Friends – Earth 2 – tape 2130

This tape goes straight into the pilot of Friends. If you haven’t watched it, you should. The opening scenes are full of good jokes, but they also tell us so much about the different characters. It really does hit the ground running.

I wish the fashions had held up as well, particularly Joey.

Monica’s coworker is Clea Lewis – Audrey from Ellen.

After this, recording switches to Sky One and an episode of Earth 2. Day 72 according to Clancy Brown’s voiceover, and it’s winter. That would make this episode Grendlers in the Myst. The colonists are tracking the alien Grendlers to see if they can find supplies stolen from their camp.

They start picking up a signal from a woman they don’t know.

There’s a search for her, lots of running through caves, another person who’s also after her, and it turns out to be a 20 year old recording, and the stranger chasing them is the son of the woman.

We also find out that Clancy Brown’s wife contracted a terminal disease while pregnant with his daughter, and he kept her on artificial life support – despite her presumably being brain dead, long enough for his daughter to be born. And I might have misunderstood the ending here, but it seemed to suggest that he’s kept her on life support since that time, so that when the time came (as it did this episode) he can show her to his daughter. I must have misunderstood this because this seems monstrous.

After this, more Friends, and we’ve skipped all the way to season two and The One Where Ross Finds Out. Ross is with Julie. Rachel’s delighted.

But Rachel is also dating, and she has dinner with Arye Gross – another Ellen alumnus.

And, because Ross does find out, it has a crowd-pleasing ending.

Before the next episode, there’s a Friends-themed Channel 4 Ident.

I’ve no idea what order these episodes are being shown in, as we’re back to the start of season one for The One with the East German Laundry Detergent.

Chandler wants to break up with Janice, but can’t find the right time.

And Rachel faces off against a bully in the launderette.

Next, and at last, an episode that follows sequentially from the last on, The One with the Butt. Joey’s in a play called Freud!

I’m slightly cheating, and watching these episodes on the extended DVDs, and on those there’s a whole extra scene where Joey meets Estelle his new agent. It’s totally missing on this version.

Rachel appears to have joined the red cross.

Joey gets a job as Al Pacino’s butt double.

After this we just back to season two and The One With Russ. Joey gets some bad reviews for his new show.

Monica is going out with Fun Bobby.

But the gang are a bit worried about the amount he drinks.

Rachel has a new boyfriend, Russ.

Joey has an audition for Days of our Lives, but he gets the feeling that the casting agent wants him to sleep with her. He checks with his agent, Estelle (after her no-show in the earlier episode).

Ross and Russ meet.

The next episode is a few episodes after this, and is the second part of a two parter, The One After the Superbowl.

This one is chock full of cameos including Julia Roberts

And Jean Claude Van Damme

Ross has discovered that Marcel the monkey was stolen from the zoo he was given to, but is now appearing in commercials and movies. He’s filming Outbreak 2: The Monkey Takes Manhattan.


Roberts plays a girl who went to school with Chandler, and they hook up.

But she just wants to humiliate him for something he did to her in fourth grade.

After this episode, recording continues with an episode of Roseanne. The family is going to the airport to welcome Dan back home.

I have no idea why he was away, so I checked on wikipedia. He’d been in California visiting his ailing mother.

It’s also Christmas, and Roseanne gives Dan their mortgage and a lighter.

After this, there’s the start of Under the Moon in which portly middle-aged men talk about football. The tape ends during this


  • Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken en Croute
  • Neutrogena
  • The X Files – The Unopened File
  • Night Nurse
  • Philadelphia
  • trail: Star Trek Voyager/Highlander
  • trail: Forest of Dreams
  • McDonalds
  • Organics
  • Daily Star
  • Somerfield
  • Maxwell House
  • Nicorette
  • Weightwatchers
  • trail: Murder One
  • trail: Police Rescue
  • Pedigree Chum
  • Crunch Corner
  • Maxwell House
  • Snickers
  • Somerfield
  • Whiskas
  • trail: The Movie Show
  • trail: Sliders
  • Rennie Rap-Eze
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken en Croute
  • Judge Dredd on video
  • Nissan
  • Fairy
  • Karvol
  • trail: Ace Venture Pet Detective
  • trail: Nowhere Man
  • trail: Here’s Johnny
  • Eurostar
  • Direct Line
  • Jordans Country Crisp
  • Branston Pickle
  • Time Out
  • trail: ER
  • National Lottery Instants
  • Pantene
  • Lynx Inca
  • Tango Lemon
  • Persil
  • Eurostar
  • Wall’s Pork Sausages
  • Acuvue
  • Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
  • Wrigley’s Extra
  • trail: The Big Breakfast
  • trail: Ant & Dec Unzipped
  • McDonalds
  • Pringles
  • The English Patient in cinemas
  • Wella Experience
  • McVities Go Ahead
  • Ford Fiesta
  • PG Tips
  • Midland Bank
  • Direct Line
  • Guinness
  • Sure
  • Ford Fiesta
  • trail: Northern Exposure
  • Kilkenny Irish Beer
  • Advil
  • Canesten Combi
  • Air Canada
  • Fever Pitch in cinemas
  • Ford Ka
  • Nike
  • Wrangler
  • Intel Pentium with MMX
  • trail: Brookside
  • Bacardi
  • Swatch
  • Fiat Marea
  • The Times
  • Nat West
  • trail: Fridays on Four
  • Woolworths
  • Volvo
  • Intel Pentium with MMX
  • British Midland
  • M&G
  • trail: Homicide: Life on the Streets/Hill Street Blues

Proms 95 – The Outer Limits – tape 2047

This tape opens with the end of Natural Born Footballers on Paul Gascoigne.

There’s a trailer for African Footsteps. And for The Royal Tournament.

Then, Proms 95 beings us a live performance from the Royal Albert Hall, with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The first piece is Concert Music for Brass and Strings by Paul Hindemith. It’s not a piece I know, and it’s modern (ish) so it could be awful.

It’s not awful, but it didn’t particularly make me want to listen to it again. It sounds like soundtrack filler, mostly.

The next piece is Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto, played by Leif Ove Andsnes.

This is much more my kind of thing. Although my tastes run more to the late romantics (Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov) than the late classical of Beethoven, he can write a good tune.

For the interval, there’s a look at the orchestra, and their residency in Paris. Basically, an extended segment from Wish your were Here?

For the second half, and talking of great tunes, it’s Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The slow middle variation, Nimrod, is the most famous part, but the whole thing is lovely.

Conductor Leonard Slatkin gives the audience an introduction to the piece.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th July 1995 – 19:00

After this, there’s a trailer for Africa’s Big Game.

Then, an episode of The Outer Limits starring Leonard Nimoy.

In the teaser, a scientist is killed by the robot he’s working with.

There’s a nod in the name of the company to the origin of the word Robot – a play called Rossum’s Universal Robots.

This story is called I Robot, but if you’re expecting an Asimov story you’ll be disappointed, as this is based on a short story by Eando Binder. It’s directed by Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard.

The robot, Adam, might have to be dismantled, but the daughter of the dead scientist wants Nimoy, a retired lawyer, to defend him. She grew up with Adam, and doesn’t believe he’s dangerous. Nimoy has to prove in court that Adam is sentient and deserves an actual trial.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th July 1995 – 21:15

Recording switches, and we get the end of a very depressing programme about the likelihood of a nuclear attack from terrorists. It’s called Lucky People.

Nuclear War is in vogue, as there’s a trailer for The Moscow Criterion, and main goal of the British nuclear program was to build a weapon that could destroy Moscow.

There’s also a trail for Pulp Fictions.

Then, more Outer Limits, this one starring Rebecca de Mornay, who also directed it.

Frank Whaley plays a man who’s been sacked, so he’s stewing at the bar in his building. DeMornay picks him up, and they go to his office Christmas party, where he shoots several people before being shot himself. DeMornay disappears as if she was an illusion.

He flees, seems unsure quite why he did what he did. The policeman in charge of the case wonders why all three victims of the shooting don’t appear to have names.

Whaley ends up at a bar. He meets John Savage, who appears to know who he is. The episode then turns into an inverted It’s A Wonderful Life. Savage is an alien who gives people second chances. The people Whaley shot were fake people put there by Savage. And in the end he gets a chance to change for the better.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 31st July 1995 – 21:00

After this, trailers for the Richard Gere Breathless and One Foot in the Past.

Then, the start of an episode of Shopping looking at catalogues. The tape ends during this.

Space Precinct – Omnibus – Film 95 – tape 2118

This tape opens with a trailer for Not The Nine O’Clock News.

Then, Space Precinct, with an episode called Deadline.

There’s a bit of a Blade Runner homage at the start with an advertising dirigible extolling the virtues of moving off planet.

A capsule containing a dead body is flying towards an apartment building, so Brogan and Haldane have to knock it out of the sky.

The body is missing some organs, so they investigate transplant surgeons, ending up with Steven Berkoff who, let’s face it, should probably be locked up in his first scene in any story, just to save time.

He uses a robotic surgeon, a bit like that one in Prometheus, but slightly less icky.

It’s amusing to see that in this future, someone still needs to find a public telephone to call for help.

Officer Castle goes undercover to get more information from Berkoff.

Why does Brogan’s wife call him ‘Brogan’?

He’s captured by the organ harvesters. Will they find him in time?

Of course they will. And Berkoff even has a slight change of heart at the end, refusing to kill Brogan and instead turning on the aliens who were supplying his organs.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd October 1995 – 18:00

After this, there’s a trailer for Have I Got News For You.

And for Saturday Night programmes. Exhibit A.

Then there’s the start of The O-Zone. “What do you do with a band that have been everywhere and done everything?” asks Jamie Theakston. The band in question is Let Loose. I have never heard of this band, and cannot name a single one of their songs. Even as clips from their songs are being played, they are slipping from my memory.

The interview is so Spinal Tap it hurts. “You’ve just compared yourselves to Blur and Oasis, a lot of people look at you and think of bands like Boyzone.” “Show me a comparison.” “Just one comparison.” “I’ll give you a fiver.”

I like the programme not taking them seriously. Theakston’s parting shot. “Good luck to Let Loose with the new single which you might have seen previewed… on Blue Peter.”

There’s Sports News, as Newcastle’s top singing sensation Jimmy Nail joins the Newcastle United training session.

After this excitement, recording switches to the end of Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Scotland.

There’s a trailer for Mad Max II, and for Film 95.

Then, Omnibus looks at Jane Austen. It’s an interesting look at her life, narrated by a host of Austen enthusiasts.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 23rd October 1995 – 22:40

There’s a trailer for Test Tube Bodies. And a trailer for Paul Gambaccini on Radio 3.

Then, Film 95 in which Barry Norman casts his eye upon the following movies.

He also talks to Crimson Tide director Tony Scott about the film, and his and brother Ridley Scott’s plans for Shepperton Studio.

As part of the celebrations for the centenary of the cinema, Barry looks at 1959.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 23rd October 1995 – 23:30

After this another trailer for Mad Max II.

Then the tape continues with snooker, and David Vine. James Wattana vs Fergal O’Brien in the Skoda Grand Prix. The whole programme is here. I didn’t watch it.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 24th October 1995 – 00:00

There’s a trailer for Backup after this, then John Kettley gives us the weather, and BBC1 closes down with the national anthem.

Space 1999 – UFO – tape 2120

First on this tape, it’s off to Moonbase Alpha. This episode is called Earthbound so I’m sure there’ll be false hope and dashed promises along the way.

It’s immediately enlivened by guest star Roy Dotrice, returning as Commissioner Simmonds, the Earth politician who was stranded with the rest of the Moonbase crew in the pilot episode.

He’s very unhappy with the lack of any plan to locate Earth and get back home. “We can’t afford to waste our time on something scientifically impossible” declares Koenig. “The impossible just takes a little longer, that’s all commander” says Simmonds, who clearly learned everything he knows from those stupid desk signs in Clinton’s Cards.

