Before the first programme, the end of some old-school Top Gear, looking at a rally race somewhere cold. The kind of story the new Top Gear was never remotely interested in.
There’s a trailer for Laurel Avenue.
Then, Murder Most Horrid starts a second series, with Overkill, written by Steven Moffatt, and Dawn French is in a very dark place.
Before she can carry out the deed, she’s interrupted by Amanda Donohoe.
Donohoe is some kind of assassin, and isn’t particularly sympathetic to Dawn’s intentions. But whoever her enemies are, they know she’s there, shoot up the hotel window a bit, then tell her she has to present herself to them in an hour or else she’ll be brought there.
So she has a proposition for Dawn. “So far in my professional I have killed well over fifty people.” “Oh, so you’re a social worker too?”
Dawn has to pose as her to help kill her target before he can kill Donohoe.
Yay! It’s Geoffrey McGivern.
Donohoe’s targets are Peter Vaughan and Colin Salmon.
It’s a typical Moffat farce, which ends with almost everybody dead, which is an advantage of this programme’s format. Very dark, but funny too.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 3rd March 1994 – 21:00
After this programme, there’s a trailer for Absolutely Fabulous, Then recording switches to the end of another Top Gear and an appearance by Young Clarkson.
There’s a trailer for From A to B: Tales of Modern Motoring.
The next episode of Nurder Most Horrid is Lady Luck written by Paul Smith and Terry Kyan, creators of Colin’s Sandwich.
Sean Gallagher holds up a bank, then hijacks Dawn French in her car to escape the police. She ends up helping him a lot more than he expects, until the final twist.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 10th March 1994 – 21:00
The next episode is A Severe Case of Death by Chris England. Dawn plays a housekeeper to an old country doctor.
She does a certain amount of medical practice herself. “He’s got something I like to call influenza.” “Oh my God he’s got something Latin.”
Timothy West is the doctor, not a very good one, and charging a lot for his services.
But he dies of shock on learning his son has died at sea. French is (of course) dismissed, but she hatches a plan to continue practising medicine.
She poses as West’s son, for whom he had already written a letter of recommendation to the suire of another village, John Fortune, who accepts the letter but doesn’t have much time for doctors, and dismissed the last one because ‘he was a fake’.
All’s going well, although she does start falling for the squire, which could be awkward. And then the old doctor’s son turns up, alive, and insists on living with her and taking all her money.
Things get worse when Brian Hibbard (of the Flying Pickets) turns up demanding money with menaces, as the real Doctor Adams had run up a rather large bill with their employer.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 17th March 1994 – 21:00
The next episode is We All Hate Granny written by James Hendrie. Dawn French is the hated Granny, with Vistoria Wicks (Sally Smedley from Drop the Dead Donkey) as her daughter.
James Fleet is the son-in-law.
Their children are astonishingly rude. When Granny gives them hand-knitted piglet toys, they throw them out of the window in disgust.
Thrift has lost his job, and being an ancient 44 years old, has trouble getting a new one. But Wicks knows that Granny is actually very rich, as she has shares in a large number of successful companies, so they’re just waiting for her to die.
Granny does start to win over the children, though.
But the parents can’t stand it, and waiting for Granny to die is too much, and they move to actively trying to kill her.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th March 1994 – 21:00
Next, it’s Mangez Merveillac by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. Dawn French plays Verity Hodge, a beloved food writer, whose famous account of her time in provincial France doesn’t match the reality of the people who were there.
Her book is a massive success, but things go a bit wrong for her when people want to visit the village, as they might discover that she slightly overstated the charms of the village. So she gets the villagers to massively remodel the village.
Soon the tourists start arriving in vast numbers, including Kevin McNally and his family.
But then Patricia Hayes arrives as Dorothy Templecombe, who wrote the recipe book used by the Patron of the hotel Verity stayed in, and who recognised all her recipes in Verity’s book.
This episode has about three different twists, whicb is impressive.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 31st March 1994 – 21:00
The final episode in the series is Smashing Bird by Jon Canter. It’s a London Gangster story, with quite a cast.
Dawn French plays a nightclub singer, due to marry Ray Winstone and move to Spain.
But on a bank job, where Winstone was the getaway driver, he’s killed when his car explodes.
Hywel Bennett is the gang kingpin.
David Bamber (off of Chalk) is his right hand man.
Mark McGann is Winstone’s former best friend.
It looks suspiciously like the gang engineered Winstone’s death to stop him and French leaving, and in particular, to keep French there to skivvy for the gang.
Then, they “get word” that a rival gang in Spain killed Winstone and tell French that she should kill the rival gang as revenge. Of course, it’s another stitch-up.
But she pieces together the clues and realises that they were lying about what happened. She wants revenge, but finds she’s not really a killer. Then she finds a way to get them to do the work for her.
And there’s a last surprise cameo from Michael Elphick at the end.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th April 1994 – 21:00
After this episode, recording switches to Channel 4 and an episode of Home Improvement. The two older brothers are being horrible to their younger brother, mainly because Tim Allen is an awful father. His solution is to frighten the life out of the two older kids.
Then, talking about dysfunctional families, there’s an episode of Roseanne. I like her sweatshirt.
This is mid-vintage Roseanne, when Tom Arnold was still listed as an executive producer, and Sarah Chalke was playing Becky. It’s Thanksgiving, and Becky offers to do all the cooking.
After this, recording stops, and underneath there’s this.
It’s Charlie Drake delivering a monologue from a dustbin. Also appearing are Norman Beaton and Stephen Rea. If I had to guess, I’d say it has the aroma of Samuel Beckett.
A quick search in Genome and it’s Endgame, probably the broadcast from February 1994 given the first programme on this tape is from March, and would have been taped over it. Most likely a repeat of The Day Today. BBC Two – 24th February 1994 – 00:00
- Andrews Antacid
- trail: Frasier – a trail for the very start of the series.
- trail: Eurotrash
- Bird’s Eye Crispy Chicken