The Macca Video Jukebox: part four

Friday 30th March 2007

SONG:
BEAUTIFUL NIGHT

DEFINITION:
A post-Anthology Paul feels the urge to pick up his old bass. And then pick up a million other instruments. Again.

THINGS TO KNOW:
a) This was the finale to Macca’s “comeback” album (of which he has so far released around 14), Flaming Pie, released in 1997.
b) It was also released as a single, and like the previous 14, it was a flop.
c) Still, it was easily his best tune for at least a decade, deservedly winning at least six separate spins on the Ken Bruce show.

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
a) Happy days are here again. It’s an old boys’ reunion, as Macca welcomes both Ringo and George Martin back to the fold. The latter is on top form, jiggling round the studio, swaying to the orchestra and, at one point, wrapping himself in a giant sheet of paper.
b) There is a remarkable profusion of chunky jumpers.
c) As seems to be obligatory with videos based around the recording of the song in question, look out for loads of shots in “the console room” with Macca and team mouthing along to the recording.
d) The last two minutes, a textbook wig-out, is the cue for much thumbs aloft/funny face/spinning round on a swivel chair zaniness.

THINGS TO LISTEN OUT FOR:
Macca at his most lyrically basic. He rhymes “things can go bump in the dead of the night” with “let me be there with you in the dead of the night” – and then makes the very next line “Make it a beautiful night”! There are also multiple mentions of “lovers of love”, a reference to getting “a medal from my local neighbourhood”, and the rather charming idea of “some boat’s on the ocean, we’re here in this room, seems to me the perfect way to spend an afternoon”.

VERDICT:
“Sounds like a record to me!”

BONUS FEATURE

Here’s Macca literally making it a beautiful night for the citizens of Liverpool, New York and, indeed, the world.

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"Today, not tomorrow: is it steal, or borrow?"

Wednesday 28th March 2007

Ahead of Greg Dyke’s one-off BBC4 documentary on Lord Reith next week, here are five other format ideas, any or all of which would help keep the man where he belongs – in front, rather than behind, the camera:

1) THE BLACK DYKE MILLS BANDSHOW

Greg is joined by co-host Bob Mills for an hour of music, laughter and lots of surprises, live from the LWT Tower every Saturday night. Each edition also features Cilla Black roving the studio audience meeting colourful people with a story to tell.

2) THE OFFER’S DYKE

BBC2 business game show where struggling firms get the chance to pitch for Greg’s services as professional troubleshooter.

3) GREGORY’S GIRLS

A six-part documentary series for BBC4 in which Greg revisits the scenes of some of the most turbulent and high-profile episodes of his TV life, accompanied by a familiar female face who was there at the time. Featuring Janet Street-Porter, Wincey Willis, Fern Britton, Dame Edna Everage, Anne Robinson and Natasha Kaplinksy.

4) DICK V DYKE

A half hour Friday night topical revue, live from the Mailbox in Birmingham, presented by Greg and Richard Stilgoe. Each week the pair cast a wry eye over the past seven days, paying tribute to the week’s winners and losers through skits, songs and special guests.

5) GREG: STEAL OR BORROW?

Virtual reality action show pitting two teams of middle management types against each other in a battle to accumulate the most financial acumen through a series of computer simulated logic puzzles. Greg hosts proceedings from a specially constructed gantry high above a vast studio set full of wire mesh, flashing lights and weirdly-shaped pulsing pods.


Photo clippage #11

Sunday 25th March 2007

“You should see my Denis Healey.” “I couldn’t possibly,” replies Yarwood.


Bates Around The World

Friday 23rd March 2007

Now here’s a photo and a half:

The date: 26th June 1989. The occasion: Simon Bates departs from outside Broadcasting House to begin his attempt to travel around the world in a record-breaking 67 days. The vehicle: a Rolls Royce, naturally, “driven” by professional full-time Bates Mate Steve Wright.

As memory serves, this was promoted as the biggest thing Radio 1 had ever done in its history – an impression no doubt largely fostered by Bates himself, who presumably dreamed up the typically unsubtle idea and dictated a wholesale recasting of the station’s schedules as a result. While he was gone Mike Read came back to do the Golden Hour, then you had half an hour of Bates “on the spot” from the back of beyond, followed by the Roadshow.

It seems the idea was for Simes to broadcast from a new country each day – again, typically over-ambitious and unrealistic, especially given the first week or so was spent crossing the Atlantic. Unlike Michael Palin, and just because he had to be different, Bates went west rather than east. Like Palin, he vowed to do it all relying solely on surface transport. Unlike Palin, he failed (not even a man with as much clout as he could command the Saudi Arabian government to let him drive across their land). And unlike his promise, he didn’t take 67 days. In fact he took 78.

Still, it raised £300,000 for Oxfam and treated viewers of Going Live to, among other things, the ghastly sight of Simes stripped to the waist while washing his own shirts, and a decidedly pathetic climax involving Bates driving (cheat!) from Yugoslavia to Calais in 24 hours.

