Friday, 19 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day Twenty) - Goosing with Dick while Aladdin watches

Its Panto Time once again and for the twentieth day, here are some awkward Pantomime television ads to look at..

First off upto to Scotland to see how they can advertise a panto with mainly Scottish flavour, pantos do have a strong regional flavour in certain parts of the country and they draw on this to enhance what they have got already. However this just seems like the raw footage for a commercial which has somehow sneaked it way onto the internet, letting light behind the magic somewhat.
"No, the camera's over here..."

And over to Southampton as this is this year's advertisement for the production of Cinderella starring Brian Conley and Gok Wan, yes that Gok Wan is in panto. Conley, a veteran so many of these shows, makes it look so effortless. But hey, in a world where local advertising is so short nowadays, isn't reassuring that a show like this is going all out make itself noticed.
No puppets were harmed in the making of this advert

Or how about another way to get you message across, mainly shouting it out there! In Weymouth that's the way they like it seems, making sure everyone notices them. The simple pleasure of seeing the panto comes to us all, in my time I have seen everyone from Lorraine Chase, Cardew Robinson to the great Brian Cant, even appearing on stage with him. Overall panto has kept up with the times, with whoever is famous is cast in these shows, from the rash of soap stars in the late 80's through to reality stars of today. Its these people who make panto what it is and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Giant, doesn't cover it...

Monday, 15 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day 16) - The Foolish on the Hill

A short one today and a more visual one as we look at Christmas tapes, the promotion made for internal viewing at television stations around this time of year. Though actually they have a lot more to answer for then just being smutty, it was from these tapes the idea of It'll Be Alright on the Night came from. By the VTR editors collecting all the mistakes throughout the year meant they had accidentally invented a new genre of television.

However in such a high pressured world as the television industry is, these tapes not for public consumption were like a pressure valve, letting out their frustration at the end of a hectic year. Though they were not without their own problems, as such with the BBC's 1978 tape White Powder Christmas, where an interview with David Coleman and Princess Anne was re-edited to make her give salacious answers to Coleman's questions. Though when this leaked to the Sunday People, all hell broke loose that a member of the Royal Family would be treated in such a way by the BBC. 

So an internal tape had escaped into the public domain and also with the tapes being even re-edited and going on sale in The Netherlands as public video entertainment, meaning which the promos/Christmas Tapes had to go even more underground.

An explanation as such comes from the 1988 BBC Christmas Tape handily known as The Christmas Tape Story.

Now get out of that...

For all the naughty bits, these promos are actually well put together with as good production numbers as in any programmes. By taking the popular songs of the time, the staff would do their own versions and even those who are more musically gifted made their own songs. But the producers knew the value in letting the production staff do this because for all their seeming messing about, that ideas could taken into programmes and used to the advantage. 

So we say 'Merry Christmas VT' to those who bring us our telly over Christmas and without them it wouldn't be possible.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day 14 and 15) - And Our Survey Said... Game Shows at Christmas

What says Christmas more then giving away prizes? The television staple of game shows, always appear in the festive schedules and nowadays thanks to channels like Challenge we can see Christmas specials from the past. Though where now game shows used to the domain of the general public during the rest of the year, where mostly in prime time now the celebrities appear the most on them.

But back in the time before digital television and audiences in there many millions, come the festive season with the tinsel and turkey, celebrities lined up to have a go at what mere mortals would do. Though one of the most unfathomable game shows being 3-2-1, they first put the celebrities to the test in 1978. Well, actually 1979. But wait there's a reason for this, Yorkshire Television who made the programme were actually on strike over the Christmas period of 1978 and as such they could not broadcast it either leading to the Christmas Edition finally going out on the 27th of January. 

Though that's where we leave that edition, as since 1979 it has not been seen. But on the 23rd of December, Challenge TV are re-showing it again. All we know is that Jack Douglas appears with Rusty Goffe and three couples are Mike Channon teaming up with the then England women's cricket captain Rachel Heyhoe Flint, Clodagh Rodgers with Terry Wogan and Pat Coombs with Julian Orchard. Apart from that I don't even know what happens, so even it will come as a surprise to me.

