Gilbert’s Fridge (Tyne-Tees). An episode of Phil Cornwell’s mighty semi-improvised alien/snotmonster sketch series, featuring Gilbert’s attempting to prove himself as Kim Wilde’s tour manager.


    It’s taken Kim Wilde eight years to realise what she should have known all along: that she’s a big talent in her own right, not just a beautiful blonde puppet, a mouthpiece for songs composed and produced by her famous father, Marty, and her brother, Ricki.

    The enthusiastic crowds, screaming for Kim when she supported Michael Jackson on tour, were proof of her strong stage presence. Her latest hit singles, Never Trust a Stranger and You Came, have put the seal on her self-esteem, because she wrote the lyrics of those songs, and most for those on her hit album Close, although her latest single, Four Letter Word, was written by Marty and Ricki.

    When I caught up with Kim at her North London flat, between her trips to the US and Japan, she was exhilarated by her success and had the confidence to confess to her earlier self-doubts.

    ‘I was always aware that, without a good team behind me, I might never have had hit records. Hits are a team effort, and the singer is not the most important person. Certain sections of the press were cynical because I worked with my family. I found this attitude so destructive I was actually ashamed of my situation. It’s only since I started co- writing with my brother, Ricki, and sometimes with my father, that’ve begun to feel good about it, . . to respect myself and value my own contribution.

    T used to stifle my pride in my family. Now I come out and say it: yes, we’re a strong team, working together because we enjoy it, not because we have to,’ says Kim, who will be a guest on Gilbert’s Fridge on Thursday.

    The Wilde family, two generations of hit-makers, are unique in the British pop world. The dynasty was founded when, at the age of 20, Marty, pop idol of the late Fifties/early Sixties, married teenage Joyce Baker, a singer with Liver- pool’s Vernon Girls. Kim, who recently turned 28, was born the following year, and the next year Ricki came along. Since then the ‘Wildes have had two more children: Roxanne, nine, and Marty, seven. Rickialso married young. He and his wife, Mandy, have a two- year-old son, also called Marty, and are expecting another baby.

    Marty Senior and Joyce have founded a large music complex in Hertfordshire, run by Joyce.

    ‘While Kim was growing up, the family was less prosperous than now, but Marty’s was still an impressive name in pop music. ‘1 was very aware of my dad,’ says Kim. ‘I had a vision of doing some- thing similar. The urge to do well in pop was always there. But as a young teenager, I was introverted.

    ‘Ricki started early. He left school at 15 and played keyboards in Dad’s band. I also wanted to work with Dad, but at the time I was doing A-levels. At last, during a school holiday, Dad agreed to let me go on the road, joining Mum as one of his back-up singers.

    ‘At the end of it, I went off to art college, where my self-confidence grew.’

    When her father and brother wrote and produced Kids in America for Kim, record company boss Mickie Most wanted to launch her as a pop singer.

    ‘Stepping into the limelight was my own choice. 1 wasn’t forced, says Kim. ‘But, though I was already 20, I still wasn’t brimful of confidence, and I hoped people wouldn’t find out I was Marty Wilde’s daughter. Even when Kids in America was a hit I was sceptical about my own part in the operation.

    It’s been a long and painful process, to become more mature and take my share of the credit.

    ‘When I was offered the Michael Jackson tour I had trepidations, wondering if Id sink or survive. But it turned out terribly well for me and I’m grateful to Michael for the break.

    ‘T met him only once, briefly: found him cute and friendly, but shy. He’s in another world and I’m not sure where that is. I wouldn’t pass judgment.

    Evidence of Kim’s modesty is seen in her flat Unlike many stars she does not have a single picture of herself on display.

    Her pictures are of screen legends: Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Tallulah Bankhead. The paintings are by her art college friends. Her bedroom, which she decorated herself, is very ‘arty’: dark blue walls and ceilings, black wardrobe and gold-painted door, matching her brass bed- stead. It’s definitely a bachelor-girl pad.

    ‘My brother Ricki and I may work together, but we lead very different private lives. When Ricki has free time all he wants is to stay home with his wife and little boy, but I go to parties and social things, enjoying the single lifestyle. I love kids, and the little ones in our family bring enormous pleasure, but I realise they’re a huge responsibility. I won’t have children until the time is right.”

