“…I was listening to the news.” Obviously.
The current profusion of anniversaries and turning points and do-you-recall-what-you-were-doing-when archivery is all very well, but what about those really important historical moments – the ones you watched on the box and talked about with your mates in the playground/common room the morning after?
Those, after all, are the actual stuff of personal memories, and not the kind of things you heard about third hand from someone in the street or, in the case of Mrs Thatcher resigning, a classmate running down the corridor in the opposite direction shouting like a banshee.
Hence, instead of yet another countdown of 10 top TV moments that are actually things which would’ve happened anyway but by chance happened to be on TV (i.e. the moon landings), here are 10 possible candidates for proper, world-quaking, eye-glueing small screen happenings.
1) The last episode of Eldorado
“Marrrrrrrkkkuussss!” A car explodes for no reason; Jesse Birdsall manages to escape to live out his days sipping cocktails on a passenger ferry disguised as a private yacht.
2) Tom Baker changes into Peter Davidson
But not before briefly changing into a bloke in a white smock played by a camp dancer friend of John Nathan-Turner.
3) Andy Crane is gunged on Comic Relief
The levers being pulled by a suitably bathetic, framed-photo-of-Bob-Holness-boasting Fry and Laurie.
4) TV-am’s Lisa Aziz breaks the news that Freddie Mercury is dead
A rare treat for anyone waiting to see Frost On Sunday.
5) The Word broadcasts the UK premiere of the video for Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love’
Terry Christian greets the viewing millions: “‘Ello perverts!”
6) Mr Bronson’s wig falls off for the first time
In a stroke a fearsome icon becomes a dreadful comedy cliche.
7) Phillip Schofield reveals he’s leaving the Broom Cupboard
The shock only slightly alleviated by an ensuing comedy skit involving Michael Grade.
8) An edition of the missing words round on Have I Got News For You?, c. 1991
“I made Thatcher WHAT, boasts Lawson,” asks Angus. “Is it ‘swallow’?” replies Paul.
9) DI Frank Burnside leaves The Bill
Everyone stopped watching it round our way.
10) The last edition of the Channel 4 Daily
All the presenters rakishly threw their scripts in the air, in the process exhibiting more enthusiasm than in the whole of the preceding three and a half years on air.