On this day (5th January)

Comedy Playhouse – The Offer was broadcast on BBC Television in 1962

Happy 60th Birthday to The Offer (sadly it’s the only surviving episode from that first series of Comedy Playhouse). Steptoe & Son lost something of its original edge as the years went on, but here the picture it paints is a chilling one. Although there are laughs along the way, the feelings of pain, resentment and claustrophobia are ever present.

The ending – Harold, after proving himself unable to summon up the will to break free, has to be led whimpering back inside by a visibly shaken Albert – still packs a real punch today. Galton and Simpson always said that this was a key moment for them – the realisation that actors, unlike comics, were more than happy to milk the script for every dramatic moment (rather than worrying about where the next laugh was coming from).

The first episode of Paddington was broadcast on BBC1 in 1976.

I still find this a very moreish series – with each episode running for only five minutes it’s easy to breeze through a number of them quite easily. The decision to make Paddington a 3D puppet interacting with cardboard cutout people was inspired (as was the choice of Michael Hordern as narrator).

I’d recommend tracking down the 1980 special in which Paddington recreates Gene Kelly’s dance routine from Singin’ In The Rain.  It’s an impressive piece of work which copies Kelly’s steps very closely.

The first episode of Triangle was broadcast on BBC1 in 1981.

Following the end of the original run of All Creatures Great & Small, producer Bill Sellars moved onto this well remembered (although not for good reasons) project. The series never really recovered from its opening few minutes which depicted Kate O’Mara sunbathing in very adverse conditions.

The Stage’s review of the early episodes makes for agreeably waspish reading.

There’s nothing wrong with the cast – in addition to O’Mara you can see the likes of Michael Craig, Larry Lamb and Nigel Stock – but I’ve not yet been able to get beyond the first few episodes. Maybe 2022 will be the year that I finally stiffen my resolve and tackle it. If so I’ll report back …

The first episode of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy was broadcast on BBC2 in 1981.

What a day the 5th of January 1981 was. Not only Triangle, but also The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Whilst the radio series has to be every right-thinking person’s first choice, the television series had aged very well. Yes, some of the special effects may be showing their age but the animations by Rod Lord and his team are still mind-bogglingly impressive 40+ years on. Time for another rewatch I think.