Anyway for the next 3-2-1 celebrity special, we move on to 1987 with the contestants all coming from soap operas. Well, ITV and Channel 4 soaps anyway, the Skilbecks of Emmerdale Farm, the Duckworths of Coronation Street and the Grants of Brookside. Along the way, guest santas popped up to deliver the clues with former jockey Bob Champion and former swimmer Sharon Davies amongst them. Though is also notable for an appearance by voice-over man and continuity announcer John Benson at the end with the rest of the assembled cast.

There are stranger game shows though, how about Big Break? The show that brought snooker to the game show format, they were always quick to do something for Christmas. however how about the likes of Steve Davis set against the story of Alice in Wonderland? It happened in 1994, Mr Davis were joined by Marti Caine as the Queen of Hearts, Zoe Ball as Alice and Craig Charles as the Mad Hatter. Though what fellow snooker players John Parrott and Terry Griffiths thought of this is anyone's guess.

However this isn't the strangest edition, the next year they did a panto themed edition with Wendy Richard, Frank Carson and Diane Louise-Jordan as the guests and potting the balls were Ray Reardon, Jimmy White and Peter Ebdon. Cue lots of jokes about Cinderella going to the ball etc.

So when the celebrities are allowed to play anything can happen and it usually does.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (11th, 12 and 13th Day) - When Fifteen goes into One: ITV Promotions and Trailers at Christmas - Part One

A couple of days ago, I looked at how promotions were used to promote different channels at Christmas time. But with the BBC it is easy to promote themselves because they are one Corporation as compared what ITV was, a series of individual companies all wanting to do their own thing. 

For so many years, the likes of Rediffusion London, Granada, ABC, TVS, Central etc, they would adapt their own look over the festive period. These efforts were a proportion to the companies they represented i.e. Granada's being homely, Rediffusion's being classy and TVS' being entertaining.

However with ITV wanting to serve a more united look over Christmas, how would the individual companies come together to give a unified look. In response to the BBC's lavish trailers of the 1970's, the independent channel had to come up with a way of doing this as well. The structure within ITV meant there were five major companies at its head after the 1967 franchise round, those being Thames Television, London Weekend, Granada, Yorkshire and ATV. With the more minor franchises supplying programmes for the Christmas schedule, but the big five companies were the ones tasked with coming up with the look for the festive period. 

Every year the responsibility fell one on of the companies to come up with that year's look for Christmas. Taking for example, 1982 with Christmas Eve and Day falling on Friday and Saturday respectively, that LWT took on that year's campaign running from the 20th of December to the 28th. So it was natural that London Weekend would use one of their own personalities to voice over the promotions, with Michael Aspel both a face from Give Us a Clue but also LWT's Six O'Clock show doing the duties. The actual launch trailer was broadcast on the 7th of December after the programme Russian Roulette. 

The trails themselves were played out on the fifth of December after the film 'Fort Ti' and before that evening's showing of The Professions, both of these being teaser trailers. However on the 9th of December, the first proper trailers were played out after an edition of 'Only When I Laugh' and also 'Falcon Crest', the first of these two concentrating on the entertainment to be seen on ITV over Christmas and the second showing the big shows and films the commercial channel had that year. 

In the line-up for that year's entertainment was Mike Yarwood, This is Your Life and The Morecambe and Wise Show from Phillip Jones' Light Entertainment depart at Thames. For game shows 3-2-1 from Yorkshire and Punchlines with Lennie Bennett from LWT, as well as two of LWT's main shows for Christmas night being Game for a Laugh in its second series and also Chas and Dave's Christmas Knees Up which is being re-shown by Channel Five again this year. Among the other highlights, the network premiere of Roger Moore as James Bond in Moonraker, Disney's The Black Hole, fun with Bruce Forsyth in Play Your Cards Right and Secombe at Christmas with Harry Secombe bringing a musical flavour to proceedings. 

An example of the 1982 ITV Christmas promotion

"There maybe trouble ahead..."

"Greetings to you too..."

