Month: November 2020

Jonathan Creek – tape 2536

Over to BBC One for a tape whose first programme is from exactly 21 years ago as I write this.

It’s the first episode of Series 3 of Jonathan CreekThe Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish. Maddy has brought some washing round to put in Jonathan’s machine.

They go to dinner with a friend of Maddy’s. While there, they meet Lenny and Alice Spearfish. Who tell them that Lenny has sold his soul to the Devil. And immediately after this, he discovers a million pounds worth of treasure in the garden.

Adam Klaus in in court, accused of lewd behaviour with a herring. Griff Rhys Jones is the prosecutor.

His accuser is Maxine Peake.

Lenny has a night out at a casino, then gets picked up by a prostitute, his drink spiked, and then witnesses that woman shot dead. When he makes a noise and the killer sees him, he shoots at him twice, then leaves. But miraculously, the bullets are lying on the carpet, and there’s holes in his shirt, and burn marks on his skin where they hit. He’s invincible.

The next night, at their outside pool, while Maddy is with them, the killer turns up again with a rifle. But he can’t pull the trigger, starts shaking uncontrollably, then collapses and cracks his head on the edge of the pool.

Adjoa Anjoh plays a financial adviser working on Lenny’s portfolio, which has been growing hugely. Maddy thinks there’s something fishy, as her name doesn’t appear in any registers of financial advisers.

Adam Klaus’s court case appears to have raised his profile in France, making the tour that was previously struggling turn into a runaway success.

The final piece of the puzzle comes when Lenny files for divorce, and draws up papers so that Alice forgoes any claim on the money, because she believes it comes from a satanic source.

The revelation is a good one, and turns out surprisingly heartwarming, if a little far fetched.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 27th November 1999 – 20:55

Straight into the next episode, The Eyes of Tiresias. Maddy and Jonathan are at some kind of black tie shindig. Peter Blake plays Otto Danzigger, a mentalist who does a lottery prediction trick.

Jonathan meets Heidi Brayle, played by the wonderful Rebecca Front. She’s a location manager, and they get on quite well.

She returns home to find her old aunt Audrey still up. She fell asleep in her chair, and had a strange dream about the murder of an older French man.

Cut to a very stately home, and an older man speaking French is having breakfast. It’s the Demon Headmaster, Terrence Hardiman.

His wife is played by Diana Weston. So that’s Diana Weston and Peter Blake in the same episode – almost an ‘Agony’ reunion.

The man, a swiss financier called Masson, is attacked in his office and killed.

Heidi arranges for a film shoot at Alan’s windmill.

I laughed at the scene where Alan’s talking to Maddy on the phone, and a stuntperson in a dress falls past the window.

Aunt Audrey is having more dreams. Something about “RP” and a death involving wings. So this is widely reported, as her prediction of Masson’s murder made the news. Then a woman banker dies in a car accident. She has the initials RP and… a car has wings.

There’s a third dream, in which Audrey is murdered by a man with one eye – and in a cheeky bit of misdirection, we see this dream.

The solution to the mystery is partly mundane but mostly ridiculously convoluted, involving pre-recording the murder and putting it on a recordable CD (when recordable CDs used to be gold).

As a coda, they’re still filming outside the windmill, and they recruit Jonathan as a stand-in for a kissing scene.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 4th December 1999 – 20:55

The next episode is The Omega Man. There’s a nice gag at the start about local theatre. “I don’t think Steve Harrison and Martin Ford are getting out of here alive.”

Maddy and Jonathan appear on a talk show. Despite complaining he hates them, and always freezes up, Jonathan actually does all the talking, much to Maddy’s disgust. She’s not happy about her placement in to big photo either.

So she’s generally grumpy and miserable about Jonathan and his increasing fame. Perfectly set for a mysterious message pushed under her door telling her to meet somewhere mysterious. And because she has no idea about personal safety (or, more likely, this was written by a man who has no idea about a woman’s personal safety) she turns up.

She meets Professor Lance Graumann, played by the great John Shrapnel in full dramatic mode.

Jane Booker plays his assistant, Phillipa Farrell, who’s a psychic Channeller.

The mystery Graumann was teasing is the apparent skeleton of an alien. It possesses strange properties, like burning anyone who touches it.

But their meeting is interrupted by the arrival of the US military. No idea why the US military is allowed to operate on UK soil (outside of an airbase, anyway) but here’s Captain Frank Candy, played by Michael Brandon, Dempsey himself. (Incidentally, I recently learned (or was reminded) that Brandon married his Dempsey and Makepeace co-star Glynis Barber, and that all these years later, they are still married. Long showbiz marriages are my jam.)

Brandon takes away the skeleton, and his men spot Maddy skulking. She freaks out and escapes in her car.

But the real mystery emerges when Brandon gets back to his HQ and finds the skeleton has gone.

Next day Maddy is at a signing, but Jonathan hasn’t arrived, and his young fans aren’t really interested to get their books signed by Maddy.

The reason for Jonathan’s non-appearance is that he’s been whisked off by Captain Candy to explain how their alien skeleton disappeared. He’s also given a large soldier to follow him around when he leaves, another probably illegal action.

He makes it back to the signing, so his fans are happy. But when he remembers that the army are looking for Maddy, he skips out without talking to her.

He gives the soldier the slip, and he and Maddy meet with Graumann and Farrell, trying to get more information out of him. Jonathan knows it’s a trick, but he can’t work out what kind. Graumann gives him a clue: One of the planets, but very cold.

After spending time in a cell on th3e army base (surely this, above all, must be illegal?) Jonathan twigs the solution, and tells Candy that he’ll tell him, for £100,000. Surprisingly, Candy agrees, and after Jonathan spills the beans, Candy lets them both go. They revisit Graumann and Farrell, and he confirms Jonathan’s solution – that the ‘skeleton’ was a model of a sculpted alien skeleton, molded in frozen Mercury. Since mercury is liquid at room temperature, the reason it vanished in the van is that it simply melted.

Back at home, Maddy is still cross about something. But she won’t say what. She asks Jonathan if Candy really did pay him £100,000, and he says he was surprised, but he did. This is obviously gnawing at Maddy, and Jonathan leaves. Then she notices an envelope in the carrying cage with two kittens she’d got from the local animal shelter, run by a friend, that is going to have to close down unless they can raise £65,000. In the envelope is a cheque from Jonathan.

It’s a fun yarn that’s a nice break from the murders. I wish Maddy wasn’t cross about everything so much.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 11th December 1999 – 20:55

There’s some Lottery Numbers, in case you missed them earlier.

Then the last episode on this tape, Ghost’s Forge. Adam Klaus is looking for some flowers for his returning girlfriend’s birthday. Gina Bellman is working in the flower shop, so naturally Adam goes gaga for her as soon as he sees her. He’s such a pig.

Jonathan is having an interview with reporter Mimi Tranter, played by Lysette Anthony. I don’t think he likes it when she tells him how it’s obvious how all the tricks are done.

She casually mentions her date for lunch, Robin Priest, a man who won a story writing competition. We get a faded flashback so we know this is part of the story. He’s been having nightmares about somewhere called Ghost’s Forge, where an old man called Ezra Carr was murdered in mysterious circumstances. He’d read about it, and now he’s having nightmares about it.

Adam Klaus is getting a bit obsessed with a bad review from a local newspaper. It’s very Alan Partridge. ‘Moribund?’

Did I say ‘a bit’ obsessed?

Mimi’s date Robin is married, though, and his wife finds Maddy’s address in his things, because he came to pick her up, so she turns up and sprays paint in Maddy’s face. Sometimes I get the feeling that David Renwick doesn’t like women very much. Plus, isn’t this dangerous? It’s basically how PJ or Duncan went blind, isn’t it? (I’m too old to have watched Byker Grove so I’m just going by clip shows here).

Adam’s highlighting of Duggie Dawson’s one line review hasn’t had the desired effect.

