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  1. #1
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    Default S18 Contemporary TV

    Rather like the music thread in this sub-forum, I thought it would be interesting to place each season in the context of what else was popular on TV and what shows we remember with fondness. I happen to have a reference book which includes monthly TV ratings from the mid 50s to the early 90s so I thought it would be fun to include the monthly Top 20 which coincided with transmission of the story we're currently engaged with. So let's go back to the TV hits of September 1980.

    1) Morecambe and Wise Show - 16.4m
    2) Coronation Street - 15.6m
    3) Cowboys - 15.3m
    4) Just Liz - 14.7m
    5) The Professionals 14.1m
    6) Keep It In The Family - 13.9m
    7) Generation Game - 13.7m
    8) Coronation Street - 13.5m
    9) Blankety Blank - 13.3m
    10) On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 12.8m
    11) Crossroads - 12.6m
    12) Hart of the Yard - 12.2m
    13) Crossroads - 11.7m
    14) Give Us A Clue - 11.3m
    15) Yes Minister - 11.3m
    16) That Lucky Touch - 11.3m
    17) Terry and June - 11.0m
    18) Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World - 10.7m
    19) Play Your Cards Right - 10.5m
    20) Crossroads - 10.4m

    Out of that lot, I do remember with particular fondness Arthur C Clarke at 7pm on ITV on a weeknight - you'll never see the like again! I have it on DVD and it still stands up well - investigations into the unexplained such as Yeti, UFOs etc. The Professionals was another favourite - can't remember if it was on a Friday or a Saturday night. I've caught the odd repeat on ITV4 - fairly fun but not enticing enough to consider on DVD. Play Your Cards Right I always enjoyed too - the game itself was good enough, but Brucie made it for me - legend! Generation Game with Larry Grayson just didn't appeal without Brucie.

    ITV ruled the roost back then with 16 out of that Top 20.

  2. #2
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    I pretty much remember all of those (we used to really like Hart of the Yard, probably the first time I saw Ron Moody in anything)... except what is/was "Just Liz". Surely not an early Lis Sladen vehicle!!

    P.S. Great idea for a thread Jonno!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonno Simmons View Post
    ...Generation Game with Larry Grayson just didn't appeal without Brucie.
    I know what you mean Jonno, as a staunch Gen Game fan I stuck with it all through Grayson's tenure as host, and let's be honest here, he was an entertainer, albeit in a different class to Brucie, and the series still attracted huge audiences, it was only when Game For a Laugh began to attract an audience on "the other side" that Grayson's started to drop off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Curnow View Post
    ..what is/was "Just Liz". Surely not an early Lis Sladen vehicle!!

    P.S. Great idea for a thread Jonno!
    I've just Googled this, 'cos I don't recall it either. imdb doesn't say much about it apart from the cast, but it seems to have been a six part comedy series starring Rodney Bewes, apart from that....??????


    Oh!! here's a bit more

    Written by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey (Good Life)


    Liz Parker (Sandra Payne) is left to get on with her life alone when her boyfriend goes off to work in Bahrain to make extra money for their marriage.

    She's helped and hindered in equal measures by her travel agency colleague, Reg Last (Rodney Bewes).


    Rings no bells with me.
    Last edited by Stephen Morgan; 3rd Oct 2010 at 5:06 PM.

  5. #5
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    Never heard of Hart of the Yard myself - my Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy tells me it was actually a US sitcom called Nobody's Perfect which was renamed for UK transmission because ITV were about to screen a new sitcom called ... Nobody's Perfect. It debuted on ITV on 03/09/80 (a Wednesday) at 7pm. Lasted one series of 8 episodes.

    Just Liz, which I've also never heard of, debuted on 01/09 (a Monday) on ITV at 8.30pm. It also starred Terence Alexander and Gordon Kaye. It probably got such good ratings because I believe Panorama would have been its main opposition.

    I have to say it's just as fun to research such oddities as it is to remember the well known stuff!