    Of course, Kim thinks a lot about love. She insists the song You Came was inspired by Ricki’s little boy.

    Could her lyrics also describe her feelings about her romance with Calvin Hayes, of the group Johnny Hates Jazz? |

    ‘Let’s say that right now I’m very happy. Happier than I’ve ever been. Calvin is very special to me. But I ‘won’t go into detail about our relationship. I believe in being discreet.’

    While Kim’s father, Marty, has claimed that Kim has thoughts of quitting showbusiness because of Calvin, Kim denies this.

    Calvin is the son of Mickie Most, head of Kim’s former record company.

    Kim and Calvin had been seeing each other for some months before Calvin revealed their secret romance. Kim herself has always been too jealous of her privacy to lay bare her feelings on love — except, of course, in song.

    ‘But I don’t think my lyrics are necessarily auto- biographical,’ she says. In the future, I’ll be doing a lot more writing. It’s a very positive and creative side of my job. Films are another possibility, but at present I don’t fancy taking six months off from my music career and having to get up at 5.00am to be on the set.

    ‘l do have sleepless nights thinking about being 40 or 50. Goodness knows what I’ll be doing then. I can’t visualise myself at that age being a glamorous, jet-setting pop star. On the other hand, I wouldn’t like to be planting petunias.

    ‘Likewise, I don’t see myself going into the business side of things, like Mum did. She runs our five business companies, and she’s very keen for me to be more aware of the financial aspects, but they don’t motivate me at all

    ‘Mum’’s altogether different from me. Having grown up in Liverpool without much money around, she’s much more thrifty than I am.

    ‘She still feels guilty about spending money on herself.

    Mother and daughter have very different hopes, too, for Roxanne. Joyce visualises her nine-year-old daughter following her own footsteps, marrying and having children young.

    ‘But I don’t see her like that at all,’ says Kim. T was the one who chose her name, Roxanne, and I see her as a big star. But it may not turn out that way.

    ‘She likes horses. Still, she and my little brother, Marty, have started writing and taping songs, so per- haps she will go in that direction. I could end up as her manager!

    from TVTimes,. 3 December 1988


    Monty Python’s Flying Circus (BBC-1), specifically the episode Full Frontal Nudity.

    Includes Army Protection Racket, Buying a Bed, Hell’s Grannies and… that pet shop sketch. Here it is dubbed into German.

    BONUS CONTENT: What was the first thing written about Flying Circus in various newspapers?

    Daily Telegraph, Monday, 25 Aug 1969: A piece on the zany new show replacing, as the headline suggests, all religious programming on TV.

    Daily Mirror, Saturday,  4 Oct 1969. A piece about the programmes coming to the still-wet colour BBC1 service, in advance of the first episode of Flying Circus.

    Daily Mail, Saturday, 4 Oct 1969: On the same day, a recommendation of the new series.

    The Times, Wednesday, 5 Aug 1970: Latterly getting on board the Python bus with a review of the previous night’s Flying Circus repeat.

  • “The Curse of ITV”: A Deeper Dive

    “The Curse of ITV”: A Deeper Dive

    With England set to take on reigning world champions France in the Quarter-Finals of the 2022 World Cup in The Place Where Human Rights Go To Die, there’s been a lot of attention paid to the channel set to broadcast the match in the UK.

    Word is, it’s a channel that – whenever it broadcasts live England matches in major tournaments – isn’t particularly lucky. And this is news. Well, content that’s easy to throw online. Sure, they beat Senegal 3-0 on ITV the other day, but with the France match also to be shown by the commercial broadcaster, that jinx is surely going to kick in, right? Right?

    There must be some other reason for the team’s less-successful performance on ITV, surely? It could be anything, from ITV tending to bagsy advertiser-friendly clashes against bigger nations, to the BBC blagging first pick of easier-to-win group stage matches, to Bob Wilson having placed a curse on the broadcaster when they failed to renew his contract in 2002.

    Well, I’ve looked up some stats, so why don’t we look at those potential reasons in detail? Oh, lets.

