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2008: the new 1996 - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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January 8th, 2008


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10:35 pm - 2008: the new 1996
Which would be no bad thing.

1) Good news: Meg arrives home on Thursday morning!
Bad news: unless I get much better very soon, I shall be greeting her with a stinking cold. My nose is running, I am very sneezy and my mind cannot relax enough to let me go to sleep. Accordingly, I shall type at you instead until sleep overtakes me.

2) Not so much to do with 1996, but lambertman points to ABC reviving "The Mole" this summer in the US. Can this (and the apparently disappointing at-short-notice revival of American Gladiators) be attributed to the WGA writers' guilds' strike? Will this help the All American Football League, of which possibly more some other day, get a TV deal?

3) Here in the UK, Challenge have started repeating Shooting Stars, a parody panel game hosted by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. The style of the show is probably an affectionate pastiche of the likes of Star Turn and other gentle celebrity shows of the late 1970s, except with a sense of humour that might be described as surreal, but only in the context of the old one-liner "Here's a latest football score: Real Madrid Two, Surreal Madrid Fish". In truth it's very throw-things-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks but has its charm. The first episode they repeated last night was the one with the clip of Paul Shane performing his club singing act ("Ba-by ba-by!") and in truth that episode of the show probably obviates the others. Nevertheless, there were plenty of other not-spoilers-because-they-have-to-be-seen sight-gag highlights (creepy Uncle Frank Bough: "Nice, nice!"; Robbie Williams splendidly impersonates the horns off Cheggers Plays Pop in his finest ever moment; Bob rakes Vic's back with an eight-foot cheese grater, to name some that the Wikipedia article does not spoil) and there's still enough good-natured silliness to raise a few smiles, though probably only about a third as many as they did when I was a third less old. Shame that the shows are edited down from their original BBC length to fit a commercial-laden Challenge half-hour, but there are still enough quickie giggles that the show still stands up in court. (Challenge are front-loading all the funniest shows at the start of their run.)

Odd to think that Shooting Stars probably represented Vic and Bob's finest moment, or at least their biggest commercial success. Five years later (at least, five years later than 1996, whose second series is the one being broadcast currently) the show's script associate Charles Higson would be at the comedy fore with The Fast Show - which, I predict, will stand the test of time qua sketch shows almost as well as Monty Python's Flying Circus - and ten years later, baby impersonator Matt Lucas would be one half of the most fashionable thing in UK comedy. Give it another five years, will Ullllrikakakakakaka make another comeback?

4) Pleasantly surprised to hear that college contemporary Mat Page - and how weird that feels to type without a "Colin" in the middle - beat eleven other contenders to win Durham FM's Dream Academy competition and thus win a year's contract with the station. Durham FM stretches this far south-east when atmospheric conditions are helpful, but hopefully it should come in rather more clearly at work. Sadly the clips of Mat's shows have been taken off the Dream Academy site, but he did a very affectionate parody of Play Your Cards Right (Card Sharks) where the selection of music was a labour of love. (He had the modern version of the theme tune, the Catchphrase ring-in for a correct selection of higher or lower and the lost-the-million-question sting from WWTBAM? for game over.) I voted for the north-east's own Mark Curry lookalike both at home and at work and will be listening in to his show (also available online at the Durham FM web site, though the show has not yet appeared on the schedule) confident that he will have bags more ideas and originality than your typical local radio DJ. I also listen with great interest to see (well, hear) whether there are further radio games ahead. See, I have a feeling Mat rather likes the game show host role; in theory, but not in practice, I am desperately tempted to ring in to be a contestant and then repeatedly say "lid" until one or the other of us corpses, then break a packet of biscuits animatedly with a hammer. Yes, it's an in-joke, but parts of 1996 were the good times, man.

ETA: 5) Tony Soprano informs us that "'Remember when?' is the lowest form of conversation", so I guess this post must be pretty low on the food chain. I have gone back and LJ-cut the more obscure parts, remembering that possibly only eight of you might have known Mat Page. (Though more of you should.)

6) I'm surprised not to have heard any scepticism about Jeremy Clarkson's claims with regards to his views to identity theft and bank account security. As a columnist with a, frankly, super soaraway fun-sational newspaper, he is frequently - putting it politely - less-than-literal in the views he expresses. Surely I cannot be the only one to suggest some degree of stunt here, just so that he could make his point.
Current Mood: sicksick

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:lambertman
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
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The AAFL faces big difficulties in finding a TV home, one would think; the NFL can use force quite effectively in imposing its will on its current- (or hopeful!) broadcast partners. Given that NFL programs currently air on NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC sister net ESPN, MyNet and ION, it doesn't leave much worth grabbing. (Maybe CW or Vs., but that wouldn't really get them anywhere.)

I doubt it has a chance.

