The YouTube Files – The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon.

The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon (BBC2, 1997)

I recently got hold of some more old TV magazines, and one of them contained a picture of a comedy show that I don’t remember watching at the time but I have heard a lot about it, so I pleased when I managed to track it down on YouTube as I thought it would be worthy of a review (also to my surprise it seems that it has been released on DVD but this’ll do for now).

Steve Coogan is someone who has been on TV since the late-80s as a comedian and impressionist, and by the mid-90s he had gone on to further success with his characters Paul Calf and Alan Partridge along with his BBC2 sketch show Coogan’s Run. So on New Year’s Day 1997 it was time to launch a new character who was sure to be a hit with the viewers… wasn’t he? vlcsnap-00979

Tony Ferrino was the stylish Portuguese heartthrob singing sensation who thought a lot of himself, a star all over Europe who is now bringing his music to the UK with this show, accompanied by some special guests. This was a 45-minute music and variety show that had something of an old-school feel to it, with plenty of top-notch entertainment along the way. vlcsnap-00977

Tony performed some of his songs, and most of the jokes came from his dubious grip on the English language. We also had a look back at his career, including a performance with his brothers in 1970 (who have since mysteriously disappeared), and when he won the Eurovision Song Contest by a landslide in 1980. The first guest was Kim Wilde (I presume that the celebrity guests knew Ferrino was a parody?). vlcsnap-00976

Then it was time for a duet with Gary Wilmot. One of the highlights was “Bigamy At Christmas”, a song which was released as a single in the UK (yes really, it reached no. 42 in November 1996). And finally, having recently recovered from being strangled by an elastic song, Mick Huckhall joined Tony for a rousing performance of “Help Yourself”. But that wasn’t the end, as just two days later there was… vlcsnap-00970

Introducing Tony Ferrino, Who And Why? A Quest (BBC2, 1997)

This was a 30-minute show that was more of a documentary including an interview with Ferrino, giving us a further insight into his remarkable career, along with a look behind-the-scenes of The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon, and a plug for his great new album. Coogan also appeared on TV shows around this time in character including BBC1’s Clive Anderson All Talk, and Comic Relief (where he sang with Bjork). vlcsnap-00973

With a couple of high-profile specials Ferrino really was given a big push, but the odd thing is that he really didn’t catch on with viewers which was rather disappointing (there was also an album released but it wasn’t a hit), by the end of 1997 Coogan was back to playing Alan Partridge with much more success, and Ferrino has just about never been referenced since.

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The YouTube Files – A Morning With TV-am.

A Morning With TV-am (TV-am, 1988)

After some of my recent pieces looking back at TV adverts were successful, I thought that I would do another one. I was pleased to find a full edition of TV-am on YouTube courtesy of Gavin Martin, and it was recorded on 16 November 1988. This piece will concentrate on the adverts that were shown, but there will also be some comments about a few other things that are notable.

The first few years of TV-am were rather traumatic as has been well documented, with many struggles to fill advert breaks in the early days, but they were in a much better situation by this point after almost six years on air, the format had settled down. TV-am begins at 6am and the first hour is The Morning Programme featuring the latest news, sport, business and so on. vlcsnap-00923

The first break is at about 6:16am (I was never very good at being able to tell the time by TV-am’s onscreen clock) featuring only a couple of adverts, but there is a rather odd one for Wisdom toothbrushes. The next break is at about 6:40am and features one of the highlights from this video, an advert that I remember for the Early Learning Centre featuring a rather odd talking doll. vlcsnap-00930

The next break includes Ross (a lot of these adverts seem to be voiced by Chris Tarrant), Thomson with Cilla Black, Sellotape’s special crystals, a bowlful of Corn Flakes and the excitement of Rolo which has one extra free. At 7am we go into the second hour and the start of Good Morning Britain which is the main segment of TV-am and features Mike Morris among the hosts. vlcsnap-00931

Following Gyles Brandreth’s postbag and Huckleberry Hound, the next break is at about 7:30am, and features lots of adverts for children’s toys. I don’t think it was half-term, maybe the Christmas rush was about to begin. The only trail during TV-am for a programme coming later on ITV is for Des O’Connor Tonight with guests including the chart-topping Five Star and Les Dennis. vlcsnap-00932

Then after yet another news update, adverts include the Bed Bugs board game (I think I had that one), Commodore Amiga, Tyco Super Dough and Transformers. The celebrity guest being interviewed on the sofa that day was the singer Tiffany. Then there are more toy adverts including Super Cup Football (I want one for Christmas!), McDonald’s, Perfection (this one looks like it’s from about ten years earlier), Baby Secrets, Yawnies, Hobby Girl… well there are definitely no sale adverts shown endlessly here. vlcsnap-00938

