Month: November 2016

LA Law – tape 1800

Some late-period LA Law now, from Sky One.

Martin Mull plays a travel agent who kept booking a couple into warzones.

Martin Mull

Alan Rosenberg plays a new regular, offered a position at the firm. Leland offers to recommend him for membership of his private club, but he wonders if they’d welcome a Jewish member.

And Lucy Liu plays a chinese woman whose husband died when travelling to the US as refugees.

Lucy Liu

The next episode features guest appearances by Jerry Stiller

Jerry Stiller

William H Macy plays a poetry publisher

William H Macy

In the third episode, there’s a man who pretended to be a policeman, and there’s a cheeky quotation of the Hill Street Blues theme at one point.

In the next episode, Roy Dotrice plays a Ballet Choreographer

Roy Dotrice

James Cromwell plays an attorney.

James Cromwell

Also appearing is juggler Michael Moschen, who (trivia fans) played David Bowie’s hands in Labyrinth when he was manipulating those glass balls.

Michael Moschen

After this episode, the recording continues with the start of an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation.


  • trail: Sundays on Sky One
  • Typhoo
  • Edam
  • Pedigree Chum
  • 100% Summer
  • Gillette
  • Fairy Dishwasher
  • Sunday Express
  • Dry Blackthorn
  • Death Becomes Her
  • Pepsi Max
  • Daily Star
  • Persil
  • trail: Football
  • trail: Sunday Night
  • Nat West
  • Fairy
  • Heineken Export
  • Softmints
  • trail: Malcolm X
  • trail: Melrose Place
  • Guinness
  • Natrel
  • Haynes
  • Airtours
  • Shloer
  • Oral B
  • Kenco
  • trail: Boxing
  • trail: Barbra Streisand The Concert
  • Natrel
  • Heineken
  • Kitekat
  • Perfect Balance
  • trail: unforgiven
  • trail: Star Trek The Next Generation
  • Always
  • Radion
  • Too Good to be True
  • Dove
  • First Choice Holidays
  • Sky TV Guide
  • trail: Melrose Place
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Vidal Sassoon
  • Bran Flakes
  • Branston Pickle
  • trail: Rugby
  • trail: The Wanderer
  • John Smith’s
  • Radion
  • Head & Shoulders
  • The Very Best of Randy Crawford
  • Pepsi Max
  • trail: Unforgiven
  • UK Gold
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Walkers
  • trail: Sky
  • trail: Melrose Place
  • Too Good to be True
  • Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
  • Converse React
  • Hovis
  • VO5
  • British Meat
  • Consenting Adults
  • trail: One West Waikiki
  • Budweiser
  • Whiskas
  • Perfect Balance
  • Wilkinson Sword
  • Bold
  • Pantene
  • trail: Richard Littlejohn
  • trail: Sky
  • Bold
  • Biactol
  • Vidal Sassoon
  • 3 Tenors
  • Burger King
  • Daily Star
  •  trail: movies
  • trail: Saturday
  • Flash
  • Levi
  • Kitekat
  • Sky TV Guide
  • trail: Sports
  • trail: The Wanderer
  • Kit Kat
  • John Smith’s
  • Unvle Bens
  • Daz Automatic – Danny Baker
  • Max Factor
  • trail: Mr Nanny

2 point 4 Children – Michael Moore’s Christmas TV Nation – tape 1806

Here’s an episode of Andrew Marshall’s 2 point 4 Children, a solo sitcom for him, after quite some time writing in a team with David Renwick.

In The Parent Trap, Belinda Lang’s Bill finds out her daughter doesn’t want her boyfriends mother to visit their house, so she makes an extra special effort to be normal. I can definitely empathise with this problem.

Belinda Lang

BBC Genome: BBC One – 5th September 1994 – 20:30

The Family Plot recording misses out the very start. Probably my fat fingers, or rushing around trying to find the right tape to put it on. The family are arguing about what to watch. Ben wants to watch Top Gear – not even the good Top Gear, this was when it was mostly Tiff Needell talking about stock car racing.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 12th September 1994 – 20:30

Fortuosity sees Bill receiving a chain letter. Remember chain letters? Are they still a thing? Or have they been completely supplanted by passive aggressive Facebook posts?

