26 October, 2008

Do readjust your set

Digi-Cream Times is moving. It's got a new home, and a new name: TV Cream Towers.

Ever since the Digi-Cream Times mailout died an unloved death in the summer, the moniker has clung to this blog like Sarah Kennedy to a Daily Mail editorial: neither parties making much sense to the general public, and neither benefiting from an association with the other.

Unlike Sarah Kennedy, however, this blog has not been having problems with lecherous cats, or the road layout at Vauxhall Cross, or immigrants, or anti-hunt protestors, or single parents, or failing to spot black people when it's dark. It's simply swapping one bit of software, Blogger, for another, Wordpress.

All the stuff on here, including the archives, has survived the journey. And the new blog has a new look and some snazzy new gimmicks.

Best of all, to fully explain what has happened and help you remember the new URL, no lesser a group than The King's Singers have recorded a special musical aide memoire.

Take it away, chaps!

What an honour.

See you on the new blog...

23 October, 2008

If it's music you're after...

Advance notice of a new TV Cream pet project, which you'll be able to hear from 1st November. Yup, a good two years or so after everyone else started, the very first TVC podcast is on its way.

20 October, 2008

US election clippage: part one

To help hurry along the fortnight until polling day in the United States, here's the first in a thankfully short series of clips from ancient American election programmes.

First up, an extract from CBS's results night coverage of 1972. And what a ragged, amateurish affair it all is. The theme tune is frankly bizarre, resembling some atonal noodlings, possibly composed by Stockhausen or John Cage. Then, before we get to anything by way of news, comes the information that "this broadcast is sponsored by the Ford Motor company, and 6,283 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers - the goal, no unhappy owners."

Cut to Walter Kronkite, who looks shifty and ill-informed. "Some or all of the polls have closed." Make your mind up, Walt!

Then there's an opt-out to a Virginia local network. The studio's props and graphics are of an appalling low-fi quality. In the conversational area, two people sit on chairs underneath a giant eagle. "We're going to have very mixed coat-tails tonight," one mutters.

Compare this to the giant, multi-coloured, multi-gadgeted affair we had over here for the general election of 1970. Sure, Bob McKenzie had to get a workman to paint extra numbers on his swingometer, but at least he had a wall big enough to paint on in the first place.

18 October, 2008

What are you sayin'? What are you playin'?

With the future of genuine digital radio stations in doubt (as opposed to all those 'pretend' ones that you can get through your telly or online), it's time for someone to step in and make sure there's more than simply Planet Rock listed in Radio Times.

Inevitably that someone looks like being the BBC, but that's all to the good, for there are plenty of opportunities for the corporation to launch cheap but effective channels quickly and professionally, thereby saving the medium from ever-dwindling pointlessness:

Radio 1 + 15

An exact, as it happens, unexpurgated repeat of what was being broadcast on Radio 1 15 years ago to the day.

Radio 1 + 15 + 1
An exact, as it happens, unexpurgated repeat of what was being broadcast on Radio 1 15 years ago to the day delayed by one hour and with new, live running commentary from relevant DJs, producers and guests.

Simon Says
Great music, great guests and lots of gossip from the country's premier uni-monikered Etienne elite. Provisional schedule:
6am Simon Groom
9am Simon Mayo
12pm Simon Potter
2pm Simon Bates
6pm Simon Dee
10pm Simon Amstell
1am Simon Parkin

Order! Order!
A companion service to BBC Parliament, broadcasting live debates from the Palace of Westminster interspersed with memorable reports, interviews and rolling news coverage from the last 70 years. Launch highlights include A Day In The Life Of Scud FM; Michael Heseltine with a minute-by-minute account of the time he waved a giant mace on the floor of the Commons; a full replay of the 1981 Crosby by-election results programme; and Round Robin: a retrospective on Robin Day's time hosting The World At One.

How We Used To Live
Old people remember the war in calm, reassuring voices.

