Sunday, 20 May 2018
First viewed : 7 January 1992
The late, great Barry Norman was a superb critic even if you didn't always agree with his verdicts, but as an interviewer he left a lot to be desired and this was the first of two that particularly besmirched his reputation.
Michelle Pfeiffer was in town to talk about Frankie and Johnny, the film in which she was supposed to look a bit dowdy which she " achieved" through not wearing as much make up as usual. According to Norman, delays in the film reaching the UK meant she had lost interest in promoting it and the interview was going a bit flat so he changed tack and started talking about how beautiful she was. Naturally, Pfeiffer perked up a bit when this subject came up and the interview became near-unwatchable as Norman fawned over her. Reportedly, his wife wasn't too chuffed when she saw it.
Saturday, 19 May 2018
First viewed : January 1992
This was writer Robert Banks Stewart's follow up to Bergerac which ended the year before. It was much lighter in tone about a psychic duo who shuttled between the UK snd France both helping and hindering the local police forces. Much of the publicity focused on the return to British TV of singer-comedienne Millicent Martin as Mrs Moon. Martin made her name as the singer on sixties satire show That Was The Week That Was but hadn't been seen since the early seventies after subsequent vehicles failed to make the same impression and had been living in the U.S. since 1978. I had a brief dip into the series but didn't like it and it seems I wasn't alone as plans for a second series were quietly dropped. Banks Stewart wouldn't have another show on TV for nearly a decade.
Friday, 18 May 2018
First viewed : January 1992
This was a lightly comic drama written by the Marks and Gran duo ( Birds of a Feather, The New Statesman ) starring Adam Faith as Frank Carver, a self-made Cockney property developer who forms an unlikely relationship with po-faced charity worker Tessa ( Zoe Wanamaker ). I wasn't grabbed by the concept but tuned in for episode 6 because it featured Arkie Whiteley as a solicitor with whom Frank has a one night stand while Tessa is away in Chad. She appeared again a few episodes later when Frank's great dockside deal went south. Faith's easy charm carried the series but I still wasn't impressed enough to stay with it and never saw any of the subsequent two seasons.
Thursday, 17 May 2018
First viewed : 28 November 1991
This was Channel 4's answer to BBC2's Timewatch, a history series of hour-long documentaries with an emphasis on suppressed stories from the past
Ratlines ( 28 November 1991 )
The first episode I saw was a timely examination of the role of the Vatican in enabling Croation war criminals, most notably the brutal dictator Ante Pavelic, to escape justice at the end of World War Two. In doing so. it provided ample justification for Serbian reluctance to countenance the re-creation of a Croatian state. Another part of the programme I recall is the friendly links between Pavelic and the papal aide Montini who later became pope Paul VI.
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
First viewed : 12 November 1991
This was a late night treat on BBC One , an edited broadcast of the American singer-songwriter's recent concert at Birmingham Symphony Hal , part of a tour to promote a greatest hits compilation which ad just crashed the Top 10, his first appearance in the Bitish charts since the mid-seventies. The 52-year old had also recently been given a wild card appearance on Top of the Pops. Sedaka was in good voice and played the hits with gusto.
Tuesday, 15 May 2018
First viewed : 9 November 1991
This Granada series was very much in the same vein as Best and Marsh-the Perfect Match, inviting the England management duo to share their football nostalgia although the host was Elton Welsby rather than Tony Wilson . Unlike the earlier series, I couldn't find any stills or footage, reflecting a collective will to forget about the ill-fated reign of Turnip Head and his dubiously qualified buddy.
Two things stick in my mind from the show. One was being asked about their footballing heroes and Taylor picking some clogger from Grimsby Town in the fifties of whom no footage survived although the research team dug up a photograph.
The other was a discussion on strikers. When asked for their nomination for best striker , McMenemy asked for a clarification on the criteria then said " until you mentioned technique I'd have said Ted McDougall". McDougall was a prolific goalscorer in the lower divisions but failed to impress as Frank O Farrell's flagship signing at Manchester United . He later rediscovered his goalscoring touch at Norwich and McMenemy's Southampton. The discussion hinged on his poor first touch, McMenemy describing him as having "ten to two feet" , and singleminded approach to goalscoring. Apparently he wasn't happy if the team won without his name appearing on the scoresheet.
Friday, 11 May 2018
First viewed : 5th October 1991
This was nothing to do with the Radio Two show of the same name but ten half hour collections of performances from the archives loosely grouped by genre : beat groups, folkies, pyschedelia etc. Many of them have become very familiar over the years given the Beeb's notorious wiping of its archives in the sixties and seventies leaving a restricted pool from which to draw material.
The highlight of the series was the Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd's encounter with Austrian musicologist Hans Keller on a programme called The Look of the Week. The group got to perform Astronomy Domine but at the price of being savaged by the lugubrious and conceited music professor. What amuses me most about the footage is that Keller introduces them and says to the audience "I don't want to prejudice you , hear them and see them first" but then goes on to say "To my mind, there is continuous repetition and proportionately they are a bit boring". It would be interesting to hear his idea of a biased introduction. He goes on to interview Roger Waters and a still compos mentis Syd Barrett and castigates them for being too loud -"I can't bear it". The guys, even the notoriously prickly Waters, are surprisingly polite to him under the onslaught.