with taking Dennis to his supposed drug drop, and he’s working with his old girlfriend Lesley Reynolds, played by Jennifer Saunders.

Jennifer Saunders in Supergrass

On their way to Hope Cove, they’re stopped by a traffic cop, wonderfully played by Alexei Sayle, in one of the best scenes in the film.

Saunders delights in playing the ‘girlfriend’ to Dennis, so she can make Richardson jealous. And while it seems like it must be a wild goose chase, elsewhere in the cove, Robbie Coltrane arrives carrying a suspicious looking guitar case, and Nigel Planer and Keith Allen are masquerading as a couple with two small children, hired as actors.

Just when Richardson gets sick of pretending there’s anything criminal going on, he asks Edmondson to tell him exactly where he met his contact, at which point Edmondson stumbles on a buried chamber on the beach filled with incriminating evidence. We learn the Coltrane is another policeman, Troy. He doesn’t like drug dealers.

Edmondson says he planted £30 out at sea, as part of the ruse to impress his girlfriend, but when they pick it up, there’s thousands of pounds in the bag. Troy beats up Edmondson to get him to tell them the plan, and Edmondson makes up more nonsense, about a white boat arriving early in the morning. This leads to one of the best scenes in the film, as Coltrane, to the strains of Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, strides along the sea wall, carrying his guitar case, buffeted by high waves. In the guitar case is a chainsaw, which he uses to dismantle the first white boat that arrives in the bay.

Coltrane on the wall

I like this film. It’s maybe not as great as The Strike, but it’s fun enough, and even has some nice character moments, like the truth game that Edmondson, Saunders and Richardson play.

After the film, recording continues with a programme called The Street, which looks like a reality cop show, but sounds scripted.

Then, recording continues with the Cecilia, a film from Cuba. The whole film is here, and the tape ends shortly after it.


  • trail: An Audience with Peter Ustinov
  • Heinz Soup
  • Argos
  • Sekonda – Loadsamoney

  • Clairol Benders
  • Remington Micro Screen
  • trail: Hill Street Blues
  • Pentax
  • Sunday Mirror
  • trail: Eurocops
  • Instant Ovaltine
  • Heinz Ploughman’s Pickle
  • Tennent’s LA
  • Black & Decker Steam Iron
  • barclays
  • Clairol Benders
  • Comet
  • martini
  • trail: Under Milk Wood
  • Tower Records – Kool and the Gang – The Singles Collection
  • Grand Marnier
  • Argos
  • Esso
  • National & Provincial
  • After Eight
  • Holsten Export
  • British telecom International
  • Stones Best Bitter
  • trail: Equinox ; The Art of Deception
  • Instant Ovaltine
  • Bordeaux
  • Twiglets
  • Swan Light
  • Pink Floyd – The Delicate Sound of Thunder
  • Remington Microscreen

LA Law – tape 489

This tape opens with Jonathan Dimbleby interviewing Neil Kinnock about One Member One Vote, and his attempts to modernise the Labour Party.

Then there’s a trailer for The Time The Place, from Moscow.

Then, an episode of LA Law. This one is Full Marital Jacket (5K10) and starts with a traumatic scene with Benny arrested for suspected rape.

Abby’s hair is looking particularly 80s in this episode.

Michelle Greene

Stewart and Anne get married, It’s clearly the happiest day of their lives.

The Happy Couple

Broadcast Date: 17th March 1988

Next episode is Gorilla My Dreams. Arnie defends an alleged child molester, and Roxanne’s boyfriend is giving her illegal stock tips. Date: 24th March 1988

Then, in Hand Roll Express, A newly separated Douglas decides to indulge his craving for sushi, but is arrested by an inexperienced undercover police officer who thinks he’s soliciting her for prostitution. Plus Grace decides to leave the DA’s office, and Victor defends a food critic being sued for slander by a restaurant. Date: 31st March 1988

This is followed by a Party Political Broadcast by the Labour Party, looking at the parlous state of the NHS under the tory government.

this is followed by the start of News at Ten. It leads with an Aids panic at an Exeter hospital. Also, Mrs Thatcher criticised Amnesty International for investigating the shooting of IRA terrorists on Gibraltar – the Death on the Rock shootings.

The recording stops about 20 minutes in to the news.


