And here’s Dickie leaning forward and smiling from under his moustache to welcome you to the build-up to and coverage of the big one, this week’s Creamguide, as ever starring you if you email firstname.lastname@example.org.
19.30 Dad’s Army
A busier Saturday than last week, starting with this old favourite. On a David Croft tip we’re pleased to have got a good response for our Allo Allo piece last week, which we note turned up almost at the exact same time Vicki Michelle popped up to drone on about being “cancelled”, what with her being the star of that notable “cancelled” programme that’s currently on two different Freeview channels, five days a week, plus in full on a major streaming service. Anyway, John Connolly writes, “I recently re-watched the first series on BritBox. It genuinely holds up (quite) well - there is a bit of business in the first episode between Leclerc, Rene and Gruber which raised an actual lol. This rewatch was prompted by bumping into yer actual Herr Flick in my local pub. He was there for his brother’s birthday party - said brother is a regular. Richard Gibson was a very nice man indeed who claimed not to mind a drunk Irish man asking for a photo. He even asked if I wanted him too do the ‘Herr Flick face’.”
21.30 When Nirvana Came to Britain
Pretty soon we’ll see the memorable appearance Nirvana made on Top of the Pops in 1991, though the highlight of the whole thing is of course after it where they pan across to Tony Dortie who makes no reference at all to what’s just happened and instead just ploughs on announcing “James have a wicked new single out”. Kurt always said that he sang like he did that day to sound like Morrissey and the band regularly discussed that British acts were a major influence on them. That’ll be expanded on further in this programme with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic reflecting on the early days when they couldn’t get arrested in the USA but thanks to the support of the British media, including the likes of Mark Goodier on the Evening Session and Jo Whiley when she was booking bands for The Word, they became a huge succes in the UK.
10.30 The Big Match Revisited
This series has had a bit of an interrupted run so far, but hopefully we’ll get on a bit of a roll now the summer sport is nearly over. Last time out was fascinating, not just for the live link-up with The Big Game on Yorkshire to watch Martin Tyler interview new Leeds boss Allan Clarke, but also to see the Sainsburys being built behind the goal at Selhurst Park, and we hope we weren’t the only people who visited the fascinating Sainsburys Archive website after the show to see what it looked like in the end. Like last season we’re skipping a few episodes throughout the season as there are only twenty episodes, but it’s a bit more noticeable this time as they were on air for the whole season. That means we’re already in late September, though we do get our first appearance of this series by the great Hugh Johns.
BBC Radio 2
13.00 Pick of the Pops
We are now very much at the stage when a sixties year is even more of a surprise and a novelty than a noughties one, but we’ve got a rare jaunt into that decade this week in 1966. Plenty of swinging tracks to enjoy, but of course there’s also a host of snoozesome ballads from various crooners as well, which they never mention on documentaries. Then it’s 1986, and we know Gambo once argued in one of the Guinness books that it was one of the weakest years for pop, based on the fact nothing stayed at number one for more than four weeks, which suggested nothing was catching on with the general public to any great extent. It’s an interesting argument, though given what BBC4 are serving up on Friday nights at the moment, we would go for that over the alternative. Regardless, this chart here features the best-seller of the year at the top.
21.00 James Bond: Soundtrack Stories
Someone suggested on Twitter recently that given how long No Time To Die has been delayed, it now almost feels more like a “missing” Bond film extracted from the archives rather than a new one, given how much we’ve heard about. But it really is coming out soon, with all the promotional hoopla that brings about, and in this series James King looks back at the world of Bond songs. With only two shows it’ll be going at a fair lick and this one covers all the twentieth century films, but with the likes of Don Black and Barbara Broccoli featured, it should be worth a listen.
Talking Pictures TV
12.00 The Footage Detectives
12.30 No Hiding Place
Quite a bit of new programming on this channel at the moment, with Caroline Munro linking horror films on Friday nights in his Cellar Club alongside these dispatches from Mike and Noel’s curios cupboard. No Hiding Place was a big old series in its day, though it’s pretty poorly represented in the archive, as while it produced over two hundred episodes over nearly a decade, about 90% of them have been wiped. But another one’s just been found, as we’ll get to see here.
