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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

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Quantum Leap

Posted by Big Boo on January 18th, 2012

Quantum LeapQuantum Leap was a science fiction TV series that first aired in the US in 1989, so I guess it only just qualifies as a subject for this site, but I feel it deserves a space here as I have good memories of watching it.

Scott Bakula played Dr. Sam Beckett, a scientist who in the year 1999 invented the Quantum Leap accelerator, a device that allowed time travel within the lifetime of the person travelling. Faced with having his funding cut Sam tests out the machine by using it himself, and so begins his travels through time.

Trouble is, something went a little wrong (or caca as the original introduction to the programme put it) and whilst Sam does indeed travel through time, he does so by having his consciousness jump into the bodies of people from the past.

Seemingly stuck, and initially not knowing where he is due to his “swiss cheesed” memory, he soon comes to rely on his erstwhile assistant Al Calavicci (played by Dean Stockwell). Al is broadcast back through time in the form of a hologram, and tries to help Sam out in whatever predicament he finds himself in.

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Telebugs

Posted by Big Boo on January 11th, 2012

TelebugsThe Telebugs was a cartoon shown as part of the after school children’s programming on ITV. It was about a group of three flying robots who would come to the aid of people in distress, and because they were also kitted out with microphones and cameras would double up as TV news reporters, reporting back on their own daring rescue missions! Not a bad idea really, a good way of making your life as a superhero pay for itself!

All three Telebugs looked somewhat similar, with sleek curved bodies and a television screen for a head. They differed in size and colour. CHIP (Coordinated Hexadecimal Information Processor) was the notional leader, and was the tallest and white in colour. SAMANTHA (Solar Activated Micro Automated Non-inTerference Hearing Apparatus) was yellow and, being a girl had a red ribbon moulded to the top of her head (in so far as a robot can be called female anyway).

The smallest Telebug was called BUG (Binary Unmanned Gamma camera) and he was red in colour, and was, I suppose given his name, the cameraman of the group. He also had a pet named MIC (Mobile Independent Camera) who flew alongside him and helped in filming duties.

The Telebugs travelled around by flying. Instead of legs they had booster rockets, which enabled them to both hover in place and fly off to the rescue of some poor hapless civilian.

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Eighties Christmas TV

Posted by Big Boo on December 7th, 2011

Christmas TVI always loved the run up to Christmas, with all the indicators that the big day would soon be upon us. It was getting colder of course, and darker earlier, and all the shops started to display their Christmas decorations (though I’m sure they never used to hang them up as early as they sometimes do these days).

As an avid goggle box guzzling Eighties child though, I think the thing that really started to indicate the coming of the Christmas season were the changes that suddenly occurred on the television. A number of changes happened, normally around the time December began, and in this post I want to discuss some of them. So, in no particular order…

The Christmas Movie and TV Specials Preview Adverts

One of the first signs that Christmas was coming was the arrival of the trailer advert that showed all the films that a channel would be boasting come Yuletide.

This was a time when we didn’t have satellite TV and therefore channels devoted to playing movies, which meant that it often took several years after their box office releases before films finally made it onto TV. Christmas was therefore a time when the TV channels had a captive audience, and so the majority of movie premiers occurred during the Yuletide break. The advert was thus always very exciting as you made a mental checklist of all the films you wanted to see.

There was also another similar trailer advert showing all the Christmas specials of various TV shows that you could look forward to watching whilst waiting for the turkey to digest.

As soon as the Christmas editions of the TV Times and Radio Times became available I would then scour the pages of them to identify all these wonderful films and shows I wanted to watch, and would note down when they were on, which channel, and how long they were, so I could also make sure I had enough video tape space to record anything I wanted to keep.

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Play Your Cards Right

Posted by Big Boo on November 23rd, 2011

Play Your Cards RightI admit when I was growing up that I probably watched to much telly. Obviously I watched a lot of children’s television, but another genre I was particularly a fan of was the game show, and one of my favourites was Play Your Cards Right.

Hosted by Bruce Forsyth, the show started airing in 1980 and ran through to 1987. It was based on a US TV game show called Card Sharks, although by layering on a great many catchphrases Bruce made the show his own (quite literally, as when the show returned in the mid Nineties it became known as Bruce Forsyth’s Play Your Cards Right).

Two couples competed against each other to win the star prize of a new car, which was the defacto main prize back in the Eighties due to rules which limited the maximum value of prizes that could be given away on TV. To do this, they had to both answer questions and play a game of “higher or lower” with some playing cards.

The questions posed by Brucie all required a percentage as the answer, and were based on a survey of 100 people, normally of a particular career or persuasion, and often had a certain level of innuendo associated with them. An example would be something like “we asked 100 policemen, have you ever used your truncheon for something other than police work”. Not a real one (at least I don’t think it was as I just made it up) but you get the idea.

