Month: April 2019

St Elsewhere – Four Minutes – The Late Show – tape 840

Here’s a few episodes from the last season of St Elsewhere. In Requiem for a Heavyweight Axelrod (Stephen Furst) has a heart attack.

Dr Griffin (Bruce Greenwood) who has found Jesus, tells a man dying of Aids that he should renounce his homosexuality. And amazingly he isn’t sanctioned. Or reprimanded. Or anything at all. It’s especially inappropriate because Griffin is worried he might also have contracted Aids because he pricked himself with a needle while drawing blood from the same patient, so there’s all kinds of wrong there.

Dr Gideon (Ronny Cox) has a robot with a scalpel but it’s not a great idea, and he gets stabbed. After his experience in Robocop you’d think he’d know better.

Dr Craig has been away, being sued for malpractice, and so being ousted from his position as head of surgery, but he returns to pick up stuff and generally mope and look unwanted.

Nurse Rosenthal is coming to the end of her treatment for addiction to prescription drugs. She’s doing family therapy, where everyone has to say what they don’t like about the other person. It’s a bit brutal.

Her fellow addict is played by Beatrice Straight off of Poltergeist.

And after his heart surgery goes well, Axelrod wakes up in the night, confused, pulls out his lines, and dies.

After this, an odd short film in the Four Minutes series – Dogplant

Then, another St ElsewhereSplit Decision. Dr Craig is back after the malpractice suit was dropped. He wants to perform three transplants from a single donor, and some of the other doctors think he might be overcompensating for having been away.

Luther, now a physician’s assistant, meets Penny, who works on the hospital’s AV systems, and they suddenly decide to get married.

The last episode here is St ElsewhereThe Abby Singer Show. Dr Chandler (Denzel Washington) is reunited with Dr Roxanne Turner (Alfre Woodard), who’s been travelling the world.

Dr Erlich (Ed Begley) is missing, and his parents, who are spies, apparently, think he’s been kidnapped. His father is played by Steve Allen.

William Sadler plays a parent of a young girl.

At the Doctor of the Year awards, the ceremony is interrupted by a fire on a lower floor.

Dr Chandler decides to quit medicine.

Dr Griffin gets the results of his antibody test, and he has Aids.

After this, there’s a segment from The Late Show with a profile of Robbie Coltrane, with contributions from John Byrne, writer of Tutti Frutti.

BBC Genome (guessing): BBC Two – 19th February 1990 – 23:15

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Friday Night Live – tape 469

After his brief appearance on Wogan a couple of days ago, we go back a little while to Peak Elton for some Friday Night Live.

Music from Magnum

Loadsamoney is helping out in Stavros’ kebab shop.

The Proclaimers perform ‘Throw the ‘R’ away’. An incredibly lively, upbeat song about accents and English parochialism.

Comedy from Michael Redmond.

Strange novelty act Arloe Barloe, who looks strangely like John Hegley.

Josie Lawrence interviews Madness as a ‘Wild Child’. “That nutty bunch of nutters”.

Then Madness perform I Now Pronounce You.

Donald And George are relieved.

From America, Darryl Sivad.

Josie Lawrence is back as a conservative canvassing the Proclaimers. “I’m sorry, I don’t speak gaelic”.

Then the boys perform “Make My Heart Fly”.

Stavros washes his smalls.

After Ben Elton’s set, about taking the driving test, Madness close the show. Was it Halloween?

In the next episode, there’s music from The Primitives.

Stavros is unwell.

More music from Paul Johnson.

Ben introduces a new act – Lee Evans.

Audience participation with The Grand Theatre of Lemmings.

An old friend of the show, Emo Phillips. Brilliant as ever.

Music from The Bodeans

Jag Plah, a performer with cerebral palsey. Very good last gag about the coach load of blind people playing football.

Florence from Cradley.

Loadsamoney has taken his money for a walk. “Not all of it, just loads.”

The show ends with Ben Elton’s stand-up set, and another song from Paul Johnson.

After this, there’s an episode of After Dark which, in the wake of the murder of three IRA members in Gibraltar, asks whether a civilised society can have a licence to kill.

