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A lack of programmes about the industry

JO
Jonwo (previously Jonwo87)


Probably the most recent great series about the mechanics of television would've been Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe and (to a lesser extent) Newswipe. How Television Ruined Your Life as well, of course.


The segment he did about how television costs was pure gold especially when he started throwing banknotes at various people and using the clips and picture of Clopper Castle and John Selywn Gummer for no reason other than to add more costs still makes me laugh now.
CO
commseng London London
Previous shows would also include BBC Choice's Backstage.
LO
loydy Central (West) Midlands Today
Telegantic Megavision was a 90s kid's show that went behind the scenes on various TV sets as well as explain how things in TV were done and other things such as what the cue dots were for.
Telly's finest.
MU
MrUdagawa Tyne Tees London
I always remember an episode of Faking It, where TV professionals had to guess who was the newcomer directing segments for a shopping channel. I remember they spotted the culprit by realising they were wearing brand new trainers - in an attempt to look 'trendy'.
JE
Jenny Founding member
There used to be a magazine called 'The Box' which took a fun, and in depth look at television programmes - it lasted all of two editions (just as I had sent in a postal subscription a week before it closed) and I thought a TV version of that would be good.


Three editions in fact, the last of which tells us that starting with the next issue, they're going from bi-monthly to monthly. Tch, you can't trust anyone these days.
Test signature
Steve Williams and thegeek gave kudos
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
Of course, this has to be the ultimate:

SW
Steve Williams
loydy posted:
Telegantic Megavision was a 90s kid's show that went behind the scenes on various TV sets as well as explain how things in TV were done and other things such as what the cue dots were for.


Yes, it wasn't very good at all, though, especially combined with its other role of being a Saturday morning programme. The concept was that Telegantic Megavison was a studio complex where all television and films ever were made, so alongside making the gunge in Terror Towers and showing a film's Electronic Press Kit, they also had to use extreme lateral thinking to include the other Saturday morning staples, so they would say they'd "made" the cartoons and the usual soap stars and pop stars would be there "in rehearsals" for a made-up show. It was the most contrived programme ever made, and within a few weeks all that went for a burton and it became just the most bog-standard Saturday morning show you'd ever seen.

I always remember an episode of Faking It, where TV professionals had to guess who was the newcomer directing segments for a shopping channel. I remember they spotted the culprit by realising they were wearing brand new trainers - in an attempt to look 'trendy'.


There was a bit of a hoo-haa over TV fakery at the turn of the century, you had the Vanessa fake guests business and also a Cutting Edge about fathers and daughters had to be dropped right at the last minute when they found out two of the subjects weren't father and daughter at all, and were just stringing them along to get on the telly. But they managed to salvage that by doing another Cutting Edge about how they did it.

While idly going through Youtube I came across old episodes of a TVS programme called TV Weekly. For those who don't know TV Weekly was a programme that looked behind the scenes at the industry. The last episode can be found here


TV Weekly was always a bit of a treat on a day off school, it was a bit like a televised version of the TV Times in its bright and breezy tone. In the early days there was a weekly nostalgia spot with Barry Took, which span off into the book 40 Years Of British Television, which is a pretty ace book all told, I've often referred to my copy over the years. I always remember them covering the deregulation of TV listings in 1991, with Bridget Rowe, the editor of the TV Times, unveiling the cover of their first all-channel issue. Elsewhere on YouTube you can also see them covering the ITV franchise announcements in October 1991, with Anne Diamond's old mate Greg Dyke being interviewed.

As far as I know, it initially ended with TVS at the end of 1992, because in January 1993 it was replaced by a similar show called The View with Loyd Grossman. All I remember about that was that they did a feature about how Sharon had become the catch-all name for unsophisticated women on TV, and launching a search for "Britain's Most Sophisticated Sharon". But then TV Weekly returned as an indie production and carried on for a few more years.

Slightly related, I was thinking the other day about those archive clip shows like Windmill and Boxpops and how important they were to me because they were the first places I saw things like Monty Python sketches and bits of old comedy shows that weren't repeated at the time. Today anything similar would be about nostalgia (e.g. The TV That Made Me), but these went out at the end of Children's BBC on a Sunday morning and were just as much about introducing these clips to kids for the first time.


Well, I would absolutely agree with that, my dad and I used to absolutely love Boxpops, I saw so much stuff on there I'd never seen before. During the Pops repeats from the late seventies and early eighties there were a number of songs I heard, and performances I saw, for the first time on Boxpops.

Boxpops ran for four series between 1988 and 1992, but there was a bit of a radical revamp for the third series, it was clearly being aimed at a much older audience, which I found terribly sophisticated. The episode I always remember is this one - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbctwo/england/1990-12-23#at-11.05 - because it included two clips that absolutely stuck with me. One was the appearance of Leigh Bowery on The Clothes Show, who I had never seen before and who absolutely terrified me (I would not recommend you Google him in the presence of small children) and the other was a hugely memorable clip from QED or something when a schoolgirl talked about a day where she'd woken up only a bit later to realise it was actually a dream, so got up again and went to school only to then wake up again and realise that was actually a dream, and so got up again and went to school only to then wake up again and realise that was actually a dream, and so endlessly on. I've spoken about this on Twitter before and loads of people remember it, it really stuck with people.

