Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures June 2020: Budgie, William Tell and Sir Francis Drake

An occasional look at what classic TV shows Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon

Last week, TMINE launched the new Talking Pictures schedule guide, looking at what classic TV shows were coming to the channel in May and June. However, a few of the shows didn’t have start times – now they do.

Budgie is going to be starting on Tuesday 16th June at 9pm. The Adventures of Will Tell is going to be part of a daily 9am ITC The Adventures of… slot – The Adventures of Sir Lancelot is Thursdays, The Adventures of Robin Hood on Wednesdays and The Adventures of William Tell will be on Tuesdays.

That starts the week of June 15, with Mondays being the new addition to the schedule of The Adventures of Sir Francis Drake.

But that’s just the highlights, so keep your eyes glued to the schedule to see what else is on.

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Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures May/June 2020: Quatermass, Budgie, Catweazle and a whole bunch of ITC shows

An occasional look at what classic TV shows Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon

So in a slightly new feature, I’m going to be highlighting some old, rather than new TV shows, that TV channel Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon. For free.

This week, there’s all the excitement of the final Professor Quatermass TV show, cunningly called Quatermass. That starts tomorrow night at 9pm.

Next month, though, there are treats galore. Budgie, starring Adam Faith, is on its way:

Catweazle is back, starting June 3, as is The Gentle Touch from June 8. The following week, we’ll be getting some classic ITC shows, with The Adventures of Sir Lancelot starting on June 13 and The Adventures of Robin Hood; William Tell is supposed to be coming, too, but I can’t see it in the schedules yet, so I imagine that’ll be later in the month.

But that’s just the highlights, so keep your eyes glued to the schedule to see what else is on.

Edward Woodward as Callan
Classic TV

The Weekly Play: Callan – A Magnum For Schneider (1967)

Just in case for some insane reason you don’t already have them on DVD, this is just a quick reminder that possibly the best TV programme ever made, Callan, is getting a very rare repeat, thanks (of course) to Talking Pictures. I think the last time it was repeated was on UK Gold in the early to mid 90s, so don’t expect it to come round again for another 20 years.

The action starts with the original Armchair Theatre production that launched it, A Magnum for Schneider, which coincidentally again is this week’s Weekly Play. It sees working class ex-spy David Callan (Edward Woodward) blackmailed by his former boss Colonel Hunter into returning to ‘the Section’, SIS’s dirty tricks department responsible for everything from extortion through to assassination. His task? The murder of the titular Schneider, a German businessman who may be more than he seems. But has Callan’s nerve gone? And if it has, will his former employers kill him?

It’s a brilliant, unshowy piece of work, with Woodward showing his star credentials from the outset. But Russell Hunter as his informant ‘Lonely’, Ronald Radd as Hunter and Peter Bowles as Callan’s posh fellow agent Meres are all stand-outs. In an era of spy escapism, Callan was a welcome bit of gritty, down at heel British drama.

After A Magnum for Schneider, Talking Pictures will continue airing the series proper with the show’s surviving black and white episodes (no, the BBC wasn’t the only broadcaster to wipe its archives from time to time), in which the marvellous Anthony Valentine took over from Bowles as Meres, and a legion of other great actors eventually took over, Number 2-style, from Radd as ‘Hunter’.

After that, we head into the colour Thames episodes, which thankfully still survive. If you miss it, you’ll be sorry!

UPDATE: Actually, checking Talking Pictures schedules, it looks like A Magnum For Schneider isn’t getting an airing, so it’s straight into the black and white episodes tonight with The Good Ones Are All Dead at 9pm. That means you should definitely watch this week’s Weekly Play!

Talking Pictures TV
The Weekly Play

The Weekly Play: Armchair Theatre – A Bit of A Lift (1973)

Readers of the somewhat irregular and increasingly badly named TMINE feature The Weekly Play will recall classic ITV play strand Armchair Theatre, which as I mentioned here, resulted in numerous classics of the small screen.

While at least some of those plays have been releases on DVD, it’s never (AFAIK) been repeated on TV, beyond the occasional special, but this month changes that. Talking Pictures TV, one of the ‘nosebleed’ channels on your EPG (Virgin 445; Freeview 81; Sky channel 328; Freesat 306; Youview 81), is one of the rare channels out there on UK TV worth watching these days, particularly if you’re a classic film or TV buff. Airing all manner of rarities of both the silver and the small screen – it had Hannay last month and I can see it’s got the Roger Moore The Saint next month, too – it’s worth checking out if you can, although it really could do with a Roku/iOS/Android app, if you ask me.

And starting this Sunday, every week, it’s going to air a play from Armchair Theatre.

The season starts on Sunday with 1973’s A Bit of A Lift, directed by Dennis Vance and starring Ronald Fraser, Ann Beach, Donald Churchill and Denise Shaw.

A man meets a woman at a wedding and manages to sweet talk her, only to end up inadvertently helping out another male.

But it’s also this week’s Weekly Play. What serendipity, hey?