My Summer with Des – tape 2859

This tape opens with the end of an episode of Kiss Me Kate.

There’s a trailer for The Spice Girls at the National Lottery Draw. Also for a drama, Close Relations.

Then, we have My Summer with Des. It’s a comedy drama by Arthur Smith based on his stage play about the summer of 96, and the European Men’s Football Championship.

It starts with Neil Morrissey in France, as they prepare for the 1998 World Cup. He sports an ill-advised moustache and goes into a reverie as he remembers, all those years ago, when football came home. Well, two years ago.

Flashback to 96 And Morrissey is called into the boss’s office. His boss is played by Graeme Garden. I’m guessing this location was very noisy, as the dialogue in this scene is very obviously re-recorded.

He quits his job, and goes drinking with two random Dutch supporters. It’s nice to see the positive, social side of football for once.

He meets his friends Barbara and Cameron, played by Arabella Weir and John Gordon Sinclair.

Rachel Weisz overhears their conversation and comes over, saying that she’s slept with Eric Cantona. Then walks away. She’s a bit too ‘perfect woman attracted to schlubby loser’ so I think there’s a narrative conceit going on here. It’s all a bit Fight Club.

He’s still getting over breaking up from his girlfriend Anna (Tilly Blackwood). She’s not painted in the best of lights in this, but you can’t help thinking she was right to break up. Here’s how he imagines his meeting her to talk after the breakup.

And here’s the reality.

The film uses a mixture of actual commentary from the tournament and some specially shot bits of dialogue from Lynam himself.

There’s a few cameos dotted around. That’s Ned Sherrin at the window when Morrissey is singing at his ex-girlfriend’s flat.

And at the end, after England lose on penalties, he visits a pub, where the barman is played by Tony Selby.

And David Seaman is the only other person in the bar.

I enjoyed this, despite Morrissey’s character being about as hopeless as his Men Behaving Badly. It does underline something to me, though – watching several penalty shoot-outs, even knowing the outcome, is a very tense experience, and I genuinely don’t think I could bear doing that regularly. I’m regularly in pieces watching my fictional adventures, so I just don’t think I’m emotionally equipped to care so much about stuff that actually happens.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 25th May 1998 – 21:00

There’s an inevitable trailer for the World Cup featuring Gary Lineker. There’s also a trailer for programmes on Friday.

After this, the recording continues for a lot of the tape, so there’s a full BBC news bulletin, leading with the preparations for the visit of the Japanese Emperor, and the anger of former Prisoners of War.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 25th May 1998 – 22:20

There’s a trailer for Crimewatch File and for Out of Hours featuring Dominic West and Toby Jones.

Then, there’s almost the entirety of The Golden Child, which I’m tempted to watch, but I do have a recording of it on another tape, so I’ll wait for that one.

When this recording stops, there’s an older one underneath, with the end of The Glass Bottomed Boat, which stars Doris Day and Rod Taylor.

Looking at the Genome listing for that day (BBC Two – 9th May 1998 – 14:20) it looks like the thing I actually recorded was Caprice and I’m wondering why I taped over it. Possibly because it wasn’t Charade and I had taped the wrong film.

There’s trailers for Aviators and for Fan Night (more football).

Then the tape ends during an episode of the Western series The Virginian. This definitely reminds me of weekend afternoons when I was younger, as there seemed to be an endless parade of Westerns – this one, Alias Smith and JonesThe High Chaparral (which is not, as I thought for years, a name for a fort or big ranch, but for a type of grass or shrub.)


  1. You should have kept Caprice anyway, it’s very strange, Doris’s meeting with the hippy Michael J. Pollard is an interesting example of worlds colliding, however briefly. Also good for asking WTF is Richard Harris doing in this?!

    I thought The Glass-Bottomed Boat was HILARIOUS when I was a little kid. Especially the bit with the bug. Frank Tashlin was his own special kind of genius.

  2. “Also good for asking WTF is Richard Harris doing in this?!” Judging from most of his career choices, I’d say Getting paid and/or drunk. I you’d included “The Virginian” on this blog, its curse could’ve blamed for incurring the recent passing of the Virginian himself, James Drury. I’d like to see the later episodes when it was retooled into “The Men From Shiloh” complete with one of Ennio Morricone’s very, very few ventures in American TV via supplying a new theme to replace Percy Faith’s.

  3. Watched most of My Summer With Des and thought Weisz was very attractive. She’s come a long way since then and I liked her performances in Constantine & The Bourne Legacy. Also married to a Bond who back in 1998 would have been best known for his role in Our Friends In The North. Always liked Des as a presenter, not as patronizing or cynical as Jimmy Hill who still had his qualities like introducing seats to stadiums and increasing footballers’ wages.

    Seaman was a brilliant keeper and I’ll never forget his Arsenal debut against Liverpool in ’91 on ITV’s The Big Match.

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