My Life In TV: Part Two

Ahh, so many televisual memories are flooding back after the last post.  There are lots of programmes that are still very vivid in my memory, and some that take a little more coaxing from their sleep…

SPACED (1999-2001)

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Two twenty-something Londoners, Tim and Daisy, pretend to be a couple so they can rent the only flat they can afford.  Bringing together a mixed bag of unconventional characters that somehow seem rooted in reality, Spaced has that special quality of being a cult hit whilst also being very inclusive.  It shows the quality of the show when its stars and director head off to Hollywood and become megastars, working on big budget movies. Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson (now Hynes) are absolutely perfect as Tim and Daisy who try to get along in life while being hindered by Tim’s best friend Mike (Nick Frost), their landlady Marsha (Julia Deakin), oddball artist Brian (Mark Heap) and Daisy’s best friend Twist (Katy Carmichael).  Director Edgar Wright, heavily influenced by all things cinematic, creates a unique world for these characters to breathe and progress through the two series.

WATCH IT FOR: Pieces of genius like this!

RIPTIDE (1984-1986)

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Three vietnam veterans, played by Joe Penny, Perry King and Thom Bray,  now work as private eyes in sunny southern California. Nick and Cody are the muscles and Murray is a computer wizard of the trio and together they solve even the hardest cases.  Another classic piece of eighties machismo from Stephen J. Cannell that involves Vietnam veterans helping the innocent, solving crimes and using unique vehicles.  Although this genre of private detectives was done to death in that decade, it was an entertaining show from what I can remember complete with a robot, a giant pink helicopter and lots of speed boats!

WATCH IT FOR: The theme tune!

JOSSY’S GIANTS (1986-1987)

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The show’s plot centred on a boys’ football team, the Glipton Giants, and their enthusiastic Geordie manager Joswell ‘Jossy’ Blair, played by Jim Barclay.  The show was written by lengendary darts commentator Sid Waddell and, although only 10 episodes were made, still remains in the memory, if only for the theme tune, written and performed by Mike Amatt.

WATCH IT FOR: The theme tune

THE ADVENTURES OF PORTLAND BILL (1983)

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The story of a lighthouse keeper and his two friends.  This is a gentle animation from the company behind Paddington and The Wombles.  Narrated by Norman Rossington, it ran for 36 episodes at 5 minutes each and was perfect television filler.  I have fond memories of watching this with my mum and for some reason it makes me think of chocolate flapjacks!!

WATCH IT FOR: Thanks to the internet there are some episodes online…like this one!

THE FALL GUY (1981-1986)

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The adventures of a film stunt performer who moonlights as a bounty hunter when movie work is slow.  Lee Majors stars as Colt Seavers, movie stuntman and freelancing bounty hunter who, along with his companions Howie (Douglas Barr) and Jody (Heather Thomas) get into all sorts of scrapes trying to bring home the bounty.  Notable for its use of stunts and a cracking theme tune, The Fall Guy was the perfect vehicle for television legend Majors who had previously torn up the screen as The Six Million Dollar Man.  Produced by the late Glen A. Larson, this is one of those cult classics that live on forever.

WATCH IT FOR: That awesome theme tune, sung by Lee Majors himself!

GOING LIVE! (1987-1993)

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Saturday morning television hasn’t been the same for years! These days we have to contend with cookery shows and the like but back in the day Saturday morning meant anarchy!!  Coninuing a trend established by Swap Shop and Saturday Superstore, Going Live! was (as the title suggests) live on a Saturday morning just before Grandstand.  It was pretty much a kids version of a madcap chat show with celebrity guests, phone-in competitions, comic relief provided by Trevor & Simon and of course the nation’s sweetheart – Gordon the Gopher.  Trying to hold it all together were Phillip Schofield and Sarah Greene, waking up the children of Britain in the best possible way!

WATCH IT FOR: The theme tune

ROUND THE TWIST (1989-2001)

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Tony Twist and his three children – thirteen year old twins Pete and Linda and nine year old Bronson – move to an old lighthouse on the rugged Australian Coast. They soon discover that the lighthouse, and the outhouse, are haunted. This programme has become a genuine cult classic where the mere mention of the title forces people to begin singing the theme tune and reminiscing about the old days.  It ran for four series (1989, 1993, 2000 & 2001) and saw the cast of kids change but the stories and situation remain the same.  Offbeat and genuinely brilliant, Round the Twist has just brought a smile to my face as I’m writing this…all together now: “Have you ever?  Ever felt like this…”

WATCH IT FOR: That awesome theme tune

MASK (1985-1986)

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Matt Tracker leads a team of masked crimefighters with a fleet of hidden function vehicles against the forces of V.E.N.O.M. This had everything, cool vehicles, awesome theme tune and, above all else, amazing toys! But it didn’t last that long which I find confusing and disappointing…but, nevermind, it lives on in my memory and on DVD! I just wish I’d taken better care of my toys instead of bashing them against the skirting board or crashing them through the dirt in the garden!

WATCH IT FOR: The theme tune

DEXTER (2006-2013)

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A Miami police forensics expert moonlights as a serial killer of criminals whom he believes have escaped justice. Dexter is a unique show wherein it requires you to root for who is essentially a bad guy doing good deeds – he just happens to be a serial killer of bad guys.  Michael C. Hall is perfectly cast as Miami Metro’s blood splatter expert Dexter Morgan.  He’s torn between doing the right thing and listening to his Dark Passenger.  Violent, sexy and very dark with splatterings of humour, Dexter is one of those television characters that will live on and on…

WATCH IT FOR: The opening title sequence

JONNY BRIGGS (1985-1987)

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This is a children’s programme where a little boy called Jonny lives at home with his mum, dad, sister and brother and his dog called Razzle. His best friend in school is a girl and his enemy is a pair of twin sisters who are always mean to him and try to get him into trouble with his teacher. Things are sometimes not much better at home when one member of the family is not happy with the other.   I used to love watching this and I particularly loved the theme music – its a pity its not on DVD or repeated on tv anywhere!

WATCH IT FOR: The theme tune

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And there you have it…part two of the countdown of my favourite television memories.  We’ll be right back after these short messages…

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