TV & Radio Category
Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.
WHILE the world moves on at a terrifying speed, there’s one thing you can always rely on – the BBC’s fondness for wheeling out the cadavers of old books.
If it has hay dappled by golden sun, people heaving their bosoms in bay windows, rugged bastards who own loads of land and randy farmhands, you know that the BBC is going to be all over it like a rash, making cat-ladies and men in corduroy swoon with gusset quivering delight.
ON Top Gear’s colonialism-in-a car-style trip to Myanmar, Jeremy Clarkson looked at the bridge her and his two sidekicks had built over the River Kwai (did you see what they did there?) and observed the “slope” on it.
The show’s executive producer Andy Wilman says it was a “joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it”.
He is velly solly for an offence caused. It was all done accidentally on purpose, maybe.
TODAY I found on the internet: Living Photograph Chris with Teacup:
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Sod the Big Allotment Challenge, bring on the Great British Moan Off
THE BBC seems intent on presenting Britain as a land of twee crafting-obsessed hobbyists whose interests differ only marginally from those of 1950s housewives and labourers making the most of their one day off before the moustachioed factory boss forces them to sever another figure in the lathe. Having only recently finished another bombardment from The Great British Sewing Bee and it’s less soporific sibling The Great British Bakeoff, BBC2 has once again reheated the format for the less boastfully titled Big Allotment Challenge.
‘C’ what they did there?
There’s nothing clever about phoning up John ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ Terry on Chelsea TV and shouting, ‘You’re a fucking cu*t!’
Nothing clever at all.
But you have to admit, it’s pretty funny.
Regretful Reviews: Supertaster Amanda And Paddy Spend 10 Minutes Reviewing A Terry’s Chocolate Orange
IN this regretful review ‘Supertaster Amanda’ and Paddy Uglow spend 10 minutes reviewing a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
I don’t think it’s a parody. It should be. But I just don’t think it is.
ANROAK’S favourite Christian rocker William Tapley, aka the Third Eagle of the Apocalypse, singer of such hits as Denver Airport Is Stuffed With Penises and Gangham, Style and Call Me Maybe Herald Arrival of The Anti-Christ will now sing a song for Lent:
WITH every fall season in the US comes another batch of TV shows doomed to failure. The history of American television is littered with roadkill – most of which we have collectively forgotten. Well, no longer. I have personally scooped up the scattered remains of nine TV shows to share with you. It won’t be pleasant, but you can feel good that it’s all in the name of historical preservation.
Co-Ed Fever (1979)
Animal House was such a big hit at the box office, TV networks thought they could translate that frat house magic for the small screen. They were horribly, horribly mistaken.
ABC’s Delta House was cancelled quickly, but that was nothing compared to Co-Ed Fever which was cancelled after one – count’em ONE – episode!
Turn On! (1969)
Of all the shows that bear the dubious distinction of being cancelled after one episode, the most infamous is the Laugh-In rip-off called Turn-On. It premiered a year after Laugh-In and was actually cut mid episode for being too raunchy. It is the shortest running TV show ever. Complaints poured in as the show was running, and the executives actually decided to pull the plug on the series within the first 17 minutes.
All That Glitters (1977)
Norman Lear (All in the Family, Mary Hartman, Good Times) once again tries to push the envelope. Here we have women who work for a powerful corporation, Globatron; meanwhile, the men are portrayed like 1950s housewives. Oh, so very controversial. Did I mention Linda Gray plays a transgender character?
I think the “testing the limits of convention” shtick had worn thin by the end of the Seventies. People got tired of being challenged, and just wanted mindless entertainment. Thus, All That Glitters was an abysmal failure, and the A-Team a triumph.
Perhaps the worst thing to come of this train wreck is Neil Diamond’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” When Norman Lear decided against using it as a theme song, Neil took it to Babs for a duet. Sadly, she agreed, and mankind has been haunted by this sapfest forever after.
What a Country! (1986)
Remember Yakov Smirnoff? He was the exceedingly not funny Russian comedian constantly pointing out the differences between the US and Soviet Union. His sitcom was the same miserable punchline repeated over and over of misunderstandings of American culture.
“At the grocery store: “Powdered milk, powdered eggs, baby powder . . . what a country!”
Somebody kill this man.
Bridget Loves Bernie (1972)
The production company, Screen Gems, had been churning out light-hearted sitcoms throughout the Sixties with great success (I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Flintstones, Hazel, Gidget, Hazel, Dennis the Menace). Now it was the Seventies – time to get serious and topical. Screen Gems put away childish things and tried for something akin to All in the Family. Bernie is a Jewish cab driver and his wife, Bridget is an Irish-Catholic. Hilarity ensues!
Not surprisingly, the show was a flop and Screen Gems folded and absorbed into Columbia. Even worse, American audiences had their feathers ruffled and Jewish and Catholic groups publicly panned it. The difference: All in the Family openly tried to be confrontational, and people were happy to take a ride through its hazardous terrain; whereas, Bridget Loves Bernie tried to act like Bewitched, like nothing was difficult to swallow, meanwhile playing the card of being “edgy” by having an interfaith marriage.