The first break after 8am brings us more even toy adverts including Fisher-Price and Grand Prix racing (it’s faster than the real thing), I am starting to think that this is a children’s channel. Then there are even more for Nosy Bears, Mr Chimney Pot (whatever that was), Ghost Castle (another board game that I’m fairly sure I had), Cup Final, Spirograph, Tuneyville Choo-Choo, Tesco (even they’re promoting toys), and squeezed inbetween all of this is another weather update. vlcsnap-00939

Then we have a rather rare non-toy one for McCain’s Moon Waffles, tasty. We are now past 9am an into the final segment of the morning which is After Nine. Just a couple of short breaks here featuring cheese and one last lot of toys before it’s exercise time with Lizzie. And with that weird eggcup copyright picture, that’s the end for another day. vlcsnap-00941

The YouTube Files – 30 Years Of Grandstand.

Grandstand (BBC1, 1988)

A while back I reviewed some sport programmes including Grandstand. Wanting to have another look back at these type of shows, I recently found on YouTube some highlights from the 30th anniversary edition of Grandstand that was shown on BBC1 on 8 October 1988 (the BBC Genome’s entry for this edition is simply “see panel”, and then the panel isn’t there which is rather frustrating).

The time is 12:15pm and Des Lynam (before he cleared off to ITV) is once again about to introduce a busy afternoon of sport action, today is the 1,777th edition. They even made a sign specially and everything! We begin with the BBC Sport symbol that had only just been introduced and would be used until 1992. We then have the original opening sequence from 1958 (“today’s sport as it happens”). vlcsnap-00905

There is then a montage of all the memorable sporting moments that had been shown hundreds of times even then (the 1966 World Cup Final and so on), and all these were probably shown again on the final edition in 2007. Des tells us that Grandstand is the longest-running TV sports programme in the world, and he is very grateful about that. And the idea behind Grandstand hasn’t changed in these 30 years. vlcsnap-00910

This afternoon’s sport (before Sky bought it all off them) includes golf, racing and motor sport. Des then interviews Harry Carpenter who worked on the first edition, and today is at the golf (although I believe that it’s a myth that he was once introduced as “your carpenter is Harry Commentator”). John Motson reviews the week’s European football, and Steve Rider has a motor sport update. vlcsnap-00900

There is also some top racing from Ascot, and as it was on day one, the commentator is Peter O’Sullevan. Now his was a great voice that I remember from coverage on Saturday afternoons for many years, and he is also interviewed by Des about his memories. Shortly after retiring in 1997, O’Sullevan was knighted for his outstanding service to talking very quickly. vlcsnap-00904

Then we have the football results with the vidiprinter. Des remembers the old days when the teleprinter used to rattle them out, but modern technology has now taken over. Pools coupon at the ready. One of the results in Division Two is Blackburn 5 Crystal Palace 4, that sounds like a right old whizz-bang of a humdinger. And then, wait, is Des packing up and going? vlcsnap-00661

No, he’s going over to the other side of the studio to introduce us to some more of the highly professional team, including another who has contributed since day one. It’s Len Martin who is sat in the corner and has all the football results, and still remembers when Tottenham put ten past Everton, you got value for money in those days. Len left Grandstand in 1995. vlcsnap-00907

Des finishes off this special edition by telling us what used to follow Grandstand in its earliest days. Now… who was that man? It was The Lone Ranger, and that show’s theme brings this show to an end instead of the more familiar regular theme. What an entertaining trip back in time. Don’t forget that there are golf highlights on BBC2 at 12:35am.

2018 In Review.

It’s time to take a look back at the year. It’s rather odd to think that 2018 has now happened and been consigned to history, as I still think that it’s about 25 years into the future. Four years on from starting this blog I am satisfied with what I have achieved. I feel that I have settled in and I have now done almost 700 pieces, including about 150 this year, here’s a look at some of my highlights of the year. 2018

There was plenty of excitement in pop music as the story I told about Bananarama on here that I think will always be my favourite blog piece took some further twists this year. Firstly, I found a picture on Instagram of Siobhan in a pub that I know that surprised me (and she was alongside Brix Smith who definitely had an interesting music career in the 80s too). I still honestly can’t believe that I have walked the same path in life (I don’t mean our careers of course, I mean literally the same Bethnal Green streets) as someone who fascinated me (along with many other people) with their chart-topping single back in 1992. brix1

Not long after, a picture appeared of Siobhan alongside Marcella from Shakespear’s Sister, by all accounts the first time they had seen one another for 25 years which was really something unexpected. That all of this has actually happened still makes me happy. It’s good to know that she’s still out there but I haven’t looked at Siobhan’s Instagram page for a while now because as you see I usually get more than I bargained for… ss1

I also did a three-part series looking back at Bananarama’s hit singles, and I reviewed Keren and Sara’s appearance on BBC1’s Pointless Celebrities. Well five years on they appeared on the show again, and managed to maintain their unbeaten record as they reached the final and this time they won the money! They made great records in the 80s, they’ve been to Bethnal Green, they win TV game shows… what’s not to admire? And it seems that there’s a new tour and album on the way too, I don’t think Siobhan is involved in these though, but who knows maybe I’ll see her in the pub one day. banana0005

I was also surprised by just how many 80s pop stars had their 60th birthdays this year. Siobhan was one of them in September, and 13 days later another one was Danielle Dax. To celebrate this I decided to do another piece about her career because I thought that her work was fascinating and there should be more about her online, and this received a positive response. After completing it I found another article about her in Number One magazine in 1984, with a full-page colour picture and everything. I also found an interview from the same time where she said that one of her icons was Cruella de Vil and I honestly don’t know if she was being serious or not. dax1

Oh, and remember when I found a picture of Danielle from a year or two ago at a gig in Dalston where I said she had bright blue hair which I thought was odd, but I teased people by using a picture of Stormer from great 80s cartoon Jem instead? Well recently when searching online I found a picture captioned “Danielle Dax, 2018”, which is the best post-1991 picture that I have seen of her. So if you really do want to know what she looks like nowadays… dax2

I also looked back at the hits of 80s music stars Haysi Fantaysee and Hazel O’Connor. Not long after I received a tweet from the woman herself who also retweeted the link to the piece, making it become my most-viewed blog piece that I did this year, I was thrilled and it made all the work I put into it worthwhile. I didn’t tag her in the link so there’s the positive side of vanity searching I suppose, what an endorsement. Well it’s more than Kate Garner did. Hazel

I also came across two shows this year that I previously had no knowledge of that I really enjoyed. The first of these was ITV’s drama and music series Jangles which starred Hazel O’Connor (I also noticed recently that one episode features another early-80s singer who was Honey Bane of “Turn Me On Turn Me Off” fame). I must admit that I really became fond of the bizarre character Herald (“obliging those who wish to blow their minds…“) and he is now one of my unsung TV heroes. vlcsnap-00567

The other one was BBC2’s The Wolvis Family, an early-90s sitcom about a rather bizarre family that was described by the Radio Times Guide To TV Comedy as “a forgotten gem”, and that’s a statement I can’t argue with, it definitely deserves a DVD release. And the character of Mr Wolvis became another one of my favourites. Other long-forgotten comedy shows I enjoyed reviewing this year included BBC2’s It’s A Mad World World World World, ITV’s Not With A Bang and Channel 5’s Hospital! vlcsnap-00436

As for game shows, I decided to review Quizmania as Greg Scott and Chuck Thomas who were among the hosts are both following me on Twitter and I hoped that it might catch their attention. I was very flattered that they both approved of the piece, with Greg saying that he was pleased by how many people still remember the show so long after it ended and Chuck giving it a like. vlcsnap-00073

I also reviewed the revivals of The Crystal Maze and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (who knows, maybe they’ll revive Blockbusters one day…), along with some American versions of classic game shows including Cross Wits and Play Your Cards Right. Also this year we had to say goodbye to some familiar faces, including game show hosts Jim Bowen and Dale Winton, and children’s TV stars Barry Chuckle and Geoffrey Hayes. Thanks for lots of great memories. vlcsnap-00722

I also looked back at a few other interesting shows including ITV’s Wake Up London, BBC Choice’s Hotlinks, the news coverage of the death of Diana, I admitted that I did admired the ITV Weathergens, and it was also enjoyable reviewing lots of old adverts. CBBC and CITV shows that I reviewed included Radio Roo and Mega ManiaThere are plenty more reviews of classic TV memories planned to come in 2019. vlcsnap-00694

My blog has had over 41,000 views this year. All that it remains for me to say is thanks for reading wherever you may be, and special thanks to everyone who liked and commented, it is much appreciated to know that you enjoy what I do!

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