This tape opens with the end of what looks like an episode of Best of the Tube.
We’re on Granada Plus for this recording, and it’s an episode of Alfresco. Well, it sort of is, except this is one of three pilot episodes, which had the title There’s Nothing To Worry About!
It’s an early TV outing for a lot of people who would go on to much bigger things. Here’s Emma Thompson and Ben Elton.
Siobhan Redmond and Paul Shearer.
This is a sketch show, but there’s an attempt to tie a lot of the sketches together, with them all happening in the same world. It’s like The League of Gentlemen but rather less grotesque.
Ben Elton’s fingerprints are all over the script, from a fart gag in the opening minutes – complete with pyrotechnics. A portent of The Young Ones?
There’s also a gag at the end. “If you don’t like the police, next time you get robbed call a bleeding Guardian columnist.” He reworked that one in an episode of Filthy, Rich and Catflap.
Before the next episode, there’s the end of another Best of the Tube.
Then, another episode of There’s Nothing To Worry About! Alfresco. Starting with a sketch about men being prats.
Segueing into a coda about boorish beer adverts. Ben Elton does make a convincing advertising executive.
I feel like this one about light entertainment is just an excuse to let Emma Thompson sing.
It ends with some credits going really quickly which appear to be from a ‘Comedy Script Competition’ hosted by Tony Wilson and with Carla Lane and Alan Bleasdale as judges. I wonder if that was a real show that they just used the credits from and sped them up.
There’s a short sketch clearly based on the Impulse commercials, and the music under it makes it sound a lot like a Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch.
Another bit that Ben Elton reused later, this character is called Dr DeQuincey.
I always like it when they show the studio setup as part of the sketch.
Sadly, that’s it for Alfresco on this tape, but the recording continues, and there’s an episode of Hale & Pace. I spotted Andy Linden (off of Count Arthur Strong) in one of the sketches (about the obsession of a crime programme trying to prove that a man didn’t murder his wife when he obviously did, which feels quite modern).
There’s a Tardis.
After this, an episode of Stand-Up. The copyright date says this is from 1992. It features very short bits of Stand-up from quite a lot of people. There’s Alistair McGowan.
Alan Davies looks incredibly young, but I think it’s just the short hair.
Sean Lock just looks incredibly young. There’s no excuse here.
After this, there’s the start of Granada Men and Motors, and a programme called Two Wheels Better. The tape ends during this.
This tape opens with the end of an episode of Casualty. I don’t follow Casualty, but this episode ends with the announcement that Charlie Fairhead and Barbara Hayes are getting married, which feels significant.
There’s a trailer for Pleasure Beach and an update on the National Lottery numbers. And a trailer for Mortimer’s Law.
Then, an episode of Jonathan Creek – The Problem at Gallows Gate. Two women are travelling to a birthday party, and ‘Duncan’s Bachelor Pad.’ A bachelor pad with additional parking behind the orchard.
Duncan’s the kind of man who grabs people round the neck.
He used to be in the army, as some of his friends indicate.
But his love life isn’t happy, as his girlfriend Felicity is having an affair with his friend Neville.
So he takes a rather drastic step.
Off the balcony.
Maddy’s been burgled.
The girlfriend of the now dead Duncan, Felicity, is an animator, which is not a profession you see very often.
Amanda Holden plays Adam Klaus’s assistant, Petra.
We meet Adam Klaus’s pet tiger.
And his sister Kitty.
Adam goes to see legendary jazz trumpeter Huey Harper, played by Clarke Peters. His secret is that he’s not really blind, having had eye surgery several years ago, and yet he still touches women’s faces and bodies to ‘see’ them. Urgh.
Going back to the mystery part of the story, Felicity goes to visit Neville (the man she’d been sleeping with when Duncan killed himself) but he tells her it was never love, and anyway he’s got a new girlfriend, Kiko. Felicity isn’t happy when Kiko turns up at her house, trying to make friends, and cuts off some of her hair before throwing her out.
