Did we like it?
It was a very entertaining hour or so of television – when nostalgia’s done like this it’s so much more palatable than a bunch of professional pundits ‘remembering’ their favourite clips on a bloody list show.
What was good about it?
• Dwight Schultz, Howlin’ Mad Murdoch, was the first on board. He was endearingly shy of the camera at first, but once he’d settled down he seemed like a very nice man. Surely some hip new American sitcom could find him a classic character co-starring role?
• The chance to listen to the classic A-Team music again.
• Justin Lee Collins and his team just outright lying about a ‘new project’ to Dirk Benedict, Face, and flying him in from Montana purely to ambush him with the camera.
• Benedict’s disarming and welcome honesty about the show: “It was a guy show with guys in it written by guys for guys.” He also mentioned that TV had been feminised these days, which would be a very interesting thesis for somebody to write one day…
• The ridiculous tarot reader trying to contact George Peppard from beyond the grave using an A-Team annual and a Hannibal action figure.
• Jack Ging, who played General Fulbright, was the loveliest of what appeared to be a very genial, modest crew of actors.
• JLC’s biggest challenge was tracking down Mr T, a saga that stretched throughout the show (frustratingly at times). But when he finally appeared it was well worth it, as he stormed into the hotel room with real BA bravura, yelling about how he’d never met a camera he didn’t like. Once he’d sat down to talk, though, like Schultz and Benedict before him, he seemed a fascinating, open, honest character, proud of what was, after all, a worldwide hit show. It seems quite easy to forget now just how huge Mr T was in those days.
What was bad about it?
• Collins’ interview style is typical of younger comedians these days. Completely over the top, piling on compliments and with the word ‘legend’ tripping off the tongue so often it’s become meaningless. We don’t doubt JLC’s sincerity, but sometimes his enthusiasm is so overwhelming it feels like he may be mocking his subject.
• Schultz and Benedict seemed more than happy to talk about the show and attend the reunion, leaving us to wonder why JLC and his crew felt the need to ambush them. Why didn’t they just ask their agents for an interview?
• While the show was as much about JLC trying to get the old crew back in the same room for the first time in 20 years as the show itself, the actual interviews all seemed very interesting and it would have been good to have heard a little more from the actors and seen a little less of Justin staking out peoples’ houses or driving around in an open top car.
• The news that George Peppard was a bit of an arsehole. His first words to Schultz were: “I’m George Peppard and I’m not a nice man.” His first to Marla Heasley, the female star of the second series: “We don’t want you on this show.”
• Peppard’s annoyance that Mr T became the real star of the show was an interesting angle, but by the end of the show JLC had really hammered home the point – it was almost all he seemed to be interested in. We wondered what Peppard’s son, who attended the reunion, would have made of his Dad being slagged off for an hour, however deserved it might have been.
• The bar where they had the reunion was a real dive. Had they used up the budget on JLC’s haircare products or something?