Month: November 2019

FX 2: The Deadly Art of Illusion – No Highway in the Sky – tape 2849

This is an unusual tape, because I think it wasn’t recorded by me. It’s been recorded off a satallite or cable service, probably in the Middle East, as I think this tape was given to me by a friend of my wife’s family, who lived and worked in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

So the first recording is from a channel called Star Movies (Satellite Television Asian Region), and when you see the pre-movie ident, you might find it rather familiar if you had Satellite TV in the 90s.

Star is obviously another News Corp company, so they are reusing graphics.

Picture quality is awful, too – I don’t know if that’s bad Satellite reception. Huge amounts of noise.

So first on this tape is FX 2: The Deadly Art of Illusion. It’s the sequel to the moderately well received F/X Murder By Illusion.

The film opens with a scene that looks like it belongs in a different movie – which it does, as they’re filming some science fiction film, obviously with lots of special effects (the F/X of the title in case you’d never heard that) and the scene ends with an explosion not going off at the right time. I’m not sure the health and safety on this set is very good. This much isn’t a surprise if you’re familiar with the first film, but there’s a nice fakeout when it’s revealed that the effects supervisor on this film isn’t star Bryan Brown as Rollie Tyler, but some other guy. Nice gloopy monster effects, though.

However, Rollie is watching the filming with his son, and when the robot appears to go out of control, he shuts it down. (Notice the Arabic subtitles, a clue this wasn’t recorded here).

Back home, with girlfriend Rachel Ticotin, he gets her to try his new invention – a motion capture suit linked to a creepy clown doll.

Ticotin’s ex husband Mike, and actual father of the boy (not Rollie as I said earlier) is a cop, and persuades Rollie to help him trap a serial killer. You can’t beat some fake boobs for a laugh.

But there’s something awry about the sting – Rollie thinks there were two people there, not just the killer. And Mike gets killed during the operation. His boss on the sting is Philip Bosco, so based on the casting principle that you cast a villain actor to play a villain, I will not be surprised if he’s somehow behind this, and Mike was killed deliberately.

Rollie tries ringing old friend Leo, Brian Dennehy from the first film, but he’s just got an answering machine on. So he works on the tape he shot from a camera during the botched operation, trying to identify the second man in the flat. There’s a nice moment when the image of the man is on a monitor, when suddenly the man himself looms out of the dark behind the screen, looking for Rollie.

There’s a big fight, and of course they get to use Rollie’s animatronic clown doll.

It’s looking bad for Rollie, until a car turns up, and shoves the killer’s car under a truck.

It’s Leo, who got his messages after all.

They set to work bugging Bosco’s phone, and investigating which of Mike’s old cases might have been the reason for his murder. They contact Liz Kennedy, an attorney friend of Leo’s, played by Joanna Gleason.

There’s some investigation, and Leo thinks it all has to do with some solid gold Michelangelo medallions.

They enlist Mike’s son to help them read the computer files – this film is very high tech. They use a modem and everything. (Interference on the screen is on the recording, not on the film itself.)

But the killer from earlier is still around, and he tracks Mike’s son to the mall, so Rollie has to try to rescue them, and there’s a great scene in a supermarket, as Rollie lays traps and distractions to deal with the bad guy.

He even gets shrinkwrapped in the end.

But the bad guys go after Leo, and kill his girlfriend.

Leo, Rollie and Liz go after the bad guys once they’ve picked up the gold medallions. There’s a lot of gadgets to take out guards. But when Leo confronts the group, he’s double-crossed by Liz. I didn’t see this coming.

Oh God, a henchman with a little pony tail.

It all works out in the end, and they even get to return the medallions to the Vatican.

The next film on the tape is the real reason I was given this tape. It’s No Highway in the Sky, a fairly obscure movie from 1951 (despite starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich) and the reason I wanted to see it is that it’s based on the snappier titled novel ‘No Highway’ by Nevil Shute, which I read at my wife’s suggestion, and loved. I’d always categorised Nevil Shute in my head as a writer of fairly ordinary adventure novels, but in fact he’s a lot closer to a Science Fiction writer than I was expecting. No Highway is almost science fiction, in that the central premise revolves around a particular scientific point about aircraft engineering, and talks about planes which didn’t really yet exist, but his speculation is based on his background as an engineer, and is barely one step ahead of reality (at the time) so it barely feels like speculation. Also, a nerdy hero who has trouble interacting with his colleagues, and who solves problems by thinking hard about them was right up my street.

Jack Hawkins plays Dennis Scott, the new head of metallurgy at a the Royal Aircraft Establishment. He meets one of the scientists working there, Theodore Honey (played by James Stewart) who is running an experiment putting the tailplane of a brand new airliner, the Reindeer, through a vibration test, because he’s calculated that after a certain time, the aluminium will develop stress fractures. “What do you expect will happen” asks Scott. “I expect the tailplane to fall off” he replies.