There’s a really brief appearance by Idris Elba as a parachute instructor – you can barely make him out, though. Not really a star-making part.

Idris Elba

Also guesting in this episode, Sandra Dickinson.

Sandra Dickinson

BBC Genome: BBC One – 19th September 1994 – 20:30

Next episode is Curiosity Killed the Cat. Bill is bedridden with flu, and the family are being very cagey about things happening around the house.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 26th September 1994 – 20:30

The last episode on this tape is Frenzy. Bill is busy working in her brand new kitchen, while Ben struggles with recording a movie on his video recorder. And Rona has an unwelcome visitor.


Plus Jenny is performing at the school concert. The teacher in charge appears to have come as Gary Glitter. Wouldn’t happen today.

Gary Glitter

And the family do a Blues Brothers number.

Blues Brothers

And the programme ends on a cliffhanger, which is really unfortunate as I don’t have the next episode on this tape.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd October 1994 – 20:30

Instead, next on the tape is Michael Moore’s Christmas TV Nation. And at Christmastime, Michael went around some of the huge companies trying to give $1000 to those who had been found guilty of various corporate malfeasances. Comedian Steven Wright appears at their ‘Corp-Aid’ concert on Wall Street.

Steven Wright

I love the stupid poll results they do. I presume these were all questions they got a polling company to ask, and it demonstrates how easy it is to get nonsense out of a poll.

naked royalty

One of the reporters on the show was our very own Louis Theroux, before he forged his own career as a documentarian.

Louis Theroux

In a segment about US military efforts, Mike speaks to White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, a consultant on The West Wing.

Dee Dee Myers

29% of American gun owners believe that Forrest Gump was a documentary.

Forrest Gump was a documentary

14% of Americans thing that “BBC” refers to an outmoded pesticide

Outmoded Pesticide

In another segment, Louis Theroux meets a man who shouts abuse at women going into abortion clinics, and who condones the murder of doctors performing abortions.

Louis Theroux and terrorist

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th December 1994 – 20:55

After this, there’s a trailer for Situation Vacant. And a trail for Dead Again.

Then there’s an extra, short programme, a magic trick, performed by Fay Presto, for Neil Pearson.

And after a trailer for Christmas Day programmes on BBC2, there’s an episode of Steptoe and Son.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th December 1994 – 21:45

After this, there’s a trailer for The Butcher’s Wife and another trail for Boxing Day programmes.

There’s then part of another magic trick, featuring Tony Blackburn, but it’s incomplete as the tape ends before the trick really ends.

thirtysomething – Bill Hicks – It’s Just A Ride – Bill Hicks – Revelations – Equinox – tape 1797

Well now. My labelling on these rips tended to be just what was written on the tape label, so not always accurate or complete. So this tape was simply labelled ‘thirtysomething’. Not very exciting. But my database is more complete, hence the rather longer title of today’s entry. I generate these blog entries as empty entries from my tape database, so it takes care of setting the publish date to the next day since the last entry, saving me having to do loads of clicking in WordPress and also having to retype the title, with all the possible scope for error that entails.

Hence, this entry shows all the programmes listed in the database that are on this tape, and it’s much more interesting than just thirtysomething.

This looks like the pilot, too. No title music, just titles over a lot of scenes setting up characters.

It’s interesting that this is directed by co-creator Marshall Herskovitz. His co-creator Edward Zwick has had much the more high-profile directing career since the show finished.

I liked thirtysomething despite myself. At first, I dismissed it as ‘The Whinging Yuppies Show’ but I did become a regular viewer after a while.

It’s interesting to watch this establishing episode, as it sets up a lot of the core tensions in the show, some of which are now familiar to me as they wouldn’t have been first time round, like the new parents whose single friends assume that they can still do all the same social things they did before, and just dump the baby with a sitter. Peter Horton even suggests going backpacking.

I know things are exaggerated in drama, but Hope’s friend Ellyn in particular is unbelievably self involved and unwilling to accept that a new baby should change her relationship with Hope in any way. “I’m a part of your life too. And I have prior claim. You can’t just turn your back on people who care about you.” Jeepers. That’s an unbelievable guilt trip to lay upon a struggling new mother.

