Month: May 2017

The Full Wax – tape 1531

Some episodes from Ruby Wax’s 1993 series of talk shows.

Her first guest is Shelley Winters. I like the way her guests are all game to go along with whatever Ruby wants to do. Winters says she was on Wogan, and had fallen asleep in her dressing room.

Danny DeVito isn’t in the studio. He’s plugging his movie, Hoffa.

Ruby does a video diary, which features her husband, TV director Ed Bye.

Also featuring her son

She drops in on Patricia Hodge at home for a pre-interview.

There’s also an interview with a posh but not famous woman who had a facelift.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 29th April 1993 – 22:05

The next episode sees a wedding. The bride is Ruby’s nanny.

Jennifer Saunders is co host.

The first guest is Shelley Winters, as a proper guest. I guess this is a giveaway that they recorded multiple episodes in a single day, a not uncommon thing on some shows. Pointless records three shows in a day, and other quiz shows have a similar schedule.

Taffy Turner goes looking for Princess Diana. I love Taffy Turner.

Another piece features both Michael Winner

and the wonderful Katherine Helmond

Jeanne Moreau makes a brief appearance right at the end.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 6th May 1993 – 22:00

Taffy Turner’s segment this week features Mark Thomas, not as himself.

Jeanne Moreau is a proper guest this week.

Sound the Slatterywatch klaxon – it’s Tony Slattery as Ruby’s butler.

Here’s Will Self. I sat next to him on the tube once. In the radio times he’s billed as a ‘young novelist.’

To close, here’s Ruby riding a horse out of Television Centre wearing a crown.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 13th May 1993 – 22:15

The next episode is a Euro special. “You put Euro in front of anything and it sounds cheaper.”

Julie T Wallace (again – hope she’s well) plays a German TV host.

The first guest is Brigitte Nielsen.

Taffy Turner visits the Channel Tunnel under construction.

John Sessions plays a Greek broadcaster.

And an Italian one.

And Swedish. This segment is getting a little tiresome.

Ruby visits the Eldorado set. She likes riding things, doesn’t she?

She meets a pre-Bugs Jesse Birdsall, the Dirty Den of the show.

Credit spot: Location Director is Peter Cattaneo, before he shot to fame with The Full Monty.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 20th May 1993 – 22:00

The next episode starts with a clip from one of those ‘sex education’ videos that were popular at the time.

Her first guest is Brooke Shields, Somehow, Ruby manages to spit on her.

Richard E Grant isn’t happy that Ruby wants him to play flute and dance.

There’s A Day in the Life of Felicity Kendall

Next, looks like Ruby is poaching guests off of Clive Anderson’s show. Here’s Misha and Zek Halu, married sex consultants.

Then we get to see Richard E Grant playing the flute.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 27th May 1993 – 22:00

After this, we’re over to BBC2, and an episode of Horizon entitled Life is Impossible.

It’s all about one of the greatest remaining scientific mysteries – how did life begin on Earth. Professor Stanley Miller was the man who first experimented with generating a possible ‘primordial soup’.

Given that it’s dealing with one of the ultimate questions of life, the universe and everything, the programme is replete with clips from the BBC’s Hitchhiker’s Guide adaptation.

This is a nice programme, because there’s no consensus as to the answers, and instead we have a lot of scientists disagreeing with each other.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th June 1993 – 20:10

After this, there’s a trailer for Black Daisies for the Bride.

Then, the start of a film called A Breed Apart which stars, among others, Powers Boothe, who died quite recently (less than two weeks ago as I write this) so I have to acknowledge this in the blog’s death list.

This recording stops shortly after the film starts, and underneath there’s an episode of Question Time. Two dead people on that, but Gerald Kaufman and Edward Heath died long enough ago that I can’t claim responsibility.

There’s a trailer for Friday Night Programmes.

Then the tape runs out during some Test Match Cricket.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Angel – tape 2487

On this tape, we find the last two episodes of Season Four of Buffy, and Season One of Angel.

First, Primeval. It’s all going down at the Initiative, and Adam, the big scary Frankenstein dude, has been splitting Buffy from her friends, with Spike’s help, and now it looks like Riley is under Adam’s control too. He’s got a control chip, like Spike, so he can’t resist Adam’s orders.

Adam’s going to be transforming people. He started with Dr Walsh (Lindsay Crouse).

Also Riley’s friend Forrest.

One thing I really like about this episode is that Buffy realises that Spike has been playing them all early on, so the team are back together.

There’s a big assault on Adam’s hidden base, inside the Initiative itself. I have to admit, this big action setpiece didn’t do much for me. It looks very impressive, but it’s hard to care massively about wide shots of people shooting demons.

Things pick up when Buffy goes to face Adam. Riley manages to pull out his controlling chip, and faces off against Forrest, and Buffy fights Adam, and this time she’s got the collective powers of herself, Willow, Xander and Giles.

I like the themes, was glad to see the back of Adam, and I also liked the Parallax View-style government oversight committee at the end.

Next it’s Angel and Blind Date. A blind assassin is after Angel.

Wolfram and Hart are defending her, and get her off. Lyndsey from W&H learns that she’s got another job lined up, which involves killing children. That’s one evil too far for Lyndsey, so he goes to Angel for help.

Gunn gets a part in the plan, causing a diversion. “Evil white men really do have a Mecca.”

