Month: August 2020

Full Circle – tape 2680

This tape opens with the end of Antiques Roadshow. There’s a trailer for Hotel.

Then, the final episode of Michael Palin’s Full CircleMexico, USA, Canada and Alaska. I’m quite a bad traveller. I get stressed about how things can go wrong. So I have to say that this caption actually made me shudder.

“Mariachi Bands will serenade you wherever you want to go. Whether you like it or not.”

This shot, from above Zocalo Square, looked instantly familiar. It’s the place they filmed the Day of the Dead opening scene from Spectre.

Palin tries some pre-Columbian delicacies – a range of insects. He tries some maggots. “That’s good grub.”

He makes some tortilla.

In a scene that would make the current President tweet angrily in upper case, Palin crossed the border by going under the fence.

He didn’t stay long, though, and pretty soon has crossed over legally. In San Francisco he meets two former prisoners in Alcatraz.

Further North in British Columbia, he meets some competitive lumberjacks.

He gets to 25 miles from the Diomedes Islands and has no way to go any further. Oh no, the jeopardy!

But the US Coastguard comes to the rescue.

Unfortunately for the show, the weather is very bad, so they’re unable to land a boat or fly the helicopter, so Palin can only get to two miles from his starting point. A slightly deflating ending, but that’s on brand for the show, since his first show had a similar, slightly downbeat ending.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th November 1997 – 19:55

After this, recording switches to Channel 4 and there’s an episode of South ParkStarvin’ Marvin. Hmmm. I’ve always been a little cool on South Park. Edgy for the sake of it doesn’t particularly interest me, and South Park seems to get away with a lot of bad stuff simply because they have a vaguely progressive slant. I just don’t trust them, really.

But when the boys are sent to the Principal, this made me smile.

After this, the recording continues, and there’s a film. It’s The Howling, Joe Dante’s fun Werewolf movie. I read the book that this was based on, and the film bears almost no similarity to it. It almost might as well be an original story. But it does feature Robert Picardo (who became a Dante regular) in a werewolf transformation that used a lot of the technology that would be used in An American Werewolf In London.

After this, there’s the start of a Joan Crawford movie, Strait-Jacket. I’m assuming it’s a horror film, because it’s directed by William Castle and written by Robert Bloch. I didn’t do much more than scroll through this, although I did spot Diane Baker, who we also saw in Marnie.

The tape ends during this film.


  • Guinness
  • Cool Grooves
  • The X Files in cinemas
  • Sash! Life Goes On
  • trail: TFI Friday
  • trail: The Big Breakfast
  • Levis
  • Alfa Romeo
  • RAC
  • Vision Express
  • Comet
  • Tango
  • Fun Lovin’ Criminals – 100% Colombian
  • Heineken
  • trail: Hey Hey We’re The Monkees
  • Ministry of Sound – The Ibiza Annual
  • Malibu
  • Kodak Photo Service Plus
  • Currys
  • Wilkinson Sword
  • Listerine
  • Ford Escort
  • Playstation
  • Clearasil Complete
  • Pretzel Flipz
  • Carlsberg Export
  • trail: Brookside
  • trail: Ultraviolet
  • VW Polo
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in cinemas
  • Levis
  • Clearasil Complete
  • Firestorm/The Edge on video
  • Singles Network
  • Eagle-Eye Cherry – Desireless
  • Vernon’s Easy Play
  • Comet
  • The Gateway
  • Carling Premier
  • V2
  • Singles Network
  • IBM Thinkpad
  • Renault Clio
  • Holsten Pils – The Unpronounceables
  • Direct Line
  • Cloud 9
  • trail: Carry On Darkly
  • Party On
  • Clearasil Complete
  • Cadbury’s Fuse
  • Building the Bounty
  • Gap
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Tango
  • Carlsberg Export
  • Cloud 9
  • trail: Ultraviolet
  • V2
  • Singles Network
  • Millennium Bug
  • Vernon’s Easy Play
  • Renault Clio
  • Playstation
  • The Gateway


The Simpsons – tape 2706

Quite a short tape today, with only the one intentional recording on it. It’s The SimpsonsLard of the Dance. Lisa has to help a new girl settle in to school. She’s played by Lisa Kudrow.

Lisa has trouble being cool, though.

Homer is trying to make money collecting grease.

After this, there’s a couple of episodes of King of the Hill. In the first, on Valentine’s Day, Peggy discovers that Hank lied about where he was on their first Valentine’s, having caught Mono from a girl who kissed him. There’s one interesting thing (for me at least) in this episode – Hank and Peggy’s song is Chuck Mangione’s ‘Feels So Good’ – the song that Doctor Strange had to identify at the start of that movie, and which I’d never heard of before – admittendly because my musical taste doesn’t stretch to Jazz Flugelhorn.

During the second episode, I was obviously flipping around on the satellite box because there’s a lot of channel switching. At one point there’s a minute of Elton John in Concert on VH-1.

