Tuesday, 17 July 2018
First viewed : 24 September 1993
I'm pretty sure I had a look at this shortlived ITV show which had a similar format to Crimewatch but featured missing persons rather than criminals ( an overlap was very likely I'm guessing ). I can't remember any particular case though.
Monday, 16 July 2018
First viewed : Uncertain
Auntie's Bloomers was one of a number of new vehicles for Terry Wogan after the demise of his chat show. It was basically a BBC version of It'll Be Alright on the Night with Wogan a less irritating Dennis Nordern providing linking commentary to a parade of humorous outtakes. I particularly liked the Rastafarian rapper who walked into a tree mid-performance.
Sunday, 15 July 2018
First viewed : 18 September 1993
This Saturday night drama series starred Michael Elphick as a recovering alcoholic and former Fleet St reporter now running his own press agency from Darlington ( some of it filmed near the old football ground ) with the aid of photographer Snappy ( Ian Bartholomew ) and secretary Alice ( Julie Graham ). I watched the bulk of the first season without really warming to it. The main problem of course was that it's not easy to love someone who makes their living, at least in part, documenting "other people's nightmares". When the short-tempered Harry berates Snappy for his reluctance to take pictures of a motorway pile-up there's no other response possible than complete contempt.
The storylines I recall are :
- Harry going to prison for contempt of court
- Harry becoming embroiled with the nuclear police
- A team of grave-robbers potentially facilitating an outbreak of bubonic plague
- A story about a group of student prostitutes. Snappy's discomfiture during his "hands-on" investigation was a series highlight.
Saturday, 14 July 2018
First viewed : 6 September 1993
More wildlife here. The Savage Paradise was a set of wildlife documentaries filmed in Africa. The episode I recall featured a pack of wild dogs in which the film-makers had identified a particular conflict between two sisters posing a particular threat to their cubs.
Friday, 13 July 2018
First viewed : 19 July 1993
This early evening BBC 1 wildlife documentary looked at the gathering of the world's biggest fish - the harmless, plankton-feeding whale shark - off the coast of Western Australia. The documentary captured a nocturnal feeding frenzy not seen om film before.
Thursday, 12 July 2018
First viewed : 18 July 1983
This was a four part documentary about the career of the recently retired Labour leader, made in the wake of his defeat in the 1992 general election. Whether a failed opposition leader really deserved four 50 minute episodes was a question that was fairly raised at the time.
I knew the producer of the programme, Labour hack Simon Buckby , from university and we didn't get on to put it mildly. I wasn't predisposed to like this as a consequence but it was actually quite good as Kinnock was prepared to give an honest account of his many mistakes. The latter episodes came to seem like one extended mea culpa, about his cowardly failure to call for a ballot during the Miner's Strike despite his "utter detestation" of Arthur Scargill, his calamitous mishandling of the Westland affair in the Commons which let Margaret Thatcher off the hook and of course the Sheffield rally when he forgot he was a politician and "started to behave like a rock star". I remember Dennis Skinner being particularly scathing about that.
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
First viewed : 9 July 1993
Terry Wogan must have been laughing his socks off after the early evening soap that replaced him was axed after one torrid year of unceasing bad publicity. It's second only to Triangle in the annals of BBC TV disasters. The show got off to a bad start with audiences reacting badly to a character called Bunny, a middle aged slob with a teenage wife. It's hard to believe the writers really thought viewers could warm to a near-paedophile character. Added to that were too many inexperienced actors and persistent sound problems and the show never really recovered.
The ratings were actually improving when incoming Controller Alan Yentob decided to cancel the show. I decided to watch the last one out of sheer schadenfreude. The only thing I remember is that the show's JR character Marcus Tandy ( played by Jesse Birdsall, the one actor to draw positive comments from critics ) reappeared after he was supposed to be dead, yes that old chestnut.