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  1. #1
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    Default The S16 Contemporary TV thread

    Time to look at some contemporary TV from late 1978.

    One of the biggest shows on BBC1 throughout the 1970s was undoubtedly Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game, for me and many others it formed part of a "Golden era" of Saturday night TV. The gameshow, in which four teams of two (from the same family but different generations, eg. mother/son auntie/nephew) compete for prizes.
    Bill Cotton of the BBC saw a Dutch version of the show and thought it could be adapted for a British audience. How right he was, host Forsyth took it to dizzying heights and massive ratings.
    Forsyth hosted the show between 1971 and 1977 before defecting to ITV. In 1978 camp comedian Larry Grayson took over hosting duties with female assistant Isla St.Clair taking the show to ever greater heights, a peak of 25 million in 1979. Grayson was loved for his apparent incompetence and inability to remember what was going on — all of which was carefully contrived. The BBC dropped the show in 1982, but brought it back for more success with Forsyth in the early nineties, and later Jim Davidson.
    Over on ITV from October '78, Forsyth hosted a three hour variety show, Bruce's Big Night, which fared badly in the ratings, and after three months was dropped.

    A big budget drama/adventure series on ITV at this time was Return of The Saint starring Ian Ogilvie as Simon Templar. The series, running for 24 episodes, was a revival/update of the sixties adventure series which starred Roger Moore. The new series borrowed a few storytelling elements from its predecessor. Once again, each episode began with Simon narrating an introduction to set the scene for viewers, and each pre-credit sequence ended with an animated halo appearing above Templar's head as he was identified.
    Based on a character created by author Leslie Charteris, The Saint had been a long running series, films made in the 1940s starred Louis Hayward, George Sanders and Hugh Sinclair in the title role. A radio series also appeared which starred Vincent Price. There was also a long running comic series before the iconic sixties series with Roger Moore.
    Unlike the earlier series, Return of the Saint did not adapt any Leslie Charteris stories, however several teleplays (such as "The Imprudent Professor" and "Collision Course") were adapted as novels that were credited to Charteris but written by others. A number of Saint books were reprinted with covers depicting Ogilvy as Templar as a tie-in with the series; these collectable volumes carried the Return of the Saint title. The adaptation of "Collision Course", retitled Salvage for the Saint was published in 1983 (several years after the series ended) and was the 50th and final Saint book to be published in a series of publications dating back to the 1920s. The two episodes of "Collision Course" were also edited together to form the syndicated TV-movie, The Saint and the Brave Goose.

  2. #2
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    The only TV I remember watching (and it's quite possibly my earliest memory) is The Mr Men on my 3rd birthday.

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

  3. #3
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    Well,

    I wasn't around in '78.


    So there!
    Assume you're going to Win
    Always have an Edge

  4. #4
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    Default

    Other shows that co-incided with season 16:

    During The Ribos Operation and The Pirate Planet, the other side saw two (or rather three) giants of British comedy plying their trade. Tommy Cooper starred in a six-part series called Just Like That, which consisted of short half-hour shows which included his trademark magical routines that went wrong, some hit-and-miss comedy sketches and some pointless singing and dancing as was commonplace in such shows at the time. The latter part of 1978 also saw Morecambe and Wise make their Thames TV debut, having left the BBC after their record-breaking 1977 Christmas show. In the pre-credits sequence the duo are booted unceremoniously out of the back of a BBC van, making light of the acrimonious nature of their departure. While the BBC have released every episode of their shows, the Thames years remain frustratingly incompletely released on DVD and rarely if ever repeated. It is often said that the shows lack the 'sparkle' of the BBC ones, but frankly I think that is bunk. Their first Thames TV Christmas special was also in 1978, continuing a run of Christmas episodes that started on the BBC in 1969 and would continue on Thames until 1983.

    As the season drew to a close in the early part of 1979, the second series of Blake's 7 began, with the first episode, Redemption, being shown between parts three and four of The Power of Kroll. The following week, David Attenborough's landmark series Life on Earth began. This one is a true classic, and began his now trademarked practice of weaving a continuing narrative through an episode shot in many diverse locations across the globe. He may introduce us to the fossils of the earliest life forms in the depths of the Grand Canyon, then seemingly continue the same dialogue from halfway up a mountain in Madagascar. His white trousers and blue shirt have yet to appear, however...

    Finally, just creeping in between episodes 5 and 6 of The Armageddon Factor, the near-deaf Mrs Richards arrives to make Basil's life hell at Fawlty Towers....

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    While we're on the subject of comedy, between 29th November 1978 and 24th January 1979, the third and final series of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin starring comedy genius Leonard Rossiter was aired on BBC1.
    In order to escape the Rat Race, Reginald Perrin, bored businessman, fakes suicide on the Dorset coast in series 1, and after the success of Grot Shops in series 2, in series 3 Reggie decides to open a commune called Perrins for the middle-aged middle class, designed to help them become ‘better, happier people’. The project is a success until a group of people who have fallen foul of the ‘Perrins Peace Keeping Force’ trash the place.

    Reggie is then hired by old boss CJ’s brother FJ at Amalgamated Aerosols, working directly under CJ. Reggie instantly returns to his eccentric ways, however, and the final scene shows him contemplating another trip to the Dorset coast.
    The series introduced catchphrases that entered popular culture in the UK, including Perrin's reflexive apology for a late arrival at the office, his boss C.J.'s "I didn't get where I am today ..."; the fawning junior executives Tony Webster and David Harris-Jones with their alternating "great/super"; and Perrin's brother-in-law Major Jimmy Anderson, an army officer with no grasp of organisation or leadership, coming to eat because of a "bit of a cock-up on the catering front"

    Although mainly produced on video and shot on studio sets, the series also incorporated innovative surreal escapism through film inserts, notably during scenes in which, whenever his mother-in-law is mentioned, Reggie visualises a hippopotamus trotting along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Morgan View Post
    Based on a character created by author Leslie Charteris, The Saint had been a long running series, films made in the 1940s starred Louis Hayward, George Sanders and Hugh Sinclair in the title role.
    And George Sanders' brother, Tom Conway (Conway being the family name).

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    Default Dallas

    In September of 1978 as this series of Dr. Who began, so did the Grandaddy of all soaps, Dallas, begin.
    It was Tuesday nights on BBC1 at 8:10 when we first met the Ewing clan, the whole dysfunctional family and their lust for power and oil. The series is legendary, and I know it has a few fans on this very forum, myself included.
    Each season would end with a cliffhanger, the most famous being the "Who killed JR" mystery in early 1980, audiences were gripped worldwide and the series was guaranteed longevity.
    The original series ran until 1991 with very few changes in format, and was successfully revived in 2011 with the main cast members Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy, although cancer took Hagman in 2012. His death was written into the storyline proving an emotional series end.
    Dallas returns for a new series next year.

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