Huey visits Adam’s house, and his pretence being blind backfires on him when he walks in on sister Kitty on the sunbed.
Everyone goes on a badger watch. Kitty needs to leave briefly, and while she’s out she sees Felicity being murdered by someone.
Naturally, Maddy wants to investigate. All the doors are locked so they break a window. They find Felicity’s body in the bath, not the kitchen where the murder was witnessed. And her keys are still there, so how the murderer left and locked the doors is a mystery. There’s also a tobacco pipe in the bathroom on the floor. And answering machine tape has been taken out of the machine. And lots of apparently good pairs of stockings are thrown away.
The police arrive, in the form of DI Barrison (Stanley Townsend). He questions Kitty about what she saw, and asks if she could identify the man she saw.
But when she positively identifies the man from a picture from the party at the start of the episode, Felicity’s friend Clare (Jessica Lloyd) tells Barrison that it couldn’t be that man, as it’s Duncan, who killed himself at the start of the programme.
Cue cliffhanger. It’s unusual for the show to have a two-parter, and going by this episode, I’d say there’s an awful lot of filler. The show is almost two thirds over before we even get to the central mystery starting to unfold. I wonder if this might have been better as a longer single episode. Perhaps part 2 has so much plot it would never fit.
Straight into the second part. Maddie interviews Felicity’s ex-lover Neville, and his new girlfriend Kiko. They seem entirely like red herrings, added for padding.
They travel up to Northumberland to scope out Duncan’s big house.
While they’re there, DI Barrison also arrives, getting Duncan’s grave dug up, and asking Jonathan if he has worked out how Duncan faked his death.
Jonathan thinks that the whole thing was faked by Duncan and his squaddie mates, who put a net and mat under the window, with a cover with turf to cover up the mat.
The Police catch Duncan at one of his friends houses. But he claims he’s innocent.
So who did it? Maddy and Jonathan, along with Clare, return to Kiko and Neville for more questioning, but when they reveal the murderer, it’s neither of them they accuse, but Clare. What Kitty had seen through the window wasn’t Duncan strangling Felicity. She’d just heard a phone message from Neville telling her he didn’t love her and being generally horrible, so she took a mouthful of pills, and Duncan was trying to prevent her swallowing them. He’d put her in the bath for safety, removed her boots and stockings to prevent her hanging herself, and then left. Clare had already got home and witnessed this, and because she’d been jealous of Felicity, she took the opportunity to strangle her, and pin the blame on Duncan.
Mystery over, they’re back at the TV studio watching Adam record his show. Maddy tells Kitty that Huey Harper isn’t actually blind, and she remembers him in the solarium, so when he starts his set, she clonks him with the microphone boom. Serves him right, the old lech.
Before the next episode there’s the end of another Casualty. There’s a trailer for Ballykissangel. And a trailer for The Mrs Merton Show.
Then, Jonathan Creek – Mother Redcap. A judge who put away some Chinese gangsters is under full police protection because ‘Chinese assassins’ are going after him.
The police officer in charge of the protection detail is Ken Speed, played by Brian Murphy, George off of George and Mildred.
Naturally, the judge dies – apparently stabbed through the heart. He’s discovered by WPC Fay Radnor (Nicola Walker).
An estate agent called Jason (Marcus Gilbert) wants Maddy to solve the mystery of a particular flat where nine men have died of fright after looking out of the window. He’s also a nudist.
Maddy meets him (he’s fully clothed for this meeting) then they go to the flat. They discover a dead bag lady.
Jonathan is asked by Ken Speed to help out solving the mystery. The murdered judge’s wife says that the odd thing that happened that night was that she woke up at 5:10, then later she woke up and it was 4:06. Then, they discover that the bag lady Maddy discovered has a missing fingernail that matches one found in the murdered judge’s bedroom after the event.