After this episode, recording switches to Bill Hicks – It’s Just a Ride, a documentary about the comedian who had only recently died, I think. Here he is with his childhood friend, when they would sneak out of their parents’ houses to go to the local stand-up club.

Young Bill Hicks

There are contributions from Jay Leno

Jay Leno

David Letterman

David Letterman

Eric Bogosian

Eric Bogosian

Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard

Sean Hughes

Sean Hughes

Brett Butler

Brett Butler

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Thea Vidale

Thea Vidale

thirtysomething - Bill Hicks - It's Just A Ride - Bill Hicks - Revelations - Equinox - tape 1797

After this, there’s one of Hicks’ stand-up shows, Revelations, with a brief introduction by Rhona Cameron and Mark Lamaar.

Bill’s entrance onto the stage is quite impressive. That appears to be real fire behind him.

Bill Hicks Entrance

I don’t have much to say about Bill Hicks other than he’s someone you should watch if you like stand-up comedy. He’s important.

After this, recording switches to Equinox: The Cyborg Cometh. I haven’t started watching this, but I’ll be disappointed if Professor Kevin Warwick doesn’t make an appearance, a man who claimed he’d become a cyborg because he’d implanted a chip in his wrist. I don’t think the chip did anything useful – it was too early for contactless payments.

Opening the show is someone who’s billed as a ‘NASA research fellow’, Charles Gray. He’s burbling on about humanity evolving into Homo Cyborg.

Charles Gray

Manfred Clynes was the man who invented the concept of a cyborg in 1960, with a paper on the potential re-engineering of humans to live in outer space. He looks exactly how you want the inventor of cyborgs to be.

Manfred Clynes

Lisa Moore, Antropologist, talks about the future of genetics. “Semen Industry offers Techno Semen which is a process through creating a new, improved, more pristine body product.”

Lisa Moore

Manfred Clynes goes, I think, a little bit too far when he talks about ‘inserting the genes for speech’ into animals, and imagining the legals problems that would arise if animals could talk.

It’s all very breathless and Brave New World with lots of speculations about how different the world will be. Progress has been a bit slower than some people here imagined.

After this, recording continues with a documentary Twenty First Century Airport about an airport in Japan. The tape ends during this programme.


  • Lenor
  • Red Cross Rwanda Appeal
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Family Channel
  • Bravo
  • trail: Rasputin The Mad Monk
  • trail: Clive Anderson Talks Back
  • trail: Clive Anderson Talks Back (again – this is a good parody of the Mazda adverts that were playing at the time.)

  • trail: The Bureau
  • BUP
  • Dixons
  • Boots
  • Tizer
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Guinness
  • Virgin Upper Class
  • Vauxhall GM Card
  • Virgin Upper Class
  • Fosters
  • Debenhams
  • DHL
  • Yorkie
  • Free Spirit Holidays
  • Canon
  • trail: Flatliners
  • Renault Safrane
  • Marmite
  • Allied Dunbar
  • KFC
  • Peperami Hot
  • Fosters
  • Safrane
  • trail: Critical Eye: Service with a Smile
  • Allied Dunbar
  • American Express
  • Air Canada
  • Boddington’s

Doctor Who – tape 1804

This recording starts quite a way before the programme, so we get a whole chunk of the Ray Brooks drama Big Deal.

Then, more from the Davison era of Doctor Who with Kinda. This is set a fair bit earlier than yesterday’s stories, as Nyssa and Adric are still on the Tardis crew, and Turlough hasn’t joined yet.

Oh look, the Doctor has built a Delta Wave augmentor because Nyssa keeps fainting. I wonder if it goes ding when there’s stuff?

Delta Wave Augmentor

And after Polly James yesterday, there’s another Liver Bird in this story, Nerys Hughes.

Nerys Hughes

The Tardis crew are on a jungle planet, where there’s an indigenous human population, and a small scientific survey team studying them.

Tegan starts getting a bit drowsy and falls asleep, and the locals come and put some flowers round her neck.

Sleepy Tegan

The Doctor and Adric find some kind of robotic sentry suit that takes them prisoner because Adric can’t resist fiddling with it. It’s no wonder everyone hated Adric when he was given such things to do.

Tegan starts having some odd dreams.

