Friday, 29 May 2015

149 The Black Arrow

First  watched  : Uncertain

This   ITV  drama  ( 1972-75 ) was  based , for  its  first  series  at  least,  on  a   not  very  well  regarded  Robert  Louis  Stevenson  novel  set  in  the  War  of  the  Roses,  and  concerned  a  disinherited  young  nobleman  Richard  Shelton  taking  revenge  on  his  enemies  by  joining  with  a  band  of  outlaws,  the  Black  Arrow  fellowship. My  clearest  memory of  the  series  is  the  villain  played  by  William  Squire  ( Hunter  in  Callan )  getting  one  in  the  neck   after  which , untethered  from  Stevenson  , it  rather  dwindled  into  a  pallid  version   of   Robin  Hood. A  strong  cast  also  included  Play  School's  Gordon  Rollings  as  the  gang's  Friar  Tuck  figure, a  young  Nigel  Havers  and  Sally  James  unveiling  the  cleavage  soon  to  be  a   memorable  feature  of  Tiswas.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

148 Issi Noho

First  watched : 1974

I  have  only  very  vague  memories  of  this  Jackanory -style  ITV  series  about  a  badly  drawn  panda  who  had  magic  powers  if  he  could  solve  the  aritjmetical  problems  on  his  magic  number  squares. It  was  narrated  by  the  author  of  the  books  on  which  it  was  based, Keith  Chatfield  ( also  responsible  for  Hatty  Town )  With  its  all  too  obvious  aim  of  getting  kids  to  engage  in  one  of  my  least  liked  subjects  this  was  never  going  to  be  a  favourite  of  mine.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

147 Champion the Wonder Horse

First  watched : Uncertain

More  half-interested  holiday  viewing  here.  I  remember  the  theme  song  much  more  clearly  than  the  drama.   This  was  a  re-titled  fifties  show  originally  called  "The  Adventures  of  Champion"   and  based  on  the  equine  companion (  played  by  more  than  one  animal )  of  film  and  TV  cowboy  Gene  Autry. Autry  was  credited  as  a  producer  but  didn't  appear  on  the  show  which  centered  on  a  young  boy  Ricky  played by  Barry  Curtis. Champion  had  no  special  powers  as  such  but  always  had  some  role  in  rescuing  Ricky  from  bad  guys, tight  spots  etc. 26  black  and  white  episodes  were  made  in  total.

146 Hickory House

First  watched  : 1973

This  ITV  kids  show  went  out  in  the  same  time  slot  as  Rainbow  though  for  me  at  least  it  was  far  less  memorable. It  was  a  cross  between  Play  School  and  Fingerbobs   with   two human  presenters  ( usually  Alan  Rothwell  and  a  female  who  was  sometimes  Corrie's  Amanda  Barrie )  sharing  the  titular  house  with  anthromorphic  puppets  derived  from  household  objects, most  memorably  Humphrey  Cushion.  It  lasted  from  1973  to  1977  and  is  thought  to  survive  intact  but  there's  been  no  DVD.

I  doubt  I  ever  set  out  to  watch  it  but  in  the  seventies  you  took  what  you  were  given.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

145 The Woody Woodpecker Show

First  watched  : Uncertain

I  probably  first  saw  this  in   autumn  1973  when  it  featured  on  ITV  on  a  Thursday  teatime.
Apart  from  a  brief  revival  in  1999-2002   the  Woody  Woodpecker  cartoons  were  made  between  1940  and  1972  . In  the  early  days  Woody  was  completely  demented   with  the  most  annoying  laugh  in  cartoon  history . Later  he  was  made  into  a  regular  guy  but  the  laugh   - much  imitated  at  school - remained. That's  about  all  I  remember  it  for  to  be  honest.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

144 The Wedding of HRH The Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips

First  watched :  14  November  1973

This  wasn't  quite  the  first  televised  royal  wedding - that  was  Princess  Margaret's  back  in  1960  - but  it  was  the  first  of  my  lifetime  and  the  first  to  be  broadcast  in  colour. I  remember  getting  the  day  off  school  because  of  it  though  I could  have  sworn  it  was  a  Thursday  rather  than  a  Wednesday. I  guess  that's  because  most  of  my  one  day  holidays  were  for  Catholic  Holy  Days  of  Obligation  which  were  nearly  always  on  a  Thursday  ( such  as  today - Ascension  Day - now  I  come  to  think  of  it.)

