TV’s Believe It or Not, BBC4

by | Apr 2, 2008 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

More cheap telly. Sean Lock does the voiceover duties as the BBC raids the archives and dusts off another load of old clips. But wait! Some of these clips had to be seen to be believed. Patrick Moore interviewing members of the public who claim to speak ‘space languages’? Michael Aspel hosting ‘Star Signs’ in which ‘psychics’ try and reveal the audiences innermost secrets? (and get their guesses hopelessly wrong) The Sky at Night Live – during which clouds completely obscure any stargazing? It’s all in here. If you think that some clunkers get commissioned these days, this is evidence that a more than fair share of tat was greenlighted in the past.

What was good about it?

• Sean Lock’s voiceover – lent a superbly surreal touch to some of the clips.

• Whicker’s World from 1966 – in which some batty old mare claims to be the ‘Master of the Flying Saucers’.

• The mad old goat being interviewed by Patrick Moore and speaking (and writing) Plutonian. He sounded like a pissed-up auctioneer.

• Sky’s Star Search from 1989. Keith Chegwin hosts a talent competition that just seems to have grabbed the first few people who walked past the studio. The UK’s most inept escapologist needs Cheggers to cut open the sack he’s singularly failed to escape from.

• Which clown thought it would be a good idea to have Richard Whiteley hosting in a chat-show in which he has no idea who his guests are, and has therefore absolutely nothing to talk to them about? Madness.

• William Shatner murdering Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. God help you if you’d seen it whilst on acid – it would have finished you off.

What was bad about it?

• Sean Lock’s voiceover. Sometimes he just needed to shut up and let the bizarre clips speak for themselves.

• The staged train crash from 1955 when the predicted ‘orgy of twisted metal’ ended with a minor derailment of said train. It was the dictionary definition of ‘anticlimax’.

• The various lame Scottish New Year’s Eve spectaculars. Honestly, a camera pointed at you and your mates in the pub would have been more entertaining.

• Eldorado. We don’t need to see any more clips from this travesty. Ever.

• It just proved that there have been clueless TV Commissioning Editors since the medium was first invented.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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