Month: September 2018

The Fast Show – Fist of Fun – tape 2146

Skipping forwards a little in time for this tape, which opens with the end of Gardener’s World.

There’s a trailer for Red Dwarf VI which I’ve uploaded before, although this one says “In half an hour” instead of “Next Friday”.

Then, The Fast Show. This is a new series, although for someone like me who is an occasional viewer rather than a fan, it’s hard to identify by series.

Unlucky Alf gets assaulted by the National Lottery.

I think of this sketch every time I see Nick Park being interviewed. Was this filmed at Aardman? The Gromit is accurate. “Just a tiny amount…”

Ted & Ralph really is beautifully written and performed.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 16th February 1996 – 21:00

After this, there’s a trailer for The Fast Show.

Then there’s the start of Red Dwarf VI, a repeat run of the show. After a few minutes, recording switches to the end.

There’s a trailer for Later Presents Paul Weller in Concert.

Then, the first episode of series 2 of Fist of Fun, the other comedy duo consisting of a floppy haired intellectual, and his slightly more laddish partner (after Newman and Baddiel a few days ago). I don’t like the new set. “Like Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor Who, the new Fist of Fun is brief excitement followed by disappointment, shame and regret.”

There’s a bit of a dig at programmes like The Girly Show, featuring Sally Phillips.

Simon Quinlank, King of Hobbies, appears. His weak lemon drink gets a cheer.

There’s a guest appearance by Rod Hull. Yes, he’s the real Rod Hull. “I AM HIM!”

As always, loads of flash frames, mostly at the end of the show, and yes, I’m sad enough to capture them all.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 16th February 1996 – 22:00

Another episode of The Fast Show follows. I like the fast forwarding through the trailers at the start of a crappy home video featuring films like Cat and Dog.

There’s a cheeky bit where they’re fast forwarding through a Porkys style ‘raunchy comedy’ and there’s a glimpse of some girls topless in the shower, but when they pause and rewind they’re all wearing towels. I’m not saying that’s a shared experience, but it might be.

Uncle Duck

I do love the Bob Fleming sketches. You always know where they’re going, but there’s a joy in seeing quite how they get there.

I like the childish businessmen too. A simple joke, but funny, and slightly reminiscent of a Fry and Laurie sketch.

Another lovely Ted and Ralph sketch, this one with no dialogue at all.

Guest star Steve Davis plays Shaft at snooker.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd February 1996 – 21:00

I’ve cut off the start of the episode of Fist of Fun here. I was probably too slow swapping tapes after recording ed Dwarf.

Rich loves Pancake Tuesday.

But his pancake routine is disrupted by Jarvis Cocker, fresh from his stage invasion at the Brit Awards. (As played by Alistair McGowan).

The Shrewsbury Pie Pie Festival is great.

Rebecca Front plays an EU bureaucrat who wants to abolish the tradition because people keep dying from food poisoning. “Some particles in the Pie Pie Pie could be up to 500 years old.” I love that her name is Uderzo.

This is all such a metaphor for Brexit. “I have the right to poison myself. Up Yours Delors.”

The parable of the prodigal son features Sally Phillips as a menstruating woman.

Ian News is both very very stupid and very clever.

Flash Frames for this episode

Genome: BBC Two – 23rd February 1996 – 22:00

There’s another brief clip of Gardener’s World before the next episode. There’s a trailer for Modern Times.

Then, another Fast Show. The off-roaders are going Paintballing.

“That looks nothing like the man who attacked me.” “No, it’s Jesus.”

“I’ll Get Me Clothes”

They’ve got Oasis to a tee.

“He knows what he wants!”

Forrest Gump gets an oscar.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st March 1996 – 21:00

After this there’s a strange trailer for Clive Anderson – Our Man In… with Clive playing Anne Robinson. Also a trailer for Fist of Fun.

Then there’s the start of Red Dwarf, and the end of the same episode.

There’s a trailer for Our Friends in the North.

Also a trailer for Murder One.

Then, more from Fist of Fun.

Simon Quinlank is angry.

Rich suggests doing ‘The F Files’ because the X Files has finished on the BBC. Stew talks about David Frost’s Beyond Belief.

York City are Magic.

Sally Phillips reports on this

Following on from that, Stew interviews Paul Daniels’ assistant, who tearfully admits that Paul Daniels isn’t really magic, and it’s all done with tricks.

“Rod Hull has a false arm?”

Seahand and Zemquitt, stupid Hollywood Producers

And all the show flash frames. See if you can spot the reference to Jimmy Saville buried amongst them.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st March 1996 – 22:00

We skip a few episodes, which I hope are on another tape.

There’s another bit of Gardener’s World, with Geoff Hamilton wishing us a ‘great pruning weekend’.

There’s a trailer for Reputations, about Alfred Kinsey.

Also a trailer for This Life.

Then, more from the Fast Show.

I like Denzil Dexter too.

“Cough Medicine? What will they think of next?”

Pan Pipes comes to Jazz Club

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th March 1996 – 21:00

After this, there’s a trailer for Murder One. And one for Fantasy Football League.

Then, there;s the start of Angus Deayton’s documentary about British Sex Comedies, Doing Rude Things. There’s a few minutes of this before the recording stops, and switches to the end of Newsnight. It’s interesting to watch the end credits of things like Newsnight, because you often spot names of people who would go on to be fairly important. This edition featured George Entwhistle, the future Director General who had to resign over the Jimmy Saville, Operation Yewtree fiasco. And Jay Hunt who would go on to be the controller of BBC One, the head of Channel 5, and most recently the Chief Creative Officer of Channel 4.