They visit Ghost’s Forge – although Jonathan notes that the name on the gate is the ‘first curiosity’.

In the house they find a package full of copies of the same book, ‘The Grave Digger’ by Gerald Eastland.

Back to the staple of Jonathan Creek – there’s a locked room they can’t get into, so Maddy climbs a ladder to get there.

But when Mimi climbs up behind her, Maddy isn’t there, and she hadn’t left the room because Jonathan had been waiting on the other side. They can’t find her, but when they return to the car, she comes back, delighted to have pulled the wool over both of their eyes.

Jonathan is comparing the Gerald Eastland book with Robin’s prize-winning short story. The only thing they knew about Eastland was that he was a politician who turned to writing novels, but Jonathan has noticed a similarity in style between Robin and Eastland.

Adam Klaus has invited Duggie Dawson to see how the show is put together. He’s played by Jim Bowen. I do love the tiny cameos this show does.

Trouble is, the night before, Adam had quickly bolted from Gina Bellman’s bedroom when he noticed dentures in a jar by the bed. And she turns up to confront him, with her grandma’s dentures, calling him shallow. I don’t think Duggie’s next piece will be complimentary.

Mimi goes to Robin’s house to finally confront him and force him to leave his wife. But he has an admission to make. “I murdered Ezra Carr.”

Adam hopes that Duggie hasn’t got the wrong impression. Duggie asks if the kimono came from a girlfriend, and whether he speaks Japanese? “Any woman who brings you a shirt back with the words ‘I am full of shit’ on it, I’d say has got the measure of you very well indeed.”

The revelation of the Ghost’s Forge mystery takes almost as long as the rest of the programme. Robin isn’t Robin. He was actually Ezra Carr, the ghost-writer for Gerald Eastland. But he lost his memory during a burglary by the man found dead there, and his lover/neice – Robin’s apparent wife. She killed her Uncle, and told ‘Robin’ that they were married, but he obviously had started to remember.

There’s a coda where, after days of a trad jazz band practicing in the garden next door to Maddy, she hears them again, and she’s got a garden hose ready. Trouble is, she’s dousing a funeral procession (presumably what the rehearsal was for).

BBC Genome: BBC One – 18th December 1999 – 20:55

After after this, it’s almost Christmas. I’m so excited.

The tape ends here.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Angel – tape 2497

Some more vampire action on this tape. We’ve seen so much of Season Four that I’m actually surprised that we’ve never looked at the first episode, so here, at last, is Buffy The Vampire SlayerThe Freshman. Buffy and Willow are trying to choose courses.

There’s a ‘meet-cute’ as we meet Riley for the first time, when Buffy drops some heavy books on him.

Buffy meets her hyper-perky roommate. “It’s going to be super fun.”

Buffy gets humiliated by an appalling lecturer. She should have staked him. He’s a bullying pig.

We also meet Professor Maggie Walsh “As my TAs call me, the Evil Bitch-Monster of Death” played by Lindsay Crouse, so we know she’s important enough to be a recurring character.

She bumps into another student, Eddie, who seems just as lost as Buffy. He’s sensitive and nice, maybe a little nerdy and HOLY SHIT IS THAT PEDRO PASCAL? Yes it is.

They have a nice moment. both bonding over being rather overwhelmed by University, but the second they part ways, Eddie is attacked by vamps.

Buffy notices Eddie is not in their shared psych class, and is told that he’s left. She goes to his room and it’s been cleared out (by Sunday’s gang, whose MO is to pick off the lonely students and steal their stuff), and there’s a note. But the vamps left his favourite book, which he told Buffy he always had it with him, so she knows he must have been taken.

The gang of vamps picking off lonely students are a hoot, led by Sunday (Katharine Towne).

I love the cliches of student living, like the battle between preferred art poster – Klimt or Monet.

Buffy’s worried about her missing friend, so he goes to see Giles. Giles, meanwhile, is between jobs, and has a friend over to stay. I love the slightly cooler Giles, and the way Buffy is grossed out by the idea of him having a personal life.

That night she spots Eddie on campus, but rapidly stakes him when she sees how he’s changed.

Buffy and Sunday face off, and Buffy comes out of it with a broken arm and a loss of confidence.

She goes back to see her mom, but finds that she’s filled her room with boxes from the gallery. “I thought you wouldn’t be back for a few weeks.”

Back to her own room she finds all her stuff has gone, and there’s a note, supposedly from her.

So she goes to another favourite place, the Bronze. Where she meets Xander, recently returned from a rather catastrophic and truncated tour of all fifty states. She confesses her fear that she can’t handle Sunday, and Xander tells her that she’s his hero. This is the Xander we love, not the idiot who ruined his own wedding.

They hit the research to work out where Sunday’s Gang are staying, tracking them down to an abandoned frat house. Buffy scopes out the vamps, and sends Xander to get Willow and see if her equipment is still in her room. But then she falls through the window, and has to face the gang alone.

Sunday makes a fatal mistake when she breaks Buffy’s Prom Night trophy, as that makes Buffy mad enough to fight back properly.

The gang arrive to help with the other vamps.

Giles arrives, just in time to miss all the action. But at least the gang is back together.

There’s a coda, where the one member of Sunday’s Gang who escapes is tased and captured by a group of army looking guys, but we know how that goes by now.

Following this, there’s the first episode of AngelCity Of. Angel is drowning his sorrows. Ha ha fooled you he’s undercover after some vamps.

At the office he has a visitor. Doyle. Who’s half demon, and comes with a message from ‘The Powers That Be’. He tells Angel that he gets visions about people who need saving… or stopping.

His first lead is Tina, a woman who works in a coffee shop. Angel scopes out the joint, acts friendly, and offers to meet her after work. She’s sceptical, because there’s someone unpleasant who’s stalking her, someone very powerful, so she doesn’t know if she can trust Angel.

He manages to reassure her, and accompanies her to a swanky party, where Angel meets an old friend. Cordelia is in LA now working as an actress.

Leaving the Party, Angel is jumped by some heavies and Tina is grabbed by someone working for her stalker. Angel has to rescue her.

Cordelia’s career isn’t going as well as she implied at the party.

Tina’s stalker finds her. He’s noted businessman Russell Winter. And he’s a vampire, killing Tina.

Back at his home, he meets with his lawyer, the creepy Lindsey. He’s watching video from the party and spots Cordelia, so he asks Lindsey to arrange for her to meet him.

Cordelia is obviously impressed and rather overwhelmed by the interest, but I love how it takes her about five seconds to twig. “I finally get invited to a nice place with no mirrors and lots of curtains… Hey, you’re a vampire!”

Angel arrives and rescues her, but Winters is safe running his huge business, and being protected by his slimy lawyer.

Winters sneers at Angel. “I pay my taxes, I keep my name out of the paper, and I don’t make waves. And in return, I can do anything I want.” (I bet he also doesn’t pay his taxes.)

Angel asks him if he can fly, then kicks him out of the window, with a nice falling fire stunt.

Next, recording switches and there’s episode 2 of season four of Buffy The Vampire SlayerLiving Conditions. Buffy is finding it hard to live with Kathy, her roommate. She has a lot of annoying habits, and plays Cher’s ‘Believe’ on a loop. And she irons her jeans.

Buffy goes on patrol, and Kathy follows her, and they are attacked by a glowy eyed demon. Buffy pushes Kathy into the bushes so she can’t see her kicking demon butt, so naturally Kathy assumes Buffy is just being rude.

Buffy visits Giles, who’s just been working out in his nice outside space.

Buffy meets Parker in the cafeteria queue. He seems nice. RUN AWAY NOW! I never trusted Parker.

I love this episode, because it’s all just basically a heightened version of a common social problem – how do you suddenly share your living space with a total stranger, and how do you put up with all their strange habits. Like labelling all the stuff in the fridge.

Buffy starts having dreams about the glowy eyed demons she fought.

