Month: September 2022

Operatunity – dvd 437

On this disc, the final episode of Operatunity, the reality show where ordinary people train to sing major roles in an Opera. I’m sure, since I last looked at one of the earlier episodes, you’ve been waiting with bated breath to see how it pans out.

This episode is introduced by resident Channel 4 Musicologist Howard Goodall.

The two finalists are Jane Gilchrist

And Denise Leigh.

Denise is blind, which will make performing on stage quite difficult. She uses assistive technology to help her read a musical score. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be.

They rehearse with the other performers in the production.

As the performance approaches Jane develops a bad sore throat. She visits a specialist. “Now that’s really disgusting.” She has to completely rest her voice for a week.

As a result, she can’t sing at the first orchestra rehearsal, leaving Denise to face that alone.

Jane recovers in time to attend the final rehearsals, but then, right before the performance, Denise develops a sore throat. They have a specialist in attendance, and she hopes it won’t affect her performance.

Jane sings the first part of the performance. She sounds like a professional singer to me.

Her children look very excited .

Denise does sing the second half, and sounds great to me.

I have to say, from this listening, Rigoletto isn’t going to become a favourite. In the parts they show here, there’s only one famous song, and it ends with Gilda, the character played by Jane and Denise, being murdered by an assassin who was being paid to murder someone else by her father, Rigoletto. Poor Denise has to spend a large part of the final scene lying in a mailbag.

I assume this is one of her daughters, who is getting quite caught up in it.

But at the end, their standing ovation is thoroughly deserved. The original plan for the programme was to have the winner sing a small part in the production, but obviously, as the programme went on, and they found they had two performers who could handle a major role, they changed the nature of the end, and both of them had the opportunity to do something amazing. If the opera didn’t really move me, the ending of this programme certainly did.


  • Olay Total Effects
  • Vodafone
  • Toyota Avensis
  • trail: Cutting Edge: Girls Alone
  • VW Passat
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • Learndirect
  • Totally London
  • The Pianist in cinemas
  • Olay Complete Care
  • Renault Espace
  • Apple – Verne Troyer
  • Chicago in cinemas
  • L’Oreal Elvive For Men
  • Boots Opticians
  • Evening Standard
  • Ford Fusion
  • trail: The Green Mile
  • trail: The Last Peasants: Journeys
  • trail: Lionheart – The Crusade
  • trail: Easy Rider
  • Splenda
  • McCain Home Fries
  • Finish
  • Norwich Union
  • Persil Aloe Vera
  • Eurostar – Mark Gatiss
  • Learndirect
  • Goldfish
  • Bupa
  • trail: The Sopranos
  • trail: The Green Mile

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Have I Got News For You – dvd 436

Yes, it’s more Buffy, but this is from the BBC 2 run, so we’re back in season 6. This episode is Flooded and it’s early in the season so maybe it won’t be too traumatic.

Nope, no chance of that, as the ‘Previously On’ starts with recaps of Buffy finding Joyce dead, and the climax of Season 5, both of which set me off.

And one of the central themes of this season. Everyone assumes Buffy was suffering in a hell dimension before they brought her back to life. Spike is the only person she confides in. “Wherever I was… I was happy. I think I was in heaven. I was torn out of there by my friends. Everything here is hard… and violent. This is hell.”

The episode opens with Buffy facing a true threat – a dripping pipe. And in one of those lovely coincidences this blog throws at me regularly, we had a leak just the other day when we noticed water dripping from the light fitting in the kitchen, so basically the trauma continues. At least it wasn’t as bad as Buffy’s plumbing, which was probably installed by a demon.

Adding to the angst, the gang have to tell Buffy that she’s pretty much broke. Anya suggests she should charge for her slaying.

Anya and Xander are engaged, but he doesn’t want to tell everyone yet, and Anya is not happy about it. In retrospect, all the signs were there.

Buffy goes to the bank to ask for a loan. But her only security, the house, has been losing value. “For some reason, Sunnydale property values have never been competitive”

But her loan application is interrupted by a demon attacking the bank. As Buffy is fighting it, someone is stealing money from the tills. And even after saving everyone from the demon, they still denied her loan.

Back at the magic shop, research goes on to find out why a demon would want to rob a bank. Then there’s an unexpected visitor. Anthony Stewart Head isn’t a regular in this season, so he’s not in every episode, and at the start of the season he went back to England, so he hasn’t seen Buffy since she was resurrected, I think this season makes very good use of his absences to make his returns all the more emotional (or occasionally, thrilling).

The Bank Robbing Monster has found someone. “We had a deal. You got what you wanted. Now give me what I want, the head of the Slayer.”

And who is the mastermind who sent him on his robbing spree? These guys.

That’s Jonathan, who’s been a recurring character from Season 2 (and actor Danny Strong was actually in the original pilot too). With him is Warren, who built a sex robot that went a bit mad (and which Spike got him to repurpose as a Buffy-shaped sex robot).

The third member of the Trio (as I think they’ll be called) is Andrew, played wonderfully by Tom Lenk, who we’ve seen recently in the season 7 episodes (so you know he has a redemption arc, at least). His brother was the person who trained some devil dogs to attack the school prom. Andrew himself, as he reminds the other two, released flying monkeys to attack the school production of Romeo and Juliet.

The Trio have their mission plan.

But the monster wants to kill the Slayer. Jonathan and Andrew don’t want that, but Warren has no compunction, and hands the monster Buffy’s address.

Giles talks to Willow about the spell she used to revive Buffy. He thinks she shouldn’t have done it and was very lucky not to doom the whole world.

Willow is upset that Giles isn’t happier about it. There’s a moment where she goes a bit steely. “You’re right. The magics I used are very powerful. I’m very powerful, and maybe it’s not such a good idea for you to piss me off.”

Spike is definitely into his Buffy infatuation. “Why are you always around when I’m miserable?”

The Bank Robber Monster turns up at Buffy’s house, and there’s a big fight ending in the flooded basement, and leaving them with even more broken stuff and presumably, bills.

The Trio, on the other hand, are delighted with the success of their first venture. They’ve even added ‘Hypnotize Buffy’ as a new goal.

The show ends with Buffy receiving a telephone call. Angel has found out she’s alive, and he has to see her. And she has to see him. This was an odd time for the two shows, as they were on different networks, so I think there was some restriction on the actors crossing over. So any cross-series references were limited to phone calls and off-screen meetings. This always seemed odd to me, as the amount of publicity crossovers gives them should surely have been a benefit for everyone. I think TV executives aren’t always the smartest people.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd November 2002 – 00:35

After this, there’s a trailer for Great Britons: The Greatest Of Them All.

The next recording is another episode of Have I Got News For You. This is only the second episode after Angus Deayton left, and after Paul Merton hosted the previous week, the first one with a true guest host, and the honour goes to Anne Robinson. Who immediately drops into Weakest Link mode. “My name is Anne Robinson and I’m in charge this week, even though I haven’t actually watched this program since 1995. And here’s why.”

They show a clip of Paul making fun of her winking on Points of View.

“Still, no hard feelings, let’s have a look at the scores so far.” This becomes a running gag, as later, Ian ribs her for working for Robert Maxwell so she then gives Paul extra points.

On Ian’s team, writer John O’Farrell

On Paul’s team, journalist John Simpson.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 8th November 2002 – 21:30

Here’s the TiVo details

Making Matrix Reloaded – Final Flight of the Osiris – 24 – Have I Got News For You – dvd 457

The first programme on today’s disc is a rare recording from Channel Five, a documentary, Decoded: Making The Matrix Reloaded. It looks to me like a standard making of, probably part of an Electronic Press Kit, edited together with specially shot interviews with ‘cultural commentators’. It’s clear that the ones shot specifically for this programme (i.e. the UK interviewees) haven’t seen the new film, as it’s only just coming out, so they are mostly talking about the first film, and its cultural and cinematic impact.