Jonathan gets a date with WPC Fay, but he’s put off because she sticks her tongue out while eating.
Having not paid attention when Jason told her about his nudism, Maddy visits him at home, and meets some of his friends.
Maddy and Jonathan revisit the flat to find out why so many people died there. Jonathan tracks down a mechanism that raises tiny metal spikes through the floorboards which are electrified. Maddy almost gets zapped, but in the end it’s a rat that takes the heat.
Jonathan reveals the murderer to be none other than PC Fay, taking revenge on the Judge, who let a killer off on bail who then killed her two brothers. She wired up the judge’s alarm radio so the off button was electrified, then, when she was the one to discover his already dead body, she used a hidden blade (supplied by the Chinese underworld) to stab him through the heart to throw off suspicion as to the true cause of death.
Over to TNT (with a brief goodbye to the Cartoon Network, with whom they shared a transponder channel) for a film that the TNT announcer describes as a ‘Sci Fi Kitsch classic’. Kitsch? I don’t think that word means what they think it means.
This is Forbidden Planet, a classic, certainly, a film based loosely on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and one that I remember watching when I was very young, in the days when the BBC would show classic SF films on Wednesday evenings. I just checked, in case this was a case of my memory making stuff up, but the film was indeed shown in Primetime on a Wednesday evening on BBC1. Twice, in fact, in 1974 (BBC One – 6th November 1974 – 18:35) and 1977 (BBC One – 16th February 1977 – 19:25) and I must have watched one of those. I used to love those Wednesday evening films. I’d often watch them in my Grandma’s house next door to us. I’ve no idea if she had any interest in SF, or if she was just being a good Grandma.
One nice thing about TNT’s film presentations is that they were often in full widescreen.
However, I’ve looked at Forbidden Planet twice before. And, rather spookily, in one of my entries I said “Now, of course, it’s gained a slight level of kitsch due to the ship’s captain being played by Leslie Nielsen, in his previous life as a stoic leading man.” So perhaps I should apologise to the TNT announcer.
This tape opens with the end of Newsroom South East, and a trailer for They Think It’s All Over.
Now, here’s a treat. It’s the first few episodes of Victoria Wood’s sitcom Dinnerladies starting with the first episode, Monday.
First odd note is Tony (Andrew Dunn) whose first words to Bren are “Aw, you’ve got your overall on. Is it so much to ask, Bren, for you to walk around in your bra for five minutes.” I’ve not watched a lot of this show, so I don’t know their existing relationship, and on the surface, he needs to go on a course. He does it all the time.
There’s a great conversation where Bren tries to describe who ‘Dirg Borgart’ is. Loads of mangled film references. “Have you ever seen Death in Venice?” “is that with the dwarf in a duffel coat?” “No, that’s Look Back In Anger.”
Celie Imrie arrives and the new HR person. “Would this be a good time to talk about Scottish Country Dancing?”
Julie Walters plays Bren’s mother who appears to have something of a mysterious past. “Lovely looking like a black Frankie Vaughan. Girls flocking. Had beautiful slacks. Tailored specially. But like a lot of very well dressed people he was gay.”
Jean (Ann Reid) is trying to organize her daughter’s wedding, but late in the episode, the daughter rushes in to ask Bren to tell her that she got married that morning. “She’ll take it better from you. We couldn’t face it, big wedding.”
More Newsroom South-East before the next episode, and weather from Michael Fish.
Next, we’ve skipped a week, so the next episode is Moods. There’s a party for the mothers of the canteen staff. Thora Hird plays Dolly’s mum. “Did you get that skirt from a catalogue?” “No.” “Pity, you could have sent it back.”
The last episode here is Party. It’s the office Christmas party. Another face from 70s comedy makes a guest appearance, Jack Smethurst from Love Thy Neighbour.
It ends with quite an awkward moment, as Bren agrees to go back to Tony’s flat for the night, but her mother tells him she’s gone home with Stan, so they have a quickie round the back. Bren could do far better than Tony anyway. He’s awful.
