Sunday, 20 November 2016

TV Nostalgia: Why Do We Love It So Much?

I know that, on the whole, I do a pretty good job of keeping my love of TV nostalgia under my hat, but the more astute visitors to Curious British Telly may have picked up on the fact that I'm completely obsessed with it. And well done to those masters of deduction, here, have a biscuit.

Anyway, I often wonder exactly what it is that drives my passion for all things nostalgia. I guess, at it's most base level, it's a way of escaping the present and retreating to a seemingly innocent era. However, no era of mankind's history is free from atrocities, so it's a little foolish to purely play the innocence card as everyone's perception of history is subjective - nonetheless, I still love the mid 1980s as, to me at least, it feels sprinkled with a simplistic magic I doubt I'll ever recapture...

However, there are plenty of other reasons that I actively search out the history of British TV's past. Perhaps, most importantly, I just love fantastic TV and can't get enough of it, so investigating the vast back catalogue of archive material gives me the best chance of finding TV that I adore.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

5 Things We Miss From The World of British TV

British TV has changed a lot in the last 30 years and, for the whole, it's been an amazing evolution which has enhanced choice and accessibility to stratospheric levels. However, along the way, I can't help but survey the casualties which fallen to the wayside in this exciting sprint towards our most wild TV dreams. That's why I've decided to take a look at 5 things we miss from British TV.

Sunday, 13 November 2016


Genre: Game Show
Channel: ITV

Transmission: 1990 - 1992

We've all committed a bit of light fingered theft, right? I know I have, but please, before you get on the phone to the rozzers, I must stress that this amounts to little more than "liberating" the complimentary biscuits from first class train carriages as I stomp through to cattle class.

I certainly don't burgle houses or endorse this heinous act in anyway whatsoever, but, believe it or not, ITV - the most miscreantic of all the channels - actively celebrated this crime in the early 1990s. Now, I know that it was an era of poll taxes and rising unemployment, but it's no excuse for inciting the sort of behaviour seen in Steal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

21 British Football TV Shows Which AREN'T Match of the Day

Match of the Day straddles the history of football on British TV like no other. And, you know what, we still can't stop tuning into it even though, these days, all it takes is a few clicks of a mouse to watch any live football game anywhere in the world. Also, when we're confronted by the sight of Gary Lineker in his smalls, you do wonder if there's so much money in the game that mental instability is quietly ignored.

I guess its just such an integral part of British culture - much like football at Christmas - that we can overlook the sometimes curmudgeonly pundits and Gary Lineker's groan inducing lines (and pants) to enjoy what is essentially a simple highlights package. Sure, it should be called Matches of the Day, but I'm willing to overlook my pedantry here as it's become, quite rightly, a national treasure.

However, there's more to life than Match of the Day and the various other highlights shows that have come and gone over the years. What we want is a more representative look at the world of football to allow us to laugh, analyse the sport's rich history and maybe even learn how to dribble down the wing like the greats. And, besides, what are we going to watch in the off-season? Skeet Shooting with Miles Jupp?

Luckily, there's a fantastic back catalogue of shows lurking in the archive to satisfy almost every need from every demographic. Therefore, it's time to take a ganders at 21 British football TV shows which AREN'T Match of the Day.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Seconds Out

Genre: Comedy
Channel: BBC1

Transmission: 1981 - 1982

The world of boxing may be brutal and drenched in machismo, but there's a certain romance behind its narrative which is difficult to deny. Packed full of rags to riches charm and containing a multitude of colourful, yet highly dubious characters, it's no surprise that the public have such a fervoured interest in the stories which take place in and out of the ring.

The success of films such as Rocky and Raging Bull are proof of this demand, but, generally, these narratives have focused squarely on drama and rarely comedy. Sure, I guess you could say that Rocky V was a comedy, but that was purely unintentional. And this lack of comedy is a surprise considering that boxers are firmly committed to that cornerstone of all great comedy characters: an unshakeable sense of self belief

However, the world of pugilism colliding with comedy in a hefty uppercut isn't completely uncharted territory as British boxing discovered in Seconds Out.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Acting Masterclass: 21 Faces of Matthew Corbett

Recently, whilst I should have been getting on more important things in life, I've been watching an awful lot of The Sooty Show. And you know what I've realised? Yes, I really should get round to renewing my car tax instead of reacquainting myself with a mute bear from the blessed years of my childhood.

However, more importantly, I've also realised that Matthew Corbett is one of the finest actors to ever grace the TV screens of Great Britain. And, if you don't believe me, why don't you take a look at the wide variety of facial expressions and guises below that he can conjure up to underline his acting prowess.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

25 Curious British TV Comedies That Only Had One Series

Not every British TV comedy show can rack up 51 series (and counting) as demonstrated by Have I Got News for You and it's highly unlikely that many others will manage to better the 37 year lifespan of Last of the Summer Wine. In fact, many comedy TV shows bow out after one series, but just because they're not prolific, it doesn't mean these short run British comedies don't have a story to tell.

And, sometimes, these stories can be as tragic as a star actor dying during filming, controversy splashed all over the airwaves about the shows content or, maybe, a show which didn't quite click was actually conceived by writers and actors who would go on to be megastars. Also, you can't discount the possibility that some shows are either criminally overlooked or the creative teams simply want to move onto a new challenge.

I've decided to take a look at 25 curious British TV comedies that only had one series to see what intriguing stories lay behind some of these (hopefully) laugh filled comedic gems.