Saturday, December 27, 2008

I've been watching and reading the numerous reports on the poverty-stricken abandoning their dogs with a mixture of distress and anger. It's costing too much to feed the dogs, they claim. Bollocks. Utter bollocks. Good, healthy dry dog food - complete, not mixer - can be bought loose in pet shops for about a pound a kilo. A kilo lasts for about a fortnight in the case of my own, admittedly small, canine associate, supplemented, of course, by whatever she can get off my plate. That's a pound for two weeks of uncritical adoration, and the distinct sense that not everything's completely buggered. Dogs are life-enhancers, but it's not one-way traffic. People who claim poverty need to look long and hard at their spending habits before abandoning the dog. How many of them spend a tenner a day on fags? How many complain about the price of their own food, but persist in buying pre-packaged crap and ready meals rather than buying ingredients and making it themselves?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas is off to a flying start here, thanks to Gary Rodger, who alerted me to the following lines in Robin Askwith's Wikipedia entry:

"Recently several internet sites - including the IMDB - claimed Askwith had played the lead in Oh No, Its Derek Anus, a 1972 LWT sitcom. However it has since emerged that this was an internet prank/hoax and no such TV show exists, the IMDB no longer carries a listing for Derek Anus."

The trouble is that I now want this show to be real. It couldn't be worse than Bottle Boys.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And so we reach the final window of the Cheeseford Virtual TV Nostalgia Advent Calendar, prising the flap open gingerly and wondering what in the name of Jesus H Cribbins we can expect to see. Oh, it's a VT clock blackboard. How exciting. However, before you all demand refunds, let me tell you that this is the VT clock from studio A at Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road, Bristol, now enjoying a very happy retirement. As a result, if any of you have timecoded Windmill Road windfalls of things like Vision On, Animal Magic, Jigsaw, Think of a Number, Leap in the Dark, Scoop, Take Hart, etc, this is the actual bit of blackboard that you see at the start. Not Rutland Weekend Television series 2, unfortunately, as though the shows were made in studio A at Whiteladies Road, they were given new, different clocks by the VT editors. Unfortunately, the accompanying Smiths clock became detached when studio A was taken out of commission, and is probably now in landfill somewhere under the M4.

As a special Christmas bonus, I have been alerted to the return of the ads for Mike's Carpets to Yorkshire Television. These cheaply-made efforts, featuring a man in a roomful of synthetic rugs with something similar perched on his bonce are the kind of commercials that come to the fore in times of recession. During boom times, ITV lives high off the hog, and has no need of Mike's advertising pound. However, when the chips are down and the Woolworths account has gone down the gurgler, the rate card goes out of the window and all money is good money, especially if it prevents ad breaks from consisting entirely of trailers for things starring Robson Green. Here's some vintage Mike. I'm just off to record a couple of hours of YTV in the hope of catching one of the new ads. Merry Christmas to one and all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the penultimate window of the CVTNAC, we have a spread from a 1957 book on TV (I have no idea what it's called, because it lost the covers and title page long before I got hold of it) about the building of the BBC Television Centre.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Having spent the majority of the weekend either recovering from a monumental hangover or trying not to emulate Rod Hull's dying moments while attempting to capture two different satellites on the same dish (I gave up on Hotbird 13E, as there's nothing of interest on it save for the odd Arabic test card and the surreal experience that is Tele Padre Pio - finally I managed to get the whole thing into a position where both Astra satellites came in loud and clear), we're now playing catch-up.

So, for what would have been Saturday's offering, have another end credit, this time from Morecambe & Wise's 1976 Christmas show. This is, apparently, the only picture in existence of the boys with producer Ernest Maxin (the frantic pace of rehearsal and production left nary enough time for even a snapshot), and even then, Maxin is obscured. Perhaps they thought he was too handsome to share the limelight with them. Bunging this fine picture on here gives me a chance to alert your attention to the latest issue of the very fine Kettering which contains a piece by me on how video tape rescued the Christmas TV schedules, and a splendid dissertation on Sunday night ITV comedies by that nice Mr Norman, among other treats.

In Sunday's window, we find one of the obscurer idents from the 2002-2006 BBC1 'Rhythm and Movement' package, while for Monday, we return to 1993 for an edition of The Late Show about the new ITV contractors. The production credit for the programme was in the style of the idents used at the time by Carlton in London.