Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Top 50 TVTimes Genre Icons of the 1970s - Part Four

Time for another update on this. There’s a whole stack of these from 1975 to get through, so on with it we shall crack:

The Saturday Simian Whip-Cracky Run Away Movie

“I hate every chimp I see / from chimpan-ay to chimpan-zee / no, you’ll never make a monkey out of me…” This would be the perfect place to bung in that embedded YouTube link to Newstopia’s first report from Pilger Heston, if only YouTube hadn’t removed it. The humourless twonks.

Clowny Clown Clown Clowning Hour

Slightly disturbing clowns tumbling pseudo-comically. Giant men with big shoes. Seals and beach balls. Skinny men with big hats standing on horses. Roy Hudd. That’s what every circus really should be like.

Alarming Comedy Semi-Hour

Aaaargh! What is wrong with their faces? Kill them! They are practically begging to be put out of their wide-gobbed misery, it’s the only humane thing to do. In the name of all that is holy, do it!

Big Clock News

And now, the 12.55pm News. Bong! Giant inaccurate clock claims time is 10 O'clock. Bong! Television website inaccurately uses ‘bong’ cliché despite fact that said device was only ever used on News At Ten, which this isn’t. Bong!

The Manchester-Based Menaces Of Coronation Street

At long last, it’s the long heralded Coronation Street icon. Three menacing figures lurking in an alleyway. Coshes not pictured. And while we were too busy at this time not even being ready for rusks yet, we’re sure gas-powered streetlamps had long since been phased out on the streets of Wetherfield. If only to stop Eddie Yates from siphoning off all the gas to use in his cooker.

It’s ITV’s Sabbath Agri-Obligation Segment!

The BBC have recently announced that Country File is being moved to a prime-time slot. Now, as it’s probably going to be up against Corrie, it’s not that big a story, but even so we’re pretty damn sure there won’t be any specials based on The Fat Stock Marketing Corporation.

Afternoon Birdy Mock Slot

Children can be right bastards sometimes. See how they mock that portly bird. It is clearly suffering from chronically low self-esteem, which is probably why it feels the need to go out and pilfer shiny objects, and yet here come a triplet of kids, primed for mockery. “Ha ha! Fatty stupid thief bird!” “Idiot monochromed sticky-beak!” “You call that plumage? You’re shit-aah!” Tsk.

But hang on. Is the bird fighting back a mockery-induced tear, or is that a scowl we see upon it’s feathered visage? A closer look will reveal:

The scowl! The feathery rascal is up to something, we suspect. Why, come the morning, there’ll be three little children in the village wondering just who’d pecked their eyes out overnight. Oh, magpie, you beaky sociopath.

And Now, The News For The Elderly

“What was that? Speak up young man. Now, where did I put my ear trumpet?”

Down On Demented Farm

Was the mule-based problem that it kept thinking it was a sheep? Or just that it didn’t really look that much like a mule? Does Jack end up shooting the mule or something? Is that how he solved the problem? Didn’t he have enough to worry about with the six-foot radius snowflakes dropping down everywhere? Don’t leave us hanging, this is far too surreal a show to be putting out at 3.55pm.

Anglia’s Quid Win Telly Time

An improvement on the earlier placard debacle, but just why would a giant pound sign be trying to win all that stuff? We knew the economy wasn’t going that well in 1975, but we’d no idea it had sunk as low as this.

White Ringer T-Shirts From The Future

A rarity here, with only our second sighting of a quasi-realistic depiction of the actors in question (after, as you’ll remember, The Sweeney). We’ve never actually seen Space 1999, so maybe that chap’s right shoulder blade really was a lot wider than his left, and that lady did have hair that huge. The thought of having Rumpole as a character called ‘Companion’ is quite tantalising, though.

Hey, Where The Buggering Flip Did These Cubes Come From?

Does what you want it to, this one. Squares, or at least cubes, splattered with one nought and two crosses, topped with silhouetted figures wondering just what the jiggery toss is going on. And look at that textbook line-up: Sir Lord Bob on hosting duties, a great big camp-off between Danny La Rue and John Inman, Arthur Mullard being brusque, Willie Rushton being wry, and Kenny Everett doing the voiceover. Despite the quite obvious trick of having Everett in the centre square, you couldn’t have asked for more at 4.50pm on a weekend, you really couldn’t.

Nothing To Do With Revisions Of Email Programmes From The Far-Flung Future After All

Whizz! Bang! Boom! You’d have expected a picture playing up Anderson’s wonderful marionettes, or at least a close-up of a scheming Brains, but Icon Bloke is wilier than we’d thought. Rockets! Explosions! Nary a string in sight.

Refreshingly Multicultural God-Pray Hour

It’s worth noting two things here. Firstly, what’s with the line up of choirboy clones? Is that the way the church operated in the mid-70s? Every time some TV cameras are due round to film some songs, mimes and games, open up the secret subterranean lab, and release the clones from their pods? Positively shocking. 

It’s not all bad though. Icon Bloke has chosen to depict a black vicar. This may not seem like much, but the mid-1970s were a time of racial intolerance, Love Thy Neighbour was still a popular show, Enoch “Rivers Of Blood” Powell had only just left the Conservative Party, Bernard Manning was still a regular fixture on prime-time telly. It was a different, less tolerant age, and through the medium of programme genre icons, the TV Times icon bloke was something of a pioneer, striking an early blow for equality. Much as TVT readers may have feared members of an ethnic minority taking up such positions would prove a blow to their traditional British sensibilities, the vicar depicted here displays more calm serenity than you could possibly have imagined from a simple oval shape on a yellowing page in a listings mag. Hopefully the three million readers of TVTimes would pick up on this way of thinking, and the latter half of the 1970s would be a fundamentally sound and politically groovy place to be. Hurrah for Icon Bloke!

Hat Slash Cane Wrongness Knocking Hour

Oh, fucking hell.

Next time: A jarring whizz-pan to 1979. It’ll soon be over.

3 .:

Chris Hughes said...

What kind of episode of Coronation Street was that? "Friends who nip in only now and again"? Who were they, then? Renee Roberts' ne'er-do-well cousin? Fred Gee's interfering sister?

Also, Out Of Town appears to be illustrated with the insignia of the Luftwaffe and the logo for the 1984 Winter Olympics.

John the Monkey said...

I'm slightly worried that the icon seems to show a Space 1999 starring Vladimir Putin and Goldie Hawn.

I shall miss these TV Times icon posts, you know.

Simon said...

A professional rope-spinning act from the world of circus, you'll note, as opposed to those spinners that clogged up Royal Opera House productions throughout the mid-70s.

And Cilla's meant to be the middle one, yes? I'm guessing Cilla's Comedy Six is a more Scouse femme version of Six Dates With Barker. Perhaps in the same vein one of them featured Cilla running a personal dating service or making quasi-nuisance calls to people who'd put ads in the local paper looking for long-lost relatives.


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