But it settles on QVC, and they’re demonstrating a storage system, the Rolykit. I must admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for boxes and storage, as I have a lot of junk in my house, so this looked fun – lots of connected trays for little bits and pieces, which you can then roll up into a compact cylinder, keeping all the little bits apart. Seems like a great idea, although you do need a fairly large surface onto which to unroll them, which is where it would fail in our house, where we have very few surfaces free from clutter.

There’s a hi-fi system.

And a magic wrench.

The tape ends during this cavalcade of bargains.


  • Revlon
  • Batchelors Super Noodles – Jake Wood
  • Gap
  • Ty-phoo
  • trail: The Chris Evans Breakfast Show
  • trail: Sarah… Surviving Life
  • trail: Guilty
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • trail: British Sex
  • Sky Digital
  • Ty-phoo
  • Millennium Bug
  • McDonalds
  • Dave Pearce presents Dance Anthems Volume 2
  • Sunny Delight
  • Tomy Clever Clogs
  • Standard Life
  • Pringles Pop Box
  • Royal Mail
  • trail: Tuesday on Sky One
  • trail: Football
  • Quality Street
  • Ever After in cinemas
  • Rice Krispies Squares
  • Kwik Save – Michael Barrymore
  • trail: Guilty
  • trail: The Chris Evans Breakfast Show
  • British Airways
  • Honda
  • Cats on video
  • Bodyform
  • Ever After in cinemas
  • Comet
  • Wild 9
  • trail: Star Trek First Contact
  • trail: Air Force One
  • British Airways
  • Batchelors Super Noodles – Jake Wood
  • The Truman Show in cinemas
  • British Gas
  • Assault – Playstation
  • Millennium Bug
  • trail: Sarah… Surviving Life
  • trail: Viagra: The Hard Truth
  • McCain Micro Chips
  • Vodafone
  • Rice Krispies Squares

The Vanishing Man – tape 2675

Here’s some more episodes from the ITV update of The Invisible Man, The Vanishing Man. The first episode here is  Nobody Does It Better. I’m guessing it’s the second episode (in fact iMDb confirms this) as the ‘previously’ section is entirely concerned with how Neil Morrissey’s Nick is able to become invisible when he gets wet.

Lucy Akhurst is his ex-girlfriend, possibly something to do with the shadowy organisation that was doing invisibility experiments, and she’s being leaned on to find out where Nick is.

Nick’s brother gets him to help him cheat at craps.

Nick is told that there’s a danger that the more he remains invisible, he might go mad. Later, the woman who briefed him is kidnapped by some people in horrific masks.

A rather horrible Dr Jeffries tells her she wants all the parts left over from the Eyges project, which Jeffries started, and Nick’s whereabouts. She’ll keep her young son hostage until she complies.

Gotta love the Windows 3.1 desktop.

She finds Nick and asks him to help her. She steals all the project materials and hands them over to the kidnappers, but they don’t know that Nick has got in the car with them. But as they’re following the car, it explodes.

Nick got away when they switched cars, and is able to let the police know where they are, but his invisibility wears off at the worst moment.

But he’s able to go invisible again, and eventually get one over on the bad guys.

The next episode, Not Fade Away, sees him working with Detective Moreau (named after another HG Wells character?) to protect a witness in a big case. The witness is a ‘computer nerd’.

There’s a man trying to kill him – someone who can do the Vulcan neck pinch.

This looks a bit like an Ed’s Diner, but there’s no specific branding. Maybe it’s a set.

This is quite an annoying episode. The hitman after the witness, Pete, is quirky but not really interesting. The only interesting wrinkle is that Pete spends a lot of time playing online games. And there’s a lot of conversation about how people online aren’t really real, and not like real friends. It’s quite typical of the way online life was portrayed in the 90s. The fact that his hitman is also one of his online friends is about the only interesting plot wrinkle, and that seemed almost inevitable. It’s slightly weird that he’s a bit reminiscent of Agent Smith in The Matrix, since this was the year before.

Nick is having dreams, which seem to involve quite elaborate monsters. I presume this was a pre-existing prop, since I can’t see the production springing for something this large for a half second shot.

I think this episode annoyed me because in the end, the nerd learned a real lesson about ‘real life’ being better than the internet. As opposed to the internet being another way to access more real life. People still don’t really get this.

The final episode here is Out on a Limb. A man gets sprung from prison in a helicopter. Pretty soon he’s raiding security vans.

Alice is entertaining some bigshot client at her home. It seems as if she’s having to treat it like a date, which I don’t understand, and she’s convinced Nick is there, invisible, making things go wrong, except he’s not. I didn’t understand the motive behind this scene at all. He’s played by William Hope and it was bugging me that I recognised him from something, but couldn’t think what. Then it dawned on me that he was Gorman, from Aliens.

Nick and his brother have been planted in prison to spy on one of the inmates to get information about the escaped man. Great, a prison drama.

I confess I wasn’t paying close attention, so I’m not sure what the bad guys’ plans were, but they definitely involved double crossing his henchmen.

