Forgotten tv - Kelly Monteith

1. KELLY MONTEITH (BBC2 1979-84)

Words:Tim Worthington

In the late seventies, American standup comedian Kelly Monteith, already a TV star in his home country, found himself temporarily based in London. Following a string of well-recieved guest appearances on Des O'ConnorTonight, the BBC - noting his popularity and comfortability with UK audiences - approached him about the possibility of appearing in his own show.

As luck would have it, Monteith had been unsuccessfully hawking a format around the more restrictive American networks for a while, and it proved to be exactly what the BBC were looking for. Co-written with longtime David Frost collaborator Neil Shand, the self-titled series starred Monteith as, erm, a standup comedian named Kelly Monteith, charting comic incidents that occurred as he and his wife Gabrielle Drake adjusted to life in London. Except it wasn't quite as much of a conventional sitcom as that might make it sound.


Forgotten tv- Skiboy

2. SKIBOY (ITV 1973)

Words:Tim Worthington

Throughout the sixties and seventies, ITC were responsible for the vast majority of ITV's most popular detective, sci-fi/fantasy and action series, with their long list of hits including The Prisoner, The Saint, The Champions, Thunderbirds, Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased) and Department S. Even less successful shows, like The Zoo Gang, The Adventurer and Gideon's Way, have their fan followings. And then there’s Skiboy.


Apes Rise to the Top!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the summer’s best film according to John Connors

Finally, the blockbuster summer film we’ve been waiting for! A brisk 105 minutes sees this prequel to the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes skilfully navigate an exposition heavy narrative through several years before the action kicks in. The result is markedly different from the season’s other tent pole movies in that we have a real stake in the story and the film never overplays its hand. The final half hour delivers thrills galore as the apes break out and run amok in San Francisco by which time we know them well.


Forgotten tv - Rubovia

3. RUBOVIA (BBC1 1976)

Words:Tim Worthington

Mention Camberwick Green or Trumpton to anyone of a certain age, and they'll probably know what you're talking about. Mention the slightly less well-remembered Chigley, and you're likely to start to get a few blank looks. And if you mention Rubovia, you'll probably just get accused of having made it up.


Forgotten tv - Small World


Words:Tim Worthington

So far, most of the shows on this list have been ones that should be remembered as much for their prominence as their erstwhile popularity. Madcap romantic drama Small World, however, was a genuine smash and one of the most talked about shows of its time.


Super 8 out of 10

John Newman reviews Super 8 SPOILERS AHEAD...

As many have already pointed out- and which is abundantly clear from the moment it starts- Super 8  is a film in awe of early Steven Spielberg. It’s tempting to speculate on uncomfortable moments when he got to see just how faithful a facsimile of the sorcerer’s work the apprentice turned in. This is double edged for writer / director JJ Abrams who might be accused on the one hand of plagiarism but praised on the other of lighting up what has been a fairly repetitive summer of clanging action. Unlike almost all of its 2011 rivals, Super 8 has a beating heart and for the most part this is  strong enough to make the film a worthwhile exercise in its own right rather than just a tribute.


Network DVD Carry On after London depot fire

Rioters decimate UK’s biggest indie film and music warehouse

Network Distribution who have released dozens of classic and archive TV titles have vowed to carry on despite a huge fire at a storage depot in Enfield last week which destroyed all their stock.  The building, Sony Entertainment’s only UK DVD and cd warehouse, was gutted by fire on 8 August, after rioters set it ablaze. The damage affected vast amounts of stock held by several UK independent music labels and film companies during an already parlous decade for both.  
Network says stock availability will be affected “for the next few weeks” with all titles due for release this month- and possibly beyond- delayed. However they have vowed to continue their service.


Forgotten tv- The Enchanted House


Words:Tim Worthington

For some reason, ITV's lunchtime children's shows tend to be less well remembered than their BBC counterparts. For every Rainbow or Chorlton & The Wheelies, there are dozens that ran for years yet have seemingly since been almost entirely forgotten. One such show is The Enchanted House, an animated oddity that was repeated endlessly during the seventies.


Forgotten tv - Bognor

6. BOGNOR (ITV 1981-82)

Words:Tim Worthington

Reflecting the social and economic environment of the time, the late seventies and early eighties saw the introduction of countless hard-up underachieving TV detectives. Inevitably given a grim urban landscape to do their detecting in and family problems to wrestle with in their spare time, most of them were intentionally as workaday and rank and file as TV detectives come.