To add to the mess, the show wasn’t even remotely funny, and the characters were wholly unlikable. Ultimately, the show was doomed anyway. Bernie thought he was too good for television, and eventually Meredith Baxter would publicly reveal he was abusive to her. A disaster in every conceivable way.
I Had Three Wives (1985)
Unfortunately, they aren’t his wives all at the same time – that might’ve actually been interesting. Instead, we get a douche bag detective and his three hot ex-wives (who, let’s face it, never would have been attracted to this loser in the first place). Predictably stale hi-jinx ensue.
When the Whistle Blows (1980)
Synopsis: Unfunny construction worker misfits commit tomfoolery much to the chagrin of their even less funny bosses. Even copious amounts of eye candy in the form of Susan Buckner couldn’t save this dud.
Here’s an episode complete with original commercials entitled “Miss Hard Hat USA” guest starring Barbi Benton.
Shadow Chasers (1985)
Of the 106 shows on the 3 big US networks in the 1985-86 season, Shadow Chasers finished dead last. It was up against a couple heavy hitters, Magnum PI and The Cosby Show, so maybe it deserved better. The series was created by Brian Grazier (Imagine Entertainment co-founder and the man behind Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind). So, perhaps it had potential – although, this clip seems to prove otherwise….
The Two of Us (1981)
A single mother places an ad for a housekeeper, and who should answer but Peter Cook. What follows is an endless stream of jokes highlighting the differences between stereotypical British culture and stereotypical American culture. It’s so tiresome and predictable it’ll have you yearning for Yakov Smirnoff…. and I don’t need to tell you that if you’re yearning for Yakov, you’re in a very dark place indeed.
THE painter Pablo Picasso once asked who can see the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter.
Popular horror films and television programs have long highlighted all three possibilities, but focused most intently, perhaps, on the mirror.
FEEL free, at any point during this article, to tut to yourself “Cuh! Including yourself are we, Corden?”
James Corden has hit out at some of the “horrible” people who attended the Brit Awards while he was doing a very thorough job hosting the dreadful ceremony.
After four gigs, Corden decided to step down after the last one. Talking about his experiences at the annual hanging of pop music, during Michael McIntyre’s chat show, Corden was critical of some of the people who sit on the tables at the event.
“It was horrid,” Corden told McIntyre. “It is so much fun the week leading up to it and you get to see the bands, and then it is live and you are in this room full of people that don’t listen to anything you say. People who beg for a ticket turn up and pretend they are too cool to be there. They are all chatting, drinking and eating.”
FOR years, David Letterman has been a televisual tour-de-force. However, the rug was getting pulled from under his feet, thanks to being old-school.
Of course, the only thing more old-school than Letterman himself, is the business he works in.
I Was G-Man Jerry Cotton: When Hedy Lamarr Performed The First On-Screen Orgasm And Jane Powell Grew Up
SO. ‘What does the music for a 1965 West German movie about a New York FBI agent sound like?’ asks James Lileks? That question to you, special agent Jerry Cotton, hero of Operation 100 Dollar Gang.
Cotton was played by US actor and all-round beefcake George Nader. You may know him from his 1958 melodrama The Female Animal, starring 1940s sex symbol Hedy Lamarr and actress-singer Jane Powell, pictured below taking advantage of the warm California winter to relax at pool side on Jan. 16, 1958.
UNSURPRISINGLY, Kylie Minogue has announced she will not be returning to The Voice.
The show, which has completely failed to set the world on fire, mainly thanks to being somehow more cynical than The X Factor, thanks to it’s slapped-on veneer of authenticity, has been plodding along with Tom Jones looking confused, will.i.am. being oddly adorable like someone made a human tamagotchi and then there’s Ricky from Kaiser Chiefs who is what he is.
Kylie however, was a surprise inclusion, replacing Jessie J. Surely she was too successful and busy to be pissing around with a programme like The Voice?
Well, file it under An Experiment That Didn’t Work as she won’t be coming back for a second stint, saying that the timing of her tour is getting in the way. That’s useful and convenient isn’t it?
Admit it Guardianista Handwringers, You Love Game of Thrones For The Sex And Violence…Just Like The Rest Of Us
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Admit it Guardianista handwringers, you love Game of Thrones for the sex and violence…just like the rest of us
THAT irritating rubbing noise you can hear is the handwringing from British TV reviewers who love their restarted weekly dose of Game of Thrones but must make sure to tell their readers how appalled they are by the objectification of women and the gratuitous violence. That they remain surprised that the fourth season of the show for which the neologism “sexposition” was coined hasn’t suddenly converted to Guardian approved chin-stroking and Nordic knitwear covered leads is a little baffling.
LIFE is indeed unfair and it is entirely true that some of us lose our jobs after our looks start to fade. The latest little scare story being that we don’t have enough middle aged and older women on the tellie, telling us all how the world is in the news and the like.
To which there’s a pretty robust response. If you originally get your job because you’re pretty, somewhat toothsome on the eye, then it’s a bit odd to complain about losing said job when you’re less easy on said eyes. As Michael Buerk has been pointing out:
BBC veteran Michael Buerk says TV presenters who got their jobs through their beauty have no right to complain if they’re axed when their looks fade.
While the anchorman has expressed his satisfaction that broadcasters are now featuring more and more experienced talent, such as Great British Bake-Off presenter Mary Berry, he says many of those that complain about ageism should not have been given their roles in the first place.
He said: ‘”Presenter” in any case is a very recent job description dreamt up to provide somebody who fronts a programme without any special reason for being on it.
‘And if you got the job in the first place mainly because you look nice, I can’t see why you should keep it when you don’t.’
WITH Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) shattering box office records this weekend, it is an opportune time to recall that this iconic Marvel superhero — and symbol of non-ironic Americana — has not always been treated very well by Hollywood.
In particular, the 1970s and 1980s proved a difficult span for the patriotic Cap, who had made a career in his Marvel comic-book of smashing Nazis and communists.
But first, the 1944 Republic serial, Captain America, created a new character and origin for the superhero.
VINCE Avila has watched series 1-3 of Games of Thrones and charted who has shagged who in the swords and chairs Petri dish.
Joffrey Baratheon is away.
Spotter: Cool Material
THOUGHT For The Day: Champagne, By Jim Jarmusch:
JON Ham aged well. In the mid 1990s, Ham appeared on the TV dating show The Big Date, hosted by Mark Walberg.The man who would knock them bandy as Mad Men’s Don Draper strikes out.
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: A Harsh Handbrake Turn – From How I Met You Mother To How Tim Hetherington Lost His Life
I’VE been thinking about bad endings this week; one in fiction and one, dreadfully, tragically real. Pulling together the finale of How I Met Your Mother, which used a by-no-means unexpected passing to tie up loose ends, and the real death of Tim Hetherington, the astounding documentary photographer whose life is the subject of Which Way Is The Front Line From Here?, in one TV column may seem crass. It probably is. But that’s how TV works, mashing together different stories, shifting tone more awkwardly than a local radio DJ.
If you were engaged in idle channel surfing, Sebastian Junger’s film on the life and death of Hetherington, his friend and collaborator on the Academy Award-nominated Restrepo, would have pulled you up short. Named after a casual remark made by documentary photographer as he and a group of other journalists made their way into the Libyan town of Misrata, the film paints a picture of a man who had to document the world and its most dangerous stories even when he knew he should stop.
WE might accept as axiomatic the belief that patience is a virtue. However, over the decades, several notable and even celebrated science fiction TV series have failed to live up to this ideal.
Instead of demonstrating patience and prudence, their makers have instead demonstrated radical impatience, and — after promising first season sorties — instituted sweeping changes that, in some cases, threw away the baby with the bath water.
Gypsies On Benefits And Proud: The Daily Star Flogs Channel 5′s Benefits Street For ‘Sponging’ Foreigners
THE Daily Star once told its readers to vote for the EDL. Todays its anti-foreigner message is cloaked in a front page about gloating, freeloading Romanians:
The Star’s (prop. Richard Desmond) headline is linked to a Channel 5 (prop. Richard Desmond) documentary. The paper tells us:
TV documentary exposes how gypsies are happy to exploit British benefit system
TO the delight of virtually everyone, the late, great Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988 – 1999) seems to be experiencing something of a pop culture resurgence these days.
April 1st of this year saw former Mystery Science Theater 3000 stars Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy return to top form in National Geographic’s Total Riff-Off, and the cable network Retro TV recently announced that it will begin airing MST-3K reruns starting July 5, 2014.
IT’S over a week since Line of Duty came to its sometimes thrilling, sometimes galling conclusion and even now the face of Lindsey Denton as the cell door closed keeps drifting onto the screen of the busted CRT in my mind’s eye. The second series of Jed Mercurio’s show about bent cops and the marginally less bent cops who set out to catch them was a thing of beauty. Ungrateful moaning whiners – I speak as I find – have taken to comment sections to wail that the finale was unsatisfying and that using the classic “what happened next” captions to bring it to a close was cheap. They’re spoiled. Episode 5 was, in some ways, the cataclysmic moment of the series, with Episode 6 acting as a teeth chattering comedown.
If Line Of Duty had featured sullen Swedes and a more refined selection of knitwear, The Guardian would have commissioned a ream of pieces on its brilliance rather than an excellent but neglected series blog and Paul Mason harrumphing about the ending. And if, the home of Scandi Crime obsession and Wire zealotry didn’t give the series or Mercurio enough plaudits, the BBC is also conspiring to bugger up its success by failing to quickly commission Season 3 and get more Mecurio projects on the slate. Instead, he’s in the warm embrace of Sky – a new medical drama is on the horizon – and Line of Duty 3 is in the to-do list of whoever the BBC decides will be the next BBC2 controller.
GLASGOW has a tough reputation. In 1982, the BBC documentary department went on safari in Glasgow, reporting on the city’s gangs.
The show focused on the Barrowfield is an area of east Glasgow in Camlachie, close to Celtic Park, home of Celtic Football Club.
The study on urban decay and life was split in four parts:
BLIGHT, WORK, THE SCHEME and THE BOND.