Future Fantastic – Cybill – Roseanne – Friends – tape 2216

This tape opens with the end of Top of the Pops.

There’s a trailer for Euro 96. There’s also a trailer for Value for Money with Vanessa Feltz.

Then, the first episode of Future Fantastic, the series presented by Gillian Anderson about science and science fiction. It’s from the Tomorrow’s World team, according to the announcer.

Astronaut Story Musgrave feels that there must be life outside of Earth.

Wow, here’s Frank Drake again, explaining how his Drake Equation could predict the number of intelligent civilisations in our galaxy. He puts the number at 10,000. I was surprised enough when he turned up on Star Trek Night, but now here he is again.

Another familiar face from Star Trek Night is SETI astronomer Seth Shostak.

Arthur C Clarke is, obviously, an expert on thinking about alien contact.

Dr Richard Haines investigates people claiming to have been abducted by aliens. This is what Fox Mulder looks like in real life.

Robert Shaeffer has looked at connections between abduction stories and science fiction, and he finds a lot of crossover between SF and abduction stories.

John Clute, SF Author, is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, and he knows full well that most people’s image of aliens is almost entirely shaped by popular fiction.

David Bischoff writes about conspiracy theories of government cover ups of alien contact.

Glenn Campbell quit his job as a computer programmer to become an Area 51 investigator. His favourite language is probably PHP.

Bob Lazar claims to have worked on the team that examined alien spacecraft at Area 51.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 21st June 1996 – 19:30

There’s a trailer for programmes for Sunday.

And a trailer for The Olympic Game.

Recording continues with the start of an episode of Big Break. Now, I know I’m politically disinclined to like Jim Davidson, but the intro here is pretty awful. Clumsy and poorly written. And then he goes to meet the punters, and the first man is called Ioan. It’s a Welsh name, so you can forgive Davidson not knowing how to pronounce it. But he reads it out as “I.O.N.A.” Then he makes a weak joke about “Isn’t Yona from Star Wars.” So either that gem was off the cuff (it’s weak enough) or he prepared a joke based on a misreading of the man’s name. Either way, it’s pretty bad.

Recording switches after a couple of minutes to Channel 4. There’s an episode of Cybill. We get a flashback to 1969.

It’s Cybill’s birthday, so Maryann and her daughters take her to New York, where she tries to relive her 1969 experience. Gosh, Cybill likes to sing, doesn’t she?

After this, an episode of Roseanne. It’s the last in the series, and Dan is ready to come out of hospital.

But he chafes under the healthy diet he has to have after his heart attack, and the episode ends with Dan and Roseanne having a huge argument and Roseanne storms out.

Recording switches to BBC1, and the end of Top of the Pops. John Lydon is performing live.

There’s a trailer for programmes on Saturday.

There’s also a trailer for The O Zone, about Take That’s break-up.

Next, another episode of Future FantasticI Robot.

Joe Engelberger is a pioneer of robotics.

His ‘Helpmate’, a robot for hospitals, reminds me a lot of Gertie from Duncan Jones’ Moon.

Isaac Asimov is recalled, for his three laws of robotics.

Marvin Minsky is another familiar face in these documentaries.

Hans Moravec is an AI researcher.

There’s some impressive footage of the self driving car – not bad for 1996.

There’s a robot that can change its expression in response to a human. (The robot is on the left).

As the discussion moves to AI, inevitably, Arthur C Clarke is back.

I’m surprised we’ve had so many episode of this programme, and this is the first time Professor Kevin Warwick has turned up. My memory is that he was ubiquitous in almost every discussion about robotics. I think I side with NTK, who always considered him to be a bit of a joke.

Rod Brooks is ‘the self-styled bad boy of robotics’. As my wife said, anyone who styles himself a ‘bad boy’ probably shouldn’t be working in that area.

Check out the URL on the end credits. bbc.co.uk obviously hadn’t started.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 28th June 1996 – 19:30

There’s a trailer for Pets Win Prizes. And for Euro 96 final.

Then, the start of Big Break.

After a minute or so of this torture, recording switches to Channel 4. There’s an episode of Cybill. David Ogden Stiers is directing a voice recording session for a telephone menu.

Cybill meets Zoe’s teacher, played by Jane Lynch.

After this, the first in a new series of Friends. Ross comes back from China with a girlfriend, Julie.

