CITV Memories – An Afternoon With CITV.

An Afternoon With CITV (CITV, 1993)

After having a look back at various continuity clips recently, I remembered that a long time ago I left a tape running to record a whole afternoon of CITV, so here’s a look at some of the adverts that featured along with the shows. I’m fairly sure that it was recorded on 18 February 1993 in the Carlton region. Will there be lots of adverts for toys and things like that, let’s find out. vlcsnap-00931

We begin with the break just before CITV when Blockbusters has ended at around 3:45pm. There’s an advert for Daz featuring Danny Baker who has decided to ask Diane from Coventry if she would take their challenge. And no, she wouldn’t swap her Daz for anything else. Also featuring is Pampers with rather alarming references to clammy bottoms, and the soundtrack to ITV drama series Head Over Heelsvlcsnap-00910

CITV then starts, and we’re in the very early days of the host being Steven Ryde out-of-vision (although the symbol that was introduced in 1991 was retained) who would be behind the microphone for the next five years, before going off to work behind the scenes in children’s TV. There was a different look used for every day of the week and as it’s a Thursday there are some wooden things everywhere. Today includes Where’s Wally?, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Mike & Angelovlcsnap-00915

But now it’s time for Starfax, today featuring Angelo from Mike & Angelo, and we learn lots of things including he is approximately 3,000 nanoscroobles old, and his best friend is Concita Wobblybots. Adverts include Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes have an offer to get a free BT phonecard worth £2. Then there is some fancy yoghurt which is peach and maracuya flavour (I still don’t know what a maracuya is) and the Burger King Kids Club. vlcsnap-00917

There is a trail for cartoon Tale Spin that is coming tomorrow, and Steven almost does a spoonerism (“obnexious nophew”) going into a series 5 episode of Mike & Angelo, accompanied by a lively animation (I did enjoy how they fiddled around with the CITV symbol at this time), people can’t wait to watch. Guest stars this week include John “Ashley, I say, Ashley!” Savident and Joe “Spatz” Greco. A Carlton programme for ITV. vlcsnap-00920

Next is the first in a new series of Tiny Toon Adventures. There are adverts for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies with a free gift of a Red Nose Bike Reflector, plus strange ones for Sun Valley and Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. CITV isn’t only on weekdays though, we get a trail for what’s on offer on Saturdays and Sundays with What’s Up Doc? and The Disney Club at 9:25am. Cartoon Time with Bugs Bunny is next. vlcsnap-00924

Most notable in this break is a revised advert for Robinsons, removing the song which featured the memorable lyric “the bison sucks on his orange“. Then there is a trail for Just Us, the drama series featuring the Clarksons and the Holdsworths, coming on Friday. Tomorrow’s treats include Thomas The Tank Engine, Zzzap!, Tale Spin and Just Us. That’s all for now! vlcsnap-00929

The YouTube Files – New Year With Carlton.

New Year With Carlton (ITV, 1998)

Moving on from Christmas, here’s a look at some adverts and continuity that were shown on the last day of the year. Although the video doesn’t go right up to midnight, there is still plenty here that’s worth reviewing. It was shown in the Carlton region on 31 December 1998 (almost 20 years ago now) and it was uploaded to YouTube by “randomVHStat”. As always, here are some of the highlights. vlcsnap-00887

We begin with adverts during Emmerdale (sponsored by Toyota). And I am not even kidding, the first advert in the break is for the DFS sale. Well they didn’t hang about did they? There are lots of adverts for sales beginning on New Year’s Day in these breaks, maybe even more than for ones that began on Boxing Day. There is also the Millennium Experience. This reminds me of when people were going to go on about “the millennium” for the next 12 months, what a time that was. vlcsnap-00890

Courts then tell us that they’re going to be open on New Year’s Day, that’s great. Something else that is advertised a lot at this time of year is partworks. The first issue is always at a reduced price, does anyone continue to buy them after that? Why not collect them all. There are also adverts telling you where you should go for your holiday in ’99, along with the annoying Sainsbury’s advert with John Cleese. vlcsnap-00892