And then there’s Professor Kevin Warwick, who used to be a perpetual talking head on technology shows. He’s the man who had a small chip embedded in his arm, and claimed that made him a cyborg. He says, of the film, “For me, the Matrix far surpasses anything else in terms of a realistic view of the future as far as science fiction’s concerned.” He also says he’s “Anti Neo” as he can’t seem to wait to live in the Matrix.” He is a monster.

Kodwo Eshun (brother of Ekow) presents a more ‘Late Show Review’ style of critique.

Superfan Annaliese Freeman represents the audience here. “Matrix Masters Student” presumably means it was the subject of her Masters thesis.

I think the rest of the interviews will have come from the EPK stuff, so most of the principals are present. Keanu, obviously.

Hugo Weaving

Production Designer Owen Paterson

Hugh Bateup, Art Director

Laurence Fishburne

Producer Joel Silver

Carrie Anne Moss

Newcomer to the franchise Jada Pinkett Smith

Harold Perrineau

The Rayment Twins, who played the Twin Ghosts.

Monica Bellucci

There’s even the briefest of glimpses of The Wachowskis, famously reluctant to do any publicity. “We like Kung Fu movies, Japanimation, John Woo movies, books that are science fiction, about the nature of reality.” No real exclusives there.

Comic Book artist Geof Darrow did some concept art for the film. He talks about his sense of pride at a scene where the Nebuchadnezzer arrives at Zion. “As soon as they open the doors, all of a sudden it’s all this stuff that I drew.”

The next programme is one of the animated shorts from The Animatrix – The Final Flight of the Osiris. It’s a bit 2000s cutscene.

Next, back to regular telly, and over to BBC Three for an episode of 247-8pm. This is season 2, but earlier than the recent episodes we’ve seen. It’s pretty much halfway through the season, just after Kim was menaced by a mountain lion. I sometimes think the Kim stories were the writers taking the piss.

Jack has just missed picking up Syed Ali, part of a group plotting to set off a nuclear bomb in LA. Daniel Dae Kim plays another FBI agent called Tom Baker!

Jack finds a hidden trapdoor in the mosque, and manages to capture Ali. He has to rather painfully remove his fake cyanide tooth.

George Mason is interviewing the father of Kate and Marie Warner. They now know that Kate’s sister Marie was working alongside Syed Ali, and has killed some people on Syed’s orders.

President Palmer is watching the torture of Roger Stanton, former NSA Director.

Kim is out in the middle of nowhere, and has been caught in a snare. A random man finds her. He’s carrying a rifle, and offers her refuge in his house. I wonder if he’s going to be friends with her.

They discover a phone number called by Ali is Marie Warner’s cellphone. Jack gets Kate to call her sister to find out if she really did kill some people. It’s looking like she did. Kate can’t believe it, saying she must be being coerced.

Jack, finding that physical torture isn’t getting results, ups the ante by threatening to kill Ali’s family if he won’t talk.

President Palmer calls Jack and orders him not to do this. But Jack ignores the order and continues questioning Ali.

Press Secretary Lynne Kresge talks to Chief of Staff Mike Novick, who tells her that evil NSA director Roger Stanton was in communication with Sherry Palmer over the last six months. She has a source with information about Sherry, who she’s going to meet soon.

Jack isn’t getting anything out of Ali, so he gives the order for his oldest son to be killed.

Lynne goes to her meeting, but instead of her source, it’s Sherry Palmer who meets her. She tells her that Stanton was way more involved in the bomb plot than she knows, and the plot goes deeper, with the ultimate goal of taking over the presidency.

Jack’s tactic works, and Ali tells him that the bomb is at Norton Airfield. They’re putting it on a plane to fly over downtown LA to detonate it. CTU get all the info and prepare to go there.

And now they’ve got the information from Ali, Jack checks with the satellite feed to his family. The older son is still alive. The killing was faked.

Marie Warner arrives at the airfield with a component for the bomb. Somehow, I imagine that a real nuclear bomb wouldn’t be quite as shiny, or have quite as many LEDs. I suspect this is a shoddy bomb casing filled with old pinball machine parts.

BBC Genome: BBC Three – 11th May 2003 – 23:25

The last recording here is Have I Got News For You.

Guest Host is Charlotte Church.

On Paul’s team is Jennie Bond.

On Ian’s team is Jimmy Carr.

If you’re wondering why the guests were announced in the wrong order (usually Ian’s guest is first) it’s because they do a gag with Jimmy Carr about his TV show. Not sure which one, but it involves comparing the attractiveness of two people.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th May 2003 – 21:30

After this, there’s an advert for how to get the new BBC Digital channels.

And a trailer for Voices, on BBC Local Radio.


  • Walkers Shots
  • X-Men 2 in cinemas
  • Argos – Richard E Grant
  • WKD
  • Linkin Park – Meteora
  • Iceland
  • Think! Bike
  • Alton Towers Air
  • Lynx Dry
  • Ford Fiesta Zetec
  • trail: Angel
  • trail: The Curse of Big Brother

Coupling – The Office – Enterprise – dvd 97

For once, the discs are in the right order, and at least two of these episodes follow straight on from yesterday’s disc.

First, CouplingUnconditional Sex. The ‘Previously On’ is surprisingly long, over three minutes.

Jane pops into the bar. She’s been having trouble parking, particularly the reversing. “You spent 20 minutes reversing into a parking space?” “So far.”

Wilma offers Jeff Unconditional Sex. Steve: “It’s the unthinkable. It’s Satan with breasts.”

Wilma: “How can you possibly say no to a night of unconditional sex?” Susan: “Tell him, Steve. Tell him how.” Steve (after much pausing) “Jeff, no! It could be a trick.”

Jane comes back in from the parking. After a while someone asks. “Where is Patrick?”  Jane: “He’s standing behind my car, “guiding it in”. I don’t know how he expects that to work.” She looks at her keys. “Oh, now I get it!”

Enter Patrick, soaked, accompanied by a policeman. “Jane, could you please explain to this gentleman why I’ve been standing in the rain behind an empty car, shouting, ‘Park, you stupid bitch!'”. “Sorry, Officer, I forgot he can’t park on his own.”

Thanks to confusion from Jeff’s advisory council (mainly Jane actually) Jeff has told Wilma that his girlfriend is dead, so she’s backing off. But she gives him a lift home, then says she needs to use the toilet. More farce ensues as Jeff has to hide a picture of Julia. Wilma goes to the toilet, and Jeff listens to a message on his phone. It’s Julia saying she’s cancelled her trip as her flu is getting worse. “Can I crash at your place? It’s closer. See you shortly.” Now he has a time limit.

But he doesn’t realise that Julia is already there, asleep in the bed, and Wilma, walking out of the bathroom, notices her feet sticking out from the bottom the bed, and freaks out. To add to the comedy, Jeff hasn’t noticed them.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th October 2002 – 21:30

Next, it’s The Office – Appraisals. “When IS the charity wank-athon?”

It’s time for appraisals. “We’re not trying to find out who the WORST people are.”  “We know who they are already. I’ve written them on my form.”

Brent tells Tim that going back to university is a waste of time for someone in his 30s. He’s so inspirational.

Dawn tells him about her aspirations to be a children’s illustrator. “Keep up the doodling…always, you know? Pipe dreams are good.”

There’s a fire drill, and Brent and Gareth take charge of a woman in a wheelchair. But halfway down the stairs they give up and leave her. “This isn’t worth it. In a real situation, we’d take her, but this is a drill.”

“Under weaknesses you put ‘eczema'”

Brent talks to the Swindon intake, and discovers that they prefer Neil to him. He takes them out to the pub so they can see how funny he is. The casual way he just wheels the woman in the wheelchair out to get to his chair is a nice, horrible bit of comedy.

The lunch is a bust for Brent and he returns to the office, to find Neil and the others having fun. He’s not happy about that. “Want to be popular, as the new boss? “Love me!” Pathetic!”

So Neil has to have a word with him. Neil: “Don’t speak to me like that in front of staff. Like a kid.” Brent: “Young at heart.”

Brent, of course, assures his people that he had the upper hand.

