"It’s all right, I won’t make you Wally Of The Week"

Saturday 30th June 2007

An especially potent piece of television, this, what with an appearance from the ubiquitous Pain family (“four internationally known celebrities,” cracks Noel) decked out in their Sunday best, a specially sleigh bell-enhanced version of the theme tune, that tiny studio set with Noel virtually sitting on top of his guests, and above all the ‘Aches’, one member of which here getting an inevitable “make the grade” plug from the continuity announcer.

It’s rather frightening to see that picture of Colin Baker gurning at you during the opening titles. And were Thames the only ITV company who gave its permission to let a large size version of its ident be used?

“Funny way of handing in your notice, Noel!”


From everything on HP to HP on everything

Friday 29th June 2007

A moment’s pause to recall an age when, rather than seeking to assemble a government of “all the talents”, a Prime Minister was merely happy to be associated with a condiment.

Photo clippage: Parky special

Tuesday 26th June 2007

Petulant to the last, Michael “Mike” Parkinson has decided that, “after 25 years of doing my talk show”, he’s had enough.

Nice of him to refer to it as “my” show, thereby confirming what we all suspected: that he never really cared for us, the viewer, and was only ever interested in airing his obsessions in front of his favourite celebrities. It’s also interesting to learn that he can’t count. He did the show on the BBC from 1971-82, then again from 1998-2004, and finally on ITV from 2004-now. Which makes 21 years, not 25.

Anyway, by way of a cheery salute to the miserable bastard, further to this, here’s a few of his finer moments, so described because all of them involved him keeping his mouth shut.

1) Parky’s harem. Jill Tweedie, Mary Parkinson, Sylvia Duncan, Rita Dando and Mavis Nicholson prepare to take over Thames TV’s Tea Break in 1971.

2) Adam Faith celebrates 25 years in the business in appropriate style: with Elton, Nick, Parky and Parky’s cake-making son.

3) The wilderness years: Parky revives Going For A Song with Tony Slattery, Leslie Ash and Eric Knowles.

4) The Beeb’s 1996 Christmas line-up: Parky, Martine…and Isobel Lang. What more could you need?

"Pickled in time, like gherkins in a jar"

Sunday 24th June 2007

“Steadily, triumphantly, all our favourites have returned in the rejuvenated time travels,” booms Radio Times of Dr Who. “Cybermen, Daleks, Macra…”

Come again? The Macra? A “favourite”? If there’s one thing RT never does well – apart from its radio listings pages – it’s irony. Then again, maybe the Macra have proved to be surprisingly popular with the nation, and playgrounds are regularly filled with the spectacle of kids impersonating giant clicking clams.

Naturally this leads to speculation as to which “favourite” enemy will be returning next series to fall out of the sky along with the obligatory million rubber balls before landing on the obligatory Cardiff council estate close to the obligatory mixed-race/one-parent family.

Here’s the latest shortlist:

1) The Raston Warrior Robot off of The Five Doctors. He was, after all, “a ruthless killing machine” dressed like a member of Hot Gossip. And it’d turn the entire series finale into a gaudy game of musical statues.

2) Sil off of Vengeance On Varos. A talking turd, this monster already has the distinction of enjoying one comeback by way of a cameo in the dreadful unending Trial Of A Time Lord saga, and hence deserves a far more fitting finale.

3) Kamelion off of The King’s Demons/Planet Of Fire. This shape-changing alien was, according to John Nathan-Turner “ahead of its time”, i.e. crap. Perhaps now its time has come.

4) The Malus off of The Awakening. An over-sized gurning mantelpiece with features like the Gorgs on Fraggle Rock, this should be brought back purely to allow someone to say “well, it’s very much with Malus aforethought.”

5) The Rani. Kate O’Mara mincing about in puffy-sleeved blouses and giant boots screaming about “blundering fools” and being “pickled in time, like gherkins in a jar”? She’d fit right in.

"And not much rhymes with Naughtie, Jim"

Saturday 23rd June 2007

There was a great bit on this morning’s Today programme when, as part of their coverage from the Glastonbury Festival, the lead singer from the group The Broken Family Band performed a song specially written for the occasion.

Apparently an avid fan of Today, he not only namechecked all the presenters but even included a mention of some of the reporters, like Environmental Correspondent Sarah Mukherjee. It was fantastic, and evoked the very best tradition of people penning songs about the programme on which they are being featured in, the grand high master of which was, of course, Lord Richard Stilgoe.

To hear it, and it is worth hearing, you’ll have to wade through the 8.00-8.30am segment. It begins at 21 minutes, 20 seconds.

“I’ve been up all night so I can’t be certain
But I think I just saw Edward Stourton…”

Photo clippage #20

Thursday 21st June 2007

The saviours of daytime radio, c. 1993.

The Creamguide 24: slight return

Wednesday 20th June 2007

A few retrospective comments from some good folk.

“I thought,” emails one anonymous reader, “I’d dreamt the bit about Sarah Kennedy’s scotch egg (she only managed half!) which is why I came across your site by Googling ‘Sarah Kennedy’ + ‘Scotch egg’.” It’s true.

“I was first introduced to Sarah’s inimitable style about two years ago,” they continue, “and have been constantly amazed ever since as to how she can be allowed to continue broadcasting. She is clearly mentally ill.

“Usually I get up as late as possible to minimise the amount of SK I have to listen to at a delicate hour. However this morning I awoke at 6.30 and was subjected to more than the recommended daily dose. I was trying to relay the highlights of the show to my other half, and they were pretty much the same as yours – the Independent climate-change skipping, summarising a piece of news as “you can’t smoke in your house.. for half an hour…”, newsreader trying to get out of going to Wimbleydon with her, and, spectacularly, the scotch eggs and ants incident.

“Describing her sideboard and the trays thereupon and how she was fattening up by eating half a scotch egg. Truly mindblowing.”

Indeed. And there’s more. All too much more.

“Sorry to inform you,” says Scroggill, “but, yes, Radcliffe and Maconie reading the news was the best bit of the show. If I remember rightly, the headlines featured lots of sandshoes being found in a hollowed-out tree stump somewhere, and a re-appearance of Mohammed Al Fayed in the guise of a Mexican, reporting that Harrods was now completely out of purple Y-fronts due to the massive demand caused by Prince buying some earlier.”

Lastly, this from another anonymous correspondent: “It’s an honourable idea, but why torture yourself by doing the whole 24 hours in one go? Why not do 12 hours (00:00-12:00) one day and then 12 hours (12:00-00:00) the next? I mean, it’s not going to be much of a difference, considering the ‘stripped and stranded’ nature of radio broadcasting.”

Fair point, but I was trying to stick to the template as originally essayed by Select magazine in 1993, which was, as much for the sake of novelty as anything else, doing the whole lot in one go. The thing was always meant to be as much about what was on the radio as my reaction to and appreciation of what I was hearing.

“Sleep well…” they added. I did.