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Glee! Glee! Glee!

For some time now, on and off, I've been watching season one of The Bill. It really is outstanding. It degenerated into some terrible parody of itself by the end, I know (I gave up on it in about 1994 - it carried on until 2010, by which time it was completely unrecognisable as the show that it had started out as). Series one dates from 1984 though. Instead of the half-hour-long programme that it was to become, it's an hour long, made for a post-watershed slot, and sharper, harder and grittier than its future self. It also has some fun guest stars. At least one crook came back as a copper a few years later (which fits rather well with the public perception of the Met!) One episode has Sean Bean in his first ever TV role. He doesn't do a lot, but it's a great episode - there's lots of Ted and Mike! Ted and Mike! I'd forgotten how much I used to like them. In short, series one of The Bill is a great way to spend your time, with all its hilariously clunky, 1980s car chases, and its profusion of familiar faces. "Look, it's... her! Her that was Thing, in Whatsit!" For thus you will shout, regularly. So thank you, oh benevolent gods of the Network Pre-Christmas Sale. It's appreciated.

But good though Ted and Mike are, and fun though it was seeing Sean Bean in white jeans (oh, 1980s...) robbing post offices, they are not the reason for the glee. No, that's something else entirely. For there is an episode, and it has a man in it. Throughout the episode he's referred to as a wrong 'un, but remains unseen. And then, finally, he shows up. And proceeds to spend several minutes disassembling police officers with gay abandon. We see the back of his head first. Is it normal and sensible to be able to identify a stuntman in half a second flat by the back of his head and one ear? Who gives a stuff. People of the internet, I give you Tip Tipping breaking things. Happiness. I has it.


( 23 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Feb. 5th, 2016 06:39 pm (UTC)
Even chases in council flats are old fashioned now cos they all got sold off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Feb. 6th, 2016 05:06 am (UTC)
True! Although the buildings are still there. Around here they still get referred to as the council flats/houses, which really annoys some of the yuppie types who have since moved in! I have no idea where most of the original tenants ended up.
Feb. 6th, 2016 10:30 am (UTC)
As far as I know, many of these council flats were bought up and are being rented out at twice the original rents. In London yuppies do not seem to live in ex council flats, they rent them out and live in old conversions in Chelsea and even Clapham south London.

In my opinion, people who earn less than an average wage either live with their parents or have to share a flat in zone 6 and have to commute into London to work. This is just the suppositions of me, an armchair socialist commentator!!
Feb. 6th, 2016 12:49 pm (UTC)
Sounds about right. There are still proper council houses about, mind, but the waiting lists seem to be nine miles long. My sister has been waiting forever, but clearly not long enough.
Feb. 6th, 2016 06:58 am (UTC)
S1 of The Bill is good because it was made by Michael Chapman who also did Public Eye and Enemy at the Door! (He stayed on as executive producer until 1998, but his stint as actual producer was 1984-85, so...) :-)

(He is a very good producer/story editor, especially when he is both! I have liked everything he's done that I've seen so far. I just refuse to watch The Bill, because there are too many episodes. I want Network to release old and non-existent things instead...)
Feb. 6th, 2016 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, sometimes Network's releases are weird and frustrating. At one of the cult TV sites where I hang out, people get all excited when Network announce that they're going to release something that has already been released by somebody else. "But it's Network! It'll be better!" Yes, but how much better would it be if they released something different! And how much money do they think we've got anyway?!

I'm really enjoying early Bill, but if they intend putting the whole thing out, they can forget it!
Feb. 6th, 2016 02:58 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair, some of the things I want don't exist. Like, I am especially interested in anything Michael Chapman produced and script-edited (as well as things were he did either) because he just seems to have this handle on characterisation and quiet story arcs that works really well for me, plus this insistence on everybody being people, if you get what I mean. (I think the ultimate example is the way that every single German character in EATD is as real and layered as the British). So I am really intrigued by Haunted - a supernatural show that worked in a similar format to Undermind (only script-edited by Michael Chapman and not Robert Banks Stewart, yay) and Frontier which was made by Michael Chapman and George Markstein and had James Maxwell as a main character. Also some of the things he did in the 70s between Public Eye and EATD, but they are all not released and/or lost.

But what I mean is, waffling aside, that I can't really grumble at Network for not releasing things that people have burninated. The rest, yes. Who needs re-releases? *sigh*

Oh, and I recognised Tip Tipping! I mean, because you told me it was him, but I did. I watched enough Seven & Ace to spot a Tip Tipping anyway.