Scott drives Honey home, hoping to learn a bit more about him. He’s only interested in his work, and the general pursuit of knowledge. He has predicted that the Reindeer tailplane will develop dangerous fractures after 1440 hours of vibration, which rather surprises Scott, since the Reindeer has been in service for a while now

He’s living with his daughter Elspeth, who also likes reading, and is conducting an experiment with her goldfish. She’s played by Janette Scott, who would go on to appear in Day of the Triffids and also in the lyrics of ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ from The Rocky Horror Show.

Later, Scott talks to Penworthy, a test pilot, who he knows from previous jobs. (That’s Dora Bryan as the barmaid, by the way.) He talks about how the official report on accidents always blames pilot error. “Whenever something goes wrong with their calculations and there’s a smash-up: Pilot Error.” He particularly mentions a recent crash of a Reindeer plane in Labrador, blamed on pilot error, which piques Scott’s interest after what Honey told him about the Reindeer design.

He talks to the Inspector of Accidents (played by Wilfred Hyde White – was that man ever young?) who reiterates it was pilot error, but tells him that the plane had had 1407 hours of flight before the crash, a figure eerily close to Honey’s figure of 1440. And more alarming, they didn’t find the tailplane during the investigation.

So Honey is sent to Labrador to search for the missing tailplane and look for evidence of fractures. I love old-style boarding of planes.

Oh dear, this plane is a reindeer.

Glynis Johns plays a Marjorie, a flight attendant.

I’m amazed by the number of massively famous faces in this film, many in uncredited roles. Now it’s Kenneth More as the co-pilot. I guess this was the time of the studio system, where even big stars were under contract to studios, so they’d appear in whatever films were shooting for the studio.


Honey gets a guided tour of the cockpit, but he’s alarmed when he’s told this is a Reindeer (I presume he didn’t bother to look at the tailplane when he was walking out to it). He’s even more alarmed when he’s told this was one of the test planes, and it has logged 1422 hours so far.

Also on the plane is movie star Monica Teasdale, played by Marlene Dietrich. Honey tells her his fears that the plane might crash and tells her the safest place to be if that happens. At first she thinks he’s mad, but she starts to wonder whether he might be right.

There’s a rather beautiful scene where Monica and Honey talk. They talk about their lives, what they might leave behind. Honey tells her that he chose to tell her about the danger, and about where to go to be safest, because he and his wife had watched her films, and had seen one the day before his wife died (in a bombing attack during the war) and about how her work makes people happy. She in turn tells him how important his work is, and how it might save people’s lives. It’s all played very understated, almost in whispers, and it’s quite lovely.

The plane finally lands, safely, and the pilot is really angry and Honey frightening the passengers and delaying the flight. Honey manages to get into the cockpit and  when he realises the plane is going to continue with the rest of the passengers, he drops the undercarriage to ground the plane.

Honey is in a lot of trouble, but both Marjorie and Monica Teasdale are on his side – Monica went to the Royal Air Establishment to speak on his behalf, and Marjorie has been looking after his daughter in his house.

And at the end, in a rather rapid flurry of events, we learn that the tailplane has been discovered from the crashed Reindeer in Labrador, and it’s definitely a fatigue fracture. Then, immediately after that, the news arrives that the plane in Gander that Honey had flown on has just made its first flight since being repaired, made a perfect landing, then the tail fell off which taxiing.

And when they bring the news to Honey in the hanger where he’s testing the tail, they’re about to give him the news when the tail falls off the test rig too. And Honey even realises why it didn’t fail at the predicted time – he was testing in a heated shed, while the real planes fly at much lower temperatures. A happy ending.

This is a lovely film, and I only wish my recording were a little better.

After this, there’s a documentary about Duran Duran. Seen here when Paul Coia was on guitar.

After this, there’s almost all of a recording of Aliens, which is such a weird coincidence with the documentary we had a couple of days ago, given that these two tapes are years apart.

The tape ends just before the end of the film, so I won’t be talking about it, despite it being an almost perfect movie.



Film 86 – James Cameron: Aliens A Director and his Work – The Money Makers – tape 161

Travelling even further back in time for today’s tape, for a tape of Film 86 episodes.

The first episode has Barry Norman’s verdict on the following films.

There’s an interview with Michael Caine.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th September 1986 – 22:20

After this, a hidden surprise which wasn’t listed on my database. It’s James Cameron: Aliens A Director and his Work, a behind the scenes on Aliens.

It features a lot of footage of the shooting of the film, and features interviews with star Sigourney Weaver.

Director James Cameron

Producer Gale Anne Hurd

Here’s Rico Ross being prepared for a scene.

It’s fascinating to see what the scenes look like on the actual stage.


After this, recording switches and there’s another episode of Film 86 already in motion, with Barry’s reviews of the following films:

There’s a look at David Puttnam’s career, as he moves to America to run Columbia Pictures.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 16th September 1986 – 22:20

Before the next episode there’s the end of Big Deal.

There’s a trailer for Death Is Part of the Process, a drama about the fight against Apartheid.