After this, recording continues, and there’s a trailer for The Best of British.
Then, a whole episode of They Think It’s All Over. I didn’t tape much of this, although I did watch it.
On David Gower’s team is Jo Brand.
And Greg Rusedski
With Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath is Fred MacAulay.
There’s a reference to Gary having made references to Walker’s Crisps in previous episodes, and that, following a complaint from Golden Wonder, all references to Walker’s would be bleeped. I can’t remember if that was a real complaint.
The first ‘Feel the Sportsman’ guest is Jack Charlton, who died just over two weeks ago as I write this. Because of course it is. I’m so very, very sorry.
After this episode there’s an announcement that ‘The Brass Eye special will now be shown later this month.’ So it was scheduled, then delayed?
Next, it’s Animals. “Come on. Help us get that trunk out.”
The next episode is Science. This one contains some of the most quotable lines of the series. “I should say the chances are negligible, about 20 to 1” and the classic “Invisible Lead Soup”.
Next, though it’s Brass Eye – Paedogeddon. The immediately infamous special and, if I’m honest, I’m not surprised it caught so much flack. If you don’t know that it’s parodying the media’s coverage of paedophilia, it’s very easy to think it must be parodying the problem itself. And it doesn’t help itself by featuring nudity and genuinely disturbing scenes. I still find it pretty shocking. And yet, it’s also incredibly funny. And has more endlessly quotable lines, including, in the piece about a paedophile being blasted into space, but accidentally with an 8 year old child on board, “This is the one thing we didn’t want to happen.” A line I definitely use with some regularity.
When I first saw this, I wasn’t sure that the new title graphics really worked, after the bombastic titles from the original series. I totally didn’t notice that they are totally in the style of the current Channel 4 branding, and also Newsnight at the time. Morris really did understand the media.
The insane names are still there – here’s Julia Davis as Valise Belcher.
A paedophile disguised as a school.
There’s The Actor Kevin Eldon in the band Rye Spangle (or it could be Ryo Spangle, hard to be sure) with the song ‘Playground Bang-Around’.
Ted Maul is outside Dredgemore Prison, where a notorious paedophile is held. This segment is undoubtedly inspired by the kind of mob insanity that saw the houses of Paediatricians attacked.
Mark Heap plays the paedophile in reconstructions.
The celebrity contributions to this are top notch, and still endure, like Phil Collins in the Nonce Sense gear,
Sebastian Coe, obviously filmed at one of the abortive attempts to get the Olympics to the UK, He’s holding up two photos, supposed to be before and after of a paedophile who had plastic surgery. It’s actually Hall & Oates.
Dr Fox has another line I regularly use. “Now that is scientific fact. There’s no real evidence for it but it is scientific fact.” Now more than ever.
Gary Lineker explains how paedophiles communicate using text message slang. “Baltimora. This means literally I’m running at them now with my trousers down.” Doubly funny if you remember that Baltimora were a one hit wonder with ‘Tarzan Boy’.
The ad break starts with a spoof trailer for ‘The Pedo-Files’ – clearly based on actual American TV shows like To Catch a Predator. “They don’t deserve punishment. They deserve Gunishment.”
Paul Mark Elliot plays an older, ‘reformed’ paedophile who now entertains adults with his ‘Just Kidding’ comedy bus, and his memoir, ‘Swings and Roundabouts.’
I love Doon Mackichen’s poses in the studio.
Morris does a very accurate Eminem impression as ‘JLb-8’.
The broadcast is interrupted. Another example of the care taken with the presentation, the technical glitch is a fully digital one, not just overlaying tape noise. They made sure that the interruption was accurate to the way the show would be played out.
The interruption is by a representative of Milit-Pede, played by Simon Pegg. If you think this is unlikely, you’re not old enough to remember PIE, the Paedophile Information Exchange, which was a genuine political lobby group in the 80s, actually taken seriously. Unbelievable at the time, just as unbelievable now.