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    From memory, I think Hart of the Yard was about an English 'tec (Ron Moody as an upper class-y Holmes type, very polite) working in a US police precinct. Again, from memory I recall it as being absolutely hilarious but I fear it would be a case of 'the memory cheats' if I were ever to see it again. The ratings, though, seem good so maybe it was absolutely hilarious... although if it only ran for 8 episodes, maybe not!!

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    It's interesting to see that Morecambe and Wise were still the most popular show on TV even after their move to Thames (which is generally regarded as an all round flop).

    I was too young to watch any of those in 1980/1 but I've bought five of them on DVD since.
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

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    There are bits I can remember- Swap Shop, Words and Pictures (at school) and famously in my family that episode of Trumpton I missed because my sister had a tantrum at Nursery so that I wouldn't get to go home after my half day at school.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
    It's interesting to see that Morecambe and Wise were still the most popular show on TV even after their move to Thames (which is generally regarded as an all round flop).

    I was too young to watch any of those in 1980/1 but I've bought five of them on DVD since.

    I've been enjoying the BBC discs of all their releases so far, but working through the Thames DVDs at present I just can't get into them at all. I thought they'd lost their spark but it didn't lose them viewers.

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    If memory serves, writer Eddie Braben stayed at the BBC so their Thames shows were largely written by other people. That shouldn't have been a problem as other people (Barry Cryer for example) wrote some of their most famous BBC shows using Braben's template but at Thames it didn't work out. Plus, Eric had his second big heart attack just after they joined Thames and it seemed to sap his energy for years afterwards.
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
    If memory serves, writer Eddie Braben stayed at the BBC so their Thames shows were largely written by other people. That shouldn't have been a problem as other people (Barry Cryer for example) wrote some of their most famous BBC shows using Braben's template but at Thames it didn't work out. Plus, Eric had his second big heart attack just after they joined Thames and it seemed to sap his energy for years afterwards.
    Braben's still gets a credit on the Thames shows.
    Re Eric's heart attack, their Christmas '79 show reflects this as it's mainly M&W sat a a couch with David Frost going over past glories with the odd guest or two.

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    I'd have sworn that circa S18 was the era of Metal Mickey. It was very popular back in the day, but I think it'd have me cringing behind the sofa if I saw it again ...
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    I was wondering what Cowboys was, the 3rd most watched show that month. Yes, it's another forgotten ITV sitcom, debuting Wednesday 03/09 at 8.30pm. 13 episodes in 1980 and 1981, starring Roy Kinnear and about cowboy builders botching jobs. Completely lost on me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteCrowNZ View Post
    I'd have sworn that circa S18 was the era of Metal Mickey. It was very popular back in the day, but I think it'd have me cringing behind the sofa if I saw it again ...
    Quite right - it debuted on 06/09, the same day as part 2 of Leisure Hive. I used to watch it and remember enjoying it, but I'm not overly keen to see it again! Irene Handl was fun in it though as I recall.

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    Ready steady are you set... for Metal Mickey!
    He's the cutest robot yet... it's Metal Mickey!


    Didn't he/it use to eat loo fresheners - I'm sure TV watchdogs wouldn't allow that, for fear hordes of kids started swigging down the toilet duck!

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    I think the whole toilet duck aspect of fizz bombs was played down.

    Mind you I remember being able to buy Metal Mickey fizz bomb sweets from our local newsagent and running home in a kind of sugar induced high afterwards. Loaded with sugar!!!

    Seemed to be the era of the cute robot - K9 was much loved, Marvin the paranoid android had his own single, Metal Mickey had his own sweets. And just around the corner, Twikki was waiting in the wings.

    But this was the post-Star Wars era. You wouldn't get for instance the guy who played Data releasing his own album with half the Next Gen cast doing backing vocals these days. No sirree ...
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    That list brings back memories of long-forgotten series. I remember that Hart Of The Yard was actually quite funny iirc, although it can't have been very successful as I don't remember ever seeing it again. Comedies like Cowboys as well, I used to like that...I'm not surprised to see the like of Morecombe & Wise there, along with Terry and June. They were both regular viewing in our house, even though M&W weren't as good as in their BBC days. Arthur C Clarke was another favourite, as was The Professionals. Just Liz, though...that brings back no memories whatsoever.

    Metal Mickey...I remember that as well, though it wasn't a huge favourite. It had its moments, though...

    Another favourite of the time was Tiswas. Sally James, the Phantom Flan Flinger, Sally James, Spit The Dog, and did I mention Sally James?...nice clean fun for a Saturday morning!

    Happy days...

    Great thread btw, Jonno!
    Last edited by MacNimon; 4th Oct 2010 at 7:31 AM.

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    Tiswas!! PAH!!!!! I always preferred the less manic Swap Shop.

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    Heretic! Maggie Philbin wasn't a patch on Sally. (Still wasn't bad though.)

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    I have to say I was a Swap Shop kid. Which makes me cringe these days - I was probably just very much a kid into set order over TISWAS.
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    Now that we're moving onto Meglos, here's the Top 20 for October 1980.

    1) Morecambe & Wise Show - 18.6m
    2) To The Manor Born - 18.5m
    3) Coronation Street - 18.2
    4) Coronation Street - 17.0m
    5) Keep It In The Family - 17.0m
    6) Cowboys - 16.4m
    7) Give Us A Clue - 16.2m
    8) Generation Game - 15.4m
    9) Hart of the Yard - 15.1m
    10) Just Liz - 15.1m
    11) Crossroads - 14.9m
    12) Crossroads - 14.8m
    13) Blankety Blank - 14.8m
    14) Mastermind - 14.6m
    15) Juliet Bravo - 14.2m
    16) Terry & June - 13.8m
    17) Paul Daniels Magic Show - 13.6m
    18) Play Your Cards Right - 13.5m
    19) The Gentle Touch - 13.4m
    20) Hammer House of Horror - 13.3m

    Two new programmes debuting here which I remember enjoying watching - Juliet Bravo on Saturday nights an hour or so after Who finished and then Hammer House of Horror on ITV at 9.15pm. It debuted on 13/09 (the night of Hive Part 3) and ran for another 12 weeks. A wonderfully eerie and evocative theme tune and some excellent tales too - my two favourites being the one with Diana Dors as part of a family of werewolves and the one with evil duplicates (The Two Faces of Evil) which was genuinely chilling. I didn't realise the show rated quite that highly.

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    I MAY have been watching the Hammer series myself, but I don't recall it at all. As a long standing fan of Gen Game in all it's regenerations, I was probably biased towards the BBC all evening during Saturday's in the early eighties. I certainly remember watching Juliet Bravo after Gen Game at this time, but can't recall what the full BBC line up was at this time. Maybe I should dig out an old RT and find out what Meglos's contemporaries were.

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    I can help you out there courtesy of In-Vision (alas, the oldest RT I own is the Five Doctors cover one). 27/09/80 for Meglos Part 1 on BBC1 as follows, some of these timings approximate :

    5.10pm Dukes of Hazzard
    6pm News
    6.15pm Doctor Who
    6.40pm Generation Game
    7.40pm Juliet Bravo
    8.30pm Paul Daniels Magic Show
    9.10pm News
    9.20pm Film : The Drowning Pool
    11.10pm Parkinson

    I never used to like Dukes of Hazzard so it was Metal Mickey at 5.15pm, then a half hour wait for Who, stick with BBC1 until after Paul Daniels, then over to ITV for Hammer House of Horror, then bed for me I would imagine!

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    I never liked Dukes either, and that schedule means nothing to me Jonno, can't see I would have watched The Drowning Pool, so I may have turned over for the Hammer series, I liked Diana Dors so it's a strong possibility.
    I've just been watching the last of the 1980 Morecambe and Wise series, it's been disappointing seeing as their move to Thames was much lauded in the media at the time, but this last episode has been one of the funniest and has brought back a few memories, one of them being that of Gemma Craven one time wife of Frazer Hines, who features strongly in the final episode, and another of 3.2.1. the Quiz show featuring Ted Rogers and Dusty Bin, whose clues to its prizes being so obscure as to be almost nonsensical, I don't know what was so popular about this quiz, seemingly Ted Rogers' hand gestures played a big part in it. My gran used to like it, but I could never see its appeal.

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    What wasn't to like?

    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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