But Koenig’s having none of it. “A return to Earth is out of the question.” He’s interrupted by a call from Sandra in Main Mission. What do you want to bet it’s news that a return to Earth might just be on the cards?

A manned spaceship is approaching Alpha. Eagles are launched to intercept. What are the rules for whether an Eagle has red stripes or not? I quite like them.

On the ship, when it lands on the moon, they find passengers in suspended animation. After some examination, they conclude that to learn any more about the passengers, they have to open up one of the suspended animation chambers. This decision is taken rather quickly, and doesn’t turn out well for the passenger.

Luckily (?) this activates the other chambers, and the rest of the passengers wake up non-flammably. I can’t imagine they’ll be happy. Even worse, their leader bears a striking resemblance to Christopher Lee.

“All our instruments indicated life no longer existed” says Helena in her defence.

To Simmonds’ delight, the people on the ship, Kaldorians, are actually travelling to Earth, albeit a trip that will take 75 years in suspended animation. Simmonds hatches a plan to seize the ship by force. Such a typical politician.

But there’s a spare seat on the ship, and he offers a chance for one of the Alphans to join them.

Koenig wants Computer to choose one person from Alpha to go with them. Simmonds doesn’t seem to want to take the chance.

So he grabs a gun, threatens to destroy Alpha if they don’t let him go. The Kaldorians reluctantly let him join them and the ship takes off. I have to say, the Kaldorian ship has a very distinct ‘hanging from wires’ movement to it. I wonder if it was deliberate.

Cut to the Kaldorian ship, and Simmonds wakes up from his hibernation. He makes a call to Earth with his comlok. “After 75 years”.

Cut to Main Mission, present day, and the Alphans are rather surprised to hear the broadcast, no time really having gone by. It’s like the end of a Tales of the Unexpected.

As realisation sets in, and Simmonds starts screaming for help, trapped in his chamber, the Alphans all manage to look shocked, rather than happy.

And in a second twist, the person Computer chose to go on the trip was Simmonds.

After this, recording switches to the end of an old TV programme, The Vise and an episode called Under Suspicion.

Then there’s an episode of UFO called The Dalotek Affair. It opens with an interview with an American UFO expert who manages to cite both Gerald Ford (then a congressman) and Robert Kennedy. He even quotes General Macarthur talking about war between planets, something I’d prefer to have confirmed by Snopes.

Such a weird opening, with the interview, then Colonels Freeman and Foster having a drink in a swanky bar, ogling pretty girls, and Foster starts reminding Freeman of “The Dalotek Affair… The Dalotek Affair,,, The Dalotek Affair” as he goes into black and white, then all wibbly wobbly flashback. I hope the flashback is a narrative necessity.

After three UFOs turn away from an attack on the moon, there’s a large meteor heading for the moon, and heading for the ‘Dalotek Unit’, a private corporation on the moon.

Moonbase has radio problems, and Foster thinks it might be Dalotek operating outside their assigned frequencies, so he visits their base. One of their personnel is Jane Carson, played by Tracy Reed, so obviously there’s typical 1970s leering and innuendo. “Miss Carson is in charge of the scanner. She’s very experienced.” “I can imagine.”

But they do strike up a relationship.

After a lot of back and forth, they need to wipe the memories of the Dalotek team when a UFO attacks, which is why there was a flashback at the start. Then, at the end, Foster goes over to speak to Jane, for her the first time they’ve met.

Next, more from Moonbase Alpha. An asteroid is heading of the moon (again?) and they’re sending nuclear bombs to it to destroy it, but Alan Carter is having trouble getting away in time.

Landau is a very stoic actor, but he’s really looking upset when Carter only has seconds to get safely away from the blast. Some good sad acting.

The asteroid is successfully destroyed, and when Koening takes another Eagle to rescue Alan, he sees another planet on collision course with Alpha.

Carter survived the explosion, but he seems to be followed around by visions of a woman.

Koenig goes up to scope out the planet again, only to find a massive spaceship there, which captures his eagle, You Only Live Twice style.

