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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

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Only Fools At 30

Posted by Big Boo on September 7th, 2011

Only Fools and Horses 30th AnniversaryI’m a little late to the party on this one, but satellite and cable TV channel Gold are currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of Only Fools and Horses by showing every episode of the sitcom from the very beginning. This started on August 30th but runs on until the end of September, so there’s still plenty of time to catch a few classic episodes.

It seems somewhat unbelievable that Only Fools and Horses first aired 30 years ago. Somehow the memory of watching the show when it first aired and the cold hard fact of it being 30 years just don’t seem to fit together in my brain. 30 years? 3 whole decades? How can that be?

Anyway, to celebrate the anniversary Gold have put together a couple of special items for all Fools and Horses fans. Firstly, they’ve recreated the Trotter’s famously gaudy flat (check out the Gold Facebook page for some pictures of it in all it’s kitsch glory).

Secondly they’ve put together a rather amusing little video showing a bunch of Del Boys, Rodneys and Uncle Alberts who are busting some groovy moves on the dance floor. Check it out below, but it’s just a shame they couldn’t convince David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst to come and join in too. Instead we’re left with Boycie and Marlene introducing it, although that’s OK as I just love the way Boycie talks.

The Only Fools and Horses At 30 season is showing on Gold every day at 10pm.

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Gobots

Posted by Big Boo on September 5th, 2011

GobotsWhen you think of mighty warrior robots that can transform into vehicles (and other things) most people would immediately think of the Transformers range. There’s no doubt that this brand captured the market, spreading from toys to cartoons to videogames to Hollywood movies. However, there were another set of contenders for the robot toy crown, and they were the Gobots.

Gobots actually started life in Japan (where else) as the Machine Robo series of toys, slightly before the Transformers even came into existence. In 1983 western toy manufacturer Tonka licensed the toys for the US market, and renamed them Gobots in the process.

Sales of the toys were initially very good, as the concept resonated with many a young lad. However, when Hasbro launched Transformers the Gobots suffered. This can be attributed to many things, but ultimately the Transformers toys were just a whole lot cooler. The Transformers looked more robotic an futuristic in many cases that their Gobot cousins, and they had better names too. Where the Transformers had Optimus Prime and Starscream, Gobots had Scooter and Tank (no prizes for guessing what they transformed into).

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Give Us A Clue

Posted by Big Boo on September 2nd, 2011

Give Us A ClueHands up who groans when somebody suggests playing Charades at Christmas? (Idle thought – does anybody even play charades any more?). I’m sure many people will probably remember this experience well at a family Christmas gathering. Normally a batty old aunt will suggest it, some of the kids will be well up for it, but teenagers and up will just go “ohhhh noooo!”.

The problem with Charades is that most people don’t like doing the miming bit because you feel, well, a bit silly. However, everyone likes watching somebody else make a fool out of themselves, and this has to be why the TV version of the game, Give Us A Clue, was so popular.

First airing in 1979 and sticking around until 1992, Give Us A Clue was one of my favourite TV game shows as a child. Initially hosted by Michael Aspel, and later Michael Parkinson, the show pitted two teams of four celebrities against each other. It was also a battle of the sexes as it was strictly boys vs girls.

The boys team was captained by Lionel Blair, whilst the girls was led by Una Stubbs (who I was a big fan of thanks to her being Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge). At some point Una left the show and was replaced by Liza Goddard.

Unlike today’s idea of what constitutes being a celebrity the people who made up the rest of the two teams truly were celebrities, in so far as they were generally people who you had heard of before and knew exactly what it was they were famous for. Off the top of my head the sort of people you could expect to see were Lorraine Chase, Kenny Everett, Windsor Davies and even Kenneth Williams.

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Spitting Image

Posted by Big Boo on August 19th, 2011

Spitting ImageBack in 1984 the idea of an animated show aimed primarily at adults would have been quite a hard sell to most television networks, let alone one which was made using puppets, so the fact that one of the most popular and hard hitting comedy shows of the late Eighties and early Nineties featured a cast made from latex is perhaps surprising.

Spitting Image was the show in question, and it made household names of its creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, better known simply as Fluck and Law. The duo had previously been best known for providing topical illustrations, often used plasticene figures, for newspapers and magazines.

The premise was simple enough. It took well known figures of the day, mostly from the world of politics, turned them into grotesque looking caricatures, and plonked them into situations which would make their real life counterparts squirm, quite often because what started as a joke somehow often ended up being closer to the truth that was perhaps first thought.

