The Top Ten Pieces Of 2019.

Let’s start the year by taking a look at my ten most viewed blog pieces from last year, to see exactly what people were most interested in out of everything I’ve done. However, none of my top ten were actually published in 2019, as some older pieces remained popular. Here’s what they were… 2019


The mid-90s CITV horror game show that was hosted by Steve Johnson still has a big fanbase it seems, although people do often mix it up with the similar CBBC show Incredible Games, which was great too. vlcsnap-00046


My piece on this show actually wasn’t focused on what it was about, partly because it’s well-known and still going, and it’s about to reach the 21st anniversary. I concentrated more on the publicity surrounding the launch of Family Guy in the UK when it came to Sky One in 1999, and unsurprisingly it was sold as “if you thought The Simpsons were dysfunctional, just wait until you see this lot!”.fg0001


Again, this show is so popular I didn’t really need to do a piece explaining its premise, so instead I did two pieces revealing my ten favourite one-off characters, the first of which has done very well. vlcsnap-01669


Although I am not hugely interested in weather forecasts, the characters that were used to introduce them on ITV in the late-90s called The Weathergens was a remarkable piece of TV presentation. I decided to analyse each one, as I had a feeling that this piece would be consistently popular, which turned out to be correct. vlcsnap-00694


The zany CBBC sketch show from the mid-2000s. When I was putting the piece together, I realised that about a decade on some of the sketches and their catchphrases had acquired cult status, which must be why a lot of people were attracted to this one. vlcsnap-00672


This is actually my most-viewed piece of them all (and I have now done almost 900). I’m not sure why this 90s game show with Des O’Connor is so popular, but it’s pleasing to know that people have enjoyed it. vlcsnap-00050


My piece on the long-gone Channel 5 soap has done very well recently. Again it’s proof that you can never tell what’ll become a success. Maybe people really like my anecdote about someone who I went to school with being in the cast for a while. I wonder how many other people can boast about that. affairs0001


I am always hoping that people will take interest in my pieces, and they will attract a bigger audience by people spreading the word. I noticed that my piece about CBBC’s The Nelly Nut Show had been linked to in a Buzzfeed article about children’s TV which gave it a big boost. And anyway, it’s just a great show, plus someone who was in the cast replied as well, and I was really pleased about that. vlcsnap-00160


This is one of the few game shows that I have reviewed that is actually still running on TV. Every time there is a big win on the show, there is a surge in views for the piece from people who have done an online search to discover what the largest amount ever won is, and it’s flattering that most of them turn to me.


It’s £57,500.


When I decided to set up this blog five years ago, it was mostly to share my memories of game shows, children’s TV, and sitcoms. It never really occurred to me to do much about music. But since the Bananarama incident, I wanted to discover some more pioneering women who made music in the 80s. So I did a piece about the career of the remarkable Danielle Dax, and then I did another to coincide with her 60th birthday in 2018. Despite that, I did feel that it was too niche a subject to have that much mass appeal. But would you believe it, by some margin it became my most-viewed piece of 2019 (with almost 600 views), and it’s now my second most-viewed piece of them all, only behind Take Your Pick. One odd thing I have discovered about her since doing the piece is that her song “Flashback” was used as the theme to BBC2’s coverage of Crufts in 1996. I am really thrilled at the interest in this one, Danielle is a star and it’s good to know that lots of people around the world are still fond of her. That really is fantastic. Why don’t you let me know your favourites too? dd111

Happy New Year!

The Review Of 2019.

Yet another year is at an end, where does all the time go? In 2019 I have done 200 blog pieces (including this one), and of course I have enjoyed putting them together and sharing them on here. Firstly, my most viewed post that I did this year was Another Afternoon With CITV, when I looked back to some adverts from 1993. I thought I would conclude the year as I usually do, by sharing some of my highlights. 2019

MUSIC. Well it’s very clear what the highlight is here. When I read that Siobhan and Marcella from Shakespear’s Sister had reconciled after 25 years I was very pleased, but I never expected it to go any further than that. But then this year they announced they had made some new songs, and videos were also made for “All The Queen’s Horses” and “When She Finds You”, which were definitely up to the standard of their 80s and 90s work. After appearing on the cover of Classic Pop, they then toured the UK. I didn’t go myself but it seems that it went well, and got some good reviews. Who could’ve seen this happening even a few years ago? I was so thrilled by it all I almost poked my eyes out with joy. I’m not sure what their next move is, but it’s so great that this story has the unlikeliest of happy endings. ss8

Years ago, I liked the British Hit Singles And Albums books, that documented the ups and downs of pop music careers, but they stopped in 2006. This year, the series was revived, but now the books were published decade by decade. I got the 80s books as I wanted to discover more about music from that era, including also having a look at old magazines online. This led to me deciding to take a look back at The Belle Stars. I presumed that every act and song in the book had a story behind it, but I never considered that one I would the most interesting was for a group that spent only two weeks at the lower end of the singles chart in the 80s. vlcsnap-00036