On the ship after an interminable wander through dark corridors, he meets the same woman Carter has been seeing. She’s Arra, Queen of the planet that’s heading for the moon.

She spouts a lot of gobbledegook about how the moon and her planet must collide, which will change both in strange ways. She tells him he has to stop Alpha laying mines to deflect the planet. Will they believe him?

No, they assume he’s raving because of radiation sickness. They confine him to quarters and proceed with the plan.

Once again, there’s a scene where a female member of the command staff suddenly becomes hysterical and tries to run out of Main Mission. This is happening far too often in this series.

There’s a big standoff in Main Mission as Koenig and Carter try to stop the plan and let the worlds collide. They succeed, and to almost everybody’s surprise, the moon is not destroyed.

After this, recording continues for a while with some Twin Peaks. This recording stops, and underneath there’s the end of an episode of The Critic (as seen in The Simpsons recently).

After this, an extra treat with an episode of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. The scenes are introduced by Ian Abercrombie, a shakespearean actor who they got cheap. He’s playing Fate, also the title of the episode.

Garry is visited by Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the moon.

The tape ends shortly after this episode.


  • Family Channel
  • TLC Photography Competition
  • trail: Irma la Douce
  • trail: The Critic
  • Direct Line
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • Bupa
  • Nike
  • UK Gold
  • Kwik Fit Insurance
  • Whiskas
  • trail: The Critic
  • Bupa
  • Kit Kat
  • VW Polo
  • Rennie Rap-Eze
  • Somerfield
  • trail: The Critic
  • trail: Twin Peaks
  • trail: The Prisoner
  • Preferred Direct
  • TLC Photography Competition
  • Discovery Channel
  • trail: The Cult Film Fortnight
  • trail: Dead at 21
  • trail: Dead at 21
  • Heineken Export
  • Midland Bank
  • Tate & Lyle
  • Fruitang
  • Hovis
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • Swinton
  • trail: The Prisoner
  • trail: Space 1999
  • Species in cinemas
  • Bupa
  • Yorkie
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • Sun Life
  • Cornhill Direct
  • trail: The Cult Film Fortnight
  • Preferred Direct
  • TLC Photography Competition
  • trail: The Prisoner
  • trail: Twin Peaks
  • Peperami
  • Playstation
  • The Best of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground
  • Corn Flakes
  • KFC
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • Ski Fruit Split
  • Somerfield
  • United Friendly
  • trail: Wild Palms
  • Prudential
  • Heineken Export
  • Littlewoods scratchcards
  • Legendary Harley Davidson
  • Bisto Best
  • Sega Saturn
  • trail: The Prisoner
  • trail: Dead at 21
  • That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Daz
  • Family Channel
  • Bravo Website
  • trail: Wild Palms
  • trail: Piranha
  • Audi A4
  • Nike
  • Bacardi
  • Andrex Ultra
  • Andrex
  • Synergie
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • KFC
  • trail: The Prisoner
  • trail: The Prisoner
  • Sharwood’s
  • Radio Rentals
  • HP Sauce
  • Revlon Flex
  • Television X
  • Plenitude
  • Sharwood’s
  • trail: The Cult Film Fortnight
  • trail: Dead at 21
  • trail: The Prisoner
  • TV Licensing
  • Hovis White
  • Ariel
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • Sun Life
  • Family Channel

SeaQuest DSV – The New Adventures Of Superman – Saturday Night Armistice – Seinfeld – tape 2045

FIrst on this tape, SeaQuest DSV. In Stinger Lucas is test-piloting a new craft when some bad guys shoot it with a torpedo.

He’s pulled out of the water by a mysterious man who only says “I’m a dreamer, like you.”

The SeaQuest team think it might have been competitors in a competition to build a fast single seat submersible.

There’s some industrial espionage, p;us an ending where Lucas loses the race because he didn’t do his homework properly, and Roy Scheider let him lose so that he’d ‘learn a valuable lesson.’ Bit of a dick move from Scheider, I think.

Recording continues with the start of a news bulletin, leading with fighting in Bosnia.

Then recording switches to Pets Win Prizes.

There’s a trailer for Sunday Night Programmes.