There’s a segment on a ‘Hoax Game’ which paedophiles use to spy on children, featuring Philippa Forrester.
As Kate Thornton explains, “It’s called a Hoecs Game. Hidden Online Entrapment Control System.”
Richard Blackwood explains how the paedophiles can make the child’s keyboard release “toxic vapours that can make you suggestible”.
Syd Rapson MP tells us the paedophiles use “an area of the internet the size of Ireland.”
The programme ends with an ‘uplifiting’ song. “One Day I’ll Want To, But Not Today.” Even this is creepy as hell. This is such an uncomfortable show to watch, and still hugely funny.
Following this, the next episode is Crime. “An estate in Manchester turning itself into a gun.”
Finally, it’s Decline. I can’t let this tape pass without including a picture of my old school friend Claire Skinner.
After this, the recording continues with an episode of Bondi Dreams. Then the tape ends during an episode of The Sopranos.
There’s some strange ads, including a Heineken one featuring Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee singing Close To You with the caption “Buy a pint of Heineken or we’ll keep running this advert.”
Lucozade – Lara Croft
Syntegra – Simon Beaufoy
trail: Sex Tips for Girls
trail: The Sopranos
Pure Hip Hop
Alfa Romeo Cuore Sportivo
Tesco – Prunella Scales Jane Horrocks
trail: Big Brother
One 2 One – Gary Oldman
Scary Movie on video
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
Ericsson – Tomb Raider
trail: Small Potatoes 2
Rush Hour 2 in cinemas
trail: Adam & Joe
trail: Big Brother
Tesco – Prunella Scales Jane Horrocks
Pure Hip Hop
trail: Will and Grace
Heineken – Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee
trail: Deals On Wheels
Arm & Hammer PM
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in cinemas
trail: TV To Die For: The Best Music Show in the World
A tape of magic today, starting with David Blaine: Frozen in Time. I don’t know quite what to think about Blaine. His street magic stuff is usually great, but his big ‘stunts’ like this one leave me puzzled. I’m unsure if they’re actual magic, or just stupid endurance stunts. I went to look when he did his ‘sitting in a box’ thing next to the Thames, another of these stunts that just seems a bit pointless.
But at least there’s some of his street magic tricks, mostly fairly simple tricks which are helped enormously by the large reactions of the people he’s showing. I say simple. This trick, where he takes someone’s wedding ring, appears to drop it down a grill in the pavement, then finds it sealed in a small bottle just up the street, I was looking for the moment when he passes the ring to an assistant who can get it sealed up in the bottle and place it, but he does definitely drop the ring. So my guess is that he has someone under the grate to catch the ring, and a way to get the ring into a bottle and put it out on the street a little way back (where nobody’s looking because they’re all looking at Blaine). Not remotely simple, but as Penn Jillette says, imagine how much work you’d be prepared to do to make an effect work, and a magician will do ten times that amount, which is why it’s often so hard to imagine how these are done.
Some of the tricks look a bit more complicated to set up, needing some prior knowledge of the audience, like the one where he has a picture of a man’s girlfriend on his stomach. That can only work with a lot of preparation.
As for the big centrepiece stunt, the ‘standing up for days in a block of ice’ stunt, it left me cold. I’d have enjoyed it more if, when the time came, he actually disappeared, rather than needing to be cut out.
Staying with the magic next for Derren Brown Mind Control. I love Derren Brown, I can watch him endlessly. I’ve seen him live. And I wish I knew how half the stuff he does here is done. He likes to make a big thing about the psychology behind it, but I do know that mentalism is an area with a huge array of techniques that can simulate having mind powers, so there’s almost certainly nowhere near as much psychology involved as his presentation suggests.