I have to admit, I don’t love Angel as much as I love Buffy. It was just a bit too angsty and emo. I didn’t dislike it, Just not as much as Buffy.

Next, the season finale of BuffyRestless. It’s possibly the oddest episode the show ever did.

The gang are relaxing after the momentous events of the last episode, and they’re all asleep before the first VHS movie finishes. And the episode is their dreams.

First, Willow. It starts like Peter Greenaway’s Pillow Book.

Then she has the mother of all anxiety dreams, as she arrives at drama class for her first lesson, only to find they’re about to start a production, and she doesn’t know her lines. There’s a whole host of people in costume here. Harmony, now a vampire.

Buffy seems to be dressed as Sally Bowles.

Riley is a cowboy. “Why is there a cowboy in Death of a Salesman?”

Giles’s speech as Producer is brilliant.

The dream ends with Willow being attacked by some kind of primal warrior, and in real life she convulses on the couch.

Xander’s anxiety dreams include Joyce coming on to him, and suddenly being observed when peeing. I had that dream just this week.

Giles and Spike on swings.

The cheese man appears in all the dreams.

The dream segues into Apocalypse Now, for a cameo by Principal Snyder.

The primal warrior pulls Xander’s heart from his chest, disguised as his abusive father. On to Giles.

He starts with a dream where Buffy is his daughter.

Then Spike is posing for tourists.

Next, over to the Bronze, where Giles gets to sing again.

I love this crowd reaction shot

Buffy’s dream is the most cryptic, and lays hints of coming events. “Wait until Dawn.”

Riley is a spy now.

She confronts the primal warrior, and Tara translates.

She deals with the warrior by telling her she doesn’t get her power from her, and they all wake up. They conclude it was the spirit of the first slayer, invoked by the joining spell they cast in the last episode.

Knowingly, the last shot of the programme is Buffy looking in at their spare room.

It’s really impressive how Whedon makes such an entertaining episode out of a bunch of dreams. It probably helps that he seems to have had all the same anxiety dreams that we all have. I’d worried, after not having seen it in a while, this this one might have been a bit aimless, but it’s really not. it’s huge fun.

Finally on this tape, the season one finale of Angel, called To Shanshu In LA. The scroll stolen by Angel from Wolfram and Hart in the last episode holds a prophecy about the vampire with a soul, and it seems that it refers to his death.

Wolfram and Hart summon a big bad demon for a big ritual. Lyndsey is back on board after being offered a huge raise and a corner office.

The demon attacks the oracles – Angel’s connection to the powers that be.

He also goes after Cordelia, causing her to see absolutely everyone who’s in pain and needing help. If Angel can’t release her from the curse, she’ll die.

Wesley is also hurt, when Wolfram and Hart blow up their headquarters.

So it’s down to Angel alone to stop whatever the ritual is that they are doing. It involves a big box, some captive vampires, and the important scroll.

Angel is too late to prevent the summoning, but he manages to kill the demon, then, when Lyndsey threatens to drop the very important scroll into the fire, Angel tosses an axe and lops Lyndsey’s hand off.

Cordelia is saved, and Wesley translates the scroll, to learn that it doesn’t say Angel will die, but that he will live. His ultimate reward will be to become human again. Awww.

But the mysterious box is back at Wolfram and Hart, and we learn that inside the box, summoned back from death, is none other than Darla.

After this episode, recording continues for a short time with a Pierce Brosnan movie, The Heist. It’s no Taffin.


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  • trail: Dead Man on Campus
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  • Mastercard
  • trail: Bloody Foreigners

The Comic Strip Presents – tape 1526

Here’s a series of episodes of The Comic Strip Presents from their later series on the BBC.

First, one by Keith Allen, Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown.

I have to admit, I don’t particularly like Allen’s entries in the Comic Strip canon. Always too interested in giving Allen ‘acting’ to do, and very few jokes.

There’s a lot of familiar faces here. Here’s Simon Brint, half of Raw Sex.

I’m fairly sure that’s Michael White on the left, the producer of the Comic Strip films.

Jim Carter is a police inspector

Phil Cornwell is Spanker, a Geordie detective who bears a striking relationship to Jimmy Nail’s Spender.

The Gourmet Detective has been murdered by someone wearing platforms and cheesecloth, so Carter has to bring in the 70s detectives, Bonehead and Foyle, The Bullshitters.

Also called in, Shouting George from The Weeney, aka Jim Broadbent.

Peter Richardson also plays Jason Bentley, channeling his inner Peter Wyngarde.

Richard Vernon (the original Slartibartfast) plays a posh man with a mansion – the first port of call for Jason Bentley’s method of solving crimes.

It even has musical numbers.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd April 1993 – 21:00

Next, it’s Space Virgins from Planet Sex. Robbie Coltrane seems to be the only man on a planet of women who are rapidly approaching their breeding cycle, so naturally he’s the one in charge.

They discover an Earth probe, and set forth to find men with whom they can breed.

The show makes liberal use of classic Star Trek sound effects, and some NASA stock footage, perfectly in keeping with the B-movie style. They also used what looks like a ship from the first season of Blake’s 7, although I think this might be a new model shot or possibly an outtake, as that pyro looks a bit over the top.

Isn’t this from Space 1999?

Meanwhile on Earth, Doon Mackichan is fending off the amorous advances of James Blonde.

