Reviews written by registered user
|21 reviews in total|
This one has them all.
Kline, released from Prison after three years, sets about Birmingham in a kind of Get Carter-ish trail of revenge. Residents of Birmingham won't recognise the place now, particularly the scenes set around the then partly demolished Snow Hill station. Concrete glass and marble have replaced the more venerable buildings in the centre of Britain's second city, but this 'Play for Today' which spawned a not quite so good series, lets you know what it was like in those more colourful times.
Long hair and wide ties abound, as do a fine cast, largely Black and Asian which was unusual for the time. This was written by Philip Martin who also plays a cameo'd Mr Big, and cracks along with a mix of sex, violence and a good slice of humour. Watch out for an early run out for Paul Barber who plays an excellent 'heavy'. He would go on to be better known as 'Denzil' in Only Fools and Horses, and had a brief moment of international fame as 'Horse' in 'The Full Monty'
Pick of the nude scenes goes to Tania Rogers, who performs a strip for Kline when he visits an old acquaintance in a nightclub. She finishes the performance that night when Kline bursts into her room. To her protests of `I told you to contact me only in an emergency' Kline replies `This is. I haven't had a woman in three years' You could only get lines like that in the seventies, and the music for Tania's strip? The theme from 'The good, The Bad, and the Ugly' of course!
..and nobody sold trash like Greg Dyke. Long departed though he
from the LWT building, Greg's shadow is still cast over this born again
TV-am, as it's created in the same mould as his designs for that hapless
ex-franchise holder were some 21 years ago.
The show is a mixture of interviews with tired old celebrities pushing their latest book or comeback, mixed in with hard luck stories from the less than glittering members of society. It's all strung together with the same colourful panache as a Sunday Tabloid newspaper.
Divided in to three segments, the first is the best and it's all downhill from there. Bizarrely the only two presenters with real talent, John 'Stapes' Stapleton and Penny Smith are condemned to the graveyard slot between six and seven. They handle the Newshour as it's called comfortably and without descending into the Tabloid Telly that tones the rest of the programme.
The main slot is given over to the smarm'n'silly brigade fronted by Eamonn Holmes who tries to bring a kind of Woganesque Irish charm to the proceedings. He's accompanied by Fiona Philips who seems unable to read more than half a sentence without looking to consult her notes. Finally there's the Lorraine Kelly slot, a 'Wimmins' mixture of fashion, food and frivolity without which the nation clearly couldn't function.
As I said at the start though, trash sells, and this programme's popularity has kept it high in the ratings while Channel Four's offerings have all slipped by the wayside, and the BBC have tried a few permutations without success. If you're looking for something that slips between this puerility and the corporations rigid, overproduced style, try 'Sunrise' the Sky TV offering. It has its faults, but gets the job done.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is pretty much a riot from first to last. I took the kids to see it
yesterday (girl,5 boy,6) and although the youngest found it scary in places
my eldest giggled all the way through. Highlight of the film was ****minor
spoiler**** how Shaggy and Scoob deal with the 'Forty Niner' ghost near the
end with a wind breaking spectacular (c'mon, you didn't think they'd lose
did you?!) and, no pun intended, for us old farts who remember the original
series in the late sixties there's plenty of familiar ghouls and ghosts
included (and enough left out to ensure at least a third film.)
True the CGI Scooby, lacks the polish of the bad guys, the best of whom have to be the one-eyed skeletons, but what the heck. He almost has the character and personality of the original, and although he doesn't steal the movie, helps to carry it along with pace and humour. BTW I assume the irony of an animated Scooby in a live action version of the cartoon series isn't lost on you all?
One for the kids, but it'll amuse all but the stoniest of adults who've been dragged along with them.
The BBC briefly nosed ahead in the Breakfast TV ratings war in 1983, more
sleight of hand than anything when they launched their service two weeks
so before the hapless TV-am. By early 1984 however the slide had begun,
never to be reversed as their middle class style jarred with a firmly
working class audience addicted first to Nick'n'Anne: and then to a
collection of similarly 'next door' couples on sofas as offered by TV-am
They've tried various iterations over the years, and the latest has to be close to the poorest. The presenters seem to be caricatures, rather than characters. The show stutters between an over excitable weather girl generally parked outside in the courtyard jumping up and down shouting `It's a GORGEOUS day!' to a Billy Bunteresque Business correspondent, (with his own studio, guests and crew no less) in the London Stock Exchange.
