Four score: slight return

It’s the last blog entry on Channel 4’s birthday*.

By way of a follow-up to that 1992 list of the station’s supposed 50 most significant programmes, here’s what might pass for a similiar inventory today. First up, those worth keeping from Broadcast’s original rundown, and a word or two of justification:

After Dark (What closedown?)
Alter Image (your archetypal Isaacs-era impenetrable nonsense)
As It Happens (Paddy Haycocks, a microphone, and the city of London)
The Bandung File (textbook mid-80s multiculturalism)
Brookside (up to 1994, that is)
Chateauvallon (“Everyone’s here. Even the Regional Prefect!”)
Countdown (“It says here, ‘Man And Vorderman'”)
Diverse Reports (aka Thatcher’s Britain)
Drop The Dead Donkey (“Bloody bastard John bloody Major!”)
GBH (“This body leaves in two minutes: be on it!”)
The Last Resort (“Maybe if I sleep with you after the show?”)
Manhattan Cable (for inventing YouTube, at the same time as Clive James)
Max Headroom (“on drums: the Pope”)
The Media Show (bring it back now!)
The Nation’s Health (worthiness personified)
Network 7 (for-the-hell-of-it personified)
One Summer (a one-off one-off)
Saturday Night Live (“Please welcome…The Style Council!”)
Traffik (at last, a bit of money)
Treasure Hunt (“Erm, I think you might find *this* book will be of some use to you…”)
The Tube (for putting an entire ITV regional building on telly)
A Very British Coup (for being better and more expensive than Traffik)
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (“I’d like you to read them in the style of…a man with only 20 seconds to live”)

Which totals 23. To bring it up to 50, how about…

The Big Breakfast (“That was funnier than you’ll ever know”)
Big Brother (up to 2002)
The Channel 4 Daily (missed out by Broadcast, for some reason…)
A Dance To The Music Of Time (even more money than Traffik)
Derren Brown Plays Russian Roulette Live (proper ‘storm over…’ tabloid-bothering business)
Desmond’s (textbook mid-90s multiculturalism)
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush (well, William G. Stewart has to get a mention somewhere)
The Double Life Of Jonathan King (Jon Ronson’s finest hour)
Father Ted (C4’s last great sitcom)
Four Goes To Glyndebourne/Glastonbury (double-bill from 1993)
The Government Inspector (best drama for ages)
Grand Designs (kept C4 in pocket for ages)
Hearts And Minds (Dr Who and Jimmy McGovern: together at last)
Hollyoaks (up to 2001, that is)
Monarchy with David Starkey (grown-up telly)
The 1900 House (grown-up reality telly)
Right To Reply (again – why wasn’t this in Broadcast’s list?)
Richard And Judy (proper C4 ‘stars’)
So Graham Norton (ditto)
Teachers (paved the way for all 3,598,219 episodes of Shameless)
That Peter Kay Thing (paved the way for all 3,598,219 repeats of Phoenix Nights)
Time Team (as recommended by Andrew Collins)
Top Ten (as patronised by Andrew Collins)
Watercolour Challenge (Hannah Gordon + daytime telly = genius)
Wise Up (for slagging off Rick Adams, at the very least)
The Word (“Come on Terry, keep it together!”
You Are What You Eat (epitome of C4’s mother-knows-best TV)

*Until the next one.

Advertisements

4 Responses to Four score: slight return

  1. Anonymous says:

    What, no Escrava Isaura? :)

  2. drbendy says:

    What about Pob? Especially the episode where he drank tomato ketchup from the bottle with a straw. When my mum caught me doing that she contemplated a counsellor.

    Also Jayce and The Wheeled Warriors and the cartoon about innards of the human body.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Still no Yok-Yok. Pah!

  4. Paddy Haycocks says:

    Hi again,
    What a great job you do. Such a fresh top 50 and underpinned by a real sense of knowledge and expertise.
    I’m humbled that you’ve included two of my more enjoyable stints on Channel 4. Firstly, the pioneering, unvarnished and unedited slice of early reality, ‘As It Happens’ (one of the most enjoyable programmes with which I’ve ever been involved) and then the ill fated Channel 4 Daily. I had such a good rime presenting the Streetwise segment on that service for a year. A great team and an enormously generous co-presenter in the shape of Debbie Greenwood. Happy days.
    Paddy Haycocks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: