Month: August 2017

Star Trek – Voyager – tape 2809

Some more from Season 4 of Voyager, slightly earlier than the last ones we saw.

First, Random Thoughts. Voyager is visiting a planet with friendly people. Neelix is chatting up a local greengrocer, and Tuvok is talking to the planet’s last remaining police officer, since all crime and violence has been abolished on this telepathic world.

Until one of the people there starts viciously beating up another. And as a result, B’Elanna is arrested for having an angry thought earlier when the man had stepped on her foot.

This feels like a rerun of that episode where Wesley was sentenced to death for walking on some flowers.

In this case, they want to perform a medical procedure on B’Elanna to ‘remove the engrams’. Which sounds frighteningly like a lobotomy.

Tom wants to break out B’Elanna, but Janeway has to pursue the diplomatic and legal options. Tuvok suggests to the chief examiner that the man who became violent had a record for previous violence, but she insists that he had been ‘purged’ of those thoughts.

Then, another random citizen goes mad and stabs the girl Neelix was talking to. B’Elanna’s thought is still affecting people, despite her being in custody.

Tuvok discovers a hidden cabal of people who trade in violent thoughts and images, proving that B’Elanna was innocent of the charges against her.

The next episode is Concerning Flight. Janeway is on the Holodeck with Leonardo DaVinci (John Rhys Davies) when Voyager is attacked by ships which steal a bunch of technological equipment from the ship, including the Doctor’s mobile emitter.

They track the ships to a planet, and Janeway and Tuvok go undercover to find whoever stole the parts.

While there, Janeway is greeted by an unexpected acquaintance – Leonardo DaVinci, powered by the Doctor’s missing mobile emitter.

He’s working for someone he describes as the ‘prince’ of the city they are in. After a series of escapades, they escape the city, and have to fly in a replica of DaVinci’s flying machine.

Next it’s Mortal Coil. Neelix is asked by Chakotay to help with a mission to collect some protomatter.

Something goes wrong, and Neelix is killed. At last a happy ending.

Wait a minute, these are the opening titles, not the end credits. Maybe the whole episode is his requiem?

No such luck. After Janeway promises a week of mourning, Seven of Nine has to come in and tell them she can revive Neelix using magical borg technology.

He’s curious about why, when he died, he didn’t see the great forest that his species believes waits for them when they die. He and Chakotay review the recording of the incident.

One constant in all of Star Trek is the appalling state of casual dress on a Starship.

Except, perhaps, Janeway.

Neelix is becoming more depressed about his lack of an afterlife. Chakotay tries to help with some of his Native American rituals, but Neelix’s happy place isn’t quite as happy as hoped, as his subconscious tells him to kill himself.

This whole episode seems to be designed to make us feel sorry for Neelix and not want him to die. It almost works.

Next is Message in a Bottle. Seven of Nine has found a relay of deep space subspace transmitters, which might let them communicate with the Alpha quadrant. A normal message doesn’t work, so they send the Emergency Medical Hologram to a ship in the Alpha Quadrant.

When he arrives, he can’t open communications with the ship, because the ship, a prototype deep space ship, has been taken over by Romulans, and all the crew has been killed.

To help him against the Romulans, the Doctor activates the ships actual EMH, who’s played by Andy Dick.

I’ve no idea who Andy Dick is, but I’ve heard his name a few times. Wikipedia says he’s famous for ‘outlandish behaviour’ so it’s probably best I remain ignorant of his oeuvre.

The Romulan commander is played by Judson Scott, off of Wrath of Khan.

Back on Voyager, Paris is getting tired of standing in for the EMH so he gets Harry to make a replacement. Why does Star Trek get computing so drastically wrong all the time. Where’s the backup?

But niggles apart, this is the best episode of Voyager for a long time. Why can’t Robert Picardo star in all of them?

He even made me cry when he relayed the message from Starfleet to Janeway and Chakotay.

After this, recording continues for a bit with the start of an episode of Sliders which starts with a bit of a cliffhanger.

The tape ends after a few minutes of this.

During the adverts, I spotted a familiar house – Gaddesden Place, where I worked for almost 14 years, and which was fairly frequently used as a location for films, TV shows, music videos and adverts. This one is a Strongbow advert, with Johnny Vaughan, and I remember when they filmed it. I’m fairly sure I passed Johnny Vaughan in a corridor when he was either looking for the toilet or coming back from there. I didn’t even punch him or anything.

But the advert’s fun, and uses the interior of the conservatory of the house, as well as some fake gates they put up down the lane.

Adverts:

  • trail: Friday and Saturday on Sky
  • trail: Friends
  • Ford Escort
  • Nokia
  • Halifax
  • Somerfield
  • Ariel
  • Ford Ka
  • trail: Tuesday on Sky
  • trail: Stargate SG-1
  • Vauxhall Vectra
  • Vodafone
  • Ace Bleach
  • American Express
  • Pizza Hut – Jonathan Ross
  • Spice World Playstation Game
  • Hellmann’s Italian Dressing
  • Kellogg’s Choco Corn Flakes
  • trail: Moon Shot
  • trail: Sky Movies
  • trail: Bloody Foreigners
  • Ericsson
  • Swinton
  • Army
  • Argos
  • Bold
  • Somerfield
  • Butterkist Popcorn
  • Mimic in cinemas
  • VW Golf
  • trail: Sleepers
  • trail: Sliders
  • Ford Escort
  • Orange
  • Lucozade
  • trail: Sleepers
  • trail: Stargate SG-1
  • Snickers
  • Renault Scenic
  • Philadelphia
  • Somerfield
  • Bold
  • Nokia
  • trail: Star Trek First Contact
  • trail: Tuesday on Sky
  • Nissan
  • Pizza Hut – Jonathan Ross
  • Pampers
  • Kenwood
  • Ibiza Anthems
  • Brut Aquatonic
  • Nissan
  • trail: Bloody Foreigners
  • trail: Planet One
  • Mitsubishi Carisma
  • Lucozade
  • Hellmann’s Italian Dressing
  • Ariel Color
  • Six Days Seven Nights in cinemas
  • Kodak Gold Ultra – Seth Green
  • Brut Aquatonic
  • Strongbow – Johnny Vaughn – Gaddesden Place
  • trail: Three Wishes
  • trail: Sliders
  • trail: July on Sky Box Office
  • Nissan Almera
  • Carte D’Or
  • B2
  • Kodak Photo Service Plus
  • Nissan
  • trail: Stargate SG-1
  • Ford Escort
  • Colgate Total
  • Royal Mail
  • Johnson’s Baby Skincare
  • B2
  • National Lottery
  • Organics
  • Sugar Puffs
  • trail: Bloody Foreigners
  • trail: Tuesday on Sky
  • Ford Escort
  • National Lottery Bingo
  • Heinz Salad Cream
  • Lucozade Low Calorie
  • Sugar Puffs
  • BT
  • trail: Billy Madison
  • trail: Friends
  • Coca Cola
  • Lombard Direct
  • Vanish
  • Legoland
  • Somerfield
  • Mastercard
  • Kodak Photo Service Plus
  • Carte D’Or
  • VW
  • trail: Gargantua
  • trail: Sliders
  • trail: Movies in August
  • Sky Customer Promise
  • RoC
  • Skoda Octavia
  • Pepsi
  • Alton Towers
  • AA
  • Ace Bleach
  • Boots Advanced Photo System
  • Mr Kipling Mini Classics
  • RoC
  • trail: World’s Most Dangerous
  • trail: Stargate SG-1
  • trail: The X Files
  • Safeway
  • Ford
  • Lucozade
  • Polo
  • B2
  • Kodak Gold Ultra
  • Safeway
  • trail: Sky Box Office
  • Sky
  • Peugeot 306
  • P&O Stena Line
  • Source
  • Herbal Essences
  • Polo
  • T&T
  • Peugeot 306
  • trail: The Pretender
  • trail: Sliders
  • trail: The Simpsons/King of the Hill
  • VW
  • Direct Line
  • Kodak Gold Ultra
  • trail: Extreme Measures
  • trail: Planet One
  • Ford
  • Lucozade
Advertisements

Film 98 – tape 2815

Settle back and enjoy a packed tape of film reviews and locations reports, from 1998, in the BBC’s erstwhile flagship film programme, Film 98. I don’t remember when Barry Norman finally left the BBC for Sky, but it was close to this time. I’ve already seen him on adverts for Sky Digital, and for Barry Norman’s Film Night, so it can’t have been too far away.

This tape opens with the end of an episode of On Side, a sport-themed talk show presented by John Inverdale. What is it about almost all sports presenters that makes them look, to me, like they’re slightly poor simulations of real presenters? Perhaps some of it is my almost total lack of interest in sports, but sports reporters always seem to have something about the cadence of their speech that’s just a little bit off. Emphasis landing on the wrong syllable occasionally, odd pauses here and there, or no pause where you’d expect one – radio presenters are particularly guilty of this.

Even someone who I thought was supposed to be entertaining, Danny Kelly in yesterday’s Under The Moon, was rattling off the autocue like a youtube video at 1.5x speed. Really dull.

Or perhaps it’s just that I’m watching them and wondering “why aren’t you as funny as Alan Partridge?”

After this, keeping with the sports theme, Jack Charlton talks about the things he loves about the BBC. It’s for one of those BBC You Make it What It Is promos, this one celebrating 75 years of the BBC.

There’s a trailer for Thursday Night on BBC1.

Then, Film 98 in which Barry Norman reviews the following films:

Tom Brook reports on Oscar and Lucinda.

In the studio is Judi Dench, talking about her oscar nomination for Mrs Brown.

Also of note (and reflecting a similar note on the last time we saw Film 98) Titanic is still at number One in the US Box Office. In March, more than two months after its release. These days, if a film stays at the top for three weeks it’s remarkable. Titanic really was a juggernaut.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th March 1998 – 23:25

The next episode is an interview special with Quentin Tarantino, promoting his third film, Jackie Brown.

There’s an interesting section where he defends his copious use of the n-word in his work, at one point deflecting criticism from Spike Lee and Denzel Washington by saying their criticism of him is ‘the heart of racism itself.’

But Tarantino is always an entertaining interview. I like Barry’s parting comment. “I always enjoy talking to you. Don’t know why.”