And for Steve Wright’s People Show.

Then, The New Adventures of Superman and an episode called And The Answer Is… Clark wants to tell Lois his secret. But he’s interrupted by a man phoning to tell him he knows his secret. He blackmails Clark inti stealing some diamonds, then wants him to kill Lois, while holding Clark’s parents hostage. It’s all a bit Meh until the end when Clark asks Lois to marry him, leading to an end of season cliffhanger.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 22nd July 1995 – 18:30

There’s a trailer for The Royal Tournament. That used to be prime time Saturday Night TV. The last time that happened was 1999. It was presented by Jim Davidson.

There’s also a trailer for Bob Monkhouse On The Spot. Bob Monkhouse’s agent must have been on fire at this time, as he seems to be doing all sorts of programmes. Fair play to him, though, he was pretty good at live TV.

Then, the start of The Steve Wright People Show. It opens with some doctors and nurses dancing on stage, in a strange mini-echo of the 2012 opening ceremony.

The big guests are Take That, in the week where the shock news of Robbie Williams’ departure from the band was announced.

They’re still doing this strange thing where a man pretends to be Pamela Anderson.

First guest, though, is Terry Wogan, probably wondering why he never got a twelve week Saturday Night entertainment show.

Recording switches to BBC2 and we get quite a bit of the end of Rock Family Trees looking at the bands that came out of CBGB in New York. I wish I’d recorded these, as the bits I’ve got are interesting, but at this time I was a bit down on the whole popular music thing.

There’s a trailer for The Outer Limits after this.

Then, The Saturday Night Armistice. After an introduction filmed at the London premiere of Judge Dredd there’s a massive action scene to open the show.

Armando does one of my favourite jokes as he takes off the small goatee he had on and says “It was me all the time!”

Talking of Judge Dredd, Stallone even features as the new head of the American Diplomatic Mission.

The ‘Casualty as a silent movie’ bit is inspired. I wonder if that works for any drama?

Mr Judge Dredd makes an appearance.

There’s a theme park based on the Northern Ireland Troubles.

‘Better Fights 2’ is a parody of the Lovers Guide tapes that were popular. It features Ricky Grover.

I do like the experiment to measure the optimum class size, especially when it gets to 117 pupils and achieves a strange equilibrium.

Rebecca Front is the woman from a costume drama again.

To protest against French nuclear testing, Sue Perkins will drop a cloud of mushrooms over Paris.

And finally, the 1995 Peter Baynham Share Opportunity.

Here’s the show.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd July 1995 – 21:55

Following this, there’s a trailer for Big Science.

Then, starting ten minutes later than billed, an episode of Seinfeld, and The Fix-Up. It guest stars Maggie Wheeler as a friend of Elaine. Jerry and Elaine wonder if they should set up a date between her and George, as both of them have given up ever finding someone.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd July 1995 – 22:30

After this, recording switches again, and we have the end of a compilation of Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Then, more SeaQuest and the announcer helpfully says “This is not the episode billed” but neglects to tell us what the episode is.

We get a rare look at life on land. They even have a really blocky looking car, a common trademark of ‘futuristic’ shows and films. Or maybe it’s a hovercraft.

Bonnie Bartlett guests as Secretary General of the UEO.

While Lucas is addressing the council of world leaders, and Scheider, Bartlett and Admiral Noyce have stepped outside, some bad guys activate their plan, and the whole council room is empty when the door opens.

The room they were in has been moved somewhere else, and the bad guy wants the leaders to sign a new treaty in his favour. I’m not convinced that would be a successful strategy, given how often treaties are disowned.

Scheider works out that the conference room must be a different room, because he can’t find Lucas’ bubble gum under the lectern. I like this, because Lucas chewing gum at a big conference seemed unlikely.

I also don’t trust Bonnie Bartlett, since it was her who took Scheider and Herd out of the room before it moved.

James Shigeta also guest stars as one of the world leaders. He’s as affable here as he was in Die Hard. Why wasn’t he in more stuff?

Sure enough, Bartlett is the big villain, and Scheider even gets to stage a rescue himself, rather than letting someone else get all the action.

