Day: April 23, 2019

Trouble at the Top – tape 2349

This tape opens with the end of The Aristocracy: Letting in the Hoi Polloi.

There’s a trailer for Correspondent. And one for The Natural World. I do like this fishy 2 logo.

Then, Trouble at the TopLive TV. It’s a rather good behind the scenes of the launch of Live TV. This is actually an updated edition of the original programme.

Mirror Group Newspapers want to get into television, so they hire Janet Street Porter to launch Live TV, in offices in Canary Wharf, and with a very small budget.

Unfortunately, they also hire Kelvin McKenzie, former editor of the Sun. Needless to say, they don’t always get on.

It’s a continual story of ‘saving money’. They wanted to buy outside broadcast trucks, but to save money, they wanted to shop around. During channel rehearsals, the presenters can’t hear the director because the truck isn’t equipped, so they have to route her voice over the shop’s PA system.

We’ve got this fantastic state of the art technology. Unfortunately it doesn’t work.

I spotted Media journalist Ray Snoddy in a press conference.

Complaining about all the technical difficulties, and there’s clearly one person mainly in charge of fixing everything, Janet’s getting annoyed. There’s a line from this that became a bit of a catchphrase among friends of mine. “And take him off the fucking Internet”. (Actually it’s ‘Internet Project’ which isn’t quite as funny.

“The Avid has crashed with all the graphics on it.”

12 weeks after launch, Janet Street Porter has quit, after Kelvin McKenzie did a deal for Rugby on the channel. I think Kelvin is the kind of person who can’t imagine something that isn’t supposed to appeal to him.

The Newsbunny appears. Is this somebody famous’s first job?

The Weather in Norwegian

And Topless Darts. It really is egregiously bad. Objectively bad. With no attempt to make something good. It’s just so pathetic. I would say it’s like a 12 year old is running things, but most 12 year olds would make something good.

Here’s the whole, sad story.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 12th February 1997 – 21:50

After this, recording switches to Channel 4, for the end of an episode of Travelog.

Then, an episode of Fortean TV resented by the redoubtable Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe.

There’s a story about alien abductees creating art.

Flesh eating maggots.

Hybrid fruit. Here’s a cross between a Strawberry and a Tomato.

Dogs and the Afterlife.

A possible Holy Grail, not that there’s much left of it.

After this, recording switches and there’s an episode of ER – No Brain, No Gain. Wow, I didn’t remember Omar Epps being a regular.

I knew Glenne Headly was a regular, though.

They manage to misspell Jorja Fox’s name in the credits.

William Sanderson, off of Blade Runner, makes a guest appearance.

Dr Susan Lewis tells Mark Green that she’s leaving her residency.

After this, recording switches, and there’s an episode of Spin City. Woody Harrelson makes a guest appearance as a school janitor who wins an essay writing competition.

After this, another recording switch to an episode of Roseanne. called Roseambo, it’s a strange one, as Roseanne and family are travelling to Washington DC with Dr Bakshmi. In this one, Roseanne isn’t racist, but her mother is.

The train is captured by terrorists – and because this is the mid 90s and Roseanne isn’t racist yet, it’s not quite islamic terrorists, it appears to be misogynistic cowboys, from a country called Mondostan.

Although they do dress all women head to toe, and also cover their mouths.

“This time it’s personal.”

After their adventure, Roseanne meets “Hillary Clinton”.

And because this is basically a parody of Under Seige 2: Dark Territory, (for God’s sake why?) Steven Seagal turns up at the end.

There’s also a very strange bit at the end featuring Roseanne meeting Don King and Mike Tyson.

After this, recording continues with an episode of Here’s Johnny, Johnny Vaughan’s chat show. It’s not really my kind of thing. I once passed Johnny Vaughan in a corridor. I can tell you’re impressed.

He interviews Boyzone, although he doesn’t spend much time talking to the band, most of the item is a pre recorded thing about the band.

After this, recording stops, and underneath, there’s a bit of the slightly nerdy sports show Under The Moon. The tape ends during this.

I almost didn’t bother watching this segment, but I happened to leave it running, and spotted something that will mean nothing to anyone but me.

One of the presenters is wandering about in the studio – always fun in whatever show – and he goes to the room (“I like to call it a little grotto”) where they “look at your web messages”, and it’s staffed by “Mystic Jonathan”. There’s the obligatory Hackers poster on the wall, you can see, on the screen, the Channel 4 forum web page – three frame design (remember frames?) and Jonathan himself. Who I suddenly recognised as someone who worked at the BBC when I was there in the 2000s – it’s Jonathan Kingsbury, who was a senior producer in BBC New Media when I was there. Interesting to see one of his earlier jobs.


  • trail: Indoor Athletics
  • trail: Dark Skies
  • Renault Laguna
  • BT
  • British Midland
  • trail: Spin City
  • trail: Blonde Fist
  • Mitsubishi
  • Murder in Mind
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Lufthansa
  • trail: TFI Friday
  • trail: Last Chance Lottery
  • Lexus
  • Pringles
  • Clearasil
  • British Midland
  • Lexus
  • trail: Turning World
  • Nissan Primera
  • Gillette Sensor Excel
  • Winalot Rewards
  • Pizza Hut
  • Riesen
  • trail: Indoor Athletics
  • trail: Roseanne
  • Maltesers
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Almay
  • Energy Efficiency
  • RoC
  • BT – Rory McGrath, David Schneider
  • Ross Oriental Express Stir Fry
  • Pillsbury Toaster Pockets
  • Patak’s
  • Canesten Combi
  • Peugeot 306
  • Nivea Visage
  • The Independent
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Toblerone
  • trail: Singles
  • trail: Here’s Johnny
  • trail: The Show
  • Audi Quattro
  • Whiskas
  • Virgin Direct PEPs
  • trail: Cheltenham Festival
  • trail: Dark Skies
  • VW
  • Burger King
  • Murphy’s
  • Coca Cola
  • Levi 501
  • trail: Edward Scissorhands
  • trail: Here’s Johnny
  • Air Canada
  • Fruitini
  • Volvo
  • Cadbury’s Darkness
  • Murphy’s
  • trail: Family Money
  • trail: Cutting Edge: The Lost Boy
  • Ford Galaxy
  • Yakult
  • Canesten Combi
  • Almay
  • Murphy’s
  • Colman’s Sauces
  • Ford Galaxy
  • trail: Edward Scissorhands
  • trail: The Show
  • Wrigley’s Extra
  • Tetley’s Bitter
  • Chrysler Voyager
  • trail: Last Chance Lottery
  • trail: Singles
  • Nintendo 64 – Shadows of the Empire
  • Vision Express
  • Mitsubishi
  • Intel Pentium
  • Polaroid
  • Murphy’s
  • trail: The Show
  • trail: ER
  • Muller Corners – Joanna Lumley
  • Bodyform
  • Levi 501
  • Quality Street
  • Kilkenny Irish Beer
  • Renault Megane – Hugh Dennis
  • Intel Pentium with MMX
  • trail: Moviewatch
  • trail: The Big Breakfast