Friday, 12 January 2018

Want to Be Part of the Video Tape Swap Club?

Netflix is a wonderful marvel of modern entertainment which provides hundreds of thousands of hours worth of visual delights with just a few swipes of a screen. Apparently. I've only used it a few times, so can't really comment on the stranglehold it has over our modern viewing habits.

I do, however, absolutely love the rich history of British TV. I also adore the nostalgic thrill of wading through old VHS tapes to discover the home recordings which may be lurking within. So, why don't I try to combine these two passions? Well, I already do and my Archive Tape Digging articles are testament to this hobby obsession.

However, what I'd really love to do is create something which is a little more communal, so that's why I've dreamt up the Video Tape Swap Club. And, no, it's nothing like Blockbusters. Or even LoveFilm. Instead, the Video Tape Swap Club will provide a curiously analog alternative to Netflix with all the mystery and excitement of a lucky dip down on the village green.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Kazuko's Karaoke Klub

When you watch Kazuko's Karaoke Klub you have to wonder exactly what Channel 4 executives were smoking in the late 1980s. Sure, the channel was a much needed beacon for the alternative and the strange and, in a trashy way, this continues with shows such as Naked Attraction. However, whereas Naked Attraction, serves up some mild titillation (no, I'm not going to apologise for the pun) that taps into our base instincts, Kazuko's Karaoke Klub is very much the kind of television that leaves you as bewildered as an aging aunt confronted with a new TV remote.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Whatever You Want

Whatever You Want is thrilling, agitated, rock and roll, hilarious and out to prove a point. It's the kind of television that the British youth had been waiting for in 1982, a soapbox for them to investigate and discuss the issues affecting a Britain gripped by unemployment figures tipping over the three million mark. With an acerbic brand of journalism forming the show's background, it's presented by the unpredictable, forthright stylings of Keith Allen. Whatever You Want is also a disjointed melange of viewpoints, moods and styles.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Archive Tape Digging: December 2017

I worked out the other day that I must have worked my way through close to 1,000 VHS tapes throughout 2017 in search of interesting nuggets of British TV. Obviously, I don't scan every single millisecond of the tapes as that would be ridiculously time consuming, so the fast forward button helps me skip through the late 1980s editions of Blind Date and get to the interesting bits like ad breaks and whatever followed when the tape was left running.

Monday, 25 December 2017

25th December 1977 - A Seminal Day in British Broadcasting History? Or Not?

Today's very special and festive blog is courtesy of Jonathan Hayward, a friend of Curious British Telly and a man responsible for many of the VHS recoveries on the YouTube page.

The above date has been thought of by a number of writers and commentators as the day, or perhaps more accurately, the evening when populist but universally accessible broadcasting reached its most dominant apex. Starting with Bruce Forsyth and The Generation Game, followed by The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show and climaxing with The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, the latter reaching viewing figures quoted as 27 million or even slightly higher at 28.835 million.

Sunday, 24 December 2017


The Manchester United team of the mid to late 1960s was a stupendous collection of talents, personalities and, most importantly, winners. Their highpoint, of course, came in 1968 when they Benfica to become the first English team to win the European Cup (Celtic had taken the accolade of first British club to win the competition the previous season). 10 years on from the Munich air disaster, it was the culmination of an unenviable rebuilding process helmed by Matt Busby which sought to yield the ultimate fruit. And yield it did.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

The Inimitable Johnny Jarvis Theme Tune

If you've never managed to succumb to the beauty of the Johnny Jarvis theme tune then there's a good chance that you're either stone deaf or beyond any sense of known help. And not only is the Johnny Jarvis theme tune an incessant earworm which refuses to evacuate your auditory system, but it also heralds the start of one of the finest British television dramas.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

42 Lesser Known British Children’s TV Shows

I was flicking through one of those 'Greatest Children's TV Shows' things the other day and, yes, the shows it listed were indeed fantastic, but what about the other children's shows that were making up the schedules as Tiswas, Knightmare and Grange Hill were unfolding?

I'm pretty sure that they're still worthy of recognition in some way (even if they're forgotten for good reason), so that's why I've decided to pull together 42 lesser known British children's TV shows to give a fuller understanding of what children's TV is capable of.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Video Active

In 2017 you can film, edit and watch whatever takes your cinematic fancy within minutes thanks to the advances in mobile phone technology. And that's at an incredibly amateur level, if you want to film something with higher production values you can achieve this for several hundred pounds thanks to digital technology. Back in the 1980s, though, even if you wanted to film an out of focus wedding reception (not always a bad thing considering the haircuts) it was a much more testing and time consuming task. Thankfully, ready to lend a hand, was Video Active.