There’s another trail for Clive Anderson ‘Our Man In… The Bronx’. 

Then the tape runs out during an episode of The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer.

Space 1999 – Men Behaving Badly – The Larry Sanders Show – tape 1989

First on tape number 1989, it’s Space 1999. I’ll mention up front that Zenia Merton who plays Sandra Benes, died a few days ago. But I’d already seen her on another tape, so this one is just a sad follow-up. I’m so very sorry.

This episode is Seed of Destruction. Koenig and Carter land on an asteroid, and inside there’s a hall of mirrors. Koenig gets duplicated by the mirrors and the evil duplicate goes back to Alpha, leaving the real Koenig there so the aliens’ evil plan can be explained to him (and us).

Obligatory Eagle take-off shot.

This is not a bad episode, because it’s mostly about how you handle it when your commanding officer is acting erratically, as Koening starts diverting moonbase power to a beam that’s supposed to jump-start the asteroid to regenerate their race, and replace the Alphans. Carter stays loyal almost to the end, but even Helena can’t understand his behaviour. OK, so this is probably a retread of the Star Trek episode The Enemy Within.

After this, recording continues briefly, and we get the start of Alien Nation, then recording switches to the end of Newsroom South East. There’s a scary story about a truck crashing into an office building.

There’s weather from David Lee. Then a trailer for The X Files moving from BBC2 to BBC1. There’s also a trailer for Bob Monkhouse’s panel show Gag Tag.

Then, Men Behaving Badly, and it’s the first episode of the BBC1 run, so Harry Enfield has left, and Neil Morrissey’s Tony makes his debut.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th January 1996 – 21:30

Then, recording switches to BBC2 for The Larry Sanders Show. Larry’s old partner turns up, played by Eric Bogosian, and he’s given a writing job on the show because Larry feels sorry for him.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 9th January 1996 – 23:15

There’s another bit of the end of Newsroon South East again, and John Kettley is a Weather Man.

There’s a trailer for Inside Story. And one for the Michael J Fox comedy The Secret of My Success.

Then, another episode of Men Behaving Badly. This episode is Troublesome 12 inch. Gary finds a rare record among Dorothy’s records, and tries to sell it. But Dorothy asks where it is so he has to improvise. The Rich Tea biscuit is a small piece of comedy gold.

Deborah and Tony almost get together, but he manages to ruin it.

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

Next, from one laddish comedy to another, and an episode of Game On. In Working Girls, Mandy is getting frustrated at not having any opportunities at work. She meets a new author, a bluff Yorkshireman who has written a book called Blood Pudding. He asks her to dinner and she thinks it’s to ask for her help on the book.

Martin has a flashback to his schooldays. I keep forgetting he was at school with Matthew, which does explain why Martin puts up with him.

For Martin’s Birthday, Matthew arranges a girl to visit him, and of course, he’s oblivious to the fact that she’s been paid to have sex with him. It’s left unclear whether they actually did the deed. She tells Matthew they did, he says he just had a massage.

And Mandy does end up sleeping with professional northerner Ron Grimshawe, discovering there’s not really a research job. This really is a desperately tragic series. Really bleak.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st February 1996 – 22:00

After this there’s a trailer for Just a Minute.

Then, a short Video Nation segment in which Lauren Bateman reads a story from a magazine and wonders just what it is that men have to offer women.

Then, there’s a bit of an episode of Newsnight.

The recording stops during this, and underneath there’s part of an episode of the Robocop TV series. Then, after that, the start of an episode of Picket Fences during which the tape stops.

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The Tall Guy – tape 1985

The Tall Guy is a film that stars Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson. As such, it’s hardly surprising that I love it rather a lot.

It’s the first film written by Richard Curtis, and is very slightly semi-autobigraphical. Goldblum plays Dexter King, an actor who’s working as the straight man to grumpy, rubber-faced comedian Ron Anderson, played by Rowan Atkinson. Curtis used to be Atkinson’s straight man on tour – the comedy record Live in Belfast features Curtis. I’ve no idea what Atkinson is like in real life, but I doubt he can be as bad as Ron Anderson, a truly awful man who treats his team with contempt. But I suspect Atkinson enjoyed playing it.

There’s some lovely 1980s West End location shooting as Goldblum cycles home. I remember when Follies was on at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

There’s a tiny appearance from Jonathan Ross, on a TV, introducing Ron Anderson, to Dexter’s horror.

He shares a flat with Geraldine James, a woman who always has a naked man with her. She gives him terrible advice about relationships. “Behave like a total bastard” she says.

He falls in love with the nurse at his doctor’s practice. Because she’s Emma Thompson.

I like that Dexter is wearing Superman Jim Jams, but I can’t help noticing how incredibly off-model that logo is.

Joanna Kanska, off of A Very Peculiar Practice plays an old girlfriend of Dexter’s.

I’m fairly sure this is Richard Curtis, meeting Dexter in a corridor. And is it me, or is Dexter dressed as Peter Davison’s Doctor Who? Given that Kanska played Davison’s girlfriend in A Very Peculiar Practice, is this actually a multi-layered nerdy reference?

I’m loving the flashbacks to Dexter’s earlier life.

There’s a very silly shagging scene when Goldblum and Thompson do finally hook up. It’s definitely played for laughs, but if I’m honest, despite all the comedy, it’s one of the more realistic sex scenes, as they actually seem to be having fun.

There’s a brief glimpse of the end of a scene in the Ron Anderson show that’s clearly a sketch they used in Mr Bean. Which hadn’t started when this film came out. Was it a sketch they did on stage?