Scary Dream World

Nerys Hughes is the anthropologist studying the local people, the Kinda. She thinks they’re telepathic. But the other two on the team are a bit less understanding. “If the Kinda are so clever, how is it they didn’t build their own interplanetary vehicle and colonise us?” I think this is going to be a parable about colonisation and exploitation.

One of the other scientists has some kind of communal moment with two captive Kinda, and when he’s left in charge by the boss, he puts Nerys and the Doctor under arrest, assisted by the two Kinda, now toting guns.

In episode 2 we meet two more Kinda, but these talk, an old woman and a young girl. They can read the other Kinda’s minds, but they seem to be different. They refer to the colonists as ‘Not We’.

Hindle, the man left in charge of the outpost, has gone full colonial now, dressing up his captive Kinda in pith helmets. The programme isn’t taking a chance we might miss its subtext is it?

Full Colonial

Meanwhile, out in the jungle, the head man (“the old red faced one who shouts” says the young Kinda) arrives in his exo-suit, is given a wooden box by the young girl, and goes a bit strange.

Power Loader

The mad Hindle’s plan for keeping the dome safe is to raze the jungle to the ground for a radius of fifty miles to create a ‘cordon sanitaire’ around the dome.

Tegan is still in her dreamworld, talking to a man about something or other. Then they exchange an arm snake. This is, without doubt, the trippiest Doctor Who story I can remember.

Snake Arms

Once she’s got the snake, she wakes up, and has acquired a snake tattoo of her own.

The commander, Sanders, returns from the jungle, the only one to have done so. He’s looking a bit possessed. In the jungle, Tegan is, herself, somewhat possessed, and she meets a male Kinda, tells him she’s the Mara, then swaps snake tattoos again.

And Hindle gets the Doctor to open the box Sanders got while they and Nerys are in the cage. She screams when he opens it for another cliffhanger.

It’s a bit of a cheat, as inside in some kind of corn dolly which jumps out on a spring. But it’s a nice defusal of tension, as the power suddenly fades and something invisible starts affecting the three in the cage. It seems to be a message from the old woman and the young girl.


The Male Kinda, Aris, can speak now, and their rules say he should lead the Kinda. But the old woman recognises the mark of the Mara. There’s a trippy dream sequence that appears to presage “the end of everything”.

The wise woman dies, but the young girl seems to be the same person.

There’s some lovely stuff going on in this story. Adric is force by the bonkers Hindle to go out in the exo-suit and deal with the Kinda, and Aris has his own wooden exo-suit in true cargo cult style.

Wooden Exo Suit

Aris, by the way, is played by That’s life presenter Adrian Mills.

Adrian Mills

The Doctor traps Aris in a circle of mirrors, making him think the mirrors are capturing his soul, and the Mara leaves him and manifests its true, snaky self. No great Doctor Who story can survive without a slightly sub-par monster model.

The Mara

It’s easy to see why this story is so well regarded. It’s packed with ideas, and there’s enough trippy pyschedelia to paper over any cracks on logic.

Interesting fact: There was a strange fan theory that Kinda was written pseudonymously by Kate Bush. This seems based mostly on the writer Christopher Bailey, sharing her initials (Catherine Bush) and not much else. Well, it was a bit trippy too and fans thought that might have been her style.

The story was well received enough that next series saw a sequel, Snakedance, and that’s handily next on this tape. This story is post-Adric, and the story immediately after Tegan returned to the Tardis after her brief stopover between Time Flight and Arc of Infinity. I wonder if they’ll give Nyssa a headache again this time to get rid of her?

No, in this case it’s Tegan who’s asleep at the start of the episode. But she’s have bad dreams, and the Doctor thinks she gave him the wrong coordinates for their current journey. It’s all looking a bit snakey. Perhaps she’s not entirely free of the Mara.

Snakey dream

Then, we’re with a very louche looking Martin Clunes, lounging on a sheepskin-covered chaise longue and staring thoughtfully at a snake statue.

Martin Clunes

His planet was one ruled by the Mara. But they thought the Mara was destroyed. The production team had fun with the planet’s decor.

Planet Decor

Tegan isn’t clear of the Mara, and it’s leading her to behave very strangely.

Tegan Mara

Meanwhile, the Doctor tries to find out more about the planet and its people. He realises that ‘The Great Crystal’ is what the Mara needs to manifest again, and Mara/Tegan is already colluding with Martin Clunes to obtain it.

