TV Heroes (BBC1, 1993-1995)
As I set this blog up to reminisce about various things, I thought it would be a good idea to review a programme that itself is based around nostalgia. In the 80s and 90s BBC1 used to have a ten-minute slot in primetime. This would usually be filled by Points Of View, but occasionally they experimented by trying out other shows in the slot, and one of the more curious ones was TV Heroes.
In the mid-90s Danny Baker was a very regular presence on the TV and radio, and when he wasn’t hosting the programmes he was appearing in the adverts inbetween them. But TV Heroes was a very worthwhile thing for Danny to do as he took a look back at the careers of various personalities, who were mostly famous on the screen in the 60s and 70s. It was clear that Danny was a fan of all of the people featured, and he had clearly watched all of them on the TV in his childhood, and his knowledge and affection came through well.
As I used to enjoy listening to Danny’s radio programmes, it was through these that I realised that in the 60s and 70s TV personalities really did have to be all-round entertainers, and the amount of comedians and presenters who had an attempt at making a record really was remarkable, and it was rather amusing to hear a lot of them on his various shows, and a lot of those people also featured in this series.
Danny looked back at various presenters including Bob Harris and David Nixon. Danny also took a look back at his favourites in the world of comedy, and this included an attempt to try to unravel some of the work of the terrific Spike Milligan, which was accompanied by some very funny and odd clips from his 70s sketch show Q. He also praised Top Of The Pops, a show for which he was an audience member in 1979.
Danny also gave praise to children’s TV, looking back at Crackerjack with Peter Glaze, Animal Magic with Johnny Morris, and revealing his admiration for Blue Peter, and their various presenters who had to attempt various daredevil stunts in a cheerful style, especially Peter Purves. Also unusually, Danny dedicated shows to famous children’s TV characters, including Pinky and Perky and Sooty.
Another thing that was great about TV Heroes was the research that went into the archive clips that were used. It was rather different from the usual clapped-out old clips that usually feature on these types of show, and I remember that I hadn’t seen a lot of the clips that featured on the show and they were very put well together in helping to illustrate the featured hero’s career in TV.
TV Heroes is a show that is little remembered now, and there are only a few editions on YouTube, and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, but you won’t see a better example of a show making the most of its short length, and it’s a shame they didn’t make some extended versions where we could learn even more about the people who made TV great in this era, but as far as these type of shows go, it was definitely one of the better and more enjoyable ones.