The tape ends during this programme.

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Tutti Frutti – Film 87 – tape 270

This tape opens with Weather from Bill Giles, and a trailer for QED: Breaking the Pain Barrier.

Then, skipping over a couple of episodes since we last saw The Majestics, we have Tutti Frutti episode 6: A Wop Boppa Loo-Bop A Wop Bam Boom

I looked at episodes four and five just over five years ago. Interestingly, I mention the change between shooting on film and video, and I say it’s because of industrial action, but I don’t include any citations, which is annoying because I couldn’t find a specific reference when I checked a week or so ago.

Episode 6, like episode 5, is shot on film.

Vincent’s girlfriend Glenna has killed herself, jumping off a bridge at the end of the last episode, after apparently losing her baby. Vincent visits her grave, and in his injured state, has difficulty putting something on the grave. I love how this show is able to maintain an element of the ridiculous, but still manage to be serious at the same time.

Eddie Clockerty is plotting to put Suzy Kettles into the band for their final big show. Bomba and Fud think he’s talking about replacing Vincent, but Eddie says it’s Danny he wants to replace.

Danny is trying to comfort Vincent.

“The Iron Man of Scottish Rock, that’s what they call me.” Maurice Roeves is just magnificent throughout this whole series.

Eddie tells Suzy Danny’s been cheating on her, so she accepts his offer to play in the band.

Danny is told he’s been dropped when they arrive at the venue. He assumes it’s Suzy’s fault, and they fight over the guitar, until they realise Eddie has been lying to Suzy about a supposed affair he had with TV reporter Sheena Fisher.

 

Even after they’ve reconciled, Danny is still a bit of a pig, if I’m honest. Self involved, and always ready to denigrate Suzy, even if he thinks it’s all in jest.

Vincent’s wife Noreen tells Vincent the real reason they were never able to have kids was because of his low sperm count, so Glenna’s baby couldn’t possibly have been real.

He’s haunted by his past.

The concert starts, including Vincent, with special guests the Inverbervie Ceilidh Quintette.

But there’s a fiery interruption as Vincent douses himself with Polish vodka and lights his lighter. About as grim an ending to the show as you can imagine.

And despite everything that I find problematic about the attitudes in the show, I still think this is great. Probably the Emma Thompson factor helps.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 7th April 1987 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for Ever Decreasing Circles.

Then, an episode of Film 87 presented by Russell Harty. We’ve actually seen this episode before on a different tape (which also contains the infamous 1987 Oscars which turned up recent on Twitter).

BBC Genome: BBC One – 7th April 1987 – 22:40

Following this (also on the previous tape) a documentary called Two Nations. The whole episode is here.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 7th April 1987 – 23:10

There’s a look at programmes for Wednesday.

There’s a public information film on learning to life save.

Then, Martin King bids us good night, and the National Anthem plays us to bed.

 

 

 

Wogan – Quantum Leap – tape 846

This tape opens with a bit of an episode of Wogan featuring an interview with Ben Elton.

 

On a personal note, the sound supervisor was Adrian Bishop-Laggett, who was the father of one of my colleagues in my first job as a programmer.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 12th February 1990 – 19:00

After this, we have Quantum Leap and it’s the first episode. And Al is already leching over women.

It’s not just Al who’s sexist. Sam’s first jump is into a test pilot (cue loads of footage from The Right Stuff) and he’s married to a pregnant wife. “Even at six months I found her incredibly beautiful.” Wow.

It gets worse when Sam has to fill in a questionnaire designed to see if travelling at supersonic speeds leads to memory loss, so he fills it in, with all his Sam memories, including “What was the biggest impact on me in High School – Mini Skirts. What had the most negative impact? Pantyhose.” God, Sam, what a douche you were. That’s Bruce McGill as his commanding officer, by the way.

When his wife goes into labour prematurely, he gets her drunk, although this time it’s not sexism, it’s (apparently) science.

Having saved his wife and baby, Sam leaps, and this feature length episode has a second leap. It’s baseball, so I’m immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to liking this.