This all followed on from when I reviewed The Kid, a long-forgotten but enjoyable CBBC show from the mid-80s. This starred Steve Fairnie, who I discovered had also had a fascinating career in music from the mid-70s to the late-80s, including in 1982 the hit single “Falling In Love Again”, as one of the Techno Twins alongside his wife Bev Sage, who is also “Queen Of The Rapping Scene”. It was great to discover his music and his artwork. Also appearing in The Kid was Debbie Linden, and by chance I found her obituary newspaper report recently, so here’s a picture of her (on the left) from when she was a hostess on 3-2-1. debbie0001

I also enjoyed looking back at CITV music show Hold Tight, which among others was hosted by Bob Carolgees, Peter Simon, and Barbie Wilde. Again, I didn’t know much about Barbie and wanted to discover more, and she also had an interesting career in the 80s, including appearing in horror films and releasing some singles (which also led to an appearance on Razzmatazz as part of the group Shock in 1982). She also appeared in a music video alongside Bev Sage, I never realised that their paths crossed, that was a good coincidence. And after seeing the video for her great single “Phantom Lady”, it made me realise that I seem to be rather fond of blue-haired women from the 80s, which isn’t specific or odd at all is it, make of that what you will. vlcsnap-01298

CBBC/CITV. Recently I thought I’d review some more children’s shows. These included plenty of animations like Fireman Sam and Postman Pat. I also enjoyed reviewing some CITV shows from the 80s including Do it, How Dare You!, and Palace Hill, they were lots of fun. And my review of WYSIWYG got a positive response from some who actually appeared in the show, so I was very pleased about that. vlcsnap-00979

GAME SHOWS. As I think you’ve noticed, I do like game shows. I reviewed lots more, including some shown on Sky, and original American versions of shows that would later come to the UK. I also enjoyed discovering Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M from Ireland. I don’t have many left to review now though.vlcsnap-00601

COMEDY. I reviewed a few more shows from my comedy DVD collection, including Home To Roost. I was particularity amused by the episode from 1985 where Matthew dated a young Siouxsie lookalike called Christine (I then realised that Siouxsie had a hit single in 1980 called “Christine”, coincidence or not?). In more recent years, Jenna Russell who played Christine appeared in EastEnders, and this year she was on a musical theatre special of Pointless Celebrities, where she made the final and won! It was also good to track down the complete ill-fated Hardwicke House online. Lots more sitcom reviews to come. vlcsnap-00259

OTHERS. I also enjoyed reviewing other old TV shows from over the years including America’s Top Ten, The Magic Comedy Strip, The National Lottery Live, and The Ronn Lucas Show. Anything else I can find that I think is worth featuring whether it’s adverts, music shows, soaps or anything else, will be considered. vlcsnap-00453

My blog has had almost 55,000 views this year which is great. There is plenty more planned to come, including a 5th anniversary special in January. I’m sure I’ll keep thinking of ideas for pieces for a while yet. To everyone who has visited, and especially to those who have liked and commented, wherever you are, thank you for your support, it does mean a lot to me. Happy New Year to all of you, and I hope you’ll join me for more classic TV memories soon.

The year so far.

It’s time for a look at what I’ve achieved on this blog so far in 2019. I thought for a change that I would do this at the halfway point of the year, because I have found out more information about some of the pieces that I have done, and I felt that I couldn’t sit on it for the next six months. And well, there’s no doubt for me about what has been the highlight of the year so far. 2019

This was the news of the reunion of the chart-topping duo Shakespear’s Sister. I thought that they would never get back together, but last year it was announced that they had reconciled after 25 years apart which was unlikely enough, and then this year they caused a surprise by revealing that they had made some new songs and were going to tour the UK. Well, to put it mildly, I couldn’t believe it. ss1

In May Siobhan and Marcella performed together on TV for the first time since December 1992. It’s fair to say that the response from viewers was mixed, but I’m sure that they will rehearse, gain in confidence, and the tour will be a great experience for everyone, I’ll always stand by them. But it’s not just seeing a new music video which is remarkable, it’s also seeing them interviewed in magazines, seeming to be comfortable in each other’s company again, and hugging on TV, I never thought that I would see the day. It really is the feelgood story of the year. ss2

I recently reviewed the The Kid, shown on CBBC from 1987-1988. I decided to review this because I thought that there should be more about it online and it had a very short run on TV. Although I enjoyed it I didn’t know anything about the cast, but I presumed that they were proper actors who must have come from somewhere, so I did some research on them, and the results were rather interesting. vlcsnap-01292

Firstly, I looked for some information about Steve Fairnie who played the lead role in The Kid, and it seems that he had a rather fascinating career, he doesn’t come across as the first person who would star in a zany children’s TV show. This is because he was primarily a musician, he released his first album in 1975, he was in various New Wave/Synthpop bands, including Writz (who made some TV appearances around 1979/1980), and he was also an artist. vlcsnap-01293