After Emmerdale ends, The Bill is coming next. But before that, there’s a cryptic McDonald’s advert (all will be revealed on Saturday 2 January), and yet more sale adverts with massive savings. There is also a trail for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with Chris Tarrant which is about to return for another series where people can play for “the biggest cash prize in TV history”. So call now, because the contestant who gets the chance to play tomorrow night might be about to party like it’s 1999. vlcsnap-00893

There’s then a Carlton ident (the Christmas look has left the screen by now, these idents were used until September 1999 when the star symbol was introduced) into The Bill (also sponsored by Toyota). There are yet more sales, that “daddy or chips?” advert, Cable & Wireless, and Daz with Michael Barrymore, who is very pleased that there’s 50% Extra Free (“now that’s a bargain worth catching”). vlcsnap-00894

After The Bill ends, there’s a trail. There’s also an advert for Strongbow with Johnny Vaughan, and then an ident going into The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (sponsored by… you guessed it… Toyota). Another thing about these adverts is just how many of them contain what Teletext page you should look at for more information instead of a website. Chris Evans then turns up and tells us who he wants to have a One2One with (groovy, man!), and that’s the end of the video. vlcsnap-00895

The YouTube Files – Christmas With Carlton.

Christmas With Carlton (ITV, 1997)

Well would you believe it, we have a very late entry for this series, as another video that fits all the criteria was uploaded only a day or two ago. So let’s go to the Carlton region (no, come back, it’s worth reading) on 25 December 1997 (a Thursday), courtesy of “Coldclough” on YouTube. There’s plenty of adverts and continuity worth reviewing here, and as ever here are the highlights. vlcsnap-00864

The first breaks are during the evening premiere of Home Alone 2, and once again, there are plenty of sale adverts. Among them are Allders, Harveys, and DFS (just before their advert appeared in every break on Christmas Day). The highlight of them all has to be the one for Courts with Bruce Forsyth, informing us of their great savings, so be there on Boxing Day, it’ll be a cracker. vlcsnap-00853

Among the few non-sale adverts are SpiceWorld: The Movie. I saw this once, and I still don’t think I’ve ever recovered. There is also an advert for M & M’s that is still being shown on TV this year, and it’s now so old it’s been cropped and looks all blurry and horrible, and also plenty of fancy adverts for Daewoo. The film (which was sponsored by a bag of Doritos) then comes to an end. vlcsnap-00857

There is then a promotion for a competition. If you want more information you can look on Teletext, and it ends with the ITV symbol rather awkwardly turned into a Christmas tree. It also features a website address, which looks a little odd alongside a symbol that was introduced in 1989, which makes you realise how long it was used for (it was finally retired from the screen a year later in 1998). vlcsnap-00860

Then there’s a trail for entertainment coming to Carlton in 1998, including The Brit Awards, and, er, Babewatch. The time is almost 9:45pm and Starting Blocks is next. Then there’s a trail for what is coming later tonight, followed by a nice Christmas Carlton ident (these were also used in 1996 and 1998), which featured things such as the “O” turning into a bauble or a snowman. vlcsnap-00862

Starting Blocks (sponsored by Panasonic) was a one-off show looking back at sportspeople before they were famous that was hosted by Chris Tarrant. There are then even more sale adverts, including one for Uno with the guy off Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (I thought he would’ve preferred to be on Tyne Tees!). Then there’s a trail for McCallum, and next is The Bare Necessitiesvlcsnap-00866

There is also a promotion for Christmas Line (still featuring the reindeer character as late as this), supported by Carlton, LWT (Carlton had better relations with LWT than Thames did), and Capital Gold (instead of Capital FM), which is voiced by Chris Tarrant (is this the best work that he could get in the year before Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?). Then there’s a trail for a terrible-looking drama on New Year’s Eve, before another Carlton ident going into comedy-drama (and what appears to be a knock-off of The Full Monty) The Bear Necessities, at which point the video ends. vlcsnap-00867

I’ll be back with a review of the year soon. Until then… Happy Christmas!

The YouTube Files – Christmas With Meridian.

