Saturday 21 January 2017

The Saturday list # 113 - My Top Ten ever TV programs

As regular readers will know, I like doing lists. Many of these have started as pub conversations. We'd sit there and someone would sy "Top Ten films" or "Top Ten pubs". Recently the inspiration has been from sources like the Robert Elms show, extending his Thursday Fourfars "Top Ten female vocalists", etc. I also get people emailing me saying "What about a your top ten Barnet waterways?" with a few suggestions. But I am amazed that todays list has never been suggested, raised in a pub or mention on Mr Elms fine show. In fact I've no idea why I awoke thinking "I'll do my top ten TV programs". For me this is rather difficult. You see I rarely watch TV, when I do it tends to be the News, Football or films. I don't do soaps, I abhor most reality TV and I dislike political pundits. I don't know how this came about because as a kid I loved the TV. These are sort of listed chronologically, so the early ones  are the ones I loved as a kid.

1. Thunderbirds.
For me this was the gold standard show when I was a kid. I loved the gadgets, I loved the ethos, the theme tune is beautiful and I wanted to be a Tracy. The episodes were always exciting and well paced. I've never really understood why no one picked up on the idea of "International Rescue". We seem to have disasters every week. Surely if we had a fleet of Thunderbirds to come to the rescue it would be money well spent. If I ever become Prime Minister, which is extremely unlikely, I'll divert a goodly lump of the overseas aid budget into setting up international rescue!

2. Match of the Day.
This is the gold standard of football shows. Over the years it has evolved. Many have tried but none have bettered the format. The mix of action to punditry is just about right. As a kid, it was on too late for me to watch. When my parents went out and my brother Frank babysat, it was a special treat to be allowed to stay up to watch it.

3. UFO.
Another Gerry Anderson special. My sister Cath lived in Northampton and this was shown in the ATV region long before Thames Television showed it. Cath came down to see us and asked if I had seen the show. I'd not heard of it. She told me it was a new Gerry Anderson show and it featured space and aliens. A few weeks later, we visited Cath and I was able to see an episode. I was hooked. When it finally came on, I was ecstatic. My Dad was pretty much into Sci Fi and gadgets and quite enjoyed it, so in our one telly household, I got to see it.

4. Roots.
Do you remember Roots? The Alex Hayley show about the slave Kunta Kinte and his descendents. It made a massive impact on me. My parents insisted we watched it, as it was an important part of our history. My Mum was especially keen for us to learn what an evil business the slave trade was. It was a brilliant show. I was racking my brians trying to think of another TV show that made such an impact.

5. Thriller.
Do you remember Thriller. It was a one hour series of horror/drama's. They weren't silly Americn movie style horror movies with special effects. It was all psychological, thought provoking and scary. Perhaps the best of UK 70's TV.

6. Top of The Pops.
I started to get into music in around 73-74. Top of the Pops was the only mainstream TV show. It was an eclectic mix of music. I would like the Bowie/T-Rex slots. I also liked the early Jackson five material, hated the Osmonds, prog rock and American shmaltz.  When Punk bands started turning up on the show, I was secretly chuff3ed, although the punk stance was "they've sold out". I wanted to see my heroes on TOTP.

7. Porridge.
Ronnie Barker's Fletcher is perhaps the greatest ever British TV comedy creation. I took on board much of his wisdom. In many ways I felt a lot of empathy with Fletecher. I was at FCHS and felt it was a bit like Slade prison. Fletcher was always seeking to get one over on the authorities. He was the man.I used to love the opemning sequence at St Pancras, how that has changed!

8. Teachers.
This series, set in a non descript school in a non descript town was brilliant. For me, good TV has  clever writing and people I can associate with. Teachers did that brilliantly. I know people who remind me of all the main characters. Unlike most TV shows, all sorts of classes and races were portrayed pretty accurately and all sorts of nonsense went on, just like real life, that seems to escape the writers of most shows.

9. The Jools Holland Show.
This is the modern day equivalent on Top of The Pops. This is where new talent gets its break on TV. Over the years there have been some awesome performances on the show. Perhaps for me, one of my happiest moments was seeing Amy Winehouse, who was a regular studio customer, playing the blue Fender Strat we'd just sold her on her first appearance on the show. That is how I always want to remember Amy

10. Life on Mars
I loved this series. Everything about it. Not least that the main character was a City Fan! I loved the Sweeney, but this was a The Sweeney with a brilliant twist. Had this not been made, The Sweeney would definately have been in the list. I even sampled a sequence to use in one of my songs! The concept of a modern day PC policeman being dumped back in the 1970's was a brilliant piece of writing. Gene was exactly what you'd expect a copper to be back then. Very atmospheric.

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