Blonde is played by Peter Richardson.

His boss is also played by Robbie Coltrane.

Ade Edmondson plays an Air Traffic Controller

Miranda Richardson plays Miss Straugheim, who runs a course designed to eradicate sexism. Blond is sent on the course.

Keith Allen plays Martin Aimless, winner of the Booker Prize for the most clever author of the year.

Jennifer Saunders is one of the Space Virgins.

Dawn French is their leader.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th April 1993 – 21:00

Next is Queen of the Wild Frontier. Julie T Wallace is a very angry farmer, tired of looking after her old father.

Josie Lawrence is her trippy, new age sister.

Two prisoners escape while being transported near the farm, Jack Docherty and Gary Beadle.

Alexei Sayle in the man in charge of the manhunt.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 6th May 1993 – 21:00

The next episode is called Gregory Diary of a Nutcase. Adrian Edmondson is Gregory, and this is his video diary.

Doon Mackichan is the young Louise Bromley, doing a thesis on the serial killer Dr Genghis.

Nigel Planer is Governor Wilkins, in charge of the murderer.

Hugh Quarshie plays Bromley’s superior, Lt Delaney.

Genghis is, of course, played by Keith Allen

If I’m honest, French & Saunders did the whole Silence of the Lambs spoof much, much better on their own show.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 13th May 1993 – 21:00

Next, Demonella, and this one is written and directed by Paul Bartel, who made Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul.

Robbie Coltrane is a struggling music publisher.

Jennifer Saunders brings a song she wants to play for him. She’s The Devil, and the song is incredibly catchy.

Miriam Margolyes is Coltrane’s mother.

Bartel himself makes an appearance as Oscar Wilde

A nice change of pace for the series, and, typically for Bartel, as black as pitch.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 20th May 1993 – 21:00

The final episode is Jealousy, co-written by Robbie Coltrane and Morag Fullerton.

Peter Capaldi is spying on his wife because he’s jealous.

He’s using a self-help course on how to save your marriage.

He tries to fight his jealousy, but when he finds a note in his wife’s jacket about a meeting in a club, he decides to go undercover.

Kathy Burke works in the club.

Unbeknownst to Capaldi, the club is a trans club.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 27th May 1993 – 21:00

After this, there’s a trailer for The Sweeney (after Jim Broadbent’s John Thaw impression at the start of this tape) showing as part of the Cops on the Box season. Then the tape ends.

Eerie, Indiana – Quantum Leap – Opening Shots – tape 1533

Here’s a few more episodes of Eerie Indiana. In The Loyal Order of Corn, Marshall’s dad joins the Loyal Order of Corn, one of those American groups like the Moose Lodge or the Shriners.

The ‘Kernel’ of the group is Sean’s dad, John Astin.

Another familiar face, from a recent Star Trek TNG episode, is Ray Walston.

In Reality Takes a Holiday, Marshall finds a script for the episode he’s currently in.

Then things get really weird. Suddenly someone yells ‘CUT’ and there’s Joe Dante on set directing the action.

Worse is when he discovers his character is going to be killed off.

The next episode is The Broken Record. A young boy with an abusive father starts listening to the Pit Bull Surfers, and undergoes a transformation.

Weirdly, Marshall doesn’t seem very supportive. “They’re just a band, your father is your life.”

But the programme does manage a reconciliation between father and son.

This was the last episode in the series.

Recording switches to BBC2 for the end of Far Flung Floyd.

There’s a trailer for Teenage Diaries.

Then, Quantum Leap. It’s Egyptian Time for The Curse of Ptah-Hotep. I wonder if they’ll have genuine supernatural stuff? The show rarely veers into that territory, except maybe for Halloween.

Al tells Sam that their discovery of the tomb of Ptah-Hotep was never recorded. The expedition disappeared, apparently swallowed up.

There’s a dangerous snake.

Lots of mysterious deaths. And a tomb with a hidden exit. And, yes, there’s a smidge of actual supernatural action at the end. But just a smidge.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 10th August 1993 – 21:00

After this, over to Channel 4 for Opening Shot, a young arts programme, looking at comics. They talk to Stan Lee.

The programme looks at the British artists and writers. Here’s Paul Neary.

Artist Liam Sharp

Artist Jan Duursema

Andy Lanning

Maya Gavin

Marvel US Editor Bobbie Chase

I’ve seen better programmes on the subject. Apart from Lee, no writers are featured.

After this, recording stops, and underneath, there’s the end of Storm From the East.

Then, the start of an episode of Newsnight looking at Bosnian refugees. The tape ends during this.


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  • trail: Tour de France
  • trail: Dinomania
  • Coca Cola
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  • Lynx Nevada
  • Abbey National
  • trail: Naked City – an early show for Caitlin Moran
  • Tab
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  • Pringles
  • trail: Real World
  • Sodastream
  • Ariel Ultra
  • Sega Pirate TV
  • Wash & Go
  • Jif
  • Network SouthEast
  • trail: American Football

Toy Soldiers – Aspel & Company – tape 1528

Movies first on this tape, with Toy Soldiers.

It starts off in Colombia, with a hostage situation. South American Drug Dealers did tend to be the go-to villains in so many movies around this time. It’s part of the reason I hated Licence to Kill the first time I saw it. And these are very very bad people. They’re trying to get their leader (and one of their father) released from US custody, and to ramp up the pressure, they throw a woman out of a high window, so we know the stakes are high right from the start.