Then, there’s “Barry Norman fresh from the preview theatre” looking at the following films:

Tom Brook talks to Demi Moore about About Last Night.

As well as Rob Lowe

There’s also a piece about the Colorization of It’s A Wonderful Life.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 23rd September 1986 – 22:20

Before the next episode, there’s the end of an episode of Question Time. With Norman Tebbit, Shirley Williams, Roy Hattersley and David Blunkett.

Then, another episode of Film 86 with Barry’s verdicts on the following films.

In the movie news, there’s the mind boggling news that Elton John is to play Captain America, for a Cannon films production.

There’s also a location report on 84 Charing Cross Road. I’m sad that we don’t get to see Anthony Hopkins saying “I’m wanking as I write this.”

BBC Genome: BBC One – 2nd October 1986 – 23:00

After this, recording continues with a programme called The Money Makers, in which we meet Stanley Ho, a man who has made his money on casinos in Hong Kong. So rich he doesn’t know how much money he has.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 2nd October 1986 – 23:30

After this, there’s a look at programmes for tomorrow.

There’s a bizarrely specific public information film. “Don’t put a rug on a polished floor.”

Then Martin King wishes us a very good night, as BBC1 closes down.

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 1991 – tape 1237

We’re winding back in time again today, back to 1991.

The tape starts with the end of Dancers.

There’s a trailer for Opera on BBC Two.

Then there’s the first of this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures – Waking Up in the Universe. It’s presented by Richard Dawkins, in the old days when he was able to talk entirely about Natural Selection and Biology and only very occasionally go on about God or Religion. This is a genuinely excellent series of lectures, starting with a discussion about exponential growth and some paper folding, and deploying a great big ruler.

Nice to see a reference to another great presenter of Christmas Lectures, Carl Sagan, with a picture from Cosmos.

My recording has some interference – it was on the broadcast as there’s a caption apologising. It’s not on the YouTube version, which I presume came from the master tapes.

In his illustration of the span of time, and evolution, he starts by saying imagine a single pace is 1000 years. Then he brings a set of pictures and tells us how far you’d have to walk to reach them. So I was excited when he produces this picture of a primate ancestor as says “You’d have to walk to about Hemel Hempstead to get to the age of that creature.” I have always got a small thrill when I hear my little home town mentioned on TV or the radio. Even in traffic reports. That’s how exciting my life is. And I’m OK with that.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th December 1991 – 14:30

Episode 2 is Designed and Designoid Objects and looks at the difference between simple objects – stones, rocks, crystals, designed objects – human-made things, and ‘Designoid’ objects – living things so complex that they appear as if they were consciously designed.

Regular Christmas Lectures watchers will appreciate a close-up of Bryson Gore.

He’s calling his artifical computer generated creatures Arthromorphs.

But the familiar Biomorphs make an appearance at the end.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 31st December 1991 – 14:50

The third episode is called Climbing Mount Improbable, a title Dawkins used later as the title for one of his books about Evolution.

He comes on stage with a stick insect, and also has a leaf insect.

Bryson has trouble getting the stick insect back in the tank.

There’s a lot of discussion of how the eye must have evolved, one of the more fascinating areas of Natural Selection.

At the end, he addresses a common creationist argument, that of the Bombardier Beetle, during which he mixes the two chemicals that are supposed to be explosive when mixed.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st January 1992 – 14:50

After this episode, there’s a trailer for Perpetual Motion.

Then, an extra programme – Great Sporting Moments looks at Arkle,  a horse, winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st January 1992 – 15:50

After this, a trailer for Radio Days.

Then, there’s the start of Ski Sunday, one of the great TV themes.

The tape ends shortly into this programme.

Academy Awards 1994 – tape 1698

So here’s the 1994 Academy awards, and I think it’s a live presentation, on UK Gold of all places. There’s no wraparound presentation, just the telecast. That’s a bit of a shame, as it’s always fun to see various celebs and presenters trying not to get too drunk for their links, but at least here we just get the awards, unfiltered by punditry.

It starts with a brief montage of famous people on the Red Carpet. I won’t name them all, but here’s a few pictures.

I did notice, in particular, that Ralph Feinnes was accompanied by Professor River Song. Is he a future/past regeneration of The Doctor?

The show is preceded by a montage of movie making, with Bernadette Peters singing a rewritten version of Sondheim’s ‘Putting It Together’.

Tonight’s host, like the last ceremony we saw, is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

Tom Hanks presents the first award, for Art Direction.

The winners are Allan Starksi and Ewa Braun for Schindler’s List.

Look at how young Elijah Wood is, presenting the award for Visual Effects.

They even get a dinosaur to deliver the envelope.

It’s no surprise that the winner is Jurassic Park.

Jeff Bridges introduces the first Best Film nominee, a surprising choice (but one I really like) The Fugitive.

Marisa Tomei presents the Best Supporting Actor award.

Tommy Lee Jones wins for The Fugitive. “The only thing a man can say at a time like this is I am not really bald.”

