This is utterly fascinating, and well worth watching, not least because of Ludovic Kennedy’s sardonic round-up of the late BSB’s televisual output. In case you don’t know, when satellite television first launched in the UK, there were two rival platforms, consisting of the Government sanctioned, technically superior British Satellite Broadcasting, versus the cheaper Sky Television (much more info here).
This episode of Did You See? features Douglas Adams, Eve Pollard and Craig Ferguson, discussing three of BSB’s flagship shows.
Watch part two here.
It begins with a clip from Jupiter Moon, a new soap that BSB expensively commissioned (150 episodes!) and which Douglas Adams’ says “only seemed like a good idea at the planning stage … It’s unbelievably bad.” Interestingly, Eve Pollard denounces it for not showing anyone fat over the age of 35 (what has television become since), while Craig Ferguson concludes, “I think it’s the daftest thing I’ve ever seen a camera pointed at in my life. It’s really stupid.”
They move on to First Edition, a magazine news show with Selena Scott. Craig says “you could have Liz Taylor read the news, it wouldn’t make it any better.” Douglas Adams laments the substitution of proper journalism with a propensity for puns, so I wonder how he would feel nowadays.
Watch part three here.
Eve Pollard begins by defending downmarket news, no surprise from the then current editor of the Daily Mirror, before they move on to I Love Keith Allen. The clip they show is “the best thing in it,” according to Mr Ferguson, though Douglas has seen it done better before by Monty Python and Saturday Night Live.
They end with a discussion about whether there’s room on the British airwaves for two satellite broadcasters. On this Eve Pollard was dead wrong, Douglas Adams was dead right, and Craig says that whoever gets the sport will win. But then Eve pulls it out of the bag, and gets it dead right again.
Watch part four here.
Then we move on to a 50th Anniversary retrospective of Hanna-Barbera with Gilbert Adair. Worth a watch, with some extended Flintstones clips, and some from Top Cat, and Huckleberry Hound. And then, for no obvious reason, a clip from Steptoe & Son.
Watch part five here.
The credits roll, and we get a promo for Yes, Minister, Nature, French & Saunders, 40 minutes, Mistero Buffo
Watch the pilot episode of Jupiter Moon here. It looks like the entire 150 episode series is available.
Here’s another clip from I Love Keith Allen, which has now been wiped apparently.
So anyway, it’s no wonder the Radio Active team turned their attention to this new satellite TV thing in the 1990s with KYTV: