Getting The Network Together, Tonight

  • 4/02/2009 01:28:00 am
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones


No time for a proper update yet this week, not even an update to the Stewart Lee vs. Horne and Corden ratings chart (mainly because no-one we can find has published the viewing figures for episode three of the former. If anyone can help there, we’ll be indebted). We’re still very much impressed with the video on offer at the ITV website, which we think, with a bit of work, could become even better than the Beeb’s iPlayer. How so? Well, because the ITV site offers up a selection of programming from the ITV network’s archive. Not just full episodes from there, but entire series of shows going back as far as the 1950s.

It’s not yet perfect. The selection of programmes could do with being expanded, but to be fair this may be dictated by the rights to many programmes now being outside of their control. The default playing window size is also quite small (the screenshots below are actual size as they appear on the ITV website). Not too bad for a clip, but a little wearying if you’re going to watch an entire series on the default setting. It’s all the more silly when you expand to full-screen mode, and realise the video is being pumped out at a bitrate high enough to enjoy at a higher resolution.

We’re probably preaching to the converted here (the captions on the size suggest this content has been online for ages already), but nonetheless here are links and shots to a few things we’ve found. Sadly, the Spitting Image link only provides video of a few select clips (alongside clips of – groo – Headcases), but the following classics and curios are on there. Warning: fond memories of programming past may become tarnished after viewing some of the following shows. Oh, and sadly, despite the heading we’ve used for this update, Bruce’s Big Night isn’t on there. A glaring oversight, we’re sure you’ll agree.



Metal Mickey (1980): series one.



Catweazle (1970): Series one.


Robin of Sherwood (1984): Series one.



Press Gang (1989): Series one.



Whicker’s World (various years). Including one show called “I Wear a Uniform, Pack a Gun, But I am Still a Woman”. Ladies? Doing ‘man’ things? The very thought!


Doctor in the House (1969): Series one.



The Army Game (1957): Series five.

Because it’s 2009, it’s expected that we won’t be able to relate emotionally to any of these shows unless there’s a comment from a modern day ‘celebrity’ telling why we should like each programme. So, we get Piers Morgan telling us how Alan Whicker “appeared to be having an absolutely brilliant time”, or Ben Shepherd remarking on how he wanted to ‘be’ Dexter Fletcher’s character in Press Gang (“he was American and he was cool”). That pettiest of gripes aside, high fives all round for the ITV archive gang.

Fingers crossed for more additions soon, and toes crossed that the BBC will take this idea and run with it. Their own archive minisite is nice enough, but ITV are ahead of them here. In fact, we’re going to boycott BBC Three completely until we can access at least three different streaming episodes of Emu’s Broadcasting Company on iPlayer. There. How d’ya like them apples, Auntie Beeb?

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