The award for Best Makeup is presented by Val Kilmer and Joan Chen.

It’s won by Greg Cannom, Ve Neill and Yolanda Toussieng for Mrs Doubtfire.

Liam Neeson presents the award for Sound Effects Editing

It’s won by Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom for Jurassic Park.

Glenn Close presents a special award.

It goes to Deborah Kerr

The first Best Song performance follows. It’s ‘The Day I Fall In Love’, performed by Dolly Parton and James Ingram. Anyone remember which film this comes from? Anyone?

It was that perennial classic Beethoven’s 2nd.

Rosie O’Donnell presents the awards for Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short

Although it was nice to see that Bob Godfrey got a nomination, it’s no surprise that the winner is Nick Park for The Wrong Trousers.

The winner of Best Live Action Short is Pepe Danquart for Black Rider.

Richard Dreyfuss presents the second Best Film nominee, Schindler’s List.

Nic Cage and Shirley Maclaine present the award for Best Sound

The winners are Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy and Ron Judkins for Jurassic Park

Gene Hackman presents the award for Best Supporting Actress

The winner is Anna Paquin for The Piano

Laura Dern talks about the scientific and technical awards ceremony.

Johnny Depp introduces another Best Song nominee.

It’s Neil Young singing ‘Philadelphia’ from the film Philadelphia.

Alec Baldwin introduces the next Best Film nominee, The Remains of the Day

Sharon Stone presents the award for Best Costume Design

The winner is Gabriella Pescucci for The Age of Innocence

Presenting the awards for Best Documentary are Nicole Kidman and Christian Slater. He obviously doesn’t worry about standing next to a taller woman.

Winners for Documentary Short Subject are Margaret Lazarus and Renner Wunderlich for Defending our Lives.

Winners for Documentary Feature are Susan Raymond and Alan Raymond for I Am a Promise.

Next, Goldie Hawn presents the nominees for Best Score in a set of interpretive dances.

It’s conducted by Bill Conti, a regular musical director for the Oscars.

I guess this is different to just having montages from the films, but it’s hard to quite see how Ballet can fully represent, say The Firm.

The winner is John Williams for Schindler’s List. Let’s not forget, he wasn’t even nominated for his other score for Jurassic Park, which I could argue is the better work.

Kirk Douglas presents a short montage in tribute to cinematographers, accompanied by that aforementioned score for Jurassic Park.

The winner for the award for Best Cinematography is Janusz Kaminski for Schindler’s List.

Madeleine Stowe presents the next Best Film nominee, The Piano. Which I don’t think is a good film. But it had good music (which wasn’t nominated).

Whoopi has changed, and has to apologise to Conrad Hall, who wasn’t mentioned with the other nominees for Cinematography.

Keith Carradine performs the song ‘A Wink and a Smile’ from Sleepless in Seattle.

Next, Tom Cruise presents the Gene Hersholt Humanitarian Award

It goes to Paul Newman

Anthony Hopkins present the award for Foreign Language Film

The Winner is Belle Epoque. Director Fernando Trueba says “I would like to believe in God, in order to thank him, but I just believe in Billy Wilder.”

Geena Davis presents the Best Editing award.

It’s won by Michael Khan for Schindler’s List.

Antonio Banderas presents another Best Song nominee.

It’s Bruce Springsteen with ‘Streets of Philadelphia’. I did wonder at the time if he and Neil Young had tossed a coin to see which of them got to use the film’s title as their song title. I guess Bruce lost the toss. It’s not his greatest song, to be honest. It’s a bit of a dirge.

Whitney Houston presents the Best Song award. Weirdly, one of the nominated songs hasn’t been performed during the telecast – ‘Again’ from Poetic Justice. So I’m wondering if this was actually live, or shown later.

The winner is Bruce Springsteen.

Jeremy Irons presents the Best Screenplay Awards.

The winner for Best Original Screenplay is Jane Campion for The Piano

Best Adapted Screenplay is won by Steven Zaillian for Schindler’s List.

The In Memoriam segment follows. I’m slightly thrown because the music they use is a piece of stock music, I think, that’s also been used on a British TV programme, but I can’t quite place it, and Shazam is totally unhelpful.

Emma Thompson presents the Best Actor award.

The winner is Tom Hanks for Philadelphia. This is the famous speech where he outs one of his old teachers, something which led to the Kevin Kline film In & Out.

Donald Sutherland introduces the final Best Film nominee, In The Name of the Father.

Al Pacino presents the Best Actress award

It goes to Holly Hunter for The Piano. Well, at least I like Holly Hunter.

Clint Eastwood presents the Best Director award.

The winner, of course, is Steven Spielberg for Schindler’s List. Never has a standing ovation been more deserved.

He thanks his mother, Leah Adler.

Finally, Harrison Ford presents the Best Film award.

Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg hugging just made me cry.

“This is the best drink of water after the longest drought of my life.”

Producer Branko Lustig starts with “My number was A3317.” Which made me cry again.

Edited to add: I’ve just been informed that Branko Lustig died less than two weeks ago. I’m so very, very sorry.

After this, there’s a trailer for Movie Bites, and then the recording stops. Then, for reasons I don’t understand (it’s

Cardiac Arrest – tape 1513

Back in time a little, for the first episode of series 2 of Jed Mercurio’s first TV drama, Cardiac ArrestThe Shallow End. Mercurio wrote this under the pseudonym John MacUre, which always struck me as odd, since that sounds like a real name, and Jed Mercurio sounds like a stage name.

I’m not saying this show is slanted in a particular direction, but I do immediately dislike the hospital manager. I mean look at those sideburns.

The young doctor Phil Kirkby first appears to be confident and competent, but it’s soon clear that he’s a bit out of his depth.

There’s a brief appearance from Benedict Wong as a radiographer.

This can be very grim, in a deeply Black Comedy way, like when Dr Rajesh is giving CPR to a patient with multiple rib fractures and a fractured sternum, and his hands crack right through the chest.

Haha, I’d forgotten that the hospital manager ends up dying in the ER after collapsing at a conference.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 19th April 1995 – 21:30

The next episode is A Cold Heart.

There’s some creepy laddishness, as an attractive young woman comes in with a strained wrist, and the male doctors fight over the notes. One of them even telephones someone with the words ‘babe alert’. I’m sure this is realistic, but I wish it weren’t.

Dr Raj isn’t having a good day – he’s trying to drain fluid from a patient’s lung, but he’s got the X-Ray the wrong way round.

I don’t like the way Dr Turner is favouring young Kirkby just because he knew his father, and he plays cricket.

Dr Mortimer is reading a porno novel while they’re slowly resuscitating a boy who fell into a freezing lake.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 26th April 1995 – 21:30

Before the next episode, there’s the end of News 45, a news report from 1945 as part of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.

There’s a trailer for Rough Justice.

Then, part three of Cardiac ArrestThe Comfort of Strangers.

There appears to be a running gag with this patient, who always seems to be turning up with things stuck up his bum.

Raj is desperate for a date, but gets into trouble when he chats up the 15 year old daughter of the staff nurse.

A young girl comes in with vague symptoms, and she’s discharged as having flu, over the objections of her parents. She’s brought in later after a rash develops and she gets much worse, and meningitis is diagnosed.

The girl dies, and the parents blame Andrew. But they had phoned their GP before bringing her in and he had ignored the worsening symptoms. Andrew confronts the GP, but he’s a golfing buddy of Dr Turner, so he’s being shielded from blame.

Straight into the next episode, The Comfort of Strangers.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd May 1995 – 21:50

The next episode is Bad Blood.

Dr Kirkby is called to certify a woman who died, and he wonders why she hadn’t been resuscitated when it had been marked in the notes, and why her oxygen had been turned up.

Why do all the doctors smoke? I’ve never understood that.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 10th May 1995 – 21:30

The next episode is Factor 8. Raj has been seeing an old school friend, Nasreen, now he’s being threatened by her family to make sure he marries her – except it’s a setup by Nasreen.

There’s still suspicions that two deaths might be murder. But one of the other patients mentions that the dead woman’s niece would come in to make sure her aunt was comfortable, and might well have adjusted her oxygen.

A man comes in with a nosebleed, but he’s haemophiliac, and starts bleeding a lot worse, and ends up dying in A&E, because there’s no Factor 8 healing factor in stock. I remember watching this when it went out, and being a bit shocked at the suddenness of this death.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 17th May 1995 – 21:30

The final episode on this tape is episode six – The Critical Hour. Dr De Vries comes in following an ambulance with a 10 year old road traffic collision victim, and he’s uncharacteristically concerned about the victim. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d run him over himself.

Neil Stuke makes a guest appearance as a documentary film maker.

De Vries’s Jag is towed away because he parked in the Emergency Vehicles parking spot.

Dr Mortimer has discovered a kaposi’s sarcoma on the roof of his mouth.

Claire has gone to the local paper about the hospital management, budget cuts, and the danger this poses to patients. This brings her up against hospital manager Tennant, who contrives to get her suspended.

Talking of Tennant, his documentary looks like a thing of lunacy as he strides through the corridors, sometimes in scrubs, followed by other doctors, declaiming the benefits of hospital management. He looks like he’s reenacting Peter Kay’s ‘Is This The Way To Amarillo’ video (or possibly that video they made for David Tennant’s wrap party where they’re all singing along to the Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’.

Scissors gets into a car accident, and has to talk the paramedic through treating him before he goes into shock.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 24th May 1995 – 21:30

After this, the recording stops, and underneath there’s a short segment of a movie with James Woods and Brian Dennehy, which if memory serves is the rather good Best Seller. The tape ends after a few minutes of this.

South Park – TFI Friday – tape 2743

Bonus entry to make up for an audio only one, here’s another couple of episodes of South Park starting with Damien. There’s a new boy at school.