Nick gets out of prison, and has to steal a car to get to where the bad guys plan to blow up a building.

And he gets to foil the bad guy.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of Wycliffe. After a few minutes of this, the recording stops, and underneath there’s the end of a previous episode of Wycliffe.

After this, there’s an episode of Tarrant on TV. It’s the usual collection of slightly racy ads, and slightly racist attitudes.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of the grim X-Files spin-off Millennium during which the tape ends.


  • Polo Super Mints
  • Lynx Apollo
  • Organics
  • Cellnet First
  • Boots
  • Nissan
  • trail: Loved By You
  • Diet Coke
  • Castrol GTX Magnatec
  • VW Polo
  • Gillette Sensor Excel for Women
  • Clairol Herbal Essences
  • Cellnet First
  • trail: Coronation Street
  • Audi Quattro
  • Standard Life
  • L’Oreal Elvive – Kate Moss
  • Listerine – Keith Allen
  • Fuji Film
  • Pepsi – Boyzone
  • Cellnet First
  • The Royal Tournament
  • Malibu
  • trail: Duck Patrol
  • trail: Loved By You
  • Rover 200
  • Sainsbury’s – Hugh Dennis
  • Light Philadelphia
  • News of the World
  • Boots Advanced Photo System
  • RAC
  • Rover 200
  • Jaguar
  • Sky
  • Carlsberg Export
  • Little Chef
  • BT
  • Lost In Space in cinemas
  • Rover 400
  • BT
  • Heineken
  • Nurofen Advance
  • Kodak Gold Ultra – Seth Green
  • Sunday Times
  • Caffrey’s
  • Sky Sports
  • The Avengers in cinemas
  • Sunday People – Jimmy Hill
  • McVities Go Ahead
  • Posthouse
  • trail: The Jump
  • trail: The Moment of Truth
  • Rolling Rock
  • BT
  • Malibu
  • Elf
  • Advil
  • Boots Advanced Photo System
  • Sensodyne
  • trail: A Touch of Frost
  • trail: A Touch of Frost
  • Boots
  • Green Flag
  • Jaguar
  • Boots Opticians
  • trail: Millennium
  • VW
  • Vodafone
  • Kodak Photo Service Plus
  • L’Oreal Elvive – Kate Moss
  • Pepsi – Boyzone
  • Gap
  • trail: Manoman
  • Organics
  • Vodafone
  • RAC
  • trail: Misery
  • trail: Verdict
  • One 2 One – Vic Reeves
  • Castrol GTX Magnatec
  • Boots
  • P&O Stena Line
  • Carlsberg Export
  • Gillette Pacific Light



Marnie – tape 2883

This tape opens with an inspiring ‘you make it what it is’ advert for BBC News. Those were the days.

There’s also a short trail for the BBC Proms.

Then, we have a movie, Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie. And as I write it’s Sean Connery’s 90th birthday, so that feels appropriate.

It opens with a theft of money by a woman called Marion. The man reporting the theft can barely describe her, despite her working there for a few months. “Always pulling her skirt down over her knees as though they were a national treasure.” One of the company’s clients happens to pop in while he’s talking to detectives – it’s Sean Connery as Mark Rutland. “I’m always ready for Rutland business”

The dark haired thief is soon bleaching her hair – I’m not convinced Hitchcock really understands the process of bleaching, as the film seems to portray it as just washing the colour out of the hair. But it clearly works, and we get a look at the mysterious thief for the first time – it’s ‘Tippi’ Hedren (the credits include the quote marks).

Hitchcock Cameo klaxon.

I do love the matte paintings Hitchcock uses.

Marnie visits her mother. There’s clearly an awkward relationship there. And Marnie doesn’t appear to have some kind of strong reaction to the colour red, as she insists the red flowers be taken away.

Another matte painting.

Marnie gets a job at Mark Rutland’s publishing company. He seems happy to hire her despite her sketchy references. He doesn’t waste much time before creeping on her, inviting her to the office at the weekend to type something out. And when there’s a lightning storm that makes her freak out again, he’s there to comfort her in a very inappropriate way.

He takes her to the races – she has a thing for horses – where a man appears to recognise her as Peggy Nicholson.

Mark takes her to meet his father, played by Alan Napier – Alfred from the Adam West Batman series.

And his sister Lil (Diane Baker) his in law, I think she’s the sister of he dead wife. She seems curious about Marnie (Mary as she currently is) and is an immediately identifiable Hitchcock type, the feisty ‘best friend’ type.

Marnie doesn’t waste much time, locating the combination for the safe in a locked drawer, because one of the managers can’t remember it. “It’s just five numbers” laughs one of the other women in the office. Well it isn’t, quite.

There’s a nice tense scene where she’s burgling the safe, when a cleaner walks in. Hitchcock is great at setting the scene.

Rutland is not as naive as she thinks, though. He tracks her down to where she’s staying, and tries to get her to tell him the truth.