  • The Listener
  • Jacob’s Cream Crackers
  • Vitalite
  • Pot Au Chocolat
  • Oracle
  • trail: Unfaithfully Yours
  • Terry’s Moonlight
  • Aer Lingus
  • Heineken
  • Softmints
  • Crown
  • maltesers
  • Crosse & Blackwell Cook in the Pot
  • Seat
  • Abbey national – Jonathan Ross
  • Fosters
  • Crown
  • Bonjour Yoghurt
  • A Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Hartman Garden Furniture
  • Bourjois
  • Bird’s Eye Menu Master
  • Crime Prevention
  • trail: torvill & Dean’s Fire and Ice
  • NEC
  • K Shoes
  • Selfridges
  • trail: The City Programme
  • British Gas
  • Abbey National – David Jason
  • NCH – Children in Danger Factfile 1988. An odd advert.

  • Malaysia
  • Thorpe Park

Friday Night Live – Wogan – tape 493

This tape opens with a house collapsing. It’s the end of the episode of Cheers where Cliff’s Mom wants to sell her house, and Cliff doesn’t want to leave.

Then, it’s another episode of Friday Night Live. Ben Elton introduces it as the sixth episode in the series.

First musical guest is Barrence Whitfield and the Savages.

Barrence Whitfield and the Savages

Harry Enfield does some Stavros.

Stavros 2

He even does a Bonnie Langford Doctor Who joke.

There’s more music from Gillan and Glover.

Ian Gillan

Robbie Coltrane presents Story Time as Don Corleone.

Robbie Coltrane as Don Corleone

There’s a variey act, Terry Carroll, a paper tearer, raising awareness for the Hackney Empire, under threat of closure.

Terry Carroll

There’s a return appearance from Judy Tenuta

Judy Tenuta

Cornish curmudgeon Patrick Marber does stand up.

Patrick Marber

He’s probably better off sticking to writing.

Moray Hunter and Jack Docherty do Donald and George.

Donald and George 2

Harry Enfield returns as Loadsamoney.

Loadsamoney 3

More music, this time from All About Eve.

All About Eve

There’s more character comedy from Robbie Coltrane.

More from Robbie Coltrane

And the show closes with a Ben Elton monologue and more from Gillan and Glover.

After the show, recording switches to part of an interview with Robbie Coltrane on Breakfast Time.

Then, part of an episode of Wogan featuring an interview with Stephen Fry, John Sessions, Rik Mayall and John Gordon Sinclair, about their appearance in Simon Gray’s The Common Pursuit, a production which I went to see, and very good it was too. There’s also an update from Lenny Henry and Griff Rhys Jones about the recent Night of Comic Relief.

Then, recording switches to another episode of Friday Night Live. First musical guest is Roachford.


Stavros wins the pools.

Stavros Pools Winner

The date on the cheque might indicate the broadcast date of the show, by the way, 8th April 1988.

There’s music from The Rhythm Sisters.

Rhythm Sisters

Josie Lawrence is back as Florence from Craigley, talking about Quiz Shows.

Florence from Craigley 3

Next it’s Howie Mandel from St Elsewhere.

Howie Mandel 2

Then, music from The Eurythmics.


Stand-Up from Hattie Hayridge.

Hattie Hayridge 2

There’s more Loadsamoney, and more from Roachford, then we get another old favourite, Julian Clary as The Joan Collins Fan Club.

The Joan Collins Fan Club

the show closes with more from the Eurythmics.

After this episode, recording continues with the start of Handsworth Songs. There’s about ten minutes of this before the tape finishes.


  • trail: Chelmsford 123
  • Daily Express
  • Tennant’s – Dick Spanner
  • Renault 5
  • Quality Street
  • OMD – The Best of OMD
  • Esso Superlube
  • Apple – “The Pitch”
  • Hitachi
  • trail: My Beautiful Laundrette
  • Tissot
  • Honeywell Bull
  • Our Price – Eddie Cochran – C’Mon Everybody
  • Legal and General
  • kaliber
  • Nationwide Anglia
  • Hotpoint
  • Apple – The Pitch
  • Our Price – Eddie Cochran
  • Fosters
  • Vauxhall – wife murderer
  • Holsten Export
  • Barclays Bank – Gian Sammarco
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • Heineken – Suzie Blake
  • Hula Hoops
  • Morgan Grenfell Unit Trusts
  • trail: My Beautiful Laundrette
  • Morgan Grenfell Unit Trusts
  • Fosters
  • Diet Lilt
  • Pentax Zoom 70
  • Datapost
  • Martini

The Sound of Music – tape 495

The tape opens with the end of a Jacqueline Du Pre masterclass. Then a trailer for Christmas Eve programmes.