One couple were asked to give their answer as a numerical value, and their opponents were then allowed to say whether they thought the answer would be higher or lower than this value. The resultant winning couple then got to play with the cards.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Yogi’s Treasure Hunt

Posted by Big Boo on November 14th, 2011

Yogi's Treasure HuntThe cartoons of Hanna Barbera had a distinct influence on me as I was growing up, though I have to say mainly through their older work. I loved Scooby Doo (before it was ruined by the addition of he-who-shall-not-be-named), Top Cat and The Flintstones, and I was also very keen on most of their shorter cartoons, featuring characters such as Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.

Most of these cartoons had been made in the Sixties, but they were still regularly being shown on kids TV as I was growing up, such was their enduring appeal. What better then than a cartoon that brought many of these great characters together?

The result was Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, which featured Yogi, Boo Boo, Top Cat, Huckleberry Hound, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Snagglepuss and more. It also featured my favourite ever cartoon villains Dastardly and Muttley from Wacky Races and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (better known, albeit wrongly, as Stop the Pigeon due to the theme song).

A quick aside about Wacky Races. Dastardly and Muttley always tried to prevent the other competitors in the race from winning by planting traps on the course for them. However, given that the courses didn’t appear to be lap based in any way, this meant Dastardly and Muttley always had to get in front of the pack to set their surprises. This being the case, and if they really wanted to win, they must have had the fastest car on the track, so why bother with the traps?

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Luna

Posted by Big Boo on October 3rd, 2011

Luna - Patsky Kensit and Colin BennettHere’s a show that I’m sure many of you will have forgotten about until reading this. Luna was an ITV childrens Sci-Fi show, which given it was also a comedy still had a surprisingly dark streak to it.

The year is 2040, and the Earth as we know it has become an uninhabitable mess through pollution, nuclear war and God knows what else. People know live in the Efficiecity, a completely enclosed environment kept safe from the ravages of the outside world. People no longer live in traditional family groups, but instead are made artificially in “batches” and are then sent to live in artificial families in homes known as Habivirons.

The show is named after the main character, a young girl, or “female diminibeing”, who gets named Luna by the other members of her forced household, although her real name is the decidedly unflattering 72-batch-19Y. The other members of the group are Gramps, who is an aging punk who still remembers what the world used to be like, Andy, the habiviron’s android, Mother, the habiviron computer, and Brat, a young boy who’s name is fittingly given to him by Gramps – though Brat doesn’t know what the word actually means!

Luna was created by ex-Monkee Mickey Dolenz (who was also behind the Metal Mickey TV series) and was written by Colin Prockter and Colin Bennett, who also played Andy (and was the Mr. Bennett from Take Hart too). Luna was played by a young Patsy Kensit in the first series, and Joanna Wyatt in the second series, whilst Brat was played by Aaron Brown, who later appeared in the BBC kids drama Seaview alongside Blue Peter presenter (and now Most Haunted star) Yvette Fielding.

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The Raccoons

Posted by Big Boo on September 23rd, 2011

The RaccoonsThe Raccoons was a Canadian cartoon that was shown on the BBC on Saturday mornings (and I’m sure it also occupied the 5.30 time slot before the Beeb started showing Neighbours at that time).

As the name suggests, it was about some Raccoons! They lived in a place called the Evergreen Forest, and the show primarily followed the fun loving and mischief making (though never in a bad way) Bert Raccoon. There to keep him out of too much trouble were his good friends Ralph and Melissa (also Raccoons), who were also husband and wife.

Between them the trio ran a newspaper called The Evergreen Standard, with Ralph as editor, Bert as reporter and Melissa the photographer. The newspaper was very important to the inhabitants of the Evergreen Forest as it helped thwart the plans of the nasty Cyril Sneer.

Cyril Sneer was a tycoon who was always trying to find some way to make a profit, and this usually involved the forest being threatened as part of his schemes. Cyril was an aardvark who was pink in colour and had a nose that looked something like a water tap. He was usually seen chomping on a half smoked cigar.

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Heidi

Posted by Big Boo on September 14th, 2011

HeidiIt’s testament to how often this series was shown whilst I was growing up that I remember the story, characters and theme song so well. Based on the classic Swiss book written way back in 1880 by Johanna Spyri, this Swiss/German TV adaptation was notable for it’s beautiful scenery, the aforementioned theme tune, and the terrible dubbing into English.

I should qualify that final statement. It wasn’t the quality of the voice acting in the English dub that was the problem, more the fact that as a kid watching it there seemed to be something just a little freaky about people’s mouths moving but the words you heard bearing no relation.

The story begins when Heidi is sent to live with her grandfather (who she affectionately calls Grandpapa) in the Swiss mountains. Her parents have died and she has been looked after by her Aunt Dete, who for reasons I cannot recall ends up lumping Heidi with her cantankerous grandfather, who lives in a shack up on a hillside, away from all the other people in his village.

Heidi eventually melts the old man’s heart, and she has a great time living in the mountains and playing with her friend Goat Peter, the boy who takes all the village goats onto the mountains to graze. She even manages to calm some of the bad relations between her grandfather and the villagers in the process.

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