However it has been an ambition of mine to learn who actually made the ITV Christmas Promotions/Trailers pre the united ITV era, so I will be looking into them more deeper soon.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day Ten) - All Star Show Offs

Day Ten and we look at a tradition which ran on children's television for nearly ten years but as such marked the start of Christmas, where as on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, there was always a star guest from another field showing off. But imagine the whole of the BBC Children's Department all showing what they could do in one show, that show was The All Star Record Breakers, usually Record Breakers made facts and figures entertaining, though this once a year opportunity gave Roy Castle to show off what he could really do and effectively his own Christmas Special.

With so many talented people who presented and acted in shows for children on the BBC, All Star Record Breakers was the perfect idea to make a show as spectacular as any the Light Entertainment department could do. Effectively, the two departments of Children's Programmes and Light Entertainment crossing over made for something spectacular.

The series of specials started in 1974 with the likes of the Blue Peter team including John Noakes, Peter Purves, Valerie Singleton and Lesley Judd along with Pat Keysell and Tony Hart, Johnny Morris plus Michael Rodd, Julie Stevens, Bernard Cribbins as well as the McWhirters. But the fun did not start to get going until 1977, in the year when the BBC spared nothing to make the programme to more spectacular then ever before. It was the year which produced one of the show's most remembered moments. Roy Castle, one of the best tap dancers that the UK has ever produced did something so iconic that even after the closure of BBC Television Centre that it is still remembered to this day. 

Not only did Roy tape dance his way around the Television Centre, but when he arrived at the centre courtyard where as he was joined by lots of tapping feet from the biggest tap troupe in the world. All in aid for raising money for Action Research For the Crippled Child, but as such to get the fountain to work at the right time in the routine, a little bit of persuasion was needed by the people who operated the fountain. Leading to one member of the All Star Record Breakers crew to sponsor the person who switched on the fountain for doing their sponsored knit. 

Roy Castle Beats Time...

However the 1977 edition is full of jokes and songs, John Noakes getting pied in the face, Roy having to compete with whole cast in singing Catch a Falling Star who add the facts about the interstellar heavenly bodies whilst he is trying to perform. But in edition to Kenneth Williams' joke about the largest saxophone in the world adding that someone would need plenty of puff to blow it and he delivers that he's one of the biggest puffs in the business much to the knowing laughter of the band. 

Though the performance of the story of Hans Christian Anderson brings out the best in all the performers with Peter Purves singing about wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen, Roy telling the stories of Hans with Kenneth Williams in full Jackanory mode narrating the story itself, the end result is anything as good as any musical. Though who wouldn't want to see Noel Edmonds dressed as an inch-worm?

But always the BBC wanting to top this, in 1978 to make the show even more like Light Entertainment, they decided to base that year's programme on Music Hall entertainment. This lead to more people who came from an entertainment background, all the Blue Peter presenters of the year were there so Purves, Noakes and Judd were joining by Simon Groom and Christopher Wenner. The programme has a feel of an edition of Crackerjack, but with Brian Cant, Bernie Clifton and Stuart McGugan joining the cast. Here were three people with entertainment experience and versatility, but also people who had experience on working on shows from the Light Ent and comedy departments. 

If its 1978, then Grease is not far away. Maggie Henderson plays the Olivia Newton-John role but who played John Travolta is not known at all. To top last year's Hans Christian Anderson musical, the All Star team put on The Pickwick Papers for the finale. Later on Roy Castle was to star in Pickwick with Harry Secombe on the West End stage, so as good as training for appearing that musical. Adding to the musical performance is the All Star Steel Band, so the likes of John Craven clank along to make beautiful music together. Unfortunately or fortunately, this performance has been lost to the ages.

