50. L7 on The Word
A woman with a guitar shows her pubic hair for all of a quarter
of a second. Nobody mentions that this public display was actually
a protest by said Riot Grrrl due to not being allowed to take part in some sort of 'best bare arses' item earlier on in the show. She later claimed 'they wouldn't let me show my ass so I gave them a bit of beav instead.'
Of course none of the above matters to the Channel 4 compilers
who see nothing except a woman's bits.
49. Keep Fit Shows
Stunt-female Arabella Weir pretending to reminisce about stuff.
TV critic Kate Thornton: 'I'll never forget Mad Lizzie
inflicting her keep fit routine on Take That!'. I
shouldn't think you would Kate - you only watched the fucker
for the first time before the cameras started rolling, you lying
48. World of Sport Wrestling
So this is hell, yet Channel 4 habitually show overlong
choreographed American wrestling matches throughout the night
instead of Absolutely repeats. Leave now.
47. New Faces
Exactly the same clips as TV Hell. The teenaged
girl from The Hart Family being slagged off by the panel because
she's had the audacity to grow tits since a previous
performance (and no longer wears a mini-skirt). Shame nobody
thought to dig out The Goodies episode'Hype
Pressure' which features the ultimate high-concept send-up
of the show.
46. The Time The Place Studio Demo
Coupla shifty-looking coons being ultimately ineffectual . If
that's how they feel, why don't they go and live in
('Hadn't you better explain that was irony, guys? Your readers might not understand otherwise...' - Channel 4 Ed)
They obviously wanted the Chris Morris appearance but found that
the Brass List had all taped a Nick Drake documentary over the top,
to impress a girl.
Once again, this is a received opinion based on skewed memories
and little evidence. The horrible thing is, the C4 producers do
actually have access to the archives and as such could refresh
peoples memories if they so wished. Your humble Corpses watched
every episode and found it exhilarating. And we have a few of them
on audiotape too so this isn't a false memory retrieval.
Alexei Sayle, in his book Great Bus Journeys Of The
World recalls how 'some of the script material was
feeble but I was good, Lenny Henry was
good...'. And they were. So were the rest of the cast
(including Helen Atkinson-Wood). Certainly as good as
Tiswas ever was.
Paul Ross totally misses the point by blethering about how it
was 'an idea decades ahead of its time, pre-dating the
laddish culture...' , blah, toss, drone... What nobody
ever understood was the reason it worked was due to Chris Tarrant
being this amiable, avuncular bloke who anchored the anarchy with
comic dignity and aplomb. The idea of a bikini-clad woman having
gunge poured over her isn't funny in itself but the fact that
it was done while Tarrant was reading out competition winners in
his fey voice (and, with Atkinson-Wood, affecting not to understand
why the pleb-audience were whooping) was what made it fantastic.
Something which all gunge-ridden entertainment shows have gallantly
missed the point of since.
OTT was great. Naughty Bob Godfrey cartoons,
vintage pop footage, Alexei Sayle doing his Stoke Newingtons every
week. There was also a spin-off book (OTT - Beyond The
Pale) but that was a bit rubbish.
Nice to see Dave Gorman's father John as a talking-head
recollecting about the first show in which Malcolm Hardee (and
'The Greatest Show On Legs') first did their balloon-dance
show-stopper on TV. Shame they didn't broadcast
the opening sequence of the following show where each of the cast (in
close-up) apologise earnestly in turn for the naughtiness (pull
back to reveal them all defiantly nude with balloons).
'After the first series TV watchdogs refused to let the
programme go out live', says the caption. There was
only one series of OTT.
Much is then made of Gorman's statement about how Tarrant
'left television' and vowed never to produce another TV
show, mixed through to a clip of 'Who Wants To Be
Millionaire?' as if to prove otherwise. Ignoring almost
two decades of other television work produced or presented
by Tarrant. Well, who needs to worry about facts when you've
got a nice production-segue...
44. Pan's People dance routine
Another dip into the TV Hell
bag-of-pre-selected-clips. If you're worrying why we're so
irritated by this lack of originality, just remember that it's
through clip-shows borrowing easy choices from other clip-shows in
this way which has lead to the all those 'Best Of Comedy'
Basil-Fawlty-hitting-his-car / Delboy-falling-through-a-wine-bar
/ Fork-handles vote-results of the past decade. If the public
are habitually served rehashed clips through basic producer-sloth
then it stands to reason that they will become just as lazy. And
this suits those producers just dandy.
43. Jeremy Paxman at the Berlin Wall
Yeah, typical mentality here. A momentous event like the
passing of a fascistic regime can only be remembered for the fact
that some fireworks were obscuring what a bloke was saying.
'This is pure Monty Python' , says a spectacled
gentleman to Paxman. No, it's not even slightly
Interestingly, this clip didn't become a 'classic
moment' until earlier this year, when it was unearthed for the
(rather better-researched) 20 Years Of
Newsnight documentary. Excluded from both said
compilation and from ...TV Hell was a
similar clip featuring an earpiece-free Alan Clark trying to make
out what Kirsty Wark was saying - 'This is just like The
Day Today!' he quipped, leaving Wark to move swiftly on.
The difference is that the 'Monty Python' allusion was
merely an amiable comment on the incongruous setting for a
political debate (showing that the spectacled gentleman had a
better understanding of the term 'Pythonesque' than all the
spammy parrot idiots who do hack-job tributes to said programme),
wheras Clark's comment actually undermined the authority of
Not only do all the clips in this entry come from TV Hell, it's obviously also a VHS copy of the show. Odd, considering it was a Channel 4 programme. And the picture quality
suggests that whoever taped it has watched it again and again and again. Sweaty commissioning C4 Ed Mike Bolland talks-head exactly as he did on TV Hell.
Meera Syal tells us how much she wanted, as a kid, to be on the
show, but then - remembering where she is and what she's supposed to say - lies through her stupid teeth about how she found it a bit 'disturbing'.
A few things which are never mentioned on this subject: firstly,
the Minipops existed before Channel 4. There have always
been little stage kids who enjoy plastering their faces with
lipstick pretending to be adults. Whichever stage-school belched
out these tots was already releasing singles, LPs and foisting them
on other TV variety shows as little novelty compact versions of
chart-toppers. Secondly, nobody at the time really gave a fuck
about the 'moral implications' of the show. It was
broadcast in innocence and received in innocence. It was, after
all, a teatime children's show, and not really that removed
from other shows of the age. Lastly, anybody who might sneer at the
bygone era of broadcasting a sexualised image of children might
like to shut their stupid mouths and watch any Saturday morning
kids show where they will see dozens of them every week accenting
their barely developed tits with designer Wonderbras, gyrating and
thrusting to the very best of that week's sexy pop hits.
CD:UK - Ant (or is it Dec) introduces the latest hit by Steps next to a starry-eyed 13-year-old who's been told by the
director to point her puppy-fat knockers at the camera
41. The Stone Roses On The Late Show
Indie-idiot Ian Brown acts like a spoilt little cunt in front
of himself. Another far too obvious choice, untimely ripped from
the womb of TV Hell. 'Singer Ian Brown was angry
about persistent technical problems', says the idiot
caption for anybody who might have their fingers in their ears at
40. Private Dicks
Yeah, go on, show a bit of recent Channel 4 tack, just to blur
the edges between good and bad even further. A sunburnt woman opens
her mouth with amazement at several partially denuded penises in
turn. Are they showing this because they genuinely think it's
hellish and regrettable? Or are they insisting, as Zoe Ball
frequently dictates throughout this travesty, that bad TV is
actually fantastic. If all these errors of judgement are presented
as 'Great TV' then what the fuck can anybody learn from it?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. How dare Channel 4 so blatantly insult
39. Junior Showtime
Another well-worn VHS from somebody's 'private
collection'. The 'Adam' one from 'Adam &
Joe' goes on a personal journey of recollection we could well
38. Game For A Laugh
Usual reference-comedy jokes about Jeremy Beadle (without ever
attempting to analyse the origins of his foibles). No conclusions
drawn from the clip shown. And no Not The Nine O'Clock
News clip either. A throwaway choice. And again, we
all quite liked it as kids.
37. Disco Dancing Championships
Ricky Gervais attempting his fucking comedy intercut with clips
of disco dancers. TV Hell, blah. Regrettable.
