TV & Radio Category
Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.
FOR those of you not au fait with Sky Sport News, Jim White is the man who “understands” from “Sky sources” that he has hours of airtime to fill until a team owned by a billionaire actually buys a footballer from another team owned by a billionaire.
Once upon a time White was just another pundit with big black cans on his ears and a windproofed ‘SKY SPORTS’ branded microphone in his paws.
TISAWAS does the ice-bucket challenge:
Can you name all the bucketeers…?
James Alexander Gordon and the poetry of the pools
BBC announcer James Alexander Gordon, whose voice was synonymous with the football results, has died at the age of 78.
Although he started reading the results in 1973, in the heyday of flares and platform boots, he seemed to personify an earlier short-back-and-sides era, when the ‘wireless’ was still the main conduit for live football. A time when teams played at the same time – 3pm on a Saturday – allowing for a comprehensive results service at 5 O’Clock, heralded by Sports Report’s stirring theme tune, ‘Out of the Blue’ played by the Central RAF band (and here by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)…
These were not any old results, like those garbled and sometimes unreliable missives that sprang from the manic teleprinter…
No, these were the CLASSIFIED football results, and their significance – aside from the footballing issues resting upon them – was that the football pools relied upon them.
The pools were the national lottery of their day, able to change people’s lives at a stroke. Dreams could come true, but so could nightmares, as in the case of Viv ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ Nicholson…
Up and down the land, people would sit glued to the radio, in a quasi-religious shared national experience (in the days before people spoke in such terms), checking their pools coupons to see if they had predicted the requisite results to hit the jackpot. Gordon said he remembered complaints that results could be difficult to follow, and he is credited with innovating a form of inflection that indicated the outcome of the game, and made it easier to follow while studying a piece of paper full of tiny boxes.
Here he talks about his distinctive style…
But even those not interested in gambling – or football itself, for that matter – couldn’t fail to feel some affection for the litany of names, which ranged from the legendary to the most obscure creatures lurking in the depths of the lower English and Scottish leagues. Its soothing effect is rivaled only by the poetry of the shipping forecast.
Here the mellifluous Charlotte Green, successor to Gordon, applies her technique to the sacred text…
And here Mark E Smith tries his hand at it. Radio announcing’s loss was music’s gain, although listening to the auld curmudgeon’s idiosyncratic efforts, some of us live in hope that he will return to this fertile field in the not-too-distant future…
DID you find the death of Robin Williams entertaining? Fox News sure did:
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: forget football, forget athletics, it’s all about sheds
Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year (Channel 4)
With Eurovision been and gone, Britain’s Got Talent over and X Factor still over the horizon, I’ve been jonesing for a televised competition to root for. Alright, so there was The World Cup and The Commonwealth Games but neither of can compare with…Shed of The Year. Presented by the ever-enthusiastic George Clarke as part of his Amazing Spaces series, the competition throws light on a hidden sub-species in British life – the Sheddies.
A trailer has appear which shows a historic collaboration episode between The Simpsons and Family Guy. Of course, everything ever is ‘historic’ because it is something that happened in the whole of man’s annals, however, this one is of note because it is bound to make two hugely popular things and tarnish them slightly.
The special episode sees the Simpson and Griffin families meet up, and they make pals and of course, fall out.
The Griffins visit Springfield and Peter and Homer bond over food, planes while Bart and Stewie skateboard and prank call Moe. It’s all the stuff you’d expect.
The fall-out seems to occur over beer differences.
So, with that, let us look at the (long) trailer of The Simpsons and Family Guy, and also, a load of other brilliant and weird crossover shows.
You’ll be surprised at which of your favourites have locked antlers.
Simpsons vs Family Guy
Beer. Slapstick. Tasteless jokes. Noticing skin colour differences. It’s all here.
Roseanne vs Absolutely Fabulous
Here’s a wonderful thing – two of the funnest, best and daftest TV shows ever written, crash landing into each other and probably one of the most successful crossovers. The perfume scene is still wonderful.
Mork & Mindy vs Happy Days
Many don’t know that Mork & Mindy was one of the many spin-off shows from Happy Days, so it is always worth showing off the times The Fonz and Mork met. It isn’t particularly good, but it is fascinating to watch – like a lorry load of pigs crashing on a dual carriageway.