He gets his dad to come and beat up Jesus.

The next episode is Mr Hankey, The Christmas Poo. Kyle is sad because it’s Christmas and his friends won’t let him join in any of the fun because he’s Jewish. Plus, he thinks he’s going mad because he keeps seeing Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo.

After this, the recording continues, and there’s an episode of TFI Friday. There’s a brief appearance from Nigel Havers for a gag at the start.

Chrs Evans’ friend Will has… well see for yourself. Oh dear. Oh how very dear. It’s a whole bit about looking like Ruud Gullitt.

There’s music from the Manic Street Preachers.

Guy Ritchie is interviewed, hot at the time as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels had opened and this was the very important second week.

He’s accompanied by members of the cast – there’s Jason Flemyng, Jason Statham and Dexter Fletcher

And also in the audience is producer Matthew Vaughan.

Robbie Williams performs ‘Millennium’

Vinnie Jones is interviewed

There’s also a filmed comedy bit, directed for the show by Guy Ritchie.

Garbage closes the show

After this, recording continues, and there’s quite a lot of The Satanic Rites of Dracula  but sadly not the whole film. The tape ends before the film ends.


  • Levis
  • Reebok – Peter Schmeichel
  • Fantastic Dance
  • Castrol GTX Magnatec
  • Hugo
  • Oasis – Mike Reid
  • Guinness
  • Levis
  • trail: Queer Street
  • trail: To Die For
  • V2
  • IBM
  • Starburst Joosters
  • Wilkinson Sword Protector 3D
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in cinemas
  • Caffrey’s
  • Time Computers
  • Species II in cinemas
  • American Express
  • Royal Navy
  • trail: True Stories: Fetishes
  • trail: Jo Whiley
  • Guinness
  • Mercedes A-class
  • Pretzel Flipz
  • Clearasil Complete
  • Mercedes A-class
  • Gap – Run DMC
  • Mercedes A-class
  • Wilkinson Sword Protector 3D
  • Mercedes A-class
  • trail: Viagra
  • trail: Romeo is Bleeding
  • Species II in cinemas
  • Burger King
  • DFS
  • Clearasil Complete
  • Guinness
  • trail: Models Close Up
  • trail: True Stories: Fetishes
  • Honda
  • Sash! Life Goes On
  • Pizza Hut – Ronnie Corbett
  • Carlsberg Export
  • Rolo
  • Dr Pepper
  • Honda
  • Playstation
  • Heineken
  • Minute Maid
  • Ministry of Sound – The Ibiza Annual
  • Renault Clio
  • trail: Jo Whiley
  • trail: Ultraviolet
  • Coca Cola
  • Mercedes A-class
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Mercedes A-class
  • Playstation
  • Mercedes A-class
  • Wilkinson Sword Protector 3D
  • Species II in cinemas
  • Playstation
  • Always
  • Holsten Pils – Mark Williams Paul Whitehouse
  • Gay Cruise
  • Mercedes A-class
  • trail: Romeo is Bleeding
  • VW Passat
  • International Superstar Soccer 64
  • Friends chatline
  • Species II in cinemas
  • Clearasil Complete
  • Gay Cruise
  • Nationwide
  • Gay Cruise
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Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror – tape 2744

This tape opens with the end of The Great Hunger.

There’s a trailer for The Simpsons and one for Holding On.

Then, the first episode of Clive Barker’s A-Z of HorrorAmerican Psycho. This one looks at the infamous American serial killer Ed Gein, starting with a visit to the town where he lived.

Then it looks at Gein’s influence on Psycho. Janet Leigh goes driving.

There’s an interview with Robert Bloch, but it’s probably an archive interview, as they’re playing it out on a TV.

Peggy Robertson talks about the making of the film.

Screenwriter Joseph Stefano, who also created The Outer Limits and worked on Star Trek.

Following Psycho, discussion moves to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another Gein-inspired story, and its director Tobe Hooper.

It also looks at the other famous serial killer movie, Silence of the Lambs, with production designer Kristi Zea

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 4th October 1997 – 23:00

Recording switches, and there’s a trailer for Holding On.

Then, another episode of Clive Barker’s A-Z of HorrorThe Devil You Know. All about Satan.

Naturally, The Exorcist is the first subject, and they talk to Mercedes McCambridge, the voice of Satan.

Ellen Burstyn

Father Thomas Bermingham, technical advisor.

Director William Friedkin

Writer William Peter Blatty

Sound Effects artist Ron Nagle

The next segment is Xploitation. A look at how to market low budget horror films, featuring an array of famous and not so famous names, like Joe Dante

Ray Dennis Steckler

Ted V Mikels

John Landis

The next segment is Rictus

Next, in Sorceress, the children of Shirley Jackson talk about growing up with the writer of some horror classics.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th October 1997 – 23:30

Recording switches, and there’s the end of some snooker.

There’s a nice trailer for Have I Got News For You.