When they learn he’s already in the US, they leave via helicopter, but not before throwing the judge they were coercing out of the chopper, a stunt done for real.

The film then moves to a boarding school in the US. I’m assuming the pupils aren’t completely happy there.

One of the boys there is the son of the judge who will be presiding over the arrested drug dealer’s case, so he’s visited by the FBI to warn him of potential danger, given the man’s sons have demonstrated they’re pretty ruthless. So for safety he’s shipped off to a secure military location.

His friends are Wil Wheaton

and Sean Astin

Another of their friends looked really familiar to me. Then I remembered where from. He was the boy in Adventures in Babysitting, Keith Coogan.

Astin is established as a troublemaker – he was the one who spraypainted the graffiti. Wheaton’s more sensible – he even does Astin’s homework for him. Their idea of fun is to sneak out of their dorms, drink vodka disguised as mouthwash, and phone a sex line.

They’re busted by the crusty old Dean, Louis Gossett Jr. He’s reluctant to expel Astin, the ringleader, because he’s already been expelled from three other schools.

Also on the staff is Denholm Elliot, whose presence in anything always makes me happy.

But the cheeky escapades are soon forgotten when the crew of evil drug dealers arrive and start shooting guns in the dining room. They’re super organised, as pretty soon they’ve got the whole school rigged with explosives. And when they find out their target, the judge’s son, has already left the school, they have to change their plan a little. Lucky for them, a lot of the boys at the school have really rich and/or influential parents.

Mason Adams, off of Lou Grant, plays the FBI man in charge of the siege.

The film introduces some nice constraints to the possible actions of the hostages. The terrorists do a headcount, and repeat that every hour, which immediately gives a time limit for any excursions that might happen. Our core heroes collect information about the number, and location of terrorists, how they are armed and protected, and Astin ducks out of the school, under cover of various diversions arranged by the others, to deliver that info to the FBI and army on the perimeter. But will they let him get back within the hour necessary to be there for the headcount?

Jerry Orbach is Wil Wheaton’s dad, and to complicate matters, he’s a mob boss.

He cuts a deal with the bad guys to have his son released, but Wheaton doesn’t much like his dad, and grabs a machine gun as they’re escorting him out. It doesn’t end well for him. In revenge, Orbach has his men kill the father of the terrorists in jail.

With the terrorists’ plans unravelling, the army go in, with Gossett tagging along, and there’s a nicely tense climax which deftly manages to resolve the story without having to have any of the boys shoot anyone – the only boy who actually shoots a gun in the whole movie is Wheaton, and he’s dead moments later. I have the feeling that might have been intentional, since the movie isn’t stinting on the violence otherwise.

The film is directed by Dan Petrie Jr, better known as a writer on Beverly Hills CopThe Big Easy and Turner and Hooch. The screenplay was written by Petrie and David Koepp, who would go on to write the screenplay for Jurassic Park and lots of other stuff.

The credits do something I wish more films did – show the names of the lead actors along with a scene with them in the film. I find it difficult, sometimes, to work out which named actor is playing which part, so this is a welcome feature, and a bit like ‘You have been watching’.

Another Spielberg connection in the credits is editor Michael Khan, a longtime Spielberg collaborator. And I should mention the rollicking score by Robert Folk. It’s really working its socks off throughout the movie.

After this, recording switches to LWT and Aspel and Company I’ve also recorded elsewhere. What’s weird about this is it’s an episode – featuring Victoria Wood, Kate Bush and Lenny Henry. So I obviously wanted to make sure I recorded it.

However, there’s an extra treat after this, an episode of Spitting Image. Among those featured, Graham Taylor, then England manager.

Norman Fowler tells a story about the Tories and their completely innocent party donations.

John Major looking greyer than ever.

Richard O’Brien plays the Crystal Maze with the Labour Party.

Arnold Schwarzennegger and Dot Cotton are an unlikely pairing of police officers who initially dislike each other but who ultimately, surprisingly, manage to get on together and beat the corrupt judicial system with unorthodox methods.

Barry Norman

And Victor Meldrew

This was the last episode in this series.

The tape ends right after Spitting Image.


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  • trail: Prime Suspect 2

Barton Fink – The Last Boy Scout – tape 1523

First on this tape, the Coen Brothers’ classic Barton Fink. I’ve looked at this before, so I won’t repeat myself.

But following this, it’s The Last Boy Scout. If you’ve never seen this, I can highly recommend it.

After some hyper titles, with Bill Medley singing ‘Friday Night’s a Great Night for Football’ in titles meant to invoke TV football coverage – they’re processed with TV scanlines to suggest that.

Then we cut to an actual football game, in pouring rain, where a young football player gets a phone call telling him a lot of money is riding on the game and he needs to start scoring touchdowns.

(Reader’s note: Football, in the context of this movie, means American Football, just for clarity.)

I don’t quite understand that exchange, though. Usually, if bad people are betting heavily on a game, they pressure people to throw a game, which is much easier to do than to play much better than the other team, which is what this player is being pressured to do.

I’m not a big fan of sports films (which is OK because this isn’t really a sports film) but this opening is very well done, with directory Tony Scott deploying his customary long lenses, and making the most of the waterlogged pitch for atmosphere.

As the film concentrates on the desperate Billy Cole, and he’s popping pills, and the game depends on him, you’re waiting for him to keel over and die. So when he gets the ball and runs for his game winning touchdown, and there’s opposition players in front of him, we don’t expect him to pull out a gun and shoot them to get past. It’s memorable, for sure.

Next we meet our hero, Joe Hallenbeck, asleep in his car.

He’s a private detective, on rather hard times. And he finds his wife sleeping with his ex partner, Bruce McGill. “Sure, it was an accident. You tripped. Slipped on the floor and accidentally put your dick in my wife.”

McGill doesn’t last long. Moments after giving Willis a job looking after an exotic dancer, he gets in his car, and it blows up.

The dancer is Halle Berry. She’s in some kind of unspecified trouble, and wants Hallenbeck to be a bodyguard.

Berry’s boyfriend is Jimmy Dix (played by Damon Wayans) a Football star who was banned for gambling and possibly drugs.

Willis is caught by bad guys, and taken off to be killed by one of them, as the rest cut off Berry’s car and gun her down. Willis escapes by making his would-be assassin laugh at a series of ‘your wife’ jokes, but he’s not in time to save Berry, but he does drive off the other killers before they can kill Jimmy.

At Berry’s they find a tape and photographs linking the owner of the LA Stallions with the local senator. Willis has history with the Senator – when he was part of his secret service detail, Willis punched him in the face to stop him abusing a prostitute, so he got fired from the service. But more goons jump them, and they get away but the evidence they had is lost.

We meet Willis’ daughter, Danielle Harris. She’s got a smart mouth like her dad.

Willis and Wayans are bonding, until Willis catches him snorting coke in his bathroom. Wayans complains that his career was ruined by gambling, but Willis has little sympathy.

And the bad guys are still after them. They throw Wayans off an overpass (he survives) and take Willis, killing a policeman with his gun for good measure. The head bad guy is Taylor Negron, one of those incredibly polite bad guys, and he’s good at it.

The top bad guy is the owner of the football team, who wants to legalise sports gambling. That’s what Halle Berry’s evidence was about. But now he wants to kill the Senator and frame Willis for it.

There’s a great scene where Willis and Wayans are (again) about to be killed, and Wills’ daughter (who came with Wayans) turns up looking lost, gives her stuffed cat to Willis, who does his jokes again, then shoots his way out with the gun she hid in the cat.

Then there’s a race against time to catch a bomb that’s on the way to the Senator at the LA Coliseum, while the police think it’s Willis who’s going to kill the senator.

Plus, Negron now has his daughter.

The climax is all kinds of nutty. as Wayans rides a horse, throws a football at the Senator to prevent Negron shooting him, Willis fights Negron on a gantry, and someone ends up falling into the blades of a helicopter.

This is great, although the careless misogyny that’s so typical of action movies in the 90s is quite prevalent. It’s a Shane Black script, though, and you can tell, despite fewer Christmas references than usual.

After this, the tape ends.


  • trail: Bugsy
  • Ryvita

Star Trek – Clive Anderson Talks Back – tape 1537

The tape starts with a trailer for Tales of Rock & Roll.

Then, Star Trek and a classic episode, The Doomsday Machine. The Enterprise receives a distress call from the USS Constellation. When they arrive at the solar system where the call came from, they find almost all the planets in the system completely destroyed.

They find the Constellation, adrift and badly damaged.

This was quite exciting when I first saw it. It’s another ship of the same class as the Enterprise, and it’s all broken.

They find the captain of the ship, Commodore Matt Decker (William Windom).

The planets in the system were destroyed by some kind of machine. And now it’s coming after the Enterprise.

Commodore Decker has been beamed back to the Enterprise, but Kirk, Scotty and the landing party are still on the crippled Constitution.

Decker is determined to destroy the machine, putting the Enterprise in Jeopardy. He outranks Spock so he’s in command.

Kirk and Scotty have to try to get the Constitution moving to help the Enterprise.

This really is cracking stuff. A single guest character, redressed sets showing the damaged Constitution, a modified Enterprise model, and we’ve got a story that’s channeling Moby Dick, as Decker obsesses over killing the machine, and tussles with Spock over command of the Enterprise. It’s perfect, really. Well defined characters, natural conflict, and huge stakes that are clear from the start.

Decker is relieved of command, but he steals a shuttlecraft and flies it into the maw of the machine. What seems like a futile gesture gives Kirk the idea that flying the Constellation into the machine and detonating the impulse engines might be enough to dstroy the machine. But it’s a huge risk, as the Enterprise transporters are faulty, so they might not be able to transport Kirk from the Constellation before it explodes.

A near perfect episode, written by veteran SF author Norman Spinrad.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th April 1993 – 18:00

After this, recording switches to Channel 4 for Clive Anderson Talks Back. The guests are Meat Loaf

Roy Hattersley

And Anne Robinson

In the next episode, guests are James Whitaker, a royal correspondent who’s utterly vile.

Bryan Gould

and Lenny Henry

Next, the guests are Arthur Smith


and Alan Clarke

Before the next episode, there’s the end of an episode of Roseanne.

Then, Clive’s guests in the next episode are Pat Cash

Charles Kennedy

and Esther Rantzen.

The tape ends after this episode.