There’s a rather marvellous montage scene, set to Madness’s It Must Be Love that actually turns into a mini-musical number featuring members of the cast, and even Suggs himself.

After being sacked from the Ron Anderson show, Dexter visits his agent. There’s cameo appearances from Angus Deayton.

And Robin Driscoll. Both of whom have also played straight man for Rowan Atkinson.

His agent is played by Anna Massey.

He gets a gig on a musical version of The Elephant Man. “It’s called Elephant. With an exclamation mark, presumably.” The choreographer is Charles Augins, Queeg from Red Dwarf.

Kim Thomson plays his co-star, who has a thing for him. And because he’s an idiot, he has an affair with her.

Cameo from Melvyn Bragg

The Elephant Man makeup is impressive, if a little historically inaccurate.

The musical is an endless source of comedy. Like the balled “Packing His Trunk” and the stirring finale “Somewhere Up in Heaven There’s An Angel With Big Ears.”

The director of the movie, Mel Smith, turns up at the first night party.

Emma Thompson has worked out that he’s having an affair. “You said you liked me because I was clever.” And she leaves him.

John Inman appears on an awards show giving an award to Ron Anderson.

There’s a rush to the hospital where she works, and Dexter has to try to reconcile while she’s trying to save people’s lives. It’s an OK scene, but I never really bought it. However, because you like both the characters, you tend to ignore the logic of the scene and enjoy that they do, in fact, get back together.

 

After the film, recording continues, and there’s a short programme called Loved Ones.

Then, there’s an episode of The Kids in the Hall. I have to admit to not enjoying this series very much. “I’m crushing your head” is the only thing I remember from it.

After this, another programme, Baroque Duet, documenting a musical collaboration between Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis.

After this, the tape finally runs out during an Edward G Robinson film, Smart Money.

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Lenny Henry Christmas Special – Pauline Calf’s Wedding Video – Newman and Baddiel Live and In Pieces – French and Saunders Christmas Special – A B’Stard Exposed – The WH Smith Book Show – tape 1898

Wow, apologies if I’ve exploded your blog reader with the length of the title for this entry. I think it’s the longest I’ve ever had. It’s Christmas, so there’s a lot of different Christmas Specials and special broadcasts here.

First, The Lenny Henry Show.

A musical performance from Salt ‘n’ Pepa

John Fortune interviews Lenny as the richest man in the World.

Top American Cop Nathan Gunn comes to London.

Co starring Peter Wyngarde.

Curtis Walker plays a Welsh Rapper.

More music, this time from Dina Carroll.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 28th December 1994 – 21:15

Next, it’s Pauline Calf’s Wedding Video. I should admit here that I’m not a huge fan of wither Paul or Pauline Calf as characters. But there’s some good lines. “We’ve got none of that Caroline Tea. We’ve got Tetley.” “No thanks.” “They’re the round ones”

John Hannah appears.

Co-Writer Patrick Marber plays Pauline’s Greek fiancee Spiros.

John Thomson plays Fat Bob, in love with Pauline but unrequited.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th December 1994 – 21:50

Next, not a Christmas show, but Newman and Baddiel Live and In Pieces. There are lots of stories about how their friendship was falling apart by the time these concerts, and they weren’t speaking offstage.

As a comedy gig, it is genuinely amazing to see the kind of reaction they get. The cliche headline was ‘comedy is the new rock and roll’ but the reaction they get from the audience is quite something.

The sound cuts out at one point, and I thought it was a recording problem, but it turns out it was a bit.

I’m not sure I’ve ever watched this before, but I’m finding this quite funny. But I did always enjoy the Mary Whitehouse Experience.

Rob Newman’s entrance on a motorised skateboard is pretty good.

I have to admit, a lot of Rob Newman’s material was outside my frame of reference. 90s music and footballers.

Rob Newman comes on on wires just to take the applause.

The encore could be nothing else – it’s History Today.

I love the fact that David Baddiel has to point out to the audience that Rob Newman is holding up Stabilisers.

Also appearing in the show is Sean Lock.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th December 1994 – 00:20

Next, it’s the turn of French and Saunders. There’s a Dickensian sketch, featuring Ade Edmondson.

The Fat Old Blokes have never really worked for me, and these days they just seem awful. The fact it’s two women performing them isn’t really enough to compensate for the fact we’re just seeing two blokes harassing women.

The Piano is the movie parody.

A guest appearance by Anna Wing

The two extras meet Geraldine McEwan and Richard Briers. “Nobody knows what the hell is going on”.

A young Rupert Penry-Jones plays a runner.

I do like the two old country ladies, though.

Russ Conway plays the piano.

Another appearance from Christopher Ryan.

And a song and dance number from Anita Harris to close the show.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 30th December 1994 – 21:30

There’s a trailer for Cold Comfort Farm, and one for Clive James on 1994.

After this, recording continues, with a programme that wasn’t originally listed in my database. It’s Alan B’Stard Exposed, a hard hitting political interview with the Tory politician with the largest majority in the House of Commons.

He’s being interviewed by Brian Walden.

It’s strange that this programme turns up on BBC1, spinning off from an ITV show. But it works when there’s an ad break, and instead of adverts, we see what’s happening in the studio. There’s an appearance from the great Geoffrey McGivern as a floor manager.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 30th December 1994 – 22:10

Next, one more programme, as Frank Delaney interviews Stephen King for the WH Smith Book Show.

After this programme, there’s the start of a Sky News bulletin. The tape ends during this programme.

