Midsomer Murders - Wild Harvest

Midsomer Murders has been accused of becoming less bizarre over the years but it still has its moments and this 2014 episode opens up with someone being eaten by a wild boar.  I was kind of hoping for an army of wild boar to attack the town but I think that may be a different series! What transpires is that local farmer Martin Strickland’s demise is not particularly mourned by several women in his life and what ensues is wrangling over his estate, Wyvern House. This includes a restaurant, run with an iron spoon by chef Ruth Cameron a sort of female Gordon Ramsay.

The chief suspect was the donut.


Top of the Pops 5 June 1986

Presented  by Chris Arnsby. [15] Cashflow: Mine All Mine. Gary Davies. “Welcome to Top of the Pops and here to start us off is Cashflow and Mine All Mine.”
Check out the Mine All Mine video where the padded shoulders have reached excessive proportions, even by the standards of the eighties. Cashflow look considerably less ridiculous in person. Everyone is a little less hunch-shouldered, although there's a nasty selection of pastels on display and, regardless of what the guitarist thinks, orange is a bad colour for a suit.


Why are e-scooters everywhere?

You may have seen e-scooters in your town or city. After a mixed reaction to hire bikes which require the effort of pedalling, e-scooters have proved more popular as they zoom along under their own power. The only effort they require from the rider is a sense of balance. You can ride e-scooters either on the road or the pavement avoiding traffic lights and busy junctions. They can be charged and do not emit the sort of air pollution that a motorbike would plus they are easier to park than bikes. There are seemingly no restrictions as to where they can be left- I’ve seen them parked in all sorts of places. It can only be a matter of time before someone creates a phot of one parked on the Moon! Inevitably there have been complaints about e-scooters being a public nuisance- but not for the reason you might think.. 



Top of the Pops 29 May 1986

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. [3] Doctor & The Medics: Spirit In The Sky. Janice Long. “Hi-ya. Welcome to a live Top of the Pops and would you please welcome, at number 3, Doctor and the Medics and Spirit in the Sky.” Doctor and the Medics have been upgraded to the main stage. It gives them a little more room. Last time The Anadin Brothers (that's the two pale Kabuki-esque dancers/backing singers) had to work awkwardly around the drummer, this time they've got more space.

The band have all dressed in white. Henry Barber is Lighting Director again, and he avoids colouring the band with lighting. Instead he illuminates the foreground audience with constantly changing colours and keeps the background dark. This allows for some great panning shots with the band standing out against the dark background, as the audience pulse from red to purple to green and blue. The exception to all this is the drummer. He looks like the Hulk because he's been sat right on top of a green spotlight. I guess Henry thought it looked nice.



Dick Turpin Season One Episodes 9 - 13

 The Whipping Boy

03/03/79 W/Richard Carpenter/ D Dennis Abey
“I’ll see you hanged, you rascal!” “I’ll send you a ticket”

There are more villains than heroes in this excellent episode which is one of those which definitely would have benefited from being a two parter. As it is a lot of developments are nimbly squeezed into 23 minutes without a second of waste. Turpin and Swftnick steal a large sum of printed money from the Duke of Hertford though at first Swiftnick thinks it’s just paper! Needless to say the Duke is livid and calls in his henchman Tobias Moat to bring the county to heal. Moat has a reputation for ruthless cruelty and is accompanied by the sound of a whip every time he turns up. He also seems to have a set of black teeth for no other reason than to make him look even deadlier. Moat has history with both Turpin and Spiker having served with them – or by the sound of it more against them- in Gibraltar.


Dick Turpin Season One Episodes 4 - 8


The Poacher

27/01/79 W Richard Carpenter / D James Allen
“That painted macaroni’s no highwayman”

Appearances can be deceptive in this fun episode which opens with Turpin and Swiftnick’s latest coach having already been robbed. Seems there’s a poacher about and suspicion soon falls on a mysterious newcomer Joshua Vizard who certainly looks like he could be a highwayman with a dark demeanour that suggests villainy. On the other hand Sir John’s visiting cousin Willoughby is a powdered ponce fond of quoting poetry and sporting the latest fashionable wig from London. He couldn’t possibly be the poacher could he? Richard Carpenter’s script creates a pantomimesque atmosphere filled with word play and somewhat exaggerated performances from the cast. This is Carpenter in his element jousting with language and the proceedings play well for all ages- kids will enjoy the action and the silly accents, older viewers will appreciate the allusions and the neat twist of the plot. Perhaps the final five minutes which becomes a sort of hide and seek in Glutton’s manor is a touch too overplayed but by then you’re with it all the way.


Dick Turpin Season One Episodes 1 - 3

 A series about a notorious highwayman yet aimed towards a family audience is not an obvious idea for a drama but for writer Richard Carpenter it was a typically left field choice. After all he’d already written shows about smugglers, an eleventh century wizard, a group of ghosts and a boy from space. He liked outsiders and the way they interpreted their surroundings, his work packed with rich characters and a sense of place that means they’ve not dated as much as other contemporaneous programmes have done. Often made for younger viewers they have a sophistication and a refusal to talk down to the viewer that makes them easily accessible to people of all ages. Though this series is named after an infamous historical figure the series is not telling that real story at all but one that actually begins with the hanging of Dick Turpin…



Top of the Pops 15 and 22 May 1986

Double bill! reviewed by Chris Arnsby

15 May 1986 -

[25] Status Quo: Rollin' Home. Mike Smith. “Good evening and welcome to Top of the Pops from Television Centre. Let's start with the highest new entry this week, Status Quo- Rollin' Home.” Status Quo's last studio appearance was when The Wanderer charted, 25/10/1984. What have they been up to in the meantime? The usual, splits, solo projects, and court cases. And a 1985 appearance at Live Aid, of course. The court case with original member Alan Lancaster was settled early in 1986, and the band are back with a new line-up and the same sound; dun-der-dun-der-dun-der-dun. "Everybody was coked-up and hating each other,” was how Francis Rossi described the mood at their 1984 Milton Keynes Bowl concert. Well, they're all good friends now. At the start of the instrumental Francis Rossi turns his back on the audience and makes a crank-it-up gesture to the band. He does something off camera which makes the guitarist (who isn't Francis Rossi or Rick Parfitt, and definitely isn't Alan Lancaster) and the keyboard player smile, and then Rossi whispers to Rick Parfitt and makes him break off and laugh.



Midsomer Murders- Dark Secrets

In this excellent episode from 2011, the death of an unpopular social services official sends Barnaby and Jones into the orbit of the Bingham family. Elderly William and Mary Bingham rattle around in their large mansion ordering too much food and piling up the daily papers for over thirty years into a number of impressive towers as tall as buses. Quite how such an ageing couple achieve this gravity defying feat is not really addressed though you just know that sooner or later one of these is going to topple over on someone.