Christmas With Meridian (ITV, 1999)

This review will probably be the last in the series, but it’s another look back at a bumper-sized continuity clip from ITV on Christmas Day (to make up for it I might go on to review some clips from Boxing Day or New Year’s Eve soon). We’re off to the Meridian region on 25 December 1999, almost 20 years ago now which is rather hard to believe. This video was uploaded by “Coldclough” to YouTube, and here are some of the highlights. vlcsnap-00850

Well I was hoping that the breaks would contain some frequently repeated low-budget local sale adverts, and I wasn’t let down. Although there were plenty for the likes of Homebase, Magnet, PC World, and so on, one that stood out to me was for Landmark that featured a Tony Slattery lookalike getting rather overexcited by their prices. Also being rather old school were Reading Wholesale (no fancy music for them) along with their price promise. vlcsnap-00842

There are also plenty of computer adverts, including Intel who have everything you need for a great internet experience, and Tiny. Also featuring is the famous Werther’s Original “now I’m the granddad” advert (which I don’t remember running as late as this), featuring uncommonly good butter-candy. And yes, there is also the DFS sale, featuring “More More More” (what an unusual choice of song). vlcsnap-00847

This video comes from about a month or two after the launch of the second ITV corporate era (and also from the early days of Digital TV, but I don’t think that many people had an OnDigital box at that point). After A Touch Of Frost ends, there’s a preview of the next episode, followed by a rather complicated Yorkshire endcap, and also a trail for the next series of London’s Burning that’s coming soon to ITV. vlcsnap-00848

Then there’s a brief promotion for “Spirit Of The South”, a slogan that had been used ever since the launch of Meridian at the beginning of 1993, featuring the excitement of ice hockey players in Basingstoke. After a trail for Bank Holiday Monday, we then get a heart-filled generic Meridian ident (not sure who the out-of-vision announcer is). It seems that it isn’t a special Christmas variation, and it reminded me that LWT thought that these we so dull by comparison to their previous looks they dropped them after a few months. vlcsnap-00849

The ident is introducing Who Wants To Milk A Franchise To Death… er, I mean Who Wants To Be A Christmas Millionaire with Chris Tarrant (sponsored by Jacob’s Twiglets), which was at the peak of its popularity as this point and was returning for its third edition of the evening. Jim from Beckenham is in the chair. Just who is the comedian with the chunky glasses? It’s for £8,000. However, this is the point where the video comes to an end. vlcsnap-00851

The YouTube Files – Christmas With Central.

Christmas With Central (ITV, 1988)

Let’s continue this look at what some of the ITV regions had to offer viewers on Christmas Day in the 80s. It is about 3:55pm on 25 December 1988 (a Sunday) in the Central region and they are about to show the premiere of The Empire Strikes Back, although I personally don’t have much interest in the Star Wars films. To see what adverts and continuity featured, thanks goes to “thesearethedays” on YouTube, and here are some of the highlights.

We begin with the Central ident. In-vision announcers had long-gone from this region by this point, to be replaced by the fancy computer-generated “cake” symbol which would be used for almost a decade more until 1998. This isn’t a special Christmas variation though. As Central is one of the bigger ITV regions, I imagine that they won’t have much trouble filling their breaks, especially during a much anticipated film like this! vlcsnap-00798

Will there be any epics? Well, adverts include Kaliber with Billy Connolly, Scotch VHS tapes, and a McDonald’s advert featuring the man himself Ronald! And yes, there are some sale adverts. These include MFI, but you’ll have to wait to grab the bargains until Boxing Day. We also get a Ronald-free McDonald’s advert, another one to feature a pre-fame Denise Van Outen if I remember correctly. vlcsnap-00803

One advert that really brings back memories is for Quavers, featuring Colin, who likes all of the curly flavours. Whoever thought that bacon flavour Quavers would catch on though. Whilst watching these breaks I was rather surprised by the lack of Enn Reitel, as based on most of the videos that I’ve seen online he seemed to voice every other advert on TV around this time. vlcsnap-00804

Then there’s a great advert for Philips. Having helped to develop the sound quality of the CD, they have decided to go one better and add pictures too. This means that when you want to watch the video for “Misfit” by Curiosity Killed The Cat (directed by Andy Warhol, fact fans), Ben will jump out of the screen and be in the room with you! That’s modern technology. vlcsnap-00805