Gareth asks out the new girl, but she’s already got a date with Tim. Gareth is particularly revolting here. “I don’t usually do sloppy seconds.”

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th October 2002 – 22:00

The last recording on this disc is EnterpriseShuttlepod One. Malcolm and Trip are returning to Enterprise after an away mission. Enterprise was mapping an asteroid field, and they’re a few days early for the rendezvous. They spot some debris on one of the asteroids, and it looks like it might be Enterprise.

Back on the Enterprise, which hasn’t crashed, an alien ship had suffered some catastrophic damage from an unknown source, and had taken out one of their launch bay doors.

On the shuttle, they too have been almost totally disabled by being hit by something unknown. So Trip is trying to repair the comms so they can communicate and possibly call for help. They can maybe survive on the shuttle for a couple of weeks.

Malcolm is leaving a log entry for posterity, as he’s convinced they’ll never be rescued in time. Trip is getting annoyed at his pessimism.

After arguing again with Trip, when he’s dictating a letter to his family while Trip is trying to sleep, Malcolm goes to sleep, and wakes up back on the Enterprise. He doesn’t even find it odd when T-Pol starts coming on to him. “Mol-Kom is the Vulcan word for serenity”. But obviously it’s a dream.

When he wakes up, Trip has repaired the radio, but they still can’t hear anything. Then the ship is hit again, and starts leaking air. They find two leaks, where whatever hit them entered and exited the pod, but they need to seal them. So as a temporary measure, Malcolm uses Trip’s mashed potato.

As time goes on and things grow cold, they drink some bourbon to help keep warm. A drunk Malcolm starts talking about how much he fancies T’Pol. “She’s got an awfully nice bum.”

They’re down to less than a day of air when they get a message from Enterprise. Initially they’re overjoyed, but the message says they’ll rendezvous in two days, and they don’t have enough air to last. Malcolm suggests jettisoning the Impulse drive and blowing it up to attract their attention. Trip, as an engineer, ins unwilling to blow up their only engine. But eventually he agrees.


Malcolm and Trip argue again when Trip decides to get into the airlock and flush it, to give Malcolm double the time for Enterprise to arrive.

But they do both get rescued. Only Malcolm’s a bit sad that T’Pol isn’t in love with him really.

Here’s the TiVo details. This was recorded on Sunday 6th October 2002.


  • Citroen C3
  • United Airlines
  • The Princess Diaries on DVD
  • Orange
  • Nestle double cream
  • Pringles
  • GE
  • Guinness
  • Eurostar – Mark Gatiss
  • United Airlines
  • VW Passat
  • Onimusha 2
  • Freeserve
  • trail: 8mm
  • trail: Britain’s Favourite Hoaxer
  • Film Four
  • American Airlines
  • Learndirect
  • trail: White Teeth
  • trail: World Rally Championship

Coupling – The Office – Friends – The League of Gentlemen – dvd 96

After three days of demons, monsters and slaying, let’s take a breather with a disc full of comedy.

First on this disc is CouplingFaithless. Both Jeff and Jane are obsessing about an encounter which starts with saying ‘Hi’. Jeff said Hi to a woman in the stationery cupboard.

Jeff: “She took a large stapler from one of the shelves…” Patrick: “A LARGE stapler? Sorry, it’s hard to tell which part of the story’s meant to be interesting.”

Jeff has a history with the woman, Wilma Lettings. “Once, about a year ago, I was photocopying some of the ’96-’97 correspondence, just casually, and, in the course of events, my head became trapped.” Steve: “There’s only so much you can cover with “in the course of events”. Jeff: “That’s not the point. The point is, the new and terrifying location of my arse! My arse is now staring Wilma Lettings in the face!”

“So, what with all the laughter, I refused to come out from the photocopier.”


“Nobody knew it was ME! And they’d all be gone by six o’clock! I just had to stay in there for 40 minutes and there was a chance that I could walk in next morning and, for once in my life, avoid total humiliation.”

“I made one tiny mistake. 500 A4 photocopies of my face.”

Jane, meanwhile meets James in another stationery cupboard.


Jane: “So what do you do at the radio station?” James: “I present the religious programme. The Modern Christian. I take it you’re not one of our listeners.” Jane: “No. I have a television.”

Jeff has inadvertently made a date with Wilma Lettings, because he’s Jeff. Despite his current girlfriend being both of their boss. Wilma, as you might notice, is played by Emilia Fox.

Jane, meanwhile, has gone to James’ religious discussion group.

It doesn’t go well. When one of them confesses that he finds it difficult to find God’s love in his life, Jane offers to help. “Well, Andrew, there’s something I’d probably better explain. God is just a made-up person. You can’t expect him to answer your prayers if he’s not real, can you? It’s like writing to the characters of a soap opera and expecting a reply, Mr Silly Sausage!”

Jeff is on his date, and to help him, he’s got an earpiece going to his phone, and Steve and Patrick are on the phone to give him advice. Susan and Sally are there to lend the woman’s perspective.

Susan: “This is ridiculous! Why does he need us to translate? Women aren’t a different species!
Patrick (to Jeff): “Jeff, women AREN’T a different species!”
Steve: “He just needs to find out if it’s a friendly drink or a date drink. He’ll do friendly, he won’t do date.”
Sally: “Why doesn’t he know already?”
Steve: “Because he is Jeff. There is no known cure.”

Jane’s discussion group didn’t go well. Jane: “So, is it always like that?” James: “Actually, that was quite lively. The punch was, I believe, unprecedented.”

Jane: “And this…pre-marital thing…” James: “Sorry. I want to remain a virgin till my wedding night.” Jane: “Do you have to start now?”

Back to Jeff’s date/not date, and it’s getting serious.

Wilma: “Before we get any further, it’s cards on the table time. I fancy you like mad and I think you fancy me. Am I right?”
Susan: “Need any help translating that one?”
Sally: “These are my ovaries.”
Susan: “Please come inside.”
Patrick: “Careful, Jeff, she’s packing ovaries.”

Julia: “Is that Jeff? I’ve been trying to phone, it’s constantly engaged. May I?”
Steve: “Oh, look, everyone, it’s Julia, who’s now taking the PHONE!”

Then Julia and Wilma both ask Jeff a question. Julia: “Jeff? DO you love me?” Wilma: “It’s a simple enough question. Do you fancy me?” Jeff: “Yes. Yes. Of course I do.”

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th September 2002 – 21:30

The next recording is the first episode of season two of The Office.

I’ll share the subtitles from the opening.

# Ma-na-ma-na, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Ma-na, ma-na, doo-doo, doo-doo
# Ma-na-ma-na, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo,
doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Ma-na-ma-na, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Ma-na, ma-na, doo-doo, doo-doo
# Ma-na-ma-na, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Doo-doo-doo,
doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Ma-na-na-na, ma-ma-na, na-na,
# Ma-na-ma-na
# Doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Ma-na-ma-na
# Doo-doo, doo-doo
# Ma-na-ma-na
# Doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
# Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo,
doo-doo-dle, doo-doo,
doo-doo, doo-doo-doo #

(my latest application I’ve written to save me time writing this blog, because I’m lazy, is an app that lets me download subtitle files from a couple of streaming sites, so don’t be surprised if I’m a bit freer with quotes in some of the programmes I look at.)

Tim is assessing his life, as he’s 30 now, and he’s Senior Sales Rep. He’s taking life more seriously.

Gareth is still getting on his nerves. Gareth is now a Team Leader. “Team leader beats senior sales rep.” “It doesn’t.”

Tim and Dawn aren’t quite the team they were since Tim’s promotion. Dawn: “You haven’t visited for ages.” Tim: “Oh, yeah. I’m busy now. Sort of a bit snowed under.”

The main action of the episode is that the Swindon and Slough branches have been merged, meaning there’s a lot of new faces joining. And David Brent’s opposite number at Swindon, Neil, has been promoted to be Brent’s boss, something which you can tell is killing him.

Brent is looking forward to giving a speech to the new intake from Swindon. But of course he torpedoes himself right from the start, after Neil introduces him with a joke. “He’s looking forward to having a new group of men below him.” So Brent improvises his opener. “You know he was saying about me being at the top of a pile of men? Saying I’m gay. Right, I’m not gay. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve never come over a little queer.” Complete with a hand gesture. It only gets worse from there, to the extent that he ends up doing Harry Enfield impressions.

Tim is definitely taking his promotion seriously, and as a result being very officious to Dawn. As the office is enjoying drinks as they’re all mingling, he says “Dawn, you’ve been off reception for an hour. And I don’t know if we’re missing calls, or what. Can you – could you check?”

Brent tries to revive his comedy cred after his poor performance, by telling a slightly racist joke, but when the group is joined by the only black member of staff, he can’t say the punchline.

Brent is pulled into a side office and told by their overall boss Jennifer that someone has made a complaint.

Gareth to Tim: “Tim, mate, I know you don’t mean to, but you’re cramping my style.”

I like the quiet resolution of the Tim/Dawn dynamic in this episode. A little while after Dawn asks Tim if he wants to wind up Gareth, and he says they’re all too busy, Tim walks over with his filofax. “Dawn, hello. I’ve been checking my diary. I’ve been overlooking something. There’s a 20-minute window, it says here, I’ve got to wind up Gareth with Dawn. Shall we do that?”

Brent tries to calm the waters of the new Swindon people. “You will never work in a place like this again. Fact. And you’ll never have another boss like me, someone who’s basically a chilled out entertainer.”

Tim and Dawn are laughing about this. Tim starts singing the song Melting Pot and dancing with Dawn, but Dawn’s boyfriend Lee walks in just at that moment and pushes Tim away, against the wall.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th September 2002 – 22:00

After this, the recording continues with a trailer for next week’s episode of The Office, and a BBC News 24 trailer about their sports coverage with Chris Hollins.

Then, the recording stops just as Newsnight starts.

The next recording is FriendsThe One Where Chandler Takes a Bath. Joey is having romantic feelings for Rachel, which he can’t even explain clearly to Chandler. Joey: “And listen, do me a favour, this conversation– between you and me.” Chandler: “If that.”

Ross and Rachel can’t agree on baby names, which is not surprising when Ross’s second suggestion is “Thatcher”. Americans are insane when it comes to names.

Monica persuades Chandler to have a bath after he tells her they’re a complete waste of time, and he finds he enjoys it. It’s probably because he’s listening to Enya.

Rachel has another ante-natal appointment. The doctor asks if they want to know the sex of the baby. Rachel does, but Ross insists they shouldn’t find out. It’s no wonder Ross can’t maintain a relationship.

Monica and Chandler think that Joey is in love with Phoebe, and Monica can’t help telling Phoebe, so Phoebe has to break it to Joey that she’s no interested, but soon realises that Joey was actually falling in love with Rachel. Joey tells her “You know, and I keep trying to get rid of these feelings, you know? I stayed up all last night and made a list of everything I don’t like about her.” He pulls the list out of a drawer. “She made me switch to light mayo. That’s it! That’s all I got! And you know what? Tastes the same, and my pants fit better.

Ross thinks Rachel sneaked a look at the baby’s sex in the examining room, so obviously: “So, I, uh… I called the doctor and now we both know the sex of the baby.” “What?” “That’s right. The student has become the master.” “Ross, I swear, I don’t know.” “Oh, come on, you know it’s a girl.”

Chandler arrives home to find Monica just about to have a bath, so he rushes in and gets in the bath himself. And eventually, everyone has congregated there, the last being Rachel and Ross who give them the news that they’re having a little girl.

The final recording here is The League of Gentlemen and the first episode of the third series, The Lesbian and the Monkey. It opens on the burned out shell of the local shop, and Babs, who is now pregnant, leaves a wreath for her dead husband David, Tubbs and Edward’s son. As Babs leaves, the earth stirs, and Tubbs and Edward erupt from the earth. Sadly, shortly after this they are run over by a train.

Pauline is in jail, and she’s trading use of ‘The Exocet’ for pens.

A man is having a run through of his own funeral.

Pauline is unexpectedly released from prison, and she goes to visit Mickey.

She then goes to meet Ross, who’s the person who got her out of prison, and he wants her to get evidence that Mickey and his brother are cheating on the dole.

A creepy GP tells a patient with recurring headaches that she has to come to his house for treatment.

He tells her to go up to his bedroom, where she finds some other of his patients. he makes them play a children’s game to decide who gets their treatment.

Pauline has arranged a party at Mickey’s house, and keeps trying to get him to admit they’re cheating on the dole, but he doesn’t, and Pauline gets a bit overcome.

Pauline goes to report back to Ross. She tells him that Mickey’s getting married. To her. Ross is not convinced. “You and Mickey? Are getting married? The lesbian and the monkey! Sounds like Aesop’s Fables!” Pauline says “Yeah, Like the big black crow who had to keep putting stones into other people’s water cos his own beak couldn’t reach.” Ross: “That’s Fingerbobs, isn’t it?” This is the kind of thing that keeps me watching this. The League are definitely my people.

Ross and Pauline end up having sex, and afterwards, Ross tells Pauline she can take Mickey’s file as he doesn’t have enough evidence against him. But he says he’ll have to tell Mickey what they did. “Why are you doing this, Ross?” “Because YOU made me hate my job.”

This plastic bag has been a recurring motif.

And I think my puzzlement at the end of the episode we looked at a few days ago might be answered by the ending of this episode, as Pauline is running back to Mickey before Ross can talk to him, she’s run over by a white van.

BBC Genome: BBC Choice – 29th September 2002 – 23:30

After this, there’s an ad for listen again for Radio One Essential Mix on ‘BBCi’. I never liked that name.

There’s 60 Seconds news with Tina Bangs.

Then a trail for Liquid News Profiles, sadly with no sign of Christopher Price, who would have died earlier that year, and I’m still quite sad about that.

Then the recording stops just as an episode of the US Queer as Folk starts.


  • Smirnoff Ice
  • Nurofen Children
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in cinemas
  • BT Broadband
  • Barclays – Samuel L Jackson
  • Pure Groove The Classics
  • Grease on DVD
  • Daily Mail – Joan Collins
  • Morgan Stanley
  • trail: White Teeth

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Buffy – Television With a Bite – dvd 435

On this disc, two programmes. First, Buffy The Vampire SlayerChosen. This is the very last episode of Buffy ever. Angel has just arrived to help Buffy defeat evil priest Caleb. Spike watches them kiss, setting up his jealousy as a thread for this episode.

Before they can get too comfortable, though, Caleb isn’t actually dead yet. Thankfully, the subsequent fight doesn’t last too long, and Buffy uses the magic axe she got in a previous episode to cut him in half. “He had to split.” Incidentally, I have a theory that the only way Nathan Fillion was able to play this part is because they gave him bad hair.

Angel shows Buffy the talisman he got which is supposed to help at this point, and says he has to be the one to wear it, as it needs someone stronger than a human, who has a soul. Buffy wants him safely gone so she can concentrate on the fight. Angel is also salty about Buffy and Spike having a thing.

                It's different. He's different. He has a soul now.



                That's great. Everyone's got a soul now. 

                It'll make a difference. 

                You know, I started it. The whole having a soul. 
                Before it was all the cool new thing. 

                Oh my God, are you 12? 

                I'm getting a brush off for captain peroxide. Doesn't 
                necessarily bring out the champion in me.

Incidentally, “Are you 12?” is something that I tend to say a lot.

Buffy goes home to find Dawn there, who she’d sent off with Xander to keep her safe. She’s mad, and kicks Buffy in the shin. “Dumbass”.

Buffy talks to Spike. He asks about the amulet that Angel gave her. She says “It can only be worn by a champion.” Then gives it to him.

Then the big bad of the show, the First Evil, which can appear as anyone who has died, appears to taunt Buffy. First as Caleb, then Buffy herself, they talk about Spike, and the potential slayers. “Because he can’t help you. Nor Faith. Nor your friends. Certainly not your wannaslay brigade. None of those girlies will ever know real power unless you’re dead. You know the drill. Into every generation a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world. She alone will have the strength and skill. There’s that word again. What you are. How you’ll die. Alone.”

