Miles Kington RIP

Thursday 31st January 2008

January ends with a distinct lack of instant sunshine.


Jeremy Beadle RIP

Wednesday 30th January 2008

No joke, this time.


Monday 28th January 2008

There’s nothing the media likes more than a story about on-screen channel idents, preferably when there’s a sum of money involved they can make sound astronomically large and therefore utterly wasteful.

Well, nothing the media likes more save for a story about a story about on-screen idents and how much it has cost to replace them.

The so-called BBC3 blobs are on their way out, and fair enough. They’ve had a decent innings, a longer than average lifespan when placed in the history of channel idents, and now it’s time for a change.

It’s unclear precisely how they have been, in the words of The Guardian, “a huge hit” – how do you measure the hit potential of a logo? – but rest assured there’ll soon be another anti-BBC topic for that paper to drone on and on about, probably involving a “leaked email” from yet another conveniently anonymous “disgruntled staff member”.

Meantime let’s recall the five best examples of on-screen branding with slightly more claim to have been huge hits, thanks mostly to the fact they a) disappeared ages ago but are still fondly remembered and b) looked really rather nice. In no particular order:

1) 1970s London Weekend:

2) 1960s BBC2 – in colour:

3) Early 1990s Channel 4, Christmas special:

4) BBC2 “paint”:

5) Central Television – the original:

"Thursday night on BBC1, and…"

Saturday 26th January 2008

Things That Have Long Since Disappeared But Still Make Good Subjects For Idle Conversation #375: defining days of the week with TV channels.

For an entire generation, surely Thursdays was always BBC1 night. Top Of The Pops followed by EastEnders followed by Tomorrow’s World was something stamped inside your head with as much force as a school timetable. There was no point ever thinking any different. There’d be no family arguments over what to watch because there was no reason to ever switch to the other side. It was the perfect appetiser to a Friday. A siren song that trumpeted the imminent arrival of the weekend.

Mondays, however, were – for at least one person – ITV’s domain. A cold compress in the shape of Coronation Street, Fresh Fields and World In Action. The reality was inevitably different, but the perception is of those programmes always being on and always being on Mondays. A positive disincentive to welcome the start of the new week.

Call it what you want – more sensible scheduling, less channels to choose, more variety of programmes, a less complicated existence – but no longer will you ever get the kind of free association that would forever equate early Sunday nights with BBC1 and late Sunday nights with ITV and Friday evenings with BBC2.

And that really won’t do, because how else are you supposed to remember what day of the week it is other than by the names of television programmes?

Photo clippage #32

Thursday 24th January 2008

Dineage over Britain.

Going all the way, sir?

Tuesday 22nd January 2008

News reaches TV Cream of an “On The Buses event in Elstree and Borehamwood on Saturday the 28th of June 2008.”

Following a “Welcome get-together at 11am at venue to be confirmed” and a screening of Holiday On The Buses (cast members will be present!), guests will be taken on a tour of the area to visit various locations used in the film.

More pertinent, however, is what’s happening in the evening: a trip to Elstree to celebrate 80 years of the titular studios, with “band, film clips, buffet, special guests and pay bar”.

There’s more information to be found if anyone’s interested. Meanwhile it looks like something big’s just come up for Stan…

Doctorin’ the middle eight

Saturday 19th January 2008

Obviously the best bit of each weekly Digi-Cream Times mailout is the last line, but this week’s was – hopefully – particularly satisfying, linking as it did to this stunning re-imagining of Ron Grainer’s second finest hour after Tales Of The Unexpected (Winebar Mix).

Said song hails from a site devoted to collecting amateur makeovers of the Dr Who theme, but given there are hundreds on there, and given they’re mostly crap, taking pot luck isn’t an advisable experience. Here, then, are five of the best to save you the bother of unexpectedly downloading HellFire Hard Trance feat. The Cybermen.

1) Manhattan Transfer had nothing on this. One bloke scats, croons and duddle-de-dums his way through a multi-voiced tonsil-taxing triumph.

2) Someone bashing it out on one of those plinky-plonky pianos of the kind you only get in school halls and on Winifred Atwell records. With a TARDIS sound effect for good measure. Ten times more convincing than your average David Tennant episode, that’s for sure.

3) The Jar Humphreys Dr Who Dub Explosion mix. Throw your best skanking shapes to this seriously wonderful bit of demented electronic reggae, of the kind Macca would probably have turned out over a sesame seed bap and a funny cigarette.

4) A toe-tapping cha-cha-cha medley combining your finest Palm Court Orchestra frugging, the old 1960s rubbish theme, and a guest appearance from Professor Who himself. “One day, yes, one day, y-y-yes one day…I shall come back!”

5) A musical joke. With a certain familiar festive tune creeping in at the end.

Nominations for the best one?