BBC1 offers classic afternoon film fun today with Disney’s 1950 version of Treasure Island. It’s impossible to watch Robert Newton’s exuberant eye-rolling performance without thinking of Tony Hancock just a little, but that just adds to my enjoyment. Bobby Driscoll seems a little out of place as an American Jim Hawkins, especially since the supporting cast is filled with familiar British actors like Geoffrey Keen, John Laurie, John Gregson and Sam Kydd.
There’s another chance to see last year’s Yes Minister Christmas special, Party Games. At sixty minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome and, as ever, comes complete with the sort of wordplay that earned Nigel Hawthorne a shelf full of BAFTAs. Here, Sir Humphrey attempts to tell Jim that he’s leaving the DAA. “The relationship which I might tentatively venture to aver has been not without some degree of reciprocal utility and perhaps even occasional gratification, is emerging a point of irreversible bifurcation and, to be brief, is in the propinquity of its ultimate regrettable termination.”
On BBC2 there’s The Compleat Beatles at 7.00 pm. Prior to the Beatles Anthology it was an invaluable resource, and indeed even now it’s still a pleasure to revisit. Although the absence of any new interview material with the surviving Fabs is a shame, there’s still a good selection of talking heads – mainly recruited from their earlier days (like Bill Harry and Allan Williams) although George Martin is also on hand to share some insights. At only two hours the story is obviously compressed, but it does come complete with a generous sprinkling of music clips throughout (why Apple Corps didn’t come down hard on this at the time is anyone’s guess).
Over on ITV there’s a new sitcom – All in Good Faith with Richard Briers. It’s never going to give the likes of The Good Life or Ever Decreasing Circles a run for their money, but Briers is always watchable so it goes on the list.
Channel 4 spends its evening celebrating Granada in the Sixties. Curiously there’s no Coronation Street, but on the plus side it includes less obvious picks like The Caesars. From this line-up I’ll be watching The Music of Lennon and McCartney which is just a click away on YouTube and serves as a good companion to The Compleat Beatles.