As you can see, that episode went out on 23rd December and a few years ago someone on Twitter said they were a researcher on that episode, so I complained at them for ruining Christmas.

After Biteback ended on BBC1 in the late nineties, the production team did two other series on late night BBC2, the first was called On Air with David Aaronovitch - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbctwo/england/1998-01-21#at-23.15 - and when that ended it became another show called The Viewing Room - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/search/0/20?order=asc&q=%22the+viewing+room%22#search. But neither of those really caught on, unsurprisingly in that slot.
SW
Steve Williams
There used to be a magazine called 'The Box' which took a fun, and in depth look at television programmes - it lasted all of two editions (just as I had sent in a postal subscription a week before it closed) and I thought a TV version of that would be good.


There were actually three issues of The Box before it folded - I know Haymarket suggested that one reason it failed was that it was a bi-monthly, so people just forgot about it, but also it fell a bit between two stools, I think most people probably expected a TV magazine to have listings in it (which as a bi-monthly it obviously couldn't) and it wasn't of enough general interest to attract a wider audience, I know Haymarket were aiming it at the same kind of audience as Esquire and GQ and that.

I still have all three issues, and actually quite a lot of it was later recycled into the book The Rough Guide To Cult TV, which was edited by The Box editor Paul Simpson.

Graeme Wood on Twitter sometimes posts pages from The Box, here's their look at the future of TV in 1997...





What has always tickled me about that piece in that in their summary of potential channels on digital TV they include "Sky One (usual bollocks)".
SP
Spencer (previously Spencer For Hire) Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Alongside the viewer feedback, Central Post used to be quite good for some ‘behind the scenes’ features on both Central and ITV networked programmes.

I recently rediscovered a full episode I’ve got on VHS from around 1990 with a nice report on the making of Central News South, along with a look at the production of some ITV daytime programmes including The Time The Place, and a down-the-line interview from the Albert Dock with Richard and Judy, who’d only been hosting This Morning for a short while at that point - although long enough to be described as “the housewives’ favourite”.

I must get it uploaded at some point soon.
OM
Omnipresent London London
There used to be a lot of media coverage on BBC2 and Channel 4, both very different channels in the 1990s. Some features from arts programmes like The Late Show, specials and regular programmes on the media that spring to mind:

Did You See? (BBC2)



The Late Show (BBC2)




TV Hell Night (BBC2)

One of BBC2's best theme nights in the 1990s. Here's one programme on TV-AM. Others on YouTube include the A-Z Of Hell, Disastermind and Hello and Goodbye.


Trouble At The Top - Nightmare At Canary Wharf (BBC2)

Behind the scenes of the launch of Live TV by Janet Street-Porter and Kelvin Mackenzie:



Watch This Or The Dog Dies - The History Of Youth TV (BBC2)



The Media Show (Channel 4)



Right To Reply (Channel 4)



There was also a big season on TV news on Channel 4 in the 1990s "Whose News" which included this edition of its polemic strand "J'Accuse".



I can't find any clips on YouTube but there was a weekly media show "Late Media" on BBC2 in the 1990s, presented by Joanna Coles who used to present Mediumwave on Radio 4.
SW
Steve Williams
I can't find any clips on YouTube but there was a weekly media show "Late Media" on BBC2 in the 1990s, presented by Joanna Coles who used to present Mediumwave on Radio 4.


That would come from when they were theming every night's episode of The Late Show under a single subject, of course the Thursday one would be Late Review and when The Late Show ended in 1995 that continued for many years as a standalone show.

TV Hell was, at the time, the most amazing evening of programmes I'd ever seen in my life, I was absolutely fascinated by the whole thing, there were loads of clips and programmes in it I'd never seen before, it was the first time I'd seen things like the Sex Pistols on Today and so on and so much of it stuck with me for ages after (helped by a lot of it being quite scary). They repeated pretty much every programme from the night over the next year or so - I remember John Peel's Rock Bottom being repeated on primetime BBC1 and getting ten million viewers - and I watched them all again. And it was a great day in the early days of the internet when I managed to get hold of two VHSs of the entire evening from a friend, which was precious bounty in those days.

What really struck me about TV Hell, and the main reason why you couldn't really do anything like that today, is how old a lot of the shows looked. Triangle, for example, was eleven years old when it was shown as part of TV Hell, it was made in 1981, and yet it looked absolutely ancient. A lot of the stuff on TV Hell, like Churchill's People, was technically bad as well as creatively, and that's something that doesn't really happen anymore. One thing TV Hell illustrated is that television really had moved on technically in the previous decade.

If you were to do TV Hell now, it would be hard to find anything that looked clearly rubbish in the way Triangle or Churchill's People did. Something like Don't Scare The Hare was clearly a bad series in terms of its execution but it was clearly made to high standards. You couldn't put it on and it would instantly look terrible.
Blake Connolly, jsgibble and Omnipresent gave kudos
IS
Inspector Sands
Can't believe that TV Hell will be 30 years old next year. You're right it's amazing evening of TV, I think I still have a VHS of the whole thing.

I suppose the modern day equivalent is the endless clipshows that channel 5 show and rehash of bad/nightmare TV. There's lots of TV about TV but it's all clippage, often the same clips over and over

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