We’ve chipped the icicles off the office computer to bring you the last of our glances at TVTimes gone by, and what could be better than a double Christmas issue with a cover that sums up the era perfectly?
Hyuk-yuk-yuk. Or however one is supposed to spell Sid James’ guttural guffaw. It’s 1973!
Before we even get to the listings, the issue is off to a cracking start, with a column by Brian Clough.
With this being the (short) era between Clough’s tenure at Derby and his calamitous spell at Leeds, the column opens with…
“What will football be like on New Year’s Eve 1983? Well, apart from the odd certainty – like Brighton riding high in the First Division – and one or two imponderables (will Alf Ramsey still be trying to get the England team to find the net as he works up to the 1986 World Cup on the Moon?)”
…which makes for a nice snapshot of his career at that point. In charge of the team at Brighton (who Clough had left before taking charge of a single match in The Damned United: the film, though documented more fully in The Damned Utd: the book), illusions of grandeur that wouldn't be realised (Brighton only won 12 of the 32 games that Clough was in charge for), and a sly pop at Alf Ramsay (who had actually been Sir Alf for six years by that point) with an eye to nabbing the England manager’s job that would instead end up going to a certain Mr Don Revie.
Oh, and the ending sums up where Clough was at the time, too.
“Which brings me, at this festive time, to ponder over what to send Sam Longson, the Chairman at Derby, for Christmas. I could think of a million things – like balloons with a few well chosen words written on them – but I’ll be nice, and offer him the present he might least like to receive – Brighton’s success. To Sam, with love: two points from sunny Brighton. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.”
Erm. Anyway, click the image to see the full article.
Anyway, onto the listings. It’s the era where the TVT used funny little program genre icons, in order to help pad out the spaces left for regional variations elsewhere.
1.40pm Sunday 23rd December: FARMING DIARY
We’re off to a great start with a show we suspect may have been exclusive to the Anglia region.
Even though we’ve no idea what this programme was like – hey, even we weren’t born yet – but we suspect it involved tweed. And a cud-chewing round. Oh, okay, we’ve taken all our stereotypical opinions about farmers from old films. We’re basically agricultural bigots.
1.30pm Christmas Eve: JOKERS WILD CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Or, as TV Cream usually calls it, Smokers Wild, because when any footage of this crops up on nostalgia shows, everyone seems to be sucking on their Silk Cuts with the vigour of condemned men. Aside from that, though – what a show. As far as we’ve even been able to tell, it only ever went out in afternoons or early evenings, but Christmas Special or not, what a line-up. Les Dawson and John Cleese (the latter at that point writing for and performing with the former) would be reason enough to tune in, but with nine comedians battling for attention in a half-hour slot, we’re not sure if it didn’t all end up as a bit of a scrap. (Oh okay, eight comedians plus Michael Aspel.)
6.30pm Christmas Day: ITV’S ALL STAR COMEDY CARNIVAL
So, while we hear quite a lot about Christmas Night With The Stars, not much ever seems to be said about ITV’s ‘tribute’ to the whole selection box format. As for the contents, all we could really say for sure is that we didn’t even know about the TV spin-off of Billy Liar, and that going by this video of the 1972 edition, the legal department of DC Thompson should have had “a word” with whoever put together that title sequence by the time of the 1973 edition, and that Tarby’s terrible linking material probably hadn’t improved.
4.30pm Boxing Day: H.M.S. PINAFORE
Opera! On ITV! In the evening! A different age.
5.20pm Sunday December 30th: AQUARIUS
“A-ha-ha! I’ve just painted your violin grey with this big paintbrush!” “Wah! I loved the original walnut finish on it, too.” We still love seeing those programme genre icons, you know.
2.0 Wednesday January 2nd: QUICK ON THE DRAW
COME ON, ITV3. YOUR SODDING NETWORK HAS MADE SOME PROGRAMMES THAT AREN’T BLOODY DETECTIVE DRAMA SERIES, YOU COCKING WELL KNOW. SHOW THIS, YOU RAT BASTARDS.
And that’s all the Christmas TVTimes rounding-up we’ve got time for! We’d better crack on with some BrokenTV Awards 2010, hadn’t we? Don’t worry, we’ll spend more time on that than we have on this rushed update.