Lon and Tegan Sitting in a tree H I S S I N G

Clunes is great in this. A lounge lizard as Doctor Who villain.

I like the way this story is using versions of British traditions, like Punch and Judy, and other cultural traditions. There’s something subtly creepy about enforced traditions, and I like the way the story is using these as part of the thing that might bring back the big monster. It’s all very Wicker Man.


There’s a strange scene where the Doctor has to contact Dojen, who has the crystal, and there’s another slightly trippy sequence – it looks like it was shot in a studio, but the picture seems to have film grain. It’s a bit hard to tell with my off-air VHS quality, though.

I didn’t think it was possible for Clunes to become any camper in this story, but he manages it.

Camper Clunes

This story’s Mara is an improvement over the first, but not a huge amount.

Better Mara

Mind over matter triumphs, and the Doctor manages to prevent the Mara’s becoming, and destroy it finally.

Then, over the end credits, the continuity announcer decides it’s OK to tell us that in the next episode of Blake’s 7 “it’s time to say farewell to Gan.” I know these are repeats, but they are the first repeats since 1977, so there’s a good chance that much of the audience hasn’t seen it at all. That kind of spoiler is not acceptable.


There’s a few minutes of Blake’s 7 before the recording stops, and underneath, another few minutes of a Carry On movie – Don’t Lose Your Head at a guess. Then that recording stops too.


  • Craftmatic Adjustable Bed
  • Haynes
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • MFI
  • Vanish
  • trail: Hazell
  • trail: Seconds Out
  • trail: Dallas
  • trail: Carry On Don’t Lose Your Head
  • Airtours
  • Grattan
  • Jelly Babies
  • Texas Homecare
  • Mazda
  • Esso
  •  Shloer
  • Shloer
  • DHL
  • Skytours
  • Softmints
  • Daily Star
  • Blown Away in cinemas
  • Seabond
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Pledge
  • Do It All
  • Pepsi Max
  • Asda
  • Ty-Phoo
  • Natrel
  • Texas
  • Aladdin on video
  • Haynes manuals
  • Guinness
  • Galaxy Dove Bar
  • Gillette Gel
  • Just For Men
  • Look Again Catalogue
  • Doritos
  • trail: The Sweeney
  • trail: The Bill
  • trail: Perry Mason
  • trail: Bergerac The Movie
  • Stella Artois Dry
  • Bird’s Eye Fish Fingers
  • Club
  • Bisto
  • Family Channel
  • Ariel
  • Fairy Liquid
  • Janet Frazer
  • Timotei
  • Daily Mail
  • Ragu
  • Maxwell House
  • Bird’s Eye Baker’s Bistro
  • Radion – Mr Motivator
  • Kleenex
  • Boddington’s
  • Bisto Best
  • Mr Kipling
  • McCain Oven Chips
  • Tampax
  • Carex
  • Bic Twin
  • Johnson’s Baby wipes
  • Surf
  • Murphy’s
  • TSB
  • Daily Mail
  • Bird’s Eye Crunchy Garlic Chicken
  • Carex
  • Crest
  • Super Fresco
  • Ariel
  • Voter Registration
  • trail: Perry Mason
  • trail: Bergerac the movie
  • trail: The Sweeney
  • trail: Ripping Yarns

Doctor Who – tape 1802

This tape opens with the end of Thunderbirds.

Then, we have some more Doctor Who with The Awakening. Tegan and Turlough are in the Tardis, trying to visit Tegan’s Grandfather, and they land in an English village in 1984 that’s re-enacting the civil war, rather too enthusiastically for the local teacher, played by Polly James (off of The Liver Birds).

Polly James

One of the head soldiers is played by Glyn Houston

Glyn Houston

The other main player is the local magistrate, played by Denis Lill (off of Survivors). He’s a bit more of a dick here than he was in that show.

Denis Lill

The local church is falling down, and the Doctor investigates, finding a boy from the 1600s. Something alien is definitely affecting the area.

It’s the Malus, a poorly explained evil force that’s hidden inside the church, and starts pumping out smoke at the end of the episode to give us an underwhelming cliffhanger.

The Malus

Tegan has been dressed up to be Queen of the May – that probably isn’t a good thing.