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One Foot In The Grave – One Night Stand – tape 1900

I don’t remember recording all these episodes of One Foot in the Grave. But I’m quite glad I did, as it lets me catch up.

The first episode here is Only a Story. Victor and Margaret return home to find their ceiling wallpaper has fallen down.

Mrs Warboys is visiting while her basement flat is flooded out.

Margaret is not enjoying her stay. But Victor is chilled out because he’s been visiting a women who does reflexology, stroking his feet to relax him. There’s a lovely beat in the opening scene when Margaret asks Mrs Warboys is anyone has been round to pick up the enlargement. “You know, the one we got done at the photo Shop that was horribly wrong?” Then, when the scene ends, and Mrs Warboys leaves the living room, we get this shot.

Victor has had another letter printed in the local paper. Previously, they’d printed a letter from him, but attached the wrong name and address. This time they’ve printed his name and address as that of the editor of the paper.

Victor and Mrs Warboys get locked out of the house, so they seek shelter at his neighbour’s, who is having a party with fellow members of the Dixon of Dock Green appreciation society.

And at the end of the episode, while Victor is upstairs about to apply lotion to his bottom (having sat on a roasting dish earlier in the episode) Margaret turns on the TV to see him through their bedroom window. There’s a TV Crew outside, having mistaken Victor for the editor of the local paper, doing a piece about a story in the local paper which invaded the privacy of a local MP.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 1st January 1995 – 21:00

The next episode is called The Affair of the Hollow Lady. It guest stars Barbara Windsor as a local greengrocer who has designs on Victor.

Mrs Warboys wins a prize at Madame Tussaud’s – a wax work of herself.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 8th January 1995 – 21:10

The next episode is Rearranging the Dust. Victor and Margaret are waiting in a solicitor’s office. Antony Sher makes a guest appearance.

This is a really good episode, with lots of low level slapstick and public embarrassment. And a surprisingly melancholy ending.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 15th January 1995 – 21:05

The next episode, called Hole in the Sky, sees a guest appearance from Christopher Ryan. As twins.

Victor is experimenting with seafood.

The structure of these episodes is very interesting. There are frequently events that happen off camera, and we learn about them from the story being recounted by Victor and others. Like the disastrous trip to an Armenian restaurant by Victor and neighbour Angus Deayton, where they were assumed to be lovers wanting an intimate dinner.

Margaret finds some money lying on the ground, along with a restaurant receipt. Victor persuades her that he should track the owner down, which they do, and he visits the house, not knowing it’s the house of Angus Deayton’s brother in law. So he has to hide in a cupboard. The Brother in law is played by Michael Fenton Stevens.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 22nd January 1995 – 21:05

Following this, recording switches to Channel 4, for an unmarked programme, One Night Stand: Bill Hicks. I’m still a bit sad about his ridiculously early death, although I do wonder what age would have done to him.

After this, there’s an episode of Football Italia – Mezzonotte. I have nothing to say about this.

Then, a programme called Blood Sweat and Glory. It opens with the weirdest title sequence in which a group of very caucasian looking people are dressed up like native Americans, and a woman vaults over a bull.

This is a programme made mostly of archive footage, looking at people who liked thrills and spills. There’s a section about various skiing greats, and I was glad to see the definitive skier represented. For some reason, Franz Klammer is one of those athletes who will always be the primary exemplar of a sport I’m not that interested in.

Then the tape ends just as an old film, Wedding Rehearsal, starts.

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The X Files – tape 1940

I’m afraid this tape is full of repeats. We’ve seen all these episodes from their original run on BBC2.

The tape starts with the end of MASH.

Then. episode one of season two, Little Green Men. You can see what I thought of this here.

Next it’s The Host which I looked at (along with the next episode) in this entry.

Before the next episode there’s the end of an episode of Mash.

Then, Blood.

And finally on this tape, Sleepless, which I looked at here.

Following this, the start of an episode of Models, Inc, which looks like exactly the kind of show I really don’t want to be watching. Chiselled, entitled men pawing over young women.

But, it features some familiar faces, including Linda Gray from Dallas.

Robert Beltran from Deep Space Nine.

And, in another weird bit of synchronicity, Carrie Anne Moss, who was saw in a brief role in LA Law recently.

The tape ends during this programme.

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Prince of Darkness – Film 95 – Amazon Women on the Moon – tape 1942

I love Prince of Darkness, but I’m not sure I can adequately explain why. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, and contains some bland performances, but still, I enjoy watching it. Perhaps it’s the omnipresent synth score, lacking the killer hook of a Halloween or Escape from New York, but effortlessly managing to imbue the film with a sense of fear and dread that, perhaps, the script often doesn’t deserve.

My main problem is that I don’t really like the ‘lead’. Jameson Parker is entirely forgettable, and the moustache just makes things worse. Plus, he really comes off as creepy and stalky in his pursuit of Lisa Blount.

Talking of whom, she’s almost as dull as Parker. And if that hair isn’t a wig, I think she should fire her hairdresser.

But there’s sparkle elsewhere in the cast, starting with Donald Pleasance, playing the priest who is guarding a dangerous secret. This is basically the same character as he played in Halloween, but he was great in that, and it’s great here. Only he knows the truth, and the fools in charge won’t listen. It’s a classic trope, but that just means it works. And nobody does it better than Pleasance.

Returning from John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China is the marvellous Victor Wong, playing a physics professor who is brought in by Pleasance to investigate his unholy secret. He’s a delight throughout.

Also from BTILC is Dennis Dun, who, among the physics students, seems to be acting in a different kind of movie, one with wit and energy.