BBC Radio 2
21.00 Sounds of the 21st Century
This series moves onto 2002, and one of the things it promises to feature is Will vs Gareth. We were big Pop Idol fans at the time, and we were always a bit sad when The X Factor ended up becoming increasingly unpleasant and contrived when Pop Idol seemed to herald a new era of accessibility and openess in light entertainment, happily discussing its machinations on air. Of course, although it was Will vs Gareth, they both ended up winning pretty much the same prize as Cowell always though Gareth was the best and gave him a record deal anyway, and we’d love to see again the programme from the preceding live tour that ITV showed a few months later because it was the most ludicrous Gareth-heavy edit imaginable, Will was barely in it, as if it had been edited by his fan club. Which it probably was, given Cowell produced it. Anyway, more stuff to send you on a nostalgic reverie in here as well.
This has been a bit of a sporadic series so far, as it’s been missing the last two weeks for the test matches (we know the second one got cancelled, but still), but like The Big Match it should be pretty plain sailing from now on. Someone’s answering questions on John Cleese tonight and someone else is discussing the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while we’re also interested in the round on The Alnwick Garden, not because it’s especially Cream-related but because we visited it a few years back as part of a holiday in Northumberland and it was honestly the best holiday we’ve ever had. It’s just across the road from Barter Books too!
21.00 Fever Pitch: The Rise of the Premier League
Unfortunately for the narrative of this series, the early Premier League seasons featured title tilts from the resolutely unglamorous likes of Norwich and Villa, but now we’re in 1995/96 and a title race they can really get their teeth into, Man U vs Newcastle. It coincided with the rise of player power and the first proper footballing superstars, though this episode will contrast the career of David Beckham, who obviously enjoyed stratospheric success, with Keith Gillespie who almost but didn’t quite make it to the top table and experienced the downside of celebrity status.
So it looks like the Great Summer of Sport is over, to make way for the Great Autumn of Sport with non-stop football every weekend, which is just how we like it. But for those of you who don’t like sport, there’s sport. Don’t worry, it’s one of the oddest and most likeable sports programmes of all time, it’s...
WORLD OF SPORT (1965-85)
Up until 1965, Saturday afternoon sport meant Grandstand, and some at ITV, including Lew Grade, thought they were better off not bothering to compete and instead provide an alternative to the Beeb. But in fact it was the Beeb who were partly responsible for its creation, as they axed both of Eammon Andrews’ shows, This Is Your Life and What’s My Line, in quick succession and failed to offer him anything else, and so Eamonn defected to ITV. Given his background as the first and most famous host of BBC Radio’s Sports Report, he was the ideal man to add a bit of prestige and experience to ITV’s sporting output, and ABC decided to create a new marathon show to rival Grandstand which he could front. Initially the idea was to name it Wide World of Sport, like the US show, but as editor John Bromley explains up there, he realised that they were barely going much further than a bus ride from the studio, so off went the Wide, and the whole thing staggered on to the air in January 1965.
We unfortunately can’t show you any clips of Eamonn doing World of Sport as it’s seemingly all been wiped, but in 1968, the big shake-up in ITV saw ABC merge with Rediffusion to become Thames, and Eamonn went with them to weekdays. LWT were now in charge at weekends, with Jimmy Hill engaged as Head of Sport, and a new presenter was required. Arriving from Southern TV was Richard Davies, who was initially a pretty identikit presenter, but one day Hill said that he’d never heard anyone call him Richard off-air and maybe he should use his nickname on screen. Hence Richard Davies became Dickie Davies, and started cultivating a much more charming, debonair personality, using all the skills he’d gained from his previous job as a steward on cruise ships. Compared to the solid but rather intense presentation of Frank Bough and David Coleman on the other side, Dickie was the housewives’ choice and hugely popular.
