The 10 Best Musical Moments On TV

Forget the X Factor, forget the Brit Awards, forget Top Of The Pops (what do you mean, you have already?) – when it comes to great, memorable musical moment s on your tellybox all of them come from non-musical shows.

Supposed ‘musical programming’ is all well an good but it’s the times when the music surprises you, makes you laugh or moves us that really stick in the mind. Don’t believe us? check this list…

The Simpsons – monorail song

Morecambe and Wise – Andrew Preview

The Office – David Brent’s dance

Our friends in the north – Don’t Look Back In Anger

The Royle Family – Mambo no. 5

Alan Partridge – Nobody Does It Better

Monty Python – The Lumberjack Song

The Muppets – Mannah, mannah

Les Dawson plays the piano

Adler and Perlman perform Summertime on Parkinson

All Creatures Great And Small to return to TV

Remember All Creatures Great and Small? A gentle rural show about a nice man who stuck his hand up cow’s vaginas? Well, you may be interested/bored/thrilled to hear that it is set to return to our TV screens.

Yorkshire vet James Herriot will return with his escapades, after the show was originally shown on BBC One from ’78 to ’90.

The new three-part series, Young James, is due to be filmed and set in Glasgow, the city where veterinary surgeon Alf Wight – author of the original diaries, which were witten under the pseudonym James Herriot – learned his trade.

This, essentially, is the vet version of the three newest Star Wars films.

BBC One controller Jay Hunt said: “The chance to bring the story of the real James Herriot alive for a BBC One audience that grew up with All Creatures Great and Small was irresistible.”

Casting for the lead role has not begun at the time of press. Do you think the people who watched Heartbeat on a Sunday will go flocking to this? Looks likely if you ask us.

New Thundercats?

We all remember Thundercats. Even those too young to remember it remember it. Well, Warner Bros. Animation have announced that they’ve started production on a new ThunderCats animated series for Cartoon Network. HOOO!

Slash Film report that this 21st century reimagining of the iconic ’80s ‘toon will see the ThunderCats characters getting a new cutting-edge look. Hopefully, that means it’ll be a bit darker and more gothic.

If the teaser image (which you can see on the right – click on it so it goes all big) is anything to go by, it looks like it’ll be a bit more moody than the primary coloured original. If Lion-O looks that mean, we can only imagine how cool Mumm-Ra is going to be!

All the main heads will be present, with Lion-O and Mumm-Ra joined by Panthro, Cheetara, Tygra.

Apparently, this new one will be a tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne.

Alas, the show has to get close to this brilliant fan-made trailer for an imagined Thundercats film…

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The Good Life 35th Anniversary Edition on DVD

Oh, The Good Life… full of fun seems to be the ideal. Mm, The Good Life… lets you hide all the sadness you feel. Yessir, I’m the first human in history to do that joke about Tony Bennett and ’70s sitcom, The Good Life. Good thing too because The Good Life is celebrating a birthday! For the first time ever, the first series is coming to DVD to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the show.

Acorn Media have produced the digitally re-mastered release of one of the greatest British TV comedy classics.

Starring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington this is the comedy series that put organic foods, self-sufficiency and green thinking on the map years before anyone else.

And a nod to swinging.

The Good Life will be released throughout 2010 for the first time ever in series order. The first release, The Good Life Complete Series One, comes as a fantastic two-disc set, on 29th March 2010.

On his 40th birthday Tom Good (Briers) decides he’s had enough of the daily grind, he packs in his job and convinces his wife Barbara (Kendal) that they should become self-sufficient.

Overnight they convert their suburban garden into a farm for organic living, complete with crops, pigs and chickens and homemade beer, much to the disapproval of their snooty neighbour Margo (Keith) and her henpecked husband Jerry (Eddington).

Created by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, the programme ran for four series from 1975-1978. Its popularity has rarely waned and it was voted ninth best sitcom of all time in a BBC poll.

Happy 40th Sesame Street!

Sesame Street is 40 years old. As such, it seems like a perfect time to muse over it at some length. Why? Well, you could argue that it’s the greatest thing that has ever been shown on television. Y’see, Sesame Street never once felt like learning, despite the fact that the whole point of the show was to teach you stuff. In amongst the alphabet and numbers line, it also taught you about the world at large.

So many educational shows fall flat thanks to the small fact that they’re headed up by glorified Red Coats, pushed and shunted by people who have specific needs and requests. TV is not supposed to have a curriculum. Sesame Street seemingly sidestepped all that and came across as sagely advice from some cool Uncle or Aunt you knew.

While Playschool was painfully square (window), Sesame Street introduced you to jazz, soul and funk whilst giving you the low-down on the numbers and words to crunch. Whilst Humpty and Little Ted stared blankly at each other, Sesame Street tore open your dome with psychedelic graphics and talking creatures that you wanted to come and live in your house forever.

