Thursday, December 31, 2009

TV 023: Catweazle (Busy Boy) - Ted Dicks

How cool was this?
An eccentric 11th century wizard transported to the Britain of 1969 / 1970.

Two series were made; in the first Catweazle's mission was to get back to his own time while the second saw him attempt to solve a 12 part puzzle.

Geoffrey Balydon excelled in the title role and is thankfully still with us. Ted Dicks composed the melodic and immediate theme tune.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Catweazle (Busy Boy)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TV 022: Captain Scarlet - Barry Gray Orchestra

One of my earliest cult television memories, Captain Scarlet was a fascinating early addition to the UK's science fiction programming canon.

The Mysterons sent shivers up my spine when I viewed early 1980s re-runs on RTE. Even now, the series still holds a dark edge and is Anderson's finest supermarionation effort. The ruthless attacks by the Mysterons were realistic and sometimes very bleak in their nihilism.

Barry Gray's theme tune is instantly recognisable and just swings for the entire duration.
Once again, a television show makes me nostalgic for a time before I was born.

Indestructable, indestructable...

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Captain Scarlet

Sunday, December 20, 2009

TV 021: Campion - The London Film Orchestra Conducted By Nigel Hess

Campion, based on the novels by Margery Allingham, was adapted by the BBC in 1989 and 1990 and starred Peter Davison in the leading role.

The 1930s setting is vividly portrayed and the cast is second to none with Brian Glover and Andrew Burt ably assisting the dapper sleuth.

The theme that I'm sharing is the instrumental version that was used for the second series. It's a whimsical piece that goes well with the subject matter and period in question.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


TV on DVD schedule f/e 3 January

Monday 21 December
Emmerdale Farm - 9 April 1973
Monty Python's Flying Circus - 'Owl-Stretching Time'
Northern Exposure - 'Roots'

Tuesday 22 December
Steptoe And Son - 'The Siege Of Steptoe Street'
Man About The House - 'Somebody Out There Likes Me'
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - 'Marjorie Doesn't Live Here Anymore'

Wednesday 23 December
Emmerdale Farm - 10 April 1973
The Jensen Code - Episode 5
Rumpole Of The Bailey - 'Rumpole And The Age For Retirement'

Thursday 31 December
Tales Of The Unexpected - 'Light Fingers'
On The Buses - 'Busmen's Perks'
The Forsyte Saga - 'Into The Dark'

Friday 1 January
Emmerdale Farm - 16 April 1973
Family Guy - 'Whistle While Your Wife Works'
Homicide: Life On The Street - 'Justice, Part 1'

Saturday 2 January
The Equalizer - 'The Distant Fire'
Perry Mason - 'The Case Of The Demure Defendant'
The Sopranos - 'The Sopranos'

Sunday 3 January
Wonder Woman - 'The Bermuda Triangle Crisis'
Department S - 'The Pied Piper Of Hambledown'
NYPD Blue - 'The Backboard Jungle'

Thursday, December 17, 2009

TV 020: Budgie (The Loner) - Nick Harrison

Nice but dim.
That was Budgie, a likeable petty criminal, played to perfection by Adam Faith for two series in the early 1970s.

His mentor was the hectoring and bumptious Charlie Endell (Iain Cuthbertson giving it socks) while his long-suffering (what other type is there?) girlfriend Hazel (Lynn Dalby) provided suitable eye candy and a dose of realism for some of Budgie's far-fetched business ideas.

God, this one really made me laugh. Especially the dodgy mags smouldering on the football pitch and the blue movie that turned out to be slapstick in the form of "Lorne 'n 'Ardy".

The theme tune is taken from the Standard library and was composed by Nick Harrison. It was replaced by a much less memorable effort for the second series.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Budgie (The Loner)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

TV 019: Bread (Home) - Dave Mackay

Carla Lane was the writer behind Bread, a likeable sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1991.

The programme centred around a Liverpool family called the Boswells who were perpetually "living on their wits". Their escapades were funny and often raised a laugh but belied the darker strain that lay beneath - how difficult it was for a working class family to survive in Thatcher's Britain.

Carla Lane was interviewed on Brass Eye in 1997 and came across as entirely humourless - not a fair reflection on her, I think.

The upbeat and catchy theme was written and performed by Dave Mackay.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Bread (Home)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

TV 018: Blott On The Landscape - Dave Mackay

Blott On The Landscape was dramatised in 1985, some ten years after the publication of Tom Sharpe's novel of the same name.

The plot centres around the controversial construction of a motorway through a rural gorge upon which is built a stately home - Handyman Hall.