As for Gladiators, I take the POV of "It could've been sooo much worse."
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
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I dunno - to me, either of those would come into the category of "a lot better than nothing".

From the AAFL's web site:

The League is exploring the possibility of broadcasting games through a private network that might eliminate TV timeouts for commercial purposes. Although the League expects all or some League games will appear on commercial TV, fans that purchase "memberships" in their teams might have the option of accessing all games on the League‘s private network.

That sounds promising. Perhaps we are close enough to Internet broadcasting in practice and this could be the rare sufficiently valuable commodity to make it work.
[User Picture]
From:lambertman
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC)

By the way...

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I had a dream last night that I was heading over to England to visit you. Only instead of flying, you somehow drove over to pick me up in what appeared to be an approximation of an SUV painted like the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.

I woke up before we got to the ocean, sorry.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)

Re: By the way...

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YEEEEEEEEEEEEE-HA!!!!!!!!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 9th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
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the lost-the-million-question sting from WWTBAM? for game over.

Which, unless I am severely mistaken, has never actually been played in this country; indeed, I gather even on the Llewellyn-Bowen loss-that-wasn't, and which hence wasn't aired, the Q14 wrong answer cue was played by mistake in the studio... (See also: no confetti for Keppel; the absence of a music cue for precisely nobody getting FFF right, as happened soon after Keppel, and I'm sure I've heard the Russian show play such a cue when I saw a YouTube clip...)

sir_quirky_k, who can't log into LJ and doesn't really want to but still checks his friends page and still finds things to post about sometimes
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC)
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Indeed so, suggesting that he just might happen to own the CD. (Busted!)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 9th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
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Guessed as much. (Although as a GIP alone that's a worthwhile comment...) And it seems as though I can't log in, weirdly. Never mind. Not that I'd really often want to now.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and do drop by whenever while logged in for Friends-only fun. :-)
From:tleberle
Date:January 9th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
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Would you all be so kind as to loan us Glenn for the new series of The Mole? I've seen all of the second series, and bits of the first, and he's great.
[User Picture]
From:brigbother
Date:January 9th, 2008 09:00 am (UTC)
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Unfortunately he doesn't tend to do front of camera anymore and is rather enjoying being behind the scenes on Deal or No Deal. Although as he was credited as a producer for The Mole he could do that instead.

Here's an interview I did with him about 15 months ago.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
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Awesome icon. :-D

To be honest, the host is less important than the amount of trickery; the reason why British Mole was so sublime was the quantity of little covert clues and tricks embedded within the program for people to find out, to the point that they took an entire show to reveal. The Australian version may have been even better still in this regard, plus (as I recall) at least one of their series had an extremely pretty young lady contestant. (Well, pretty up to the point where she smoked.) I was disappointed that the US version had much less of the same subtlety.
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:January 9th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC)
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Re The Mole, that reminds me, I've been meaning to ask you for your thoughts on The Great Pretender, which I "discovered" a few weeks ago. It seemed a pretty good game structure to me, combining the best bits of The Weakest Link and that Ant and Dec thing whose name I can't remember.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 9th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)
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That would be PokerFace.

sir_quirky_k
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:January 9th, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC)
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That's the fellow.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:January 9th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
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Honestly? Never watched it. Told you I wasn't nearly as big a fan as I used to be... :-)

Sorry about that!
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:January 9th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
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Ah well, weekdays at 5 I think -- if you do ever stumble across it I'd be interested to hear if you're as impressed as I was.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 15th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)

Amazing what you find when you Google your name!

(Link)
Good lord! DJ Mat Page here, smiling at the thought of the "Lid-lid" Game, or whatever it was called... Pregnant Stoat, I seem to recall. Hopefully by now, you've found my slot on Friday Nights from 7-10pm. Although typically not next week, when I'm covering lunchtime due to it being Good Friday.

So far, no further "Competitions" have been forthcoming, mainly due to the lack of budget. Indeed, the prize for "Who Wants To Win A Load Of Tat By Prediciting Whether The Next Card Is More Than Or Less Than The Previous One" was the actual pack of cards used, signed by myself!

There will now be a short interval, during which you can visit the bar while we hoover up a load of biscuit crumbs.

Thanks for the name-check and feel free to drop us a line.
TTFN,
Mat "Colin" Page.

P.S. MARK CURRY!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 16th, 2008 10:42 am (UTC)

Re: Amazing what you find when you Google your name!

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Hooray! Lovely to hear from you.

Ah! I hadn't heard that your show had started yet. From time to time I have checked on the Durham FM and Dream Academy web sites looking to see whether or not they'd actually say when your show was, but either they never actually seemed to do that or they did and I couldn't find it. Thank you for the information. I shall listen in, particularly when I'm on the night shift.

Yes, Mark Curry, especially in his relatively recent (but, happily, abortive) stint as Catchphrase host. Better Mark Curry than Tim Curry, some would say.

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