And then, we’ve waited a long time for it, but there’s an advert for the DFS sale! Everything is just £129 it seems. Sale starts 10am Boxing Day, ends probably around mid-June. There are also adverts for sales at Allied, Dudleys, the excitement of The Holiday And Travel Fair ’89, and a memorable one for KitKat with a pop group that are not very good… they’ll go a long way! vlcsnap-00815

Then after The Empire Strikes Back ends (or the credits are cut off at least), when get an animated Central endcap (also used on various shows at the time including Bullseye), followed by a trail for Boxing Day’s James Bond film Octopussy, featuring the cake in a nice Christmas scene. Adverts include Brooke Bond with what appears to be John “Boycie” Challis (without a moustache?), an annoying Walkers advert, and Texas’s end-of-year sell out. Then as we start to go into the evening, the video ends. Merry Christmas! vlcsnap-00825

The YouTube Files – Christmas With LWT.

Christmas With LWT (ITV, 1987)

This is a look back at what another ITV region had to offer on Christmas Day in the 80s. Having looked back at Thames, I thought that I would review some adverts and continuity shown on LWT. Now of course, this region didn’t get many opportunities to be on air at Christmas, and as 25 December 1987 was a Friday, they only had about half the day. The clips are from various people on YouTube including “dunebasher1981”, and here are some of the highlights.

Although I wasn’t going to review Thames again, I do want to point out that the first in-vision announcement after the end of TV-am at 9:25am is also online, and it features Philip Elsmore who begins “Ho-ho-ho! Well you can tell that I’m in a good mood!”. We then go on to the afternoon film Bedknobs And Broomsticks which began at 4:35pm, which means that the usual Thames/LWT handover at around 5:15pm happened during the film. vlcsnap-00781

So as the third break during Bedknobs And Broomsticks is the first to be shown on LWT, let’s start there. It’s a Friday evening, and there will be lots of people watching, is there anything fancy on offer. Well there’s an advert for McDonald’s, but Ronald doesn’t feature. And of course, there are lots of sale adverts including World Of Leather and Selfridges, where there are millions of bargains to bag (starts Monday!), and we also have a weird advert for Alka-Seltzer and meet the Oxo family who are all having a good time. vlcsnap-00784

After skipping past Blind Date, we then go to the next clip, which features the end of Coronation Street. This is a famous episode as it is the final one to feature Hilda Odgen. It is also significant because it was the first time that three episodes had been shown in a week, it was the highest-rating episode ever, and it was also the first to be shown on LWT. So we get the views of the out-of-vision announcer Peter Lewis (“what an emotional moment”). vlcsnap-00785

Then we have a trail for Boxing Day (LWT have that day all to themselves as it’s a Saturday), including The Sleeping Beauty, Bobby Davro’s TV Annual ’88 (featuring Davro as various pop stars in a parody of ITV’s music show The Roxy as The Poxy, how marvellous), the TV premiere of Ghostbusters, and Dame Edna’s Christmas Experience. Next is It’ll Be Alright On Christmas Night (later repackaged for repeats as It’ll Be Alright On The Night 5) where there will be plenty of cock-ups guaranteed. vlcsnap-00787

We then have more adverts including a rather bad one for Wimpy, plus a promotion for Christmas Line (“open when London closes”). Bobby Davro then returns accompanied by some nice graphics to kindly wish all LWT viewers a Merry Christmas (I thought his shows were made by TVS?). Adverts in It’ll Be Alright On Christmas Night (when there were only two breaks in hour-long shows) include Courts, who are having their biggest-ever sale (aren’t they always). vlcsnap-00792

There are also adverts for tobacco, Heineken featuring a young Harry Enfield, and the news that you can do it when you B & Q it. It’s now coming up to 9pm and a new episode of Inspector Morse is next, but before that, there’s another trail for Ghostbusters (being shown on TV for the first time, honest) and Dame Edna’s Christmas Experience, plus adverts for the AA and Radio Rentals, before another Christmas Line plug, Arthur Daley wishes us a Happy Christmas, and then the video comes to an end. vlcsnap-00794

The YouTube Files – Christmas With Channel 4.

Christmas With Channel 4 (Channel 4, 1982)

After taking a look back at how Christmas Day was covered by some ITV regions in the 80s, I thought that I would now review some continuity and adverts that were shown on Channel 4. On YouTube I have found some adverts from 25 December 1982. The significance of this is it was Channel 4’s first Christmas, and they hadn’t even been on air for two months at this point.