I think this must be the first of his programmes that I watched, because the trick at the end, where he gets a random punter to think of the name of a random celebrity out of nowhere, and then he reveals that the painting behind him is of that person, really blew me away, because there seems to be no way to force a particular choice here.
And it’s always nice to see Professor Richard Wiseman.
Keeping with the Magic theme, the last programme here is Gallup Extreme Magic: Live On Tour. It features Robert Gallup who, I must confess, I had never heard of, and don’t remember seeing on other Magic programmes. His show is a combination of on-stage large prop illusions.
And close-up street magic.
He does a trick where he has a case full of CDs, the TV host picks one at random, then Gallup plays an escape during freefall where they throw the same set of CDs out of the plane, and he grabs one of them after escaping from chains, and it’s the one the host chose. But my favourite bit is where he has five of his favourite CDs, and it’s Phil Collins, Seal, RIght Said Fred (or ‘RIght Said’ as Gallup calls them), Live (whatever that is) and U2. It’s not an eclectic mix, is it?
There’s a nice bit of cultural difference when he has a little Chinese boy help him out on his Chinese tour, and after the effect is over, he puts his hand up for a high five, and the little boy has no idea what that means.
After this, there’s a short programme, People’s Britain which looks like it’s part of something on the E4 website.
We’re going back a bit with these episodes of Buffy and Angel, starting with Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Wild at Heart, from near the start of season 4. The teaser is great, as Buffy takes out a vamp, then we see that Spike is back, watching her. “Watch your mouth, little girl. You should know better than to tempt the fates that way. Cause the big bad is back. And this time…” Then he gets zapped with a taser, and carried off by the soldier types who have been lurking around at the start of the season.
There’s a new singer at the Bronze, and Willow is nervous about how interested Oz seems to be with her. I’d be more worried that her’s name’s Veruca.
It’s a full moon, and Oz’s cell where he stays to keep him safe must need some repair, as werewolf Oz is able to break the door down. Then, Professor Maggie Walsh is menaced by him.
But there’s two werewolves now. And they grapple, letting Maggie escape unhurt.
Oz wakes up to discovered he’s shared the night with Veruca, who’s the other werewolf. (You guessed that already, I’m sure.)
Giles is feeling a bit redundant now Buffy is at college, spending his time watching quiz shows. “That dinette set should have been mine.”
Oz gets Veruca to stay in his cell for the next night. But Willow discovers them, and is obviously distraught by this discovery.
Buffy and Oz go out looking for Veruca, but then realise that she’s laid a false scent to draw them away from her real target. Buffy collides with one of the soldiers when she’s racing back.
Willow is casting a spell against Oz and Veruca, but she can’t go through with it.
Veruca arrives, intending to kill Willow, but Oz gets there, and they (werewolf) face off.
Werewolf Oz kills Werewolf Veruca. And Buffy arrives in time to tranquillise him before he can attack Willow.
Buffy tells Giles about the soldier type she encountered, and how Willow is completely destroyed over the Oz developments.
And Oz tells Willow he’s leaving, so he doesn’t put people in danger. Heartbreaking.
Next, it’s Angel – Sense & Sensitivity. Detective Kate Lockley, having previous met Angel, is looking for a big crook, but can’t find any leads. So she asks Angel for help.
Kate’s father is retiring, and it seems they don’t necessarily get on that well.
Angel tracks down Kate’s crime boss, Little Tony, and does a bit of undercover work.
But Little Tony is represented by Wolfram and Hart.
There’s an anger management course that Kate has to go on. And the creepy facilitator is working on behalf of Wolfram and Hart.
And when her dad’s retirement party happens, Kate opens up emotionally – as do all the other officers who went on the anger management course, leading to a bar fight.
Angel finds the facilitator, who tries his stuff on Angel. “What were your parents like?” “Tasted a lot like chicken.”
But it affects Angel. “Who needs a hug.”
Little Tony stages a breakout, but Angel stops him. Wolfram and Hart drop him as a client, and are now interested in Angel.