1979 brings a touch of the surreal, because for all the fun and jollity there is Miss Children's Programmes 1979. You read that right, a beauty contest for female children's presenter. Odd you might think, but it is apparently all a dream. Who's dream, I don't know? Anyway, the special guest judge for this is Valerie Singleton, who apparently won the contest in 1972. So who entered in this year's contest? Tina Heath, kept the Blue Peter end up plus also Lucy Mathen represented Newsround, Carol Leader went through the round window for Play School, Dame Floella Benjamin as she is now was trying to help Play Away walk off with the title, with also including Susan King, Su Ingle, Maggie Philbin, Jan Hunt and Maggie Henderson. So its odds on someone called Maggie could win it, sadly for the ages we do not know who won the prize. But more seemingly a touch of 'It Was Alright in the 70s' there, with the children's department thinking this was suitable viewing for 5 to 16 year olds.

Don't believe me? Then take a look at this!

Ask Aspel, if he wants to come back and host...

Return tomorrow for day eleven and we are nearly halfway through, so its time to launch those Christmas promos!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day Nine) - A Delve into the Schedules, 30 Years ago..

On the ninth day of the Advent Calender, I give to another look at around Christmas television. This time we skip back to 30th December 1984, which was a Sunday. With the festive season over and the New Year just around the corner, what did BBC 1 and BBC 2 have to offer us to people getting visual heartburn?

Well BBC 1 first brings The Flumps to screen at 9am, for some reason every set of listings I pick has had The Flumps within it, but the main channel gets more serious with a Cliff Morgan documentary about the 1984 International Games for the Disabled which handly points out that no-one runs as fast as Seb Coe or throws as far as Tessa Sanderson, but its only a matter of time according to the Radio Times. Then goodness knows what who ever wrote that would have made of the 2012 Paralympics! "People running, on blades?" As its Sunday, this also includes an edition of See Hear as well, meaning that the disabled can have their own little place out of the way it seems. 

However as its Sunday, religious and Asian programmes go hand in hand as well, good old Auntie BBC being diverse there. But the illusion of this is somewhat spoiled by an edition of Bonanza at 10.30am, so if you were a religious, Asian cowboy at least BBC 1 had you covered for the morning.

David Attenborough pops up with Wildlife on One about Antarctic animals after the news headlines, so on a cold day comes a programme about a cold land. The main channel sure knows how to warm people up, but at 1.50pm BBC 2 starts up with a comedy from Charlie Chaplin about a tramp, a blind girl and a eccentric millionaire. Hmm, so diversity from BBC 2 as well then, next there will be a load of beefy men all clashing into each other. Ah, yes.. Rugby Special, the Northern Division, which when you think about it sounds like a great name for an early 80's synth band. Anyway, the Northern Division take on the Romanians, it sounds like a Nigel Farage promise, but its a rugby match. Nigel Starmer-Smith sits at one end of the rugby club boardroom hoping to get a drink at some point. 

Think that's the end of the physical exertion? BBC 1 at five past two. brings you Stanley Baker and Michael Caine in Zulu. But thanks to Radio Times' listing writers, they can explain the film better then anyone else. "1879. Having inflicted one heavy defeat on the British army the disciplined warriors of Cetewayo march in towards the small army garrison at 
Rorke's Drift. Lt John Chard and Lt Gonville Bromhead desperately rally their meagre forces: 8 officers and 97 men against 4,000 Zulus!" Dramatic or what? But also spoiling the film somewhat as well, so thanks for that! 

But more stunning scenery for BBC 2 at 4pm with the last round of One Man and His Dog, the programme that colour television was mainly invented for, because there's lots of green, lots of it. So what's to follow lots of green? Lots of green of course! This time of the green fingered variety as Geoffrey Smith shows his World of Flowers at 4.45, so there a splash of colour there. What's next for the second channel today? The Wizard of Oz, oh right! A film which is part black and white and the main city in it is the Emerald City. More green again! But however is its a nice tea-time film to sit down to and have cake with. Well there's not much to be jealous about that there?

Let's see what BBC 1 is carrying on with. Holiday, people visting hot, sunny places and John Carter gets to do it on Concorde as well! How about Anne Gregg, where is she this week? Corfu, looking at 'Club' holidays to be precise. Dear oh dear, the booze is flowing everywhere this week but thank goodness Cliff Mitchelmore is in the studio with nothing stronger then water as usual. Good, safe, reliable and there's a third report as well this week. Frank and Nesta Bough have their first report from France, so everywhere you look there's drink this week. Best get the black coffee on then before next week's show, I think.

