As the 1980’s drew to a close the number of decent new TV programmes produced in the UK reduced to a trickle.
Although the BBC produced a total of eight new programmes, only two cut my mustard. Red Dwarf, which debuted on BBC2 on 15 February 1988 and the excellent Colin’s Sandwich, starring Mel Smith of Not The Nine O’Clock News / Alas Smith and Jones fame as a British Rail clerk with aspirations to become a horror writer.
ITV wasn’t much better as their new shows included the truly awful This Morning with the even-worse-than-the-programme pair of self indulgent pricks who hosted it. Although I will admit to passing countless student hours sat in front of it, even then the best bit was when Trevor and Simon were on the weather map with Fred and one of them jumped in. The over blown reaction from the studio (he clearly jumped and did not fall) was the icing on the cake. But I digress, ITV also brought us London’s Burning and Count Duckula.
Last but certainly not least, Channel 4 brought us Fifteen to One and Who’s Line Is It Anyway? Fifteen to One was one of those must watch programmes. I just loved it, seeing if I can pit my wits against the contestants. I did try it for real, but failed the audition. As for Who’s Line Is it… that was required after the pub viewing on a Friday night. A bit too obviously not improvised sometimes, but still great entertainment.
There were quite a few shows leaving us this year, chief amongst them in terms of longevity were Crossroads and Tales of The Unexpected. Yes (Prime) Minister also waved goodbye after a total of 38 episodes and so too did 3-2-1 and Sorry!
We lost a number of important TV stars this year. Russell Harty, Percy Thrower, Roy Kinnear and Kenneth Williams all passed away, as did Margot Bryant who played Minnie Caldwell in Coronation Street.