  • Clannad
  • Thomson
  • Magnum
  • Nissan Primera
  • Imperial Leather – Paul Merton
  • Renault 19
  • Forte Posthouse
  • Kenny G – Breathless
  • Esso
  • Abbey National
  • Fuji Super G
  • BMW
  • Arexons
  • Special K
  • Pirelli – Sharon Stone
  • Woman To Woman
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • trail: I’ll Fly Away
  • trail: Clive Anderson Talks Back
  • trail: Tour de France
  • Budweiser
  • Fiat Cinquecento
  • trail: The Films of Juris Podnieks
  • trail: An Exchange of Fire
  • trail: Lady in White

The Net – The Outer Limits – The Music Biz – The X Files – tape 2025

This tape opens with the end of Myths and Memories of World War II.

There’s a trailer for The New Jerusalem, and a trailer for Wednesday Night programmes.

Then, an episode of BBC2’s The Net, their 90s reboot of Micro Live that never really managed to recapture that programme’s magic.

The first segment is all about ‘Intelligent Agents’ an idea that Douglas Adams was talking about in his 1990 programme Hyperland.

This segment touches on evolutionary algorithms for robots. They talked to people at the University of Sussex, including Dave Cliff

and Adrian Thompson

Pattie Maes of MIT talks about software agents.

Max Metral sounds like the protagonist of a Bruce Sterling novel. He’s working on music recommendations.

Bruce Blumberg is developing a virtual dog.

Look, they even have Augmented Reality.

Benjamin Woolley looks at ‘Edutainment’. A report that’s stuck in the mindset that learning is a chore. “It’s difficult to tell whether it’s supposed to be good for you or just fun to play.”

BBC Meteorologist Suzanne Charlton presents her Hotlist.

This is abruptly truncated. Probably deliberate, although it looks a bit like a recording glitch.

There’s a report on whether Sim games can be used to predict earthquakes the behaviour of stock markets. Here’s Paul Ormerod telling us that the central assumptions of modern economic theory are ‘bizarre’.

Matthew Stibbe talks about ‘Sim Isle’.

Transcripts of the show were available over FTP. I wonder if these have been archived anywhere?

To conclude, Jane Prophet tells us about TechnoSphere, an online virtual world where you can create a virtual creature, which will email you pictures and quicktime movies of what it’s doing.

This sounds oddly similar to a project I was peripherally involved with at the BBC in the early 2000s, called ‘Evo’ which had a similar virtual world, and intended to use a simplified evolution mechanic to evolve your creatures. In the end, possibly because several of us at the initial feasibility meetings for the project pointed out that it wasn’t the most compelling proposition for players, the idea got vastly simplified, and was eventually commissioned as Bamzooki, a sort of virtual Robot Wars. I vaguely remember suggesting exactly this format at our initial meetings, but that might just be me trying to take credit.

Here’s the whole show.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 19th June 1995 – 20:00

There’s a trailer for Myths and Memories of World War II. And a trailer for Cricket.

Then, Perpetual Motion, looks at the Milk Float. There’s the very start and the end of this programme here, as the recording was on a timer.

Following the end of it, there’s a trailer for The All New Alexei Sayle Show 2, and for The Saturday Night Armistice.

Then, an episode of The Outer Limits, and it’s Virtual Reality again. In Virtual Future, a young Josh Brolin is working on a virtual reality rig, but when they ramp up the analogue processor (no, me neither) he sees a glimpse of a scene that he then experiences himself, shortly in the future.

David Warner is interested in the discovery.

He wants to know if the visions of the future can be changed.

These stories always feel just a little bit anemic. A bit underwritten.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 19th June 1995 – 21:00

After this, a trailer for the Friday Comedy Zone. Plus one for Rock Family Trees.

Then, an episode of The Music Biz which goes on tour with Metallica. Here’s Metallica’s managers. Peter Mensch, of course, being the husband of noted conspiracy theorist Louise Mensch.

The support band arrives in a hearse. He’s like a cross between Garth Marenghi and Spinal Tap.

Over the end credits there’s a correction:

“In the first episode of this series reference was made to the recoupment of advertising costs by Take That’s record company. We should have made clear that Take That have consented to any such advertising, and that no more than half the costs of any television advertising is met from the group’s royalties.”

Sounds like someone’s trying to make out that the usual terrible contracts young bands sign are entirely normal, and the band’s choice.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 19th June 1995 – 21:40

After this, recording switches, and we get the last bar of end theme music, over black, that I struggled to recognise until I remembered it was MASH. We’re on Sky One. They have this really cheeky trail for Quantum Leap.

Bragging about stealing shows from BBC2. I wonder if they got permission to use the BBC 2 logo?

Next, The X Files and an episode called Dod Kalm. Strange things are happening on a boat. So let’s don our nautical themed pashmina Afghan and see what chills await.

Some sailors abandon their ship for a lifeboat. 18 hours later, the lifeboat is discovered by fishermen, and the sailors aren’t looking good.

Mulder and Scully are going to investigate. Sailors are reluctant to take them, except for John Savage.

Time is moving strangely on the ship, and starts affecting Mulder and Scully.

It’s something to do with the water, and electrolysing salts. At one point it looks like Scully is going to save Mulder with a tin of sardines.

Utter hogwash, but fun for the old age makeup for the principals.

After this, recording continues for a bit with an episode of Models Inc. The tape ends during this.