On the plus side, her grandfather has turned up.

This is a rare two-parter and the story resolves itself quite quickly, without too much pointless running around and getting captured, which is a breath of fresh air.

Next, it’s Frontios. The Tardis has gone quite far in the future, and has found an outpost of some of the last humans, led by James Onedin himself, Peter Gilmore.

Peter Gilmore

He seems to report to Jeff Rawle

Jeff Rawle

Also on the team is Lesley Dunlop.

Lesley Dunlop

The show reuses federation helmets from Blake’s 7.

Federation helmets

There’s not a bad cliffhanger to episode one, with the destruction of the Tardis, even if it does happen off screen.

They threaten to kill The Doctor, but somehow Turlough keeps they at bay by brandishing the Tardis’ hatstand, one of the few things left after the Tardis was destroyed.


Tegan is helping another of the outpost with their batteries. Power is a big problem, because all their technology is slowly failing.

She finds a strange folder in his filing cabinet, adding to the mystery of the outpost.

Deaths Unaccountable

Turlough and Lesley Dunlop investigate why the people on Frontios no longer go underground.

Then Jeff Rawle, who’s been suffering from a heart problem, falls off his cot and gets sucked into the ground. It’s The Hungry Earth all over again (for the first time).

Then, underground, first Turlough, then the Doctor and Tegan find out who’s lurking there – they’re called the Tractators.


Before episode three there’s the end of another episode of Thunderbirds.

Turlough knows all about the Tractators because they infected his planet. Their main lair actually looks quite impressive, by the standards of the show.

Tractator Lair

It’s a pity they themselves aren’t quite as impressive.

The end of episode three finds the Doctor meeting one of the Tractators’ drilling machines – complete with a living human mind controlling it. That’s why they sucked people into the ground.

Captain Revere

The Tractators’ plan is to burrow waveguides into the rock of Frontios so they can use their gravitational powers to ply the planet anywhere they want.

The Tardis is rediscovered partially fused with the rock of the planet.

Rocky Tardis

They solve the problem, once the Tardis has ben repaired by the head Tractator’s gravitational powers, by taking him to an uninhabited planet, leaving the humans and the other, harmless Tractators, to live happily ever after.

After this, recording stops (just as another programme starts which I don’t recognise (and there’s no continuity announcer).

Underneath there’s a film, Soft Beds, Hard Battles, a Peter Sellers film I’d never heard of before that looks rather strange. It features a brief appearance by Dr Who’s Nicholas Courtney too.

Nicholas Courtney

The tape ends after a few minutes of this.


  • trail: Top of the Pops
  • trail: Blake’s 7/The Tripods
  • trail: Cassandra Crossing
  • Daily Star
  • Shell
  • Ragu
  • peperami
  • Marmite
  • MFI
  • Gillette
  • Real Life Crimes
  • Deep Forest
  • Yorkie
  • Fosters
  • Pepsi Max
  • Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum
  • Imperial Leather
  • Bourjois
  • Head & Shoulders
  • PAL
  • Daily Star
  • Dove
  • Organics
  • Real Life Crimes
  • Radion
  • Bird’s Eye Baker’s Bistro
  • Somerfield/Gateway
  • trail: Blake’s 7/The Tripods
  • trail: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
  • trail: Triangle
  • trail: Top of the Pops
  • trail: Soft Beds, Hard Battles
  • OXO
  • Yorkie
  • Vitalite
  • Bran Flakes
  • Satin & Steel
  • Esso
  • Real Life Crimes
  • trail: Doctor Who/Blake’s 7
  • trail: Monday Night

Brief Encounter – tape 1805

Straight into the movie. Brief Encounter is a movie which almost everybody knows, even if not everyone has seen it. It’s almost shorthand for a particular type of film, a particular type of acting, even a particular way of speaking.

It’s the story about two married people, Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard who meet on a railway platform. She gets a piece of grit in her eye, and he, a doctor, helps her with it. They then meet, randomly, a few more times, and one day share a lunch table at a restaurant, where they get to know each other a little better than just being nodding acquaintances.

He has a very strange view of musicians. He knows she can’t be a musician as she’s “too sane and uncomplicated” which seems a little dismissive of musicians everywhere.