The thing with The Bill is, if I liked it, I would get into the characters and... 1000 episodes!!! It doesn't bear thinking about. So I'm just wishing for other things. Which may or may not exist.

(Also did I ever say I got a tie-in novel of Frontier? It has a nice pic of James Maxwell with an epic moustache on the front and the author hates his character so much he's decided he must be short. He's not in it that much but every time he is, the author tells me how awful he is and how he is of no great stature and has other characters look down on him. And I'm there thinking, was he just working from a few publicity shots and had no idea or is he in league with IMBD who think JM was 5ft8?)

But I'm glad you're enjoying S1 of The Bill! Like I said, Michael Chapman is an invisible person who makes good stuff most of the time.
Feb. 6th, 2016 05:16 pm (UTC)
Chapman does have a remarkable CV, it's true. Blimey though - 1000 episodes! That may be a conservative estimate, thinking about it. I think they went half hourly in around 1987, so thirteen years of two or three episodes a week. Most of which are rubbish, granted.

Series one is properly good though, and since the hour long episodes were normal series, of about ten episodes per year, I've decided to watch all three of them and then give up. The half hour episodes are on their own. (Why does the universe allow that many episodes of "The Bill" to still exist, and yet won't give us back a dozen missing episodes of "Adam Adamant Lives!"?! Woe).

Incidentally, at Liadt's prompting, the David Collings episode of "The Bill" has surfaced, and there's a link just below. It's a half hour one, posted in two short chunks, so may be watchable for you?
Feb. 8th, 2016 02:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, tehre must be more than 1000 episodes - it's just that on Michael Chapman's IMBD it has The Bill and then says "see all 1000 and whatever episodes" and it does make one blink a bit.

I did see the comment below and I shall have to see if I can some time, although I watched a minute with him and he was clearly a baddie again. You just can't trust him, can you?

PS. As I got my refund, I decided I might as well get Sleepy Hollow S2 and at least get out of the cliffhanger! :-)
Feb. 9th, 2016 11:18 am (UTC)
PS. 2 Have just watched The Champions ep with James Maxwell in and have decided I don't like the champions much because they murdered James Maxwell! (If he'd been a British/US spy, it'd have been well done there, that chap, apart from the bit where he doesn't know what to do with a submarine). However, I need to have WORDS with you, because you giffed it for me and omitted the important bit where James Maxwell winds up in the water with all his clothes on again. ;-p

(I'm not good with ITC. I'm having my UFo problem again here where I'm finding the heroes sinister again. I promise to watch one where they're not killing James Maxwell and see if I like them better there, though! But my ITC-hate is not rational and I don't hold out much hope...)

(this comment btw, really says THANK YOU a lot, even if it doesn't sound it. Random action James Maxwell is very rare but quite fun when it happens.)
Feb. 9th, 2016 06:42 pm (UTC)
Ha! As somebody who - despite loving "The Great Escape" - has never quite been able to get over blaming Richard Attenborough for his part in David McCallum's death, I understand completely. And I do assure you that liking "The Champions" (or "Department S") isn't compulsory! :) I remember you saying that one of the issues you had with ITC was their dodgy treatment of women, and these two shows are ones that are good in that sense (given the era, obviously), so I thought it was worth a go. And I have no idea how I overlooked damp Maxwell. My heartiest apologies. :D

I hope you enjoy season two of "Sleepy Hollow"! There's good stuff there. I was particularly pleased with 'The Weeping Lady', and then the last few of the season, but would quite happily see 'Deliverance' burninated.
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:44 am (UTC)
My issue with ITC is really hard to define - I think it's a matter of presentation and what's implied in that and I just don't know. Even when I like an ITC thing (which so far is mainly just The Strange Report and basically they had a documentary at the end which explained that Anthony Quayle hated the ITC-ness and worked against it, fighting to get the producers to trust the writers more and playing scenes against the way they were written) and The Prisoner (because it really is weird in an impressive way)), I do it with gritted teeth despite the ITC-ness & not with whole-hearted love I give to all sorts of cardboard telly. There is a certain candy-coated sexism built into that format, too, but I think it's more than that & I'm not sure my dislike is actually even rational.

It's very inconvenient because ITC stuff exists and it's pretty, but my heart is with the crappy cardboard, static, talky stuff. I never get on with Euston Films either. I'm not a film serial type, apparently. I don't know. It really is unfortunate.

Mind, on the strength of one ep, it does feel very unfair on the villains to have three super-strong scary people after them so I rather suspect The Champions will not be for me, although I liked William Gaunt (duh). I'll try Dept S, because Rosemary Hawkins was pretty great in Undermind, so it'll be nice to see her again.

