The more I delve deeper into my memory for television programmes that have made an impact on me in some way, the more I seem to remember others that I have long-since forgotten. As cathartic as this process is, it is also somewhat distracting…I’m not writing what I should be writing! Not that I’m worried, I’m having a blast bringing back all these memories. Hopefully, they are evoking some memories with you too!
I can’t seem to find a photo to represent this programme, probably because it was tucked away in the graveyard shift of the schedules and didn’t really catch anyone’s attention. I mostly remember it because it previewed the films that were released in Hollywood some six to eight months prior to being shipped across the channel. It was like I had access to secret information on new films and got to see clips before anyone else. The format was simple, basically a clip-show of new films and a chart rundown. Narrated by the awesomely named Charlie Tuna, it’s theme tune was the main theme from The Golden Child. A tune I hummed for years before knowing where I knew it from! There are a couple of clips online from the show but nothing much, which is a shame because I loved this show, and the similar show that followed: Cinema, Cinema, Cinema.
WATCH IT FOR: The opening titles
DOCTOR WHO (1962-present)
For generations, the adventures of a man and his many companions travelling through time in an old police box have delighted audiences around the world. The beauty of the show is in the regeneration. Having one timelord reach the end of his path and simply replacing him with a new actor who, in turn, brings a new perspective to the show. It’s popularity is proven in the fact it has been around for over 50 years and doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
WATCH IT FOR: The classic theme tune(s)
STREET HAWK (1985)
It’s hard to believe this programme only lasted for one, short, 13-part series. It had everything you needed from an 80s action drama. A desk-bound cop fighting crime with the help of his genius computer expert buddy and a prototype combat vehicle. What’s not to love? Plus, you have the benefit of one of the coolest theme tunes in TV history!
WATCH IT FOR: Tangerine Dream’s classic theme tune
INSIDE No. 9 (2014-present)
A cross between Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected and The Twilight Zone, Inside No. 9 brings back the glory days of anthology television series with all the weirdness you would expect from the creators of The League of Gentlemen. Each story, masterfully told within half an hour, takes you beyond what you expect it to be and executes the most sublime of twists each time. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have created a wonderfully surreal and macabre set of characters that live long in the memory.
WATCH IT FOR: Just watch it because, honestly, it is superb!
KATE & ALLIE (1984-1989)
In my opinion, the USA produced some of the best sitcoms during the 1980s. Some of the best characters, theme tunes and future stars all appeared in the memorable comedies, much like this one. The basic set up sees two recently divorced friends (Kate & Allie) move in together with their respective children and form a tight-knit unit to make it through life. Jane Curtin and Susan Saint James were perfectly cast as the two leads who dabbled in both comedy and drama throughout the 122 episode run.
WATCH IT FOR: The very memorable theme tune
YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY (1985)
Now, here’s one of those TV shows that pretty much nobody else remembers apart from me (I’m amazed there’s even an entry on IMDb for it!). To be fair, all I can really remember about it is the cheesy theme tune and the fact that it was ‘hosted’ by Colin Bennett (Mr Bennett from Tony Hart’s Take Hart and Hartbeat) as Vince Purity!. From what I know, its supposed to be a take on the old end of pier shows featuring stage school kids playing giant snakes and ladders as well as the odd musical act thrown in for good measure. Apologies though, for once you hear the theme tune you probably won’t get it out of your head for quite some time!
WATCH IT FOR: That theme tune! (Sorry)
Chockabloke (Fred Harris) and Chockagirl (Carol Leader) check in to help the Chockablock computer to learn songs and rhymes. Two Play School alumni take the lead in this curious pre-school tv show with the trippy theme tune and the awesome car that I really, really wanted to drive (even though I was only 5!). I remember very little, apart from the theme tune, but thanks to the glory of YouTube, there are episodes available online.
WATCH IT FOR: This full episode!
HARDCASTLE AND McCORMICK (1983-1986)
Here’s another one of those 80s action dramas that appears to have been lost in the mists of time. For years I thought I’d made this show up because nobody else remembered it! It’s your classic odd couple working together type of thing; a retired judge (Brian Keith) and his last defendant (Daniel Hugh Kelly) team up to solve crimes. Two things I remember the most about this show is the rocking theme tune and the obligatory cool, unique sports car (a very sleek Coyote). It ran for three series but seems to have been forgotten for the best part of thirty years, which is a crying shame.
WATCH IT FOR: The theme tune with added gratuitous shots of the Coyote!
BYKER GROVE (1989-2006)
The lives and relationships of a group of children who are part of a youth club in the North East of England. For a kids show it was pretty hard-hitting with drugs, teen pregnancy and homosexuality just some of the storylines but it was also full of great humour and fabulous characters. Some of the stars have gone on to bigger and better things (Ant & Dec perhaps the most famous) but it still remains close to many people’s hearts as a beacon of youth drama from the BBC. Plus it had a catchy theme tune!
WATCH IT FOR: The drama, fun and theme tune
A modern retelling of the classic detective novels sees Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson solving crime in 21st century London. Created by Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, this is Sherlock for a new generation. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman sparkle as Holmes and Watson with added support from Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Rupert Graves as Lestrade and Louise Brealey as Molly Hooper. Earlier episodes, to me, are better as it sort of lost its way in recent episodes, tidying up messes of plotlines that detracted from what the viewers actually wanted – Holmes and Watson solving crimes – and not bogged down in soap opera. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and there are shining moments in all episodes but I think it needs to get back to its roots in order to stay fresh and of the moment.
WATCH IT FOR: Cumberbatch and Freeman
Phew! Another batch of TV oddities for you to ponder. Apologies for the break between posts but life kind of got in the way…I’m still clinging to the wreckage and dragging myself back up and that starts here, writing and creating. Please feel free to comment (be nice) and maybe share your own memories of these and those of my previous posts, I welcome your input and thoughts. I’m off to dig around in my mind palace for more lost gems…see you around!