She starts getting more and more cranky, and acting more paranoid, so her friends arrange an intervention for her. For Buffy that requires a drop net and heavy ropes.

But they don’t tie her up tight enough, and she gets out, and goes to confront Kathy, convinced that she’s a soul sucking demon. Which, it turns out, she is. “I knew it!”

They fight some, and Kathy, because she’s been sucking Buffy’s soul, has the upper hand, but lucky for Buffy, Giles has realised that the fingernail clippings Buffy brought as evidence that Kathy’s a demon did actually prove she’s a demon, and he performs a spell that reverses the soul sucking.

Then the real big bad arrives. And he’s really mad. Kathy is so busted.

So the episode ends with a much better roommate for Buffy.


After this, there’s the second episode of AngelLonely Heart. Cordy has made business cards.

Doyle has a vision about a bar, but nothing more than that. We see a slightly shifty bloke picking up a woman.

Angel and the gang hit the bar, and start looking for someone in need. Angel meets Kate Lochley.

The shifty guy has got the woman into bed. But next morning, we see her getting dressed, and he’s the one who’s dead in bed.

The monster is some kind of sex worm that’s passing from host to host.

Angel has made the connection, but he arrives at her apartment too late, and finds a man she picked up dressing himself. They fight, but the man bolts, then Kate Lochley bursts in, and assumes Angel is responsible for the dead woman in the bed. And Kate’s a detective.

Angel gets away, and the worm moves through some more victims as Angel searches. Kate’s looking for Angel, and she ends up back at the club, where the barman tells her he saw someone trying to leave through the back. But he knocks her out – he’s the host now.

Angel saves the day, interrupting him before the worm can pass to Kate, so the barman escapes into the club, and is desperately trying to pick someone up, nonchalantly, while having a bloody stain on his shirt and a bit of skin hanging off his head. It’s very funny.

When Angel comes to get him he bolts, and it all ends up with a big fight, ending up with the worm guy on fire in a nice fire gag, and Kate shooting him dead.

Angel never really became a show I love, but it’s still often a lot of fun.

After this, recording continues for a short time, and there’s the start of The Delta Force, which starts with that unmistakeable stamp of cinematic quality, the Cannon Films logo. Something that can cause PTSD flashbacks to children of the 80s.

The tape ends shortly into this.

Among the adverts, there’s one for Discovery Home and Leisure that features David Walliams.


  • Lunn Poly
  • Mercedes
  • Sleepy Hollow in cinemas
  • Daily Mail Family Guide to the Internet
  • trail: Sunday Night on Sky
  • trail: Angel
  • trail: Friends
  • Ambi-Pur
  • Centerparcs
  • McDonalds – Millennium Dome
  • Huggies
  • Sunday Times
  • Star Trek Insurrection on video
  • Muller Light
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Travel Choice
  • MFI
  • Comfort Easy Iron
  • trail: Third Watch
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • Andrex
  • Direct Line
  • The Mirror
  • National Geographic Channel Millennium Monday
  • McDonalds – Ted Rogers Linda Lusardi
  • Thomson Local Directory
  • Creme Eggs
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Angel
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Daily Mail
  • AA Insurance
  • PC KnowHow
  • Olivio
  • Discovery Home & Leisure
  • Daily Mail Family Guide to the Internet
  • McDonalds – Millennium Dome
  • trail: Friends on Film
  • trail: Cream: Millennium Special
  • trail: Sky Sports
  • JMC
  • Currys
  • Citroen Saxo
  • The Sixth Sense in cinemas
  • Thomas Cook
  • trail: Sky Digital
  • trail: Shasta McNasty
  • TV LIcensing
  • Ariel Hygiene Antibac
  • Kojak on Plus
  • Creme Eggs
  • The Mirror
  • Benilyn
  • Sleepy Hollow in cinemas
  • Homebase – Neil Morrissey Leslie Ash
  • PG Tips
  • Take a Break
  • trail: Friends on Film
  • trail: Sunday Night on Sky
  • trail: Friends on Film
  • Daily Mail
  • Bold Active Fresh
  • Vicks
  • National Geographic Channel Millennium Monday
  • Peugeot 206
  • Haven
  • Daily Mail Family Guide to the Internet
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Daily Mail
  • Beechams Flu Plus
  • Huggies
  • Discovery Home & Leisure
  • PC World
  • Virgin Sun
  • Daily Mail Family Guide to the Internet
  • trail: Friends
  • The Sun
  • Citroen Saxo
  • JMC
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Skyrocket
  • Haven
  • The Sun
  • Royal Mail
  • National Geographic Channel Wild Weekend
  • Nokia
  • That’s Life
  • Felix
  • MFI
  • Knorr Taste Breaks
  • trail: Earth: Final Conflict
  • trail: Shasta McNasty
  • trail: Sliding Doors
  • That’s Life
  • Haven
  • Night Nurse
  • T/Gel
  • Paramount Comedy Channel
  • KFC
  • The Best Club Anthems 2000
  • Daily Mail
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Sunday Night on Sky
  • trail: The Strangerers
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Specsavers
  • JMC
  • The Mirror
  • Learning Land
  • Skittles
  • Egg
  • Oranges and Clementines from Spain
  • UK Gold
  • McDonalds – Ted Rogers Linda Lusardi
  • trail: The West Wing
  • trail: Enemy of the State
  • JMC
  • What’s On TV
  • Night Nurse
  • Daily Mail
  • Kojak on Plus
  • Thomas Cook
  • trail: World Cup Comedy
  • trail: The Simpsons
  • Actimel
  • Discovery Home & Leisure
  • Iceland
  • Andrex
  • Zovirax
  • Daily Mail
  • Olivio
  • trail: Earth: Final Conflict
  • trail: Sliding Doors
  • trail: Football
  • Diet Coke
  • Daily Mail
  • NiQuitin CQ
  • Thomas Cook
  • Paramount Comedy Channel
  • Nat West
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • trail: Sunday Night on Sky
  • trail: The West Wing
  • JMC
  • Paramount Comedy Channel
  • Lemsip Max Strength
  • Lemsip Sore Throat
  • Macleans Whitening
  • National Lottery Thunderball
  • McDonalds – Millennium Dome
  • The Sun
  • Rohto ZI For Eyes
  • Thomas Cook
  • trail: Shasta McNasty
  • Sky Digital
  • Learning Land
  • Daily Mail
  • UK Gold
  • Comet
  • trail: Dream Team

Brass Eye – tape 2233

I’m afraid this is another tape of things I’ve already looked at before. Twice.

It’s Brass Eye and these are recordings from the original broadcast, which I can tell mostly from things that are absent, and one thing that is present, which I’ll get to later.

First it’s Drugs, possibly the most infamous of the original series. This broadcast is notable because it doesn’t end with a disclaimer about MP David Amess who asked a question in Parliament about the made up drug Cake. But since I can’t show you a disclaimer that doesn’t exist, here’s a picture of Claire Skinner, her second appearance on the trot. I hope you’re keeping well, Claire.

Before the next episode there’s a tiny bit of the end of Fortean TV.

Then, it’s Science, possibly my favourite episode as there’s so much nonsense in it. Here’s Richard Briers. “If you’re in any doubt, shut your eyes, and imagine a child you know being hit on the head by a ton of invisible lead soup.”

There’s another glimpse of the Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe in Fortean TV before the next episode.

Which is Sex. Can we just relish the naming of the characters, with Doon Mackichan playing Rubeglia Palliativa.

The next episode is Crime. With some really useful infographics.

The last episode is Decline, and was the one that caused the broadcast of the series to be delayed by something like six months, because of the item about Myra Hindley, when around the original broadcast date she was in the news after her portrait was vandalised.

And could this be the first time that the absence of someone from a tape has caused their death? This episode should also contain a piece about ‘Sutcliffe: The Musical’ in which the actual Peter Sutcliffe is allowed out of Broadmoor on day release to appear in a West End musical about his life. But that’s completely missing from this tape, although it’s on the version that’s on All4. If I was in any way responsible for his death recently, I’m not in the least bit sorry.