The anchors are no better, seemingly selected for appeal rather than ability with 'Lipstick' Kaplinski's reach seemingly exceeding her grasp on any subject more complex than fashion. Dermot Murnaghan is a little better, and looks like he might even have read the briefing notes before his interviews. Best of the lot is Rob Bonnet, who presents the sport, by the admittedly old fashioned technique of coming along, sitting on the end of the sofa, and reading it. He occasionally subs for Murnaghan who's contract clearly forbids him presenting on Fridays and at least lifts the shows solidity if not its style.
Weekends are better with Bill Turnbull generally partnered with Siân Lloyd or Jules (who, bizarrely, becomes Julia at weekends) Botfield. Exiled to the News 24 set, they manage to keep the 'matey' style going without too much of the self indulgent mannerisms of their weekday opposite numbers.
All in all it's an expensive white elephant aimed at the middle class, and middle aged commuter belt audience in the Home Counties (hence the inappropriate emphasis on business and London weather) I'll give you one guess as to the demographics of those responsible for this programme.
Thank God for Sky.
This dreary little offering has the same producer, production company, and
is even produced at the same Studios as its predecessor 'Kilroy'. Little
wonder then that heaps of litigation failed to accompany the well
if exaggerated 'split' between Kilroy-Silk and the BBC in January as
has apparently changed about this programme except the title and
Depressingly familiar is the tired old formula of seeding the
'rent-an-applause' audience with individuals who's ability to shriek their
argument is inversely proportional to their ability to listen to anyone
For the BBC this fills a hole in the schedule, and for Kilroy, it presumably fills a hole in his bank balance. The only losers in the equation are the viewers.
Fairly routine sitcom, more laugh a month than laugh a minute, and even
those were generated by the impeccable David Kelly. The only real interest
this generated at the time was that Wyatt, who was then married to DJ and
recent "I'm a Celebrity get me out of here" winner Tony Blackburn, left
for O'Sullivan in mid run.
Blackburn who's star was very much on the wane at the time (The IMDB chronology illustrating this perfectly) has bounced back from whining about his (debatable) loss in countless tabloids, to relative success on both Radio and TV. Wyatt and O'Sullivan on the other hand, have sunk without much trace. What goes around....
There have been a few Hollywood-star-comes-to-Britain crime series, if that
counts as a genre. Walter Pigeon's Bulldog Drummond' being an early and
excellent example. Man in a suitcase' The Persuaders' & Dempster and
Makepeace' were others of more variable quality. This is the most
forgettable of the lot. Inevitably the star soaks up the budget, and
everything else looks shabby because of it.
At the time us hormone fuelled teenagers were more interested in Nyree Dawn
Porter and overlooked the tatty and wobbly interiors, inferior locations and
duff direction and editing. These days however it looks dated and weak and
even Robert Vaughan cannot lift it. I always let the opening titles run
before switching over however, to see that yellow car (an Opal?) rolling
lazily over and over almost in time to the theme music.
Watchdog began as a slot focussing on consumer affairs in the famed
magazine/current affairs programme 'Nationwide' and was originally
by Hugh Scully. It was fading in the late 1970's but was eventually
by Lynn Faulds Wood at TV-am and became one of the most watched segments
the otherwise hapless Breakfast station's output. Lynn, like husband John
Stapleton (also a TV-am reporter in the early 1980's) was utterly fearless
and would badger, browbeat, and generally harass the bad guys until they
gave up or on occasion resorted to violence. Whatever the outcome it was
great television and undoubtedly helped dig TV-am out of its various
Unfortunately Lynn, like many other talented presenters didn't survive Bruce Gyngell's ill judged and ultimately fatal new look for TV-am and left in 1985 to be followed by husband John less than a year later. Bad news for TV-am but good news for the BBC as the pair resurrected 'Watchdog' and got it in to a prime time slot. With the greater resources and professionalism of the BBC, Lynn with John took 'Watchdog' to new heights.
Sadly, both would leave the show in 1993 to pursue other interests, including starting a family, and Lynn's well publicised illnesses which she would overcome showing great courage. Both now can be found on GMTV, John as a main presenter with Lynn still plugging away at consumer affairs, and doing a better job than her replacements at Watchdog.
Anne Robinson took the helm and the whole show drifted into a kind of poor man's 'That's life.' In place of the solid investigative journalism the whole thing took on a campy air with Robinson and cronies seemingly being the main attraction and the consumer gripes a vehicle for them to display their dubious talents. By the new millennium Robinson was making far too much money on 'Weakest Link' to be bothered and so left to be replaced by radio jock Nicky Campbell and debutant newsreader Kate Sanderson.