Also, these adverts were recorded in London, back in the days when Channel 4 really struggled to fill their advertising slots, indeed it’s possible that even on this day the breaks in some regions contained no adverts at all. There were no “programmes follow shortly” slides here though as all the breaks were filled, although it was clear that there wouldn’t be a huge amount of people watching. Here are some of the highlights. vlcsnap-00774

We begin with a trail for Boxing Day which has a strand called Fifties To The Fore, a great evening of nostalgia, featuring shows that would’ve been about 25 years old even then including sitcom The Larkins. Coming next though is Richard III, a very long film. Then we get the first break. As it turns out, the adverts would be rather repetitive, with some turning up five or six times. At least there were no PIFs featured here, and there’s no in-vision announcer (I think Channel 4 only ever used in-vision continuity for a very short time during closedowns in the early days). vlcsnap-00772

One regular advert is urging us to determine where to go on holiday next year, and there’s also some hair thing called Glints. We also get a lot of sale adverts, now there’s a surprise. However, most of the sales don’t start until the 27th in this year because the 26th was on a Sunday. My favourite of all of them was the one for Texas that featured some great Pac-Man-style graphics. vlcsnap-00778

After a trail, we see the nice Channel 4 Christmas ident, featuring the coloured blocks spinning around as usual, although this time against some sparkly baubles (along with a special version of “Fourscore”). Then we get some more breaks, mostly featuring TDK tapes with The Pink Panther, and Vogue Interiors, Debenhams, and just about everyone else want to tell us that they’re having a sale. Oh, and alcohol-free Barbican is great. vlcsnap-00777

With about a minute to go, we come to one of the more remarkable adverts, for Freddie Barrett, who it seemed advertised a lot in the early days of Channel 4, and after some breaks were uploaded to YouTube containing some of his low-budget adverts, he seemed to become something of a cult figure (I must admit that I don’t remember this campaign from first time round). vlcsnap-00780

What actually happens in his adverts is rather difficult to describe. They are all about five seconds long and consist of Barrett urging us all to come to his liquor bar in his unique style, because he needs our money, but seemingly not as much as Channel 4 needed his (it seems that his adverts ran regularly on the radio at this time too). How strange. Well it makes a change from OTV I suppose…

The YouTube Files – Christmas With Anglia.

Christmas With Anglia (ITV, 1985)

Following on from my piece taking a look back at some 80s Christmas adverts and continuity from the Thames region, I thought that I would review another ITV region. And thanks to “TheBluechickens” on YouTube, here’s a look at some of what was shown on 25 December 1985 in the Anglia region. This is a part of England that I have been to, but not as long ago as this, let’s see what they had to offer their viewers. vlcsnap-00743

After the end of Moonraker (another James Bond film, what a shock), there’s a long pause before a (generic branded!) slide for a Superman film that has no announcement, so I don’t know why it’s there. Then there’s a trail for programmes coming later in the evening, including sitcom Fresh Fields (“carried away with Christmas spirit”), Minder, Des O’Connor Tonight, and the premiere of Gregory’s Girlvlcsnap-00729

Then, we get to some adverts. And once again, they’re mostly for sales that are starting on Boxing Day, but with stores that I am less familiar with. There are also some tobacco adverts, something that’s now long gone from TV. I noticed too that there was another advert for Whiskas, this time starring Marmalade who does a little dance before licking the plate clean, how adorable. Do Whiskas spend all their money buying advertising slots on Christmas Day I wonder? vlcsnap-00735

I also noticed that Anglia don’t seem to have a Christmas Line equivalent, but instead we are told about the Anglia Television Holiday Service. After a scary Channel 4 trail, it’s 5:30 and time for ITN with Carol Barnes, introduced by an ancient-looking clock and the silver knight that would hang around on the screen for a couple more years yet. There was still no ITV National Weather at this point, so all viewers get is the local weather voiced by the announcer. Game show Name That Tune is next. vlcsnap-00745