Fresh Prince vs Diff’rent Strokes
This whole mash-up was designed for one joke and one joke alone. You can watch the clip below and wait for it, if you haven’t guessed what it is.
Batman vs Green Hornet
Batman met Bruce Lee in an episode of the show which involved a daft fiendish plan designed to stop super heroes from doing their job by turning them into giant postage stamps. Seriously. There’s actually two versions of the episode, where the heroes swap roles for their respective shows.
Power Rangers vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Okay. What can you say about lycra-clad kung-fu getting helped out by three zany turtles who can also do martial arts? Nothing. Watch the clip and enjoy the cheapness.
Cheers vs St Elsewhere
Two gigantic, iconic shows wander into each other, with some of the St Elsewhere crew turning up at the Cheers pub for a drink. This kind of thing should happen more often.
Ally McBeal vs The Practice
Two of the biggest shows in America came together for a special which will have passed most UK viewers by because we didn’t give any love to The Practice.
Magnum PI vs Murder She Wrote
Seriously. While this is not the best video, this is proof that Magnum once worked with Jessica Fletcher. That’s amazing.
The Mill (Channel 4)
Penguin Post Office (BBC 2)
Outside the sun was shining, inside The Mill was on the telly, dragging all light and hope from the world. The first series of Channel 4’s historical drama based on the archives of the Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire was one of the broadcaster’s biggest hits in 2013, presumably acting as a kind of televisual cosh for viewers. Series 2 is shaping up to be no less gloomy with a script that levers in historical references with all the skill of a bemused GCSE student flicking through Cliff Notes.
LONDON Live has really nailed this ‘appointment to view television’ thing:
STUDENTS get drunk, do stupid things and feel homesick: those were the shocking secrets uncovered in the first episode of The Secret Life of Students, Channel 4’s latest slice of unflinching voyeurism. While it focused on a clutch of freshers at Leicester University, the twist this time was that the programme makers were able to delve into their subjects’ social media postings, texts and Google searches, flashing their contents up on screen as the unsurprising stories unfolded.
MONKEY Dust foretold the ISIS jihadis – Black Country chapter:
The Flying Circus Comes To Town: Python’s hidden gems
THE Flying Circus is back in town, for one last hurrah – or rather a string of them – at London’s O2. The famous old sketches will be enacted again, and the audience will be word-perfect even is the performers aren’t.
The story can be found in a special programme here…
In honour of the reunion, but in the spirit of discovery, we offer a selection of the Pythons’ most obscure back pages….
The album that never was
Monty Python albums weren’t just a way of reliving the sketches in the days before video recorders; they were classics in their own right. Far from being mere cash-ins, they were actually superior to the TV shows, and played a crucial but unsung role in establishing the Monty Python phenomenon.
Back in the day, a generation of schoolboys learned French verbs and poetry by rote, then spent their spare time committing Monty Python sketches to memory in similar dead-parrot fashion, using the tie-in albums and books for homework. Meanwhile in America, where the shows were virtually unknown, the records (on the ‘progressive’ Charisma label) became an integral part of the post-Sixties ‘stoner’ culture. FM djs gave them airplay, and rock stars championed them at every opportunity. They were known as ‘The Pythons’, which sounded like a rock group, and before long they were de facto rock stars themselves, with sell-out live tours and screaming fans. There was even a live album, replete with extra swearing. (The albums were quite risqué, in marked contrast to the strict censorship of the BBC at the time.)
HOW do you cut a very tall tree in a very tight space. Scott Augur explains:
“I walked around this thing with a plumb bob. I got back at various angles and looked at it. There was no limb weight to one side or the other. It was just, if you were going to try to shoot a tree between two buildings with five inches of clearance on both sides, this would be the tree to use,” he said.
Measure twice, cut once.
THE Dispatches team over at Channel 4 has uncovered shocking evidence of the way that Perrier is woefully overpriced, actually being more expensive than honest to goodness beer and cider. Clearly the Frenchies are simply ripping us all off:
An investigation by Channel 4′s Dispatches found three supermarket chains selling lager cheaper than sparkling Perrier water.