And then, The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music is a truly great film. It’s often the butt of jokes, but it is a great film for one simple reason.

Nazis as villains.

All the best films have Nazis as villains. Raiders of the Lost ArkSchindler’s List. Marathon Man. Even The Blues Brothers.

Plus, The Sound of Music has Julie Andrews singing. A lot.

Here’s a few random facts you might not know about the movie.

One of the nuns in the song ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria’, Sister Sophia, is played by Marni Nixon who has been heard, but not seen, in several classic musicals. She was the singing voice for Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady, Maria in West Side Story and Anna in The King and I. But the acting roles in those films went to actresses who weren’t as strong at singing.

So it’s nice to be able to put a face to the voice in one movie at least.

Marni Nixon

Three of the children went on to have roles in Science Fiction TV shows.

  • Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) played Spiderman in a series made in the late 70s. I have a couple of them in my collection somewhere.
  • Angela Cartwright (Brigitta) played Penny Robinson in the Irwin Allen series Lost In Space, which was hugely popular in the 60s and 70s.
  • Heather Menzies (Louisa) played Jessica in the TV Version of Logan’s Run (and also married TV’s Robert Urich).

Co-star Christopher Plummer also has some genre credits, most notably as the Klingon Chang in Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country.

The film’s director, Robert Wise, also had a very notable career in genre work, directing The Day The Earth Stood StillStar Trek The Motion Picture and The Haunting. Earlier in his career he was also the film editor on Citizen Kane.

Writer Ernest Lehman also wrote West Side Story and The King And I, but also wrote for Hitchcock, notably North By Northwest.

I love this film. I’ve seen it loads of times, and it rarely fails to get me blubbing. (Although I have a caveat: I once cried watching the end of Armageddon so there’s a chance I’d cry at anything).

Watching this presentation is slightly marred by a terrible pan and scan print. Half the time you know there’s four or five people in the frame, but you can only see three at a time. It’s painful to watch. Better to close my eyes and listen to the songs.

I once appeared in an amateur dramatic production of The Sound Of Music which was great fun. I was in the chorus, and my wife played the Mother Superior, who has one of the best songs in the show, ‘Climb Every Mountain’. The show has a lot of differences – several songs in the film aren’t in the show, and the show has a couple of extras, but you can see why they dropped them.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th December 1987 – 15:15

Following the film is a trailer for a documentary on Mother Theresa. Then the recording ends.

French and Saunders – tape 494

This tape opens with the end of Gardener’s World, and a trailer for Lovebirds.

Then, the first episode of the second series of French and Saunders. They dropped the bad variety show framing device, which I think was a good idea, and I liked the new titles. Here’s a quick composite…

French and Saunders titles

Musical gusts on this first episode? Why it’s Squeeze again.

Squeeze on F&S

There’s a nice Gilbert and George parody, as Joan Bakewell profiles Muriel and Maddy, two modern artists.

Muriel and Maddy and Joan Bakewell

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 4th March 1988 – 21:00

Before the next episode, there’s a bit of Gardener’s World. Plus a trailer for the Bafta Craft Awards.

Then, French & Saunders do Cable Breakfast TV. Raw Sex do Peters and Lee.

Raw Sex do Peters and Lee

Toyah Wilcox guest stars, trying to film a pop video for ‘Because the Night’ with French and Saunders as extras.


There’s the excellent Ballet Dancers sketch, and one from ‘Ally Pally’. French and Saunders always did their media parodies very well, mixing video formats and show formats very accurately.

Ally Pally

They play the credits over this item, and they also are in low resolution, and slightly wobbling sideways. They even do the ‘Don’t forget to switch off your set’ gag.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th March 1988 – 21:00

Episode three opens with a Bond title sequence.

There’s rather a cruel tribute to Fred Astaire, a nice sketch about removals, and a savage sketch with the two of them wearing fur.


Musical guest is Kirsty MacColl.

Kirsty MacColl on French and Saunders

Mavis Nicholson interviews two female bodybuilders.

