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james-20015,397 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
I still remember using TV Ark and the likes on 56k, videos would take ages to download, wouldn't be very long, and would be small and poor quality. Streaming video would obviously be even worse quality.

40kbps on that BBC choice video, that's less than even the lowest quality videos you come across these days use just for the audio. Probably only a few frames per second at that bitrate. The idea of 4K streaming at 60fps with lossless audio would have been unthinkable then.
VMPhil9,986 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
I still remember using TV Ark and the likes on 56k, videos would take ages to download, wouldn't be very long, and would be small and poor quality. Streaming video would obviously be even worse quality.

40kbps on that BBC choice video, that's less than even the lowest quality videos you come across these days use just for the audio. Probably only a few frames per second at that bitrate. The idea of 4K streaming at 60fps with lossless audio would have been unthinkable then.

It’s not my screenshot so I don’t know what the quality of the stream was like - but postage stamp is probably a good description! I was actually surprised by the quality of some RealVideo files I’d downloaded and found again recently, not quite as bad as I remembered. It was better to download rather than stream a lot of the time otherwise you’d see the dreaded ‘Buffering’.
thegeek5,105 posts since 1 Jan 2002
London London
I know these won't be knew to most of you but it gives me a chance to ask something about them. Super Channel apparently had to close down from time to time due to their satellite being eclipsed. My question is why did Super Channel appear to be the only channel that fell victim to this? Was it a downside of being a 24 hour channel, or did other stations succumb to this and there's just no record of it?

Also, was the loss of power simply displayed as a gradual degradation in the signal? Or was it something more dramatic and appealing to the eye?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CXHEm3DxE8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3Iv1CS8n-A

I love how they got the closedown sponsored!

sun outages on DTH dishes typically only last a couple of minutes - it's curious to think they'd shut the whole satellite down for a few hours, but I guess as others have said it's to do with the power to the bird itself.
VMPhil9,986 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
The Unseen Frank Skinner Show, one of those '90s 'too rude for TV' videos. It's from 1997 so only covers the first two series of the BBC1 incarnation of the show, rather than the better remembered ITV version. Of particular interest is the clip at 3:02, in which Frank assures the viewer he'd never do anything offensive or tasteless, before introducing his next guest.

Steve in Pudsey10,420 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
This is surely an oddity. Play School finishes, the end credits (just the Director and Exec Producer) roll, then the Continuity Announcer adds a couple of extra credits.



I can only assume that the credits were overlooked during production and they were contractually required (a Musician's Union agreement perhaps?) and it was cheaper to get the CA to do it than to re-edit the programme?
Write that down in your copybook now.
Steve Williams2,875 posts since 1 Aug 2008
I can only assume that the credits were overlooked during production and they were contractually required (a Musician's Union agreement perhaps?) and it was cheaper to get the CA to do it than to re-edit the programme?


I think this was a regular thing on Play School, I've got an old Radio Times where someone writes in to say that the announcer always mentions who the pianist was but they never bother to announce who wrote the story. I'm guessing they wanted to limit the credits on the programme to an absolute minimum because they were of no interest to the target audience. Presumably it also saved time in editing and creating the credits if it was the same people all the time.

The Unseen Frank Skinner Show, one of those '90s 'too rude for TV' videos. It's from 1997 so only covers the first two series of the BBC1 incarnation of the show, rather than the better remembered ITV version.


I wouldn't say the ITV version was better remembered - the most memorable series was probably his last one on BBC1 in 1999, where it was pulling in huge audiences at 10.30, bigger than most primetime shows, and that was why ITV ended up poaching him. They had some big names on ITV, like Britney, but it was never the big critical and commercial hit it was on the Beeb.

I had this video, it's a bit bleak at points when the conversation gets a bit too adult. The stuff with Mick McManus and Mad Frankie Fraser* is a bit grim, neither seem especially pleased to be there. It's an interesting video, though, because it mostly came about because Series 2 was a bit controversial at the time because it was considered exceptionally rude for BBC1, and indeed the sleeve featured lots of newspaper cuttings slagging it off ("FRANKLY, WHO NEEDS GOOD TASTE"). And in Frank's book he talks about how there were a lot of last-minute edits as the Beeb got cold feet.

There's also a bit of an oddity with Mr Methane, the "stage farter", because I remember Frank mentioned him on the show and said he wasn't very good, and Mr Methane complained, so to make up for it they invited him on and Frank performed a duet with him. This never made it onto the show itself because it was too disgusting for BBC1, and it was mentioned on the sleeve of the video as being on it. But then there was a sticker on the box saying "Mr Methane does not appear on this video", presumably due to some sort of last-minute contractual dispute. In his book Frank said he really enjoyed it, and he says the funniest moment in his entire career is that, just before they started, Mr Methane did an incredibly loud, tuneless fart, as if he was tuning up. Mr Methane, there.