Steve was also in Techno Twins, along with his wife Bev Sage, and in 1982 they had a minor hit single with their version of “Falling In Love Again”. He also had a rather striking look that could best be described as a New Romantic Charlie Chaplin. And there is a video online of Steve talking about The Kid and his career to Mick Robertson (best known for co-hosting CITV’s Magpie) on The Children’s Channel. vlcsnap-01296

From what I’ve read about Steve he comes across as a entertainingly extrovert and multi-talented man, and no less a figure than Simon Mayo called him “one cool dude”. Steve Fairnie died suddenly in February 1993, he was 42 years old. It was really odd to discover that he died so long ago, I was only nine at the time. I would hope that over 25 years on from his death Steve would be pleased that I discovered his TV show (along with some of his music) and very much enjoyed it, he really was a one-off. 


Steve Fairnie: 1951-1993.

Also appearing the The Kid was Debbie Linden. Again, I didn’t know anything about her career, and I discovered that she was also a rather unlikely children’s TV personality. She was a glamour model, she also appeared in various TV shows in the early-80s including Are You Being Served? and 3-2-1, and it seems that she usually played the stereotypical “dumb blonde” role. Her story doesn’t have a happy ending, I read that she was rather troubled in her later years, and had a rather grim demise. Debbie died in October 1997, age 36. Realising that half the cast of The Kid are long gone definitely put a different perspective on watching the show again, but its “comic come to life” style reminded me of the more successful CITV show Zzzap!, and it definitely deserves to be better known. 


Debbie Linden: 1961-1997.

A while ago I was having a look at some editions of TV Times that I have from the 80s, wondering if there were any shows that were before my time but I knew enough about them to be worthy of a review. One of these was Hold Tight, a CITV show that was originally hosted by Bob Carolgees, and one of the later series was co-hosted by Peter Simon (now I know that nowadays he seems to be making a fool of himself on increasingly small-time shopping channels, but I am still fond of a lot of his TV work). vlcsnap-01297

The final series of Hold Tight was hosted by Barbie Wilde. Now again, this was someone that I didn’t really know anything about, but I discovered she has had an interesting career too. I found her website which features lots of pictures of her with some of the pop stars she interviewed on the show including The B-52s and Cliff Richard, and as well as being a children’s TV presenter in the 80s, she was appearing in horror films, and was also a host on ITV’s Night Networkvlcsnap-00002

Now I enjoyed discovering all of this, and she seemed to be an interesting personality. So I decided to raise the stakes a little. If this really is someone who I would be a fan of, I thought wouldn’t it be great if she made a synthpop single in the 80s where she had blue hair in the video, because it seems that I am really fond of that type of thing, I don’t demand much, do I. And well… I wasn’t disappointed. vlcsnap-01298

Although it wasn’t a hit, I did enjoy “Phantom Lady”, and that’s when I realised this was definitely someone I should find out more about, and I tracked her down on Twitter and followed her. I discovered that Barbie was also in a music/dance group called Shock that included Tik And Tok, they made a few songs and appeared on CITV’s Razzmatazz in 1982. I also looked for more on YouTube, and I found a video that Barbie appears in alongside… Bev Sage, wife of the aforementioned Steve Fairnie. How about that! vlcsnap-01300

My most viewed blog piece of the year so far is something of a surprise. It’s my second look back at the career of Danielle Dax, someone who really pushed the musical boundaries in the 80s. It has already surpassed the record for the most number of a views a piece has had in a year with six months remaining. I always thought that this would be one of my more niche pieces, so I am very pleased that it has done so well. I don’t intend the piece to be the definitive word on her, but I did enjoy putting it together as it’s a story worth telling, it seems that there are more fans of hers out there than I ever realised which is terrific. I also found a podcast from about a year ago where Danielle is interviewed for over an hour about her career. She’s still out there somewhere… dd111

Other things I have enjoyed reviewing this year include the children’s TV shows Captain Zep Space Detective, Chockablock, How Dare You! (Carrie Grant is another one who I didn’t realise appeared on CITV in the 80s), The Telebugs, Teletubbies, and Tricks And Tracks (it was a pleasure to be reacquainted with Albie The Robot). Comedies I have reviewed include Faith In The Future, Girls On Top, the recently rediscovered Hardwicke House, Home To Roost, Out Of This World, and Six Pairs Of Pants. I have also enjoyed reviewing more game shows, soaps, and adverts. vlcsnap-01304

The plan is simply to continue with more pieces. Lots more reviews of game shows, sitcoms, and so on are planned to come. And as I come toward my fifth anniversary of doing this, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank people for your interest, wherever you are, especially those who have liked, commented, and spread the word. It’s good to know you enjoy my nostalgic memories.