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Archive for the ‘TV – Miscellaneous’ Category

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Only When I Laugh

Posted by Big Boo on July 30th, 2010

Only When I LaughOnly When I Laugh was an ITV sitcom that was set in an NHS hospital ward and ran from 1979 until 1982 over four series. It revolved around three inhabitants of the ward, their surgeon and a male orderly. I don’t know what was wrong with these three guys, but it couldn’t have been good if they were in hospital for four years – though none of them really seemed to suffer from much in the way of symptoms!

The first of the patients was Roy Figgis, played by James Bolam. Roy was the trouble maker on the ward. If there was something to complain about he would, and if there was a rule to be broken he would break it. Next was Archie Glover, a role that was just made for Peter Bowles. Archie tried to distance himself from Roy, thinking he was a better class of person. Finally there was Norman Binns (Christopher Strauli) who was the nervous, Mummy’s boy type character.

Their surgeon, Mr. Thorpe, was none other than Richard Wilson, better known as Victor Meldrew from One Foot In The Grave. He would come in and order the patients about, but given how long they were under his care he obviously wasn’t much of a surgeon.

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Posted by Big Boo on May 14th, 2010

sorry ronnie corbettSorry! was a BBC sitcom that starred Ronnie Corbett as a librarian called Timothy Lumsden who was in his forties but still lived at home with his mother and father, who still treated him somewhat as if he was a teenager.

Timothy’s mother was called Phyllis (played by Barbara Lott) and she was most definitely the head of the household. If something didn’t meet with her approval then it wasn’t allowed to happen, especially if it had anything to do with Timothy leaving home.

His father was Sydney (William Moore) who was also much put upon and derided by his wife, so he had evolved a survival scheme of either sleeping whenever possible, or hiding behind a newspaper.

I think Sydney also didn’t really listen properly to things at times, which is why he always came out with his catchphrase “Language Timothy” whenever Tim said something that he thought was rude or inappropriate, when most of the time it wasn’t anything of the sort.

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Hart To Hart

Posted by Big Boo on April 12th, 2010

Hart to HartThere have been many drama TV programmes over the years which deal with the subject of murder. Quite why such a grizzly subject is watched and enjoyed by so many people I don’t know (surely we should all be turned off by the very idea, but it would seem not) but they always seem to do well in the rankings, which is probably why there are so many to choose from.

Your typical show revolving around murder normally fits into one of three categories. It’s either the modern day, realistic drama (e.g. Taggart, Morse) or the Agatha Christie-esque meddling old investigator in a sleepy village (e.g. Miss Marple, Poirot) or the “Invesigative Couple”, where two people form a team to solve murderous crimes that they always just stumble across during their normal lives. Todays post subject falls squarely into that last bracket.

Hart To Hart is a US show about amateur detectives Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. Jonathan (Robert Wagner) is a self made millionaire, whilst his wife Jennifer (Stefanie Powers) is a freelance journalist. The pair travel the world living the high life, but keep finding themselves getting involved in mysteries that more often than not end up with someone getting murdered. The Harts then take it upon themselves to bring the culprit to justice.

Assisting the Harts in their endeavours was the gravelly voiced Max (Lionel Stander) who was a sort of butler come housekeeper come chauffeur, and their dog Freeway.

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Tomorrow’s World

Posted by Big Boo on September 16th, 2009

tomorrows worldIf you need proof that today’s TV schedules are getting more and more dumbed down then look no further than a complete absence of a replacement for Tomorrow’s World.  I can’t think of any other shows which can present and explain scientific breakthroughs clearly yet still remain entertaining.

I don’t have anything against shows like Brainiac and The Gadget Show, which are probably the closest you’ll get to popular science shows today, but blowing up caravans or raving about the latest MP3 player aren’t exactly the stuff of the future.

Tomorrow’s World was aptly named, as it quite often demonstrated technology that seemed futuristic then, but is now available today.  Things like mobile phones, satellite navigation and even the fax machine were all demonstrated on Tomorrow’s World years before they became common place.

