TV history

Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me, BBC4

Did we like it? The performances from Rafe Spall and David Walliams were fantastic, but because of certain episodes of Frankie Howerd’s life being over-stretched and others condensed into a smile and a wink, it felt more like the opening episode of a short drama...

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Hughie Green: Most Sincerely, BBC4

Hughie Green: Most Sincerely, BBC4

Did we like it? Bearing in mind that Hughie Green was one of the most insincere and oleaginous personalities in front of the camera, and that by most accounts he was a monstrous bully in his private life, then enjoy isn’t really the right word. But a superb...

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When We Were Funniest, UKTV Gold

Did we like it? Generations thousands of years into the future may used these innumerable TV polls in much the same way as this generation follows the Bible – arranging arbitrary, uncorroborated fables founded on impulse, prejudice and stupidity into an ideal for...

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That’s What I Call Television, ITV1

Did we like it? That's what we call tacky. What was good about it? • Appearances by our beloved Susan Hanson (she was wonderwaitress Miss Diane in the Crossroads motel) and our beloved Judith Chalmers (she's been to Key West gay bars, wouldn't you know) • Fern Britton...

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Tiswas Reunited, ITV1

Did we like it? After seeing the reception the BBC reunion of Swap Shop received, some nostalgic 30-something commissioning editor at ITV made the obvious move of bringing back together the Tiswas team for one night only. So Chris Tarrant, Sally James, Lenny Henry,...

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The Return of ‘Allo ‘Allo, BBC2

Did we like it? Non. As well as being a frankly bizarre addition to the Saturday night schedule (wouldn't this make more sense on a Sunday afternoon?), this one-off reunion for one of the 1980s most successful sitcoms felt much like the re-appearance of a long-lost...

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TV Now & Then, UKTV Gold

Did we like it? It took three whole people to devise this panel game about TV. Three people! And it is just about the flimsiest format you'll ever see. What was good about it? • It is mildly amusing. With Les Dennis as host that was the best one could hope for. •...

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The Old Grey Whistle Test Story, BBC4

Did we like it? It wasn't a classic wallow in TV's past but we were interested to see how music TV used to be: no smiles, no flashing lights, lots of beards and denim essential. What was good about it? • There were plenty of interesting artists featured (but the clips...

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It Started With Swap Shop, BBC2

Did we like it? A good idea ruined by an whooping studio audience getting far too excited about Space Dust and Posh Paws' roar and laughing far too readily at Noel Edmonds' attempts at humour. What was good about it? • The juxtaposition of a boring boy who collects...

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Jackanory Night, BBC4

Did we like it? A pleasant skip down memory lane in which the subtle skills of storytellers such as Kenneth Williams and Tony Robinson delighted, but by the end we had remembered why we rarely watched it during our childhood. What was good about it? • Kenneth Williams...

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Sitcoms That Changed The World, Five

Highlights • We have always thought and said that the sign of a great sitcom is one that can make you both cry with laughter and cry through sadness too. That takes real writing talent, Only Fools is a prime example of one where you genuinely feel for the characters...

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More4’s first night

What to say if you liked it A noble, venerable gentleman of a TV channel, bedecked in the finest silken dramas, trousered with blooming pantaloons of insightful documentaries, sipping glasses of vintage bottled wit and treading daintily in satin slippers of satire....

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The 50 Greatest Documentaries, Channel 4

What to say if you liked it An awe-inspiring reminder of some of the amazing, painstaking work done by the world's documentary makers What to say if you disliked it Another bloody list show. What was good about it? • Although the positioning of the programmes on the...

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Zippy & George’s Puppet Legends, Channel 4

What to say if you liked it Rainbow's dynamic duo – Zippy and George – present a delightful 50 minutes devoted to their fellow puppet legends over the years. What to say if you didn't like it Another gratuitous and pathetically childish nostalgia fest. What was good...

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50 Years of World Of Sport, ITV1

What to say if you liked it A perfect pantheon devoted to the endeavours of the past half-century’s sporting deities (or at least those contracted to ITV). What to say if you didn’t like it Like scrutinising effluent-thick sewage throb from an exit pipe into the pure...

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ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows, ITV1

What to say if you like it Diamonds gathered from the ITV dirt are lined up in order of shininess. What to say if you dislike it If they were to ever make ITV's 5,000 Greatest Shows, this one would struggle to make that list. What was good about it? • We hadn't seen...

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Reality TV Is Good For You, Sky One

What to say if you liked it Julie Burchill makes a pithy, passionate defence of our number one guilty pleasure and proves that "opponents of reality TV are against life itself." What to say if you disliked it Julie Burchill on TV Is Bad For You What was good about it?...

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Britain’s Most Watched TV, Channel 4

What to say of you liked it A confetti shower of TV gems to glory and indulge in, that cemented the symbiotic marriage between everyday life and that cute little box in the corner of our living rooms. What to say of you didn’t like it It was like seeing a blue whale...

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Happy Birthday BBC2, BBC2

The biggest revelation of this celebration of BBC2’s 40th birthday was when snooker commentator Ted Lowe revealed the reason why he whispered his commentary. In the early days of the BBC’s coverage of snooker, Ted was forced to sit among the paying spectators and so...

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