Thursday, 22 March 2018
Threads is one of the most fantastic slices of British television ever transmitted, but it's also one that will bring you to your knees and leave your soul battered and bruised for days afterwards.
Originally broadcast in September 1984 on BBC2, Threads is a drama-documentary which presents a disturbing look at the effects of a nuclear attack on Britain. Taking its title from the threads which hold society together, Threads examines the catastrophic events that unfold as these threads are ripped to pieces.
Focussing on the fortunes (or rather devastating misfortunes) of Ruth Beckett (Karen Meagher), Threads tells Ruth's tale as she stumbles first from unplanned pregnancy to the crippling ordeal of a nuclear winter. Providing a broader analysis on the impact of nuclear weapons falling on the UK, Threads uses a mixture of onscreen updates and statistics alongside the dulcet, yet academic tones of Paul Vaughan's narration.
And, now, after undergoing a 2K restoration from the original 16mm prints, Threads has been remastered for DVD by Simply Media in a two-disc release. Whereas previous DVD releases have, in terms of features, been as stark as the content within Threads, this new release is everything that fans have been waiting for. Comprising interviews, cast and crew commentaries along with original Radio Times articles and letters, it's an exhaustive run through the film's history.
Monday, 12 March 2018
Monday, 5 February 2018
Les Dawson may be synonymous with mother-in-law jokes, Blankety Blank and his performances with Roy Barraclough as Cissie and Ada, but, what he's less well known for, is his involvement in a narrative which examined corporate greed, gangland crime and a doomed romance which starts with congealed custard. Don't believe me? Well, let's take a look at The Loner.
Sunday, 28 January 2018
If irrefutable proof was ever required that genius is not a guarantee of delivering a hilarious sitcom then Pygmalion Smith is a damning piece of evidence. And Pygmalion Smith is blessed with genius on two fronts: Roy Clarke on writing duties and Leonard Rossiter in front of the camera. Whilst Pygmalion Smith certainly isn’t bad enough to leave you weeping at the waste of talent, it won’t leave you laughing either.
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Moondial is a children's TV show which may leave you rather baffled as questions with no answers rain down on you like a summer storm, but you can rest assured that this irked puzzlement will take place from behind the sofa. You see, from the cold opening sequence with its cacophony of haunted, otherworldly tones to the creepy Halloween finale, Moondial is real horrorshow. Founding its narrative in a good old fashioned ghost story, Moondial taps into that area of the brain which operates purely on instinct and won't rest until every square inch of your body is covered in goosebumps.
Friday, 12 January 2018
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
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
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 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
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.