    First up: a summary. I’ve gone back as far as Euro 96 finals matches for the stats, and used information from England Football Online for broadcaster details for each match. I’ve taken into account every England match in the finals since then (apart from the Third Place Play-Off against Belgium from 2018, because it’s not a proper match and tells us nothing). I’ve included every proper finals tournament match since 1996, including the Round of Sixteen victory over Senegal the other day. Which was on ITV. So, that should nudge the numbers at least a little their way.

    Firstly, here are the headline figures, the ones that were quoted a lot over the last week. Where BBC and ITV have both shown the same match, I’ve put them in a third category. And where a knockout stage match has ended in a draw and gone to penalties, I’ve gone with the winner or loser of the penalty shoot-out.

    So, that’s pretty unequivocal isn’t it? Winning 76% of the time on BBC, but only 28.57% of the time on ITV. England are much worse on ITV. End of discussion.

    Except: no it isn’t. There must be a reason behind this. But what might that reason be?

    No, having presenters and pundits with less gravitas than their BBC counterparts doesn’t count as a reason.


    Okay, let’s split out the information into two sets:

    Well, there’s definitely a theme there. England are even more likely to win matches at the Euros than the World Cup (perhaps not surprising, as in the latter they’re playing the best teams from around the world), but the bad luck seems evenly spread for ITV broadcasts across both tournaments.

    So, it’s not that.


    Well, that would make sense. The Beeb do seem to cover a more group stage games, and that’s where the opponents are more likely to be minnows sloshing around at the deep end of the FIFA rankings. How many games from each stage of tournaments has each broadcaster covered?

    Oh, okay. A very slight lead for the BBC when it comes to group stage matches in World Cups, but overall it’s ITV who are more likely to feature group stage matches at major tournaments. So, not that then.

    Let’s take a quick look at those matches in more detail. Surely England are equally inept in the knockout stages on both channels? And equally capable in the group stages on both channels? Well, you’d think. And you’d be wrong to do so.

    England typically win over 87% of group stage matches shown on the Beeb, and only 22.73% of those shown on ITV. Ouch. In the Euros, it’s even more pronounced, with England winning an improved percentage (33.3%) of group games on ITV, but England win a full 100% of group games shown on the BBC. In Euros knockout stages, it’s a similar story: 60% of England’s Euros knockout games shown on the BBC are won by the Three Lions, but only 50% of those shown on ITV.

    For the World Cup, it’s a similar story. 81.82% of World Cup group games won by England on the Beeb, only 10% of them when on Independent Television. But at least there’s parity when it comes to knockout games, a 50:50 record for each broadcaster, from an admittedly small sample set.

    If you’re wondering, the only time England have ever won a knockout match broadcast by both BBC and ITV: the 3-0 win over Denmark in the round of sixteen from 2002.


    This is one that needs a little more digging. To try and work that out, you’d need to have access to a list of every set of FIFA World Rankings since they were first introduced in late 1993. And how would you even get that data?

    By downloading the info from Kaggle, that’s how. God bless Kaggle (specifically Kaggle user Alex, the Python programmer from Kyiv who did all that statistical digging. Hope he’s okay).

    Here we go. Basically, on the following table, a lower number represents a tougher opponent, a higher number represents a weaker one.

    A lot of numbers to unpack there, but in summary: in major tournaments England tend to beat tougher opponents more often on the BBC, and lose to weaker opponents more often on ITV.

    Looking just at World Cups for example, in group stages, England score victories over teams ranked (on average) 23rd place if they’re on the BBC. Over on ITV, they only get the better of teams ranked an average of 47th place. Similarly, if England are on the BBC, it’d take a team placed 7th(ish) in the world rankings to beat them. On ITV, it only takes a team rated 15th in the world.

    On slightly hopeful note for ITV – in knockout World Cup matches, England tend to beat teams ranked an average of 16th on the light channel. Over on fusty Auntie Beeb, they’re only bettering teams ranking 27th on average. Though in fairness, as we’ve seen higher up the page, those nice neat figures are based on two knockout wins and two knockout losses for each broadcaster, so hardly using a wealth of data there. Those are some pretty thin straws for the commercial broadcast to be grasping at.

    So, that seems to have exhausted all the most likely excuses for England’s poor form when appearing on ITV.

