Shooting Stars – Room 101 – Pride and Prejudice – tape 2094

The tape opens with the end of Rab C Nesbitt, followed by a trailer for Love Bites: Loved Up.

Then a trailer for repeats of The Young Ones.

Then, the first regular edition of Shooting Stars. I looked at An Evening with Vic & Bob a while back, which had a one-off version of the show, and that resulted in a commission for a whole series.

Apart from regular captains Mark Lamar and Ulrika Jonsson, the panellists here are Peter Stringfellow, Martine McCutcheon, Rowland Rivron and Caryn Franklin from The Clothes Show.

McCutcheon, Lamarr, Stringfellow

Rivron, Jonsson, Franklyn

Continuing the death watch this blog tends to be, there’s a fleeting reference to Ronnie Corbett in this episode.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd September 1995 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for the start of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, and another for the John Goodman sports biopic The Babe.

Then, Room 101 with Nick Hancock, and his guest Jimmy Tarbuck.

Jimmy Tarbuck

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd September 1995 – 22:00

After this, recording switches to the end of Keeping Up Appearances.

There’s a trailer for 2 point 4 Children.  And a trailer for Dangerfield.

Then, in an unlabelled treat, the first episode of the BBC’s sublime adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. It’s a programme I’ve watched more than once, but it’s one I can’t resist, so I’m watching it again. It’s pure joy, right from the titles, with that lovely piano theme by Carl Davis.

When I first watched it, I’d not read the novel, and I watched it principally because it was adapted by the great Andrew Davies. As a result, I assumed that the comedy came from Davies. Mr Bennett’s dry sarcasm, and Mrs Bennett’s neuroses about her daughters’ marriage prospeccts, brilliantly played by Benjamin Whitrow and Alison Steadman, are comic characters of the highest order, but when you read the novel, it’s clear that these characters spring directly from the book. That’s not to denigrate Davies’ work, as it’s hard to film a novel where so much takes place in letters, but really, Jane Austen was a really good writer.

Benjamin Whitrow and Alison Steadman

One of the impressive things about this adaptation is the amount of storytelling that happens without words. Much is happening during the many scenes of dancing, as looks are exchanged, and opinions changed merely with looks.

Mrs Bennett is very excited at the arrival at nearby Netherfield hall of a very eligible bachelor, Mr Bingley. She has five daughters and no sons, which, in the male-oriented society of the time, means they will not inherit anything when Mr Bennett dies. So when their new neighbour, Mr Bingley, seems to take a shine to their eldest daughter Jane, she’s delighted.

Susannah Harker

Accompanying Mr Bingley is his good friend Mr Darcy, a man even richer than Bingley, but far less comfortable in the simpler society of country people. He’s proud to a fault, and not afraid to voice his opinions as to his relative superiority to the locals. And Colin Firth is brilliant at the brooding, smouldering looks. Much of his performance is played in close-up, with more wordless looks.

Colin Firth as Mr Darcy

Jane’s sister Elizabeth, played by the brilliant Jennifer Ehle, is amused by Darcy’s pride, and takes a delight in letting him know, in the kind of beautifully coded language that Austen’s era employed.

Jennifer Ehle

Also accompanying Bingley is his sister, again beautifully played by Anna Chancellor, who is just as much of a snob as Darcy, and delights in sneering at the locals.

Anna Chancellor

But Darcy appears to be slightly thawing in his opinion of Elizabeth at least, although he still can’t bring himself to say so. Elizabeth on the other hand sees nothing but pride in him,.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 24th September 1995 – 21:00

Next, it’s episode two, in which Mr Bennett’s cousin, Mr Collins, arrives. Because of the strange inheritance laws of the time, it’s Mr Collins who will inherit the Bennett’s estate of Longbourne when Mr Bennett dies, and he arrives, fairly obviously, with an eye to possible marriage. It’s another perfect casting, with David Bamber utterly oleaginus as Collins, who is now a vicar.

David Bamber

Another newcomer to the village is the dashing Mr Wickham, who has a history with Mr Darcy.

Mr Wickham

Elizabeth rather falls for him, and her poor opinion of Darcy is only strengthened when he tells her that he grew up with Darcy, and was promised by his father to have job as a clergyman in a local parish. But when the father died, Mr Darcy refused to honour the wish, and turned Wickham out.

Then, Mr Collins makes a proposal of marriage to Elizabeth. She declines, horrifying her mother, as having Mr Collins marry one of her daughters would keep Longbourne in the family.

She begs Mr Bennett to tell Elizabeth to change her mind, in a scene which really made me love Mr Bennett.

“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”

Another lovely line and character moment that I imagined must come from the modern pen of Andrew Davies, but it’s unchanged from the Austen text.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 1st October 1995 – 21:00

After this, recording continues, and there’s a trailer for Dangerfield, followed by a trailer for Backup.

Then, the news with Peter Sissons, leading with Labour avoiding a row over the minimum wage.

There’s a story about metrication, something I have to confess I’d thought had happened quite a long time before.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 1st October 1995 – 21:55

After the news, a trailer for Everyman and a trailer for Rugby on Grandstand.

Then, an episode of The Frank Skinner Show.

Frank Skinner

His first interview is with Deborah Russell and Maureen Sutton on contraception and sex.

Deborah Russell and Maureen Sutton

Next he interviews Professors Deborah and Roger Fouts, the scientists who taught Washo the ape how to use sign language.

Deborah and Roger Fouts

Finally, he interviews Chantal Brown and Ross Fawcett, two models from Scotland.

Chantal Brown and Ross Fawcett

During this interview, he plays the original clip which was used in the Saturday Live titles of a man gurning.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 1st October 1995 – 22:10

Afterwards, there’s a trailer for Eastenders and Due South.

Then, a trailer for Panorama, on the future promise of Tony Blair.

Then there’s the start of an Everyman episode about Sister Helen Prejean, the nun who visits prisoners in death row, and whose work was the basis of the film Dead Man Walking.

This recording stops after a while, and just before the end of the tape there’s a recording underneath. Based on the fact that that’s Lee Van Cleef there, I think it was El Condor.

Old Western

One comment

  1. The appearance of Tarby on Room 101 is one of a number of appearances by him in seemingly “alternative” settings at the time, he also appeared on HIGNFY, clearly the result of his agent seeing the success Bob Monkhouse had enjoyed on these shows and wondering if Tarby could be suitably reinvented. But no, he was still too old school.

    You don’t see much of that first series of The Frank Skinner Show, I know Frank didn’t especially enjoy it and it was still finding its feet somewhat. They released a video of it in the late nineties but there was only one clip from series one on it, with an apology for Frank’s haircut.

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