I  guess  this  is  when  I  first  began  to  identify  the  individual  royals  and  became  aware  of  the  line  of  succession  with  Princess  Anne  taking  her  place  behind  the  three  boys.  I  don't  think  I  watched  too  much  of  the  ceremony  to  be  honest  but  I  certainly  recall  it  as  an  event.

Besides  being  a  telly  event  it  was  the  first  royal-commoner  marriage  for  some  time and  set  a  bit  of  a  precedent  in  that  way  as  all  three  of  her  brothers  would  follow  suit. Phillips  was  an  army  captain  and  Anne  met  him  during  the  Munich  Olympics  where  he  won  a  gold  medal  for  show-jumping  , a  year  after  the  BBC  toe-curlingly  made  her  Sports  Personality  of  the  Year.

The  marriage  seemed  to  go  reasonably  well  , producing  two  children, until  1985  when  Phillips  had  a  daughter  with  another  woman  as  proved  by  a  paternity  test  in  1991. The  couple  separated  in  1989  and  got  divorced  in  the  annus  horriblis   of   1992   although  this  was  little  noticed  amid  the  Squidgytape  and  toesucking  revelations. She  married  again  almost  immediately  to  a navy  commander  though  had  to  do  it  in  a  private  ceremony  in  Scotland  to  avoid  an  awkward  dilemma  for  the  Church  of  England.  I  don't  think  I  even  noticed  it  at  the  time. She  remains  the  most   respected  of  the  queen's  children  for  her  charitable  endeavours  despite  a   well-attested   grumpy  and   haughty  personality.  He, still  a  major  player  in  equestrian  circles,   remarried  somewhat  later  though  is  in  the  process  of  a  divorce  and  bonking  a  woman  25  years  younger.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

143 The Terracotta Horse

First  watched  : November  1973

My  memories  of  this  six-part  serial  on  a  Monday are  very  vague  and  there  isn't  much  on  the  net  to  jog  them. It  was  something  of  a  cross  between  The  Long  Chase  and  The  Da  Vinci  Code.  A  young  girl  found  the  titular  horse  and  it  was  somehow  linked  to  the  Holy  Grail  with  a  villain  in  a  Citroen  joining  the  chase.

The  girl  was  played  by  Lindy  Howard  and  it  appears  to  have  been  her  only  acting  job on  screen. Her  brother  was  played  by  a  young  Patrick  Murray  ( Mickey  Pearce  in  Only  Fools  and  Horses ) .

It  was  never  repeated  and  must  be  presumed  wiped  long  ago.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

142 Golden Silents

First  watched  :  Autumn  1973

Well  Genome  has  surprised  me  here. I  remember  regularly  watching  a  programme  about  silent   movie  stars  on  a  Saturday  morning  but  I  would  have  put  it  much  earlier  than  the  latter  part  of  1973. They  were  repeats  of  a  show  first  broadcast  in  1969  in  the  evenings  and  can't  have  worked  as  a  Saturday  morning  feature  for  it  was  pulled  after  just  four  weeks  and  hasn't  been  broadcast  since.

The  programme  was  broadcast  from  the  National  Film  Theatre  and  presented  by  Michael  Bentine   who  would  lecture  in  a  fairly  straight  manner  about  a  theme  illustrated  by  plenty  of  clips  of  the  greats. Here's  where  I  first   saw  Charlie  Chaplin, Harold  Lloyd, Buster  Keaton  et  al  and  found  them  reasonably  funny.