Micro Live – Saturday Live – First Aids – tape 275

This tape is from a little bit later than yesterday’s, from February 1987 in fact. The episode of Micro Live here opens with a report from Freff into how US politicians are using computerised direct mail techniques to raise funds for their elections.

Then, there’s a look at the winning animations from the Imagina computer graphics conference, with ad agency guru (and co-creator of Spitting Image) Martin Lambie-Nairn.

Martin Lambie-Nairn

John Lassetter won two prizes, one for The Adventures of Andre and Wally B, and the first prize winner, Luxo Jr.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th February 1987 – 18:20

After this, recording continues for a bit, with a trailer for The Money Programme, and the start of Newsview with Jan Leeming and Moira Stuart.

After a few minutes, recording switches to Channel 4 and the end of a short film featuring Neil Pearson, with Kim Barclay as a hitwoman who killed someone in a Photo-Me Booth.

Then, Saturday Live, introduced as usual by Ben Elton, and with special guest Rowan Atkinson.

Rowan Atkinson

His sidekick for the sketches is none other than Angus Deayton.

Angus Deayton on Saturday Live

Deayton was the straight man in Atkinson’s stage show at the time, a role previously filled by writer Richard Curtis, and which experience led to the film The Tall Guy.

Stavros is worried about his paunch.

Stavros 5

Fry and Laurie are cross that the only humour the audience wants is lavatory humour.

Fry and Laurie haven't written anything

Music from the Stranglers

The Stranglers

Rowan Atkinson introduces the next act

Rowan Atkinson 2

Music from Lone Justice

Lone Justice

Kevin McAleer does a powerpoint set old-school with a slide projector.

Kevin McAleer

More comedy from Punt and Dennis.

Punt & Dennis

Harry Enfield does Oliver Reed

Oliver Reed

From the US, there’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me regular Paula Poundstone

Paula Pundstone

Another sketch, featuring Fry, Laurie and Rowan Atkinson

Fry Laurie and Atkinson

The show closes with Ben Elton’s monologue, where he does the ‘Coca Cola advert’ bit, then the Stranglers play us out with No More Heroes. And the graphics department are having fun with the Quantel, and keeping up with the Aids awareness of the time when revealing the LWT logo.

LWT condom

Next, and keeping with the zeitgeist of the time, is something interesting. Aids is becoming a huge public health issue, but young people don’t seem to be taking it seriously enough. What can we do? I know, let’s have a celebrity-filled show, with music and comedy to drive home the message that Aids is dangerous.

Hence, ITV produce First Aids.

First Aids warning

And who’s the best person to host it? Who has his finger on the pulse of the young people? Why it’s Mike Smith. Who better to forever banish any thought of sex from the heads of the young people.

Mike Smith

But thank goodness, Rik Mayall is there to break the ice.

Rik Mayall on First Aids

“What? I thought complete and utter prats were immune!”

There’s some gloriously clueless vox pops. “It’s just blown out of proportion, I think.”

And, rather marvellously, a photo-story with Sharon and Barry.

Sharon and Barry

Mike has some experts with him, as well as celebrity guests, like Linda Davidson, otherwise known as Mary the Punk from Eastenders.

Linda Davidson

Fry and Laurie demonstrate the current medical options for someone with Aids. “I’m afraid you’ve got Aids, and you’re going to die.”

Fry and Laurie and Aids

The Spitting Image team give a government perspective.

The Spitting Image Cabinet

Mike Smith is careful to be factual. “They were of course Spitting Image, they weren’t the real ones.”

The real Health Minister, Norman Fowler, gives the non-rubber government’s view. Nice pullover, Norman, nice to see you’ve eschewed the suit so you don;t alienate da kidz.

Norman Fowler

After an incongruous musical interlude from Alison Moyet, more from Spitting Image, as the programme moves on from the medical details about the disease, and the likelyhood of a cure or vaccine onto the subject of Safer Sex.

This is where the programme starts wheeling out the celebrity vox pops, and they’re just as awkward as you’d expect. Earnest people looking slightly nonplussed that they can talk about sex and condoms on television, and trying hard to do so with a straight face. First on the block, Nick Berry.

Nick Berry

Simon Le Bon. “I told my brother, Cool it, buster. Because he’s an example of somebody who really doesn’t think it’s going to happen to him. […] And I just look around at young people and I don’t want to see them wasted.” Nice to see Simon getting to the heart of what’s important – preserving the young audience for Duran Duran records.

Simon Le Bon

Siobhan Fahey from Bananarama. Who doesn’t merit a surname on the caption. Perhaps the caption writer was so exhausted from spelling her first name right, they took the rest of the caption off.

Siobhan Fahey

Peter Gabriel. “Embarrassment and Shyness is now going to cost lives.”

Peter Gabriel

I can forgive them for not giving Pepsi’s surname since it’s a single name nickname.

Pepsi

There’s a piece from Chris Tarrant on the problems of buying and using condoms, including a parade of celebs, including, oddly, Sebastian Coe, saying the word Condom. Peter Gabriel goes one better by inflating one.

Peter Gabriel inflates a condom

Matthew Freud talks about the Jiffy brand of condom.

Matthew Freud

Simon Le Bon does a painful public information piece about using condoms. And Condom Collector Philip Kestleman is so creepy that, frankly, he ought to be on some kind of register.

Philip Kestleman

One of Mike Smith’s guests in the studio is Corinne Drewery of Swing Out Sister.

Corinne Drewery

Also on the couch is Jonathan Ross, not quite the megastar he is now, but joking about condoms is definitely his strong suit.

Jonathan Ross on First Aids

The studio audience, when asked, seem to be of the opinion that condoms are passion killers.

Emma Freud reports on male and female attitudes to sex, and whether people might change their attitudes to sex thanks to Aids.

Emma Freud 2

Anna Raeburn is, as usual, fantastic and doesn’t mince words.

Anna Raeburn

And let’s not forget, Anna Raeburn also wrote the brilliant Maureen Lipman sitcom Agony.

And here’s Shirlie off of Pepsi and Shirlie, again lacking a surname.

Shirlie Holliman

There’s a mass debate in the studio, with the carefully selected cross section of young people. It’s all a bit embarrassing, but there’s one guy, when being asked whether he’ll cut down, admits “I’m not getting too many opportunities to cut down” and gets a round of applause, presumably for his honesty.

Towards the end, one of the experts had a very pessimistic view of the future, saying that “in ten years’ time, a very large percentage of the audience will already be infected.” That was definitely the feeling at this stage of the epedemic, and I really wonder whether programmes like this did, in fact, help change people’s attitudes enough such that, in the heterosexual population at least, we never saw the rates of infection that were talked about.

At the end of the whole debate, Hale and Pace turn up as The Management, and we’re finally played out by Erasure.

This thing has a top notch writing staff.

First Aids Writers

Enjoy the whole thing.

The recording stops at the end of the show.

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7 comments

  1. I remember watching First AIDS because I thought it was important, but had to give up after about 20 minutes because as a terminally virginal teenager it was just too embarrassing. Imagine if my mum had walked in while it was on!

      1. I was eight years old at the time, and for some reason we started watching this as a family (it was on at 7.30), and after that opening message had disconcerted me a bit, I was so embarrassed and bemused by the Rik Mayall sketch I asked my parents if we could switch it off.

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