|Index||3 reviews in total|
This was a superb TV satire spoofing the newspaper industry. There were so many great moments that stick in the mind, particularly the wobble vision glasses, the campaign to save Happy the horse, the royal girlfriend in a porno film scandal. Too many to mention, in fact. It was written by a very talented duo (Marshall and Renwick) who had written the Burkiss Way radio show and the sensational TV series Whoops Apocalypse (they were also responsible for the far less successful film of the same name). The actors were wonderful and the parts they played very well written. It was Robert Hardy's finest hour in the dual roles of Twiggy Rathbone and Russell Spam. Geoffrey Palmer was possibly the better of the two editors (Richard Wilson got the part in the second series) but star of the show was Richard Kane as the conniving reporter Greg Kettle who made up stories if he couldn't find one and generally browbeat the public into admitting to things they had never actually done. Sheer class. Why isn't this on DVD yet?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was a great series that chronicled the epic fiascoes that resulted
in almost everything a newspaper crew attempted to do.
They missed the suicide of their own boss and were the last in town to report he jumped off their building.
They accused an (obviously...) innocent person of being a werewolf.
They fell for an old nutter's story about being Nikita Krushchev and were about to parade him on TV when he dropped dead.
Due to lack of space and planning, they resorted to placing a new hire's desk in the elevator.
Very funny stuff that always bordered on the ridiculous, though no more so than real life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
L.W.T.'s 'Hot Metal' did for journalism what Andrew Marshall and David
Renwick's earlier 'Whoops Apocalypse!' did for The Cold War.
The premise is this; the ailing 'Daily Crucible' newspaper is bought by vain, right-wing millionaire Twiggy Rathbone, who appoints his twin brother Russell Spam as managing editor. Spam turns the paper into a muckraking, scandal sheet. Senior editor Harry Stringer can only watch dumbfounded as the paper goes into the gutter in search of lurid stories. Anyone remotely critical of Thatcher is branded insane. Rathbone is sensitive to criticism from others, though; when 'Spitting Image' does an unflattering caricature of him, he goes ballistic!
Seedy reporter Greg Kettle is less interested in the truth than simply printing what he thinks the readers want to see. In one episode, he breaks into Prince Andrew's girlfriend's hotel room and damages his packet of condoms! Other gimmicks to promote the paper involve a campaign to restore capital punishment, and a free pair of glasses that causes the Page Three girl's breasts to wobble!
Thankfully, 'The Crucible' still has some good reporters left, such as Bill Tytla, an eager young Scot who gradually exposes a far-reaching political conspiracy involving his boss. He was played by John Gordon Sinclair, then still fresh in the public's memory from 'Gregory's Girl'. Caroline Milmoe replaced him in the second season as 'Maggie Troon'. Also departing after one season was Geoffrey Palmer a.k.a. 'Harry Stringer'. Richard Wilson stepped into his shoes as 'Dicky Lipton'. In the first episode in which he appeared, he is seen wandering naked around the 'Blue Peter' set during a live broadcast!
Comparisons with 'The Crucible' and 'The Sun' were, of course, intentional. Its easy to forget now just how important a role the tabloid rags played in keeping Thatcher in power.
The show cleverly combined sharp satire with the mystery thriller format. Running through the first year was a plot that began with a Nikita Kruschev lookalike dropping dead on a talk-show. The experience served Renwick in good stead many years later when he created 'Jonathan Creek'.
Both the writing and acting were of an extremely high standard. It came as a shock to see Robert Hardy of 'All Creatures Great & Small' fame in a show of this calibre! He was excellent in the dual role of 'Twiggy Rathbone'/'Russell Spam'.
Following the Channel 4 repeats, the show vanished into television oblivion. Someone, somewhere should rectify this at once - better yet, in light of the Leveson inquiry, make a new series!
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