This is it. The final furlong. Soon it will be over, and we’ll have to think up another way of writing about television, without writing about current television programmes. But first, an advert for electronic organs, fronted by Tommy Cooper:
On with the listings:
The ITV Van
What a fantastic concept – it’s the ITV van. Every time an outside broadcast unit is needed a little van, containing a cameraman and an interviewer, pootles off, allowing the First Tuesday team to get the jump on doorsteping a member of the public about suicide.
“Take that, Panorama! Have you got a Panorama van? Have you? No, you haven’t. We have. And as long as World In Action aren’t using it, we can go wherever we want in it!” It’s inter-broadcaster exchanges like this that saw the 1981 unveiling of the Dimblemobile, y’know. Admittedly, it was an old Bedford van with a big ‘D’ pointed crudely on the side, but it served a purpose.
I am Questo-man. Look out for my nemesis, Interrobang-Face
Don’t know about you, but if we’d ever met someone with a huge question mark for a face, it’d certainly stick in our collective memory. If any members if the BBC Three demographic are in, this is what clip shows used to be like. Much drier, a little more boring, but without all the intercutting clips of Radio One disc jockeys and Mock The Week-issue standups humming the theme tunes.
Bed-Ridden Bolam/Bowles Bedlam
And now on Southern, thirty minutes of Chappel-penned chicanery, with an episode centred on a man who has a face. We used to like Only When I Laugh as a tot, though we genuinely felt distressed that they never seemed to recover. In this modern era of high-concept sitcoms (Peep Show, No Heroics, Moving Wallpaper, all those Comedy Lab pilots that were never going to make it), it seems no-one would dare commission a long-running situation comedy centred on such unspoken bleakness. Why are they in the hospital? Are they dying? Why do they never show any signs of illness? Why has Richard Wilson only seemed to get ten years older between 1979 and now?
Sadly, the opportunity to allay these concerns by having the jesters wearing stethoscopes was missed. Bah.
Not Pictured: Dom Joly, Aged 7, Furiously Taking Notes
Two people taken aback upon being confronted by the world’s biggest telephone. Just how does that receiver balance on top of it? Does the presenter need a ladder each time it rings? Does he need to rope in Dave Prowse or Geoff Capes to dial the numbers for him? Also – six presenters? What is this, American telly?
What The Papers Were Saying
Ah, the universe’s longest-running television programme, having technically being broadcast since 1874. The icon recounts the days when broadsheets were the size of tents, and free inflatable quotation marks were often given away as marketing incentives. Also: we’re furiously treading icon-based water right about now. This is very much the nadir of the entire project.
In Germany It’s Called “The, Monster, The”
It’s the late night weekend film, with a scary werewolf, and the twisted face of either a victim of acid chucking, or a badly drawn heroine. Is this a good place to make a weak joke about the time we bought a large building in which to store and distribute items that we were selling, only for to transpire that every full moon said building went off and started killing people? And that it turns out we’d bought a werehouse? It isn’t? Oh dear, what an insipid end to GenreIconMania.
But Wait, That’s Not All. Shall we round off the whole thing with some Icon Bloopers? Oh hells, yeah.
Icon Blooper One
What’s going on here!? A record of the time Peter Sissons turned invisible after being confronted by the floating heads of two bald men? Erm, no, the grey didn’t print out on that page.
Icon Blooper Two
Those oblong blocks on the left? They’re meant to be arms. Arms that would ordinarily end with four applauding hands. The ‘sad’ drama mask has just watched them being cut off by the ‘happy’ drama mask. Brr. Alternatively, the grey didn’t print out on that page, either.
And so, that’s it. That’s the end of final update we will ever do about TV Times Genre Icons Of The 1970s. Almost definitely about two updates too late, but timing never was our strong poi. Nt. If anyone’s still reading this, you can tell our regular readers to come back into the room now. It’s finally over. The TV Times 1970s genre icon teat is now bone dry, and continuing to suck it just causes massive discomfort, plus a prolonged stingy sensation.
We’ll leave you with the best possible reminder of the era: a scanned picture of David Frost’s front room.
NEXT WEEK: The Top 250 Radio Times Genre Icons Of The 1960s: Part One.