There’s one part of this recording that doesn’t exist on any future broadcasts or releases, though. Because Channel 4 boss Michael Grade delayed the series, and kept asking for cuts to be made throughout the series, Chris Morris got so fed up that he inserted a single flash frame, with the words ‘Michael Grade is a c**t’. I think he got into a bit of trouble, with scare stories about subliminal flash frames. I never spotted it originally, but here it is in all its sweary glory.

After this, there’s a short animation by Candy Guard, Alternative Fringe.

Then, there’s the start of an episode of ER.

The recording stops partway through this, and there’s an older recording underneath – a rolling series of trailers from one of the foreign language satellite channels. This one sounds Spanish, and it’s called Minimax, which I thought was a strategy for computer chess algorithms.

The tape ends after some of this.


  • trail: Spin City
  • trail: NBA The All-Star Game
  • Nissan Almera – Professionals Parody with Phil Cornwell
  • First Direct – Bob Mortimer
  • Nissan
  • trail: Rita, Sue and Bob Too
  • trail: TFI Friday
  • Saab 900
  • Littlewoods Pools
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Weetabix
  • trail: Dark Skies
  • Lexus
  • Eurostar
  • The Independent
  • Lexus
  • trail: The Show
  • trail: Here’s Johnny
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Kilkenny Irish Beer
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • trail: Brass Eye
  • trail: TFI Friday
  • trail: Last Chance Lottery
  • Lexus
  • Pringles
  • Clearasil
  • British Midland
  • Lexus
  • trail: Indoor Athletics
  • trail: The Show
  • Centrum
  • Nissan Primera
  • Holsten Pils – Denis Leary
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Eagle Star Direct
  • trail: Friday on Four
  • UPS
  • Holsten Pils – Denis Leary
  • Direct Debit
  • trail: Dark Skies
  • trail: TFI Friday
  • Renault Laguna – David Ginola
  • Wilkinson Sword
  • Intel Pentium
  • Wrigley’s Extra
  • Manic Street Preachers: Everything Must Go
  • The Mirror
  • Renault Megane – Hugh Dennis
  • trail: Friday on Four
  • trail: ER
  • Audi Quattro
  • The Independent
  • trail: Hope and Glory
  • Volvo V70
  • Tetley’s Bitter
  • Virgin Direct PEPs
  • Scottish Widows
  • Cellnet
  • Mitsubishi Carisma
  • AA
  • Zanussi – David Schneider
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • Yakult
  • British Beef
  • trail: Dispatches
  • trail: Hope and Glory
  • Audi Quattro
  • Sacla
  • Carling
  • Viennetta
  • Sacla
  • Kill Your Speed

Jack Dee’s Full Mountie – The Peter Principle – tape 2539

Today it’s a short tape, which completes the runs of a couple of series we’ve been seing bits of recently.

First, an episode of Jack Dee’s Full Mountie looking at political comedy. There’s an appearance by John Inman at the start – his second appearance on this blog in a few days.

Bill Hicks is the first performance.

Next on stage is Mark Thomas from 1994.

A young Jon Stewart from 1992

George Wallace, also from 1992.

Dave Chappelle from 1993.

Ben Elton from 1997

A babyfaced Stewart Lee from 1998.

Greg Giraldo isn’t familiar to me.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 7th March 2000 – 22:50

After this, there’s a trailer for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). There’s also a trailer for the Friday Comedy Zone.

Then, an episode of The Peter PrincipleCasabanca. The bank has erected a security barrier, which leads to a problem with customers being noticed by the staff, even in case of emergency.

David’s wife comes in to confront him about his swooning over Susan.

“I’ve asked Bradley to get me a cream coloured mohair coat.” “Well I suppose he can’t get that wrong.”

Bradley has a bit of a creepy obsession about Susan.

After she learns that David’s wife is pregnant, but without knowing the father is her tennis coach, and David tells her he’s leaving his wife, she’s shocked that he would abandon his baby. She decides to emigrate to Canada. Peter is glad because he’s threatened by her.

Bradley is going to miss her.

I like Susan’s coat.

There’s a guest appearance from Emma Kennedy as a WPC, her second appearance in uniform in the last few days.

There’s actually an armed robber.

Peter gets questioned by the police. That’s co-writer John O’Farrell there.

Peter has a change of heart, and rushes to the airport to tell Susan the truth, which is basically an excuse to do the ending of Casablanca.

Back at the office, Bradley has found Susan’s swimsuits. Why he isn’t on a register I’ll never know.

I wish this show was better. I love all the people in it. They all deserve better.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 7th March 2000 – 23:20

After this, there’s a trailer for Trouble at the Top.

Then the tape ends just as Weatherview starts.

Howard Goodall’s Big Bangs – tape 2533

Over to Channel 4 today for Howard Goodall’s Big Bangs. I love Howard Goodall. I’ve liked him since I heard him perform ‘I Hate the French’ on Rowan Atkinson’s live in Belfast album.

He is, of course, well known for being a prolific composer of theme tunes (Blackadder, Red Dwarf, Vicar of Dibley, QI) and brilliant comedy songs (The Ayatollah Song, Oh Bosanquet, Nice Video Shame About The Song) but he also writes in other forms, and in this series he looks at the kinds of innovations that has made music possible.

Somehow, I knew, as this opening shot started, that his first words would be “Imagine a world without music.”

He talks about how modern music depends on musical notation, and that, before this was developed, music was entirely an oral tradition, with Gregorian Chants being memorised by monks and passed down through the generations. He does an experiment with some young choristers, singing a melody to one of them, who then goes and sings it to another, and so on, like a musical version of Chinese Whispers. It’s amazing to see the melody mutate almost every time it’s passed along. It demonstrates how difficult it must have been to accurately retain the large amount of music in the chants as it’s passed from monk to monk.

So there was clearly a need for a way to write down music. One of the first attempts to codify written music was something called ‘nunes’ (sp?). They are the strange marks above the words.

The problem with these symbols is that they didn’t really give any indication of where a tune starts, and it’s really only useful if you already know the tune, and just need reminding. So The next innovation came from a music teacher, Guido Monaco, who invented the idea of having a line to indicate a fixed key. This is one of the earliest surviving examples of this notation.

His notation had four lines representing F, A, C and E. Howard demonstrates this with the tune for ‘Ode to Joy’ in chocolate.

He also invented the Do-Re-Mi way of teaching notes, although his version started with Ut instead of Do.

I love the story about Allegri’s Miserere, which was considered by the Pope to be too powerful and spiritually disturbing for ordinary mortals, and he decreed that it should only be performed once a year by his own choir. Making a copy of the piece would be punished by excommunication, and the masters were kept under lock and ley in the Vatican. However, the Pop had not reckoned with the ability of a fourteen year old boy to hear the piece once, then return to his lodgings to write the entire thing out from memory. It lasts about fifteen minutes. He then smuggled the illegal copy of the music out of Rome, and thereby cheekily broke the official embargo. The young man was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and as Goodall observes, without notation we would have no Mozart, and no Miserere.

Sometimes the illustrations of the development of music are a little… silly?

Courtney Pine talks about how important it is to be able to read music, even for Jazz.

When it comes to the present, he demonstrates ‘The Mighty Sibelius’ which was the leading software package for musical notation at the time. Fun Fact – Sibelius started off on the Acorn Archimedes, and the authors originally approached the company I worked for, Computer Concepts, to publish the first version. But my boss decided not to, and I can’t remember the reason why. I think he didn’t want to get into publishing someone else’s work, but it was a shame, as I’d have liked to be able to have a free copy.

The next episode starts off with a dramatic intro, as Howard stands on the edge of an active volcano to introduce the programme’s big bang, Equal Temperament. The globetrotting nature of his pieces to camera definitely have a whiff of “When really, I should be at work”, the old Robert Winston gag from Harry Hill’s TV Burp.