They spend the afternoon together, going to the pictures, and agree to meet the next week.

The meetings acquire a little more romance, as the two realise they’re falling in love, but in a terribly repressed English way. Although there are the occasional torrid smooches.


Much of the action takes place on the railway station where they met, and I think there’s an inherent extra drama afforded by the old train carriages when you could get on and off a train even as it’s just pulling out.

But it does make me cry – or is it just the Rachmaninov?

After this film, UK Gold shuts down for the night, and we get some infomercials. There’s Amazing Discoveries with Mike Levy.

Mike Levy

This time he’s touting the Tiger Juicer, with fitness guru Jack Lillane.

Then, he’s back with the Bedazzler Plus, with British spokesperson Roxene. A lot of these shows tend to have British spokespeople, I don’t know why.

There’s one for fishing lures. One for hair care (featuring William Katt) and then another Brit, Estelle Walshe, presents the Great American Home Show, with the Kitchen Helper.




  • Nat West
  • John Smith’s
  • Skytours
  • Randy Crawford
  • Argos
  • Sure
  • Macleans
  • American Express
  • That Loving Feeling
  • Doritos
  • Ragu
  • Liptonice
  • Persil Pure
  • Kitekat
  • Pledge
  • Bounty
  • trail: Wednesday Evening
  • trail: The Tripods
  • trail: Carry On Films
  • trail: 80s Top of the Pops
  • trail: Hazell

Doomwatch – tape 1766

Back to UK Gold for this tape, which opens with the end of The Onedin Line.

Then there’s an episode of Doomwatch. Another organisation are monitoring the Doomwatch team. I love the production team’s attempt to simulate a ‘computerised’ picture – in those days (1970) there wasn’t really a consistent visual vocabulary for that kind of thing.

Quist pixellated

The computer operator appears to be examining exchange rates rather than personnel files.

Exchange Rates

I love her typing action. She reminds me of French and Saunders doing background artiste work on Grandstand.

According to the computer, Dr Quist has a personality type ‘Picnic’.

This is Project Sahara, and the team are being monitored because of their current investigation into the titular project.

God, the sexism on show is a bit awful. “Two females in one office, it never did work out.”

Project Sahara is a spray which reduces vegetation to desert. “We must ban it.” “We can’t, we can only recommend.”

Quist gets a call from the minister, and both scientists looking into the project, Stella Robson (Hildegard Neil) and Toby Wren (Robert Powell) are suspended on security grounds.

Even young, trendy, cravat-wearing Robert Powell gets in on the sexism when drowning his sorrows after the suspension. “Do you really want to take my mind off it? Then how about going to bed?” Not the behaviour I expect from a future Jesus of Nazareth.

But Powell (Wren) shouldn’t really be drowning his sorrows, as he’s being watched by government man Nigel Stock.

Nigel Stock

I think I’ve worked out what might be happening here. Wren asks Stella ‘Who are you saving it for?’ in that gross entitled way that men sometimes do. But then we see her at home, with her partner, and he’s more interested than he should be in her documents from work. And we also learn that her security screening has only just completed. I suspect he’s been stealing secrets. We’ll see as the programme continues.

It gets creepier as Wren passes out while at Stella’s house, then Nigel Stock turns up at the door. He talks to Stella about her background – she’s part Syrian. But she has no political axe to grind. But her boyfriend is a spy, and she tricks him by leaving an interesting looking secret envelope around the house.

But the moral of this story isn’t spying, it’s the use of a computer to determine the likely security risk of someone.

The next episode is Re-Entry Forbidden. There’s a space flight, including a British astronaut. And James Burke is doing the TV Coverage.

James Burke

Also doing the coverage is Michael Aspel.

Michael Aspel

Something went wrong with re-entry, and the British astronaut is acting a bit snippy with his wife. He was one of Quist’s pupils, so there’s a personal connection, and Doomwatch also investigates space missions.

When a second space mission takes place, also featuring our British Astronaut, the American TV presenter is rather louche. It seems unbelievable to me that TV presenters would happily smoke away while presenting.

American Announcer

Quist believes that the British astronaut is paranoid, and a danger to the crew, but due to hopeless communication, he manages to broadcast that information to the entire crew, and shortly after that, they mess up a manoeuvre and the spaceship burns up on re-entry. Rather grim.