Spike wakes up from a dream about shoes. “Is there something wrong?” he asks. Buffy replies “No… Yeah. I just realised something. Something that really never occurred to me before. We’re gonna win.”

We then get one of those scenes where Buffy has just explained the whole plan to the assembled gang, and they’re all reacting to it, but without us knowing what it is. I quite like these scenes, as they bump up the hope without diluting any suspense.

Giles thinks it’s “Bloody Brilliant”. I love smiley Giles.

Willow is worried about whether she can pull off her part of the plan, which will require a lot of magic.

Buffy briefs the potential slayers, any one of whom might become the slayer if Buffy (or Faith, presumably) dies. “Tomorrow morning, I’m opening the seal. I’m going down into the Hellmouth and I’m finishing this once and for all.”

Faith and Principal Wood have a chat while doing some preparation.

Willow and her girlfriend Kennedy have a heart to heart. Willow is worried that if she loses control, Kennedy will have to kill her.

Giles, meanwhile, is playing Dungeons and Dragons with Andrew.

Next day, and they arrive at Sunnydale High School for the final confrontation.

Everyone is preparing for their roles. Andrew has a few people he’d like to thank. I love Andrew. Tom Lenk is so good.

Everyone leaves to take up their positions, leaving Willow, Xander, Buffy and Giles to talk. The three youngsters talk about going to the Mall tomorrow. Giles: “The Earth is definitely doomed.” A nice callback to the end of the very first episode.

Buffy leads the Slayerettes down into the Hellmouth, which is full of monsters. Now they have to wait for Willow to do whatever it is she has to do.

Can Willow do her magic in time? “Oh… My… Goddess!”

And now we find out what the plan is, and it’s the most perfect restatement of everything the show has been about.

“So here’s the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power? Now. In every generation, one Slayer is born. Because that bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made-up that rule. They were powerful men. (Pointing at Willow) This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of this scythe. Change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer will be a slayer. Every girl who could have the power will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?”

And all the potentials are now slayers themselves. Vi (Felicia Day) looks down at the oncoming horde and says “Those guys are dust.”

The strength of the magic is having quite the effect on Willow.

Some of the monsters are heading up to the school. Anya and Andrew are scared. “Picture happy things” suggests Andrew. “A lake. Candy Canes. Bunnies.” Anya: “Bunnies. Floppy, Hoppy, Bunnies.”

Down in the Hellmouth, Buffy gets stabbed in the stomach. She hands the Scythe to Faith, This is clearly the reversal, before the climax.

Some of our heroes up on the surface aren’t going to make it. I’m still upset about Anya.

The First Evil is there, commiserating with Buffy about her ‘mortal wound’. “You pulled a nice trick. You came pretty close to smacking me down. What more do you want?” Buffy starts slowly standing up. “I want you to get out of my face.” The slayerette with the Scythe throws it to Buffy, and she starts killing monsters again, as the music swells into a magnificent theme that gave me chills.

Then Spike’s Amulet finally starts working, and starts bringing down the whole Hellmouth. “I can feel it, Buffy. My soul. It’s really there.”

They have what looks like a painful goodbye

Everyone else is on the school bus, speeding away from Ground Zero. Buffy was a bit late for the bus, so she has to run to catch up, as the whole of the town is falling into the Hellmouth.

That’s a lot of subsidence.

And that’s a wrap for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a show I loved, and I still love. And this was among the best final episodes on TV.

But that’s not all from this disc, as this episode was followed by a documentary, Buffy – Television With a Bite. “I would rather have a show that 100 people need to see, than 1000 people like to see.”

Gail Berman was the executive who approached Joss Whedon to develop a Buffy TV series.

Sarah Michelle Gellar had to audition several times before she got the part.

When Anthony Stewart Head read the first scripts he laughed out loud.

Nicholas Brendon was fairly new to TV.

Alyson Hannigan thought she had blown her audition.

“They described [Angel] as a street-smart prize-fighter”

There’s an interesting section about the reaction to the Columbine school shooting. They had to delay the episode Earshot, which featured a potential school shooting, due to air just two weeks after the shooting, but which wasn’t shown until much later in the year (in the US at least. I think we got it in the right place in the season.) James Marsters says “I was so proud of that episode.”

We reach season 5, and Dawn arrives.

I’m crying again, so I guess I’m still not over The Body.

This documentary is narrated by Lauren Laverne but it’s obviously one of those programmes that different countries repurpose. Here is a version of this documentary with a US voiceover.


  • trail: TV with a bite
  • Skoda Fabia
  • Closer
  • Ambre Solaire
  • Kodak Picture CD
  • Hulk video game
  • Pampers Kandoo
  • Flixonase
  • McDonalds
  • Tuc
  • Samsung – Matrix Reloaded
  • BT Together
  • trail: The Long Weekend
  • trail: Buffy’s Buddies – Boyz
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Ariel – Tim Henman
  • Reign of Fire on DVD
  • Smash Hits Chart Summer 2003
  • OK! magazine
  • Benadryl Plus
  • Identity in cinemas
  • Ariel
  • BT Openworld
  • trail: Blade II
  • trail: One True Voice
  • trail: Haunted
  • Siemens SL55
  • Dove Shampoo
  • Zirtek
  • NHS Smoking Helpline
  • Airwick
  • Dumb and Dumberer in cinemas
  • Jealous Events
  • Couleur Experte
  • Kodak High Definition
  • trail: Boxing – Lewis v Klitschko
  • trail: Salem’s Lot
  • Asda
  • Reign of Fire on DVD
  • Citroen C3
  • Ribena
  • Clarityn
  • trail: Minority Report
  • trail: Buffy’s Buddies – Boyz
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Direct Line
  • Reign of Fire on DVD
  • Weightwatchers
  • Bold Aqua
  • British Gas
  • The Matrix Reloaded in cinemas
  • Cravendale
  • Sky Text
  • trail: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • trail: One True Voice
  • Kellogg’s Cereals – Drop a Jeans Size
  • Airwick
  • Samsung – Matrix Reloaded
  • Bodyform Invisible
  • Mini Babybel
  • Anger Management in cinemas
  • City & Guilds
  • Sky Plus
  • trail: Haunted
  • Orbit
  • VW Polo
  • McVities a:m
  • Robinson’s Fruit & Barley
  • Identity in cinemas
  • Snack-a-Jacks
  • HSBC
  • Closer
  • Heinz Weightwatchers
  • trail: Blade II
  • Sky
  • Closer
  • Pantene
  • The Sun
  • Norwich Union DIrect
  • Sky Introduce a Friend
  • trail: Fire in the Sky

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Angel – dvd 136

Following actual yesterday’s two cliffhangers, let’s get in to Buffy The Vampire SlayerEnd of Days. The bomb in the arsenal where the potentials were attacking goes off. Would this be survivable? I’m uncertain.

Buffy has found the magic axe. Caleb says “So… you found it. Not impressed. ‘Cause the question now, girlie girl, is can you pry it from solid rock before I come over there and…” at which point Buffy pulls it out of the stone. “Darn.”

Now she’s got the axe, Caleb is told by The First to let her go, telling her that Faith and the Potentials are in trouble. Which they clearly are, in the aftermath of the explosion. Faith looks like she took the worst of it.

Back at the house, Andrew has made a food run to the local abandoned supermarket. Giles: “Oh! Jaffa Cakes.”

Attempting to escape from the collapsed arsenal, the potentials are set upon by more Bringers.

It’s all looking bad until Buffy arrives.

After the Bringers are Brought down, they all get back to the house. Lots of casualties. Buffy, Giles and Willow look at the magic axe, and decide, with no reason I can see, that it’s called a Scythe. It’s not a scythe, no matter how cool that word is. I suspect the writers only called it that for this joke. Buffy: “The only thing I know for sure is it made Caleb back off in a hurry.” Willow: “So it’s true. Scythe matters.”