  • trail: Quantum Leap
  • Sure
  • Stork Rich Blend
  • 100% Summer 95
  • PAL
  • Kodak Gold
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Safeway
  • trail: Copa America
  • trail: Tomorrow on Sky
  • Galaxy Dove Bar
  • Philips
  • Comfort
  • Tesco
  • Chartbusters
  • Budweiser
  • trail: A Perfect World
  • trail: Boxing
  • Coca Cola
  • Bounty
  • Comfort
  • Kenco
  • Organics
  • Special K
  • trail: The Simpsons
  • trail: Models Inc
  • trail: Law & Order
  • AA Insurance
  • Wall’s Too Good To Be True
  • PAL
  • Tetley
  • Mum
  • Boots
  • Safeway
  • trail: Tombstone
  • trail: The Alistair Maclean Thrillers
  • Sky TV Guide
  • Stork Rich Blend
  • Opal Fruits Ice Cream
  • Cadbury’s Caramel
  • Oasis
  • trail: Coca Cola Hitmix
  • trail: Beverly Hills 90210/Melrose Place
  • Nivea Sun
  • Orangina
  • Direct Line
  • Kit e Kat
  • Tesco
  • Pure Attraction
  • trail: A Perfect World
  • trail: Tomorrow on Sky
  • Barclaycard
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • Viennetta
  • Lenor
  • Beyond Rangoon in cinemas
  • Organics
  • Intertext
  • trail: Copa America
  • trail: The Simpsons
  • Mars Miniatures
  • Bran Flakes
  • Maxwell House
  • Whiskas Kitten
  • Congo in cinemas
  • Viennetta
  • Mars Miniatures
  • trail: Quantum Leap

BAFTA Awards 1990 – tape 1112

Despite the title on this tape, this is the Bafta awards presented in March 1991, for programmes and films released in 1990.

It’s a star studded occasion, so who did the BBC entice to present the glittering awards, with a broadcast that also links ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York? That multi-talented star of several media, Noel Edmonds.

His opening speech is rather dull and stilted. But things turn around rapidly when he moves to the TV screen where Billy Connolly is hosting the ceremony in Los Angeles. This is much better stuff, and plays far better to Noel’s strengths.

Alan Whicker presents Best Factual Series

Cherie Lunghi presents Best Drama Serial.

Tom Stoppard presents the Writer’s Award.

The award goes to the great Simon Gray

In Los Angeles, Best Supporting Actress is presented by Richard Harris

The winner is Whoopi Goldberg, for Ghost

Presenting Best Supporting Actor, Amanda Donohoe and Mel Smith

The winner is nine year old Salvatore Cascio

Moira Stuart presents the best News/outside broadcast coverage. When she announces one of the nominees is ITN’s coverage of Mrs Thatcher’s resignation it gets a spontaneous round of applause.

Best Light Entertainment programme is presented by Ruby Wax

It’s won by Whose Line is it Anyway, the second mention in two days for Dan Patterson. I hope he’s in good health.

John Thaw presents Best Children’s Programme

The winner is Press Gang, written by a young Steven Moffat

Jean Boht presents Best Children’s Factual Programme

Best Single Drama is presented by Bill Paterson

Best Adapted Screenplay is presented by Jane Seymour and Karl Malden

It’s won by Goodfellas, and accepted, by two different satellites, by Nick Pileggi in New York and Martin Scorsese in Florida.

Jan Francis presents Best Comedy Series

Patricia Hodge presents the Huw Weldon award.

The Desmond Davies award is presented by Ludovic Kennedy

Tom Jones presents Best TV Original Music

Best Film Score is presented by Anthony Hopkins

David Suchet presents the award for Best Light Entertainment Performance

David Jason wins for Only Fools and Horses

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie present the Originality award. It goes to Troubleshooter, the show where John Harvey Jones goes round companies and tells them they’re crap. A bit like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares but for manufacturing.

The Flaherty Documentary award is presented by Roger Cook.

To present the Richard Dimbleby Award, Melvyn Bragg

Alan Alda presents Best Original Screenplay

Denis Lawson presents the Foreign Television Award to Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Hannah Gordon presents Best Animated Short Film. Judging by the clips, these were the days when an animated short film had to be deeply disturbing and ugly.

One of the nominees, Deadsy, looks like it was repurposed for Channel 4’s Four-Mations ident.

You can tell the pecking order in place, when the winner takes about a minute to make his way from his table right in the back of the room.

Best Film not in the English Language is presented by Anthony Perkins.

Best Director is presented by Francis Ford Coppola

The satellite to Florida was clearly money well spent, as Scorsese wins again.

Michael Elphick presents Best Short Film

Presenting the Michael Balcon award, Bernardo Bertolucci

Best Actor is presented by Shirley MacLaine

This award is interrupted by the loss of satellite contact with LA.

So Vanessa Redgrave presents Best Television Actor

Ian McKellen presents Best Television Actress

The winner is Geraldine McEwen

It says something about the state of parts for women that three out of four nominations came from the same drama, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit.

The Fellowship is presented by Donald Sutherland.

It’s awarded to Louis Malle

Now it’s back to LA, after a power failure, to announce the winner of Best Actor, Philippe Noiret.

Timothy Dalton and Whoopi Goldberg present Best Actress.

The winner is Jessica Tandy

Presenting the award for Best Film, Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston

Bafta gets it right, giving it to Goodfellas over Driving Miss Daisy (which won at the Oscars that year). The Florida satellite pays off once again.