After this, the tape ends.


  • Churchill Insurance
  • Dove
  • Liptonice
  • Burger King
  • Brut Aquatonic
  • Persil
  • Pantene
  • Fruit & Fibre
  • Five Alive
  • Lenor
  • Coco Pops
  • Flash
  • Ariel Color
  • Sure
  • Liptonice
  • Flora
  • Vanish Mousse
  • Burger King
  • Brut Aquatonic
  • Dove
  • McDonalds – Batman Forever
  • Pond’s Cleansing Milk
  • Fruit & Fibre
  • News of the World
  • Blockbuster Video
  • Doritos
  • trail: Gladiators
  • Wimpy
  • Rover
  • BT
  • White Cliffs Country
  • Do It All
  • McVities
  • Red Cross Appeal
  • Kwik Fit Insurance
  • Coca Cola
  • Thorpe Park
  • Burger King
  • World of Leather
  • Kellogg’s Variety
  • Ariel
  • Magnum
  • Do It All
  • trail: Midnight Express
  • Daewoo
  • Burger King
  • Dry Blackthorn Cider
  • RAC
  • Do It All

Hairspray – tape 1106

Here, from Channel 4, is John Waters’ original Hairspray, his first mainstream hit after years of making very low budget cult movies.

It features his muse, Divine, as the mother of the family.

The story revolves around the social upset caused by Rock and Roll in 60s Baltimore, and centres on the Corny Collins Show, a programme where they’d play the hits of the day and local young people would dance in the studio. This is based on real shows of the time that Waters grew up with. The kids on the shows would become local celebrities.

It’s nice to see the show had more strict policies on fake news then than a lot of stations today.

Our heroine is Tracy Turnblad, played by then newcomer Ricki Lake.

She longs to be a member of the Corny Collins Council, the group of regular dancers on the show. She’s welcomed by the council, except for Debbie Harry’s and Sonny Bono’s daughter Amber Von Tussle. Bono and Harry are proud segregationists.

To make matters worse, Amber’s boyfriend would rather be going out with Tracy.

The TV show isn’t integrated, so black dancers are turned away. Tracy and her friend Penny hate this, especially when Penny falls in love with Seaweed, a black boy at school, and the son of local celebrity Motormouth Maybelle, played by Ruth Brown.

Pia Zadora has a cameo as a beatnik.

So their parents panic when Tracy and Penny visit the black neighbourhood, and Penny’s parents recruit psychologist Dr Fredrickson to ‘help’ Penny, played by director John Waters.

I like that the film, while still being a silly comedy, isn’t afraid to show at least a taste of the anti-integration feeling of the time.

Divine also plays the manager of the TV studio Alvin Hodgepile, who refuses to integrate.

This is a great fun film, and it’s not surprising it makes such a good base for the musical.

After the film, the recording stops.


  • trail: The Hotel New Hampshire
  • trail: The Oprah Winfrey Show

Prime Suspect – tape 2003

After her appearance in French & Saunders a few days ago, Helen Mirren is back in the real thing, Prime Suspect. This story is called The Scent of Darkness. It’s one of the later stories, and not written by creator Lynda La Plante, the writing chores here being performed by Guy Hibbert. He wrote the screenplay to the rather excellent A United Kingdom and also the similarly excellent Helen Mirren drone strike drama Eye in the Sky.

Right at the top of the show, Mirren’s Jane Tennison is arguing with a committee of male officers about a WPC who has been overlooked for promotion to detective. “She can’t work in a team” she’s told “because she can’t take a joke.”

Two parents are calling round their daughter’s friends to see where she is, because they expected her home a couple of hours ago.

I see Tennison’s romantic life is going as smoothly as usual. She’s outside a theatre, looking around, as the audience leave when her date rushes up, full of apologies. Then she admits that she too just arrived, having been held up at work. At least there’s some balance there.

Then a woman’s body is found by railway tracks, wrapped in a refuse sack.

David Ryall is a familiar face as the forensic examiner Oscar Bream.

Also returning, Richard Hawley as DI Haskons.