It was under Dickie’s watch that World of Sport became established, although they were always very much the underdog in terms of sports rights with most of the big events like test cricket and international rugby safely under lock and key at the Beeb. So to fill the gaps, World of Sport bought in a host of sporting action from around the world, and while some sports like karting and speedway benefited from their exposure and they were the first programme to show the likes of American Football, others were of perhaps minimal sporting merit and were just there as a bit of a spectacle, like competitive lumberjacking, bus jumping and clown diving, as featured in that compilation up there. And while it was no match for the serious business over on Grandstand, it was a lot more fun, cliff diving from Acapulco sometimes a bit more appealing on a midwinter afternoon than some rugby league from Widnes.
There were a few sports in which World of Sport could compete on a level playing field with the Beeb and offer action of equal quality. One of those was racing, where the Beeb and ITV split the nation’s racecourses between them and with Epsom, Doncaster and Newmarket among the ITV courses that meant big races like the Derby and the St Leger. From the late sixties, ITV usually offered action from two courses each week, meaning some two hours of non-stop action with up to seven races. This was branded as The ITV Seven, and punters were invited to place an accumulator on the results of all seven, and every so often some lucky viewer would be wheeled on who’d managed to bag fifty grand from a 50p wager. ITV’s racing coverage was way more fun than the boring old Beeb, while still enjoying credibility with the punters, and it gained a loyal audience.
The light channel also benefited from their fair share of football coverage, with the Beeb and ITV faithfully splitting everything between them and taking it in turns to have first pick of the weekend’s fixtures or cover an England match. This meant they were guaranteed action just as good as the Beeb’s, though the only time they’d show it live on World of Sport would be the Cup Final or England vs Scotland. But the bread and butter of the afternoon would be the soccer magazine On The Ball, followed by the scores and results, with Bob Colston on results duty, though as we recall someone suggesting, in fifty years ITV never ever found an attractive colour combination to present them in.
Aside from the football and racing, World of Sport’s big attraction was, of course, the wrestling. Introduced by former DJ Kent Walton, with his memorable catchphrase “Greetings, grapple fans!”, for many years this was a fixture at four o’clock and, despite being as legit as a nine pound note, garnered a hugely loyal audience and would seemingly quite often beat the “proper” sport on the Beeb. It sometimes felt that wrestling’s popularity was a bit of an embarrassment to ITV, forever being cited as an example of their trivialisation of sport compared to the professional business on the Beeb, but they fiddled about with it at their peril.
And whether it was wrestling or the World Cup Final, Dickie linked it all with a smile and bags of charm, and seemingly he was just the same off camera with friends and colleagues suggesting he was the nicest man you could possibly wish to know. One of his good friends was Eric Morecambe and, on Christmas Eve 1977, he invited him along to join him. It’s often been suggested this was a surprise appearance, cooked up the night before, but it was actually billed in the TV Times. Regardless, it’s still great fun, with Dickie a wonderful straightman while Eric read his autocue and did all his brilliant bits of business. “Oh... what!” Why would you send World of Sport a Christmas card, though?
That Eric clip also includes the most famous of all of World of Sport’s title sequences, with the aerobatics display (“I was on the last plane!”) with Dickie’s name fluttering proudly in the sky, all accompanied by Dom Harper’s memorable theme. We don’t think it was the original tune, as it wasn’t released on record until 1968 so presumably the ABC era had a different theme, not that we know what that is as we can’t see any of it. In 1981 it got a rearrangement, although it’s a teensy bit overblown and pompous and doesn’t seem to fit with such a friendly show.
Dickie did have a few weeks off, mind, and Fred Dinenage would usually fill his seat, as we can see here in 1983 where their coverage of the Tour de France is somewhat interrupted by a power cut, though Fred battles his way through. Later in the show’s life there were other presenters including Jim Rosenthal and a tyro Steve Rider, though he got in trouble when someone got injured in the wrestling and he joked they “hadn’t read the script”, to much kerfuffle.