However, there’s a scene where Sam phones his father (who’s dead in his present) and talks to him that’s just beautiful, so I was in tears.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 13th February 1990 – 21:00

Before the next episode, Food and Drink looks at food in prisons. Did you know that Howard Jones moonlighted as a prison governor?

There’s a trailer for Land of the Eagle.

Then, another episode of Quantum LeapStar Crossed. It has Sam doing the voice-over at the start. Teri Hatcher appears as Donna, a woman Sam was supposed to marry, but she left him at the altar. He thinks this is a chance to correct that, by reuniting her with her estranged father.

Al tries to help Sam, against the wishes of the other people at the Quantum Leap lab, and when he’s trying to communicate with Sam secretly, they find him and drag him out of the chamber.

There’s an almost throwaway ending where Sam takes Donna to meet her father in Washington, and he’s staying in the Watergate hotel at the same time as the break-in.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 20th February 1990 – 21:00

After this, there’s a trailer for The Comic Strip Presents: Oxford. Then the tape ends.

The Black Cat – The Raven – tape 847

Here’s a couple of old horror films on Channel 4, starting with The Black Cat, whose theme music is a shameless pastiche of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet overture.

It stars Bela Lugosi as the amazingly named Dr Vitus Werdegast. He meets a young couple on the train, abd proceeds to tell them of the terrible life he has led during the war, when he was believed dead, but in fact spent years in a prison camp from which he has just returned. He hasn’t seen his wife or daughter since.

The young couple and Lugosi travel in a bus, which crashes, and the young woman is injured, so they go to the house of an architect whom Lugosi was going to visit, so Lugosi can treat the woman. The architect is Hjalmar Poelzig, played by Boris Karloff (or Karloff as he’s credited here).

Karloff’s hobby is keeping a gallery of dead, embalmed women in his basement. Lugosi later learns that Karloff married his wife (who thought Lugosi was dead) but she died of the flu, and is now in his woman cave.

Even worse, unbeknownst to Lugosi, Karloff then married Lugosi’s daughter – his own stepdaughter, but he tells Lugosi that she also died. He doesn’t ask him why she’s not in the Lady showroom.

And as if we weren’t sure if Karloff was a wrong-un, this is his bedtime reading.

There’s a big satanic ritual, and by the end, the house is blown up.

After this, there’s The Raven, another production very loosely based on an Edgar Allan Poe story. In this one, Lugosi plays a doctor with a huge God complex, begged to help an injured woman by her father, a Very Important Man. He also likes quoting Poe’s “The Raven” and he’s built a torture chamber in his cellar.

Karloff turns up at his door, as a wanted murderer Edmond Bateman. Lugosi tells him that it’s no wonder you turned out to be evil, you’re so incredibly ugly. I don’t particularly see it myself, although that haircut is a little severe.

Lugosi tells him he’ll transform his face, if Karloff will agree to operate his torture chamber. But it just looks like he’s given him a shave and a squint. He’s frozen the muscles in his face, and will finish the job once Karloff has done what he wants him to do.

His descending pendulum starts from a long way up.

Neither of these films are close to the pinnacle of the Universal horror films, if I’m honest.

After this, Channel 4 closes down, and Carol Bolt wishes us a very good night.

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Notes And Queries – Joking Apart – The Dave Allen Show – tape 1500

Here’s something a bit different. It’s the first episode of the Clive Anderson TV version of Notes And Queries, based on the column in The Guardian. Amazingly, one of the jokey examples of a question he throws out in his introduction is “Whatever happened to Spangles?” which I thought was an internet cliche, but clearly it predates the general popular web.

There’s a fascinating chat to a man who was in a lift that fell down a lift shaft.

Carol Vorderman works out how much Judas’ 30 pieces of silver would be worth today.

There’s a strangely heated discussion about the best way to dispose of dead people.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th January 1993 – 20:30

After this, the first episode of Joking Apart. This is the first episode of the series proper, not the original pilot, which I think I’ve got somewhere, and I think is different. It was Steven Moffat’s first sitcom for grown-ups, and his success with Press Gang. Mark and Becky meet when he turns up for a party at the wrong address, and accidentally comes to a funeral.

