Survivors – Chef! – Morecambe And Wise Christmas Special – The Wrong Trousers – tape 1629

This tape opens with some vintage Eastenders on UK Gold. It’s Christmas, so obviously something bad is going to happen. It’s the one where Mary the Punk’s father takes her baby and then has a car crash.

Then, it’s an episode of Survivors described as ‘those suffering from Post-Nuclear Tension’ by the announcer. It’s not nuclear, it was a plague. Grr.

This episode is Lights of London part 1. It opens with a surgeon in an operating room – with electricity – talking about needing another doctor. “Supposing she won’t come?” “She must be made to come.” It’s a bit foreboding.

Two strangers come to Greg and Jenny’s settlement, asking for Ruth, the Doctor. They say they’re from another settlement, some way away, and need a doctor, as there’s some kind of illness there. They tell them that Abby Grant is there, and has found her son. Reluctantly she agrees. Nadim Sawhala is one of the pair.

When she gets to their settlement, it’s only David Troughton. The couple are actually from London and are taking her there to help with their sickness.

There’s a rat problem in London.

And a creepy Roger Lloyd Pack problem.

She meets the apparent leader of the Londoners, Manny, played by Sydney Tafler.

It’s all a bit creepily polite. The episode ends with Greg and Charles arriving and being attacked by rats.

After this, recording continues for a bit with the start of an episode of For The Love of Ada.

Then, recording switches to a trailer for Christmas Day on BBC1.

There’s also a trailer for Lovejoy on Boxing Day.

Then we have an episode of Chef! Always nice to see my old school friend Claire Skinner.

“I hate seeing ingredients walking around.”

BBC Genome: BBC One – 24th December 1993 – 22:10

After this, there’s a trailer for Only Fools and Horses. Also a short trail for White Palace.

Then, the start of a news bulletin, leading with the story of three young children who were found alone in their house. “There was no sign of Christmas”.

After a bit of this bulletin, recording switches to the very end of Ghost.

There’s a trailer for A Fish Called Wanda and one for New Year’s Day.

Then, a vintage Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show.

There’s a running gag, where Elton John arrives to be a guest, and he’s sent all around the houses.

A guest appearance from Kenneth Kendal.

Guest Angharad Rees from Poldark.

There’s an appearance by Angela Rippon on a chorus line.

A cameo from James Hunt

Another Elton gag, this time featuring Dad’s Army. Wonderful.

A huge song and dance number, with a chorus of famous people doing There Is Nothing Like a Dame from South Pacific. There’s newsreaders Richard Whitmore and Richard Baker

Frank Bough and Eddie Waring

Film Critics Philip Jenkinson and Barry Norman

Michael Aspel

Peter Woods

Another guest is Francis Matthews

Penelope Keith’s meeting Eric and Ernie is a brilliant piece of writing, perfectly delivered.

The play what Ern wrote is Cyrano de Bergerac

Richard Briers and Paul Eddington make a nice cameo appearance.

I love the behind the scenes stuff in TVC.

Elton does his song in the end, but the audience has left.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 25th December 1993 – 23:10

After this, there’s a trailer for Boxing Day on BBC1

Then, a short programme, Watching Flocks, and contemplation of the meaning of Christmas.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 26th December 1993 – 00:20

Recording switches to BBC2 and we just catch the closing credits of Peter and the Wolf, co-directed by Spitting Image’s Roger Law.

There’s a trailer for Porgy and Bess.

Then, a festive ident

And the first showing on TV for the Wallace and Gromit film The Wrong Trousers.

I went to see the premiere of The Wrong Trousers by accident. It was shown at the London Film Festival before a showing of Kate Bush’s film The Line The Cross and the Curve. It brought the house down, and when Kate Bush arrived to introduce her film, she said, a little crestfallen, “I’m not sure I can follow that.”

It really is a brilliant film. Small and perfectly formed, with so much going on. So many good sight gags, like the piggy bank inside a safe behind a picture of a piggy bank.

I had this poster on a T-Shirt once.

Gromit’s hiding place

“Good Grief! It’s you!” as Feathers McGraw pulls off his disguise.

When Toy Story came out, director John Lasseter cited the train chase at the end of this as the inspiration for the end of Toy Story. They wanted a sequence that was as good as this one.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 26th December 1993 – 17:20

After this there’s a trailer for At Home with Vic and Bob. There’s also a trailer for The Seven Deadly Sins.

Then there’s the start of a production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and the tape ends after a few minutes of this.

Adverts:

  • trail: Christmas Eve on UK Gold
  • Fosters
  • Farenheit
  • Somerfield/Gateway
  • Persil
  • Strepsils
  • Croft Original
  • The Pountney Clinic
  • Eternity
  • Rotary
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  • San Miguel
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  • trail: Top of the Pops
  • trail: Roxy Music
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4 comments

  1. The brilliant thing about the train chase at the end is that it’s presented with utmost high stakes seriousness, even when it’s totally ridiculous. Gromit flinging the tracks down is a fantastic image.

    1. Yep – it’s spot on, quite the best of the shorts (though A Grand Day Out runs it awfully close). A Close Shave feels very slightly forced in comparison.

      I remember Christmas 1993 particularly well. There’d been some snowfall the previous week where we were, and there was still a little left in the garden in the shade, so I counted that as a white Christmas of sorts. I spent most of Christmas Day and Boxing Day watching The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, a grand present for someone who’d discovered Douglas Adams’ work the previous spring. My mum and dad had to send off for it on VHS from the BBC directly, as the local Woolies didn’t stock it.

      Just look at the BBC1 schedules for Boxing Day and New Year’s Day! It’s basically a souped-up Saturday night – just the usual programmes, like Big Break and LOTSW. Not much to hang your hat on, really, not even any big film premieres; it’s amazing, in light of what followed by the late 90s and early noughties. (Though I recall that the UK premiere of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was shown on BBC1 on New Year’s Eve that year.)

      1. That’s true enough. 1993 is always considered the high water mark of Christmas on BBC1 because they absolutely thrashed ITV, but that was the year that ITV didn’t make any effort whatsoever and flung on back-to-back films on Christmas Night. So it was basically BBC1 or nothing.

        Of course, that was also the last time “Boxing Day” was 27th December, with the 26th being Christmas Sunday, an archaic term from the period when everything was closed on Sundays so the usual Boxing Day traditions of shopping, sport and so on couldn’t be followed. Which was rendered irrelevant after the Sunday Trading Act the next year.

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