Firstly, apologies for Chris Tarrant’s face there. He looks like a ghost that’s getting sucked off. Secondly: is that the 1989 ITV generic logo I spy there? Surely that look had long disappeared by the time WWTBAM was aired? The look I always remember associated with the show is the yellow and blue identity:
Clearly not, though the crossover was in fact very tight, just like your mum. The first episode of WWTBAM? was broadcast on the 4th September 1998; the blue and yellow ITV logo was launched on the 5th October 1998, just a month later.
It’s very easy to forget quite how long that 1989 generic logo survived; no way would I have said it was still being used on a network programme in 1998. In my head, the ITV of 1998 is very different to the ITV of 1989, as shown in this launch promo:
The appearance of this logo in WWTBAM? feels almost like a missing link. And an unpleasant reminder that yes, even the late 90s were a rather long time ago now. Shit.
To make us feel a little better about that, then, there is another reason why seeing this logo pop up is so surprising – and it speaks to how TV subtly rewrites itself. If you look at the Challenge repeat of the first episode of WWTBAM?, the section featuring the 1989 ITV logo is cut entirely. Not because of the logo itself – but simply because it’s on during the section where Chris Tarrant is asking for contestants for the show, and that wasn’t an appropriate thing to air in a repeat.
Understandable, and something needed to be done to this section to avoid misleading or confusing the viewer, but perhaps a little frustrating. As it is, a tiny slither of TV history is lost with this cut, and that’s somewhat unfortunate.
No wonder we lose track of this stuff so easily.
There are two people in this world: people who entirely understand why I would want to watch the very first episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on YouTube, and those who don’t. ↩
In late 2009, a project was announced with a great deal of excitement.
“Fox announced on Wednesday that it is seeking participants for a new game show that will allow parents of young geniuses – age 6 to 12 – to put their kids’ knowledge to use winning “life-changing money.”
The series, to be called Our Little Genius, will feature the children competing to answer “increasingly difficult questions as they work their way up to win their family hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The new series is being created by Mark Burnett, the producer behind Survivor and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.”
The most popular thing I’ve published here on Dirty Feed this year has been this piece on the title sequence to Blockbusters, scanned from the 1989 Blockbusters annual. Never let it be said that I’ll pass up the opportunity to scan a few pages and profit from someone else’s hard work, rather than actually writing something informative myself.
With that in mind, then, here’s a couple more pieces from said annual. Firstly, here’s producer/director Jenny Dodd, on a year in the life of the show. (On the second page of that article is a wide shot featuring a brief look at the complicated projector setup used for the game board. Has anyone else got a close-up of this famed contraption?)
One of my most vivid television memories as a child was the title sequence to Blockbusters.1 Every afternoon I’d lie in front of the fire, and that gorgeous neon cityscape would transport me to another world.
I often wondered how it was made… and the answer came when I ended up in hospital, and I managed to borrow a copy of the 1989 Blockbusters Annual. Contained within was a four page feature on how the titles were made. I devoured it… and then had to give the annual back at the end of my stay when I had the temerity to get better. I never managed to trace down a copy over the years, and in the end those pages became a distant memory.
Nowadays, I’m an adult, and eBay is a thing. And this morning, I finally saw that feature I hadn’t seen for over twenty years. If anything, it’s even more detailed than I remember, with many absolutely gorgeous behind-the-scenes photos… and well worth sharing with you lot.
On Saturday, Pointless Celebrities did their second radio special. And to celebrate the event, Richard Osman had lots of jingles at his disposal. As possibly one of the most Dirty-Feed-friendly programmes ever broadcast, we had to mark the event somehow.
Now, many shows might have just got some cheap, nasty, mock radio jingles done – maybe because they wanted cheap, or maybe because they wouldn’t have any idea companies exist whose entire purpose is to create radio jingles. But the beauty of Pointless – as with all great programmes – is how much care is taken in the production. So we get resings of tracks which originally came from US jingle companies JAM and PAMS – who both produced Radio 1 jingles for decades.1
The result of this? That, much like TV Offal, all the jingles heard on Pointless were originally sung for US radio stations. And if you don’t want to hear a comparison between the two different versions, then you’re clearly on the wrong site. What are you doing here? Go away.
All huge amounts of fun, and the delight with which Alexander Armstrong greeted them was a joy to behold. (Though well done Trevor Nelson for calling them “dated”, which is possibly the least interesting thing that could possibly be said about them.) It is, however, slightly ridiculous that Pointless not only has better jingles than an awful lot of radio stations, but also knows how to use them better…
The resings for Pointless were in fact UK vocals done by S2Blue, rather than Dallas vocals. I find the Dallas vocals superior, but nitpicking when the results are so much fun feels a bit churlish.
What’s also a bit of a shame is that none of the companies got a mention in the credits – but an awful lot of people and companies don’t get the credits they deserve these days. Mind you, we’d best avoid the topic of ever-shortening end credits, or – ironically – we’ll be here all day. ↩
On Friday, Challenge did the best thing since they acquired the rights to Knightmare again: the start of a repeat run of Les Dawson Blankety Blank episodes. I honestly – no joke, no exaggeration – count them as some of the best, funniest television ever made.
Sadly, take a look at the video above, taken from the end of the second episode. At 18 seconds in, I’m afraid I made an extraordinary noise.
So, a plea. To all television schedulers in this world – and, indeed, anyone who happens to pass an eye over end credit DVE offsets (they are generally scheduled these days, rather than an operator manually pressing a button) – please, please get this right. There is very little which hurts viewer experience more than misplaced credit shrinking over the final part – the climax – of a show. It absolutely kills it.
Yesterday, I went to the third audience screening of That Puppet Game Show – BBC One’s great Autumn Saturday night entertainment hope, co-produced with The Jim Henson Company. Official synopsis time:
“Each week two top name celebrities will be plunged into That Puppet Game Show – a unique world of puppet comedy and madcap games. As the only humans who appear on the show, the celeb contestants will be going head to head in a number of games, hoping to win £10,000 for their chosen charity. They’ll compete in subjects such as sport, science, celebrity, nature, music and mental agility. Each of the games is run and hosted by a different puppet character, who is an “expert” in their field. But that’s only half the story…
In a unique twist, That Puppet Game Show is the first gameshow to include a backstage sitcom. It features all the puppet characters that we’ve met onstage and more, like the producer Mancie and the bullish Show Executive, Udders McGhee. Combining the comedy traditions of The Jim Henson Company and a top celebrity based gameshow ensures that this will be an amazing event, not to be missed!”
Does the show live up to the breathless copy above? Here’s my lazy, bullet-point-ridden report.
As I slag off Challenge when they do something wrong, it seems only fair to congratulate them when they do something right. With the sad death of Bob Holness yesterday, Challenge made a point of not only updating their EPG, but also recording some new links; genuinely impressive for a channel which doesn’t have live continuity. Take a look below – and make a note of listening to Bob’s intro for the female contestant, where he makes a hilariously inappropriate joke, but gets away with it because he was brilliant:
Today I went to the recording for the BRAND NEW series of Pointless. (Despite the fact the last series is still runnning. Don’t fret about it too much.) The last quiz show recording I was at was an episode of Golden Balls back in 2008, so I thought I’d give some similarly unfocussed and misinformed opinions, only even worse because I’m very bloody tired.