But rather than dob her in, Rutland ends up telling her they’re going to get married. This seems deeply coercive. Sister Lil is still suspicious.

On Honeymoon, Marnie can’t let him touch her. “If you touch me I’ll die.” She can’t bear to be handled by men. He seems surprised that having coerced her into marrying him, under threat of exposure and jail, she’s now reluctant to have anything to do with him. He even presents his behaviour as benevolent. “Eventually you would have been caught by somebody. Some other sexual blackmailer would have got his hands on you. The chances of it being someone as permissive as me are pretty remote.” Oh, so he’s the good kind of sexual blackmailer.

After the passage of some time, he clearly thinks he’s waited long enough, and gets angry with her. He pulls off her nightdress, and is immediately apologetic, putting his dressing gown around her, but then there’s the kissing, and thankfully Hitchcock fades out before, I presume, he basically rapes her.

When he wakes up, she’s not in her bed, and he finds her in the pool. She’s not dead, though.

They return early from the honeymoon. He’s still trying to win her over so he brings her a horse – in a Granada Plus-branded horsebox, it would seem.

Rutland has an investigator digging up Marnie’s past, and Marnie is still having nightmares. Rutland appears to want to help her. But everyone is so cagey that I don’t trust anyone. Plus, he is a sexual blackmailer, so how trustworthy can he be?

At a party, Lil invites Mr Strutt, the man from whom Marnie stole at the start of the film. Marnie is freaked, and immediately starts packing to run away, but Rutland persuades her to stay, saying he’ll try to keep Strutt happy and also pay off other people she stole from.

Marnie goes hunting, but then the red coat of the hunt leader makes her freak out again and she rides off out of control until her horse falls jumping a wall. She gets a gun from the woman in the house, and has to shoot the horse.

When she returns, she goes to the office, intending to steal money and run away, but Rutland catches her, and takes her to see her mother, to learn what really happened when Marnie was little. We get a flashback – Hitchcock uses the zoom-dolly shot in the opening of this scene.

Marnie’s mother was a prostitute, catering to sailors. “The men in the white suits” as Marnie calls them, remembering. In the flashback, the sailor is played by a young Bruce Dern.

There’s a thunderstorm, Marnie is frightened, and the young sailor tries to comfort her. Her mother thinks he has other intentions and drags him away, and they start fighting. There’s a poker involved, and Dern falls on top of her mother, injuring her, so mother calls for help, and young Marnie bashes Dern over the head with the poker, leading to blood, and Marnie’s lifelong horror of the colour red. Marnie’s mother told the police that she killed the man in self defence, which was believed, and had never told a soul about Marnie’s involvement. This bit had me tearing up, I have to admit.

But now they’ve discovered her secret childhood trauma, everything is just going to be tickety-boo, and they’ll live happily ever after. As long as she can forget the sexual blackmail and the suicide-inducing rape.

What a strange film.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 17th August 1999 – 23:55

After this, recording continues with a trailer for The Mystery of Men. There’s also a trailer for Edinburgh Nights. My collection is trolling me now.

John Kettley presents the weather . It’s raining back then, too.

There’s a Public Information Film about Skin Cancer. And a trailers for Jack of HeartsThe Union Game and for BBC News.

Then BBC1 joins BBC News 24. The lead story is the aftermath of an earthquake in Istanbul. Professor Iain Stewart is there to explain the science behind predicting earthquakes. Nothing about Sheep’s bladders, though.

Also, looking towards elections in Russia later in the year, “Yeltsin has put all his trust in his new Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.” I wonder what happened next?

There’s also a shockingly scaremongering piece about the spacecraft Cassini, as featured recently in The Planets, as it approaches Earth to slingshot around the planet and head towards Saturn. The report makes it sound like there’s a chance it might enter the atmosphere and break up, spilling its radioactive fuel. Rather than it being a planned manoeuvre, which it was.

There’s also a report on internet movie piracy.

There’s a glimpse of Christopher Price in a trailer for Zero 30, a BBC News arts programme, presumably predating Liquid News.

There’s most of an episode of Hard Talk talking to former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, and the tape ends during this.

The Simpsons – tape 2707

Back to Sky One for another packed tape of episodes of The Simpsons.

The tape opens with the end of another episode of The Simpsons – quite normal from the times when Sky would show repeat after repeat with new episodes sprinkled around.

The first full episode, though, is The Principal and the Pauper. Possibly one of the stupidest plots in the programme’s history. The town throws a 20th anniversary party for Principal Skinner.

But a man in uniform arrives, and says that’s he’s Seymour Skinner, and the man on stage is an imposter.

Faux Skinner’s real name is Armin Tamzarian, and he was in the real Skinner’s platoon during the war. Skinner told him about his dream of becoming a high school principal, and about his mother, and generally sorted out Tamzarian’s wild youthful ways.

Returning from the war, after Skinner was apparently killed in action, he returns his belongings to his mother who, answers the door, looks at him, and asks ‘Seymour, is that you?’. “I guess I couldn’t bear to tell her about her son. The lie made us both happier than the truth ever could have.”