The show began airing on BBC1 in 1965, and ran for an impressive 38 years before falling foul to the dreaded ratings curse in 2003, which saw it come to an end.  The first presenter was Raymond Baxter, an ex Spitfire pilot who used a pen to point at interesting parts of whatever gizmo he was talking about.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Brush Strokes

Posted by Big Boo on August 19th, 2009

brush strokesBrush Strokes was a BBC sitcom which first aired in 1986, and I personally remember enjoying watching it whilst doing my homework.  Perhaps having the TV was the reason it always took me so long to write about Ox Bow Lakes or the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

The programme was primarily about a painter named Jacko, played by Karl Howman.  Jacko was a bit of a ladies man, but really you got the impression he really wanted to settle down with someone, but was afraid to do so, and was basically being told as much all the time by his co-worker and brother-in-law Eric.

Jacko and Eric worked for Lionel Bainbridge (played by Gary Waldhorn, who is now probably better known as David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley), and Jacko was dating his daughter Lesley.  Lionel’s wife Veronica also had a bit of a crush on Jacko, despite being old enough to be his mother.

Another of Jacko’s love interests was Sandra, the secretary at Bainbridge’s, and indeed he even got engaged to her during the second series, but this relationship eventually fell apart.

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Posted by Big Boo on July 8th, 2009

interceptorIf Treasure Hunt was cool then Interceptor was awesome!  Interceptor took the flying around in helicopters bit from Treasure Hunt but instead gave the helicopter to a real nasty piece of work who was known as The Interceptor, who was actually Scottish actor Sean O’Kane.

The premise here was that two contestants, one male, one female, were blindfolded and dropped in different locations by helicopter.  Each carried a backpack, one of which contained the prize of £1000, though we didn’t know which was which.  The backpacks were locked so each contestant had to first find the key for their partners backpack, then finally meet up to try and unlock the packs and retrieve the money.

It was the Interceptor’s job to try and stop them.  Looking quite villainous in his black leather trench coat and with a piercing scream, the Interceptor had various forms of transport available to him including a helicopter (piloted by his henchman Mikey), a sports car and a motor bike.  He was also armed with a special infra red gun, which he could shoot at sensors on the contestants backpacks to lock them tight shut, so even the key wouldn’t open it.

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Treasure Hunt

Posted by Big Boo on July 6th, 2009

treasure huntTreasure Hunt was one of my favourite shows from the early days of Channel Four.  It first aired in the final week of 1982 and ran until 1989, and it was a rather more cerebral television game show.  Each week a pair of contestants had to guide Skyrunner Anneka Rice and her helicopter crew around an area of the UK by solving cryptic clues.

The contestants were aided in the studio by former newsreader Kenneth Kendall under the watchful eye of TV-am weather girl Wincey Willis.  Wincey tracked the route of Anneka on a wall mounted map whilst Kenneth helped solve the clues.  It was always claimed that neither Kenneth or Anneka knew where they were supposed to be going, although both gave a fair bit of help to the contestants.

The studio was decorated like a little library with reference books lining the walls, from atlases and encyclopaedias to a few relevant classic novels or some books about the local area in which Anneka was treasure hunting.

The contestants won cash prizes for solving each clue and, most importantly, getting Anneka to the correct location.  If the time ran out before Anneka had the next clue or the final treasure object in her hand the prize was not awarded.

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Blankety Blank

Posted by Big Boo on May 15th, 2009

blankety blankCheesey.  Tacky.  Inane.  Stupid.  Cheap.  Brilliant.  All words that could be used to describe TV game show Blankety Blank.  First airing in 1979 and continuing throughout the whole of the 1980’s, this was a game show that not so much broke the mould, but was made with the mould after it had already been broken.

Initially hosted by Terry Wogan, the Irish TV presenter who was never off the telly back then, the show was a panel based quiz show.  Six celebrities (most of whom were genuinely famous at the time, unlike today’s poor excuse for celebrity line ups) sat in a three up three down set.  Two contestants appeared on a revolving section of floor and the game began.

Terry would ask a phrase with a word missing, replaced by the word blank, and the contestant would think of a word to fill the gap.  Normally these phrases had the potential to be full of innuendo, causing many a smirk on the celebrity panel, yet they were worded so that a clean(ish) answer could always be given.  Each of the panel wrote down their answer on a card, and the contestant had to choose the word which they felt would match with most of the celebrities.  Here is an example:

The vicar is really looking forward to judging the vegetable competition this year.  He can’t wait to get his hands on Miss Chumley’s blanks.

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