36. Novelty variety acts
A clip of the bloke who used to bang a tea tray on his head
while singing 'Mule Train'. And is that Bill Oddie,
just visible in the background, giggling? Much is droned about the
smugly aware sensibilities of this post-irony age, but the inherent
ridiculousness of the gentleman's act (a stalwart of
Tiswas and OTT incidentally)
reveals the basic truth that most people were actually a lot more
aware about things in the 70s and 80s than people assume. It's
the offspring of these wonderful, silly people who have rebelled
against their parents to the extent of becoming humourless
opinionated bastards. Zoe Ball being a moot case in point.
35. Prisoner Cell Block H
You twats. Hilary Kingsley (once a mere tabloid TV critic, now
a 'TV Historian' apparently) blethers about how it was
great that Australian TV recognised that lesbians existed. Paul
Morley once again excels here by stating the obvious - that it was
actually a 'tender show' with some genuinely
moving storylines. And it was. Garry Bushell by way of
contrast comes out with a load of crap about how bad the acting
was. 'The series was made in Australia between 1979 and
1986', says the caption. An Australian soap opera made in
Australia? Surely not. At least nobody did the 'wobbly
walls' observation (mind you, they'd already done it in
reference to Crossroads...).
34. Sale Of The Century
Go fuck a pig.
33. Iggy Pop's Trousers
Mr Pop not even slightly showing his genitals on The White Room.
32. DIY Shows
Yes, he's back. Stuart Maconie strikes another blow where it hurts. He pulls no punches here as he offers his valued critique on nice friendly blokes giving household tips. Backing this uselessness is Zoe Ball's intro (from Maconie's script) which further insists that this old-school style of presentation was a load of old rubbish but with the nice populist (successful) Carol Smilie approach, we've achieved greatness. Contradicting this is an on-screen caption which points out that one of the nice friendly DIY blokes 'received up to 35, 000 letters a week' when he was on the box. And what's more, nobody had to come on TV and tell those bygone viewers how fucking popular and successful he was. There's a lesson there somewhere. But Maconie and Ball are too busy rehearsing their opinions for a fee to learn from it.
Stuart Maconie reading his script
31. Norwegian Eurovision entries
Same clips as TV Hell. All opinions replaced by a captioned 'nil point' joke which doesn't work in print.
30. Timmy Mallett
'These days, Kids TV presenters are suave, sophisticated and on the cover of glossy magazines...', says Zoe Ball with no concession to the basic human trait of humility. The truth is that Kids TV presenters are boring self-publicists who care not an idle toss for the idea of television for children and that's why they're on the cover of glossy magazines - so they can whore themselves onto video promo shows and follow in the stinking footsteps of Zoe Ball, etc.
They are doomed to failure however as most Kids' TV presenters don't have a father who was much loved as a kids' favourite in the 70s whom they can latently diss at every given photo opportunity in an attempt to cast off the weight of the past.
29. Johnny Rotten On Juke Box Jury
The bored PiL singer acts like a spoiled little cunt in front of Alan Freeman (who tells him to shut up). Excellent. Not hell, but very entertaining. Noel Edmonds as host also being lovely. Lydon affects the most ineffectual walk-out in TV history, angered by The Monks and Donna Summer. Paul Morley is the talking head. 'It's all in the eyes', he says of Lydon's performance. And of course, it is.
28. Hoddle & Waddle on Top Of The Pops
Oh give us a break, please...
27. Going For Gold
Much comedy has been extracted from the idea of the unfairness of contestants from all over the world battling each other on a quiz show where the questions are asked in English. Well balls to that. a) If the various nationalities can write a letter asking to be on the show in the first place then they're fair game.b) The questions are about people and things which aren't specifically Anglocentric (even so, statistically it's more likely that someone from across the water will have heard of a British playwright than a Brit will have heard of a Yugoslavian one).c) Henry Kelly hardly talks 'Radio 4 English' anyway.d) This observation originated in The Mary Whitehouse Experience , which none of the ...TV Moments From Hell compilers ever heard - and MWE surely only mentioned it because they understood that Steve Punt saying 'We do not get Top Gear in our country' in a Norwegian accent was the funniest thing ever.
26. The Grand Knockout Tournament
The Royal one. The 'Adam' one and the 'Joe' one off of Adam & Joe pretend to do amusing off-the-cuff comedy even though it looks scripted and ultimately worthless. Off-the-cuff observations only survive if they are genuine. Otherwise it's just another insidious way of getting away with crap material. Adam & Joe have always excelled at doing stuff that's sort of okay because it's a bit amateur.