Buffy asks Xander to do something for her, but he doesn’t seem happy to do it. “Buffy, do you get that? If I do this, that’s it for me for this fight. I feel like you’re puttin’ me out to pasture.”

Willow and Giles are trying to work out what the scythe is, and who made it. Willow is researching – I guess the power is back on after last episode. And look at this page. That’s something called “The Axe of Dekeron” when that’s clearly a scythe. Does Joss Whedon have dyslaxia? (also please enjoy the IP address with two subnets > 256. The TV internet equivalent of a 555 phone number.)

Willow: “Man, none of these sound right. I mean, look. Here’s one that’s just “M” question mark. What the heck is that?” Giles: “Let me see. It’s not a question mark. It’s the international phonetics alphabet symbol for glottal stop.” I looked this up and it’s correct. This leads Giles to connect to ancient hieroglyphs, and then to places where pagans used to bury their dead.

Out at his car, Xander knocks out Dawn with some choloroform, and drives off with her.

Caleb joins with the First. I preferred it when it looked like Buffy.

Spike sees Buffy for the first time since they hooked up the previous night. Spike: “And you did it. Fulfilled your mission. Found the Holy Grail or the Holy Hand Grenade, or whatever the hell that is.” Buffy: “Right now, we’re going with scythe.” They also have a bit of a heart to heart about last night. Spike is definitely in love.

Anya and Andrew are at the hospital finding medical supplies. When they’ve stocked up, “So, wheelchair fight?”

Somehow, all of Willow and Giles’ research into ancient hieroglyphics, and pagan burial traditions, has led Buffy to a pyramid shaped tomb in Sunnydale cemetery. That’s handy, although I guess since the axe scythe was also there, it’s not entirely unexpected.

There, she meets a woman, one who has been there for a very long time, who forged the scythe and hid it in the rock, I don’t think any of this really makes any sense.

Perhaps it would have made more sense if she had been able to finish her exposition, but wouldn’t you know it, Caleb is also there and kills her.

On the road, Dawn wakes up and reads the letter Buffy left for her. “Dearest Dawn, Don’t be angry with Xander. He only did what I told him to do. This isn’t the place for either of you. Please know that I love you and that everything I do is for you. I promised once to show you this beautiful world, and I’m gonna do everything I can to make that happen.”

So she does what any sensible girl would do, and tases Xander as he’s driving.

Buffy and Caleb have a big old fight. I don’t quite understand how she’s able to survive being hit by him now, when in the previous episode she would have died. Maybe it’s the axe scythe. But Caleb does seem to have the upper hand, and gets the axe scythe himself, until surprise! Angel arrives to knock him down.

Caleb’s not out, though. Angel offers to help her out. Angel: “Ah, it’s one of those things you have to finish yourself.” Buffy: “Really kinda is.” Angel (to Caleb): “You are so gonna lose. God, I miss watching this.” And after a bit more slugging, Buffy finishes him off with an axe a scythe to the stomach.

“Well, at least you could tell me you’re glad to see me.”

But who’s in the shadows, watching the happy reunion. It’s Spike, with the First whispering in her ear. “That bitch.”

And that’s the end of that episode.

The next recording is AngelSacrifice. Angel and the gang get out of the hotel after beating up Connor a bit. I think Angel is getting a little bit too angry about this. This isn’t the way to bond.

Jasmine eats some more people and heals Connor in the process. This is definitely a loony sex cult metaphor.

They have to stop for petrol, and it gets very creepy when Jasmine can possess everyone in the city.

Eluding the police, they end up in the tunnels of the city (it’s Angel, he’s always in the tunnels). They come across a group of people who aren’t under Jasmine’s power, one of whom used to know Gunn. They’ve been underground for a few weeks, and there’s some kind of monster outside.

They go looking for the monster. It grabs Wesley. “We loved her first. Before your kind was, my kind loved her. Stood stone on stone, built the temple, always making ready.”

The little kid who’s with the underground gang gets out to the surface, and when Gunn and Fred bring him back down, he’s already been possessed by Jasmine, who also possesses the others.

The gang try and escape, but Connor is down there now, and he’s brought an army.

Angel and Wesley kill the monster, and Wesley tells Angel that the secret to defeating Jasmine is knowing her name, and there’s an artefact that will open a portal to the monster’s dimension where they can find the keeper of her name.

While the rest of them are trying to stop Connor and his soldiers getting in, Wesley opens the portal. Only Angel can go through because the atmosphere is toxic. So Angel goes through leaving the others to fight Connor’s army.

As they’re fighting, Jasmine is obviously helping them, as we see cuts opening on her, and closing up.

And Angel’s search for the keeper might be difficult.

The conclusion of this season was covered a little while ago.

After this, the recording continues for a few minutes, with the start of an episode of American Gothic.


  • trail: Prince William Uncovered
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Colgate Icy Blast
  • Germoloids
  • Pedigree
  • Echo
  • Old El Paso Tacos
  • KFC
  • AOL
  • Carex
  • trail: Sky Sports
  • trail: S Club – The Party’s Over
  • Flaunt
  • Peugeot 307
  • Maybelline Lash Expansion
  • Fairy Non Bio
  • BT Openworld
  • Snack-a-Jacks
  • Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
  • Woolworth’s
  • trail: The Long Weekend
  • trail: Rooney: Wayne’s World
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Tetley
  • L’Oreal Elvive – Milla Jovovich
  • Vanish Action Ball
  • 11 88 88
  • Siemens SL55
  • Lipton’s Ice Tea
  • Veet
  • Rolo
  • trail: Scooby-Doo
  • trail: American Gothic
  • Clearasil Total Control
  • Toyota Avensis
  • Siemens SL55
  • Strongbow
  • Ocean Spray
  • Doritos
  • Olay Daily Facials
  • trail: Heist
  • trail: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Carling
  • Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
  • Finish
  • Ribena
  • Orange
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • trail: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • trail: Prince William Uncovered
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Specsavers
  • Bupa
  • The Matrix Reloaded in cinemas
  • Maybelline Lash Expansion
  • Vanish Action Ball
  • Talk To Frank
  • BT Together
  • trail: Blade II
  • trail: Stephen King’s IT
  • Sainsbury’s – Jamie Oliver
  • Nivea Sun
  • Clarityn
  • trail: Sky Sports 3


Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Angel – dvd 137

I’m cheating slightly today. The blog is ordered fairly randomly, as things are ordered mostly in the order by which I pulled the discs out of the box they were in. But today is the second day with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and there’s another tomorrow, so I thought I’d check which episodes they were, and I discovered that, after yesterday’s disc which was the final ever episode, today’s should be the penultimate episode, and the one for tomorrow the episode before that.

So I’m breaking all the rules, and because I try to write these blogs in advance, I can even go back in time and reschedule the blog I’ve already written, so that you can at least get these three episodes in the right order. And I’ll ignore the fact that I’d already written half an intro for this regretting my not checking yesterday, and forgetting that I’m manually scheduling these and I can just change the dates. I am very stupid.

So let’s enjoy, over the next three days, the final three episodes of Buffy. And some Angel too.

This episode is Touched. The Previously On tells us that Buffy has lost the confidence of the potential slayers, and her friends, and now Faith is in charge. But as the episode opens, it’s clear that the group still can’t agree on what should be done. The power goes out. “That just means the people from the power company have got the hell out of Sunnydale.”

Meanwhile, Buffy is wandering the town, watching as the last remaining residents are packing up to leave.

She breaks into a house looking for somewhere to sleep, but is surprised to find the resident is still there. Am I being hyper-sensitive in noticing that this is a black resident when they want someone pointing a gun at Buffy?

Caleb and The First are watching their minions, The Bringers, grinding rocks to get something out.

Speaking of Bringers, the potentials decide to go out and capture one of them to see what they can learn from it.

Andrew and Spike return from a mission with some information. Spike is distinctly not happy with the group having thrown Buffy out, to the extent that he and Faith have a bit of a fight.