Pythagoras first worked out how harmonics worked.

He talks about John Dunstable, who started writing music using intervals that the pythagorean scales didn’t use. I’m upset that Howard doesn’t do a piece to camera in Dunstable. He does catch the Eurostar from Ashford.

But there was still a problem, because if you wanted to play music in different keys, instruments had to be retuned to the specific key. Until JS Bach wrote the revolutionary 48 preludes and fugues, titled ‘The Well Tempered Clavier’. This was a collection of pieces written in all the possible keys, which could all be played in a harpischord or piano if it was tuned in a particular way – that’s the ‘well tempered’ bit.

In the next episode, He gets to dress up, as the subject of the programme is The Piano. He walks to piano on the beach, asks if he can play something, and then starts playing ‘Oh I Do Love To Be Beside the Seaside’.

He looks at the oldest surviving stringed keyboard instrument.

And one of the first true pianos ever made, invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori.

And here’s Mozart’s Piano.

Roland Hanna explains the importance of the piano in the development of Jazz.

The final Big Bang is the development of recorded music.

Edison invented a way to record sound on a cylinder.

Howard demonstrates a phonograph – it’s still a bit amazing it works at all.

We see one of the first records, a five inch disc intended to be played at 120rpm.

He looks at one of the first stars of recorded music, Enrico Caruso.

There’s some amazing devices to try to increase the volume of instruments, to make up for the insensitivity of the recording methods.

But soon, electronic recording arrived, and it meant that singing styles like Bing Crosby’s signature ‘crooning’ was possible.

The next innovation was the move from Shellac 78s to the new Vinyl 33 1/3 rpm records.

Julian Lloyd Webber worries that the perfection of recorded music gives audiences a false impression of what they will hear in a live performance.

Steve Reich talks about sampling.

This is a lovely series, full of interesting detail, and some beautiful music. I still love Howard Goodall.

After this, the tape ends.


  • trail: Equinox: The Secret Life of the Crash Test Dummy
  • Ford Mondeo
  • XFM
  • Scottish Widows/Lloyds TSB
  • Nissan Almera
  • Comet
  • First Direct – CG Harry Hill
  • Millennium Dome
  • Equitable Life – John Peel
  • Hyundai Amica – Luke Goss (or maybe Matt)
  • Saint Agur
  • Woolite
  • Motorola
  • Renault Megane
  • NiQuitin CQ
  • Finish
  • Renault Megane
  • Skoda Fabia
  • Scottish Widows/Lloyds TSB
  • Comet
  • Holsten Pils – Mark Williams Paul Whitehouse
  • Nat West
  • Ford Transit
  • Evening Standard
  • National Lottery
  • VW Bora
  • Boots Opticians
  • Ronseal Floor Shades
  • Rover
  • Eyes Wide Shut on video
  • Comet
  • trail: Rover: The Last Chance Saloon
  • Fiat Brava
  • American Airlines
  • Specsavers
  • trail: Dotcomedy
  • trail: Harry Hill



Film 99 – The Simpsons – Johnny Vaughan’s Film Night – tape 2535

After seeing Barry Norman on Sky Premier yesterday, a reminder that this was the year that Jonathan Ross took over the film reviewing duties for the BBC’s flagship cinema programme. In this episode he reviews

He talks to Haley Joel Osment about The Sixth Sense.

He also talks to Robin Williams about Jakob The Liar.

And Jonathan Rhys-Meyers about Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil. His first ever TV interview, apparently.

There’s a location report on the Merchant Ivory production The Golden Bowl.


BBC Genome: BBC One – 2nd November 1999 – 23:25

After this, it’s over to Sky One for The SimpsonsSunday, Cruddy Sunday. We’ve seen this episode before, though.

There’s another episode following this – it’s part of All Aussie Weekend on Sky, so of course there’s Craig McLachlan dressed up as Braveheart to introduce the episode.

The episode is Beyond Blunderdome. Homer and Marge get tickets to a test screening of Mel Gibson’s new movie, a remake of Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

Mel Gibson is there. Homer hates the movie, and his is the only card that’s critical of the movie, so Gibson decides to get Homer to help him with the movie. There’s a line there, as he tells them how “people love me so much they never criticise me. I speed all the time but cops never give me a ticket.” I wonder if that’s why he had a meltdown when he was actually stopped.

They travel to Hollywood. “Look, they’re making a movie. Robert Downey Jr is shooting it out with police.” “I don’t see any cameras.”

Homer’s changes are, of course, terrible. The final scene is turned into a violent bloodbath which ends with Gibson cutting off the President’s head. “Happy Birthday Mr President.”

The film is released, to general disgust, of course.

After this, it’s back to BBC One and a trailer for the new drama, Holby City.

Then it’s Film 99 which this week has reviews of:

Jonathan interviews Matthew McConaughey about EdTV.

He also talks to Ralph Fiennes about Onegin.

And Kenneth Branagh about Love’s Labours Lost

BBC Genome: BBC One – 16th November 1999 – 23:15

In the next episode, Jonathan reviews:

He talks to Pierce Brosnan about The World is Not Enough.

He interviews Eddie Bunker, about his autobiography, ‘Mr Blue’ and his varied career as a novelist.

There’s an interview with Production Designer Ken Adam.

I guess it was inevitable in a Bond-heavy episode that Sean Connery would make an appearance. It’s over 3 weeks since he died, but I’m still very, very sorry.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 23rd November 1999 – 23:35

In the next episode there are reviews of the following films:

There’s an interview with Terence Stamp about The Limey.

Jonathan talks to Craig Ferguson about the hairdressing comedy The Big Tease.

Susan Sarandon talks about Anywhere But Here.

David Lynch, fag in mouth, talks about The Straight Story.

Also its star Richard Farnsworth.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 30th November 1999 – 23:40

After this, it’s over to Channel 4 for the pedalo of movie programmes, The Johnny Vaughan Film Show. This is a special episode, an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger about his film End of Days. Therefore it takes place in a church.

The interview actually starts in the wrong aspect ratio. I corrected the screengrab above, but this is how it looks with a close-up.

It’s clearly a playout glitch, as it’s corrected after a few minutes.

After this, recording continues with the start of Murder in Memphis. The tape ends after a few minutes.


  • trail: Hollywood on the Harbour
  • Inland Revenue
  • Abbamania
  • Linda McCartney Mince
  • Mulan on video
  • Cafinesse
  • Fifa 2000
  • Carphone Warehouse
  • Ministry of Sound – The Annual
  • trail: Backchat
  • trail: Sydney Weekender
  • McDonalds – Tarzan
  • Snickers
  • The Royle Family on video
  • Doh Nutters
  • Boss
  • Now Dance 2000
  • Citroen Saxo
  • trail: Football
  • BMW
  • Benylin
  • Carling
  • BMW
  • The Muse in cinemas
  • Gap
  • Bacardi
  • John Smith’s
  • The Muse in cinemas
  • trail: Rising Sun
  • trail: Queen for a Night
  • Don’t Drink and Drive
  • DeLonghi Infinito
  • The Planet on Sunday
  • Carlsberg
  • Calvin Klein Contradiction
  • trail: Secrets of the Deep: The Mystery of the Lusitania


Jonathan Creek – French and Saunders Christmas Special – Millennium Movies – The Simpsons – tape 2496

Yet another Christmas tape, from 1999, and this one opens with Jonathan CreekMiracle in Crooked Lane. Nicholas Ball plays a photographer looking after an elderly woman.

She’s played by Dinah Sheridan.

Emma Kennedy plays a postie.

There’s a tabloid scandal involving Jacqui (Hetty Baynes), who has sold her story to the papers, which hasn’t made her popular in the village.

She’s married to Benjamin Whitrow.

Jonathan and Maddie almost have sex, but Jonathan is put off by Maddie eating a Curly Wurly in bed.