No other show could have ever brought us this:

For a kid in boring ol’ England, Sesame Street looked like the most exotic thing in the world. Those images you’ve seen of kids in The Bronx, partying in burst open fire hydrants? Sesame Street was a walking, talking version of that. It was a place I always wanted to be.

Yet, to assume that Sesame Street was just some cool programme that taught us and entertained us is missing the mark by some way. Away from the show, and the myriad of brilliant characters, was a whole bunch of records that cemented the show’s cool in my head. Larry Levan, a dance music and disco pioneer, remixed Cookie Monster’s ‘C Is For Cookie’ track and turned into a refried floor filling monster.

Roosevelt Franklin, Sesame Street’s most controversial character (for his penchant for talking in scat and being considered too black for some viewers, or on the flip side, being a negative stereotype to middle class African Americans) released an ace funk/jazz album. No-one from Words and Pictures even had a thought in funk.

Through the brilliant Grover, the resident crank Oscar the Grouch, the effete Big Bird, the wired Elmo, the ace duo of Bert and Ernie, and on and on and on… kids got their kicks and got some serious learning done. In Sesame Street’s first season, the Educational Testing Service reported that the cognitive skills of its young viewers had increased by 62%.

As of this year, Sesame Street has received 118 Emmy Awards, more than any other television series!

Let’s not forget that the show also has one of the coolest theme tunes ever. From the off, it’s sets the tone of what you’re getting yourself in for. Joyous, quirky and filled with kids that looked like you… or at least, like the kids you wanted to hang with. Everything is indeed, AOK. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SESAME STREET!

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(Half) Remembering Northern Exposure

For absolutely no reason, the other day, Northern Exposure popped into my head. Considering what the show was, it almost seemed quite apt that it should just amble through my thoughts, hands in pockets and whistling away. You see, thinking hard, I don’t think I could tell you a single plot from the show, despite the fact that I watched it religiously. It almost didn’t seem like the point. Northern Exposure was a modern day parable. It was about a feeling… about the idea. Sod all that junk about Who Said What To Whom… it was Generation X’s equivalent of The Archers, floating by on a daydream, casting out seeds of thought.

For me and a schoolchum, Northern Exposure was something we muttered about to each other in breaks and lunches. Effectively, away from the ideas and what-have-you, we’d focus our attentions on two people. The first tended to be Janine Turner who played Maggie O’Connell, who we both fancied something rotten. Those conversation would be littered with helpless sighs and dirty laughs.

The second person was probably the most important. Chris Stevens was the hippie-ish DJ for the remote radio station, playing Neil Young records and having an existential crisis once a week. For a teenage lad with a crap haircut and allusions of intelligence, he was the perfect TV hero. He was also super mellow and probably knew a good skunk dealer (also very important to a teenage Gimmers).

The stories tended to be character driven and often felt slightly aimless and wordy. It was an ideal situation for a little dreamer like me. Coming from a super-tough working class family, Northern Exposure allowed me to have my little hippie-dippy moments without getting a dead-leg. It came along at just the right time in my life. It saw me through The Pretentious Years.

Everything about the show was kinda quirky. Right down to the moose that wondered through the opening credits. Right down to Marilyn Whirlwind’s name. I liked the way Ed Chigliak was a dopey, well meaning film-nut with a bad leather jacket. I liked the notion of catapulting a corpse into a lake as a lovely gesture as opposed to it being Jackass.

I pretty much liked everything about it.

That said, like the living, snowy daydream that it was, I don’t think I’d go back and watch it again. Some memories are best kept in your head. I imagine that the show has dated awfully and that the music in it is largely rubbish… but I’ll never know for sure because, every so often, it’ll come sloping back into my brain and continue to be vague and lovely.

Small Screen Icon: Victor Kiam

This weekend, for absolutely no reason at all, I started daydreaming about Victor Kiam. Kiam is one of a kind. He’s just about the only American entrepreneur… scratch that… he was the ONLY entrepreneur I’d heard of for a huge chunk of my life. Businessmen, y’see, switch me right off. They talk in garbled tongues about things that make my brain sink. They look constantly crabby and like they weigh everything up in terms of value. However, Kiam was different. When he appeared in those iconic adverts for Remington and uttered those immortal lines… “I liked it so much, I bought the company!” and “…or your money back!”, he seemed like a really cool, nice old guy. Where Barry Scott was a hired monkey, paid to shout Cilit Bang! as loudly as he could and Alan Sugar lurched creepily around that spot for Premium Bonds, Victor appeared in your set like he just happened to be passing. With that, I thought I’d do a little reading on him… and it turns out he was pretty unique!

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Victor Kiam wasn’t just an electric shaver vendor. He did loads of ace stuff… like buying the New England Patriots in ’88. Who wouldn’t want to own an NFL team? That’s hardcore. He was also down with Lever Brothers and Playtex, who gave us the weirdly iconic ‘cross your heart’ commercials, which I bet Kiam had a hand in.