Tamzarian is sacked, and naturally, the totally unqualified Skinner is made principal. But nobody likes him, he’s a bit of an arse, so the town gets rid of him and agrees never to mention it again. “And I further decree that everything shall be just like it was before any of this happened.”

Next, a Halloween episode, Treehouse of Horror VIII. First it’s The Homega Man in which Homer is the last man left alive. He seeks solace in church.

Next it Fly vs Fly in which Homer gets a teleportation pod.

And Easy-Bake Coven in which there’s a witch-hunt, and Marge and her sisters are witches.

The next episode is Homerpalooza where Homer gets a job in a travelling show where he has a cannonball shot at him.

Guest appearances from Peter Frampton

Smashing Pumpkins

And Sonic Youth.

Next is Summer of 4 Ft. 2. Lisa realises she has no friends so for summer holiday, she reinvents herself.

Next, The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons. Apu has been lying to his mother, telling her he’s married to avoid an arranged marriage. But ends up getting married anyway.

There’s a cameo from Siegfried and Roy.

In The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, Lisa and Bart go to military school.

The next episode is a clip show, as Homer is appalled that Paint Your Wagon is a musical, and declares he hates music, so we have to see all the times he and others sang on the show. The episode is called All Singing, All Dancing.

There’s the end of another Simpsons episode before the last one on the tape, Bart Carny. Homer loses two Carny’s their jobs, so offers them a place to stay for a few days. They then change the locks and squat in the house.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of King of the Hill. The tape ends during this episode.


  • trail: The Pretender
  • trail: The Cape
  • Kit Kat
  • Bisto – Julie Walters
  • Pentium II
  • Big Mix 97
  • Sainsbury’s Microban
  • The Wind in the Willows on video
  • Lylat Wars
  • trail: Deep Space Nine
  • trail: ER
  • trail: ER Live Episode
  • Penguin
  • L’Oreal Studioline
  • Johnson’s
  • Soldier Soldier on video
  • Disney Channel
  • Impulse – Spice Girls
  • trail: Dream Team
  • Monopoly
  • Paxo
  • Halfords
  • Pot Noodle – Peter Baynham
  • trail: December on Sky
  • trail: Sunday Night on Sky
  • Renault Laguna – David Ginola
  • Cadbury’s Roses
  • Sony Super Trinitron Wide
  • Ace Bleach
  • Braun Oral B
  • Vodafone
  • U2 – Pop
  • trail: Dream Team
  • trail: Thursday On Sky
  • Nissan Almera – Sweeney Parody with Phil Cornwell
  • Carte Noire
  • K’Nex
  • Philips
  • trail: Sky Sports
  • trail: ER
  • Mars
  • Tunes – Star Wars
  • Scoot
  • trail: Karaoke Challenge
  • JVC Mini DV
  • trail: Nickelodeon
  • trail: Casper
  • Pantene
  • Ibiza Uncovered
  • The Borrowers in cinemas
  • £-stretcher
  • Beko
  • trail: Betrayed – The Earl’s Mistress Speaks Out
  • Sky Box Office
  • Coca Cola
  • Smash Hits 98
  • Test Drive 4
  • Cadbury’s Roses
  • High Wide & Hansen on video
  • Heinz Baked Beans
  • trail: The Simpsons Big Night In with Danny Baker
  • Nissan Micra
  • Bounce
  • The Lost World on video
  • Bernard Matthews 6 Golden Drummers
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
  • Virgin Direct PEPs
  • Ikea
  • trail: Superbowl XXXII
  • trail: Ibiza Uncovered Reunion
  • Citroen Xantia
  • Fairy Non Bio
  • Galaxy Caramel
  • Right Guard – Desmond Lynam
  • Philips Powerlife
  • Rice Krispies Squares
  • trail: The Truth about Cats and Dogs
  • Ariel
  • Heinz Baked Bean Cuisine
  • Paws in cinemas
  • Boots
  • Dolmio
  • Puma Cell
  • trail: Football
  • trail: Caribbean Uncovered
  • McVities Go Ahead
  • Wrigley’s Extra
  • trail: Disney Channel
  • Sure
  • Backstreet Boys – Backstreet is Back
  • BT
  • trail: Independence Day
  • trail: Flipper
  • Toffee Crisp
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • Fairy Non Bio
  • Johnson’s Baby Soothing Bath
  • McVities Go Ahead
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
  • Boots
  • trail: Space Island One
  • trail: Caribbean Uncovered
  • Puma Cell
  • Colman’s Sauces
  • Friends on video
  • Instant Horlicks Light
  • Milky Way Magic Stars
  • Pantene
  • Scottish Widows
  • trail: Eraser
  • trail: Dream Team
  • trail: She’s The One
  • Hallmark
  • Domestos
  • The Eighties Mix
  • Kit Kat
  • trail: Cricket
  • trail: Seinfeld
  • First Direct – Bob Mortimer


Arena – Dr Strangelove – tape 2892

This tape opens with a trailer for Great Expectations.