Apart from that, precise details of the man’s route remain hazy. Where did he cross the Pacific? Did he turn up on any other TV shows? And is a dim distant memory of him commanding an entire fleet of canoes to go up the Amazon merely retrospective wishful thinking?


"Oh yes, we go back a long way; several centuries in fact…"

Tuesday 20th March 2007

Given Russell T Davies’s penchant for reviving more and more Dr Who clutter from the old days, despite saying he’d do no such thing, who – and what – should we reasonably expect to see parading across our screen in years to come?

1) BESSIE
This will happen, there’s absolutely no doubt about it. It’s too simple and lazy a device for Davies to resist. The Doctor will arrive in Cardiff to “mend the rift” or some such bollocks only to notice, out of the corner of his eye, a strangely familiar flash of yellow lurking in a nearby garage. “Well blow me!” he will shout at the top of his voice in a way that, for David Tennant’s Doctor, seems to increasingly pass for normal speech. “The old girl’s back!”

2) THE WHOMOBILE
A slightly less obvious alternative to 1), but a must for mid-way through series five. The Doctor is in Cardiff mending the rift, only to get a strange feeling he’s being watched. Determined to find out who is spying on him, it transpires it’s not a who, it’s a what…the Whomobile, hovering above his head thanks to some kind of preposterous automatic homing beacon business, ready to take the Doctor off to a peace conference where John Simm is threatening to blow up the planet.

3) THE BRIGADIER
While mending the rift in Cardiff, the Doctor is suddenly grabbed by some anonymous looking thugs and bundled into the back of a van. Protesting, he is bound and gagged and transported hundreds of miles to a secret location in the heart of the Cardiff suburbs. Only when he is freed does the Doctor recognise the surroundings as the base for the army’s killing-aliens division, whereupon he marches boldly into the Brigadier’s office, bawls “Alastair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, me old matey!”, only to find Caroline Quentin sitting behind the desk.

4) KAMELION
Now this is more like it. A shape-changing robot who can disappear for episodes on end and have its non-appearance explained away by being a) in a cupboard b) broken c) having shape-changed into a normal human being. “It was ahead of its time,” boasted John Nathan-Turner. Perhaps, now, it’s time has come.

5) ANOTHER DOCTOR
You just know that this is going to be the “big” Radio Times-cover thing for series four. While the Doctor is mending the rift in Cardiff he gets caught in “a temporal distortion” or some such crap, ending up in an expensive foreign location peopled with guest stars like Stephen Merchant, Kate Thornton and Keith Barron. “Mysterious forces” will have conspired to also bring none other than Peter Davidson to the same location, together with – in a fuck-you to the fans – Sarah Sutton and Sophie Aldred at the same time. The two Doctors must learn to work together if they are to save the world from Keith Barron and his evil wicked space queen, played by Gwen Taylor.


For Pete’s sake

Sunday 18th March 2007

It’s pretty much accepted that Peter Kay has jumped the shark. But when precisely did it happen? Here are ten contenders for that aeronautical apocalypse. It’s by no means a definitive list, but nonetheless a start towards pinpointing exactly when “the nation’s favourite comedian” became a right honourable pain in the arse.

1) 2000: Peter remembers the title sequence of Monkey. “Monkey magic – and it were, weren’t it!”

2) 2002: The last ever episode of Phoenix Nights becomes an excuse for Peter to clear the decks of all jokes for a load of crappy singalongs.

3) 2003: Channel Five shows Live At The Top Of The Tower for the 159th time. Admittedly this isn’t Peter’s fault, but it certainly doesn’t help things.

5) 2004: Peter goes on tour again to “buy me mam a bungalow” and does the same business about garlic bread and the speedboat on Bullseye.

6) 2004: The first episode of Max And Paddy’s Road To Nowhere features a running joke about a holidaying couple mistaking the titular duo for a pair of homosexuals.

7) 2005: Peter appears on Granada TV to croon with a big band.

8) 2005: Live 8. Peter comes on clutching some booze – “this isn’t alcohol, it’s not” – and, completely alone, tries to get the crowd to join in with ‘Is This The Way To Amarillo?’. He struggles with the tune. He forgets some of the words. Nobody else appears to be singing. He leaves the stage. Then, five minutes later, he comes back on, still clutching some booze – “this isn’t alcohol, honest, it’s not” – and proceeds to do the whole fucking thing all over again.

9) 2006: Peter publishes his autobiography, claiming he’s only doing it to “buy me mam a better bungalow”. Probably.

10) 2007: Peter does a sketch for Comic Relief that is exactly the same as the one for 2005, using a character he created in 2000, singing a song that was a hit in 1988.

VERDICT: If 6) didn’t clinch it, 8) certainly did. That, or any one of his endless appearances on Parkinson.


Photo clippage #10

Friday 16th March 2007

Comic Relief: it’s not the same as it was.