Then there’s a simple advert for a sale at a store called Joshua Taylor, which reminds me of when there was a handbag brand with that name on Bid TV, and Peter Simon once called it by accident for some reason a “Joshua Taylor hamburger”, after which he looked really embarrassed and everyone in the studio started to laugh rather loudly. Other adverts include Kaliber with Billy Connolly. vlcsnap-00746

After another very long pause, we see the Anglia announcer, bow-tie wearing Michael Speake sat next to a big tree in his armchair, it seems that a few regions did this and it is a rather nice touch. Name That Tune begins, hosted by Lionel Blair (who recently had his 90th birthday), and a car could be won. Adverts include sales at Carpet City, Barretts Of Woodbridge, and B & Q. What no DFS? It’s now Coronation Street time. vlcsnap-00747

There are more adverts including Kaliber again, but this time with Lenny Henry. Speake then returns, very pleased about all the entertainment lined up. This was when I’m sure that Coronation Street was only shown on Christmas Day if it fell on a Monday or Wednesday, the only two days it was shown on ITV at that point (Christmas was on a Wednesday in 1985), and there are no hour-long extravaganzas here. The episode begins with Curly and Emily bickering about forks, at which point the video comes to an end. vlcsnap-00748

The YouTube Files – Christmas With Thames.

Christmas With Thames (ITV, 1986)

As Christmas is coming (when isn’t it), I thought that I would take a look back at some Christmas continuity clips. So I was very pleased when I found on YouTube (courtesy of “TVSProductions82”) 15 consecutive clips of adverts and continuity that were recorded in the Thames region on 25 December 1986 (when I was three years old) which was exactly what I was hoping for. Here are some of my highlights from what’s featured. vlcsnap-00706

The first adverts are during the film Swiss Family Robinson. You would think that Christmas Day would be a prime slot to advertise in when many people are watching, but it’s not really because as nothing is open, and as the stores aren’t beginning their sales until Boxing Day, there is little else to promote, there aren’t many big budget efforts on show here. But one good advert is for the Blockbusters board game. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I’ve got this one myself, but unfortunately it doesn’t feature Bob Holness saying “that’s the one!” or fidgeting with his glasses. vlcsnap-00701

Then there are more sale adverts, Allied, Debenhams, Furnitureland, Selfridges… just about every store is at it on Boxing Day and everything has been reduced to clear. The sale adverts that stood out to me the most included the brightly-coloured MFI (which also seemed to be voiced by Tommy Vance), and Rumbelows, who simply wanted to say Happy Christmas to us instead of going on about their bargains. vlcsnap-00710

One advert that I did enjoy was for Whiskas, featuring some woman telling us why her cats (including a big closeup of a miserable-looking one) are fond of their food. Seeing this reminded me that earlier this year the two cats my parents had both died, although they were almost 16 years old by that point and they were looked after, and these two just reminded me of the days when they used to be stroked and have their dinner and everything. 

vlcsnap-00703

“Tabatha is more shy…”

Then there is an advert for Colgate featuring someone before they were famous but I can’t remember who it is, Denise Van Outen or someone like that. After Swiss Family Robinson ends, there is a trail for the premiere of Dumbo, and “some really exciting pop musical entertainment” is promised next. There is also that amusing Vicks Sinex advert, before the first of many promotions for Christmas Line with Victoria Wood, in association with Thames, LWT and Capital Radio (and still going a decade later with Carlton involved), which apparently you’re welcome to call if you’re “a bit fed up”. vlcsnap-00713

And after a trail for Adrian Mole’s new series coming in January, we see the announcer Tom Edwards who is in a specially decorated studio, he hopes that we’re having a good day, The Rock Show is next. After yet more sale adverts, Edwards puts on his poshest voice as the clock indicates it’s 3pm and time for the Queen’s Speech. After all that, we now have to fasten our seatbelts for Dumbovlcsnap-00716

Adverts include Leslie Crowther telling us why we should come on down to the star-studded Boat Show, Weetabix, Tunes, etc. One thing that I have noticed about the sale adverts is that they don’t seem as small time as the ones in other ITV regions, there’s no cardboard here! Also turning up is Ronald McDonald, have a tasty afternoon. After Dumbo ends, there’s a trail for the premiere of not-James Bond film Never Say Never Againvlcsnap-00719