Then, for reasons surpassing understanding, there’s an extra 15 minute programme of Indoor Bowls. Because the previous 50 minutes of snooker clearly wasn’t enough to sate the desire of the British public for balls rolling slowly across a smooth green surface. Imagine if you fell asleep during the snooker then woke up during the bowls. You’d think the players had all been shrunk in some horrific science experiment.

This means all the programs are now running 15 minutes late. After this there’s a trailer for Frankie and Johnny.

Then, Clive Barker’s A-Z of HorrorThe Kingdom of the Dead.

Starting with Zombies, this talks about Night of the Living Dead, and talks to the filmmakers, as well as some of the local Pittsburgh residents who played zombies, like Bill Hinzman.

Director George A Romero

Writer John Russo

Producer and actor Russ Streiner

Next, in Window, photographer Simon Marsden talks about Edgar Allan Poe.

Open Vein is a quite disturbing look at self-harm. Featuring David Skal

Poppy Z Brite talks about cutting her own wrists.

Finally, Quiet Men sees Roger Corman talk about some of the actors he has worked with on his films.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 18th October 1997 – 22:50

Recording switches to the end of Have I Got News For You with Bob Monkhouse and Ken Livingstone. Ken is appearing a lot on these tapes. I hope he’s OK.

There’s a trailer for weekdays at 6pm on BBC Two and for Abigail’s Party Night.

Then, another episode of Clive Barker’s A-Z of HorrorBroken Homes.

First, Escape which looks at suburbs, with John Carpenter, director of Halloween.

Also Producer and co-writer Debra Hill

Then, Japan looks at director Shinya Tsukamoto, director of Tetsuo.

Innocents looks at evil children. Although in his narration, Barker calls the evil child “one of the most dishonest ideas in modern horror” a thought which is echoed by horror writer Ramsey Campbell.

“You will be replaced by the next generation. They will find you irrelevant and silly.” says Wes Craven.

Patty McCormack played the young, blond murderous child in The Bad Seed.

Finally, Killing Joke looks at the French theatre tradition of Grand Guignol.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 25th October 1997 – 22:30

After this, recording continues with a trailer for Pulp Fiction.

Then, there’s the start of Halloween, introduced as ‘classic blood and gore’ by the announcer, even though there’s barely any blood at all in it.

The tape ends after about 40 minutes of the movie. It’s presented in widescreen, although I don’t think it’s in the full Panavision aspect ratio.

Oscars 2001 Red Carpet – tape 2848

After a couple of mammoth tapes, here’s one of the shortest in my collection. Just half an hour.

Barry Norman had been lured to Sky with the promise of (I presume) lots of cash and a regular time slot, so he’s presenting the live coverage of the 2001 Oscars. I wonder if this was the first year that Sky did the live broadcast? In 2002, it was back on BBC2, but here’s Barry introducing the glamour of the Red Carpet.

Fun Fact: The Shrine Auditorium doesn’t actually exist, and this is an entirely CG shot.

Stars of Traffic, Catherine Zeta Jones and her husband.

Kate Hudson and her husband.

Morgan Freeman

Sigourney Weaver

Rita Wilson and her husband

Jennifer Lopez

Anthony Hopkins

Juliette Binoche

Julia Roberts and her husband.


Michelle Yeoh and her husband co-star Chow Yun Fat

Javier Bardem “is a new face in Hollywood”

Benicio Del Toro

Bjork in her swan dress. “My friend made it for me.”

Christine Taylor and her husband.

And finally, Julie Andrews.

The recording ends just before the main telecast starts, so I was presumably ensuring that as much of the main ceremony fitted on a tape as possible.


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Have I Got News For You – Party at the Palace – tape 2766

First on this tape, and missing a few seconds from the start, is an episode of Have I Got News For You. Guests are Ben Miller

And Charlotte Church

There’s an interesting discussion about the strong showing by Nazi Jean Marie Le Pen in the French elections. Here’s what the Telegraph had to say.

I suspect what they’d like to have said is “Just give it time.”

BBC Genome: BBC One – 26th April 2002 – 21:00

After this, the recording switches to Party at the Palace already in progress. It’s the big pop concert held to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. We join it as Ricky Martin is doing a medley of his hit. (I’m being unfair as he had loads of hits, and Livin’ La Vida Loca is a true banger.

He’s joined by Mis-Teeq.

Not sure Prince William is into it.

Lenny Henry does some compering.

His opening joke, about people in Nigeria going “Prince Charles has really changed” gets a big laugh from the royal box. I notice Prince Andrew on the left, not sweating at all.

Next on stage, it’s S-Club 7. It’s an historic performance, the last time they performed as S-Club 7, because Paul Cattermole was leaving the band. I had goosebumps.

Next up, Pop Royalty, as Annie Lennox performs Sisters are Doing It for Themselves.

The backing band looks pretty impressive. There’s Ray Cooper on drums and percussion.