Whilst I do like this show, and find it funny, as time has gone on, I dislike the character of Mark (based on Moffat himself and his experience of divorce) more and more. He really is pretty awful, and Becky was quite right to leave him. Having said that, the final scene, where Becky tells him she wants a divorce, while all her friends are hiding ready for a surprise party, is masterful.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th January 1993 – 21:00

After this, recording switches to The Dave Allen Show, on ITV. Somehow, I miss the sketches he used to have in the BBC show. His material maybe isn’t the sharpest, but his delivery is still great.

After this, another episode of Notes And Queries which we join just as the opening credits finish. A man and a woman try to answer why is water wet, and it’s like every argument on Twitter except he doesn’t threaten to kill her.

Frank Muir talks about the most poignant passage in the English language, and also about his particular inability to pronounce the letter ‘R’. “I can’t order the book Rural Rides on the phone”

Carol Vorderman talks about the Querty keyboard.

There’s a discussion about how secret is the secret ballot.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 14th January 1993 – 20:30

Then, episode Two of Joking Apart. I’m finding it hard to sympathise with Mark now Becky has left him for another man. But at least Tracy is there to help. I do like Tracie Bennett’s performance in this.

Also, there’s an awkward ‘gay panic’ joke.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 14th January 1993 – 21:00

After this, another episode of The Dave Allen Show.

The tape ends after this.

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The Wonder Years – tape 814

Lots more episodes of The Wonder Years now. In Brightwing, Kevin’s sister, Olivia d’Abo,  is now a hippie.

In the past she used to cosplay as Jessie from Toy Story

Even Kevin joins in with the hippie fun.

The next episode is Square Dance. Cutlip has to teach the kids. “Square Dancing. What is it? And what can it do for you?”

Kevin is mortified to be paired with Margaret Farquar, the weird girl. School is horrible like this. I can remember people being horrible to ‘the weird kid’. And I can remember me not being brave enough to call their behaviour out, despite knowing it was wrong. Peer pressure is an appalling thing. And Kevin doesn’t do any better in this episode. Despite Margaret being a really cool kid. She has a bat and a tarantula, for God’s sake.

It’s obviously Superbowl season for the next episode.

This episode is Whose Woods Are These? The local woods are going to be bulldozed for a shopping mall. Again, this rings a few bells. When I was young, we lived on the edge of our town, and right behind our house were fields. We’d play in the local woods all the time. And then, for years, they were planning to build a bypass road through the fields, about 200 yards from our back fence. I remember when the surveyors came around with their measuring sticks. I was probably 7 or 8 when this process started.

But these things take a long time. The bypass wasn’t even started until I’d left school and was working. And I’d left home and bought my own house by the time it was opened, so even that part of it never directly affected me. I was lucky to have those fields and woods for my entire childhood.

Now, even the fields that were left between our old house and the bypass have been developed, so every time I’d visit my parents, I’d look out at the garden, and there were these large house all round. It was strange. Like the house had been transplanted into a movie set.

But I do remember when this was all fields.

So I sympathise with Kevin wanting to preserve his local woods.

Raye Birk makes a guest appearance as the assistant principal. He’s familiar as Walt Twitchell, Cliff’s occasional nemesis from the post office.

Next it’s How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation. I wonder if these home movie sections were actually just shot on super 8, rather than post-processed.

Coach Cutlip gets emotional at the end of the school year.

The next episode is Summer Song. The Arnolds are going on vacation.

Kevin meets an older girl on vacation (Winne has written that she’s going out with someone else) and they have a fun time until she has to go home. Is this a bit like the Bochco thing of schlubby men being with far more attractive women? That Kevin appears to be irresistible to girls who really wouldn’t be remotely interested with someone that young.

The next episode is Mom Wars. Kevin is playing rough football, and his mom doesn’t like it.

Next it’s Wayne on Wheels. Kevin’s brother learns to drive, and Kevin falls in love with another random girl.

Juliette Lewis has a semi-regular role as Kevin’s brother’s girlfriend Delores.

After this, recording stops. Underneath there’s a tiny bit of BBC2 testcard before that recording stops.

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