For: Lord Lynchwood (George Cole)
Against: Lady Lynchwood (Geraldine James) and their gardener Blott (David Suchet)

Being a Tom Sharpe adaptation, the emphasis is on outlandish fun and hilarious farce. The theme suits the general vibe of the story and is performed by Dave Mackay.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Blott On The Landscape

TV on DVD schedule w/e 20 December

Monday 14 December
Emmerdale Farm - 27 March 1973
Monty Python's Flying Circus - 'How To Recognise Different Types Of Trees From A Long Way Away'
Northern Exposure - 'The Body In Question'

Tuesday 15 December
Steptoe And Son - 'Those Magnificent Men And Their Heating Machines'
Man About The House - 'Of Mice And Women'
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - 'No Sex Please, We're Brickies'

Wednesday 16 December
Emmerdale Farm - 2 April 1973
The Jensen Code - Episode 4
Rumpole Of The Bailey - 'Rumpole And The Course Of True Love'

Thursday 17 December
Tales Of The Unexpected - 'A Glowing Future'
On The Buses - 'Brew It Yourself'
The Forsyte Saga - 'Decisions'

Friday 18 December
Emmerdale Farm - 3 April 1973
Family Guy - 'Saving Private Brian'
Homicide: Life On The Street - 'I've Got A Secret'

Saturday 19 December
The Equalizer - 'The Children's Song'
Perry Mason - 'The Case Of The Fan-Dancer's Horse'
Film: Carry On Abroad

Sunday 20 December
Wonder Woman - 'The Man Who Could Move The World'
Department S - 'The Man From X'
NYPD Blue - 'Sorry, Wong Suspect'

Thursday, December 10, 2009

TV 017: Blake's 7 - Dudley Simpson

Blake's 7 was one of the earliest series shown on RTE's second channel - RTE 2 - back in early 1979. It was a fascinating futuristic series with a bleak outlook.

Gareth Thomas played the part of a Roj Blake, an idealistic troublemaker who escapes from the remote penal colony Cygnus Alpha. He is ably assisted by a thief, a murderer, a fraudster, a smuggler, a telepathic guerrilla fighter and Zen, the master computer.

A dystopian masterpiece which is just as relevant today.

Dudley Simpson (who had previously worked on Doctor Who for many years) composed the memorable theme.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Blake's 7

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TV 016: Bird Of Prey - Dave Greenslade

When this originally aired - 1982 - I thought it was one of the coldest programmes ever.
Time has not changed my opinion.

Bird Of Prey stars Richard Griffiths as a civil servant who unwittingly stumbles into a combination of rogue intelligence, espionage and conspiracy. While the series makes for exciting viewing, the general harshness and unfeeling nature of the majority of the cast make for extremely uncomfortable viewing.

Life is cheap seems to be the selfish mantra here.

The theme was composed by Dave Greenslade and aptly complements the computer / electronics setting.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Bird Of Prey

Sunday, December 6, 2009

TV 015: The Big Match (La Soiree) - David Ordini

The Big Match was originally a Sunday afternoon staple whereas the BBC would show football highlights on Match of The Day the previous night. It started broadcasting in 1968 but by 1980 had won over the Saturday night slot for alternate seasons.

Brian Moore and Jim Rosenthal were the presenters that I remember best. Avuncular, knowledgeable and a joy to watch.

The theme tune had a number of incarnations. This one, by David Ordini, was used from 1974 to 1980. It's easily the best of the five with a jaunty feel that really set viewers in the mood for some top class action.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

The Big Match (La Soiree)

TV on DVD schedule w/e 13 December

Monday 7 December
Emmerdale Farm - 19 March 1973
Monty Python's Flying Circus - 'Sex And Violence'
Northern Exposure - 'Jules Et Joel'

Tuesday 8 December
Steptoe And Son - 'Crossed Swords'
Man About The House - 'I Won't Dance, Don't Ask Me'
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - 'Cowboys'

Wednesday 9 December
Emmerdale Farm - 20 March 1973
The Jensen Code - Episode 3
Rumpole Of The Bailey - 'Rumpole And The Fascist Beast'

Thursday 10 December
Tales Of The Unexpected - 'The Best Policy'
On The Buses - 'The Inspector's Niece'
The Forsyte Saga - 'A Man Of Property'

Friday 11 December
Emmerdale Farm - 26 March 1973
Family Guy - 'Hell Comes To Quahog'
Homicide: Life On The Street - 'The Hat'

Saturday 12 December
The Equalizer - 'The Confirmation Day'
Perry Mason - 'The Case Of The Baited Hook'
Columbo - 'A Deadly State Of Mind'

Sunday 13 December
Wonder Woman - 'Anschluss '77'
Department S - 'The Trojan Tanker'
NYPD Blue - 'Cold Heaters'

Thursday, December 3, 2009

TV 014: Big Deal - Bobby G

Big Deal was an likeable comedy drama about a chronic gambler (Ray Brooks) and his long-suffering girlfriend (Sharon Duce).

It ran from 1984 to 1986 and still holds up well today. The poker scenes are well acted, if somewhat unrealistic in the hands that are dealt, while the theme of gambling as an illness is depicted with sensitivity.

The theme tune makes me nostalgic for those early teenage years - watching this on Sunday nights with the prospect of school looming the following day.
It's sung by Bobby Guppy of Buck's Fizz fame.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Big Deal

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

TV 013: Bergerac - George Fenton

Bergerac, a gripping crime series that ran for ten years, was based in the unusual setting of Jersey.

Jim Bergerac, played by John Nettles, was an unorthodox and flawed detective sergeant with a penchant for booze and a clatter of girlfriends. My preference is for the early years (1981 to 1983 or so) where the fantasy element was largely absent.

The theme tune has a lilting Gallic flavour and was composed by George Fenton. It is instantly recognisable and very evocative of its surroundings.

Comments and feedback are welcome.