Phil Collins on drums

And in the background there, on keyboards, Paul Wickens. He’s less famous than the others, but he’s been Paul McCartney’s musical director for a long time, and I sort of know him, because he was a good friend of Douglas Adams, my old boss.

Next, it’s a tribute to Motown, kicking off with Phil Collins doing ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’.

So obviously, they have to replace him on drums with a session musician. Only joking, it’s Roger Taylor off of Queen.

I didn’t recognise the act performing ‘Dancing in the Street’, but Wikipedia tells me it’s Atomic Kitten.

Next, it’s ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ performed by Will Young. There seems to be a common thread running through this ‘tribute to Motown’ but I can’t white put my finger on it.

Diversity improves ever so slightly, as Blue perform ‘Get Ready’

But Emma Bunton isn’t doing anything for the numbers as she performs ‘Baby Love’.

Phew! Here’s Mis-Teeq performing ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’. I was beginning to think Prince Phillip had been left in charge of booking the performers.

We’re out of the Motown tribute now, and it’s Tom Jones, performing Sex Bomb. In many ways, his career has sort of had an elastic trajectory. A big star in the sixties, by the 80s he was a fixture in Las Vegas, then a shorthand for naff, but in the late 90s, thanks in no small part to Jonathan Ross, he did things like a cover of Prince’s Kiss, and suddenly he was hip again.

Next up “in the pagoda” are The Corrs performing ‘Long and Winding Road’.

Back on the main stage, it’s Toploader, performing (what else?) ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.

Quality steps up a bit next, as Dame Shirley Bassey performs ‘Goldfinger’.

Bryan Adams performs ‘Everything I do, I do it for you’. I know a lot of people dislike this because it was number one for so very long, but I still love it. And, of course, it was composed by that great film composer Michael Kamen, which is probably another reason why I like it. And Bryan Adams is playing with a broken hand.

Tom Jones and Blue perform ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’, Thankfully, trousers remain intact.

There’s some stand-up from Ben Elton.

Queen perform a few songs, starting with Radio GaGa, with Roger Taylor on vocals.

Brian May sings ‘We Will Rock You’

backed by the cast of We Will Rock You

They’re joined by Will Young to perform ‘We Are the Champions’.

Then the cast of We Will Rock You handle the vocals for Bohemian Rhapsody. I think it says something that it takes three different singers. Freddie Mercury was irreplaceable.

There’s some banter from Kermit the Frog and Ruby Wax.

Tony Bennett performs ‘If I Ruled the World’.

There’s a bit more comedy from Ben Elton, then Annie Lennox returns to the stage to perform ‘Why’.

Cliff Richard performs ‘Living Doll’ as a tribute to the Young Ones, Queen Elizabeth’s favourite comedy show.

Then he performs his very first hit, ‘Move It’ with S-Club 7

Lenny Henry introduces the orchestra and band, including the conductor, the afore-mentioned Michael Kamen. Maybe Bryan Adams’ choice of song was no accident.

Then, Ozzy Osbourne performs ‘Paranoid’.

There’s comedy from Meera Syal and Nina Wadia.

Then, performing ‘I Want Love’ from inside the palace, Elton John.

Ruby Wax introduces Brian Wilson – there’s some miscommunication, as she doesn’t think he’s ready, and he’s already started his own introduction. They start with ‘California Girls’.

Eric Clapton joins him on stage to perform ‘The Warmth of the Sun’

The Corrs join him to perform ‘God Only Knows’. A contender for the most perfect pop song.

Next they perform ‘Good Vibrations’ with several of the evening’s performers, including Cliff.

Dame Edna Everage does a bit.

Sir Les Paterson tries to gatecrash.

Dame Edna introduces the Queen, who has presumably been watching it on TV inside.

Eric Clapton returns to perform ‘Layla’

Next, it’s Steve Winwood, to perform ‘Gimme Some Loving’

Joe Cocker performs the theme to The Wonder Years. This is rather epic.

Now here’s Ray Davies performing ‘Lola’

I think the Queen must have waited until her favourites were performing – I’ve rarely seen her looking like she’s enjoying something like this, but she looks really happy here.

Next, Rod Stewart performs ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ (or The Theme from The Office).

Dame Edna does some more filling. “They say I have to throw to someone called Jamie.” Then, Paul McCartney takes the stage, and does a little song about ‘Her Majesty’ then does ‘Blackbird’.

Legendary Beatles producer George Martin talks about the group. “It’s 40 years ago almost to the day when I took the Beatles into Abbey Road studios.” It’s partly a tribute to George Harrison, who had died late last year.

Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney perform George’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’.

Then Paul performs ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’

Next,the whole ensemble comes on stage performing ‘All You Need is Love’.


The Royal party comes on stage. William is enjoying meeting the stars.

Prince Charles makes a speech. “Your Majesty. Mummy.”

The last number is Hey Jude.

There’s a bit more programme, as the Queen drives very slowly to light a beacon, and the tape runs out during this. I’m glad it got all the music, though.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd June 2002 – 19:30