Mavis Nicholson

“Katrina, or ‘Muscle Mountain’ as she’s known to us…”

Muscle Mountain

Helen Lederer joins Dawn and Jen as one of the Parton Sisters.

Helen Lederer and the Parton Sisters

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 18th March 1988 – 21:00

The next episode opens with the Network 7 titles – another pitch-perfect parody. “Verouka has her RayBans stapled to her temples because her eyes are so piggy and small.”


Raw Sex’s Pet Shop Boys song is another brilliant piece of work from Simon Brint.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 25th March 1988 – 21:00

Before the next episode, the end of Gardener’s World.  And a trailer for Sophia and Constance.

then, more French and Saunders. The sound on this recording is awful, lacking any high frequencies. It sounds like the linear soundtrack on a bad VCR so I wonder why it’s so bad.

Sarah Green appears, in front of TVC.

Sarah Greene at TVC

Musical guests are the Proclaimers.

The Proclaimers

Stephanie Beacham plays a woman convinced she’d had a love affair with Elvis.

Stephanie Beacham

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th April 1988 – 21:00

After this episode, recording continues for a bit. There’s a trailer for Review during which, strangely, the sound problem on this recording sorts itself out. It doesn’t sound like a VHS sound glitch, but I can’t imagine BBC2 broadcasting the whole of a programme with defective sound, so I’m going to assume it was at my end.

The tape ends with the beginning of Billy Joel from Leningrad USSR.

Stranger Than Paradise – Friday Night Live – tape 491

I might have to hand in my movie-buff’s badge if I admit that when I first saw Stranger than Paradise, I hated it. In particular, its weird editing rhythm which means that each scene plays out as a static camera shot, and they’re all separated by a black cut. I found it tiresome in the extreme, once I’d got over expecting more credits or intertitles.

And this film took two people to edit it.

Next on the tape, something more to my taste – Friday Night Live. It’s the penultimate show according to Ben Elton’s intro.

First musical guests are Squeeze.


Naturally, Stavros is here.


More music, this time from the Hothouse Flowers.

Hothouse Flowers

Next, there’s comedy from Joe Pasquale. Yes, Joe Pasquale, that well known alternative comedian and scourge of the establishment.

Joe Pasquale

He does comedy magic. I’m not familiar enough with the Pasquale oeuvre, so I’ve no idea if this was his usual schtick, or if this was his early stuff.

Another early appearance here for Sean Hughes.

Sean Hughes

Harry Enfield is back, with Loadsamoney. It’s scary how big a reaction he gets. You can see why Enfield killed the character off, feeling the audience were looking at him as aspirational, rather than satirical.

Loadsamoney 2

Josie Lawrence appears as Florence from Craigley, who opens her Video Box slot with a stirring rendition of ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’.

Florence from Craigley 2

There’s a ‘specialty’ act, Ralph Ralph.

Ralph Ralph

More music, this time from Habit. No, me neither.


There’s some really bad picture breakup during their set that I can’t tell if it’s a recording problem or a transmission problem. I think it’s on the tape, as it persists across the ad break (which I removed while watching it) and only calms down during Ben Elton’s introduction to the next item, Harry Enfield in ‘The Black and White Sketch’.

Harry Enfield in The Black and White Sketch

It all ends with a Ben Elton monologue, and Squeeze playing the show out.

After the show, a trailer for The Last Resort.

Then the recording ends.


  • Prudential Holborn
  • BP
  • Sharps
  • British Telecom International
  • Black & Decker Quattro
  • Duckhams
  • Dulux
  • Woman magazine
  • Barclays
  • Sara Lee – Julia Hills
  • Carlsberg
  • Abbey national – Jonathan Ross
  • Fosters
  • Woman
  • Pentax Zoom-70
  • BP
  • Abbey Life

Broadway Danny Rose – tape 411

Well, I’m afraid I’ve not got much to say about this tape. It’s just Broadway Danny Rose, one of Woody Allen’s better efforts, but not a favourite of mine. Mia Farrow is very good, and it’s sweet, rather than laugh out loud funny.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th December 1987 – 22:40

After the film, there’s a Christmas themed trailer for Shoot the Moon.

Then, there’s the very start of Camille starring Greta Garbo, and the recording ends. A very short tape this time.