The writing credit for the film is ‘Martin Quatermass’ which is a pseudonym for director John Carpenter. I think, originally, he wanted Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale to write the screenplay, but Kneale declined, unhappy with the way a previous collaboration with Carpenter, Halloween III, turned out. He reportedly wasn’t impressed with Carpenter’s ‘homage’ to him with the credit. But you can see why Carpenter thought Kneale was right for the material. The combination of ancient religion and modern science is something right out of a Quatermass story.

The secret that Pleasance is guarding is a cannister which may or may not contain the ultimate evil. It’s unclear, and despite having watched this film a few times, I don’t really understand what it might be. But it looks really cool, and that’s the important thing.

Wong brings his class of young physics undergraduates, along with students of ancient languages, chemistry, history, to try to understand what the cannister is, and what it means.

The lack of chemistry between Blount and Parker’s characters is typified by their first actual conversation. She’s talking enthusiastically about how quantum theory blows her mind (a running theme of the film) and how she just wants ‘the clockwork’ of classical mechanics back, and he replies with “Every theoretical physicist I know wonders why it is that no one who looks like you ever seems to settle down in our end of the building.” It’s just gross. “You’re hot, so I don’t care what you think about science.” Plus, he’s trying (badly) to do some playing card manipulation. At least Blount calls him out on his sexism. but it doesn’t stop them ending up in bed together, presumably because the plot of the film requires them to be lovers.

The film does a good job of buildup a sense of foreboding. Not just the score, but the church where they are investigating, in the middle of Los Angeles, is attracting a shambling crowd of homeless people, one of whom is played by Alice Cooper, in a role with no dialogue at all.

There’s frequent suggestions that there’s some kind of astronomical conjunction coming up.

Deciphering the ancient texts, tells the team that the container contains the son of Satan, and it was almost destroyed by Jesus, who was an extraterrestrial.

One of the things I like is the recurring dream people have, which is some kind of video signal being broadcast from the future, but it’s unclear what’s being shown.

One of the students makes the mistake of going outside, and gets impaled on half a bicycle by Alice Cooper.

This is me on a deadline.

There’s some nice, old-school gore, as some of the students start getting possessed by the evil.

This really feels like a film that needed a much bigger budget to do a lot more with the ideas. Maybe it;s ripe for a remake. Slightly disappointing films can often be the best remakes. Like Carpenter’s own The Thing.

After this, recording switches to the end of a drama starring Bob Peck.

He’s somehow involved in a murder, and Brian Croucher is a policeman investigating. It’s Natural Lies, which I recorded elsewhere, but it hasn’t come up yet.

There’s a trailer for a season of films about Vietnam, Hollywood Vietnam.

Then, an episode of Film 95 with Barry Norman’s verdict on the following films:

There’s a location report on The Madness of King George. Helen Mirren, playing the Queen, says “I’ve always wanted to play the Queen of England”. This wouldn’t be the last time she’d do that.

There’s also an interview with director John Singleton, about his new film Poetic Justice.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 27th February 1995 – 23:00

There’s a trailer for Glam Metal Detectives. Yes, another one.

Then, a movie we’ve looked at before, Amazon Women on the Moon.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 27th February 1995 – 23:30

After this, there’s a trailer for Sportsnight Special.

Then the weather. And a public information film about Car Crime.

Then, BBC 1 closes down, Peter Offer wishes us a good night, and plays us out with the National Anthem.

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LA Law – tape 1896

Here’s some late-vintage LA Law. I see Cybill’s ex-husband Ira has joined the firm. What I didn’t know (until looking at Wikipedia) is that this character is transferring from a different Steven Bochco series Civil Wars. I don’t think that aired over here, certainly not anywhere I saw.

Kathleen Wilhoite pops up, not as a wastrel this time, but as Benny’s girlfriend.

Richard Masur plays an old friend of Stuart and Anne, who reveals he’s a fugitive from justice. Right after Stuart asks the FBI if there’s a deal open for him, the feds swoop in and grab him when Stuart next meets him. I wonder if he and Richard Dysart swapped reminiscences about working on The Thing?

In the next episode, Harry Shearer plays a security consultant.

Arnie and Denise get locked into the newly built safe room.

The next episode has a brilliant opening. Arnie is in his new Bentley (which has been showing up in the opening titles, replacing the BMW trunk closing). He’s chatting up a woman in a car next to him, when someone runs into the back of him.

And this is the opening shot of the titles. Lovely.

Incidentally, the woman he was chatting up was Carrie Ann Moss, Trinity from the Matrix.

Dennis Dugan plays a man going through a divorce. Incidentally, he also directs the next episode.

The next episode sees a guest appearance from Joanna Cassidy, Zhora in Blade Runner. So that’s Trinity and Zhora in consecutive episodes.

After this episode, recording continues for a bit, with the start of Star Trek The Next Generation. The tape ends during this programme.

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Elidor – tape 1902

This tape opens with the end of Newsround. Once again I’ve no idea who this young man is.

There’s a trailer for Live and Kicking.

Then, Toby Anstis (at least I know who he is) does some presenting.

There’s also Ant & Dec, talking about their new year’s resolution. Ant tells us it’s to grow up a bit, and be more mature. I wonder how that’s worked out for him?

Then, the first episode of Elidor. The titles are amazing, an early 90s CGI masterpiece.

It starts off with some fantasy type folk, talking about protecting the treasure, unlocking gates, playing the fiddle and finding the four children.