The Bringer they captured has no tongue, so Willow uses a spell to let them speak, which works by getting someone else to speak for them, in this case Andrew.

The First is still playing with them. He appears to Faith as the Mayor, once her mentor.

Spike finds Buffy, and gives her a pep talk, including telling her how much he loves her. “And there’s only one thing I’ve ever been sure of. You. Hey, look at me. I’m not asking you for anything. When I say I love you, it’s not because I want you. Or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are. What you do. How you try. I’ve seen your kindness, and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand, with perfect clarity, exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the One, Buffy.”

Faith and Principal Wood hook up.

In fact, it seems like everyone’s hooking up.

Even Anya and Xander

Faith and the Potentials learn from Andrew that Caleb is protecting some kind of weapon, so they decide to mount an attack.

At the vineyard, Caleb and the first are getting close to whatever it is they’re looking for, when someone throws a Bringer down the stairs. But it’s not Faith and co, it’s Buffy. “I lay one hand on you and you’re just a dead little girl” threatens Caleb. “Lay a hand on me, then. If you can.” And there ensues a fight where Caleb is trying to land a blow, and Buffy is dodging everything.

Faith and the potential slayers are elsewhere finding the armoury of the Bringers. So now there’s a parallel fight going on, this one mostly in darkness.

During her fight, Buffy spots a trapdoor, and jumps down it.

Down below, she finds what Caleb and the First were unearthing – a shiny looking Magic Axe.

Faith and the potentials aren’t quite as lucky in their discovery.

Now that’s a cliffhanger.

The next recording is an episode of AngelThe Magic Bullet. We’ve already seen the end of this season, so we’re going back a few episodes. All of Los Angeles is under Jasmine’s thrall, except Fred, who has seen Jasmine’s true face. The episode opens with The Beach Boys singing Wouldn’t It Be Nice, and everyone on the street looking happy and joyful and then suddenly we see Fred’s face at a car window as she’s running away from Wesley and Gunn.

The hotel is filling up with Jasmine’s acolytes (which is basically everyone in LA now).

Fred goes to the Magic Bullet bookshop to talk to creepy incel conspiracy theory QAnon guy. She’s looking for information about mind control.

Jasmine gets the gang to do a seance thing to find Fred.

Through this she’s able to see through people’s eyes. So now strangers are chasing after Fred, even after they’ve been in a burning car.

Fred escapes, but falls through a hole in the side of the road and ends up in an underground lair with a demon who assures her he’s vegetarian. “Really? With those choppers?” “Okay, I eat fish and occasionally vermin. But that’s it, I swear.”

“Consider her armed, dangerous, and quite possibly insane. Don’t let her grace or gentle beauty fool you. Winifred Burkle… is a monster, a siren, hoping to lure you away from Jasmine and onto the rocks of heresy and destruction.” I wonder how much of this storyline was inspired by Scientology.

After the briefing, Lorne opens up the mic for anyone to say how much they love Jasmine. A deaf woman says “I wish I could be in Fred’s skull, so I could explode her brain and kill her for rejecting Jasmine.”

Angel and Connor duet. David Boreanaz is very good at singing badly.

After nearly getting eaten by the very much not a vegetarian demon, Fred returns to the bookshop. She has a plan and wants Jasmine there. She shoots at Jasmine, the bullet goes through her, and hits Angel. Who can then see Jasmine’s true face, and her spell on him is broken.

Angel and Fred break into the room where they’re keeping the comatose Cordelia, mother of Jasmine, whose blood is the key to breaking the spell. I can’t watch these scenes without thinking how poorly Charisma Carpenter was treated by Joss Whedon.

Lorne comes into the room, and Fred and Angel grab him, and deprogram him using Cordy’s blood.

Jasmine has recovered from being shot by Fred, with the help of a few of her followers. “Where are those people?” “I ate them.” “Cool.”

Lorne brings Gunn and Wesley to Angel, and they are freed from the spell too. Nobody is happy about this.

They try it on Connor, but it doesn’t seem to work on him, and he shouts for help. Another cliffhanger.

One slightly odd thing, not really related to my recording, but I tend to watch these episodes on Disney Plus, since the picture quality is better (although the HD transfers aren’t particularly good) but this episode seems to be on there in slightly the wrong aspect ratio. All the faces were looking stretched. As an experiment I grabbed a frame of the full 16:9 picture, and tried squashing it back to a 4:3 picture, but that looked too squashed. It looks like the correct aspect ratio is 14:9, and I wonder why this episode is different. I had a look at the episode before, and the episode after, and neither exhibit this problem. Apologies for this digression, which isn’t really about by DVDs and tapes, but it does bug me when streaming services can’t get the Aspect Ratio right (I’m looking at you, Channel 4).

After this, the recording runs on a bit with part of an episode of American Gothic.


  • trail Stephen King’s IT
  • Vodafone
  • Herbal Essences
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • Boots
  • Clearasil Total Control
  • Vodafone
  • AOL
  • trail: Zoolander
  • trail: Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies
  • Belle Colour
  • Talk To Frank
  • Flixonase
  • Sure Crystal
  • DFS
  • 8 Mile on DVD
  • St Ives Apricot Scrub
  • VO5
  • Sky Magazine
  • trail: American Gothic
  • Jaguar XJ
  • Heinz Weightwatchers
  • Def Jam Vendetta
  • Wrigley’s Extra
  • Bodyform Invisible
  • L’Oreal Feria – Beyoncé and Natalie Imbruglia
  • 8 Mile on DVD
  • Carling
  • Sky
  • trail: Stephen King’s IT
  • Coca Cola – Courtney Cox and David Arquette
  • Olay Daily Facials
  • Def Jam Vendetta
  • Orbit
  • Woolworth’s
  • Head & Shoulders
  • trail: Zoolander
  • trail: Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies
  • Heinz Weightwatchers
  • Palmolive
  • Colgate Total
  • Dyson
  • Halfords
  • Bang & Olufsen
  • Lil-lets
  • Tetley
  • L’Oreal Elvive
  • trail: Black Hawk Down
  • trail: Alias
  • Thorpe Park Nemesis Inferno
  • Rimmel
  • Heat – Emma Kennedy
  • Lil-lets
  • Sky Plus
  • trail: Stephen King’s IT
  • Bold Aqua
  • Orange
  • Tampax Compak

Firefly – The Big Read – The Saturday Night Armistice – dvd 160

The first programme on today’s disc is another episode of FireflyHeart of Gold. The Previously On is setting up Mal as disapproving of Inara’s work, so the pre-title sequence sets up a possible source of friction. The local big cheese, Rance Burgess, comes to an out of town brothel with armed men (and a landspeeder – the effects here are pretty good).

He’s there because he believes the baby being carried by one of the women of the house is his, and he wants to claim it. He’s definitely not a nice man.

Nandi, who runs the brothel, is a friend of Inara’s and asks her for help. Mal agrees they should help. Jayne seems very keen once he hears it’s a brothel they’re helping.

Mal dresses up and goes to meet Burgess face to face, to see what the situation is.

Having done that, his assessment is that they should run. Everyone in the brothel should take what they can carry, and everyone should just leave the planet. Nandi doesn’t agree. “Captain Reynolds, it took me years to cut this piece of territory out of other men’s hands to build this business up from nothing. It’s who I am, and it’s my home. I’m not going anywhere.”

The night before the expected attack, Mal and Nandi get together, despite Mal’s reluctance because, I’m assuming, he’s in love with Inara.

When Inara learns they’ve spent the night, she’s cool to his face, but upset when she’s alone.

All during this, the woman with the child is in labour.

It’s a textbook siege, lots of boarded up windows and piles of guns.

Although Burgess is cheating by bringing a laser gun.

Burgess manages to get into the house (helped by one of the women there who’s been giving him information) and gets the new baby.

Inara and Nandi intercept him before he can leave. “This is my blood, woman.” “No, this is your blood.”

They get the baby away from him, but in the struggle he kills Nandi.

Burgess escapes in his speeder. Mal gives chase, and Burgess keeps shooting with his laser until it runs out of charge. This made me laugh.