Next is Strike It Lucky, the game show which only started earlier in the year, but is already popular enough for there to be a 35-minute Christmas special and there’s the chance to win £2,000. After that ends, the news with John Suchet is next and Edwards (I wonder how he felt about having to sit in the studio all day, maybe he went off and had some turkey while the film was on) has gone and is replaced by Philip Elsmore, as the snow starts to fall and we enter the evening with another Christmas Line plug. vlcsnap-00723

After the news, Elsmore voices the local weather, and informs us that there is a pantomime coming next. I wonder if he hung around until closedown. Adverts include a sale at Magnet Southerns (you’re just making them up now), and those Whiskas-loving cats again. Smile, Tabatha, you’re on TV! And at this point, being in Christmas 1986 with Thames for about four hours comes to an end, it was very enjoyable to be transported back there again.

The YouTube Files – The early days of Sky.

Here’s another idea for a blog piece that came to me rather late at night when I was watching some videos on YouTube. I’m always on the lookout for curious or interesting videos featuring adverts and trails where I try and work out what on earth is happening, and I usually only watch ones from the UK, Ireland, and USA, but I recently ended up watching some videos from the early days of satellite television in the 80s.

Sky and its group of channels as we now know them launched in February 1989, but the name had been around as early as 1982, and the Sky Channel as it used to be known was a combination of various music shows, sport, imported sitcoms, and so on, and these were shown across Europe at a time when there couldn’t have been a huge market for such a thing. I thought that I would pick out a few highlights from some of the videos that I watched on YouTube that are from around the 1988 mark. vlcsnap-00262

5 August 1988. This one includes coverage of Philips Cup Football. I was surprised by how much sport was featured, and this is long before the launch of the Sky Sports Premier League channel. This is not a tournament that I am familiar with, but it features Everton v Italian club Torino in Switzerland. I know that English clubs didn’t take part in Europe at this time, so a few extra competitions were introduced to fill the gap such as the Screensport Super Cup (named after another long-gone satellite channel), I presume that because this is from early-August it’s a pre-season friendly? vlcsnap-00252

Then it’s time for the Sky Weather Report, sponsored by Uniroyal tyres. Programmes being sponsored, whatever will they think of next. Then there are a few adverts, including “Hit News”, a music compilation from K-Tel featuring Orfa Haza, Eddy Grant, and Natalie Cole. There is also a rather good advert for Kodak which was rather arty and creative, featuring lots of blues, greens, and reds, it certainly caught my eye. vlcsnap-00203

Then there are some more trails, including one for the 1988 US PGA golf tournament (it seemed that every other trail on Sky at the time was voiced by Tommy Vance). And then we have some Headline News that is sponsored by The Times and hosted by Aernout Van Lynden and his moustache. This is essentially Sky News before the existence of Sky News, only it’s clearly being done on a much smaller scale. vlcsnap-00258

14 June 1988. This one features trails for old American sitcoms, adverts for cereals in foreign languages, and what seems to be a Public Service Announcement with Tony Blackburn in a tracksuit accompanied by some funky music. vlcsnap-00276

26 April 1988. This one features more trails for old American comedy, and also a rather bad infomerical (is there any other type). There’s also a promotion telling us that Sky now reaches over ten million homes in 19 countries across Europe, some dubbed adverts, and the thrills of the Sky Bondstec Roadshow! There is also a trail for wrestling which has been shown on Sky for many years, and we conclude with a lot of Sky presenters celebrating the channel’s sixth anniversary, including Tony Blackburn, Pat Sharp, and of course children’s TV star DJ Kat. vlcsnap-00326

This all leads on to a rather interesting show from Sky in the 80s called Sky Trax, a music show which only seemed to be shown when they had got bored with showing the in-vision Teletext service rather late at night. Most editions seemed to be hosted by Pat Sharp and his epic hairstyle (long before Fun House) from a cupboard in London, along with Gary Davies (who was seemingly doing some moonlighting from BBC Radio 1). vlcsnap-00400

Lots of bands from across Europe were featured performing their latest songs, and there were also plenty of music videos and interviews, but I doubt that it gave the production team of Top Of The Pops much to panic about, especially as there were probably about three people watching. However, it does seem to be a decent pop music archive from over 30 years ago that is worth tapping into again. vlcsnap-00405