    Oh wait, there was one more.


    When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. ITV is cursed: FACT. And the former Arsenal and Scotland stopper is to blame. You read it here first.

    NOTE: Updated 7 Dec 2022 to correct some figures – I’d incorrectly had the Euro 96 Semi has being ITV-only, but it was shown on BBC and ITV. Number now corrected accordingly – thanks to eagle-eyed David Howell for pointing out the error. And a slightly belated nod going out to Matthew Harris, with whom a conversation on Mastodon compelled me to dive into this big ol’ pool of figures.


    First regular episode of The Old Campaigner (BBC-1).

    Terry-Thomas stars as high-powered salesman/scoundrel F.J., who insists that his advancing years are no barrier to cross-continental caddery.

    (Video is the Comedy Playhouse pilot, but still. In this episode Derek Fowlds plays F.J.’s youthful charge.)


    Fri 30th Jun 1967, 19:30 (BBC-1)
    Comedy Playhouse: The Old Campaigner
    by Michael Pertwee. Starring Terry-Thomas with Derek Fowlds

    Fri 6th Dec 1968, 19:55 (BBC-1)
    The Best Laid Plans
    Written by Michael Pertwee. Starring Terry-Thomas as F.J. and Jonathan Cecil as Peter Clancy
    Jimmy Franklin-Jones, or ‘F.J.’ as he is known to his colleagues, is a high-powered expert salesman who travels the world on behalf of his firm, Balsoms Plastics. His main interest in life, however, is in birds-but not plastic ones.

    Fri 13th Dec 1968, 19:55 (BBC-1)
    Written by Michael Pertwee. Starring Terry-Thomas as F.J. and Jonathan Cecil as Peter Clancy
    Jimmy Franklin-Jones and his assistant Peter Clancy are on a trip to Spain on behalf of their firm, Balsoms Plastics. In Madrid, as elsewhere, ‘F.J.’ tries to combine business with pleasure-with a heavy accent on pleasure.

    Fri 20th Dec 1968, 19:55 (BBC-1)
    Man of Letters
    ‘F.J.’ goes over to Amsterdam on business with his assistant Peter Clancy. His scheme to keep his wife happy at home while he is enjoying himself abroad goes very wrong.

    Fri 27th Dec 1968, 21:05 (BBC-1)
    White Man’s Tomb
    This is the most exotic assignment that ‘F.J.’ has been given by Balsom’s Plastics and it leads him and his assistant Clancy to try to clinch a deal with an emergent African state. It also leads him, as usual, into a great deal of trouble.

    Fri 3rd Jan 1969, 19:55 (BBC-1)
    Home Cooking
    Jimmy Franklin-Jones is instructed to entertain an influential American client at his home. The dinner party takes place, but it all goes to show that ‘F.J.’ doesn’t need to travel abroad to get into trouble. He can do that just as easily at home.

    Fri 10th Jan 1969, 19:55 (BBC-1)
    French Farce
    Jimmy Franklin-Jones is sent to cover an industrial conference in Monte Carlo. Business, as ever, takes second place to pleasure, but this time F.J.’s luck nearly runs out.

    Mon 29th Dec 2003, 21:35 (BBC Four)
    Missing Believed Wiped: Comedy Playhouse – The Old Campaigner
    by Michael Pertwee. Starring Terry-Thomas with Derek Fowlds*.

    (*As far as I can find, the Comedy Playhouse pilot was shown here. Anyone know any different?)


    Get It Together (Granada)

    Afternoon pop show for YOUNG ADULTS hosted by Roy North and Linda Fletcher, joined by The Jets, The Smirks and Suzi Quatro. First sight of a VT clock at the start of a video so far.


    Cowboys (Thames). Roy Kinnear and company in the builder-based sitcom. This episode sees Joe and his lackeys protect a colleague from the tax collector.

  • ARCHIVE TV ADVENT CALENDAR DAY THREE: 3 December 1969: My World and Welcome To It (BBC2/NBC)

    William Windon stars as New Yorkerish satirical cartoonist John Monroe in this US sitcom. This episode involves a rejection, a seal and a psychotic hallucination.

    This imported NBC sitcom first aired on BBC2 on 12 November 1969, going out on Wednesday nights at around 10pm. From 21 June 1970, it made the move to BBC1, with a repeat run of the series going out on Sundays just after 11pm. Despite gathering positive reviews, moderate viewing figures led NBC to cancel the series after a single 26-episode season. In a final hurrah, it went on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, and the single season subsequently got a 1972 repeat run on NBC.


    Europe’s Strongest Man (Thames). Derek Hobson hosts, flanked by ‘Enry Cooper, as ‘mighty’ contestants from five countries chase the titular title, plus a cash prize and a silver meat salver. Mean not necessarily included.


    The first episode of Broaden Your Mind’s (BBC2) second series, the sketch-based encyclopaedia of the air by The Goodies before they became The Goodies. Wiped after original broadcast, but here’s a full audio-only recording of the episode.

    UPDATE 2 DECEMBER: Spotter’s badge to Daniel James Webb for noting that the episode I’d posted was from… not the date I’d meant. Thanks to me rushing to put the Archive TV Advent Calendar into action before I got distracted by an interesting stain on the ceiling or something, I failed to notice the great big “1969-11-17” on the video. The correct video now just up there. If you want to see the episode I’d originally linked to (s2e1), it’s here. And, as a bonus, here’s the original RT listing for that:

    And, because it’s nearly Christmas, here’s a summary of the broadcast history. That BBC1 showing: at 17:25 on Mon 25 May 1970.

  • Twelve Surprising Windows 95/98 Desktop Themes for British TV Programmes

    Twelve Surprising Windows 95/98 Desktop Themes for British TV Programmes

    YES. Back in the dial-up days of technology, there was Windows 95 and a bit later, there was Windows 98. Groundbreaking at the time, nowadays a curious glimpse into the technological past. People used to survive using a 800×600 resolution? But one of the best things about Windows 95 (and a bit later, Windows 98) was a hitherto unimaginable level of customisation. You could have great big BMP files as your Windows background. You could change icons. You could even change your startup music (and I know, I briefly changed mine to the entirety of Kandy Pop by Bis). And, if you couldn’t be bothered changing all those things by yourself, you could just ‘down’ ‘load’ custom themes someone else had made, using the ‘inter’ ‘net’. For free!*

    (*£14.99 per month to an ISP for net access, a further 1p to your ISP for each minute you’re online, and the cost of the phone calls. So, not free. But it was the future.)

    When it came to user-made desktop themes, there were lots to pick from if you knew where to look. And, looking at them now, it’s interesting how much of a mid-to-late-90s snapshot they really are. You could find desktop themes based on the cool new music acts of the day (and previous days), the latest hip films, the coolest new videogames, and obviously the happening-est US TV series. But you could also get desktop themes inspired by parts of the British TV landscape at the time. Some of them will be wholly expected. Some others, not so much.

    Join me now, as I squeeze myself through the fibre pipes of today’s internet and crawl back to a more innocent age. An age of paid-for web browsers, of USRobotics 14400 modems and your mum shouting at you for hogging the phone line. It’s time for Twelve Surprising Windows 95/98 Desktop Themes For British TV Programmes.

    Bob and Margaret (originally uploaded March 1999)

    An incredibly rare example of an animated British sitcom (for grown-ups) that actually lasted more than a couple of series. A few things were in its favour here. Firstly, it was good (that’s the trick Stressed Eric missed). Secondly, it was based on the Academy Award-winning short film Bob’s Birthday. Thirdly, and possibly most crucially, it was partly a Canadian production, with the latter two of the programme’s four series going as far as to be set in Toronto. In both phases of the show’s run, the premise of the show highlighted the mundane as much as high farce, as the titular twosome coped with topics from dinner party etiquette to a patient dropping dead in Bob’s dentist’s chair.

    I’ll grant you, very little of this comes across in this Windows theme.

    Hustle (July 2006)

    I’m probably on my own here, but when BBC One – especially early noughties BBC One – goes out of their way to tell you their new drama series is cool, it basically comes across like your mum or dad telling you about this cool new band you really should check out. “Well, now I’m not going to like it on principle.”

