Saturday, 25 February 2017
615 Six Fifty five
First viewed : July 1983
This early evening - I'll leave you to work out the exact time - chat show from the Pebble Mill team on BBC Two ran for three summer seasons from 1981 to 1983 but the first two ( when it went out as Six Fifty Five Special ) passed me by entirely. It was on five nights a week . For the second season some star power was added with Sally James from Tiswas and Anglophile actor David Soul becoming the presenting duo.
For the 1983 season Soul was replaced by swarthy young Scot Paul Coia. I recall episodes which featured John Hurt and the bloke he was playing in a film, cancer-beating jockey Bob Champion and one which featured Mike Read and Paul Gambaccini talking about 30 years of the charts. I remember Read championing The Shadows as the first group to write their own material against Gambo's plump for The Beatles given that the Shadows' tunes lacked certain vital ingredients. There was also a show given over to TV puppets where Sooty attacked Sally with a water pistol ( not that that was likely to faze her ) . It's a shame he went for her face given she was wearing a white summer dress at the time.
The feature I remember best was in the Friday episode where Bob Langley would go for a walk in the Lakes with a celebrity. The first one was Chris Bonington and I remember him saying that he fantasized about food rather than sex when he was mountaineering. The second one was Martin Shaw who talked to Bob on the summit of Latrigg - at the time I had no idea I would be in the exact same spot just a month later - who took the opportunity to show that he was a more thoughtful guy than his screen image would suggest. I remember taking the piss out of him for talking about his spiritual guru and my mum rebuking me for this nascent bigotry.
Sally James largely withdrew from TV after this to raise her family although she had a semi-regular slot on Countdown in the late eighties. She later set up a business selling school uniforms. Since 2000 she has been a regular celebrity guest on numerous programmes. Paul Coia has been lesss visible but his career continues as a game show host on satellite channels and a local radio DJ.