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!

More TV Memories – Family Affairs The Final Episode.

Family Affairs (Five, 2005)

After taking a look back at the strange final episode of Night And Day, here’s a look at another TV soap’s ending, this time Channel 5’s Family Affairs. This was a soap that I didn’t watch too much but when it came to an end after 2,285 episodes in December 2005 I thought that it was worth a look. What would exactly happen? They couldn’t blow everything up of course because that had long since happened on the show, but maybe there would still be the chance for some scores to be settled with all the characters in this final episode that was written by Lisa Evans. vlcsnap-01237

Following the introduction by the continuity announcer who almost sounded a little upset about the whole thing, the episode begins, with a theme that doesn’t sound as much like “Speed Of Sound” by Coldplay as I remember. Family Affairs was also set in a fictional place called Charnham, which I think was in London, although its actual location seemed to change depending on what week it was. vlcsnap-01247

Because I didn’t watch Family Affairs that often by the end I am not too familiar with most of the cast in the episode, but I will try and piece together what happened. We start with Eileen who turns up with a handsome young man with her and announces that she has won the Lottery. Nathan and Eve get married. George the plain nurse gets sacked but feels she did the right thing. At last, the mouse roars! vlcsnap-01239

Now unlike my sister, I am unable to claim that I used to be in the same class at school as someone who went on to have a UK Top Ten hit single in the 1990s, but I am able to claim that I was in the same class at school as someone who appeared in the final episode of Family Affairs. It was Ryan Davenport who played Justin. What an honour. It’s just a shame that he only had about one line in this finale though. vlcsnap-01241

Meanwhile, Cat and Doug (played by Gareth “stick a red nose on your conk” Hale) are in the pub and appear to be having some marital trouble. But it gets worse, Yasmin doesn’t want to go to the ball! She does decide to go eventually though. What a relief all round, especially for Damian the vicar. It also looks like the rather creepy Rex who has been holding some people hostage is about to get his comeuppance. vlcsnap-01251

The show ended on something on a happy note though, as someone said “I’m going to miss this place”, and then the whole cast gathered to welcome in the New Year and perform “Auld Lang Syne” among fireworks. As the show ends, the announcer returns to inform us that he thought the episode was fantastic and that the website will be remaining open so that fans can discuss what happened in the forum. I’m sure it crashed in all the excitement and the cast all hastily sent their CVs to EastEndersvlcsnap-01252

Family Affairs had fairly consistent ratings, they weren’t huge but they weren’t too bad, and the finale was watched by over a million viewers, so presumably some people somewhere were big fans of the show and sorry to see it go. After this Channel 5’s commitment to soaps was buying in Neighbours from BBC1 to show alongside Home And Away which it had already taken from ITV to fill an hour with action from Australia every afternoon and evening.

More TV Memories – Family Affairs.

Family Affairs (Channel 5, 1997-2005)

When Channel 5 launched in March 1997 they promised some homemade original programming, including their own weekday soap which they hoped would be a big success and rival the likes of Brookside and EastEnders. Family Affairs was produced by Thames and began on the first night of Channel 5 before moving into its regular slot of every weekday at 6:30, with an omnibus on Sunday afternoons. I didn’t watch too regularly but I wanted to share some of my memories of the show.

Family Affairs was set in the fictional London borough of Charnham and the earliest episodes were centred around the Hart family and their neighbours. Among the launch cast were a few actors who would go on to bigger things including Cordelia Bugeja (Melanie Hart) who went on to appear in lots of adverts and Idris Elba (Tim Webster). He’s going to be the next James Bond, you know. affairs0001

However after about a year the Harts seemingly hadn’t made that much of an impact with viewers so at the start of 1999 they were all randomly killed off in a boat explosion and the show tried a “year zero” approach with a relaunch including a new production team and cast members, and Charnham seemingly magically moving to a different part of London in the process. The opening title sequence and theme was also changed which oddly sounded familiar to “Speed Of Sound” by Coldplay. vlcsnap-01113

One thing that caught my eye about the show around 2002 was when after one of my favourite soaps ITV’s Night And Day ended a few ex-cast members turned up in Family Affairs seemingly trying to continue their soap careers, including Julia Lee Smith (Lucy Day) and Seb Castang (Jake Walker) who for some reason I remember had a storyline where he crashed a car which killed a couple of people and ended up going to prison. vlcsnap-01114

In 2003 I noted that a character called Justin MacKenzie had joined as part of yet another wave of new characters who was played by Ryan Davenport, who unless I am going barmy is the same one who used to be in my class at school in 1990, and his dad Doug was played by none other than Gareth Hale of Hale and Pace fame so how about that. And around 2004 a character called Bradley Foster joined who was played by Harry Capehorn of Channel 5’s Harry and Cosh fame, who was at the centre of possibly the most shocking storyline in the whole run of the show. vlcsnap-01115

But despite all this, with many wholesale cast changes, production changes, and a few notable attempts at hard-hitting storylines which won some awards, Channel 5 seemed to lose interest in Family Affairs as the years passed, and as the ratings remained rather disappointing at around a million, the decision was taken to end the show in December 2005 after almost nine years and over 2,000 episodes. Since then Channel 5 haven’t attempted to make any more soaps, and the evening slot is now filled with the Australian imports Home and Away and Neighbours.