There’s been a lot of press recently, with Friends appearing on Netflix, of how some of the attitudes in the show are a bit problematic. Frankly, they always were, a bit, like the slightly homophobic gag here about Joey’s tailor and his inappropriate touching. But the shows are still very funny.

There’s another episode straight after, The One with the Breast Milk. Chandler and Joey are freaked out when Carol starts breast feeding.

Emily Procter (Ainsley Hayes off of The West Wing) appears as Joey’s co-worker.

I was watching this episode on Netflix, and I was relieved to note that they’ve kept in the establishing shots of the Twin Towers. I wondered if they might have removed them.

There’s a lovely bit of lighting at the end, when Joey defeats his perfume-slinging rival in the store, and walks off into the sunset with Emily Procter.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of TFI Friday. Most of the start is about England’s loss in the Semi-Final of Euro 96. The tape ends after about ten minutes.

There’s a curious ad break. A few of the ads are interrupted by a train whizzing past at the bottom of the screen – it’s a promotion between Virgin Cola and Eurostar, but the train also interrupts an Immodium advert. I wonder if Virgin paid them for their ad time?

Adverts:

  • Peugeot 106
  • P&O
  • Boots
  • Dalton’s Weekly
  • Budweiser
  • Peugeot 106
  • trail: Friends
  • trail: Oklahoma!
  • Mercury
  • Peugeot 406
  • Asda
  • P&O
  • New Zealand
  • trail: The Gaby Roslin Show
  • trail: Postcards From The Edge
  • Nissan
  • Argos
  • Babybel
  • Soft & Gentle
  • Red Stripe
  • trail: Friends
  • trail: Escape to Hollywood
  • Peugeot 106
  • Scrumpy Jack
  • Palmolive
  • Oasis
  • Peugeot 106
  • trail: Postcards From The Edge
  • trail: The Gaby Roslin Show
  • Summer Vybes
  • Martini
  • BT
  • Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain
  • Renault Clio
  • Summer Vybes
  • trail: Full Metal Jacket
  • trail: True Stories: Gordonstoun
  • Oasis – Mike Reid
  • Movie Killers
  • Asda
  • Dalton’s Weekly
  • General Accident
  • Renault Clio
  • trail: Absolutely Animals
  • trail: Friends
  • Shredded Wheat
  • Rover
  • BT
  • Dalton’s Weekly
  • Ikea
  • Irn Bru
  • Seafrance
  • House of Fraser
  • RAC
  • trail: Buffalo Girls
  • Lexus
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Oasis – Mike Reid
  • Crowded House – Recurring Dream
  • Lexus
  • trail: The Final Passage
  • trail: ER
  • Ford Escort
  • Persil
  • Argos
  • Pantene
  • Martini
  • Virgin Cola
  • Dalton’s Weekly
  • Trebor Extra Strong Mints
  • Immodium Plus
  • Ford Escort
  • Virgin Cola/Eurostar
  • trail: Buffalo Girls
  • Somerfield
  • American Express
  • Nissan
  • Dr Pepper
  • Soft & Gentle
  • trail: Frasier
  • Vauxhall
  • Reebok
  • Burger King
  • Oasis – Mike Reid
  • trail: The Cable Guy
  • Martini
  • The Guardian
  • Reebok – Alf Garnett
  • trail: ER
  • trail: American Gothic
  • Kit Kat Ice Cream
  • Budweiser
  • Citroen Xantia
  • trail: Tour de France
  • trail: Full Metal Jacket
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2 comments

  1. John Lydon on Top of the Pops? Only him? I don’t recall that. Perhaps it was Sex Pistols’ appearance on the show that summer. It was very hyped, presumably because it fitted in so well with Britpop’s rehashing of the last forty years of rock music. Steve Jones played with the cross of St. George painted on his amplifier stacks. Strange to see that, really – in 1977 that flag was virtually nowhere to be seen.

    I can’t stand it when bands reform, especially after so long. But I felt far more kindly towards the Pistols for some reason. Perhaps it was because they were so transparently out to make a quick buck, despite what Lydon said at the time. As I recall, the performance was competent, but a little underwhelming.

    1. I say John Lydon – he definitely had a band behind him, but I’m not au fait enough with his work to know if he was still with Public Image at this point. But a check on the internet reveals this was a Sex Pistols performance of New York, not a song I’m familiar with.

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