Back to May 1986 (17th May 1986)

There’s not too much available that’s appealing to me on the BBC channels today (Sorry! is a possibility though, if I’m really desperate).

ITV’s a happier hunting ground – with Robin of Sherwood and C.A.T.S. Eyes. Robin of Sherwood has reached series three – which means that Jason Connery is now the hooded man (he’s not many people’s favourite RH – most seem to favour Michael Praed – but, given his inexperience, he gives the role a decent fist).

Today’s episode is Cromm Cruac (or, as the Video Gems VHS inexplicably called it, Cromwell’s Crusade). This means that Richard O’Brien returns as the cackling Gulnar, with Ian Redford, Larry Dann and Graham Weston also featuring.

C.A.T.S. Eyes is a very odd series. Taking a character (Maggie Forbes) from a straightforward police series (The Gentle Touch) and plonking her down in the middle of a glossy adventure show was such a strange move. Today’s episode, Freezeheat, was written by series creator Terence Feeley and features Daniel Peacock and Tony Doyle. I can’t confess to having a great deal of love for C.A.T.S. Eyes as it was just a little too bland for my tastes (ITV would continue for a while to churn out series with a similar formula – eventually ending up with the deeply unloved Saracen).

Undoubted highlight of the day is Mapp & Lucia on C4. The episode in question is Lady Bountiful, which sees Lucia drop a bombshell when she announces her engagement to Georgie. Au reservoir!

7 thoughts on “Back to May 1986 (17th May 1986)

  1. I would have watched Right To Reply and Sorry! – I can’t see anything else.

    If this was the schedule today though, I’d watch Robin Of Sherwood, Sorry, Mapp & Lucia and “Old clever clogs” The Late Clive James, which is pretty good going for a Saturday (especially as it would entail missing out on a number of things I’d also quite like to see – Right To Reply, CATS Eyes, Hill Street Blues).

    The clash between two original dramas – CATS Eyes and Mapp & Lucia – is poorly coordinated, something that the ITV-Channel 4 schedulers usually managed to avoid in this period.


  2. Regarding ‘Sorry!’ with Ronnie Corbett – wasn’t he the presenter of Child’s Play that was on ITV 6.30pm? I might have got my wires crossed, but I seem to recall him presenting some kind of series like this in the early 1990s.


    • Michael Aspel was the host of the 1980s game show Child’s Play.

      There was a series in the 1970s, which only ran for one series, called It’s Childsplay. It was hosted by Morcambe and Wise, and viewers were invited to write short plays which were performed on the proogramme. Morcambe and Wise always acted in the last sketch.


  3. Before Swap Shop Saturday morning children’s television consisted of a few cartoons and repeats. I remember the week after the first series of Swap Shop finished and it felt very strange with Saturday morning tv going back to repeats.

    But sat some point during the Saturday Superstore era the BBC introduced the first of the summer replacement programmes The Saturday Picture Show. This was the last series of Saturday Picture Show, shortly afterwards Mark Curry joined Blue Peter.

    I missed most of the first series of Robin of Sherwood because I was working on Saturdays and we didn’t have a video recorder. We did have a video recorder when the second series was shown but I was taping Doctor Who. But I did see the all of the Jason Connery series. Ans it remains my favourite adaptation of Robin Hood.

    In the early days of Channel 4 they used to show a lot of cult tv shows from the sixties such as The Avengers and The Prisoner. (It would be good in November to have a look back at the first week of Channel 4.) I predicted that in about fifteen years time Channel 4 would be repeating Robin of Sherwood. Sadly, I was wrong. ITV never repeated Robin of Sherwood and it never got shown on Channel 4, who fifteen years after Robin of Sherwood had gone up themselves on reality tv.

    I don’t know if anyone else on this website ever went to Cult TV Weekend, but one of the nicest guests they had at Cult TV Weekend was Phil Rose who played Friar Tuck in Robin of Sherwood who was a guest at the 1997 weekend.

    But not much else was wort watching. Sorry! was an apology for a comedy series. The Price Is Right was one of the broadcasting disasters of the eighties. I don’t think they could have thought of a more boring format for a game show if they tried. (Well actually they could, Deal Or No Deal.)

    The late night film is about television. In the early 2000s the Curzon Soho did double bills of old films on Sunday afternoons, giving customer a choice of two double bills. One Sunday I saw a double bill of The Killing of Sister George and the 1963 Japanese film An Actor’s Revenge.


    • Regarding Channel 4 – the Brookside omnibus was in the listings. 1986 was a corker of a year on the Close with some very strong stories.

      I tended to watch the omnibus but wasn’t it on a Saturday afternoon throughout the 1990s for the benefit of those who couldn’t watch it during the week?

      By the time of the show’s demise in 2003, C4 pulled the plug on the weekly broadcasts and simply ‘lumped’ three episodes into a 90 minute transmission at the weekend that was merely the omnibus time slot anyway!!!


  4. Mapp and Lucia is one of those series for which I seem to be in the minority – couldn’t bear it, especially because it lacked the subtlety of the (short) books which I read at about the same time. I don’t think it was perceived as a great hit at the time: I remember one newspaper reviewer saying that the experience of watching this series was akin to being the only sober person at a drunken party …


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