Recording switches, and there’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer – The Initiative. This is the big revelation episode of this season, but it starts with college stuff. Riley and his friend are looking at girls. Men are the worst.
Spike, having been zapped by the mysterious soldier guys, wakes up in some kind of research facility, with other vampires and demons.
Riley and friends are still talking about Buffy. Forrest asks Parker, the slimy guy that Buffy was seeing near the start of the season, and he’s typically awful. “You know the difference between a freshman girl and a toilet seat? The toilet seat doesn’t follow you around after you use it.” So Riley punches him, instantly making the audience warm to him.
Spike makes an escape attempt.
Riley asks Willow for advice about asking Buffy out.
After his escape, Spike visits Harmony. I love Harmony.
Xander is out patrolling, and has a fight with Harmony. It’s very funny.
At a party, Riley fails to ask out Buffy, despite Willow’s help. Then he and his friends go to work. In the huge underground base that’s under their fraternity house.
And their commanding officer is none other than Professor Maggie Walsh. She tells them that Spike has escaped and they’ve got to track him down.
So both Buffy and Riley’s team are hunting Spike. And when Riley sees Buffy out, he’s worried about her, so he tries to persuade her to go home, and she can’t because she’s looking for Spike.
But Spike is after Willow because he knows Buffy will come. This is truly scary, and doubles as a rape metaphor. The scene ends (on an act break, although there’s no adverts at this one) as Spike bites Willow.
But when the scene returns, Spike is sitting there, having been unable to bite Willow, so now there’s an impotence metaphor, as Willow tries to reassure him that it doesn’t make him any less scary.
Riley’s team descend on the dorm, and there’s a big fight as they retake Spike, but he escapes, and Buffy turns up, blinding the team with a flare (chekov’s flare gun, given to Buffy by Xander earlier in the episode) so they can have a big fight without Riley or his team recognising who Buffy is.
So this episode has done a lot of work in moving the overall series arc forward. We’ve learned about Riley being part of the Initiative, along with Walsh, Spike has had a chip implanted that makes him unable to attack humans, and at the end of the episode, Riley and Buffy are starting to come together. Overall, it’s a pretty great episode.
Next it’s Angel – Bachelor Party. Cordy has a date with a very boring stockbroker.
After the date, she’s attacked by a demon, and Doyle saves her. She starts to think maybe she’s been ignoring Doyle. Then Doyle’s ex-wife turns up with her new fiancee. He’s a real nerd, so he’s definitely a demon of some type.
Turns out, he is, but his ex knows all about it. He’s ‘totally assimilated’ and he runs a high-class restaurant.
But the planning of the Bachelor Party shows that some things never change, as one of the items on the list for the party is ‘the ritual eating of the first husband’s brains’.
Sure enough, the brothers get rid of Angel, and Doyle realises that he’s the next bit of entertainment.
Angel crashes the party (this shot being familiar from the opening titles).
After it’s all over, the episode has a cliffhanger, as Doyle has a vision concerning Buffy.
After this, the recording continues with the start of the Jean Claude Van Damme film Death Warrant. The tape ends after a few minutes.
After this, recording switches to LWT for something slightly less highbrow. It’s Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 50th Birthday. Introduced by that elder statesman of musical theatre Sir Trevor McDonald.
This is when his latest show is Whistle Down the Wind, one that I was vaguely interested in, because the show was a collaboration with Jim Steinman, which explains why it opens with Tina Arena singing the title song.
Donny Osmond does “Any Dream Will Do” from Joseph. I still know the words to this, and I was probably 10 years old when we did it at school. I think this school production was the reason I missed the last episode of The Ark In Space. I’ve never forgiven Lloyd Webber for that.
Antonio Banderas and Sarah Brightman perform ‘Phantom of the Opera’.
Then Brightman and Michael Ball perform ‘That’s All I Ask of You’ from the same show.