Whilst many of the politicians and celebrities portrayed in the programme would publicly say how disgusted they were with the appearance and escapades of their rubber doppelgangers, many also realised that appearing on the show was something of a badge of honour, and quite often could possibly help rather than hinder their perception with the general public.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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I’m In With The InPhone

Posted by Big Boo on August 12th, 2011

British Telecom InPhoneNot to be confused with the now awesomely popular iPhone (blatant plug – don’t forget to download our free FaceMaker iPhone app!) the British Telecom InPhone wasn’t so much a particular handset, or even a range of handsets, it was actually primarily a wall socket!

It may seem hard to get excited about a wall socket (hence the over the top advertising campaign – see below) but it was a very forward thinking idea. Prior to this a telephone was connected directly to the wall, meaning it couldn’t be moved around the house (indeed you probably only had a single telephone in the house), and if the phone itself broke for any reason (probably unlikely, but possible) you’d need an engineer to come out and wire up a new telephone for you.

So along came the InPhone system, and suddenly not only could we have multiple spots around the house where we could plug in a phone, we could more affordably have a telephone in every room of the house (if we so wished of course) and change our handsets too.

In the years to follow it also meant that getting your computer online became a simple matter of connecting your modem to the wall socket. Imagine if we had still had to use one of those ridiculous acoustic coupler modems like Matthew Broderick used in WarGames.

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School Holidays TV Line Ups

Posted by Big Boo on August 3rd, 2011

School Holidays TVToday most of us have access to a vast number of TV channels, whether that be through satellite TV, cable of even Freeview. This means that most kids are already accustomed to having entire channels devoted to kids television running all day, every day. Things were different in the Eighties.

For part of the decade we only had three channels to choose from, and as kids we had to share these channels with all the other programmes intended for every other possible age group and interest. During term time this meant a couple of programmes for the very young around lunch time, and then a block of a couple of hours in the mid to late afternoon.

In the school holidays however, we considered ourselves lucky as both BBC1 and ITV would devote the entire morning to kids TV from around 9am onwards. This was a time when we would be treated to reruns of old cartoons, long running serials and the odd new show if we were really lucky.

Today then, I present to you my memories of watching TV in the mornings during the school holidays. Think of it as a very out of date page of the Radio Times or TV Times from the late Seventies and early Eighties.

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The Price Is Right

Posted by Big Boo on July 29th, 2011

The Price Is RightBack when I were a lad, I have to admit I had somewhat of a fascination with all things American. Be it toys, films, or TV, somehow the US just seemed to have bigger and better versions of everything. In fact, probably about the only area where the UK managed to hold it’s own back then was with music.

I obviously wasn’t the only one in love with American things, as TV producers started to look across the pond for ideas for new shows they could bring over to our shores, and one of the areas they looked to for inspiration was the game show.

One of the first and probably longest running of these shows was Family Fortunes (called Family Feud in the States) but today I’m thinking of a show which came to represent what a lot of people in the UK thought of US television. Big, brash, bold and incredibly glitzy, I give you The Price Is Right.

I remember seeing clips of the US version before it came to the UK, probably on one of those clip shows like Clive James on TV or It’ll Be Alright On The Night. The funniest thing about it was how over excited all the contestants on the show were when they’re names were called out and they were told to “come on down” to play.

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Wash & Go Shampoo

Posted by Big Boo on July 18th, 2011

Vidal Sassoon Wash & GoThere are an awful lot of TV ads that have been ridiculed over the years but one that has probably been ridiculed more than most is the advert for Vidal Sassoon Wash & Go shampoo.

Wash & Go was launched during the Eighties and was aimed at those Yuppie types who lived such incredibly busy lives. After a busy day at work, they hit the gym before hitting the town, but of course they need to look their best. However, having to both wash and condition their hair just took too long. What were they to do?

To the rescue came Vidal Sassoon, a man who could only ever have become a hairdresser with a name like that, with a bottle of Wash & Go, a cunning little green bottle containing a mixture of both shampoo and conditioner! Our Yuppie friends lives were saved!

Now the product itself was probably a very good idea, and in a round about kind of way so was the television advert for it. There were countless ads which all followed the same basic pattern, with some young go-getter (possibly even a famous sportsperson) giving us the same basic script:

“Spend time on shampoo and conditioner? Take two bottles into the shower? Not me! I just want to wash my hair and go, so I use Vidal Sassoon Wash & Go.”

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