Flipping back to another early tape now, and here’s an episode of Saturday Live. I didn’t get it all because in those days I wasn’t always on top of what was on when. Plus, this was actually the pilot show, so it wasn’t a regular thing. So we join this episode in media res with Helen Atkinson and Carla Mendonca in a sketch about surrogacy (I think).
Then, a sketch featuring Lenny Henry, Mel Smith and Chris Barrie doing Robin Day, done as a Reggae song. Here’s someone else’s upload.
There’s music from The Style Council.
Next, there’s a very long film piece parodying On The Waterfront, featuring Lenny Henry.
Chris Ryan and Robbie Coltrane
Next there’s music from Smiley Culture doing Cockney Translation.
Chris Barrie does David Coleman.
Lenny Henry does a bit as Deakus. He ad-libs a bit with his Guinness. “I don’t know why I drink this, it tastes like Cow Dung. Sorry, Guinness, just kidding. I know we’ll get stick for that.”
Chris Barrie does Ronald Reagan. “I don’t pretend there’s a simple answer to the Middle East problem. If there was, we’d have dropped it on them by now.”
French and Saunders appear with Raw Sex.
There’s another brief sketch with Chris Barrie as Robin Day, this time with Andy De La Tour.
Slade perform Run Run Away
Next, in only their second appearance on TV, it’s Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson, performing as ’20th Century Coyote’ performing as The Dangerous Brothers, in World of Danger.
Then there’s a brilliant clip of similar physical comedy from 1946.
Another bit of music from The Style Council, featuring Lenny Henry.
More from Chris Barrie and Andy De La Tour
Abby Stein is the obligatory American stand-up.
There’s a sketch with Carla Mendonca and (ahem) Chris Langham.
There’s a very awkward sketch about racism with Lenny and Mel Smith. With a good punchline.
Slade are back with more music.
Then Lenny closes the show with a bit more stand-up – he even manages to completely cock up his last gag, which proves it’s live.
After this, recording switches and there’s an episode of The Twilight Zone – Nightmare At 20,000 Feet. This is a classic episode, one of those which was remade in the Twilight Zone movie, and stars William Shatner as a nervous airline passenger.
I knew this was written by Richard Matheson, but I didn’t know (or had forgotten) that it’s directed by Richard Donner.
Shatner isn’t just a nervous passenger – he can also see something on the wing of the plane, but nobody else sees it.
This does suffer from the poor quality of the ‘thing’ on the wing. The more modern movie was able to create a more terrifying gremlin, and frankly, John Lithgow was better than Shatner. But this is where it started.
After this, Channel Four closes down, and Linda Thomas wishes us a pleasant night. “Oh, and don’t let the gremlins get you.”
In the ads, there’s an advert for TV Times featuring Hot Metal – which the advert describes as a drama. Strange.
- Chappell’s of Bond Street
- CTC Cruises
- Standard Life
- Club 18-30
- American Express – Seve Ballesteros
- Stone’s Ginger Wine
- The Sofabed Factory
- British Rail – We’re Getting There
- Lyons Quick Brew
- Carlsberg Special Brew
- Cote d’Or
- General Accident
- trail: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence
- trail: Android
- TV Times
IIRC, Matheson also too pleased with the 1950s version of the gremlin… Richard Donner did a lot of episodic TV, including some episodes of”The Wild Wild West.”
That’s the pilot of Saturday Live, 12th January 1985.
John Lithgow was great, but c’mon, nothing beats a Shatnerian freakout.
Chris Barrie was the unsung hero of Saturday Live with his spot-on impressions and wry wit. Never knew Mel Smith was in the first episode. That Dangerous Brothers segment was memorable for Adrian Edmondson being set on fire.
Twilight Zone – 16/02/1986.