TV Dinosaurs

DinosaursWriting about the current crop of tv programmes the other day led to me coming over all nostalgic about those that have gone the way of other extinct television dinosaurs even though they had life left in them.

The most obvious example for me is a recent one. The plug was pulled on Spooks last year after ten series and I’m still in mourning for Harry Pearce and co.

We’re told that Hunted is its new incarnation, but I am yet to be convinced. I know it’s only two episodes in, but I’m finding ti hard to work up any attachment to the pouting Sam Hunter.

But I’m meant to be talking about programmes past that I think could still hold their own among the current crop of offerings on the box.

Red Dwarf would have sprung to mind immediately, but the cult adventures of Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and the Cat that was dumped by the BBC in 1999 have been revived on digital channel Dave, proving that the Beeb was premature with the axe.

It would be nice to think that Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister could hold its own again, but I don’t think so. It may have accurately reflected the relationship between politician and civil servant in the 1980s, but The Thick Of It is the way it is today.

Another programme that was cut down in its prime for me was The Crystal Maze, a game show that was a genuine challenge with its tests of physical and mental skills hosted by the eccentric Richard O’Brien and Ed Tudor-Pole.

Yet it disappeared from our screens in 1995 after five series even though the French show, Fort Broyard, that it was based on is still going strong. There’s even a Crystal Maze app for the iPad generation.

This is the sort of post that could ramble on and on, but I won’t. One last programme I will mention though is Time Commanders that enjoyed just two seasons from 2003 to 2005.

It was quite a simple concept – to use computer game technology to recreate ancient battles and then invite teams of four to re-fight them as generals and captains.

I was able to dig out all 24 episodes on YouTube and here is one of my favourites – the Battle of Hydaspes of 326BC in what is now Pakistan. It’s a long watch, but think it’s 45 minutes well spent!

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

5 comments… Add yours
  • YPTV Pudding 14th October 2012

    Another “gem” that the BBC dumped prematurely was “The Woodentops”. This was a subtle and psychologically tense exploration of the dynamics of family life that makes “Hunted” look like “Postman Pat”. I also miss “Jim’ll Fix It” for making people’s dreams come true. Owzza Bout That Then?

  • john 14th October 2012

    I used to love time commanders
    didnt Eddie mAYER front it?
    ( the thinking poof’s crumpet)

  • Mr Parrot 14th October 2012

    YP: You’re showing your age remembering the Woodentops! But how about Tales of the Riverbank – that was class.

    John: Yes Eddie did front the first series of 16 programmes, then Richard Hammond took over the final eight, the thinking man’s hamster.

  • Georgina Fars 15th October 2012

    I always see myself on the Red dwarf mining ship, it just remind me of my younger days hmmm late 80’s bring back good old memories.

  • rhymeswithplague 15th October 2012

    We don’t have any of these programs in the colonies. Some of your exports have made it safely across the Atlantic, but they changed their names in the process, like All In the Family.


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