In a Land of Plenty

Wednesday, January 24, 2001 by · Comments Off 

This time last year BBC2 were in the middle of screening their much-hyped adaptation of Gormenghast. It ended up falling way short of expectation. The supposedly breathtaking special effects just looked ludicrous on the small screen, while too many dreadful celebrities turned up to mutter one sentence before dying. It was an attempt by the Beeb at filming a supposedly unfilmable text just for the sake of it. One year on and we’re almost half way through the transmission of another supposedly unfilmable book on BBC2, but this time the results are blissfully different. Read more

I Love 1981

Saturday, January 20, 2001 by · Comments Off 

The year 1981 will be remembered for some of the greatest and most visually striking pop music ever to have ascended to the highest peak of the charts. It was entirely appropriate that a key exponent of this – Adam Ant – should have fronted this show; like Marc Bolan a decade earlier, he was a teen idol from the unlikeliest origins, the leading subculture at the end of the previous decade (hippy for Bolan, punk for Adam). Read more

Gillette Soccer Saturday

Saturday, January 20, 2001 by · Comments Off 

Given the hand wringing, wailing and general gnashing of teeth over Sky Sports plundering of traditional televised sporting events from ITV and (especially) BBC, it is refreshingly ironic that their flagship programme, Gillette Soccer Saturday, centres solely on football. With the demise of World of Sport and the reduction of Grandstand to a cruel parody of its former self, the battle for the hearts and minds of committed Saturday afternoon sports viewers has been fought for, and won, by Sky. Read more

Baddiel’s Syndrome/Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned

Sunday, January 14, 2001 by · Comments Off 

Have you ever noticed how “Have you ever noticed”-type comedy is strictly “out” these days? I mean “out” to the point where Steve Coogan has seen fit to turn one of his most idiotic characters (Duncan Thickett) into a feeble observational comedian. In fact it’s probably been out since 1993 (the decline of Newman and Baddiel in Pieces). Also no one ever uses the phrase “complete and utter” anymore. That one died out with the “stonk”. Well the news is that they are back. David Baddiel has produced little straight comedy in the last few years, so Baddiel’s Syndrome would be an opportunity to check out how far he had developed since those halcyon Wembley days. Read more

I Love 1980

Saturday, January 13, 2001 by · Comments Off 

Almost with indecent haste Saturday nights on BBC2 have resorted again to nostalgia. After the summer success of I Love the Seventies, it somehow feels appropriate that the altogether murkier ’80s are relived on cold, winter nights. Despite the seasonal change (and the increase to 90 minutes per episode) bedding in for a night of archive footage and talking heads felt rather familiar. In fact, rather too familiar thanks to Sky One’s spoiler series TV Years (focusing on a scatter-gun of years from the ’80s) which covered a lot of the same ground. One of the points of interest here, then, will be to see exactly where I Love the Eighties dovetails and where it diverts from TV Years. Read more

The Greeks

Saturday, January 13, 2001 by · Comments Off 

“A revolution has begun that will change the world. A moment of chaos and anarchy as the people have seized control of their destiny,” intones Liam Neeson portentously, and we know, this being 8pm, that we’re not yet in I Love the Eighties territory. Before we venture into the terrain of easy-going reminiscence of a long gone era, BBC2 have decided to give us a lesson in classical history.

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Confidence Lab

Wednesday, January 10, 2001 by · Comments Off 

Have you ever wanted to change your life for the better? Have you ever wanted to be that bit more assertive, authoritative, confident and in control?

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Monday, January 1, 2001 by · Comments Off 

Not quite yet a Christmas tradition up there with The Snowman or The Great Escape (was this ever actually shown on Christmas Day?), the Review of the Year is our excuse to reflect upon 12 months of telly, attempting to identify the trends, assess the programmes and distil that which was “in fact the strongest link” from that which was merely “My Arse!” (yes – that was still a popular catchphrase in 2000). Read more