I'm Backing Britain
A rousing, morale-boosting endeavour to see the country through the recession. Run by the Central Office of Information, this station will provide round-the-clock advice, tips, instructions and the very latest from the nerve centre of the government's recently-formed National Economic Council. Presenters, including Michael Aspel, Cliff Michelmore, Angela Rippon and Suggs, will work six-hour shifts until the crisis is over.

On The Mike
24-hour coverage of Michael Palin as he lives his life.

16 October, 2008

Digi-Crisis Times: part 2

With things continuing to get worse, it's become clear that not only is the government part-nationalising certain TV programmes, it's also part-nationalising certain TV banks.

And no wonder, what with the finance industry in such a parlous condition. If TV banks, a mainstream primetime once-weekly example to the country, are seen to be tottering, then not even an on-screen intervention from Richard Madeley ("I think we need to all calm down a bit, just calm down, right?") can save us.

Topping the list of casualties has to be:

1) The one in Joint Account. This is bound to be in trouble, what with it being a product of the 1980s and having John Bird on the books. The latter's liquid lunches and agreeably distracted manner would have had the firm up against the wall sooner, were it not for Hannah Gordon's level-headed approach to dividend portfolios and nice dresses.

2) The one off of Dad's Army, where Captain Mainwaring worked before the inception of the Home Guard. This seemed like a tiny bank even then, where old women came in to make deposits of three pennies a month, and would surely have been taken over by now or been gobbled up by a demutualised building society with someone like Iain Cuthbertson in charge.

3) The one in The Sweeney. Actually, there were two: the National Mercian Bank, which got held up by some "bastards", and the National Anglian Bank, which was broken into not once but twice. Both of these establishments are surely likely to be barking at the porcelain by now.

4) And, er, that's it. There must be more who need a bit of a bail-out. Didn't In Loving Memory have a doddery local branch of some kind? And every single person in every single institution in Capital City must be out on their arse. Although that's no bad thing.

14 October, 2008

Photo clippage #43

What glittering occasion could possibly have brought these three stars together?

11 October, 2008

Digi-Crisis Times

In the flurry of excitement earlier this week accompanying the launch of the government's economic rescue plan, one piece of small print was overlooked. Besides part-nationalising leading UK banks, Gordon Brown is also part-nationalising leading UK television programmes.

The following changes are to be implemented over the next few weeks to ensure confidence remains high in the country's TV favourites.

Craig Revel Horwood to be replaced by Vince Cable ("Your dancing is less like Fred Astaire and more like Fred Flintstone"). Scoring system to be replaced with portfolio of Union Jacks (i.e. "I'll give that five flags out of five - well done!")

Role of Charlie Fairhead to be played by Dr Liam Fox. Hospital to be renamed The Albion. 10% of all patients to be MPs with genuine medical complaints.

Louis Walsh to be replaced with Kenneth Clarke ("I think you're a really pretty group of girls and I would like to see you step out in style to True Blue next week!") Themes for future editions to include: Britain; British landmarks; British politicians; British trade and industry; why Britain is the best.

Ken Livingstone to replace Adrian Chiles. Edwina Currie to replace the other one. Programme will come live from the back of a flat-bed truck travelling around the country, visiting struggling businesses and banks to cheer up employees and rally morale with singalongs and quirky tales of the lighter side of life.

10% of all crimes to be real ones. Sir Ian Blair to become new boss of Sun Hill. Each edition to feature a cameo from a former Home Secretary, dispensing words of wisdom and calm. Confirmed so far: Douglas Hurd, Charles Clarke, Merlyn Rees, Leon Brittan (to be renamed Leon Britain until the crisis ends).

Residents to launch an I'm Backing Britain campaign, culminating in a street party in Albert Square with characters dressed as Arthur Askey, a Flump, Busby the British Telecom bird, Fred from the Homepride adverts, the Blitz, 1966, and a stiff upper lip. Mick Jagger to make a guest appearance with Dot Cotton during a 'guess the weight of the cake' scene.