Both bring a histrionic air to the show with Campbell attempting a poor imitation of the Jeremy Paxman interrogational approach, and Sanderson alternating between a giggly schoolgirl and a lip trembling drama queen depending on the tone of the particular item. There are other, better shows for consumer affairs these days, Rogue Traders being just one example. There are also better entertainment shows, but for the BBC, this fills a handy half hour after the news and current affairs, and can't hit the budget too much for them drop it. Until they do, I'll keep the remote handy...
This dreadful piece of Television has blighted the mid morning schedules for
nearly 18 years, and has thankfully now been pulled. Ironically not because
the BBC have finally realised how awful it is but because of an allegedly
racist article recently penned by the host in a Sunday
In the furore over the whole affair pundits have been queuing up to offer comment, the best of which was by Ex-newsreader Michael Buerk. He summed up 'Kilroy' as "Trailer Trash Exhibitionism" and who am I to disagree?
The audience would appear to be selected for their ignorance and combativeness rather than their ability to contribute to the debate. The subjects chosen, loosely follow hot topics in news and current affairs but I doubt whether one single minute of the broadcasts has added anything of substance, particularly to the participants who seem beyond help. They have added to Kilroy's income however and his apparent standing. Both might be taking a bit of a knock now, but what's the betting that Sky pick up this show if the BBC finally decides to kick it in to touch.
In the 60's there were literally dozens of these variety entertainment
shows. 'Val Doonican', 'Andy Williams', 'Morecambe and Wise', 'Sunday
at the London Palladium' the list was seemingly endless. Every singer
to have their own show, as did every comedy team and they all followed
the same formula. There would be various acts: stand up comedians,
magicians (generally either aspiring unknowns, or old farts on their way
out) interspaced with the odd monologue by the host. Of course there were
also the obligatory dance sequences with overly-enthusiastic dance troupes
smiling rather too widely and jumping rather too energetically. Standard
'Music Hall' (Vaudeville) fare, which is where British TV has its roots.
Rolf's wasn't that different except for a number of features which he presented himself, which were uniquely and brilliantly `Rolf.' The first was his musical slot, generally featuring a didgeridoo or wobble board in which he'd either belt out an aboriginal song or a cover of well known hit of the day. Every now and then for variety he'd sing one of own songs, 'Jake the Peg' or 'Two little Boys' were favourites that did well in the charts, and I think 'Tie me Kangaroo down, Sport' might even have topped them.
Then there were his 'Bush Tales' in which he'd gather selected members of the audience around him (in subdued lighting) and tell a tall tale, generally Aboriginal in origin. This would generally lead on to the highlight of the show - indeed Rolf's signature piece - where he'd paint a picture relating to the story he'd just told. Not some sketch or oil painting you understand but a big 'un. A canvas some twenty feet wide by eight or so tall would be wheeled onstage and Rolf would walk over to it still talking about the story.
On the floor by the canvas would be some tins of ordinary emulsion paint - perhaps three or four colours, and a handful of the sort of brushes you would use to whitewash a fence. With these improbable tools and materials Rolf would buzz to and fro dabbing apparently at random while humming or singing some meaningless tune. He had a knack of aspirating rhythmically and would sing while breathing in and out. This was all marvellous stuff for us kids and we lapped it up.
The pictures were crafted like a Murder Mystery as no-one could understand what was happening while he was doing it. The paints would drip, run, and seep into each other but none of this fazed Rolf. He would sweep away, almost painting in reverse as he added detail after detail with no form to the picture at all. This of course was all to add to the suspense as you strained to see what it would be.
Then finally, just near the end, he'd paint a crucial line joining two improbable blobs of colour up and suddenly you'd see it. There would be a mountain, or an old shack or a beautiful tree, it would seemingly appear as just a few extra brushstrokes made everything fall in to place. Every dab of paint after that now made sense as he completed the picture and stood back with lights dimmed except for a spot on the painting, and the studio audience would applaud, and generally we did at home too. With the camera on a wide shot to take in the whole picture you couldn't see the runs or other imperfections, and the picture as a whole was beautiful. I wonder what happened to them, as I can't imagine anyone getting something that size into their home. Marvellous stuff.
This is not the sort of show that would be released on DVD, or repeated on one of the satellite stations, so I guess all you've got is my description - I hope I did Rolf justice.
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