But to bring everyone down from this booze cruise at ten past five is adapted from the book of the same name is Keith Waterhouse's 'This Office Life' and now I can see what The Wizard of Oz runs for so long, its like BBC 1 is saying "Ignore us for now, come back to us later, OK?" Though with Sunday duty after the news comes Songs of Praise, but on BBC 2 at 7pm is a few people who are praying not to get hurt as Ski Sunday and David Vine brings us the first round in the annual Four Hills Championship from Obersdorf in West Germany. Adding his own brand of magic on commentary is Ron Pickering, who is ideally suited to people jumping off things. Whether he shouted "Away you Go!" as every jumper goes off the end of the ramp is not recorded. 

With all that snow and ice today, there has to be something to warm you up. So like a warm fire comes along Last of the Summer Wine, as Compo, Foggy and Clegg help out Wesley with his racing car, at some point they must go rolling down a hill for our amusement. Just like those chancers, comes Robby Box in Big Deal trying to gamble his savings for the taxman away. Bringing the series to conclusion after ten episodes and with more drama then you can shake a pack of cards at. 

That's a taste of the 30th of December 1984, the full listings for BBC 1 and BBC 2 are below, so you can have a good look at them.

Until the tenth, I bid you farewell for now..

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day Eight) - Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb

Day Eight and it already feels like the big day is rushing towards us like a go-kart with no breaks and string steering. So in all this chaos, how as a television channel do you get across that you've got a raft of special programming coming up soon. Sure its easy enough as everyone's got a electronic programme guide on whatever they are watch the television on and funny enough a television set as well.

Though there were days when a copy of the Radio or TV Times would suffice to know what was coming up over the festive holidays, in loads of talk about people wanting to see what this year's BBC 1 Christmas ident will be even eighteen days away from Xmas Eve when we used to get it, but now its an excuse to get one over each and every channel. Let's go back to the days of less chaos and bad planning to see how Auntie BBC and Uncle ITV used to persuade us to sit down and open a tin of Quality Street and or Cadbury's Roses but never Celebrations as they weren't around then. I've gone all Stuart Maconie here, next you'll had a load of seventies celebrities poking their noses in too with their familiar faces as well.

1987 and a storm has blown over, finally they have prized Nicholas Witchell away from the Broom Cupboard so the normal continuiry announcers can add a bit of tinsel to the BBC 1 Globe. Yes, what better way to cheer everyone up with a lively Christmas ident...


Ah... yes.. Bits of paper paper flying around, shall I tell them or shall you? So five years after TSW and Channel Four got there with flying idents, the BBC for Christmas does something which is rather uninteresting and doesn't do much. At least Michael Grade had a three piece cracker, but enter John Birt so everything's classy but had the fun sucked out of it. The programmes are good, but surely they could had a Father Christmas walk across the ident or something or re-hired one of those animated bits of holly from 1986? 

Oh well, lets try the other side and Children's ITV to liven this up a bit. Yes, its voice of Channel Four Gary Terzza and Debbie Shore as well. They've got right into the spirit of Christmas with their tree and Debbie's natty Christmas jumper as well. Though always get that plug in for the TV Times there, as you might make another sale for the bumper Xmas edition as usual. 

Throw in the films, a bit of Disney and also anything ITV has found from somewhere and there you have what is enough to keep the Children amused, but how about something for all the family? Going back to this day in 1983 with the voice which launched a thousand clips, Brian Nissen on duty for TVS announcing Shelley with Hywell Bennett but Haskins from The Sweeney as well for full comic effect before some Americana involving Heather Locklear as per usual during the 80's. Any excuse to get her in clothing not becoming of family viewing, though in Hotel. Me neither, however at 50 seconds in comes the reason why I am including this. Its one of the first sightings of ITV's 1983 Christmas Promo package.

We'll be coming back to the wherefores and whys about ITV's Christmas Promos in a few days time however here's a sneak peek at what's to come from the commercial channel...