Mal brings him back to the house. All his man who are still alive are lined up on their knees. Petaline, the baby’s mother, comes out. “Jonah, say hi to your Daddy.” She shoots him dead. “Say goodbye to your Daddy, Jonah.”

Back on Serenity, Inara tells Mal she’s leaving.

This recording ends just as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents starts.

The next recording is The Big ReadHitchhikers vs Discworld. This was part of the Big Read where a poll discovered the nation’s 100 favourite books. In this episode of Battle of the Books, two books are advocated for, and a jury decides which case is better made. It’s hosted by Sandi Toksvig.

Advocating for Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is John Walsh, who doesn’t do himself any favours when he mispronounces ‘Eccentrica Gallumbits’ as ‘Eccentrina’ and pronounces ‘Zaphod’ as ‘Zaffod’ although that might just mean he’s only ever read the book, and not listened to the radio series.

Advocating for Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic is Ian McMillan, who keeps saying, apropos of nothing, that the internet was invented in 1943 by the American Army. Which just isn’t true. He even says it was called The Epanet. I think he was trying to undermine the idea that The Hitchhiker’s Guide was like the internet before the internet existed. He also criticises Hitchhiker’s as ‘a post colonial kind of thing’ which seems a bit unlikely given that there’s only two human beings in the whole thing.

Witness on behalf of Hitchhiker’s is MJ Simpson, who liked to style himself as the world’s authority on Hitchhiker’s and Douglas, right up until the movie came out, which he hated so much that he wrote a very negative review which was widely shared before the movie came out, and then announced he would no longer have anything to do with Hitchhiker’s. Ever. Something I think he’s kept to. I suspect, after Douglas died, he saw himself as the true keeper of the flame, and when others didn’t treat him that way, he didn’t take it well. For the record, I liked the movie.

The second witness for Hitchiker’s is the author Jenny Colgan, who first read it when she was 11, and reads it every year. She does robustly defend the book against Ian McMillan’s criticisms, and laughs at the idea that Terry Pratchett is subtle. “Pratchett stuffs in any joke he can find. Any stupid geek-boy gag he can think of crammed into it.”

Acting as a witness for The Colour of Magic first is Sarah Lefanu, chair on the Bath Literary Festival.

The second witness is the Chief Constable of Humberside, David Westwood. Seems like an odd choice for a programme about books, but there you go.

The verdict of the 8 person jury is 6-2 in favour of The Colour of Magic.

BBC Genome: BBC Four – 7th August 2003 – 21:00

After this there’s a trailer for In Search of the Brontes and a trailer for a Clive Anderson programme, What If? which uses Kate Bush’s Waking the Witch as its music track. Then the recording stops just as a programme about John Logie Baird starts.

The last recording on this disc is from one of my tapes, and one I’ve already looked at, an episode of The Saturday Night Armistice. This was actually the first ever episode. Featuring the United Nations Irish Dancers task force.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th June 1995 – 21:50


  • trail: The Sentinel
  • McDonalds
  • Clairol Colour Wonderful
  • WKD
  • The Famous Grouse
  • Halifax
  • The Impotence Association – Pele
  • Pantene
  • Lea & Perrins Tomato & Worcester Table Sauce
  • McDonalds
  • The Ultimate Yes
  • Egg
  • trail: The Tommyknockers
  • Burger King
  • Kodak High Definition
  • Sainsbury’s – Jamie Oliver
  • Nokia
  • Clairol Nice ‘n Easy
  • Lynx Dry
  • Halifax
  • trail: August on Sci-Fi
  • Direct Line
  • Strongbow
  • Siemens SL55
  • The Impotence Association – Pele
  • Shape
  • Pearl Drops
  • Tango

Look Around You – The League of Gentlemen – dvd 104

First on today’s disc is an episode of Look Around YouWater. This is from the first series, where the episodes were ten minutes long. It’s not surprising I fell in love with this show, since it starts with a BBC Micro.

Was this a Wash & Go reference?

“What are birds? We just don’t know.”

“Until it reaches its boiling point of 1000° degrees”. I love that they’ve included the degrees symbol as well as the word degrees.

The scientist repeatedly removing the egg from the boiling water by hand always makes me shudder.

“Make sure you look out for the release of the new Albumen. It’s out now.”

“In the meantime, thanks, ants. Thants.”

think the pupil in these programmes is James Serafinowicz, brother of Peter.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England – 17th October 2002 – 21:50

There’s a warning about retuning your equipment.

The next recording is The League of GentlemenThe Medusa Touch. I think I appreciate LoG more than I like it. Sometimes the grotesque so outweighs the comedy that it’s just depressing, and this episode has quite a bit of that.

I’m not enough of an aficionado to know if this episode is typical of the season it’s in, as, rather than being a number of self contained scenes with various characters, this one seems only to have a couple of running threads. The first is about the couple who run the Windermere hotel, who are preparing to host a large sex party. She seems to be the most keen for it, while he seems more interested in the state of his beloved garden.

The guest of honour is a mysterious man who wants to keep his identity secret. “Call me… Daddy.”

Alvin (Mark Gatiss) wants to nip off to the garden centre, but his wife doesn’t want him to. She’s preparing some of the food and tells him to go and drain the swede. “Everything alright in there, Mr Ulvaeus?” he asks into a large tank, and then opens the tap. Not only is this a great, stupid pun, but it’s also an ABBA reference, so I liked this.

He does actually nip off to the Garden Centre, and there’s voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs working there.

But he’s really there because he’s in love with a woman who works there.

There are a couple of unconnected bits – this couple proselytising on the street.

And a pair of overbearing parents putting their child in a talent show, and being delighted when one of her main competitors falls over on stage and starts crying.

But back to the sex party, and ‘Daddy’ has rigged up all the ‘sexologists’ into rubber suits attached to an air supply, so they can all experience auto-erotic asphyxiation. “The safe word is Juliet Bravo” he says, which freaked me out because while I was watching this, I was also tracing the last two recordings on this disc, episodes of French and Saunders, and I was reading the old blog entry for those episodes. Just as he said “Juliet Bravo” I scrolled up the screenshot of a Juliet Bravo sketch. Literally the same second. This blog is so weird.

Things go wrong when ‘Daddy’ has a heart attack while the air supply is turned off, so all the people in the suits asphyxiate and die. Alvin returns home, having set up a date with his lover at the garden centre, to find a lot of dead people in his living room.

He hides all the bodies and their rubber suits as best he can, and the date goes ahead. But eventually, all the farting rubber suits attract the attention, and the truth is revealed.

So the lovers do the only thing they can, and bury all the bodies in the garden.

They leave in the morning, intending to come back the next day and permanently dispose of the bodies. But just after they leave, a BBC van pulls up to the B&B.

It’s one of those BBC garden makeover programmes, presented by the actual Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. “As I explained in the first letter, my husband loves his garden but never has a chance to get in it. He’s always dreamed about a fancy patio. I’m so thrilled that you and the team are coming. Now Mrs Steel, God bless her, has taken her husband away for the entire weekend, which means that when he returns, his bare plot of Earth will be the Elysian fields, complete with an Italianate terrace.”

Bowen is a huge sport in this, poking fun at his on-screen persona.

But the ending left me a little perplexed. A van comes crashing through the garden wall, burying Bowen in the rubble, but I’m not sure if this is tied back to anything else in the programme. Incidentally, this stunt is as good as anything I’ve seen. Very well done.

There’s something written on the side, so my guess is that it’s the Legz Akimbo van (“Put yourself in a child”) but I’m not sure if there’s supposed to be a connection, or they just chose existing characters who have a van.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England – 17th October 2002 – 22:00

The next two programmes on here are two episodes of French And Saunders, which I not only have already looked at on the original tapes, but they also turned up on another DVD, so this is the third time they’ve turned up (and which slightly breaks my database of recordings, which normally only expects a recording to be on one tape or one DVD). But that’s my problem. I looked at these episodes here.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 30th March 1987 – 21:00

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 6th April 1987 – 21:00