As with all live shows in the seventies and early eighties, World of Sport really was pushing the envelope technically and making use of primitive technology, and there were numerous examples, as we’ve seen with Fred, where links would fail and the programme would fall off the air. With World of Sport there was also the added complication of all the ITV regions working together, with all the contractual wrangling that entailed, and hence here in 1983 we can see Dickie having to break the news that thanks to some dispute between Yorkshire and Tyne Tees the racing from Thirsk has gone for a burton. Also in this clip is On The Ball, now under the auspices of Ian St John with regular contributions from Jimmy Greaves, who would play a major role in the next phase of ITV Sport.
orld of Sport was an institution for twenty years, just as famous as Grandstand, although it was never entirely popular across all the ITV companies. And while the football, racing and wrestling continued to pull in loyal audiences, the middle of the afternoon with its ragbag of imports and highlights struggled a bit. Worse still, as far as the advertisers were concerned, it was all a bit downmarket. What they really wanted was live and exclusive top class sport, and viewers wanted it in greater depth than snatches in between the racing and other events. With ITV landing the rights to British athletics and snooker becoming more popular, it was time for a change. On The Ball, now renamed Saint and Greavsie, the football results and the wrestling stayed as self-contained programmes, and the racing moved to Channel Four, and there was now three hours in the middle of the afternoon that could be devoted to uninterrupted live coverage when something was happening, or a film or light entertainment when it wasn’t, rather than wasting time on some daft pseudo-sport for the sake of showing sport. So when Dickie signed off on 28th September 1985 he was eager to point out there’d still be sport on Saturday afternoons, and indeed he’d be back next week. But it was the end of an era, and Saturdays were never quite the same again.
Of course its great rival Grandstand continued for another two decades, before that too ended for pretty similar reasons, and certainly attempts since to bring together a wide range of sports under one banner have just led to complaints that it doesn’t do any of them justice. But in a three-channel environment World of Sport did what it had to do with wit and style, and even though it didn’t always deliver in terms of meaningful action, it almost always did in fun.
21.30 Spice Girls: How Girl Power Changed Britain
Almost from the moment the Spice Girls became successful the papers started writing stories about them splitting up, and we remember some useless showbiz hack “exclusively revealing” they were splitting in about mid-1997, and whenever they wrote about them continually releasing records and going on tour, they always faithfully referred to them as “the Spice Girls, who I exclusively revealed are splitting up”. We suppose they would have been right eventually, but they may as well have said “Christmas, which I exclusively revealed is coming”. Anyway, they did enjoy a huge honeymoon from the press, as they generated so much good copy, but the cracks were starting to show from early 1998, and it all came to a head, funnily enough, after an appearance on the midweek lottery where Geri was “ill” and then within a week had cleared off. Indeed, we remember our flatmate scoffing that they must be going down the dumper if they were only on the midweek lottery. Here’s that period pored over in pitiless detail.
21.00 Rik Mayall: Lord of Misrule
Another outing for this entertaining documentary about the great man, which happily spends as much time talking about the likes of Kevin Turvey as it does Rick, and ends with the funniest performance of a comic song ever recorded. Then it’s a rare outing on the Beeb for an episode of Bottom, which although always in the shadow of The Young Ones was an enormous show in its day and there’s a generation of people who can quote entire episodes. Hugely entertaining it was too, at least for the first two series, as the third one was pretty crap. Happily it’s an episode of the second series we’re getting, and interestingly it’s the episode that ended up being a bit of a talking point as a “lost” episode, dropped from the original run of the series in 1992 as its setting on Wimbledon Common coincided with the murder of Rachel Nickell in the same location, and then dropped again from the repeat run as the trial was ongoing, and so although it was released on video and the script was published in the tie-in book, it didn’t appear on TV until 1995.
21.00 Never Mind The Buzzcocks
Very much fortysomething nostalgia night across the channels tonight with the Spice Girls, Bottom and now the return of this. And although it ended up being a clapped-out old show going through the motions, there were periods when it was worth watching, not least under the auspices of Simon Amstell when it took the piss out of absolutely everything (“Other Radio 1 DJs include Fearne Cotton and Jo Whiley. It’s not good enough, is it?”). To our mind, what did for it in the end was the fact that all the regulars were in their forties and all the guests were barely out of their teens, making it a really weird mix that didn’t appeal to anyone, and with Noel Fielding back as captain and the new host being 53 years old, that could be the case again here. But said host is Greg Davies, who is very funny, and other captain Daisy May Cooper and regular guest Jamali Maddix seem like they might have bought a new record in the past decade, so maybe it won’t be so bad after all.
