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Archive for the ‘TV – Miscellaneous’ 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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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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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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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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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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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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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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Tales of the Unexpected

Posted by Big Boo on October 20th, 2010

Tales of the UnexpectedI’ve previously mentioned that my favourite author as a child was, no doubt in common with many people my age, the one and only Roald Dahl. I first came to his works through Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which was actually written in the Sixties!) and soon was avidly reading any of his books I could get my hands on.

Imagine my excitement then when flicking through the TV Times (as I was wont to do back then) I stumbled across Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. I simply had to watch it, although I could’t quite figure out why it was on at 10pm on a Sunday evening. Why would a kids show be on then?

Of course, I never realised that children’s books were only one part of Roald Dahl’s works, so it felt really unfair to me when Mum and Dad said I wasn’t allowed to watch it.

Fast forward a couple of years and for some reason I had been allowed to stay up late on a Sunday night (it obviously must have been during school holidays or something) and on came Tales of the Unexpected. Yippee! I finally get to see it, I thought, but that feeling of joy soon changed to one of trepidation as I watched the opening credits.

Scary images of cards with skeletons on (Tarot cards of course, though I didn’t know that at the time) and guns appeared on screens, overlaid with the silhouette of a woman dancing all provocatively, all whilst THAT theme tune played along. Combined, music and imagery were enough to make me start feeling uneasy, and I think at that point I may have made some excuse and gone off to bed!

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Moonlighting

Posted by Big Boo on September 6th, 2010

moonlightingRunning from 1985 to 1989, Moonlighting was a very unique show. It was an unusual mix of drama, comedy and romance, all delivered at a shotgun pace by its stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, so you had to pay attention, as there were many scenes where both character were talking nineteen to the dozen and at the same time as each other.

The back story was that Maddie Hayes (Shepherd), a former model, found herself in financial problems after being ripped off by her accountant. Whilst selling off her remaining assets she finds she owns a private detective agency run by David Addison (Willis). Addison manages to persuade her to not sell the business and instead become a full time partner instead, which she agrees to do, renaming the company the Blue Moon Detective Agency, a name which came from the shampoo for which she was famous for advertising.

The partnership, for the most part, worked well, with the pair solving cases amid many a wise crack from Addison and a blossoming, but awkward, romance between the pair.

One of the main reasons for the show being so unusual was that the characters in it quite often started addressing the audience directly, from a raised eyebrow or a knowing look to the camera to full blown dialogue addressing the viewers. Other bizarre things would also suddenly happen, like cast members suddenly leaving the set of a member of the production crew coming on to make an adjustment to the set.

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