Then we’re in the real world, and a family visit their new house, with lots of complaints from the four children, who really are the surliest teenagers imaginable. “We can’t live here” they whine, at the nice house out in the country.

Still, maybe they’ve got a point when they’re met by a couple of Morris Dancers.

The four kids go into Manchester to do some shopping, and they’re whining all the time. They visit the strangest game shop in the world.

Its proprietor gives them a cartridge. He looked vaguely familiar, and the credits tell me it’s Freddie Davies, Mr Parrot Face himself.

They wander around, and one of them (the most miserable one) keeps seeing strange figures lurking about. Then, when he kicks a ball through a stained glass window into an abandoned church, he goes in to find it and meets Mr Fantasy bloke from the start. Then he goes through the church door and ends up on a beach somewhere where the colour has been rather desaturated.

There’s two people on horses chasing around. One of them in some kind of gimp mask, the other only ever says ‘Malebron’.

This is all very atmospheric, as much as a Children’s BBC budget will allow, but by the end of the first episode I’ve still no idea who any of these people are, or what they want.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 4th January 1995 – 17:10

Another slice of Newsround before the next episode, and another young presenter.

Episode 2 of Elidor and it isn’t improving. The young hero is still wandering around the world (called Elidor by the man who brought him there) and whining about everything. There’s more monochrome walking around until he finally finds his brothers and sister, and now they all have the treasures they’re supposed to guard. At least the colour has been turned up for this scene. Where they got the treasures isn’t explained.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 11th January 1995 – 17:05

At least in episode 3 the kids get back to the ‘real’ world, although the two horsemen are pursuing them. There are a lot of interesting stylistic things going on here, with the pursuers being ‘outside’ the real world.

The treasures have turned into mundane bits of tat, but wherever they go, they cause electrical equipment to go haywire. The father is particularly upset at missing A Question of Sport.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 18th January 1995 – 17:10

Another slice of Newsround before the next episode, with a trailer for Grange Hill. Then these two presenting Children’s BBC.

Elidor episode 4 and the story still seems to be moving glacially. The kids have buried the treasures, and the tree they planted on top has died.

The two horsemen are still searching for the kids, and are getting closer.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 25th January 1995 – 17:10

Another burst of Newsround, including news about tighter rules about advertising food and sweets to children.

There’s a trailer for Grange Hill.

Anorak seems to be a regular co-presenter. Any idea if he was (or became) someone famous? Edit to add: Is he Angelos Epithemiou? Wikipedia suggests no, but…

Now episode 5 of Elidor. Life goes on in the real world. The kids even go to a party.

While some sub-Game of Thrones mob action is happening in Elidor. At no point in the entire series do we learn anything about any of these people.

Malebron (the fantasy chap from Elidor) is sending a message to the kids.

Which they receive on a computer. I suspect this was different in the book.

It looks like an Atari ST to me. And this isn’t even the game cartridge they were given in the first episode. That plot strand has been completely forgotten.

At last, a unicorn turns up.

The two people pursuing the children seem to have made it into the real world. But they don’t immediately kill the children. It’s never clear what their limitations are, making the drama very inert.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 1st February 1995 – 17:05

Another Newsround before the next episode. There’s a trailer for The Biz.

Then, the final episode of Elidor. Malebron seems to be holding off an entire army on his own.

At least now it appears that something is happening. The two pursuers are actually chasing the children, although their inability to catch them when they are two feet away makes it seem like they’re not trying.

Finally, something resembling a plot turn happens, as the children are running away from the pursuers, and they get on a bus. Then, a man who accosted them earlier in the series accusing them of looting from the abandoned church, turns up drunk, recognises them, and takes the treasures from them. He’s played by Ken Sharrock, a very familiar face from loads of different shows.

But he’s a drunk, and gets into a fight with the gimpy pursuer, gets thrown out of the pub and the kids get their treasure back.

More unicorn chasing happens.

Finally, there’s a big fight in a deserted warehouse. Our hero, Roland actually gets to fight the gimp a bit.

Malebron, who has spent part of this episode floating face down in the sea, is suddenly excited again, and actually gets transported to the real world. Great special effects. For 1995. On a children’s TV budget.

So with Malebron’s help the two pursuers are defeated, so now Elidor has to sing. And we reach the point at which I remember throwing my hands up when I watched this originally.

Because, to sing, the unicorn has to die. Roland, our hero, whom we’ve followed for six episodes, has to kill a unicorn.

HE HAS TO KILL A UNICORN. AND HE DOES.

Fuck this story. Heroes don’t kill unicorns. Ideally they don’t kill anyone. I was wondering if I’d misremembered this ending, but no. The unicorn is killed, Malebron gets to return to his rainbow coloured land, and that’s the end. What kind of kid-based unicorn snuff movie is this? And where the hell does Elidor get its rainbow from if there’s no longer a unicorn around to fart them out?

I am genuinely amazed they stuck with this ending (which I am assuming came from the original book). I find it quite shocking, and also, it’s unearned. This ‘having to kill the unicorn’ magic rule is only introduced right at the end. It just feels cruel for no purpose.

If the rest of the serial had been better, perhaps this wouldn’t bother me so much, but it’s so inert and leaden, and the central performances are not very good, so this is just a final insult.

Sorry to get so cross. I do try to be positive on this blog, but this does really rub me the wrong way.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 8th February 1995 – 17:05

There’s a trailer for Thursday’s programmes, and a trailer for Live and Kicking.

Then, there’s an episode of Neighbours. No sign of Kylie and Jason here, though.

After this, a trailer for The Buccaneers. And a trail for Newsroom South-East.