17.55 The Big Match Revisited
These teatime repeats have been a big hit with Creamguide’s dad over the past few weeks, and as he’s usually busy on Saturday mornings they’ll doubtless be pleased to know that with 1975 now over, it’s time for a second run of 1979/80, as first seen earlier this year. Of course, it doesn’t start until October because of the ITV strike, but if you’re a Palace fan you’ll be relieved to know that it was back in time to cover the team’s heyday when they were being dubbed the Team of the Eighties. Although we’re currently seeing on Saturdays what actually happened to them in the eighties.
17.00 Blue Peter
While this programme was on this week, Mwaksy was also appearing as a pointless answer on Pointless, but she’ll work her way up that column soon enough we’re sure. Paul O’Grady’s on this week, for some reason or other. One of his old shows in The Big Breakfast resurfaced last week and seemed to go down well with those that tuned in, though sadly it seems like hardly anyone actually did. But it was nice to see Phil Gayle again, and Nick Mackarel writes, “Maybe not very interesting but seeing the name Phil Gayle sparked a memory. In the late eighties I was registered with an IT recruitment agency in Manchester and the consultant who got me a few interviews and a job was called Phil Gayle. I met him once or twice and he was a thoroughly nice bloke. Next time I saw him he was reading the news on Channel 4, starting with the Big Breakfast!”.
21.00 Comedy Legends
We’re sorry we don’t appear to have gone back much further than about 1996 this week, but we can only bill what’s put in front of us. That’s the case here too as this episode is about Will Ferrell, from our perspective most interesting as one of a long, long list of Saturday Night Live alumni, but undoubtedly most famous for Anchorman, which is a film that seemed to pass us by at the time but has since taken on a life on its own through memes and references online.
21.00 The Story of Late Night
And similarly we’re in the modern era of late night here as well, though if Letterman vs Leno in the nineties was a pretty brutal affair, it was nothing compared to the manouverings a decade or so ago when Jay Leno was replaced by Conan O’Brien before he was almost replaced by Jay Leno again after much rancour. These days, though, it’s not so much about the audience watching on TV after midnight but the millions watching moments from the show online, hence why James Corden is now one of the most famous people on the planet.
20.00 Top of the Pops
All our old favourites are back in the schedules now as the nights draw in, and it’s clearly very much twilight time for the Radio 1 DJs, and indeed tonight we start our goodbyes with the last appearances of two of them. They’ll both be back in 1994, but whether we’ll make it that far - we don’t just mean BBC4 showing them, but whether we bail out during the next few grim years - who knows? First up it’s goodbye to Bruno, although he started phoning it in about eighteen months ago so it’s perhaps no great loss. Not a bad show, mind, with a banger from Midge Ure we’d totally forgotten about until it turned up on Pick of the Pops last year, and another name to add to the list of acts we never thought we’d see when we were plodding through the Glamourpuss years in The Prodigy.
20.30 Top of the Pops
And in this one it’s goodbye to Goodiebags, perhaps the presenter who’d seem the most at home alongside the fresh-faced, overly enthusiastic figures who take over from October, but he’s off as well. Indeed it’s not just goodbye to the Radio 1 DJs but also goodbye to Radio 1, as after three years it’s the final episode to be simulcast on the station with stereo BBC1 starting two days later, though we can’t remember if they mention that on air. Fittingly there’s quite a heavy Radio 1 presence with one of its stars appearing with a novelty record nobody’s played since, while perhaps even less credibly there’s Tin Machine.
BBC Radio 4
21.00 Teen Spirit: Nevermind at 30
And as we started the week, so we end it with Kurt and Co, marking the thirtieth anniversary of one of the famous LPs ever made. Indeed 6 Music will be playing tracks from it all day, with notable guests popping up to say why it was such an influence on them, while here Douglas Coupland will explore why it was not so much an album but more a way of life for Generation X.