Monday, 28 March 2016
First viewed : 12 October 1978
This is another one to get the Play For Today treatment with individual programmes in the strand being added to the post as we come to them. Omnibus was the Beeb's long-running arts documentary series, broadcast from 1967 to 2003.
The Record Machine
The first one I remember watching was an examination of the pop music business featuring players like John Peel and Mickie Most. The only part I really recall was footage of a Radio One playlist meeting with Dave Lee Travis commenting that a record sounded "very Marshall Hain" , a comment that could only have been made in the latter half of 1978.
David Puttnam ( 19 December 1982 )
At this point , Barry Norman was the regular host of the programme and this edition was given over to a profile of Chariots of Fire producer David Puttnam. The only bit I remember is the account of his difficulties with star Dustin Hoffman when making the film Agatha.
Luck & Flaw's Illustrated Guide To Caricature ( 26 July 1985 )
As Spitting Image was still riding high in the ratings, its creators got to present a potted history of caricature going back to the eighteenth century cartoonist James Gillray. Steve Nallon was on had to present Thatcher's supposed views on the subject as well as contemporary masters like Steve Bell and Gerard Scarfe.
George Grosz - Enemy of the State ( 8 May 1987 )
This was an excellent episode about someone completely unfamiliar to me. George Grosz was a satirical cartoonist , for a while, a Communist , who mercilessly attacked German society during and just after the First World War in works such as Pillars of Society . portraying a grotesque, corrupt and evil world which he eventually fled for the United States. He was also involved in the nihilistic art movement Dada .The programme told the story in dramatised fashion with a linking narration from his friend John Heartsfield played by Mike Gwilym. Grosz was played by Kenneth Haigh.
The Hackney Story ( 17 July 1987 )
This was a feature on the architect Rod Hackney, a pioneer of "Community Architecture" and in the news as the major influence on Prince Charles' leftish views on inner city regeneration which ruffled a few feathers at the time. Hackney seemed like an affable guy. There was footage from a public meeting where one of his supporters told a sceptical heckler to get off his arse and do something for himself instead of moaning.
Rape : That's Entertainment ( 15 September 1989 )
This programme looked at the depiction of rape on-screen and the arguments around it. It featured two specially-filmed sequences with Juliet Stevenson and Michael Kitchen to show how directorial choice can alter an audience's perception of the act.
Life of Python ( 8 October 1990 )
This documentary about the hallowed comedy team was intended to be shown a year earlier to mark the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It was postponed for a year due to the death of Graham Chapman just before the anniversary date. Chapman was present at a reunion event where the other five were dressed as schoolboys to do a sketch with Steve Martin but could not take part. The Pythons thought the sketch was dreadful and it was not shown. Chapman was terminally ill at the time and footage of the event was edited not to include him giving it a strange disjointed feel. As he was suffering from tonsil cancer, he could not do a voiceover either. There were some endorsements from US fans like Martin, Dan Akroyd and Chevy Chase, all at the start of the programme giving the impression the makers regarded it as a necessary evil to be done with as soon as possible.