Here’s however much of the interview YouTube will let me show.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 16th March 1998 – 23:25

Next, recording switches to Barry Norman’s coverage of the Oscars. There’s only 13 minutes of this, so I’m not quite sure what’s going on. Genome reports that coverage running for two hours, but perhaps I skipped the main ceremony, because it would have been mostly an edited repeat of the full ceremony, which I would have recorded elsewhere.

The big news of the night, of course, was Titanic winning a record equalling 11 awards, but so did Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. There was commiserations with Helena Bonham Carter and Judi Dench for missing out, but Anne Dudley won for Best Original Score.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 24th March 1998 – 22:20

Recording switches, and we have the end of On Side again. I don’t know why I’m slightly irritated by the way John Inverdale tells us what’s in next week’s programme via a studio monitor. It’s a bit arch, but I suppose they want this to look like a hip and glossy programme.

There’s a trailer for Grandstand after this, and for the Tom Cruise/John Grisham thriller The Firm.

Then, more from Film 98, with reviews of

There’s an interview with Martin Scorsese about Kundun. There’s an interesting section when Barry asks if the studio, Disney, fully promoted the film, and you can see him pause, for quite a long time, before he decides whether to be honest, which he is.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 30th March 1998 – 23:25

Another bit of On Side before the next episode, followed by another 75 years of the BBC piece, this one by Whoopi Goldberg.

Then, the next episode of Film 98 wherein Barry Norman reviews the following films.

There’s a location report on Sliding Doors

BBC Genome: BBC One – 6th April 1998 – 23:25

Before the next episode there’s a trailer for Omnibus on Nick Hornby. And one for Ladies Night: The Real Full Monty.

Then, another Film 98 with reviews of the following films:

There’s a location report on Little Voice.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 20th April 1998 – 23:25

Following this, recording continues with a trailer for City Central and one for A Respectable Trade.

Then there’s a few minutes of The Honorary Consul before that recording stops, and underneath there’s a few minutes of the film Silver Strand. Then the tape ends.

Film 97 – Roseanne – ER – tape 2814

First on this tape, Film 97 and Barry Norman’s reviews of:

I note, in the rundown of the UK Top Ten, he describes Scream as “Allegedly ironic”. Horror was always a blind spot for him.

Katie Derham talks to Andy Garcia about his new film Night Falls in Manhattan.

There are previews of The Lost WorldBatman and RobinSpeed 2, One Fine Day, and Men in Black.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 10th June 1997 – 23:30

After this, recording switches to an episode of Roseanne.

David and Darlene are coming to live at the house with their new baby.

Teenage DJ is weirding me out.

Guest appearances by Martin Mull and Fred Willard

Sandra Bernhard

As it turns out, this is the last ever episode, a double length one. The ending is wonderful, as the family are sitting around the table, arguing over nothing as usual, and we hear Roseanne’s voiceover as she tells us how the family we’ve been watching all these years isn’t exactly the same as her actual family, as she changed things around. The sitcom family was actually the family in the book Roseanne has been writing. Particularly wrenching is the moment she tells us that Dan had died a year before. It’s a melancholy final moment, made perhaps a tad pretentious by using a caption of a quote from T E Lawrence.

After this, recording continues, and there’s an episode of ER – Hell or High Water. The ‘previously on’ leans heavily on Doctor Ross (George Clooney) being a ‘loose cannon’ and the teaser has him interviewing for a new job, so I think this might be his last episode.

Nurse Carol is playing Doom II on the new ER Computer. “It has a CD ROM”.

Full marks to the writers, who got pretty much all the dialog about the game accurate, including a reference to the BFG 9000.

On his way home, in a torrential downpour, Dr Ross has a flat tyre, and while he’s parked, a boy rushes up asking for help. His friend is trapped in a storm drain and can’t get out, so it’s up to Dr Ross to help.

The reason it’s such a pivotal episode is because it’s a viewer’s choice.

Next it’s Friends, and The One With Barry and Mindy’s Wedding.

The comedy continues with an episode of Cheers. Rebecca is asked to look after the dog of one of the company’s vice presidents, and naturally, things go a bit wrong.

The tape runs out during Under The Moon, the sports programme with Danny Kelly, that was getting very upset about the number of foreign players in Premiership clubs, and had a caller from Scotland complaining that cricket was boring.

In among the adverts are a set of Microsoft adverts, touting the internet. Complete with dial tone and modem screeching.

Adverts:

  • Vauxhall
  • Garnier Movida
  • British Airways
  • Safeway
  • Pantene
  • Prudential
  • Austravel
  • Audi A6
  • Walker’s
  • Thomas Cook
  • Delta Airlines
  • John Smith’s – Jack Dee
  • BT
  • trail: Frasier/Harry Hill
  • trail: Making Mr Right
  • VW Polo
  • Metz
  • trail: The Jewel in the Crown
  • trail: Brookside
  • trail: Barred Love
  • Vauxhall
  • Microsoft
  • Mr Kipling Pies
  • Reader’s Digest Prize Draw
  • The Devil’s Own in cinemas
  • Herbal Essences
  • Microsoft
  • Labatt Ice
  • Oasis
  • Microsoft
  • Esso
  • Saab
  • Gillette Sensor Excel
  • Robinson’s Fruit & Barley
  • Persil
  • Kronenbourg 1664
  • trail: Gaby and Friends
  • Citroen Saxo
  • Lion Bar
  • Army Soldier
  • trail: Athletics
  • trail: Brookside
  • trail: Frasier/Harry Hill
  • Sony Handycam
  • Carling Premier
  • Solero
  • Army Soldier
  • Private Parts in cinemas
  • Listerine
  • Barclays Online Banking
  • Vauxhall
  • trail: Friends
  • trail: Making Mr Right
  • trail: Athletics
  • Teletext
  • Evian
  • Radiohead – OK Computer
  • P&O
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • McDonalds
  • Chrysler Neon
  • Guinness
  • trail: Barred Love
  • trail: Under the Moon
  • Ford
  • Herbal Essences
  • Private Parts in cinemas
  • Ford
  • Tetley’s Bitter
  • Coca Cola
  • Ford
  • trail: Banged Up Season
  • trail: Frasier/Harry Hill
  • Audi A6
  • Delta Airlines
  • BT
  • Michelin Energy
  • trail: Secret History
  • trail: Athletics
  • Consumer Research Bureau
  • Renault Clio
  • Ronseal Woodstain
  • Barclays Online Banking
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Consumer Research Bureau

Star Trek – Voyager – tape 2811

Some more from Star Trek Voyager now, with some episodes slightly after the ones we’ve seen recently.

First on the menu is The Killing Game which opens with some Klingons fighting, except that one of the Klingon appears to be Janeway, and she’s stabbed by a different alien, one of the Hirogen that we met in Hunters and I immediately didn’t like. How nice that they’re recurring villains.

They’ve captured the Voyager, and they’ve implanted mind control devices, so they can control the crew in holodeck simulations.

Looks like Seven of Nine isn’t immune – she’s a singer in a nightclub.

Oh God, it’s Nazis. Just what I need to watch.

The Hirogen are running holodeck simulations to prepare them for their hunt. The crew are being controlled, so they think they’re part of the simulation. Which makes a lot of the drama of this episode slightly moot, since presumably the Hirogen know everything the crew in the simulation are planning.

Luckily, the Doctor and Harry are still out of the holodecks, and have a plan to disrupt the neural interfaces.

Neelix gets to be a Klingon too, after he’s shot in the back by a Nazi (you see, there’s good on both sides).

The episode ends with the holodeck simulation breaking through into part of the ship, which is quite cool.

The next episode, part II, sees Janeway with her mind restored, working with Seven of Nine to break the Hirogen’s hold over the rest of the crew, but while trying to do that, has to deal with the rest of the crew still thinking that they are part of the simulation.

I feel like there’s a Father Ted joke to be made here but I can’t think what it is.

The Doctor ends up with Klingon Neelix. “K’Plah!” “Tally Ho”

I’ve quite enjoyed this story, which is surprising for a holodeck story. They’ve found a different way of using it, which was fun, and led to some interesting story beats. Plus everyone got something to do.

Next, it’s Vis a Vis. As if Tom Paris weren’t annoying enough, the show opens with him on the holodeck, working on an old car.

But his petrolhead hobby is interrupted when Voyager encounters a ship powered by a coaxial warp drive, which is supposed to be much faster than regular warp drive. I wonder if it’s been superseded by HDMI later?

Tom is getting bored on Voyager, so the arrival of the alien on the ship gives him something new to work on. Plus, his relationship with B’Elanna seems to be floundering, because he ‘needs his space’.

And the alien, Steth, has some kind of Stupid DNA thing going on, he’s ‘reverting to his previous genome’. And he’s a bit creepy, making references to life on Voyager, and ‘all the women’.

To nobody’s surprise, Steth does some kind of morphy DNA thing and takes on Tom’s DNA and shape, while Tom is morphed into Steth’s old form.

He sends TomSteth off on his ship, and takes over his life, quite badly, it must be said, although he clearly wants to be smooth with the ladies, so he works hard at wooing B’Elanna. Urg.

And TomSteth, far away on Steth’s ship, finds that lots of other aliens are after him. One of whom beams aboard his ship and says she’s the real Steth – she’s the form we saw earlier.

As StethTom comes closer to being unmasked, Janeway reprimands him for his behaviour, and there’s a nice fakeout where StethTom is discovered grappling with Janeway, but in fact they’ve already been switched.

It’s a fun episode, even if it’s got that typical Star Trek “We’ve got no idea what DNA is or how it works so let’s just pretend it’s magic” technobabble.

That’s the last episode of Voyager here, but recording continues with a whole episode of Sliders. Unfortunately, it’s a western-themed episode, just about my least favourite genre.

It’s a good thing they had no idea how to properly hang people in the west – two of the Sliders are hanged, and then their friend shoots the rope. Or is this just a movie cliche?

After Sliders, there’s the start of The Outer Limits, and it’s an episode we’ve already seen, with Beau Bridges and some intelligent insects. The tape runs out during this.

Adverts:

  • .tv
  • trail: America’s Dumbest Criminals
  • trail: Stargate SG-1
  • Sony MiniDisc
  • Ford Escort
  • McCain Home Fries
  • Shine 10
  • Cover Girl
  • Shreddies
  • trail: Greece Uncovered
  • trail: Forces of Nature
  • Tango
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in cinemas
  • Ambi-Pur
  • Royal Navy
  • Bold
  • Simple
  • trail: Sky’s new movie channels
  • Sky Digital
  • Guinness
  • Impulse
  • Bodyform
  • Lucozade
  • Hovis White
  • Clearasil
  • trail: Sweeney Todd
  • trail: Sliders
  • Sky Digital
  • Tango
  • Hovis
  • Clerical Medical
  • Thomson at Lunn Poly
  • Sainsbury’s
  • RoC
  • Go Ahead
  • trail: Planet One
  • trail: Tuesday on Sky
  • Ford Escort
  • Dairylea Dunkers
  • Lady and the Tramp on Video
  • IBM
  • New Deal
  • trail: Sky Sports
  • trail: Stargate SG-1
  • Network Q
  • trail: Uncut Babylon 5
  • Impulse
  • Air Force One in video
  • Hovis
  • Miller Time
  • Sky
  • trail: Sliders
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Songs in the Key of Springfield
  • trail: Conspiracy Theory
  • trail: The Simpsons
  • trail: Dream Team
  • Lilt
  • Renault Clio
  • Barclays Online Banking
  • Castrol GTX
  • Garnier Movida
  • trail: Saturday on Sky
  • trail: Stargate SG-1
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • Gold Blend
  • Maybelline
  • Domestos Toilet Gel
  • Schwarzkopf Country Colors
  • Mr Kipling Mini Classics
  • Sony MiniDisc
  • trail: The Avengers
  • trail: That Thing You Do
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Tuesday on Sky
  • Domestos Toilet Gel
  • Renault Clio
  • Holsten Pils – The Unpronounceables
  • Salon Selectives
  • McCain Home Fries
  • Fairy
  • trail: Football
  • trail: Sliders
  • trail: ER
  • Sky TV Guide
  • Sheba
  • Harp
  • Persil
  • Kodak Photo Service Plus
  • trail: Sky’s new movie channels
  • Sky
  • Sheba
  • Barclays
  • Fosters
  • TV Travel Shop
  • Dettol
  • Gap
  • trail: Dream Team
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Killers in the Water
  • Coca Cola
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Harp
  • Building the Bounty
  • Renault Clio
  • trail: Greece Uncovered
  • trail: Walker Texas Ranger
  • trail: Saturday on Sky
  • McDonalds
  • Gold Blend
  • Fairy
  • Fosters
  • Castrol GTX
  • Strathmore
  • Domestos Toilet Gel
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • trail: The English Patient
  • trail: The Outer Limits
  • trail: Boxing
  • trail: Conspiracy Theory
  • Sheba
  • Barclays
  • Carlsberg Export
  • trail: Sky’s new movie channels

In The Footsteps of Alexander the Great – Billion Dollar Funfairs – tape 2817

I think I might have made a mistake with the recording of this programme. The tape starts halfway through the first episode of In The Footsteps of Alexander the Great with Michael Wood telling the story of how Alexander cut the Gordian Knot.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 14th July 1998 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for the First Night of the Proms, then video Nation featuring Colin O’Dell-Athill, a newly qualified teacher in London wondering why it’s so hard to make ends meet.

I like that he’s gone to the trouble of putting a microphone on the baby to get an insert shot.

Then, there’s half an hour of Newsnight with Paxman reporting on new Chancellor Gordon Brown, and asking “Where’s all the money coming from?” Ah, t’was ever thus.

I think the fact that there’s half an hour of Newsnight and I missed half an hour of the previous programme means that I must have got the recording time wrong. I can’t remember at which point I started using VideoPlus to record stuff, so I can’t say if this was my mistake or my VCRs. Probably mine, though.

After half an hour of Paxo and the Spending Review, recording switches to Carlton. Once again, it looks like the recording is set to the wrong time, as this programme, Billion Dollar Funfairs, starts during the ad break before part 2.

In the Universal Studios headquarters, a script is being assessed for suitability to be a theme park ride. It’s hard to read it, but can anyone identify this movie?

One of the pioneers in theme parks in the 90s was Douglas Trumbull, who did the effects for 2001 and Blade Runner. Here he’s credited as “Creator of the Back to the Future Ride”.

James Cameron talks about the T2: Battle Across Time attraction that Universal made, for which he shot all new footage on 65mm 3D cameras.

Stan Lee is on hand to tout Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It’s nice of him to promote Enid Blyton’s work.

Jan De Bont talks about a potential Twister ride.

Steven Spielberg comes to look at progress on the Jurassic Park rides.

Just before the Twister ride was about to be opened, Florida was hit by severe storm damage, so they had to delay the opening.

The programme also talks about future plans for a studio-type theme park in Britain, looking at Leavesden Studios as the likely location.

This was in 1998, but I guess their plans at this time never came to fruition. I wonder if the Harry Potter Studio Tour that’s there now was the eventual result of this initial planning, or whether that was a completely separate venture.

Roland Emmerich pops up at the end, talking about the possibility of a Godzilla ride, despite the movie being very new. Seems a tenuous inclusion in the programme.

Dean Devlin, his writing partner, also appears. I smell some opportunistic cross promotion going on.

Credit spot: The writer is Neil Richards – I worked with Neil at The Digital Village when we launched h2g2.com, and he was a writer on Starship Titanic.

One of the executive producers is Richard Creasey, who was one of the founders and directors of TDV, and with whom I also worked. Neil told me, on facebook, that it was his one and only documentary gig, which he got because it was being made by a friend of Richard’s.

