"I only popped out for a bit"

Monday 28th July 2008

It’s 50 years since the first Carry On film was released, and amidst all the justified retrospection and ribaldry, the fact that the supposed ‘new’ Carry On film, Carry On London, *still* hasn’t materialised, has been conveniently overlooked. Which, given it’s been in pre-production for aeons, has got a wretched premise and boasts an appalling cast, is probably just as well.

No doubt, when the film is finally eked together, the producers will also forget that all the best Carry Ons:

a) have as many cast as possible share the same name as their character
b) have proper theme tunes (the best two by far being Carry On Doctor and Carry On At Your Convenience – download them both off iTunes now); and
c) always have a scene that begins with characters out of shot having a conversation that sounds saucy (“I just can’t seem to get it in” “Relax – give it to me, let me have a go” “Perhaps I should try this way round…”) only for the camera to reveal them doing something mundane (completing a jigsaw puzzle).

Indeed, if it’s a new Carry On you’re after, why not go back to the most enduring location – a hospital. After all, the Carry On Again Nurse idea still hasn’t come to fruition.

This would be far more emblematic of the franchise and far easier to flog around the world. There’s also plenty of mileage to be had with topical references to waiting lists (“I’ve been coming in here once a week to see the nurse about my plastercast, and I still haven’t had it off”) deep cleans (“Just what this place needs: one more scrubber”) and penny-pinching (“Do you think you should make another incision?” “Don’t worry: these people are used to cuts”).

Plus there’d be the potential for a publicity-generating cameo from David Tennant, who is accosted by an outpatient – “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I thought you were a doctor” – before casting a brief glance at the camera.

The thing that would clinch it, though, would be for it to be set not in the present day but somewhere between roughly 1965 and 1974. Yet done very faithfully, not with endless shots of people self-consciously wearing flares or knowingly driving perfunctory cars and mugging to the camera about LSD. That would be horrendous. No, it would have to be played and filmed very straight; any attempt to parody a parody always fails.

The people who should be in it are:
James Corden
David Mitchell
Ruth Jones
Richard Wilson
Claudia Winkleman
Tim Vine
Caroline Quentin
Tess Daly
Bruce Forsyth
Richard Stilgoe

But sadly the people who probably would be in it are:
Russell Brand
Peter Kay
Catherine Tate
Alan Carr
Graham Norton
Ronni D’Ancona
Julian Clary
Justin Lee Collins
Ricky Gervais
Leslie Ash

with a special guest appearance by Barbara Windsor either way.


Howard’s weigh-in

Sunday 27th July 2008

Is that really the erstwhile younger-one-who’s-charged-with-all-the-risky-stuff-on-Tomorrow’s-World and guest on one edition of Celebrity Squares in 1994, Howard Stableford, leaving a comment about Beat The Teacher?

Macca’s back pages: chapter 3

Saturday 26th July 2008

More from David Pascoe:

Exhibit C: Daytime Night-time Suffering
“I really think that’s all right, that one. It’s very pro-woman.”
AKA: Macca does feminism

Once upon a long ago, McCartney called this “my big favourite of all my contemporary work.” It could be he was just relieved to have written it. Shy on inspiration for a song to act as the B-side to forthcoming single Goodnight Tonight, he threw down the gauntlet to his Wings bandmates. Whoever produced something workable by Monday morning, would see the song recorded and issued.

History has failed to record what Mrs. McCartney, Messrs Laine, Juber and Holly came up with, but by Monday all bets were off. McCartney had written this tribute to women. But is his high opinion of the song justified?

It bears all the hallmarks of a song that has flown through its author once he has stopped pushing for a song to come. Lyrically it comes as close to pure poetry as McCartney has ever managed. I hope this song made it into Blackbird Singing, if only for beautifully prescient couplets such as: “What does she get for all the love she gave you?/There on the ladder of regret/Daytime night-time suffering/Is all…she gets”; and “Where are the prizes for the games she entered?/With little chance of much success/Daytime night-time suffering/Is all…she gets”.

Things nearly get derailed by a clichéd middle eight concerning rivers and streams that segues into the classic McCartney vocal fill “do-do-dee-do-dee-do-dum-dum-dum”, but in the end he carries it off.

Why should we be interested in it?
Because the man himself likes it and it’s only a B-side. Are we missing a classic track? Well not quite classic, but it’s certainly very good and a cut above most of the stuff McCartney was writing in the late 70s. It was more deserving of its place on Wingspan – Hits and History than bloody Bip Bop.

Mark Lewisohn says it should have been a double A-side and who are we to argue?

End of an error

Thursday 24th July 2008

For anyone still signed up to the Creamguide Yahoo Group mailing list, you’ll just have received the last ever Digi-Cream Times weekly mailout.

This blog will continue, hopefully, while there’ll be original bits of video turning up on the Digi-Cream Times YouTube page from time to time, which will also be plugged here.

But those weekly Yahoo dispatches from a pretend office in a pretend building called TV Cream Towers are no more. You can see a Creamguide editor signing off, and hear the sound of a nation shrugging, by playing the video currently on the TV Cream homepage, or by clicking on these three underlined words.

Thanks to those who read it and sent in stuff during the last eight years.

"Pwime Minister, pwease…"

Monday 21st July 2008

Yesterday saw the last ever edition of The Sunday Programme on ITV, and with it the end of political shows on the entire channel.

Which is no great surprise. It’s been a long time coming. Shoving The Sunday Programme to 6am a few years back was hardly a sign the station saw a rosy future for that sort of output. Or indeed any kind of future.

Nonetheless an era that began decades ago with Weekend World – the first TV show to think that thunderously self-important po-faced analysis of politics would go down a treat at Sunday lunchtime, the first TV show of its kind to keep on getting recommissioned despite less than 34 people watching, and most importantly, the first TV show to get the axe once Greg Dyke took control of LWT – is over.

Hip hip hooray and all that. Politics has no place on telly on Sundays. It never has. But yesterday’s swansong is kind of more significant for what it says about the ongoing decline of ITV, where repeated failures and flops have now become so commonplace they barely get a sniff of publicity.

10 of the station’s red letter days have already been documented. Does yesterday merit adding to the list? If not, how about the revival (and complete tanking) of News At Ten – again? Or the day ITV got fined £5.68m? Or when it ditched all children’s programmes? Or when its share price fell to the lowest ever? Or just every single day since, say, 1998, all rolled into one?

Bryan Cowgill RIP

Friday 18th July 2008

It’s not proving a good year for legendary TV executives.

Photo clippage: OnDigital special

Thursday 17th July 2008

Now here’s a subject fit for blog treatment. Yes, it’s 10 years to the month since the press launch of OnDigital.

Here’s a dream team of soap-ettes to mark the occasion: Lisa Riley, Holly Newman, Steven Arnold, Michelle Collins and Adele Silva, plus requisite over-sized cut-out lettering.

And here they all are again, holding a television aerial:

Waiting over at Crystal Palace, a few months later, it’s Ulkira Jonsson…

…while Jim Rosenthal and Robbie Earle prepare to host coverage of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Lazio and Chelsea, complete with make-up bag: