Stonkingly late as usual, it's TMINE's usual coverage of all the BFI events coming your way in the unusual BFI-created month of October/November (not to be confused with September/October). This month, most of the TV output comes as part of the BFI's BlackStar season, looking at the contributions by black talent to movies and television around the world as well as in the UK. It includes a preview of the forthcoming NW, Black is the New Black and A Black History of Britain, a tribute afternoon to Cy Grant, a 10th anniversary screening of Shoot The Messenger, as well as numerous plays.
But also lined up is a preview of Television’s Opening Night: How the Box was Born, a recreation of the first ever night of BBC TV, as well as another recreation - an animated version of missing Doctor Who story The Power of the Daleks.
For those who are nostalgic for TV times past (like me), it's sometimes easy to forget that the past wasn't necessarily better - particularly for minority groups. Consider the deaf (assuming you're not. Deaf that is). Time was that BSL signing on television was unheard of. It just didn't happen.
The first exposure to it I remember getting was when one of my favourite early 80s bands, Red Box, appeared on Blue Peter to discuss the inclusion of a BSL signer in the video for their song 'Lean On Me'.
Of course, when 'For America', their next song came out, no BSL signing was deemed necessary. Gimmick, maybe?
And apart from a new little show on Sunday afternoons called See Hear, that was about it for BSL for quite some time.
Nowadays, although we're still not exactly talking global signing, the BBC has both signed versions of regular programming in its Sign Zoneslot and original programming, too, including the now venerable See Hear.
Like the BBC, Channel 4 has its own late night signing, as do E4 and Film4, and of course the recent Rio Paralympics was signed.
Other channels? Not so much.
Commercials are an interesting one. This recent one for Maltesers is something of a first.
Lovely, hey? But perhaps even lovelier is the signed version (yes, really), since it showed that enough people would recognise the BSL signer from the Rio Paralympics that he could be included in the ad. Not that he had a lot to do…
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, The Monkees was one of those shows you couldn't avoid if you lived in the UK during the 80s. Every time school holidays rolled around, along with The Red Hand Gangand The Flashing Blade, there was The Monkees on BBC1, every morning. This was despite having been made in the 1960s, mind you - I do wonder how the kids of today will ever get to watch classic TV without the likes of the Beeb and Channel 4 to force feed them it any more.
The Monkees was odd. One of the first US shows to feature teenagers as its leads, it starred an eponymous pop group of four youngsters, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, all with Beatles-esque haircuts - guess what network NBC was trying to cash in on? What was odd was:
It was a sitcom, set around the group's often surreal, often fourth-wall breaking adventures, in which they all played versions of themselves
Davy Jones was British, which was a rare thing on US TV in those days
It had musical breaks during which the band sung their songs, although frequently the action would continue while the group played
The group had never met each other until the show, having been recruited by an NBC casting call, yet they still managed not only to gel, but to become a successful band in their own right.
In fact, so well did they gel, despite the tragic loss of Davy Jones, the remaining Monkees are still touring and writing music to this day, and the group created a number of classic 60s songs, including 'I'm A Believer', 'Last Train To Clarksville' and 'Daydream Believer'. Not to forget the theme tune to the show itself.
The show lasted for an impressive two seasons, after which the group's metaness reached a peak with the movie Head, written by the show's creator Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces) and none other than Jack Nicholson. This was actually an odd, stream of conscious, series of scenes about the difficulties of being a public figure, interspersed with satire about war, drugs, and politics. That and getting stuck in a giant Victor Mature.
One of the classics of 60s sitcoms, The Monkees' legacy endured for years. In the 70s, The Banana Splitswas largely The Monkees but featuring men wearing animal costumes, with just a hint of Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. And arguably the 1980s' The Young Ones' musical interludes owed a heavy debt to The Monkees'.
You can watch most of the episodes of The Monkees on YouTube, but here's the first, just for your enjoyment.
And for true fans, here are the screen tests for the cast:
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A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.