    That’s how I always felt about this series, which seemed to come with a hastily-applied level of gloss that the content beneath really didn’t deserve. A by-product of those early days of Telly Trying To Be More Like Film, perhaps, or maybe just that everyone seems so bloody smug. Anyway, if you’re less cynical than me, here’s a theme you might like. With it arriving in 2006, well into the Windows XP era upon release, but each to their own.

    (Postscript: the BBC Three pseudo-spinoff programme The Real Hustle, where undercover con artists showed common tactics used by real-life scammers, was much better. Even if they really phoned in the content by the end – such as in the episode where Jess goes into PC World with an external hard drive up her sleeve, with which to connect to a laptop’s USB port and ‘steal’ all the software on it. Oh no, that poor 90-day trial of Norton Antivirus, ripped from the teat like that.)

    Fireball XL-5 (January 2005)

    That font. Ouch. I assume the hands controlling the mouse that selected the font were being controlled by strings.

    Yes, Minister (August 1999)

    I mean, I’m 99% sure either the upload or the title is wrong on this one, but I can’t discount the possibility all of the above actually happened in one of the later Yes, Prime Minister episodes. A misplaced memo means Bernard has to get involved in a clinical trial of hallucinogenic drugs, perhaps?

    Rab C Nesbitt (August 1998)

    Govan’s foremost street philosopher may have sent middle-England scrabbling for their writing sets to inform Anne Robinson that they need to page 888 when watching it, but that definitely didn’t hamper the sitcom’s longevity. Running as a standalone sitcom from 1988 to 2014 (and as a recurring character in sketch comedy Naked Video from 1986), this must surely take the crown of BBC2’s longest-running sitcom from a certain space-based sitcom. Mark the occasion with this background featuring not one, but two screencaps from a .mov clip of the series.

    Black Books (March 2003)

    How black? None more black. A decidedly low-energy effort by this fan of the Dylan Moran bookcom.

    Rex the Runt (August 2002)

    Aardman’s forgotten project. Rex the Runt – along with Big Bob, Wendy and Vince – was a frequent visitor to BBC2 between 1998 and 2001, and with good cause – Rex’s short episodes were packed with winsome whimsy, great gags and captivating cameos (ranging from Bob Holness to Eddie Izzard). I seem to recall they were even used as promotional mascots for Rowntree sweets for a spell. Beyond that, a future of increasingly sporadic repeats on digital channels beckoned, but at least there’s the opportunity to relive the series with this Windows 98 theme.

    Coronation Street (August 1998)

    Granada’s main export. And bravely, the person behind this particular theme held no truck with (then-) modern day Corrie. Snubbing the likes of Bettabuys (or even The Kabin), Nick Tilsley secretly marrying Leanne Battersby or the endless bickering of the McDonald clan, this theme went with the classics: a cat in a nook, and Hilda Ogden guarding the Network Neighbourhood. 10/10, no notes.

    Waiting for God (September 1998)

    This pre-watershed old-age sitcom, where Graham Crowden and (a 48-year old) Stephanie Cole play a pair of elderly residents of a care home, having as much fun as they can before being summoned to the choir invisible, isn’t the most likely to choices for a Windows backdrop. But hey, it was a primetime BBC1 hit that appealed to generations across the age spectrum, so who are we to judge?

    Robin of Sherwood (October 1999)

    Again, that font. Good lord.

    Tweenies (April 2002)

    One for anyone fitting into both of two categories.

    • CATEGORY ONE: You like the CBeebies television programme Tweenies.
    • CATEGORY TWO: You hate your eyes.

    As Time Goes By (November 2000)

    You can keep your Stargate, your Sliders, your Ally McBeal and your Buffy. If I’m having any TV programme greeting me each time I power up my Gateway Performance 600 it’s the autumnal romantic comedy starring pre-Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. Whose heart wouldn’t soar like an eagle being greeted by the above each boot? Each BSOD would make you chuckle on this inside, knowing you’re about to get an extra added glimpse of the above. Perfect.

    And there we go. Thanks to Ben Baker for putting the idea for an update in my head with a Discord post about the Windows theme for One Foot in the Grave. If you like this update (or my other, better updates), you’ll almost certainly enjoy Ben’s latest Live Repeat on Noisebox Radio looking at the forty best TV themes of ALL TIME.

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