Sunday, 16 December 2018


Immediately before their coverage of the 1997 General Election, BBC One ran something rather interesting - a repeat of the election-themed Blackadder the Third episode Dish and Dishonesty. It is a rare example of the BBC's mainstream channel tying into an election on the day - the only time they've attempted to do so since is 2010, when Have I Got News for You was moved out of the Friday night slot it had occupied for 19 years by scheduling genius Jay Hunt and plonked on Thursdays, with the stated reason that it would allow them to do an election special on the day Britain went to the polls. However, on the actual day of recording itself, they realised that if they went ahead with this plan the episode would be broadcast before the polls had closed, meaning the panellists would be forbidden from expressing any opinionated comments about the election. Realising this was less than ideal, the episode's recording date was hurriedly shifted to Friday morning, for broadcast later that evening. (This tight turnaround is also used by whichever Radio 4 is running at 6.30pm on Fridays at the time of the election - indeed, The News Quiz has often recorded on Friday morning for episodes during the campaign, rather than just the episode immediately after the results.)

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Alternative Dr Who Christmas Special Guide

For the first time since its triumphant return to our screens in 2005, there is no new episode of Doctor Who on Christmas Day this year, with the new production team plumping for a New Year's Day special instead. But if you're desperate for a fix of festive Who before the year is out (and want to do something slightly more interesting than rewatch some of the previous years' specials), why not look to parts of the show's spin-off media instead?

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Edit Wars #9

Whilst getting the links for the old Robot Wars Club membership pack videos off of YouTube, I have made several remarkable discoveries readers of the blog might like.

Robot Wars Revealed, the Series 2 spin-off show that has languished in obscurity since its original broadcast due to airing on a newly launched channel, previously only had one known surviving episode. But now a second one's only gone and bloody turned up!

The next discovery is even better, though. Seven whole minutes of footage from the pits, shot via hand-held camcorder by one of the 13 Black team (for the curious, this footage can be dated to exactly 26 August 2001 by the team's own website). The same account also gives us five minutes of test footage from when the robot was first built, and footage of their Series 2 entry Limpet dating from August 1998.

And, for good measure, an appearance from Mike Lambert of the Dantomkia team on Harry Hill's TV Burp.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Thrave Review

It's the late eighties and early-to-mid nineties, and adventure gamebooks are huge in the United Kingdom, with the popularity of Fighting Fantasy having prompted every other publisher going to jump on the bandwagon. One of the more prolific gamebook authors who never wrote for FF is one Stephen Thraves, and I am truly grateful for his name providing the pun in the title of this article. But what about his gamebooks?

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Brittassing In Action

The Brittas Empire ran for seven series on BBC One between 1991 and 1997, all of which were later released on DVD, alongside a limited amount of bonus content. And what they chose, and didn't choose, to include as special features is a bit odd.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

The BBC Does Not Have Adverts But Some Programmes It Airs Originally Did: A Case Study

The BBC occasionally buys programming from other countries. And those programmes were probably originally made for channels with commercial breaks... which the BBC, as established in the rather eccentric title of this post, don't have. The solution was generally to edit out the fades or cuts to black where the adverts would originally go. But sometimes things would be a bit more complicated than that. What if the programme had something designed to lead in to an advert break - such as a cliffhanger, or a bit of leaning on the fourth wall acknowledging the gap? The Simpsons, which the BBC aired the first 11 seasons of between 1996 and 2004, is a good test subject for this, so let's take a look at what got cut.

Sunday, 11 November 2018


A few months ago, in Edit Wars #5, I postulated that the original series of Robot Wars would be an excellent show to release on DVD because of all the lovely potential bonus content. So why not imagine what such content could look like with a series of fantasy DVD listings?

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Broken Gamebooks #11: Midnight Rogue

Midnight Rogue, the twenty-ninth entry in the Fighting Fantasy series, is an entertaining change from the norm: you play an apprentice in the Thieves' Guild of Port Blacksand, and to be granted full membership of the guild, you must locate and steal a priceless gem known as the Eye of the Basilisk. It's a fun, punchy adventure with a unique plot, and also tries a few gameplay innovations not often seen in FF books; nothing groundbreaking, but I'm certainly glad it exists.

Right, that's that out of the way, let's errata the hell out of this thing. MASSIVE SPOILERS below the jump break, for the wary.