Saturday 13 April 2013

Television Square-Eyes!

I can recall watching the goggle-box (television set) from at least the age of five. Of course it was black & white back then. My Father introduced us to colour for Princess Anne's wedding to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973. Next improvement (for a man with appalling eyesight) was the introduction of flat-screens which replaced the curved tubes, which once again my Father provided rather thoughtfully. Since then LCD, LED (my personal preference), HD and 3D technologies have arrived and holographic TV is predicted for the imminent future. What an amazing box of delights!

[Image description: Loewe LED TV from John Lewis ©]

I remember profound cultural events being broadcast to the globe: from the Apollo launches to the destruction of the Twin Towers. But what most excites me about the televisual experience is the story-telling that stimulates my imagination and sometimes even fantasies.

The following list are the two-hundred (pure fluke it is such a round number!) programmes that have most stuck in my memory, although not necessarily because I enjoyed them or think them worthy - though many are so. I hope you find something on my list which might prise a pleasant memory from the dark recesses of oblivion.

1990 (1977-8) (BBC)
9 to 5 (1982-3)
A Certain Justice (1998)
A Fatal Inversion (1992) (BBC)
A Fine Romance (1981-4)
A Mind to Murder (1995)
A Taste for Death (1988)
Absolutely Fabulous (1992-6, + specials to 2012) (BBC)
Agatha Christie’s Marple (2004-present)
Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime (1983-4)

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1997-9)
Archer (2009-present)
Armchair Thriller (1978-1980)
Barbapapa (1973-n/k)
Babar (1989)
Babylon 5 (1994-8)
BBC News (BBC)
Becoming Human (2011) (BBC)
Belle and Sebastian (1965-1970)
Being Human (2008-2013) (BBC)

Blakes 7 (1978-1981)
Blue Peter (1958-present) (BBC)
Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1976)
Brideshead Revisited (1981) (Granada)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81)
Bugs (1995-9) (BBC)
Cadfael (1994-8)
Camberwick Green (1966) (BBC)
Campion (1989-1990) (BBC)
Channel 4 News (C4)

Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981)
Chelsea Flower Show (BBC)
Children of the Stones (1977)
Cold Lazarus (1996) (BBC/C4)
Cover her Face (1985)
Cover Up (1984-5)
Daria (1997-2002)
Devices & Desires (1991)
Doctor Who (1963-present) (BBC)
Drop the Dead Donkey (1990-8) (C4)

Eldorado (1992-3) (BBC)
Ellen (1994-8)
Ellen Night (1998) (C4)
Ellery Queen (1975-6)
Fame (1982-7)
Family Guy (1999-present)
Flash Gordon (1936)
Foyle’s War (2002-13)
Game On! (1995-8) (BBC)
Gaudy Night (1987)

Gaytime TV (1995-9) (BBC)
Green Wing (2004-7) (C4)
Hart to Hart (1979-1984)
Have his Carcass (1987)
Heidi (1978)
Hercule Poirot (1989-present) (LWT; Granada)
Here Come the Double Deckers (1970-1) (BBC)
Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin (1959-1964)
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1996-8) (BBC)
Hong Kong Phooey (1974)

Horizon (1964-present) (BBC)
In Search of the Trojan War (1985) (BBC)
Inspector Morse (1987-2000)
Jackanory (1965-1996) (BBC)
Jamie and the Magic Torch (1976-9)
Jeeves and Wooster (1990-3)
Jonathan Creek (1997-2013) (BBC)
Kingdom (2007-9)
Knight Rider (1982-6)
La Ronde (1982) (BBC)

Lewis (2006-2013)
Logan’s Run (1977-8)
Lovejoy (1986-1994) (BBC)
Magnum, P.I. (1980-8)
Maigret (1992-3)
Man from Atlantis (1977-8)
Mapp & Lucia (1985-6) (C4)
Max Headroom (1987-8) (C4)
McMillan & Wife (1971-7)
Midsomer Murders (1997-present)

Misfits (2009-present) (C4)
Miss Marple (1984-1992) (BBC)
Monkey (1978-1980)
More tales of the City (1998) (C4)
Mork & Mindy (1978-1982)
Mrs. Brown’s Boys (2011-present) (BBC)
Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (1976-1982) (BBC)
Murder in Suburbia (2004-5)
Murder She Wrote (1984-1996)
My Family and Other Animals (1987) (BBC)

Nancy Lam (1997)
Nationwide (1969-1983) (BBC)
No.73 (1982-1988)
Northern Exposure (1990-5)
Not Going Out (2006-present) (BBC)
One Summer (1983) (C4)
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1990) (BBC)
Original Sin (1997)
Petrocelli (1974-6)
Phyllis (1975-7)

Pie in the Sky (1994-7) (BBC)
Planet Dinosaur (2011) (BBC)
Planet of the Apes (1974)
Play Away (1971-1984) (BBC)
Play School (1964-1988) (BBC)
Pushing Daisies (2007-9)
Quatermass (1979)
Queer as Folk (1999-2000) (C4)
Queer Eye for the Staright Guy (2003-7)
Queer Street (1997-8?) (C4)

QI (2003-2012) (BBC)
Quincy, M.E. (1976-1983)
Rainbow (1972-1992)
Resnick: Lonely Hearts (1992) (BBC)
Resnick: Rough Treatment (1993) (BBC)
Revelations (1994-6) (Granada?)
Rhoda (1974-8)
Rich Man, Poor Man (1976)
Rome (2005-7) (BBC)
Rosemary & Thyme (2003-7)

Sapphire & Steel (1979-1982)
Scarborough Ahoy (1995) (C4)
Scooby-Doo (1969-present)
Sherlock (2010-present) (BBC)
Sherlock Holmes (1984-1994) (Granada)
Shoestring (1979-1980) (BBC)
Shroud for a Nightingale (1984)
Soap (1977-1981)
Sorry! (1981-8) (BBC)
Space: 1999 (1975-7)

Spider-man (1967-1970)
Springhill (1996-7) (Granada/C4)
Star Maidens (1976)
Star Trek (1966-9)
Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (1993-9)
Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-5)
Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-4)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
Starsky & Hutch (1975-9)

Surgical Spirit (1989-1995)
Tales of the City (1993) (C4)
Tarzan (1966-8)
The Adventures of Black Beauty (1972-4)
The Adventures of Champion the Wonder Horse (1955-6)
The Big Bang Theory (2007-present)
The Bionic Woman (1976-8)
The Black Tower (1985)
The Box of Delights (1984) (BBC)
The Brittas Empire (1991-7) (BBC)

The Buddha of Suburbia (1993) (BBC)
The Champions (1968-9)
The Chinese Detective (1981-2) (BBC)
The Clothes Show (1986-2000) (BBC)
The Comic Strip Presents… (1982-2012) (C4)
The Darling Buds of May (1991-3)
The Day of the Triffids (1981) (BBC)
The Death of an Expert Witness (1983)
The Fades (2011) (BBC)
The Flashing Blade (1969)

The Golden Girls (1985-1992)
The Good Life (1975-8) (BBC)
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-9)
The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries (1990-4) (BBC)
The Invisible Man (1975-6)
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983)
The Liver Birds (1969-1978) (BBC)
The Love Boat (1977-1986)
The Magician (1973-4)
The Moomins (1977-1982)

The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries (1998-9) (BBC)
The New Avengers (1976-7)
The Persuaders (1971)
The Riff Raff Element (1993-4) (BBC)
The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011) (BBC)
The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-8)
The South Bank Show (1978-2010)
The Tomorrow People (1973-9)
The Tube (1982-7) (C4)
The White Horses (1965)

This Life (1996-7) (BBC)
Threads (1984) (BBC)
Thunderbirds (1965-6)
Time Team (1994-2014) (C4)
Tinsel Town (2000-1) (BBC)
To the Manor Born (1979-81) (BBC)
Tomorrow’s World (1965-2003) (BBC)
Top of the Pops (1964-2006) (BBC)
Torchwood (2006-2011) (BBC)
True Blood (2008-present)

Twin Peaks (1990-1)
Ugly Betty (2006-2010)
Ultraviolet (1998) (C4)
Up in the Attic (1970) (BBC)
Waiting for God (1990-4) (BBC)
Walking with Dinosaurs (1999) (BBC)
Washington Behind Closed Doors (1977)
Watch with Mother (1950-1973) (BBC)
Wimbledon (BBC)
Wonder Woman (1975-9)


  1. wow, some of these take me back.

    Armchair Thriller - bog standard dramas but with absolutely terrifying opening sequence.

    The Six Million Dollar Man - Lee Majors, my very first homo crush. I also wanted a Bionic Woman doll for xmas (to accompany my Steve Austin doll) but my folks refused to nurture my gayness and so I ended up that year with a Stretch Armstrong. Still Stretch and Steve made a lovely couple.

    Bouquet of Barbed Wire - I remember my mother being hooked and I used to stay up and watch it with her. Didn't have a clue what it was about back then as I was only 3 but distinctly remember feeling that it may not have been quite appropriate viewing for my age group, I was so ahead of my time.

    This Life - having lived in London, this programme really rang true in so many ways.

    Soap - another one I was permitted to stay up late for but didn't have a clue as to what was going on. Occasionally, I get the theme tune pop up in my head.

    The Life and Loves of a She-Devil - I loved this. I wonder if it's on DVD? Remember the movie with Roseanne Barr? Speaking of which, where's Roseanne on your list?

    1. Aye, other folk, elsewhere, have mentioned Roseanne. A I said there: can take or leave it. For me it was never a special programme; just on if there was nothing else to view.

      My idea for listing though is to get folk recalling memories attached to the programmes. I was amazed what I remembered, long forgotten.


  2. Hi Colin,

    I can still play the theme tune to 66 of your list in my head. Hold on a moment. I'm going to try and 'watch' one:

    "In the time before monkey primal chaos reigned..." Cool! (Although I appear to have smashed up part of my house with a broomstick).

    Hart to Hart. Apparently In the early 80s a complete stranger could come up to the Harts, lean over to Jonathan, and say "Your wife's knock-out!!" and everyone would laugh and make friends!
    I also had the feeling that if you shook Jonathan's hand you'd find a hundred dollar bill had been passed over to you. :D

    The clay people in Flash Gordon used to scare the hell out of me.

    I used to watch Babylon 5 in the middle of the night after the Open University. I realised that my illness might be a problem when I'd seen the same lessons on Plasmas; Laminar flow and Roller coasters more than 5 times. B5 I could watch again any time, perhaps there is a hole in my mind.

    I liked the music to The Box of Delights and the Moomins theme, though I don't think you can hum Moomins.

    S.M. dicking about in theatre in Green Wing is/was a joy.

    Star Trek, of course.

    Finally, Scooby Doo should be part of the National Curriculum.


    1. Thanks for sharing those memories, James. You had me chuckling along. Have the full boxed set of B5. Come round and watch it with me - you'll be here for six months! %D