Star Trek – Voyager – The Money Programme – Karaoke – Seinfeld – Just For Laughs – tape 2164

First on this tape, an episode of Star Trek Voyager on Sky One. There’s a definite Robocop vibe to the first-person view we get of something beamed aboard the ship.

It’s a fairly rubbish robot.

I really hate Neelix. His entire dialogue is always just a recitation of made-up food, like Jibalian Omlette. I don’t know why, but it always rubs me the wrong way. Although the rest of the crew, and their strange insistence that there are loads of different types of ‘energy’ comes a close second.

At least we’ve got the Doctor. I like the Doctor. Is he really that different to Neelix? Maybe I just like Robert Picardo. Which is likely. I like the scene here where B’Elanna is trying to work out how to energize the robot, and asks the Doctor for help, but then works out a solution for herself. This is what we in the programming world sometimes refer to as a ‘cardboard programmer’. Sometimes all you need to find the solution to a problem or bug is to explain it to someone else. That other person doesn’t even have to say anything, it’s the action of having to explain out loud what you already know that often points to the thing that you’ve missed.

This is not a bad story – B’Elanna is asked by the robot if it’s possible to make new robots, as he is unable to. Janeway forbids it based on the Prime Directive. But then they encounter a whole ship of the robots, B’Elanna is kidnapped and forced to help build a new prototype.

Then a second lot of robots, built by a different race, turn up and a big battle starts. I was hoping B’Elanna’s prototype would somehow be the key to stopping the machine war. But no, it all ends up like Skynet vs the Matrix. B’Elanna terminates her prototype and is rescued by Paris, and the Voyager goes on its way.

After this, recording continues briefly with the start of WWF Action Zone, with some people shouting about wrestling.

Then, recording switches to an episode of The Money Programme. The first item is about Lloyd’s of London trying to get out from under its huge liabilities. I can’t drum up much sympathy for a bunch of very rich people who made a fortune from the insurance industry now having to pay up for its liabilities.

Then, a report on how Apple have fallen behind in the personal computer market. It’s clearly written by financial journalists, referring to ‘IBM’s Windows’.

Strangely, although this was almost certainly the reason I was recording this, it cuts off just as this report starts, which is annoying.

Next, there’s a trailer for Airport. And a trailer for No Bananas.

Then, Karaoke, one of Dennis Potter’s last two TV dramas. And oh boy, does it hit the ground running, starting off with an old classic song (Teenager in Love), then Hywel Bennett singing it in a Karaoke bar, in which bar there’s a platinum blonde woman looking uninterested next to a boring older man. That’s the first minute.

Adding to the Potter tropes, we have Albert Finney as a writer with health problems. (That’s Game On’s Matthew Cottle as the hospital technician).

As he’s about to get into a car, he hears a couple passing, and they appear to be speaking lines from his latest script. That’s Ewan McGregor there in a tiny role, obviously saying thank you for his early role in Lipstick on my Collar.

In the drama Karaoke, Ian McDiarmid is playing the Dennis Potter character.

Also in the movie, Steven Mackintosh as a waiter.

And another Game On alumnus Neil Stuke.

Plus Keeley Hawes, who so far we’ve only seen on an edit bench.

Richard E Grant plays the director of Karaoke, written as a raving egotist with no respect for the writer. I wonder if that comes from Potter’s experience.

I see they’re playing Heavenly Creatures in this Soho street scene for the movie.

Anna Chancellor plays the film’s producer.

Ralph Brown plays Neil Stuke’s analogue in the real world, as Finney keeps seeing his script being performed in life.

Roy Hudd is Finney’s agent.

Liz Smith plays his mother.

Katy Charmichael turns up as a hostess in a Soho bar.

Here’s Hywel Bennett as the villain, ‘Pig’ Mailion.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 28th April 1996 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for the next episode of Karaoke, and for Knife to the Heart.

Then there’s the start of Everyman.

After a couple of minutes, recording switches to Sky One and an episode of Seinfeld. It’s a season five episode, The Wife guest starring Courteney Cox.

Kramer goes tanning before visiting his black girlfriend’s family. He goes too far.

After this, recording continues for a bit with the start of an episode of Duckman, then switches over to Channel 4 and Just for Laughs, presented by Frank Skinner.

Featuring Mark Roberts

And Phil Kay. He does a joke about how awful male synchronized swimming would be, which is odd, in a week when Rob Brydon’s movie, Swimming with Men has just come out. I don’t have a lot of Synchronized Swimming based comedy in my collection, so that’s another weird coincidence.

In the trailers, there’s a nice in-character trailer from Father Ted and Dougal.


  • Freeman’s Catalogue
  • Rimmel
  • BT
  • trail: The Browning Version
  • trail: Tonight on Sky
  • Sky TV Guide
  • Corn Flakes
  • Carte D’Or
  • Zantac 75
  • Kays Catalogue
  • Pantene
  • Abbey Life
  • Corn Flakes
  • trail: Schwarzenegger’s Bank Holiday Weekend
  • trail: Deep Space Nine
  • Shredded Wheat
  • Gaviscon
  • T-Gel
  • Tic Tac
  • Natrel Plus
  • Abbey Life
  • Muller Breakfast Bio
  • Nickelodeon
  • trail: Football
  • trail: The Flintstones
  • Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles
  • Microsoft 3D Movie Maker
  • Wash & Go
  • Fairy Liquid
  • Soft & Gentle
  • Pepsi
  • Nickelodeon
  • trail: Sky Sports
  • Trivial Pursuit – Star Trek Edition
  • trail: Sky in May
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • Aquafresh
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • Chappie
  • Sure
  • trail: Motorsports on Sky
  • Miller Time
  • British Gas – Mrs Merton
  • trail: The X Files
  • trail: Tomorrow on Sky
  • Sky TV Guide
  • Miller Genuine Draft
  • Setlers Antacid
  • American Express – Richard Branson
  • Rimmel
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Johnson’s Kids
  • Renault Megane – Tony Gardner
  • trail: Space: Above and Beyond/The Outer Limits
  • trail: Rugby
  • trail: Motorsports on Sky
  • Mobil 1
  • Lucozade Sport
  • Comfort Pure
  • Ace Biscuit
  • Sheba
  • Abbey Life
  • trail: The Client
  • trail: And The Beat Goes On
  • Diet Coke
  • British Gas – Mrs Merton
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • Mars
  • Peugeot 306
  • trail: Friday on Four
  • The Equitable Life
  • Rover
  • Always
  • Carlsberg Pub Cup
  • trail: Karaoke


  1. I read a large biography of Dennis Potter just last month, so you imagine how I feel about this “coincidence”. It was rather sad to see just how frequently he rehashed the same premises. I recall you looked at Pennies From Heaven a while back.

  2. Ian McDiarmid was great casting for the Dennis Potter surrogate, you’d almost believe it was him, except for the fact of Potter being technically dead. It wasn’t the greatest swan song, but it was a lot better than Cold Lazarus.

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