After this, recording continues, with a whole episode of Renegade, the Stephen Cannell show about Reno Raines, a bounty hunter who was once a cop but he testified against other cops, and they were out to get him, but they got his wife instead, and now he’s on the run being an outlaw and also a licensed bounty hunter, which seems like a good trick. He also has very long hair.

He’s on the way somewhere to drop off a criminal he’s caught when the local sheriff and his deputy arrive, in pursuit of armed robbers, and the sheriff is shot dead by the said robbers, so the small town does the natural thing and makes Reno their sheriff. Although he does try to get them to appoint his friend and colleague Bobby Sixkiller, who also has very long hair.

I do like the fact that this small little town doesn’t blink at appointing a native American as Sheriff.

But the armed robbers then shoot Bobby, although he survives, so Reno is forced to become Sheriff, and along the way he has to mentor the young deputy who isn’t respected by the town, and is scared of everything, but by the end of the episode he’s punching out rednecks like he was born to it.

This show has such an odd tone. It’s not a comedy, but a lot of the playing is as if it is. That’s not to say it’s particularly funny – it just feels like it’s supposed to be.

The episode was directed by its star, Lorenzo Lamas.

After this, another programme, Commando, a documentary about a training manoeuvre for the Royal Marines commandos. It’s oddly stilted, as all those taking part are marines or marines acting as local forces. But it definitely concentrates on negotiation, diplomacy and level headedness. There’s no big gunfights here.

It’s narrated by Martin Shaw.

After this, there’s the start of some motor racing, during which the tape ends.

In among all the adverts, there’s lots of trails and stings for ITV’s nighttime, including a glimpse of Andrew Collins and Stuart Maconie’s film review show.

And this frankly odd advert for Sure, which echoes the zeitgeist of the time by being appallingly laddish.

 

Adverts:

  • Sky
  • Peugeot 306
  • Philadelphia
  • Goodfellas Pizza
  • Harrods Sale
  • Fairy Non Bio
  • Kenco
  • Doctor Dolittle on stage
  • Wrigley’s Airwaves
  • Listerine
  • Dubliner
  • Strongbow – Johnny Vaughn
  • Kellogg’s Healthwise Bran Flakes
  • trail: Videotech
  • trail: The Warehouse
  • Standard Life
  • Organics
  • Ariel
  • Rimmel
  • Halifax
  • Mr Kipling Cake Bites
  • trail: Get Real
  • Vauxhall
  • Party Time
  • First Telecom
  • Fairy
  • Butcher’s
  • Rimmel
  • Somerfield
  • Tesco
  • Peugeot 306
  • Lenor
  • Sunny Delight
  • Seat Belts
  • Kingsmill
  • Peugeot 306
  • trail: Nighttime
  • Chatline
  • Flash
  • Sainsbury’s – Hugh Dennis
  • Bold
  • Butcher’s
  • Hovis White
  • Gap
  • trail: Nighttime
  • Olivio
  • Chatback
  • Sky
  • Sure for Men – Jonathan Ross
  • Gap
  • Reach Toothbrush
  • Olivio
  • Thomson Local Directory
  • Immodium Plus
  • Direct Line
  • Royal Mail
  • Gordon’s & Tonic
  • Nissan
  • trail: Nighttime
  • Chatline
  • Whiskas Kitten
  • Alldays
  • RAC
  • Mr Kipling Cake Bites
  • Clairol Nice ‘n Easy
  • Nissan
  • trail: Nighttime

The Art and Craft of Movie Making – tape 2812

Here’s another block of programmes from The Learning Zone in their series The Art and Craft of Movie Making.

This block concentrates on the producer.

Before the first programme, there’s some weather.

Then, more programmes from the Learning Zone. First, some programmes about producing, introduced once again by Derek Malcolm.

Then, an episode of the programme The Film Industry called The Producer’s Tale.

It includes many of the usual suspects from the British film industry. Here’s Stephen Woolley, billed here as ‘Scala Productions’ which is, I think, his company following Palace Pictures. Woolley used to run the Scala cinema in London, where they used to show all kinds of cult movies, weird double bills, and the occasional all day marathons. I once went there on New Year’s Day to watch four horror films, which was fun.

David Puttnam turns up, as he must. There’s much more from him later.

I always think Stephen Woolley’s producing partner, Nik Powell, looks like a character played by Julian Barratt. His slightly nasal voice only adds to that feeling. More from him, later, too.

Wilf Stevenson of the BFI

After this, there’s a Sound Box guess the voice competition, which sounds like John Huston.

Next, an episode of the dry sound Managing in Organisations which looks at what’s involved in making a low budget short film.

The director is Jim Gillespie, who had previously directed some of Cardiac Arrest, and who would go on to direct I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The producer is Angus Lamont, who was a producer on the excellent The Girl With All The Gifts.

The film is Joyride, a short based on an idea by the great horror writer Ramsey Campbell, although he’s not featured here.

This programme follows the pair as they try to get the film set up and financed, and looks at some of the problems and compromises they have to make, like having to film at Shepperton rather than in Scotland as they’d prefer.

Along the way, various sources of funding are approached, including Stuart Cosgrove at Channel 4.

They get a pop star to do the music. At least, I assume Mick Macneil is a pop star as he’s billed as ‘Ex Simple Minds.’ It looks like this was his only foray into film composing.

It’s nice to see the story has a happy ending. Even in 1995, not many short films get a cinema outing.

After this, there’s a masterclass by Nik Powell.

Then a programme we’ve already seen before, A Day in the Life of Goldeneye.

Then a short programme about photographer Ingrid Pollard.

This is only an extract from a longer programme, Open Mind – Mirror with a Memory. There’s no credits on this, but I’m fairly sure the interviewer, who we hear a couple of times, but only see in a distorted reflection, is Jon Ronson.

There’s another short excerpt from a film about the self portraits of Joy Gregory.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th December 1997 – 02:00

After this, recording switches to the next day, and there’s the end of a programme about Poland.

Then, there’s a very short piece of a man flying a parachute talking about how convenient it is that he can record The LEarning Zone and watch it at a time when he can concentrate on it.

Then, more programmes about movie making, starting with an interview with David Puttnam by Bill Moyers.

Puttnam is always an interesting interview subject, as he’s got very strong views and knows how to articulate them. He very strongly believes that movies should be enlightening, and seek to improve the human spirit. Which is presumably why he greenlit Bill Cosby’s notorious flop Leonard Part 6.

Sorry, that’s not really fair, but I couldn’t resist the snark. At the time, Cosby was a huge sitcom star, but more awkwardly for Puttnam, he was the spokesman for Coca Cola, and (I think) owned a bottling plant. And Coca Cola owned Columbia Pictures, so they were effectively Puttnam’s boss. He felt it was impossible to pass on Cosby’s pet project, for fear of alienating a powerful man.

Or maybe Cosby just put something in his drink, and when he woke up the film was in production.

The whole story of Puttnam’s time at Columbia is fascinating, and paints a scary picture of Hollywood. But then, so do most books about filmmaking, frankly.

After this, there’s a repeat of Nik Powell’s masterclass.

Then, a Guess the Voice, featuring Dustin Hoffman talking about Tootsie, and how sad he was that he wasn;’t a more attractive woman.

There’s a programme on The Making of Balto, an animated movie about a dog in Alaska.

It’s a nice programme, clearly aimed at an audience who don’t know how animated films are made at all.

Finally on this tape, a lovely programme talking to Nick Park about making The Wrong Trousers. I’m fairly sure that the makers of The Fast Show saw this before they did their sketch about a stop motion animator.

The small glimpse we get of the process of animation is interesting. He’s animating Wallace’s mouth to say dialogue, and as a result he has to periodically remove the teeth from the mouth when it’s making particular mouth shapes, and then replace the teeth, which he does by putting in a strip of plasticine and sculpting the teeth again, by hand. Presumably every single time.

I wanted to do animation as a young boy, but seeing this, I know I would never have had the patience to do anything decent.

Following this programme, an excerpt from France Through the Viewfinder.

There’s another Sound Box piece, with Marie Slocombe of the BBC sound archive, talking about how it was started. It’s quite interesting.

There’s a less interesting one afterwards, about football commentating through the years.

And finally, an interview with Nicolai Polakovs – Coco the Clown. His story sounds like the backstory to a horror film.

Then, the tape runs out with the beginning of Greek Language and People, featuring Chris Serle.

I have a special fondness for Chris Serle because (as you will all know) he was the presenter of the BBC’s first programme as part of their groundbreaking Computer Literacy Project in the 1980s, The Computer Programme. It’s not hyperbole to say that that programme, and all that followed, literally changed my life. My first micro was a BBC Micro, which I saved up for myself, and I now do what I do for a living precisely because of that.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 9th December 1997 – 00:30

 

 

Designs on your Loo – tape 2816

Well now. Sometimes tapes just sit there in my collection, and I just wonder quite why I recorded them. With this tape, I can only assume it was because there was a spate of programmes about industrial or commercial design, which were sometimes quite interesting, so here’s one I recorded. I think it’s the only thing here I explicitly recorded – it’s certainly all I put in the database, but it’s another of those tapes with about four hours of Channel 4 output from that day. And a couple of surprises.#

First, this was the era of the four circles Channel 4 branding, of which I wasn’t a fan. Give me primary coloured CGI blocks any day.

Designs on your Loo was one of a series of programmes about industrial design. I’m guessing the presenters were the same on all of them. It almost looks like it’s the hairy bikers, except only one of them is hairy. They are both bikers, though, and of course they ride Ducatis.

They are, as the voiceover tells us, men on a mission to seek out the ugly, the inefficient, and change it.

The designers are called Richard and Dick. And they’re doing a programme about toilets. Hurr hurr.

I love old advertising.

Shires, an old family firm, want to move to the upmarket end of the toilet market. They show the designer their current range, their production line, and even the British Standard test for toilet flushes, which says that a toilet has to flush a specific size and weight of ball four times out of five.

This is, according to the programme, the seminal work on toilet functions, with details illustrations of how people wee and poo.

This is Alexander Kira, the author of The Bath Room. “Professor Kira has studied the toilet habits of hundreds of volunteers over the last forty years.”

I do love the way these programmes have an inevitable structure. The hotshot designers do a lot of blue-sky thinking, bring their great ideas to the company, and the company then says none of it is possible, usually for reasons of tradition, or “People don’t want to pay for that.”

