Saturday, 23 December 2017

A Christmas Gift To You All: 1 Hour and 20 Minutes of Santavision

Yeah. This was a thing.

One of the most demented channels ever to appear on the Sky EPG. Every night throughout the festive season, a luckless drama graduate (presumably) desperate to get a gig on TV (almost certainly) would don a Santa costume and try to fill airtime for four long hours each night. Parents could text in and nominate their offspring for a place on Santa's 'nice' list, or for any kids still not toeing the line at home, his 'naughty' list.

Yep, psychological warfare conducted via a £1.50 text message and a suspiciously thin Santa. To the best of my memory, it lasted through 2008 and 2009 before, oh I don't know, the real Santa filed a DMCA complaint or something. And all things considered, that's a shame. That first decade of Sky Digital still had room for curios like Santavision - they might not have been good, but at least they were more interesting than the dozens of channels clinging onto their moderate ratings grabbers and shoving them out on an endless loop. Generally NCIS or CSI:SVU.

Anyway, here's 80 minutes of pure unfettered Santavision from 2008, with original adverts and everything. Apologies for the slightly shoddy video quality, but I wasn't going to waste a whole DVD-R recording it in Short Play mode.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Which Premier League Team Is The Most Followed On Twitter? The Answer Won't Surprise You (But Other Bits Of This List Containing Every Team In Britain And Ireland Might.) (A Bit.)

Twitter, eh? It’s a funny old game, what with so many people taking it way too seriously, to an extent that bursts of pure unfettered vitriol and occasional violence can ensue. While it may have been founded with purely Corinthian ideals at the core, it ultimately became a gentleman’s game adopted by too many ruffians for any unabashed enjoyment. Those becapped early days aren’t coming back. Especially not now there’s money in it.

And yet, despite all the droning, the dimwittery and the dickishness, enough of that core remains to keep us coming back for more. It’s often not pretty, participants often spend too long rolling around the dirt in fictional anguish, but there are always those wonderful characters who drag it from the mudbath, wipe away the drek and in doing so bring a cheer to our heart and a spring to our step. When your side wins, it’s wonderful. And when your side doesn’t win, there’ll be another battle along in a few days. And that’s what keeps us coming back. Even though Piers Morgan seems determined to ruin it for everyone. 


Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Top 200 Sitcom Characters of All-Time: 196

Yeah, we know.

196 Jimmy The Jew (Walking And Talking)

So, you’re Kathy Burke (for the purposes of this intro, stick with it). You’ve written a semi-autobiographal sitcom set in late 70s London, and you’ve written in the character of a local drug dealer who regularly gets up in the grill of the two central characters – teenage girls simply trying to make their way home from school. To try and keep things light, you need to cast someone who’d be believable in the role, but who manages to portray that character – someone who the main chars are repeatedly crestfallen to encounter, whose spines are set achill by even a distant sighting of him – in a light, non-threatening way.

That’s a tricky casting decision. There can only be one real option.


Yep. Jerry Sadowitz. And despite all expectations, Sadowitz nails the role. You absolutely buy into him as the local weirdo-you-want-to-avoid-at-all-costs (unless you’re after a wrap of speed), a man you’d not want to spend more than a second more than you need to, and yet he combines it with stupidly enjoyable, non-threatening lunacy. If Leo Baxendale had ever drawn up such a character, Sadowitz is the very personification of such a Bash Street Bastard. Jerry Sadowitz. A stand-up comedian so offensive he was once punched in the face by an audience member after the second joke of his set. In Canada. By a Canadian.

For the record ,Walking and Talking is a lovely little series – short dialogues between Kath (y Burke) and Mary, two Catholic schoolgirls in late 70s Islington as the walk to and from places, arguably kickstarting the entire I’m Successful Now But Look How Rough My Adolescence Was sitcom genre (cf Raised by Wolves and Cradle to Grave, both far inferior to Cradle to Grave). Seek it out, the 99.7% of people who’d missed it first time.

Having been part of the original Sky Atlantic line-up, Walking and Talking is currently available on Sky’s on-demand service Sky Go, and on fancy set-top boxes. So it’s there if you’re giving part of your hard-earned to the Murdoch empire each month. Which is quite handy for us, as otherwise there are no screengrabs from it and Sadowitz seems to have ensured zero seconds of his performance are on YouTube. Though trying to get a screengrab of it from Sky Go meant being told the web version of Sky Go no longer works with Firefox, suggesting we use Internet Explorer instead. AND the same on Chrome. AND THEN in Opera ordering us to install Silverlight. AND THEN claiming Silverlight needs to be updated even through we’ve just updated it. AND FINALLY making us use Internet Explorer like fucking 19th century village idiots. BUT THEN watch several minutes of unskippable adverts, despite it being an expensive paid-for service. Screw you, Sky. We’re going to keep on giving you too much money every month, but now we’re even less happy about doing it. You made us use Internet Explorer in our own home, you swines.


The Bottom 200 Sitcom Characters of All-Time: 197, 196, 195 and 194. Everyone in White Gold.