The Book Quiz – Horizon – tape 2798

This tape opens with an overrunning snooker match between Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White, as part of the World Championships.

There’s a trailer for Aviators, a documentary about the pioneers of flight.

Then, The Book Quiz, a special programme for World Book Day, presented by Griff Rhys Jones.

The teams are Stephen Fry,

Morwenna Banks

And Morwenna Banks’ husband

The other team are Phill Jupitus

Meera Syal

And Miles Kington.

I was slightly sad to see that it wasn’t Sanjeev Bhaskar alongside Meera Syal, and two teams with husband and wife would have been fun.

It’s a fun quiz, but because the snooker overran, it’s cut off just before the end, which is quite sad.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd April 1998 – 20:00

Recording switches to the end of Doctors at Large dealing with student doctors at the end of their five year course, who’s passed, who’s failed.

There’s a trailer for Timewatch.

Then, still running late, Horizon and Mir Mortals. It starts in dramatic fashion, telling us the astronauts will face death, and three of them will never return to space.

This is incredibly doom laden. They even talk to an astrologer.

During a party on the station, a malfunction in an oxygen canister, generating a hot flame. The station started filling with smoke.

After this was got under control, there’s more disasters. A resupply ship, which usually docks automatically, was supposed to be docked manually, a cost cutting measure by the Russians. But the video signal from the incoming ship, the only guide for the pilot guiding it in, failed. So the pilot had to do it blind. The ship almost collided with the station.

Astonishingly, the Russians wanted then to try the procedure again, at a later date. This time, they decided to turn off the radar, thinking that this was why the camera failed. As a result the pilot had no information about speed or distance.

As a result, the supply ship actually collided with the station, causing an atmosphere leak.

Later on, Boris Yeltsin and the Russian command staff put the blame squarely on the pilot, for performing a process that they insisted upon.

The programme is available to watch on iPlayer. It’s quite gripping.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd April 1998 – 21:30

Following this, there’s a trailer for another Horizon – The Computer that Ate Hollywood (which I hope I have somewhere). This is a terrible trailer for what was, as I recall, a good programme.

Then there’s a shot programme, The Written World, another World Book Day programme.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd April 1998 – 22:20

Then, Murray Lachlan Young talks about the best book in the world, Struwwelpeter. Mr Lachlan Young really wanted to be Neil Gaiman, didn’t he?

Then, Newsnight starts, leading with the problems disarming the paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.

And this Arab Israeli tells of how he’s not as equal as the Israeli authorities would like to pretend. “He said ‘You are like mosquitos'”

Well they are next to each other in the dictionary. (That’s an obligatory Secret Policeman’s Ball reference.)

Then, rather coincidentally, given that it’s barely days since I looked at The Day Today from 1994, here in 1998 Jeremy Paxman is using a clip from the show to ask “What will happen to the Bureau de Change when Europe has a single currency?”

It’s not like my collection is overflowing with Day Today clips and references, so it’s slightly gobsmacking that so soon after the programme itself came out of the box, I should be watching a tape from four years later that references it on a news show. I feel like my entire life is some pathetic grasp at meaning in a pitiless maelstrom of chaos. But with screenshots.

After a little while of Newsnight, that recording stops, and underneath there’s some ITV News at Ten. This is also leading on the Northern Irish Peace Process.

It feels like an epochal moment, as the talks are very close to coming to a positive conclusion.

In other news, Robin Cook married his secretary in a hurriedly rearranged ceremony. And the press are hounding George Michael after he was arrested in a toilet. Nice to see the important stories aren’t overlooked.

There’s also a story about an army officer being court martialed for having an affair with a junior officer. So obviously it’s a story about the ‘wider issue of women’s role in the military.’ How can the poor, confused menfolk be expected to concentrate on their soldiering with these strange, exotic creatures flitting around?

There’s a story about a light aircraft that messed up its landing and got tangled in power lines.

At the end of the news, there’s a look back at the history of the troubles in Northern Ireland, and I was half expecting them to play the footage along with 30 Banging Rock Tunes.

Good God, the intro to the ITV Weather looks like it cost more than the average episode of Game of Thrones. This is EPIC!

There’s an amazing advert for Northern Rock that sounds like one of those Time-Life compilation albums, and plays like a quirky indy movie starring Paul McGann (I think – I can’t keep all the McGanns straight).

In London Tonight, there’s a story about a recently paroled paedophile who might be moving to a police station in Cheshunt. The police statement reads like something out of the Brass Eye special.

There’s also a horrible story about an 84 year old pensioner who killed himself by throwing himself into the Thames because he’s made a mistake on his self assessment tax form. I can genuinely sympathise. Tax forms terrify me too.

After this, there’s a very dull looking sports version of Question Time called The Sports Show.

Then, ITN return with live coverage of the Stormont peace talks, coming up to the Midnight deadline, which surely everyone knew would be blown past, because nobody wanted to end up with the Maundy Thursday Agreement when the Good Friday Agreement is way cooler.

The tape runs out during this.


  • American Express – Jerry Seinfeld
  • British Midland
  • Volvo S40
  • Somerfield
  • oral-B
  • One 2 One
  • trail: The Big Match
  • Savacentre
  • DFS
  • Northern Rock
  • Jus-Rol
  • Del Monte
  • MFI
  • Savacentre
  • trail: GMTV
  • trail: Sleeping with the Enemy
  • Homebase
  • Dockers
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Pizza Hut
  • Men in Black on video
  • Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares
  • Bold
  • MFI
  • Rolling Rock
  • Specsavers
  • Army
  • Liquid Nails
  • Fairy
  • Courts – Bruce Forsyth
  • Pentium II
  • Dockers
  • trail: The Big Match
  • trail: The World Cup
  • Urban Rhymes
  • Uno
  • British Midland
  • Baileys
  • Galaxy Caramel
  • Volvo S40
  • B&Q
  • Urban Rhymes
  • trail: Kavanagh QC



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