Here’s how they test toilet flushes in a Japanese factory. It’s a mixture made of soy beans and pieces of polystyrene for buoyancy. Even so, I’m not sure that’s a job I’d like.

I’m 52 years old, and I’m still sniggering every time the voiceover namechecks Richard and Dick.

But this is, in the end, a fascinating look at how industrial design works, and how innovation in design can be hard to get past the upper echelons of a company.

After this programme, recording continues, and there’s a variation from the circles branding with a distinctly Friendsy ident.

Next there’s an episode of Ally McBeal. I know I’ve got a few episodes of this in my collection, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever watched it before.

I notice the score is by Danny Lux, who I’d only just noticed was also the composer on Sliders.

In this episode, Ally gets arrested when she trips a woman who had been horrible to her over a can of Pringles.

Hey, there’s Jane Krakowski from 30 Rock.

This was OK, but I think if the stories all revolve around her need to have a man, I might have got a bit bored.

Next, an episode of Cybill. Robert Stack makes a guest appearance.

Also, Donald Trump gets a namecheck. Keeping my fingers crossed that the curse of the blog works for mentions as well…

There’s a nice trailer here for So Graham Norton.

Next. something I’ve not seen before. It’s an episode of a sketch comedy series called Barking. I have to say, just from the titles alone – lots of men shouting Aaargh – it doesn’t inspire confidence.

But here’s David Walliams.

It’s not the strongest material I’ve ever seen. The first laugh it got was when Catherine Tate and her hippy friend were patronising a deaf woman, and she’s trying to talk to her in gestures. He asks “What are you doing? Makaton? British Sign Language?” “I was just doing Give us a Clue.”

There’s Mackenzie Crook

Marcus Brigstocke

Fairly sure that’s Rhys Thomas

Here’s I’m Alan Partridge’s Simon Greenall

There’s occasional laughs here, but lots of very poor material. The salesman who calls at 3am running sketch appears to contain nothing funny at all, either in concept or execution.

Finally on this tape, part of an episode of Weekly Planet, a live discussion programme, as part of Channel 4’s Cradle to Grave series. This one purports to look at the future of medicine, although the number of alternative medicine pushers on the panel makes that seem unlikely.

The saddest inclusion for me is Lynne McTaggart, who I remember as an expert on the IT industry who would pop up on Micro Live now and again, but who has become a cheerleader for ‘alternative medicine’ with books like ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’ and the infamous magazine with the same title. She also believes that the universe is connected by “a vast quantum energy field” and can be influenced by thought.

Also on the panel is another controversial figure, Jacques Benveniste, who was a scientist who thought he had discovered proof that homeopathy worked, and postulated the idea that water retains a ‘memory’ of the substances that have been diluted out by repeated dilution (the basic premise of homeopathy). Attempts to replicate his results, but with more rigorous double-blind methodologies, have failed to observe the effects he reported.

It’s a mostly predictable ‘discussion’ where modern medicine is vilified for not curing anything, and how can you call vaccines modern when they were invented hundreds of years ago and aren’t drug companies awful for having to make profits.

The tape ends towards the end of this.

Adverts:

  • B2
  • Heathrow Express
  • Mitsubishi Carisma
  • Miller Pilsner
  • Gillette Sensor Excel
  • Argos
  • trail: The Drop Dead Show
  • trail: So Graham Norton
  • Fosters
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Daily Telegraph
  • B2
  • Cellnet
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Volkswagen
  • Kellogg’s Just Right
  • Always
  • Heathrow Express
  • Standard Life
  • B&Q
  • L’Oreal Elvive
  • trail: Designs on your Car
  • Renault Scenic
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Godzilla in cinemas
  • BT – Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • Piz Buin
  • Renault Scenic
  • trail: Friends
  • trail: Big Women
  • Coca Cola
  • Ford Ka
  • Bird’s Eye Crispy Chicken Dippers
  • Pantene
  • Asda
  • Ford Escort
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Always
  • Grease in cinemas
  • Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope
  • Somerfield
  • Direct Line
  • Vauxhall
  • trail: Guarding Tess
  • Diet Coke
  • Ford Escort
  • Listerine
  • Always
  • Philadelphia Handisnacks
  • Ford Ka
  • trail: Reversal of Fortune
  • trail: So Graham Norton
  • Sisters of Swing 98
  • Southern Comfort
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • Direct Line
  • McDonalds
  • Kodak Photo Service Plus
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • One 2 One
  • trail: Big Women
  • Peugeot 106
  • Adidas
  • Magnet
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Kodak Gold Ultra – Seth Green

  • Wash & Go
  • Orbit for Children
  • Standard Life
  • Godzilla in cinemas
  • Peugeot 106
  • trail: So Graham Norton
  • Diet Coke
  • Renault Scenic
  • Eurostar
  • Working Benefits
  • Pizza Hut
  • Renault Scenic
  • Bacardi
  • Ford Escort
  • Godzilla in cinemas
  • B2
  • XChanges
  • ITC
  • trail: Secret History – The Purple Secret
  • Diet Coke
  • Somerfield
  • Singles Network
  • Douwe Egberts Cafinesse
  • Shredded Wheat
  • Wash & Go
  • Motorola
  • Mitsubishi
  • VW Golf
  • Pringles
  • Friends chatline
  • Always
  • Pantene
  • Coca Cola