However, in the meantime, I remembered I bought The Beiderbecke TRilogy ages ago and have gone back to watching that. I'm not sure how to cope with being in the 80s, though. I only do TV from before I was born!! :loL:

I am looking forward to more Sleepy Hollow! Hopefully, warned of the terribleness, I shall just be thinking it's surprisingly good after all or something! (And, ha, as to your least favourite ep - I would say it is a shame we cannot offer it up to the gods in exchange for more AAL! but there is probably some soul out there who loves it and would be upset if we did.)

(I have also ordered S2 of The Brothers with my reclaimed Christmas money, because my love for the beigest of beige TV knows no bounds apparently.)
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:47 am (UTC)
Also Richard Attenborough is no good anyway. I watched a 50s film with him and he was just grumpy adn awkward all the time. Mind, Alfred Burke had arrived by the midnight train to ruin his life, but he still could have been nicer to his wife. So, frankly, if he also goes round killing David McCallum, I don't think there's anything to be said for him.

Feb. 11th, 2016 05:12 am (UTC)
The terrible thing is, it's really Gordon Jackson who is to blame, but he's so nice. So Dickie Attenborough winds up getting glared at. You just can't glare at Gordon Jackson. It can't be done.

I never even thought about it maybe being unfair to be super-powered agents! Mind you, they are up against some pretty horrible people, so I'm not that inclined to be sympathetic. :p But if it's any consolation, you do have one episode there where they face enemy agents with the same abilities as them. And they do find themselves up against an inordinate amount of Nazis, in which case, sorry, fair play goes out the window. (The sixties loved Nazis. I guess because they were still so much in the common public memory at the time, and it was still feasible for the original lot to be a menace, without needing zimmerframes and hearing aids).

And hurrah for reclaimed money, and the fun that it can bring. :) And also hurrah for beige, obviously!
Feb. 11th, 2016 06:52 am (UTC)
Oh, well, yeah, hating on Gordon Jackson would be silly! I'm not going to dissuade you from your irrational dislike of Richard Attenborough. I might join you!

60s Nazis are at least more justifiable than every time they still crop up now, really, yes.

Feb. 6th, 2016 12:43 pm (UTC)
From gloss to grit and yet you still find Tip Tipping:)

I used to have a pair of white jeans when I was a teenager, back when jeans that weren't blue or black were a novelty. I loved them.

Has David Collings turned up yet? I know he's in a Bill somewhere...
Feb. 6th, 2016 01:00 pm (UTC)
The IMDb says he's in series five, from 1989 - so miles away, in the land of half hour episodes. Some of them were good, but there's wayyyyyy too many of them to think about getting DVD releases. Might be on YouTube though!

The IMDb says it's an episode with Eamonn Walker in, which gives it extra cool points. He was in "The Bill" for a year or so, and I pegged him as particularly good, and worth watching out for - at which point he ran away to America, to make stuff I don't watch. Typical!
Feb. 6th, 2016 01:06 pm (UTC)
Oh well, I guess they would have squashed DC's hair down in 1989. He is a plain clothes officer in 'Boon' for a sec, so I'll have to pretend he's been transferred to the Midlands from the Met.
Feb. 6th, 2016 01:16 pm (UTC)
I don't think he's a policeman. He's not credited as one. Not that that stops you pretending!

Here you go:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWDH0CKXMWI
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2wkuWP4j2k

ETA: Yes, flat hair!

Edited at 2016-02-06 04:17 pm (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC)
\o/\o/ and fairly short - might be able to get the 'net to co-operate!
Feb. 7th, 2016 01:55 pm (UTC)
Growl at it. :)
Feb. 7th, 2016 09:08 am (UTC)
At least one crook came back as a copper a few years later (which fits rather well with the public perception of the Met!)
Well, if you can have Doctor Who effectively saving himself in ancient Pompeii... And Captain America with a doppelganger in t'Fantastic Four... there are really effectively no rules. You could have a copper with an evil twin in the same show! Well, they've probably already done it, on American soaps.

That clip looks exhausting. I would sooner be copped immediately than run up and down that many flights of stairs. Also the coppers on the beat in the credits are so weirdly synchronized that they look as if they're about to launch into a routine from Singin' In The Rain.
Feb. 7th, 2016 01:54 pm (UTC)
That would be awesome if they did. They sang "Doing The Lambeth Walk" on Children In Need once, but "Singin' In The Rain" would be so much more appropriate.

And that's Tip Tipping for you. Why walk when you can hurtle?! :)
( 23 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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