Then, as a tribute to Stanley Kubrick, who had died recently (he was only 70 – what kind of an age is that to die?) Alan Yentob introduces a repeat of his Arena documentary Making The Shining, directed by Kubrick’s daughter Vivien. I’m still half convinced that his real name is Alan Botney, and he changed it to make him seem sophisticated.

Danny Lloyd is adorable. He’s asked if he knows how much he’s earning being in the movie. “Now I know that I probably have 5 or 6 hundred dollars” which elicits a huge laugh from the interviewer (presumably Yentob).

Scatman Crothers is amazing. He looks like he’s tearing up as he’s asked if he enjoyed working with Danny Lloyd. “It was beautiful. Just like… my son. If you see tears, they will be tears of joy.” He’s my new hero.

What I love about this film is that it’s not remotely made with an eye to promoting the film. Certainly not the on-set footage. So we get things like Nicholson saying that the average celebrity meets ten times as many people in a year that the average person meets in their lifetime, then we see him meeting a bunch of random people who have been invited to the set, possibly by James Mason (on the left) who had worked with Kubrick on Lolita, and who, around this time, would have been filming on another Stephen King adaptation, Salem’s Lot.


Shelley Duvall admits she did get jealous a bit at how sycophantic people would be around Nicholson. it definitely sounds like she was a little ignored.

Indeed, there’s a scene where Kubrick is shouting at Duvall when she doesn’t hear a cue.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 27th March 1999 – 21:55

Following this there’s a trailer for The Dark Room. And one for Dead Letter Office.

Then, a showing of Dr Strangelove which I’ve looked at on a previous tape.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 27th March 1999 – 22:35

After this, there’s a trailer for Great Expectations. And one for Face.

Then, a double bill of Stanley Kubrick short films, starting with Day Of The Fight.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th March 1999 – 00:10

There’s another trailer for Dead Letter Office. 

Then, another Kubrick short film, Flying Padre.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th March 1999 – 00:25

After this, another trailer for Great Expectations. And a trailer for programmes for next Saturday.

The tape ends here.

The Planets – tape 2891

Today, the series that confused me about the name of Sam Neill’s space documentary series UniverseThe Planets  does not feature Sam Neill, and is a regular documentary, albeit with lots of CG of various levels of quality.

The first episode is Different Worlds, starting with the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh. Pluto was still classed as a planet at this time.

Among the scientists contributing are Dr David Levy, one of the discoverers of the Shoemaker Levy comet. Because the programme is concerned with how planets are formed, when scientists have the opportunity to see a comet smash into Jupiter (as Shoemaker Levy did) they get a bit excited.

Hal Leveson takes us to Arizona to the enormous impact crater there, to talk about how the early life of planets was marked by frequent collisions.

There’s a look at the history of space exploration, starting with the German wartime rockets, whose technology was used by the US and Russia.

Professor George Wetherill talks about a pioneer in the study of planet formation, the Russian scientist Victor Safronov.

Sergei Khruschev talks about the space race, and the leader of their space efforts Sergei Korolev’s desire to beat the Americans into space.

Yuri Silaev worked on Sputnik. He talks about how the radio frequency Sputnik used was carefully chosen so that radio hams could listen to it.

Bruce Murray talks about the first time he saw Mars through a telescope.

Some 90s TV CGI there.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th April 1999 – 21:00

The next episode is Terra Firma. It looks at how the rocky worlds in the solar system formed and starts with some underwater lava which is always freaky and impressive.

Brad Smith led a mission to send a probe to Mars and photograph the terrain. It sounds like the history of probes to Mars has always been plagued with problems. When Mariner 9 approached orbit, intending to photograph the entire surface of Mars, Smith tells of a large dust storm that spread out over the entire planet, obscuring everything.

But the dust storm had an unexpected benefit. Looking at the images coming back from Mariner, they noticed some dark spots, which they realised were the tops of very large volcanoes poking out above the top of the dust storm, the largest of which, Olympus Mons, was 15 miles high, three times the size of Everest.

Bill Hartmann is a planetary Geologist, a new specialism at the time of these probes, as the information needed to study the geological structure of Mars just hadn’t been available until then.

Jurrie Van Der Woude. “This was a historical moment. When you finally start, like with an orange, peeling the peel off and exposing a planet for what it is.”

The next big step was to land a probe on the surface of Mars. Gerry Soffen was the mission scientist. I remember the Viking lander quite well, as the idea of seeing Mars from the surface was quite exciting. Although I think a lot of people were disappointed when it looked like a big red desert. David Bowie set our expectations too high, I think.

The Russians sent a probe to Venus.

It’s revealing of the way science had to be done in Russia, that the team had to hide the fact that they wanted to photograph the surface, in case this probe failed like several earlier ones, due to Venus’s extreme temperature and pressure. So they pretended there wasn’t a camera on board.

But the probe survived its landing, and did send back a picture from the surface.

Ellen Stofan, who worked on the imaging team for Nasa’s Magellan Venus probe talks of the excitement of being the first person to see the radar images of the surface of Venus. “You felt like such an explorer”

When Voyager was travelling to Jupiter, it took images as it passed some of the moons, and one of Io was noticed by Linda Hyder. There was a strange shape on the edge of the image, looking almost like another smaller moon behind it. But it was on the surface of Io. It was a huge volcanic eruption, the first volcanic eruption ever witnessed outside the Earth.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 6th May 1999 – 21:00

The Voyager missions form the basis of the next episode, Giants. Professor Gary Flandro remembers when he was a student at the Jet Propulsion Lab was asked to calculate trajectories for a flight to Jupiter. He thought it was a bit of a make-work project, but he discovered, in doing his calculations, that around 1976, all four outer giants were on the same side of the sun and in roughly the right place, to allow a spacecraft to visit all four of them.

Brad Smith led the imaging team for the Voyager missions.

James Van Allen led a team on an initial mission, before Voyager, to learn what they needed to know to send Voyager safely. This was the Pioneer mission. He’s also the discoverer of the Van Allen radiation belts, which I believe I learned about in The Time Tunnel.

It’s not mentioned in the programme, but I’m fairly sure that’s a glimpse of Carl Sagan who was one of the astronomers working on the Voyager project.

There’s an early CGI presentation on the project – I wonder if this was done by James Blinn’s CG team, who did a lot of the early CG visualisations of Voyager, and were pioneers in the use of CG.

Carolyn Porco discovered that Saturn’s magnetic field affected the rings, perturbing them in a periodic motion.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 13th May 1999 – 21:00

After this there’s a trailer for Have I Got News For You. Then the tape ends.

The Adam and Joe Show – tape 2890

On this tape, some episodes of The Adam and Joe Show. They did spend a lot of time on their toy recreations of movies. Like Saving Private Lion.

I like their spoof of the enormously pretentious Heinz adverts that were running at the time.

Baaad Dad goes to meet Coolio.

Adam and Joe set up their own theme museum – Dr Spankle’s Hollywood Wax-O-Rama.

Vinyl Justice looks at the record collection of Mark E Smith.

There’s a song about Robert De Niro.

This is Episode 1 of Series 3 and is available on the Channel 4 website.

In the next episode, the toy remake is Star Trek The Next Generation.

Baaad Dad goes on a Club 18-30 holiday.

Adam and Joe try to discover if the movie trope of a criminal master of disguise would work in the real world.

Ken Korda presents a guide to having a pop hit, like a cut-price Boyz Unlimited.

Record Shop hints and tips.

This week’s Vinyl Justice victim is Mark Morris of The Bluetones.

Here’s the episode on Channel 4. It’s episode 4. I wasn’t taping these religiously.

In the next episode, it’s time for Toytanic.

More from Ken Korda on how to have a hit single.

There’s a reality show where they film at a launderette, and see if they can manipulate the people there to do things that wouldn’t normally happen. In the days when reality shows were ‘supposed’ to be reality.

The Star Wars toy saga continues, and they’ve gone a bit Jerry Springer.

I like this caption gag.

Vinyl Justice visits actor Alexis Arquette.

I like the chorus to A Song for Bob Hoskins. “Long me Good Friday, Ragga me Rawney, Roger me Rabbit, Mona me Lisa, Mer me Maids, Blue me Ice, Smack me behind for just 2 and 6.”

Here’s the whole episode on Channel 4. This is episode 5.

After this, the tape ends just before an episode of TFI Friday.


  • The Big Lebowski on video
  • Ridge Racer 4
  • Budweiser
  • American Express
  • Ty-phoo
  • Schweppes
  • Sunday Telegraph
  • Halloween H20 on video
  • Bacardi
  • Citroen Xsara – Claudia Schiffer
  • Play Guitar
  • Bud Ice
  • eXistenZ in cinemas
  • Red Bull
  • trail: Jo Whiley
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Arrid Extra Extra Dry
  • Daily Mail – Jamie Oliver
  • The Chillout Album
  • Teacher Training Agency
  • Strongbow – Johnny Vaughan
  • The Corruptor in cinemas
  • trail: The Big Breakfast Phantom Menace promo
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • Thomas Cook
  • Alton Towers Oblivion
  • Ericsson T18
  • Play Guitar
  • Antz on Video
  • Bud Ice
  • Rohto ZI For Eyes
  • Barclaycard
  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer in cinemas
  • Thomas Cook
  • trail: Psychos
  • trail: 4 Music

Carlito’s Way – tape 2889

On this tape, Brian De Palma’s Carlito’s Way, a film I enjoyed a lot when I looked at it on another tape.

This showing is from BBC2’s Moviedrome series, and has an introduction by Mark Cousins. Apologies for the sound.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 16th May 1999 – 22:00

After the movie, there’s a trailer for Nightclubs. And one for Match of the Day.