There’s details of the way the woman was bound and held that suggests the same methods as for a previous case – that of George Marlow, the murderer in the very first Prime Suspect story. Is it a copycat killer? Or was Marlow actually innocent?

We see Marlow in prison – it’s a shame they’ve had to recast the role, as instant recognition would have been quite effective. He’s not a popular man in prison, although at least one of the other prisoners says he’s an innocent man.

Then a second body is found, the young girl whose parents were searching earlier.

In another connection with a recent tape, Tennison’s partner is watching Lee Evans to relax after work.

If you’re following on your Prime Suspect Bingo Card, you can tick off ‘obstructive officer on the team’ – Christopher Fulford is the senior officer on the investigation team under Tennison, and he’s clearly unhappy with her being there.

Things aren’t helped by the team having read a book about the Marlow case, and finding reasons to suspect that Marlow wasn’t the real killer, and that the actual killer has returned to the country and is killing again.

Tennison returns to the lock-up garage which Marlow had used to imprison his victims. It’s now being used by furniture makers.

The new possible suspect in the Marlow case is a Greek man, Andreas Markos, the son of the man who owned and rented out the lock-up garage. He’s already been questioned by Tennison’s team, without her knowledge, when her right hand man Haskons goes to see him.

Then Tennison is taken off the case. Fulford takes over, concentrating on the killer being the same one as in the Marlow case. But when Haskons brings up evidence that someone in a policeman’s uniform driving a silver saloon car was seen close to where the young girl went missing, and that the first victim was the widow of a policeman who disappeared after leaving the police social club, he’s not as interested in that.

Things get more complicated when Tennison discovers that her partner (who is a criminal psychologist) has been in touch with the man who wrote the book asserting Marlow’s innocence, and he had just pointed out to her some evidence in the case report that might link all the murders – there’s a specific scent that was noticeable on the two victims here, but a similar scent was also reported with the Marlow victims.

Then she finds her own personal file in his filing cabinet.

It’s all getting a bit conspiracy theory.

Wow, Tennison smokes like a chimney.

The programme is split into two halves, by News at Ten. It leads with a survey of policemen in Britain where 4 out of 5 say they don’t want policemen to be routinely armed.

The recording switches to the end of London Tonight. There’s a story about the Derek Bentley case, the basis of the film Let Him Have It.

Then, Prime Suspect continues. Tennison goes to meet Mark Whitehouse, the man who wrote the book about the Marlow case claiming he’s innocent. He was going to meet her partner. He tells her that he got involved with the case when he met Marlow’s girlfriend, who couldn’t confirm his alibi at the trial, but who, when she was in a hospice, dying, changed her story.

Another woman goes missing, ramping up the tension.

There’s an electrifying scene where Tennison meets Marlow’s mother, now suffering from Dementia, and she asks her about Marlow’s childhood, using the perfume as a cue. There’s clearly some old trauma there. It’s all very Dennis Potter.

Tennison meets Marlow in prison. He’s still professing innocence, and gets very upset when told she has spoken to his mother.

She’s hauled over the coals for this by her superiors, who suspend her.

Meanwhile, one of the major clues in the case, a white van, is located, and ruled out of the investigation, which rather blows the direct connection to Marlow. The officer who finds this out is a young Marc Warren.

The investigation narrows to some policemen. But then we learn that the third victim is being held by one of the guards looking after Marlow. Suddenly, Marlow is some kind of Hannibal Lecter character, manipulating other people to kill for him? Seems an unlikely turn.

Tennison makes a connection between Marlow, his girlfriend, and the guard, and with that information they are able to catch him before he kills his third victim. He’d starting killing on his own, not at Marlow’s request, which is a little more plausible.

She even gets to throw some wine in the faces of the officers who’ve been hounding her, so I guess that’s a happy ending.

I do like Prime Suspect but I do also long for women in police dramas who are respected for their ability to do the job and not continually being undermined by whining manbabies.

After this, recording continues for a bit with an episode of Sport in Question with Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves. It appears to be Question Time but about sport.

The tape ends during this programme.


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