However, it was his stint at Remington Products that brought him into our homes, with his Viennetta hair and easy-as-milk voice. And why did he get involved with Remington? Turns out his catchphrase was true.

His wife bought him a Remington electric shaver and so impressed was he, that he bought the whole damn company! Whaddaguy! When Kiam passed away in 2001, The Times quoted one of his closest business associates in later years, Jonathon Lyons, as saying that he was “a truly remarkable entrepreneur of the old kind – the kind they simply don’t make any more.”

Further proof of this is… and I only just found this out myself… is that Kiam recorded all the Remington adverts in the native language in which the advert was broadcast. How cool is that? No lame dubbing for him, he wanted to let everyone know he was a mellow guy. Check his amazing French accent in this spot:

Even cooler is that his middle name is Kermit. KERMIT! Victor Kermit Kiam didn’t just communicate with us through his wonderful slight-gravel vowels, but also, by understanding how we live our lives. In one commercial, Kiam appeared shaving wearing nothing but a towel. You just don’t get CEOs of multi-million dollar businesses getting their moobs out on telly.

To this day Kiam is one of the most iconic faces to ever appear on a television commercial, and here’s my own little cap doff. Kiam: I like him so much that I wrote an article about him.

Is Sara Gilbert the most fancied person on telly ever?

When people talk about who they’ve fancied from the telly, the usual names crop up. Natalie Imbrulgia, Anna Friel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Aniston, Lynda Carter, Hayden Panettiere and the like. However, no-one can ever agree on such matters. Aniston switches me right off… and I know lads and lasses that wouldn’t touch Buffy The Vampire Slayer with a bargepole. However, the more I think about it, the more I realise that the most fancied gal in TV history is a surprising one. It’s someone left-of-centre. It’s someone you might not expect at all. It’s Sara Gilbert. It’s Darlene from Roseanne. You may well be thinking “Shuddup, idiot,” but you’ve got to hear me out first…. because, this is definitely the truest thing you’ll ever hear.

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First, an analogy. Everyone I know who likes hip-hop discovered the genre through De La Soul’s ”3 Feet High And Rising’. It’s the universal bond for people of a certain age. It still wins people over to rap who normally Hate That Sort Of Thing. Pretty much everyone I’ve met owns a copy of ‘3 Feet High And Rising’ or at least loves all the singles from it.

Darlene was the De La TV equivalent. For many, she was the hip, sarcastic alt.gal who etched her name upon your heart but, unbeknownst to you, left a witty, abusive message on the reverse. She was the coolest girl in your town… despite the fact she lived thousands of miles away.

From ’88 to ’97, which just so happened to be hip-hop’s golden period in which ‘3 Feet High’ came out, Darlene was the pin-up for the sulky, wilfully misunderstood. That pretty much goes for anyone who has ever been a teenager.

What made her great for those who delved a little deeper was that she was great off-screen too… she wrote an episode for Roseanne and was considered so important to the show’s producers that they juggled taping schedules and storylines to allow her to study at Yale University while remaining part of the cast. She walked it and talked it and meant it.

I know loads of people who fancied her. Some openly, some secretly… many fancied her just briefly before moving on to Jessica Rabbit or some nonsense. But I’m willing to bet that every single person reading this (and not just men) will have had a moment where they looked at Sara Gilbert with puppy-dog eyes and a brief flutter of “Aaaahhh… she’s just great isn’t she?” You wanted to be her, or get with her.

She’ll never make a ‘Hottest Women On TV’ list, but on sheer numbers alone, I reckon she’s the most fancied woman in TV history.

Nostalgia Corner: A video selection of amazing TV production idents

Sounds a bit lame doesn’t it? A video of TV production company idents. Wait a minute, come back here you great lump. You see, you might not realise it, but some idents can make a whole host of brilliant memories come flooding back. In fact. some of the animated logos were even better than the shows they produced. I mean, Stephen J. Cannell Productions may not mean a damn thing to you, but when I say that, when you’d finished watching The A-Team, and a guy was sat at a typewriter and flung a piece of paper which turned into a production logo, you cogs may well start to rattle. Click over the jump to see some famous, and some not-so-famous-but-incredibly-lovely spots that will fill you with fuzzy glee. This could well be the finest video you see all year… and so simple.

The Cosby Show Reunion!

The Cosby Show, without doubt, was one of my favourite shows growing up. I was so hooked that when the show kicked off, I would leap to my feet and mimic Bill Cosby’s dancing. It did no harm that I fancied Phylicia Rashad (who played Clair) and Lisa Bonet (who played Denise). I also thought Malcolm Jamal-Warner (Theo) was the coolest human on the planet. There was a lot to love about the show. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show, the cast reunited on the Today Show, to help launch a new DVD collection. The show ran from September 1984 until April 1992 and never seemed to get tired. If you click over the jump, you can watch videos of the reunion and, yes, Bill does that dance.

Related: I fancy Clair Huxtable

Part One

Part Two