John Mills presents a special award.

The recipient is Deborah Kerr

Robert Mitchum pays tribute to Kerr from LA.

And that’s it. This was a surprisingly good ceremony, thanks largely to Billy Connolly. There was very little in the way of awkward banter from the presenters in the UK, who mostly just turn up and read the nominations. But all the LA segments felt loose and spontaneous, and everyone there looked like they were having a great time.

Of course, the reason for having the bifurcated ceremony, unstated on the night, was that this was around the time of the first Gulf War, and, famously, lots of US stars were terrified of travelling to Europe. But whatever the reason, this worked beautifully. The LA location managed to attract plenty of real stars, and Connolly was on absolutely top form.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 17th March 1991 – 20:15

After this, there’s the start of a news bulletin, leading with the vote in the Soviet Union on whether the USSR should break apart. The recording stops after a couple of minutes.

Star Trek – The Next Generation – tape 1535

The First Duty opens with a cheeky teaser. The Enterprise is heading to Earth, and Picard is going to give the commencement address at Starfleet Academy. He’s also going to see Wesley Crusher again, who’s been studying there.

Then he gets a message from the Admiral in charge. “I know you’re a close friend of the Crusher family. There’s been an accident.” Cut to titles.

But, no doubt to the tortured wails of lots of internet nerds at the time, Wesley is only injured, not killed.

His commanding officer, another cadet, is Robert Duncan MacNeill, a little while before he was cast in Voyager, playing a different character. He talks to Wesley about everything being all right as long as they stick together.

Picard looks up the gardener, Boothby, played by Ray Walston.

The cadets are lying about the accident, but it’s unclear why. Picard determines that the cadets must have been performing an extremely dangerous manoeuvre, one that is banned by Starfleet Academy.

He confronts Wesley, and tells him he must tell the truth. This is a great scene.

And after Wesley admits the truth, and is held back for a year, Picard tells him “You knew what you had to do. I just made sure you listened to yourself.”

The next episode is Cost of Living. The Enterprise destroys an asteroid threatening a planet, but some debris comes into the ship.

Deanna’s Mother arrives, announcing her impending marriage. She also gets involved in Worf’s son Alexander’s problems at home. At one point she takes him on the holodeck. I’m totally not sure this one is child friendly.

And isn’t this Wordy from Words and Pictures?

The replicators appear to be malfunctioning.

And once the problems with the ship are resolved, Lwaxana Troi decides she’s not going to compromise, and arrives at her own wedding naked (as is the betazoid tradition, per Roddenberry, the old lech). Her bridegroom bails out.

Surprisingly, another good Lwaxana episode.

Next, it’s The Perfect Mate. Oh good, some Ferengi. I love Ferengi. (I don’t love Ferengi.)

One of them is played by Max Grodenchik, who would also play a (different) Ferengi on DS9.

Also on board is Tim O’Connor (Dr Huer from Buck Rogers) who is brokering peace between his planet and their nearby neighbours.

He’s transporting a gift for the leader of the other planet. It’s Famke Janssen, an empathic metamorph, the perfect mate of the title, and a creation that could have come from Roddenberry himself – a woman who imprints on her partner to make herself the best possible partner.

Beverley is disturbed by the use of a sentient being as chattel. Picard makes noises about the Prime Directive, and when he finds she’s been confined to quarters, he insists she be allowed out. But she’s at her peak ’empathic’ state, where she behaves like the ideal woman for every man who passes. She’s especially interested in Picard, but who wouldn’t be?

She and Picard grow close, as the time approaches for her to be given away to the leader of the other planet, and of course he has to let it all go ahead, so it’s actually quite depressing.

Lastly here it’s Imaginary Friend. Troi is talking to a little girl who has an imaginary friend called Isabella. Her father is worried that she’s not making new friends because of her imaginary friend.

The ship is investigating a nebula when a shiny glowy thing appears and starts making its way around the ship. It finally finds the little girl, and all of a sudden her imaginary friend is real and standing on front of her.

It’s a weird episode. It relies a lot on the performances of the young girls, which are a bit stilted, and Picard resolves things by explaining why we have rules for what young children can and can’t do.

After this, there’s a brief bit of another TNG episode – one of the Data as Holmes episodes, but that recording stops fairly quickly, and underneath there’s another episode, Man of the People. But that recording also stops fairly quickly, and underneath this is something very unusual indeed. It’s part of a programme called The Brain Drain, presented by Jimmy Mulville, and created by Mark Leveson and Dan Patterson, of Whose Line and Mock The Week fame.

The panellists are Tony Hawks

Jo Brand

Pete McCarthy

And Sandi Toksvig

In the audience, Lynn Faulds Wood has a question for the audience.

It’s a BBC show, but the Genome listings don’t really give enough of a clue as to which episode it might be. And there’s no external context around the segment to let me know if it’s the original showing or the repeat. So this is either September/October 1992 or June-August 1993.

Ah – I spoke too soon. Neil Kinnock has popped up in the audience.

That means it’s probably this episode: BBC Two – 25th June 1993 – 22:00

This recording stops just as the end credits start rolling (hence no external context) and underneath is one more recording – no idea what this is, but Tom Bosley is knocking on someone’s door looking for a place to stay.

The tape ends after a couple of minutes of this.