Then, a whole episode of the Six O’Clock News. It leads with suggestions from the Irish government that the prevention of terrorism act should be scrapped.

Also in the news, the Princess of Wales won a court action against a newspaper which published pictures of her exercising, taken without her consent.

After the news, there’s Weather from Suzanne Charlton.

There’s a trailer for How Do They Do That?

Then, Newsroom South-East on the Menace of Crack.

During this, the recording stops, and underneath is part of an episode of How Do They Do That? the strange Desmond Lynam show about… doing stuff. It’s a programme that doesn’t really have a format, but pretends it does. A shiny-floor entertainment show, with an audience, that’s a weird hybrid of Tomorrow’s World and That’s Life.

The only segment here is one about the McLaren F1 supercar. It’s designed by Gordon Murray, presumably not the man who made Camberwick Green.

This segment is weird all round, in its delight in the excess of a car. The engine is coated in gold, to help with heat dissipation.

It’s way ahead of its time, with a computer engine management system. “If there is a problem, this gizmo called a modem, allows you to plug your phone directly into the car’s computer, press the little red button, and hey presto, the F1 automatically tells a computer at McLaren’s HQ exactly where the problem is.”

It says something about our miraculous modern world that I first thought they were plugging a mobile phone in, until I remembered this is from 1995. What they actually mean is you have to run a cable from your home phone line to your car, so the car can use dial-up to talk to home. Still pretty state of the art, though.

“Phew what a car, girls, it certainly took my breath away, I don’t know about yours” says co-presenter Jenny Hull.

She’s talking to McLaren sales director David Clark.

Everything about this studio section is insane.

                               JENNY HULL
              Well I'd just love to have a go at driving one but 
              I don't think that David Clark, the sales director 
              for McLaren, would probably let me.

                        (Clark raises his eyebrows)

              David, tell me what does it feel like to drive a car 
              like this?

                               DAVID CLARK
              I think the first thing you feel is the privilege of 
              being able to drive the car. Secondly, it's the 
              ultimate driving car, and it's amazing.

                               JENNY HULL
              Is it a man's car or a woman's car?

                               DAVID CLARK
              It's both. I mean a woman can get in the car and just 
              drive the car, it's not a heavy car to drive.

                               JENNY HULL
              Well let's just look inside at some of the gizmos in here. 
              The seating arrangement is truly fascinating, but the 
              passenger seats are very near the engine, which is sort of 
              at the back. Do the passengers get a kick when you start 
              the car?

                               DAVID CLARK
              Yes, I think, er, when you're driving it, because you can't 
              see them, you can imagine their faces, you always want to 
              give them a kick in the back.

                               JENNY HULL
              OK, what about the acceleration of the car, what kind of 
              acceleration does it have? 

                               DAVID CLARK
              0-60 in 3.2 seconds. 0-100 in 6.4 seconds.

                               JENNY HULL
              Now what kind of people would buy a car like this?

                               DAVID CLARK
              A very wide range of people. A lot of them are car collectors. 
              They want to buy the ultimate car. 

                               JENNY HULL
              But you've got to be seriously rich, haven't you?

                               DAVID CLARK
              You've got to be rich.

                               JENNY HULL
              £600,000

                               DAVID CLARK
                   (smiles at the size of his commission)
              Yes. You've got to be rich. That's the first thing.

It’s the bit about your passengers needing a kick in the back that gets me. It looks like there’s a slight cut between two shots there, so I wonder if there was a little more context there for that comment, which otherwise sounds insane.

But that’s where the tape ends, so there’s no more of these delights for me.

Moonbase 3 – tape 1939

Moonbase 3 is a BBC science fiction series broadcast in 1973. It has a link to Doctor Who, sharing producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks. This episode was also directed by veteran Who director Christopher Barry.

It almost feels like it’s in the same universe as the much later Star Cops, and in a weird coincidence, the head of Moonbase here, played by Donald Houston, is called David Caulder. You might recall that the head of the Star Cops, Nathan Spring, was played by the actor David Calder. I love that coincidence.

One thing I really like about this show is its efforts to portray a convincing portrait of what life might be like on a lunar base. The future setting and the existence of a moonbase is the only ‘science fiction’ element in the show. This isn’t Space 1999.

But this does mean that the stories they are telling are sometimes not much more than the kinds of stories they’d be telling in any other workplace drama. Like if The Brothers was set on the Moon.

When he needs to call up someone’s records, he has to stand up and hunch over his computer.

And the readout is on a teeny tiny screen. I imagine they wanted the actual readout, but weren’t able to build that working screen into a desk prop. It’s the peril of having to build absolutely everything futuristic.

Edward Brayshaw plays a man with a heart condition who’s therefore missed out on an expedition. Such a familiar face, but I could only place him as a bad guy in The Changes. I’m ashamed to say, his role as the War Chief in the Doctor Who serial The War Games didn’t occur to me, but an even greater memory lapse is that he played Mr Meaker in Rentaghost, a show I loved as a child.

Another familiar face is Ralph Bates as Michel LeBrun. I thought he was Russian from the accent, but I guess he’s French.

Nice to see News on the Moon is being disseminated in big, badly formatted blocks of upper case text. Even Pages from Ceefax would be better than this. But Ceefax wasn’t introduced until the year after this programme was made.

There’s some nice model work. Not a lot of it, but it has style.

There’s a bit of inappropriate proximity from Brayshaw, but nothing a slap in the face won’t sort. I’m liking the presence of plenty of women with responsibility, and in charge of science stuff in this show. But they still have men talking about ‘nice to see such pretty faces’ so some aspects are still a bit 70s.