Simon Bognor, on the other hand, most definitely was not. Drawn from a series of successful novels by Tim Heald, Bognor was a 'Special Investigator' for the Board of Trade, the grand-sounding title masking the fact that he was obliged to spend his time prying into industrial chicanery and import-related intrigue, bringing him up against 'villains' who were more penny-pinching than megalomaniacal. During the course of his television adventures he would cross paperwork-laden swords with swindling monks, poison pen-wielding journalists, and a hushed-up mysterious death in the world of show poodles. It wasn't one of the owners.


Forgotten tv- Something For The Weekend


Words:Tim Worthington

In the late eighties, the BBC decided that they needed a hit comedy sketch show as a lead-in to their Saturday night TV schedules. The only problem was that the audience hadn't quite decided that they needed one too.

Something For The Weekend was primarily concieved as a vehicle for Susie Blake, already a small-screen veteran but then the subject of much interest over her role as the announcer in BBC2's Victoria Wood - As Seen On TV. Hoping to capitalise on this, albeit some two and a half years after the last edition, the Light Entertainment department installed her in a new sketch show as one fifth of a team of up and coming comics, alongside Caroline Leddy, James Gaddas, Mike Doyle and Mike Hayley. Most of the others were relative newcomers, and only Gaddas and Leddy (formerly part of much-touted comedy troupe The Millies, alongside Richard Thomas, Donna McPhail and Jo Unwin) had much in the way of a public profile.


Forgotten tv – Dear Heart

8. DEAR HEART (BBC2 1982-83)

Words:Tim Worthington

In the early eighties, BBC2 made a short-lived attempt at filling the notorious scheduling wasteland between 6pm and 7pm with all manner of sophisticated teenager-slanted entertainment. Numerous high-concept dramas, sitcoms and pop music shows came and went in a flurry of cheers from the target audience and jeers from disapproving parents, but concepts never came higher than they did with bizarre comedy sketch show Dear Heart.


Forgotten tv - Hear'Say It's Saturday!

By Tim Worthington

It all seems so innocent now. Back in 2001, ITV's Popstars saw an ad-hoc pop group assembled from clearly quite talented youngsters by a panel of judges that actually knew something about the behind-the-scenes side of the industry. What's more, it was all pre-recorded and presented in a documentary format, without a single phone-in vote to rig.

The non-voting public certainly took to Popstars,as it slowly climbed the ratings to challenge the all-conquering soaps by the end of its run. Kym, Myleene, Suzanne, Danny and Noel (come on, you were struggling, weren't you?), collectively known as Hear'say (nobody was ever quite sure what the apostrophe was all about), went on to become huge chart stars for a brief but intense eighteen months with a string of likeable pop songs. Sensing the public were starting to lose interest, they split in 2002 after two albums, going on to surprisingly successful careers in stage musicals, soap operas and, erm, classical music. No, really.


Forgotten tv - Intro + Bizzy Lizzy

In a new 10 part series, Tim Worthington is your guide...


There are the 'big' TV shows, widely remembered for both good and bad reasons. There are the obscure shows, many of them nonetheless the subject of keen critical attention. And in between, there are so many more that were popular - or at least prominent - in their day, but have rarely been mentioned since.

If it's not famous for being good, notorious for being bad, or full of retrospective cultural significance, chances are that the average (in both senses) TV show - especially in the days when almost everything was made basically to be shown once - will soon fade from the public memory. Even pulling in huge ratings or taking up a primetime slot for a hefty continuous stretch cannot save it from becoming the stuff of ill-fated 'does anyone remember...?' conversations and career footnotes on IMDB. You'll never find this sort of show being enthused over on clip shows, or repeated on digital channels. The TV equivalent, more or less, of Mississippi by Pussycat or Baby Jump by Mungo Jerry - songs that were number one hits at the time (they were, look them up!) but have rarely been heard since. Except, in this case, it's rarely seen rather than rarely heard. Well, the comparison still works. Sort of.

Over the next ten instalments, we'll be taking a look at some of the biggest TV shows ever to be completely forgotten after they finished. Along the way we'll find out how a giraffe connects Cleo Laine to Dinky Toys, what an action series about a champion skiier might be called in other countries, and just which TV presenter won't appreciate being reminded of the phrase "That's all from the Comedy Wall - Hurrah!". And it all starts with a puppet with a poor grasp of what constitutes 'four'...