Day: August 22, 2018

Space 1999 – The House – The Larry Sanders Show – Seinfeld – tape 2157

First on this tape, Space 1999 and an episode called The Lambda Factor. There’s a disappointing special effect in the sky above Alpha.

It’s giving people magic like powers, especially Deborah Fallender, who suddenly becomes able to control people’s minds.

This has all the hallmarks of a cheap episode, probably made to save money towards the end of a season. It’s written by Terrance Dicks, legendary Doctor Who writer.

After this, recording continues briefly with the start of an episode of Alien Nation, then recording switches to BBC2 and the end of an episode of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads.

There’s a trailer for Under the Sun, a documentary about child beauty pageants which looks just as awful as you might imagine.

Then, an episode of The House, the documentary going behind the scenes of the Royal Opera House.

The first drama is the discovery, an hour before curtain up, that the lead baritone in The Marriage of Figaro, has completely lost his voice.

Luckily for the House, baritone Thomas Allen, a world famous performer, was available, having flown in from LA just the day before, and he was asleep when they called to ask him to stand in. When Jeremy Isaacs announces that the scheduled baritone was unable to perform, you can hear a general murmur of disappointment, but when he announces that the replacement is Thomas Allen, there’s a huge round of applause.

Watching a show like this, I’m always impressed at the scale of the productions. The sheer size of some of the set pieces is amazing, and what’s even more amazing is that these sets have to be packed up and shipped off to New York for a tour.

I spotted Bamber Gascoigne as a member of the ROH board, as Isaacs explains to them his radical shake-up of backstage working patterns.

There’s some gruesome footage of the kind of things feet undergo when dancing on point. Not quite as upsetting as the later footage of surgery on a dancer’s ankle, which I shall spare you.

They’re interviewing for a new Director of Personnel. One of the candidates is the current number 2 in the department Judith Vickers. You won’t be surprised to learn she was passed over in favour of a man from elsewhere. There’s a particularly grinding moment when the newcomer is welcomed, and they mention Judith as the other candidate, and the outgoing director tells him that “she’s been doing that job since before I came, so she introduced me to my job, and now she’s got to do it again with you.”

There’s a star studded first night for the Royal Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty at the New York Metropolitan Opera, including President Bill Clinton

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton

And Princess Margaret, here talking to prima ballerina Darcey Bussell.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th January 1996 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime.

Then there’s the start of a short programme, Several Careful Owners about an old Rolls Royce.

Then, recording switches to the end of Newsnight.

After this, there’s a trailer for The Diane Modahl Story.

There’s also a trailer for Jeremy Clarkson’s Motor World.

Then, The Larry Sanders Show, and an episode called Being There.

The show hires a new, young bandleader, and Hank feels threatened by the newcomer. He’s played by our second Kemp brother in recent days, Gary Kemp.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th January 1996 – 23:15

There’s a trailer for Sounds of the Eighties.

then, an episode of Seinfeld. It’s the first part of a two parter, and we saw the second part a little while ago. George tells Susan they’re passing on the network’s offer for their sitcom, thinking he can negotiate for more money.

There’s a scene where Jerry asks Elaine about something, and he can tell she’s lying because she touches her face. Not particularly significant on its own.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th January 1996 – 23:40

After this, another episode of Larry Sanders called NY or LA in which the network is bought by a foreign buyer. He’s played by David Warner, and he makes noises about changing the show’s format, leading to speculation that Larry might take the show to New York.

When he lies to the staff about it, he touches his face, and Artie later points it out to him – two episodes featuring exactly the same ‘tell’ right next to each other on the same tape.

Bob Odenkirk appears as Larry’s agent Stevie.

Howard Stern makes a guest appearance. He’s about as grotesquely sexist as he always seems to be.

Chris Farley is a guest on Larry’s show.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 18th March 1996 – 23:15

After this, a nice surprise, with an episode of Film 96. Barry Norman reviews the following films.

He’s strangely lukewarm on Toy Story, complaining that, even at 80 minutes, it feels too long, and that the chase at the end goes on too long.

There’s a location report on the follow-up to A Fish Called WandaFierce Creatures.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 18th March 1996 – 23:45

After this, there’s a trailer for Pat and Margaret. Then this recording stops, and underneath there’s an Open University programme looking at the mass production of yarn, and the operation of a large sewage works. Both hypnotically fascinating.

The tape ends during this.

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