Before the next episode there’s the end of The Onedin Line.

The next episode is The Devil’s Sweets. Some women are handing out free samples of sweets to people on the street. Pat from the Doomwatch team (Wendy Hall) tries one.

Free Samples

The team are closing up an investigation into the dangers of smoking, and are happy that figures show smoking has dropped. But when Colin reviews the latest figures, he finds that in the GLC area, smoking has increased by 49% in the last two weeks.

Toby is visiting the manufacturers of Checker Board cigarettes, who have seen a sudden and unusual increase in sales over the last two weeks. Checker Board seems to be the only brand seeing the increase in sales.

Checker Board

The advertising for Checker Board is being run by a fairly small firm, run my Peter Shipton (Maurice Roeves) and his magnificent telephone.

Maurice Roeves

The team are surprised when Pat pulls out a pack of Checker Board cigarettes – she hasn’t smoked for five years, but suddenly  wanted to smoke.

There seems to be some kind of conditioning effect of the checkerboard pattern – strangely reminiscent of QR codes – and drugs, which might be in the free sweets.


The professor at the university doing experimentation on conditioning has a strange telephone technique, holding the earpiece a couple of inches from his ear. Perhaps his telephone is inadequately sanitised.

Telephone Technique

There’s a rather incongruous action beat where John Ridge has been photographing documents at the university, and feels he has to pull the fire alarm and speed away in his Jaguar, despite the university seemingly only being staffed by one professor and a single guard at the gate.

Pat is taken quite ill, and ends up in intensive care. She’d been taking slimming tablets. “Why couldn’t we have a male secretary?” asks Quist.

There’s some very odd moments in this episode. Shipton gets a phone call that upsets him, and he puts the phone down, cross. Then his secretary walks in and puts a cup of tea on his desk, seemingly just so he can swipe the cup off the desk in anger.

In another scene in the university lab, Quist is angry that they can’t locate the drug that was in the sweets, so he strides the length of the lab, picks up a large beaker filled with (it looks like) egg yolks and hurls it into the sink. The effect is somewhat undercut by the fact that it’s a plastic beaker, so it makes a rather underwhelming sound.

Then, when Ridge gets a call telling him that Pat has died, he smacks Shipton across the face in anger as he argues his innocence.

It’s very stagey, but the underlying story is fine, and the final scene, where Ridge, still thinking Pat is dead, is told by Quist that it was all a ruse, is powerful and genuine.

After this episode, recording switches to another episode, but the tape is nearly over. We’ve skipped to the first episode of series 2, which starts with the shocking climax of series one. Toby Wren is defusing a nuclear bomb under a pier. He thinks he’s got all the wires, and he drops his wire cutters into the sea as he tries to remove the detonator, but find one last wire that he tries to unscrew, and runs out of time. The bomb goes off, not a nuclear blast, but enough to kill Toby.

This is the start of You Killed Toby Wren and features John Barron as a minister.

John Barron

There’s only the very start of the episode here, although I clearly tried to record it. There’s only the first five minutes here. I think I had this episode on commercial VHS which might be why I didn’t record it properly.


  • trail: Blake’s 7
  • trail: Dallas
  • trail: The Sweeney
  • Dettox
  • Gillette
  • Babycham
  • Edam
  • Robinson’s
  • Nesquik cereal
  • Rap-Eze
  • Holsten Pils – Jeff Goldblum
  • Dettox – David Bellamy
  • Max Factor
  • Cornhill Direct
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Holsten Pils – Jeff Goldblum
  • Roysters
  • Seat
  • Kit Kat
  • Craftmatic Adjustable bed
  • Nesquik cereal
  • Gillette
  • Felix
  • Barclaycard
  • trail: Miss Marple/The Bill
  • Renault 19/Clio
  • Minties – Ian Botham
  • Budweiser
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Immac
  • Mr Sheen
  • Prospero Direct
  • KFC
  • Abbey National
  • Courts
  • Rimmel Silks
  • PAL
  • Ariel Color
  • Fairy dishwashing liquid
  • Cornetto
  • Power and Soul
  • Cornhill Direct
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • Nesquik cereal
  • Imperial Leather – Paul Merton
  • Red Cross appeal for Rwanda