Star of Whistle Down the Wind Marcus Lovett sings the title song from Jesus Christ Superstar.
Antonio Banderas returns to sing ‘Oh What A Circus’ from Evita.
Then Elaine Page sings ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’.
Glenn Close performs ‘With One Look’ from Sunset Boulevard. She’s rather good. Amazing, really.
Next, more music from Whistle Down the Wind, starting with Bonnie Tyler performing ‘Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts’. Which sounds like Jim Steinman had a hand in the music as well as the lyrics.
Boyzone perform ‘No Matter What’. No real sign of Steinman in that one.
Then Michael Ball sings ‘Vault of Heaven’ which has a melody in it that was incredibly familiar, until I realised it was the Jurassic Park Theme. Lloyd Webber has a lot of previous for ‘referencing’ other works, so I wonder if this was one of them.
Julian Lloyd Webber plays Variations.
Elaine Page returns to sing ‘Memory’.
Also returning, Michael Ball singing ‘Love Changes Everything’ from Aspects of Love.
It turns into a finale, with all the performers coming on and singing. And look at Glenn Close just enjoying listening to Michael Ball sing.
Not quite a finale, though, as Lloyd Webber gets to say a few words.
Then, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sings a new song, from the as yet unwritten sequel to Phantom..
And the show closes with the title track from Whistle Down the Wind, sung by Lottie Mayor.
After this, there’s a news bulletin, leading with the airlift of Britons from Eritrea.
Then, the tape ends, during the Clint Eastwood film The Gauntlet.
Time for some Saturday Night Entertainment, and this tape opens with the end of Families at War, one of the Vic and Bob shows that I confess I never watched. And it looks as insane as you’d expect.
There’s a trailer for Lenny Goes to Town. And on the other hand, there’s a trailer for Jim Davidson’s Generation Game. Davidson’s late-90s career as a cuddly BBC Light-Ent personality still baffles me. It’s not like we didn’t know who he was by that time. But then, even Bernard Manning got a game show once.
Then, we have The Brady Bunch Movie. It’s a movie that fully commits to the source material, starting with the title sequence.
Mrs Brady is played by Shelley Long.
Gary Cole plays Mr Brady.
Henriette Mantel is a frankly spooky match for Alice.
The central gag for this whole movie is that the Bradys are still exactly as they were when the sitcom was running, but everyone around them is from the mid-90s. It lets them do things like have Marsha’s best friend Noreen being obviously really in love with her, but Marsha being oblivious to that.
The plot involves the family getting an unexpected property tax bill for $20,000, which means their house will be auctioned off, if they don’t raise the money. Mr Brady tries to get an advance from work, but it’s a bit difficult, as nobody wants to buy any of his architectural designs, because they’re all exactly the same as their house.
RuPaul makes a cameo as the school counsellor.
There’s also cameos from the original Greg Brady as a record producer.
And from Florence Henderson, the original Ma Brady, playing Grandma.
Plus one from Ann B Davis, the original Alice, as a wise trucker.
Marsha is a huge fan of Davy Jones from the Monkees, and he makes an appearance – he even sings.
The villain of the piece is Michael McKean as the Brady’s neighbour, who is negotiating with the whole neighbourhood to sell their houses to a property developer, and the Bradys are the only holdouts.
When Pa Brady’s sale of his design falls through (thanks to McKean’s meddling) their last hope is the $20,000 prize for a talent show. Just before the show, there’s another very brief cameo from the Partridge Family’s bus.
Their performance is a triumph of 70s style.
Despite not getting an overwhelming response from the audience, they win the top prize thanks to the judges – another cameo, and if I’m honest, the best joke in the movie.
This isn’t the laugh riot it feels like it ought to be. It’s not bad, it’s enormously good-natured, and it nails the Brady aesthetic, but I’d like to have seen Shelley Long get a lot more to do. She’s got virtually nothing to work with, and mostly just stands around and smiles. But it’s not terrible.