There’s an amazing crash scene, where the moon buggy tips over the edge of (I presume) a crater, and falls down, a lot. They clearly pushed the boat out for this sequence and used every frame of footage.

The script consultant on the show was James Burke.

James Burke has been recently all over my Twitter feed with references to this, described as ‘the greatest piece to camera ever’. Apologies for the aspect ratio – it’s not my video.

The next episode is Outsiders, and the continuing plot of the Moonbase being pushed to produce financially useful results.

Two scientists have to show successful results, and they handle the pressure in different ways. One of them fakes a demonstration to buy time for his actual process to show results. He gets away with it, just.

Another researcher, Peter Conway (played by John Hallam, who played Light in the Doctor Who story Ghost Light) gets his process to work, but the pressure to perform leads him to walk out of the base, then take off his helmet. This show is fairly grim.

Before the next episode, there’s the end of an episode of Hazell, the detective series that was co-created by Terry Venables. Yes, that Terry Venables.

The next episode is Castor and Pollux. The Russians are visiting, being partners in the Moonbase project.

There’s a rather underwhelming rocket launch, only shown on a small monitor. There’s also sound from the launch heard in the control room. I guess that could be vibration from the ground, though.

Something goes wrong when docking with a faulty satellite, and the ship and satellite are pushed out of orbit.

It’s looking like a rescue would be impossible, given the range, and the inability to open the hatches on the damaged spaceship. The pilot is considering his future. Things are looking grim, as he considers his poison pill.

Luckily, there’s a famous Soviet Cosmonaut on the base, a good friend of the doomed pilot, and he offers to pilot the rescue ship. All this is done without the permission of the Earth authorities.

Base commander Caulder is removed from command, and second in command LeBrun, who was against the rescue in the first place, is given command. And at the crucial moment, when the head of the Russian space delegation is ordering him to halt the rescue, because if it fails, their best cosmonaut could be lost, he gives the order to continue.

I am genuinely surprised that the rescue actually works. Given the tone of this series, I expected another depressing, bleak ending.

The next episode is the last in the series. It’s called View of a Dead Planet. I like that their videophone technology is able to do a pull out and reveal to show the man is playing chess. All video chat services should have dramatic camera moves.

A VIP arrives, played by Michael Gough. He’s influential, but his opposition to a high profile joint US/USSR project, the Arctic Sun Project, has made him a bit of an outsider. “What is your main objection?” “It will destroy all life on the Earth.”

Arctic Sun was originally his idea. An orbital nuclear fusion device, melting the polar ice caps and making the Arctic Circle usable for agriculture or habitation. The loss of ‘some land’ in places like Britain was ‘a small price to pay’ for all the land reclaimed at the poles.

So the mass flooding and total destruction of many islands was not a problem for him. But he’s now calculated that the fusion device will explode, and will set off a chain reaction with ‘the hydrogen in the atmosphere’ which will burn up the entire atmosphere.

This grave pronouncement is delivered while the people of Moonbase were celebrating Bastille Day.

So when Moonbase loses contact with Earth, they suspect the worst. Earth is looking bad, it has to be said.

It’s all really bad. Caulder discusses whether there’s a humane way to kill everyone on the base. LeBrun, the hot-headed Frenchman, wants to take his share of what’s left, particularly the drink, so he can get totally drunk then kill himself.

Bruno Ponti, played by Garrick Hagon (Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars) tries to assault Dr Helen Smith, a textbook entitled whiny manbaby.

A rocket is sent back to Earth, manned by LeBrun, to discover if there’s anything left there. Meanwhile, the Moonbase residents appear to be recording podcasts about Earth history.

Caulder decides that, after dinner the next day, he’ll kill all the crew with Carbon Monoxide poisoning without telling them, letting them go to sleep and never wake up.

Lucky, then, that someone had left the big screen TV on in the dining room, as all of a sudden it springs back into life, with an appalling looking quiz show.

LeBrun reports that everything is OK back on Earth, and Gough surmises that the atmosphere didn’t blow up, but it became opaque to sunlight and radio waves for a time, and everything will get back to normal. Another almost hopeful ending, to my great surprise.

I like this series,. mostly because it’s so emblematic of a particular time in TV. A vaguely depressing workplace drama, some special effects that clearly were made for next to no money, and a 1973 colour palette that’s so brown it could a level in the original Quake. But it really felt like they were doing proper science fiction, really speculating on what life might be like, and not taking the easy route with fantastical plots or fantasy devices.

It really is the spiritual ancestor of Star Cops, which had the added bonus of being allowed to be light and funny occasionally.

After this, recording stops, and underneath there’s an old episode of Neighbours. Jason Donovan, Kylie and Alan Dale are all in the cast. The tape ends during this programme.

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  • Hamilton Direct Bank
  • ATS
  • Grattan
  • Biactol
  • Clorets – Julie Walters
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Halls Soothers
  • Sun Life
  • trail: Walker Texas Ranger
  • St Ivel Shape
  • Orbit/Extra
  • Pedigree Chum Complete
  • Rimmel Silks
  • Batchelors Super Noodles
  • Crisp ‘n Dry
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • Persil Washing Up Liquid – Penn & Teller
  • Flash
  • Centerparcs
  • Mars Miniatures
  • trail: Blake’s 7/Thunderbirds
  • Flake
  • TSB
  • KFC
  • Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum
  • Timotei
  • Always
  • Vileda Magic Mop
  • Janet Frazer
  • Somerfield/Gateway