Tesco sold multipacks of Fosters, Carlsberg and Carling lager at 69p a pint and Strongbow cider for 65p a pint. This compared with Perrier mineral water costing 73p a pint.
In Asda, the same beers could be bought for 72p a pint, compared with 76p a pint for Perrier.
And at Sainsbury’s, 20 cans of Fosters lager was 72p a pint while 15 cans of Strongbow cost £8, equating to 69p a pint, 7p less than a pint of sparkling water.
Alternatively of course the Dispatches team are simply being dipsticks. Perrier is a luxury good: a Veblen Good even. It is in fact just water with bubbles put into it: it’s not naturally bubbly at all. And they deliberately make it and advertise it as being expensive. The point being that no one actually likes the stuff it’s just there to be expensive. So that when you buy it people can see that you’re the sort of person who buys expensive bottled water. That’s how it differentiates itself from the supermarket bottled water which is 19p for two litres in the same aisle.
PAUSE for thought?
Hello… and… uh… welcome to… er….welcome to… uh… this… uh… article… in which we, er…. will be… uh… touching… on… an issue which… er, which is… uh… becoming increasingly prevalent in… the…uh… in the… broadcast… media.
Listen to Radio 4’s Today or PM flagship current affairs programmes and you will hear the mellifluous Scottish tones of two presenters in an increasingly intensive competition to break the world record for dead air by the simple expedient of… pausing… between… almost every… other… word.
But this phenomenon is nothing to do with uncertainty, or nervousness, or an inability to string two words together. These are assured, experienced, eloquent, senior journalists.
So why do they do it?
WATCHING Meet The Mormons (Channel 4) felt like taking part in a bizarre game of Where’s Wally? as the camera caught glimpses of the Church PR people lurking just out of shot. There are 200,000 Mormons in the UK and the elders at the church’s Salt Lake City HQ seemed to think giving director Lynn Alleway access to a young British missionary could up that number. But for viewers whose knowledge of the sect stretched no further than Osmonds, this hour-long look at 20-year-old Josh from Sussex beginning his two years mandatory missionary work was far from edifying.
A representative from the Church was always just out of shot and often creeping into view as Alleway worried that the young man was struggling to cope with his challenge. We saw him in tears early on before resigning himself to the constant attention of his mentor, a Swiss missionary named Elder Bauman who was not much older than him but far steelier in his determination to knock on every door in Leeds and remain upbeat despite the constant knock-backs.
FROM the Sonny & Cher show, here’s mom and Chastity (now Chaz) before the female-to-male gender transition. Is it wrong that I still find Cher sexy in a Tweety Bird outfit? Don’t answer that.
But do enjoy a handful of great publicity photographs from the 1960s – 1980s. Some are odd, some awesome – all are interesting.
AS impossible as it is for me to believe, Glen Larson’s version of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 – 1981) turns thirty-five years old this year.
Today, this cult-TV series is often remembered for its spandex fashions, its gorgeous female stars and guest stars, its penis-headed robot Twiki (Felix Silla/Mel Blanc), and its oppressive re-use of familiar or “stock” visual effects in the space dogfights.
Though Buck Rogers in the 25th Century had its weak installments, for certain (like the dreadful “Space Rockers”) it was also a light science fiction series — a romp, essentially — and the series is recalled fondly by fans on those terms too.
EPIC Intros presents Michael Parks in Then Came Bronson:
“Hang in there”
THIS is an extremely strange complaint from the BBC here, that Eastenders is just too white for the part of London that it’s supposedly about:
EastEnders is ‘twice as white’ as the real East End according to the head of the BBC Trust, who has called for the corporation to do more to ‘provide an authentic portrayal’ of modern Britain
Acting head of the BBC Trust Diane Coyle, said the popular BBC One soap is also too young and has too many people born in the UK to be an accurate reflection of an area such as Walthamstow, one of the boroughs on which the fictional Albert Square is based.
In her first public speech since taking over as chair of the BBC’s governing body Miss Coyle – who is in the running to replace Lord Patten as head of the trust – said the programme did not provide an accurate picture of modern day Britain.
JEREMY Paxman has taken his quizzical expression and sardony to pastures news. The BBC’s Newsnight will find a new bullshit wrangler.