Jacqui was in the shed, sorting out the lawnmower, whilst smoking a fag, when there’s a horrible accident. She ends up in a coma in hospital.

Maddie persuades Jonathan to attend a mystery writer’s festival, where he gets to spend time with the Jonathan Creek Fan Club. All of them little clones of Jonathan.

But his biggest fan is Jeff, played by Tom Goodman Hill, who’s married to Emma Kennedy’s postie Christine. He arrives late to the event because he’s just come across a mind bending mystery.

The old lady who is staying with Nicholas Ball is recuperating from an operation. She goes to sit in the garden one evening, the first time she’s been out of her bedroom for some time. While she’s there, she sees Jacqui taking a walk. She’s heading to the church, possibly looking for some kind of forgiveness, and the two have a conversation. But the mystery is that this conversation took place in the evening, on the day that Jacqui had her horrible accident – at the time the conversation took place, Jacqui was already in a coma in hospital.

There’s some comedy to be had with Jonathan and Maddie staying the night with Christine and Jeff.

Jacqui’s husband has an interesting library. All the volumes on the shelves are bound copies of porn magazines.

The reveal of the solution to the mystery is clever, albeit an incredibly complex scheme to provide an alibi for a completely different murder.

But the big shock of the episode comes after, as Jonathan and Maddie actually do consummate their relationship, and immediately decide never to do it again. It’s probably a good thing to do, as I don’t think their personal relationship is the best thing of the show.

And there’s a code, following a weird running gag about people being sexually attracted to women in quicksand, Christine phones Jonathan and tells him he needs to come round immediately. He arrives to find her in a bath full of Scott’s Porage Oats.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 28th December 1999 – 21:00

After this, recording continues with some nice Millennium branding, and a trailer for Eastenders.

Then, we have French and Saunders Christmas Special, starting with a parody of The Phantom Menace. They have a lot of fun with this. Starting with Jennifer doing a Northern Irish Accent. “Hoi oir you?”

The alien designs for the Nemoidians are great.

Darth Sidious is played by John Inman. “Is that butch enough for you?”

The droids are made of various bits and pieces.

Dawn does Martine McCutcheon

Back to Star Wars and Stephen Frost plays Jar Jar Binks in a blue leotard, and with a little dog on his head. “Don’t look at me look at the dog. That’s the eyeline, the dog.”

Dawn French makes a good Amidala, and does a good impression of Natalie Portman. And they have a lot of fun with the makeup.

There’s a special guest as droid DB-321 – it’s Dusty Bin.

I didn’t know who this was supposed to be until the end of the sketch – it’s Melanie Chisolm.

These boarding school sketches are utterly heartbreaking.

Selina Cadell appears.

Back to the film, and Anadin Skywalker turns up, played by Wee Jimmy Krankie.

Dawn French’s Yoda makeup is amazing.

They’ve made sure the lightsabres look good.

Including Darth Maul’s double-edged staff.

They even do some Wire Fu

Great stuff.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 28th December 1999 – 21:50

After this, recording switches and it’s over to Sky Premier for Millennium Movies. Barry Norman introduces the rundown of the top 100 films of all time, as voted for by viewers.

His co-host is Richard Attenborough

There’s some famous faces in the audience, including Terry Gilliam talking about Life of Brian and Twelve Monkeys.

Steven Spielberg sends a video message, basically him saying how much he loves Richard Attenborough. Dicky is visibly moved.

Richard Dreyfuss talks about the making of Close Encounters, which consisted mostly of him staring up at nothing for weeks.

James Fox talks about working with David Lean.

Jack Lemmon talks about Some Like it Hot

There’s also a countdown of the top 20 British films.

Ben Kingsley talks about his role in Schindler’s List, and tells Attenborough that he owes basically all his success to being cast in Gandhi.

Kate Winslet is in the studio to talk about Titanic, right up there at number 2.

Before they announce the number one film, they acknowledge that the whole project was in aid of RADA, and Elizabeth Murdoch is there, as Sky Premier have donated £250,000 to help with the drama school’s reopening. She doesn’t look evil.

Number One is (not very surprisingly) Star Wars, and Anthony Daniels is in the studio to talk about appearing in all the movies.

George Lucas sends a message as he’s busy preparing for the premiere of The Phantom Menace – this is a repeat showing, as I presume the original showing must have been around May.

Here’s the full list of movies.

    1. Taxi Driver
    2. The Bridge on the River Kwai
    3. High Noon
    4. Reservoir Dogs
    5. A Bug’s Life
    6. Cinema Paradiso
    7. Spartacus
    8. The Graduate
    9. Sleepless in Seattle
    10. Shakespeare in Love
    11. The King and I
    12. The Exorcist
    13. The Rock
    14. Babe
    15. Gandhi
    16. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    17. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
    18. My Fair Lady
    19. The Godfather: Part II
    20. Léon: The Professional
    21. The Fifth Element
    22. Con Air
    23. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    24. Face/Off
    25. Se7en
    26. Die Hard
    27. The Magnificent Seven
    28. Highlander
    29. The Searchers
    30. The Deer Hunter
    31. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
    32. The Terminator
    33. Top Gun
    34. When Harry Met Sally…
    35. The Quiet Man
    36. The African Queen
    37. Brief Encounter
    38. The Lion King
    39. Armageddon
    40. West Side Story
    41. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    42. Alien
    43. The English Patient
    44. The Usual Suspects
    45. The Blues Brothers
    46. Four Weddings and a Funeral
    47. The Italian Job
    48. Dances with Wolves
    49. Men in Black
    50. Doctor Zhivago
    51. L.A. Confidential
    52. Scream
    53. 12 Monkeys
    54. Toy Story
    55. Goodfellas
    56. The Silence of the Lambs
    57. The Third Man
    58. Psycho
    59. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    60. Citizen Kane
    61. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
    62. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    63. Aliens
    64. Jaws
    65. Apocalypse Now
    66. Singin’ in the Rain
    67. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    68. Lawrence of Arabia
    69. Saving Private Ryan
    70. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    71. Forrest Gump
    72. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
    73. Back to the Future
    74. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
    75. The Wizard of Oz
    76. Trainspotting
    77. Independence Day
    78. Dirty Dancing
    79. The Great Escape
    80. Pretty Woman
    81. Ghost
    82. Ben-Hur
    83. Zulu
    84. Jurassic Park
    85. Some Like It Hot
    86. The Shawshank Redemption
    87. Braveheart
    88. Grease
    89. Pulp Fiction
    90. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    91. The Full Monty
    92. Schindler’s List
    93. Blade Runner
    94. The Sound of Music
    95. The Godfather
    96. It’s a Wonderful Life
    97. Casablanca
    98. Gone with the Wind
    99. Titanic
    100. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

After this, over to Sky One and their morning strand, Skyrocket.

Then, an episode of The SimpsonsTreehouse of Horror X. The first segment is “I know what you Diddly-iddly-did”. Marge runs over Ned Flanders in the fog.

They keep it secret, but someone knows what they did.

But Flanders is actually a werewolf.

The next segment is “Desperately Xeeking Xena”. Bart and Lisa get super powers.

There’s a guest appearance from Lucy Lawless as Xena.

She’s kidnapped by The Collector, aka Comic Book Guy. Who also has Doctor Who in his collection.

There’s another appearance of the double-edged lightsabre.

The final segment is “Life’s a Glitch, Then You Die”. It’s New Year’s Eve 1999, and Homer was responsible for fixing the Y2K bug on his workstation, and because he didn’t bother, every computer starts malfunctioning, and planes start falling from the sky.

The only option is to escape Earth for Mars.

Homer and Bart aren’t allowed on that spaceship, but they find another one. Unfortunately, that one is filled with people who weren’t deemed vital to the survival of the species, like Tom Arnold.

The next episode is Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment. St Patrick’s Day gets a bit out of hand.

The town revives a long dormant prohibition law. Homer becomes a bootlegger.

After this, recording continues with the start of an episode of Futurama. The tape ends during this.


  • Asda
  • BT – ET
  • Baileys
  • trail: Sunday Night on Sky
  • Fiat Punto
  • JMC
  • Learning Land
  • Persil Tablets
  • Cadbury’s Giant Buttons
  • Night Nurse
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
  • Mail on Sunday
  • trail: Shasta McNasty
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • Knorr Taste Breaks
  • That’s Life
  • Maltesers
  • Millennium Dome
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
  • Lockets
  • Mail on Sunday
  • Citroen Saxo
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Sliding Doors
  • Toyota Yaris
  • MFI
  • Tixylix
  • Sunday People
  • Open – the Digital TV/Internet thing
  • National Lottery Thunderball
  • KFC
  • Boots
  • Skittles
  • trail: Dream Team
  • trail: Enemy of the State
  • Ford Fiesta
  • B&Q
  • News of the World
  • B&Q
  • McDonalds
  • trail: Earth: Final Conflict

Doctor Who – tape 1642

A slightly older tape today, and it’s over to UK Gold for Doctor WhoThe Android Invasion, a rare non-dalek story from Terry Nation. Ginger Pop?

They’ve landed back on Earth, but aren’t sure quite where. But the first sign something is amiss is this group of strange astronaut people. Nothing good every comes from people in unmarked hazard suits.

Sure enough, they are not friendly, and rather wonderfully, they start shooting with finger guns. Literally, their fingers are guns. For a show aimed at kids, this is quite brilliant.

There’s an attempt to do a stunt with Sarah Jane rolling down a very shallow slope, then hanging off what I presume is supposed to be a sheer drop.

However, the stunt team is immediately redeemed when a man in a Unit uniform, walking strangely, walks right off the very same cliff, and it’s a nice stunt fall, shot in slow motion.

The man is dead, and in his pockets they find a lot of loose change – all newly minted coins, all the same year.

And there’s a strange pod nearby. The mysteries are mounting up.

They find a village, seemingly deserted. Sarah recognises it as Devesham, although I kept mishearing it as Evesham.

“Let’s try the pub” says the Doctor. I see they’re letting Tom write his own dialogue.

While they’re investigating the empty pub, some people arrive. A bunch of villagers arrive sitting on the back of a truck. They all come in to the pub, silently, take their places, then when the clock strikes, they all suddenly start acting perfectly normally, chatting and laughing.

Sarah tries to engage the landlord (who she’s met when she was covering a story there two years ago) in conversation, but he’s having none of it.

Leaving the pub, she sees one of the astronaut people, who turns round and we see under their visor. It’s a robot.

The Doctor heads to the Space Defence Station – looks like a combination of a real location and a model satellite dish.

Sarah escapes the robots, goes back to the Tardis, but when she puts the key into the door, it dematerialises.

She’s also attacked by someone who was in one of the strange pods.

The Doctor finds the Brigadier’s office in the Space Centre, but he’s not there. Instead, there’s Guy Crayford, who is clearly something to do with the whole mystery. He’s played by Milton Johns, the kind of actor you recognise but can never remember where from. This is actually his second out of three different roles in Doctor Who.

The Doctor escapes, but is captured by the astronaut robots. “Is that finger loaded?”

Sarah frees the Doctor, and as they’re leaving the base, they find a familiar face. But not a friendly one.

Even Harry Sullivan is there. I must admit, I was a bit excited by his appearance here.

When Sarah trips and hurts her leg (oh dear, really?) The Doctor helps her hide in a tree while he draws the pursuers away.

Oh no, he’s sacrificed his scarf.

Sarah is captured now. And it’s rather disturbing that it’s Harry who’s doing the ‘processing’ on her.

The Doctor’s very good at darts.

Whatever’s happening here is being controlled by some aliens called Kraals.

Even the pub calendar is strange.

Sarah phones the Doctor and asks him to meet her at the local shop. She tells him she’d been captured. He offers her some Ginger Pop, which she drinks with relish, a lovely, small detail, because right at the start of the story she’d told him she can’t stand the stuff. She says that they’ve been replacing people with android duplicates.

The Doctor and Sarah go back to the Tardis. When they get there, the Tardis is gone, as we saw earlier, but Sarah doesn’t know why. The Doctor tells her that the real Sarah must have put the key in the door, which cancelled the pause control, and the Tardis continued on its journey to Earth. Because they’re not on Earth, and everything around them is fake, including, obviously, this Sarah.

We get the obligatory shot of the android Sarah’s face falling off.

Back at the village, the Doctor is again capture by the Kraals, and tied up in the village square. They set a bomb going which will destroy the simulated village. Oh fab, a Terry Nation countdown.

Sarah unties the Doctor and they get back to the Kraals’ base before the village is destroyed. But they’re captured again. Guy Crayford tells them that he’s returning to Earth. He was an astronaut who was lost two years ago on a space mission, so he feels he was abandoned by Earth, and is helping the Kraals invade. But don’t worry, they only want to live in the Northern Hemisphere, so all the humans can just relocate. (Aside: That’s not their plan, and they’re going to kill everybody.)

The Doctor is captured again, and the Kraals want to upload his knowledge. They also explain their entire plan, which is to unleash a virus that will kill all humans. Of course it’s a virus. Of course.

Sarah once again frees the Doctor, and they have to escape by rocket to stop the Kraal invasion plan.

Is Crayford’s spacesuit the same one as from The Ambassadors of Death? I guess that would make sense.

It’s a shame, after the establishing shot of the rocket they’re escaping in, that they go and use stock Nasa footage of an Apollo Saturn V rocket.

While The Doctor and Sarah are heading for Earth, we go to the real Space Centre. It’s nice to see not only a woman, but a woman of colour on the Space Centre staff. Doctor Who was trying to do diversity even in the seventies.

We also get to see the real Sgt Benton and Harry Sullivan. I was worried that all we’d see of them would be their evil counterparts. This was both their final appearances in the show, so that would have been a real shame.

There’s a rather large Brigadier-shaped hole here as, apparently, Nicholas Courtney wasn’t available, so they’ve got a new character to play the commanding role, Colonel Faraday.

After getting split up when they land on Earth, the Doctor and Sarah are reunited – except this time it’s a duplicate Doctor, and he’s got a duplicate Sarah too.

Poor Benton doesn’t stay conscious for long, as the replacement androids start their plan.

The Doctor is faced with his own duplicate (probably stuntman Terry Walsh in a frizzy wig).

To escape, he rather magnificently just jumps through a window.

Doctor and Android Doctor face off in the scanner room as the real Doctor tries to realign the antenna to disrupt the androids. Crayford is there, and he doesn’t believe that the Kraals would kill humanity, not after what they did for him, restoring him except for his eye, which they couldn’t find. But the Doctor tells him to look under the eyepatch and he learns that they hadn’t done anything to restore him because he’d simply been kidnapped and brainwashed. I love the idea that Crayford hadn’t thought to take off the eyepatch at any point in the last two years.

It’s Doctor vs Doctor, although it looks like the Doctor’s squaring up against John Nathan Turner.

The Doctor manages to engage the Radar power, and all the androids freeze. I’m a bit sorry they don’t all do the robot dance a bit before they stop.

But there’s still the Kraals and their virus. But Crayford finally finds a spine, and helped by the Doctor he kills the Kraal.

This was a lot of fun. The mystery at the start was maintained for quite a long time, and who doesn’t love evil duplicates. And in a great bit of possibly unintentional irony, the only eyepatch in the whole story was worn by the one person who hadn’t been duplicated. Was that an inside joke, I wonder.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of the animated Pink Panther show. And I noticed that the drum riff that opens it is almost identical to the one that opens the theme song for The Young Ones. Not quite identical but incredibly close.

The tape ends during this.


  • Peugeot 106 – Julie Graham
  • Hotpoint
  • Post Office
  • Sensodyne F
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Commercial Union
  • Twirl – Rhona Cameron
  • DHL
  • Pontin’s
  • Fairy Non Bio
  • Ultra Lenor
  • Crest
  • Panadol Ultra
  • Multi Cheerios – Michael Fenton Stevens
  • Quavers
  • Natrel Plus
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Nestle Clusters
  • Iced Gems
  • Sun Valley
  • Vidal Sassoon
  • Telemillion – Roy Chubby Brown
  • Post Office
  • Batchelors Super Noodles
  • Orbit/Extra
  • Horlicks
  • Aspro
  • Persil
  • Veno’s
  • San Marco
  • Ariston at Comet
  • trail: Ivanhoe
  • trail: Harry and Son
  • Goldtext
  • trail: UB40 Labour of Love

Behind The Camera – Doctor Zhivago – tape 2462

This tape is from New Year’s Eve 1999, opening with a trailer for Natural History Night.

Then, Behind The CameraFreddie Young. A short documentary about cinematographer Freddie Young. It includes contributions from John Box, who worked with him on Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.

Director Alan Parker.

He talks about how he started, turning up at British Gaumont studios at a ridiculously young age. The studio was opposite the swimming baths he used to swim at, so one day he went over, knocked on the door and asked for a job. Asked what he was interested in, he said ‘Photography’ and the man said he could work in the processing and printing department. And he started the next day.

I always get Freddie Francis and Freddie Young confused.

Jack Cardiff worked with Powell and Pressburger.

Gaffer Mo Gillett talks about Young’s ambition to make British crews the best in the world.

Anthony Minghella talks about his admiration for the work Young did on Lawrence of Arabia, having also shot in the desert for The English Patient. I’ve no idea how they managed to cut off the caption on this. Very shoddy.

Guy Ritchie remembers Zhivago from when he was ‘a wee lad’.

Last word goes to David Puttnam, calling Young “A beautiful man”.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 31st December 1999 – 13:40

After this, there’s a trailer for Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

Then, there’s a movie, David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago. I’ve already looked at this on another tape, though.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 31st December 1999 – 14:00

After this, there’s a trailer for Nineties Night. Plus some science fiction for Sunday.

The tape ends here.

The Innocents – Hooves of Fire – The Simpsons – tape 2548

First on this tape, another from Christmas 1999, we’re going to Channel 4 and The Innocents, a film based on the Henry James story The Turn of the Screw. I know it has a reputation, but until now I’ve never watched it. I notice that John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole of the Bailey, has a credit for ‘Additional Scenes and dialogue’.

Deborah Kerr is interviewing for the job of governess to two children.

The man hiring her is the children’s uncle, and he seems rather disconnected. He tells her that if she’s hired, she will have total responsibility for the children, and is not to trouble him with anything. He’s played by Michael Redgrave. He tells her that the only other governess the children have had died.

She first meets Flora, who seems delightful, and has a pet tortoise. She’s played by Pamela Franklin.

The housekeeper, Mrs Grose, seems cheerful enough. She’s played by Megs Jenkins, and reminds me a little of Patsie Byrne as Nursie in Blackadder II.

The brother, Miles, is unexpectedly expelled from his boarding school, and yet Flora seemed to know he would be returning. The headmaster describes him as ‘an injury to the other children’ and yet he seems just as lovely as Flora when Miss Giddens meets him.

She thinks she sees a man up on the roof of the house, but when she goes to investigate, only young Miles is there.

She also sees a man through the window, and finds a picture of the same man in the attic. Mrs Grose tells her that the man was the Uncle’s valet, Peter Quint. But it couldn’t have been him because he was dead.

She also see the dead governess, Miss Jessel, who was in love with Quint. She becomes convinced that Flora and Miles have been possessed by Quint and Jessel.

She sends Flora away, and tries to find out why Miles is behaving strangely. Which leads to a dramatic reckoning and an ending I didn’t expect.

It’s a beautiful film, with loads of atmosphere. My only problem with it is one I have with a lot of ghost stories. The stakes are never clear, the ability of any ghosts to affect the characters isn’t clear, and how Giddens might resolve the plot also isn’t clear. Which does mean that the ending, although terribly dramatic, feels like it comes out of nowhere. But I realise this might just be my problem.

After this, recording switches to BBC One, with the end of a wildlife programme, Salt Water Moose.

There’s a trailer for a CBBC show The Ghost Hunter.

Then, a complete change of pace with Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire. It’s not an Aardman production, although it’s directed by Richard Goleszowski, who also directed Shaun the Sheep.

The voice cast is pretty starry. Ardal O’Hanlon voices Robbie, and the cast also includes Steve Coogan, Paul Whitehouse, Jane Horrocks and Caroline Quentin.

Ricky Tomlinson voices Santa, with Jean Alexander voicing Mrs Santa.

There’s one joke in this that made me laugh out loud. Santa throws a party, and the music in the background is ‘Crazy’ by Seal. Then they cut to who is singing. This is a good joke.

Harry Enfield plays Old Jingle.

It’s no Wallace and Gromit. But that feels like an unfair comparison, since very little could match up to Wallace and Gromit.

But there’s a strange extra feature – Robbie Williams (who is the narrator of the programme, although he only has about six lines at the start) singing ‘Come Fly With Me’ interspersed with clips from the show. It looks like a shameless plug for his ‘swing’ phase to me.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 27th December 1999 – 12:00

After this, over to Sky One for The SimpsonsWhen You Dish Upon a Star. We’ve looked at this one before on an earlier tape. It contains the now famous prediction about the future of 20th Century Fox.

After this, there’s another episode, Take My Wife, Sleaze.

In a callback to our recent look at American Graffiti, there’s a new Fifties throwback cafe, hosted by someone suspiciously like Wolfman Jack.

There’s some blink and you’ll miss them jokes on the walls.

Homer wins a bike and forms a biker gang called Hell’s Satans.

But another real gang with the same name don’t like him appropriating it. John Goodman does a guest voice.

There’s a guest appearance from a band called NRBQ. I have never heard of them, but they’re famous enough to appear in their human forms in the end titles.

Henry Winkler also does a gang voice.

After this, there’s an episode of Life’s a Beach. I did not watch it.

In the ad breaks, there’s a trailer for a thriller called Double Jeopardy. There’s one brief shot of Tommy Lee Jones running towards the camera that I swear is a stuntman with Jones’ face photoshopped on top.


  • trail: Magic Night
  • Renault Clio
  • PC World
  • Nizoral
  • Sony Wega
  • Gaviscon
  • MSN
  • House of Fraser Sale
  • Currys
  • Renault Clio
  • Renault Megane
  • Bacardi
  • MSN
  • Shreddies
  • Debenhams
  • National Lottery
  • Budweiser – Chameleons
  • Renault Megane
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • Pantene
  • Maths Year 2000
  • National Geographic Channel
  • Le Crunch
  • Double Jeopardy in cinemas
  • VW Passat – Nick Broomfield
  • Sky Digital
  • trail: Rocketman
  • Maybelline
  • Cheerios
  • Zovirax
  • Having Babies
  • Burger King
  • Haze
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • trail: Thursday On Sky
  • trail: Earth: Final Conflict
  • Le Crunch
  • Club Mix 2000
  • Weightwatchers
  • Double Jeopardy in cinemas
  • Wrigley’s Extra
  • Olivio
  • McDonalds
  • AOL
  • McVities Free Maths Stuff for Schools
  • trail: Football
  • trail: Boxing – Mike Tyson
  • Land Rover Freelander
  • UK Gold
  • Double Jeopardy in cinemas
  • Vision Express
  • trail: Shasta McNasty
  • trail: Prickly Heat
  • McDonalds
  • Colgate Total
  • Vauxhall Astra – Griff Rhys Jones
  • Granada Plus
  • Flora
  • Red Bull
  • Ice White
  • Colgate Total
  • trail: Football