* Although the Mad Frankie Fraser interview is a bit dull, it did include Frank's favourite exchange, where Fraser was talking about Jack The Hat, and Frank said, in jest, "Just to make it clear, Frankie, Jack The Hat was actually a bloke, not just a hat?", and Fraser said, in all seriousness, "Oh yeah, he was a bloke, not a hat".
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VMPhil9,986 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
The Unseen Frank Skinner Show, one of those '90s 'too rude for TV' videos. It's from 1997 so only covers the first two series of the BBC1 incarnation of the show, rather than the better remembered ITV version.


I wouldn't say the ITV version was better remembered - the most memorable series was probably his last one on BBC1 in 1999, where it was pulling in huge audiences at 10.30, bigger than most primetime shows, and that was why ITV ended up poaching him. They had some big names on ITV, like Britney, but it was never the big critical and commercial hit it was on the Beeb.

I know the last series on the BBC had the Tara Palmer-Tomkinson interview, but I had assumed the ITV version was better remembered as it ran for longer and there were other incidents such as the Matthew Kelly jokes and him coming on to defend himself afterwards. Plus I'd looked at the listings and noticed there was quite a big gap between series 2 and 3 on the BBC, not counting Christmas specials. But I was just going from my own memories so happy to be corrected.
Steve Williams2,875 posts since 1 Aug 2008
I know the last series on the BBC had the Tara Palmer-Tomkinson interview, but I had assumed the ITV version was better remembered as it ran for longer and there were other incidents such as the Matthew Kelly jokes and him coming on to defend himself afterwards. Plus I'd looked at the listings and noticed there was quite a big gap between series 2 and 3 on the BBC, not counting Christmas specials. But I was just going from my own memories so happy to be corrected.


Well, it was still a popular series on ITV - though it ran out of steam before the end and it probably went on at least two series too long - but as I say, the second BBC series in 1997 was a pretty controversial series with much discussion about how rude it was, and the third one in 1999 was a big hit, I remember Broadcast saying it was getting amazing viewing figures for 10.30 at night, something like eight million or so. Hence Avalon asking for an inflated fee for another series and his departure to ITV.

There were still big guests, like Britney, and interesting things on ITV but it was probably never the national talking point it was on the Beeb. The Matthew Kelly encounter was interesting, they'd actually done the jokes about him on Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned. The context there was that Kelly was fighting that court case and Cilla had just resigned and I remember David and Frank were talking about how, alongside Ant and Dec, they were about the only available presenters on ITV at the moment. As you say, Kelly then went on the next series of The Frank Skinner Show and they had an interesting and slightly uncomfortable conversation - but they seemed to patch things up because Kelly then appeared in the second series of Frank's sitcom Shane, not that they ever showed it.

I also remember there was an interview with the Appleton sisters from All Saints on the ITV series which got in the papers because they got very emotional and started crying during it, and there was also an episode they had to do live, because they were recording it two days before transmission but Frank fell ill literally just before recording - the audience were in their seats and they had to be sent home - so they did it live instead, not that they mentioned it on air and you probably wouldn't have noticed if you didn't know. I remember reading there was an added complication that Bob Monkhouse was one of the guests and he was going on holiday the next day so couldn't come back, so Frank had to ring up Steve Coogan and ask him to come on instead.

But as I say, the Beeb series was the best, that had loads of famous moments like Frank dancing in his pants, the Martin Kemp bit when he put a metal detector on his head to find the plate in his skull, and so on. You mention the Tara Palmer-Tomkinson interview but actually the best bit in that episode was the other interview with Alan Hansen, which was almost entirely devoted to Frank discussing a line in an interview he'd read where Alan said he and his wife always had a big glass of Ribena next to the bed at night. I know it doesn't sound much, but Frank then spent ages forensically discussing this glass of Ribena - whether they had one each or shared one, where by the bed it was, and so on - and it all went on for several minutes, which was hilarious. And at the end of it he presented Alan with a bottle of Ribena and said he hoped he'd think about him when he was in bed.

I know it doesn't sound much written down, but it was such a brilliantly extended riff about such a mundane subject, which maddeningly isn't on YouTube. Alan's got a great sense of humour but he was totally baffled by where it was all going, he kept on saying "I'm waiting for the funny!". I like to think it was that sequence alone that convinced ITV to pay whatever it took to get it.
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Steve Williams2,875 posts since 1 Aug 2008
I know it doesn't sound much written down, but it was such a brilliantly extended riff about such a mundane subject, which maddeningly isn't on YouTube. Alan's got a great sense of humour but he was totally baffled by where it was all going, he kept on saying "I'm waiting for the funny!". I like to think it was that sequence alone that convinced ITV to pay whatever it took to get it.


BREAKING NEWS: Although it isn't on YouTube, there is a transcript of it!
http://unitybel.tripod.com/frank_skinner_show.htm
"I just wanted to know about the Ribena. Because when you said you take a big glass up, does that mean you share it? Or do you have 2 beakers. If it's 1 glass what side of the bed does it go on? Do you have a small shelf centrally above you?"
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