Then, there’s the Cricket World Cup.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 17th May 1999 – 00:25

After this, a trailer for Due South. And one for programmes on Saturday.

Michael Fish presents the weather, then there’s a bumper helping of Ceefax.

Then, there’s the start of BBC Learning Zone. The tape stops during a programme about dealing with growing old.

Film 99 – Bafta TV Awards – tape 2893

Staying with the Movie Reviews for another day with another episode of Film 99 in which Jonathan Ross takes a look at the following films:

The introduction to the piece on eXistenz has a second or two missing, and it doesn’t look like a recording glitch. It’s possible it was a digitizing glitch, I guess. Jonathan talks to Jude Law as well as reviewing the film.

In the news, he talks to Hugh Grant following the premiere of Notting Hill, and there’s the news that Sean Connery will play Gandalf in the forthcoming Lord of the Rings movie.

There’s a look at the newest home cinema format – DVD.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 28th April 1999 – 23:00

Recording switches, and there’s the Bafta TV Awards for 1999. It’s presented by Michael Parkinson who opens the show with a remembrance of Jill Dando, who was supposed to present the show along with Parky. It’s still one of those shocking events, even for someone like me who didn’t particularly watch the kinds of programmes she presented. Perhaps even more shocking because the case is still unsolved, as the man arrested and jailed originally was acquitted on appeal.

The first award is a new one, for Best Soap, presented by Dale Winton.

It’s won by Eastenders. Producer Matthew Robinson accepts – I remember him when he was a director on 80s Doctor Who.

The Richard Dimbleby Award is presented by Sandy Gall.

It’s presented to Trevor McDonald.

Best Drama series is presented by Martine McCutcheon. It’s won by The Cops.

Desmond Lynam presents the award for Best Factual Series. It’s won by The Human Body.

Next, Stephen Fry presents the award for Best Light Entertainment Series.

It’s won by Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? This is an odd category, because there’s WWTBAM up against Big Train, Rory Bremner and Goodness Gracious Me. Perhaps there should be a category for Best sketch show.

Ronnie Corbett presents the Dennis Potter award for writing.

Surprisingly, it goes to a writer of comedy, David Renwick.

Best Live Outside Broadcast Production is presented by Gaby Roslin, and it’s won by Channel 4’s Derby Day.

The next award is for Best Light Entertainment Performance, and it’s presented by Chris Evans. And he cracks a joke about being phoned up about it and being disappointed that he’s only presenting it. But he rather shows his hand when he adds “In fact, my name wasn’t even mentioned at the meeting, they told me” and you know, for certain, that he asked, and he’s gutted.

And it’s won, to his surprise, by Michael Parkinson. This was a lovely moment.

Martin Bashir presents the Flaherty Documentary award. It’s won by After Lockerbie.

Jane McDonald presents the award for Best Features Programme, won by Back to the Floor.

Alan Yentob presents a special award.

Richard Curtis is the winner – another comedy award.

Ioan Gruffudd, the future Mr Fantastic, presents the award for Best Drama Serial. It’s won by Our Mutual Friend.

Michael Grade presents the Lew Grade Audience Award.

It’s won by Goodnight Mister Tom.

The next presenter is Barbara Windsor. She presents the Best Costume Design award to A Respectable Trade.

Paul Nicholls presents the award for Best Single Drama. It goes to A Rather English Marriage.

Alan Davies presents the award for Best Comedy Programme.

It’s won by Father Ted. Dermot Morgan also posthumously won Best Comedy Performance.

Neil Pearson presents the Alan Clarke award.

This usually goes to a director or producer, but this year goes to Hat Trick Productions – another comedy award.

The Best Actress award is presented by John Thaw. It goes to Thora Hird, who’s not there to accept the award.

Cate Blanchett presents the award for Best Actor.

It’s won by Tom Courtenay for A Rather English Marriage.

Princess Anne is on hand to introduce the Fellowship.

This year it’s going (posthumously) to Morecambe and Wise – this is absolutely the year of Comedy. Presenting it is Des O’Connor.

Also there to say a few words is Glenda Jackson.

Eric and Ernie’s wives, Joan Morecambe and Doreen Wise, accept the fellowship on their behalf.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th May 1999 – 20:00

Recording switches and there’s another episode of Film 99 with Jonathan Ross reviewing the following films:

He also talks to Hugh Grant about Notting Hill.

There’s a look ahead at Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, and at the excitement for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Remember excitement?

BBC Genome: BBC One – 19th May 1999 – 22:55

After this, there’s a trailer for BBC Music Live and one for all the programmes that won a Bafta.

Then the recording stops, and underneath there’s the end of an episode of the drama serial Ambassador.

After this there’s a trailer for Tourist Trouble. And a trail for HMS Splendid: Under the Sea.

Then there’s the start of the movie Alive (or ‘They Ended Up Having to Eat Each Other’ as I like to think of it, thanks to Cheers). The tape ends just after the film starts.