Paxman became the best thing on Newsnight. He set its knowing, sneery tone. He’ll be missed by many.
So. Let’s see his best 8 moments:
The Michael Howard Loop
THE success rate of old television shows brought to the big screen is a sad one, to say the least. Time after time, great shows have been adapted to film with less than stellar results. Sure, there have been a few good ones, but they’re the exception, not the rule. Here are some of the tragic attempts made in the last decade or so. This list is by no means comprehensive. There are many more examples of Hollywood’s inability to get it right, but this is all I can ask of you to stomach in one sitting.
Fat Albert (2004)
I’m sure there are people who enjoyed the Fat Albert remake… but then, I’m sure there are also people who like to get peed on.
To quote Roger Ebert’s review of North (1994): “I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.”
The Honeymooners (2005)
Science Fact of the Day: If there exists an alternate universe composed entirely of anti-matter, then the greatest film ever made in that universe is The Honeymooners.
Get Smart (2008)
This film adaptation somehow managed to discard all the camp humor and charm while retaining every shred of stupidity. (slow clap)
The Flintstones (1994)
Charlie’s Angels (2000)
The Charlie’s Angels film adaptation bears just enough resemblance to the TV series to be insulting, but also finds new ways to be terrible in its own right. Thanks to tons of hype, it made big piles of money on its release… but as time wears on, it sinks deeper and deeper beneath the bargain bin; forever forgotten unwanted.
The Mod Squad (1999)
The Mod Squad adaptation could have been good. Just a few minor tweaks like rewriting the script from scratch and firing everyone involved is all that it would have taken to make this better.
McHale’s Navy (1997)
To paraphrase Mark Twain’s review of an Ambrose Bierce book: “For every laugh that is in this movie, there are five blushes, ten shudders and a vomit.”
The Avengers (1998)
The Avengers adaptation is a pus-filled bedsore of a film that should be avoided like an exploding bag of hepatitis. But, otherwise, it’s not too bad.
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
Say what you will about the original series, it was pretty funny. The film version, however, seems to be saturated in some sort of comedy-repellant.
My Favorite Martian (1999)
To quote TIME magazine’s review of the silver screen adaptation of Myra Breckinridge: This film is “about as funny as a child molester.”
Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
To compare the Dukes of Hazzard TV show to the movie is to understand the difference between lovably dumb and abrasively retarded.
I Spy (2002)
What a hot mess this was. But let’s not lose sight that there have been some damn good adaptations as well (ex. Star Trek, The Addams Family, Mission Impossible, Starsky & Hutch).
The problem is there seems to be no end to the awful adaptions. There’s Steve Martin’s horrific fail, Sgt. Bilko (1996), Will Smith’s nightmare rehash of Wild Wild West (1999), Matthew Broderick’s retarded abyss known as Inspector Gadget (1999), Tom Hanks’s foray into fecal cinema, Dragnet (1987), Disney’s steaming turd called George of the Jungle (1997), Will Farrell’s waking nightmare, Land of the Lost (2009), Johnny Depp’s public humiliation, Dark Shadows (2012) ….. you get the picture.
What happens to these film adaptations that everything that was good about the original series is sucked out? Hollywood seems to think that jettisoning the heart and soul of a TV series is okay; what matters is retaining the “brand”’. Thus, only the name and appearance stay the same. Yet, what made the originals so enduring are lost in the shuffle as these misguided film adaptations shit themselves as they fall off the cliff.
Mic Wright’s Remotely Famous: Beckham on a bike versus berks in their bedrooms
FOOTBALL. Football. Football. Adrian Chiles trying to be funny. Football. Football. Football. Gary Lineker marshalling his panel of experts like a sedated zookeeper at the world’s most boring chimps’ tea party. Football. Football. Football. Betting ads. Football.
There’s your all-purpose review of the next month’s worth of television as the rest of the schedule is buried beneath the sheer weight of balls being bashed our way from Brazil. We’ll get every spit, cough and fart from the England camp until our inglorious departure from the tournament and reporters will continue to be baffled as to why the residence of Brazil’s shanty towns aren’t entirely delighted about millions of pounds being spent on facilities they’ll never benefit from.
CAR crash TV: