Review: That’s What I Call Television

That's What I Call Television

In the UK: Saturdays, 9.30pm, ITV1

Talk about derivative. ITV, never one for spotting a trend until it’s five years passed, has noticed that actually, thirtysomethings like to get nostalgic about television they watched when they were a kid. So they’ve rolled out a show hosted by Fern Britton that celebrates TV that aired between 1979 and 1989, got three celebrities with memories of the period to trawl the archives for the high points, all the while dragging on the occasional guest star for an audience of Friends Reunited heavy-users to gape at in awe.

It’s not bad if you enjoy shouting out “that was the theme to the McVitie’s Club advert” at the TV at appropriate moments. But for anyone with an attention span, there’s a disconcerting sense that opportunities have been missed. We had an honest to goodness reunion of Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal. Wow! Yey!

FOR TWO MINUTES. What’s the point in that? They got about three sentences out before they were trundled off. That could have been an entire programme.

This week’s guest was Julian Clary with Matthew Kelly next week and – really, why? – Bradley Walsh to come the following week. Clary’s entertaining and we saw some good clips, not just of his favourite programmes but of him in his various on-screen appearances. The in-house band that recreates theme tunes of yesterday is amusing. And, I’m hoping that the web site is being nice and there really will be a two-minute long reunion of David McCallum and Joanna Lumley to discuss Sapphire and Steel.

But there’s no real focus to the show. It’s just a few things thrown together with a celebrity, all to be done on the cheap. Yet another piece of diluted output from the network that likes to say “Can we have some of that, too?”

  • Ah, if only it was a screen shot where we could actually see Felicity! A fave of mine still since I first saw her in ‘Good Neighbors’, and someone I always wanted in the running for a female Doctor! (I think she could bring that playfulness Troughton had.)