DES'S T.V. TRIVIA PAGE!


Hi, it's Des Wednesday here again! I've watched a lot of television in my time, so I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to all things 'televisual! On this page I'm going to share my extensive knowledge with you, letting you in on the stories behind some of my most favourite ever programmes on the 'small screen', and along the way I bet you'll discover a few nuggets of trivia that you never knew about!

DR. WHO

The inter-galactic space traveller known as 'Dr. Who' is probably the most famous science-fiction series of all-time, unless you count 'Blake's 7'. Since he first hit our T.V. screens in the early 1950s, generations of children of all ages have sung along to the famous theme tune each Saturday night ever since:

"Dr. Whoooo-oo, (hey!), Dr. Who.
Dr. Whoooo-oo, (hey!), the T.A.R.D.I.S.
Dr. Whoooo-oo, (hey!), Dr. Who.
Dr. Whoooo-oo, Dr. Who.
Dr. Whoooo-oo, Dr. Who."

The 'Dr. Who' series was launched by the B.B.C. as a response to the popular I.T.V. science fiction series 'Buck Rogers in the 20th Century'. However, did you know, the first-ever episode of 'Dr. Who' was never actually shown! This is because the President of America, John Kennedy, was assassinated the day before, and all television was taken off air for 24 hours as a mark of respect.

In the very first episode, viewers discovered that, although he looked like any normal human being, Dr. Who was in fact a member of an alien species known as the 'Timelords', who come from the planet 'Gallifrey'. This was named after the British town of the same name. We discover that Dr. Who, played by famous actor Richard Hartnell, has stolen a spaceship called the T.A.R.D.I.S. and has gone on the run from his Timelord masters with his daughter, Susan Who. We also learn that he has two hearts, like Phil Collins.

The T.A.R.D.I.S. is a highly advanced space and time machine, though I'm not sure what, if anything, the letters T.A.R.D.I.S. stand for. In the first episode, we find that the outside of the T.A.R.D.I.S. is disguised as a common police box. However, unlike real police boxes that were painted blue, the police box in 'Dr. Who' was actually painted dark grey. This is so it wouldn't be confused with a real police box.

The strange thing about the T.A.R.D.I.S., though, is that it is much bigger than a real police box on the inside! As this is impossible in real life, I have never worked out how the B.B.C. did this amazing special effect - I suppose we just have to put it down to the magic of television!

The first episode was a huge success, but wasn't until the second episode, broadcast the following week, that 'Dr. Who' would become a famous programme. This is because we first met Dr. Who's greatest enemies, the Daleks! The Daleks were robots, hell bent on destroying the Earth and 'exterminating' everybody! Luckily, the Daleks didn't exterminate Dr. Who, otherwise there'd be no show left!

After a few years, Richard Hartnell announced that he would stop playing Dr. Who. But this wasn't the end of the show - far from it, because, luckily for the producers, Timelords have an amazing ability to change their body, while retaining all other physical attributes. This is known as 're-generation'. And so Dr. Who 're-generated' into Patrick Troughton!

After a few more years, Dr. Who 're-generated' again, this time into Tom Pertwee. By now, mobile phones had replaced all the police boxes on our streets, so Dr. Who's T.A.R.D.I.S. could now be painted the correct colour of blue. With his long scarf and beard, Tom was the most beloved of all the Dr. Whos, and stayed in the job for over 5 years! During his time, he was given a robot dog called 'K-9', from the popular 'K-9 and Co' series on B.B.C.2. 'Dr. Who' had now become so popular that they even launched a spin-off series for older viewers, 'Blake's 7'.

Soon, it was Dr. Who's 20th anniversary. It was decided this would be a good time to show the 'Dr. Who' 20th anniversary special. It was called 'The Five Dr. Whos', and, as you would expect, all five Dr. Whos so far came back to reprise their roles! It even had a special guest appearance by none other than Sir Terry Wogan! This is because it was broadcast on the first ever 'Comic Relief' night.

A few years later, everyone agreed that 'Dr. Who' should be taken off air. As compensation, the show's famous theme tune was at long last released as a pop single, and unsurprisingly it reached Number 1 in the pop music charts! It was performed on 'Top Of The Pops' by two members of Dr. Who's own alien race, the Timelords.

'Dr. Who' was replaced in the T.V. schedules by 'Breakfast Time'. However this isn't the end of the story, because although 'Dr. Who' was no longer on our T.V. screens, instead three films were made starring Peter Cushing as the famous Timelord (although in the third film Peter Cushing was played by Paul Megane, founder of the Renault car company). In all three films, Dr. Who did battle with the Daleks, as usual! However, in the last film, the action moved to the good ol' U.S. of A., the only time 'Dr. Who' has even been filmed abroad!

The films were so successful, that it was decided to bring 'Dr. Who' back to our T.V. screens. However, this time it was given a modern makeover, to make it fit for the 20th century! Dr. Who would now be played by popular 'Play School' presenter Russell Davis. He was then replaced by cockney actor Neil Tennant, brother of Dave Tennant from The Pet Shop Boys pop group. However, some things never change, and the T.A.R.D.I.S. is still played by a police box, even though no one knows what one is any more, and the Daleks still haven't been defeated!

After more than 30 years, 'Dr. Who' is still on the television every Saturday night, making it Britain's longest-running programme ever, and now he is even being played by a woman, which is rather confusing when you think about it!

Nowadays, it possible for fans to watch every episode of 'Dr. Who' ever made, just by watching them on a video tape, or by downloading a D.V.D. There are even cartoon episodes being produced, which star the first two Dr. Whos reprising their roles even after all this time! As it is a cartoon, it is broadcast on CBeebies.

Long live 'Dr. Who'!


BLAKE'S 7

'Blake's 7' is a popular science fiction series for older people. It was a spin-off of the popular B.B.C. comedy series 'On the Bus'. However, strangely, the character of Blake does not appear in any of the 124 episodes produced! How odd! Also, there weren't 7 characters, there were more like 15 or 16.

Just like 'Dr. Who', the characters in 'Blake's 7' travelled around time and space in a T.A.R.D.I.S. However it wasn't as good as Dr. Who's one, as it just looked like a spaceship on the outside, and the inside was also the same size as the outside. Also, it was called the 'Liberator', not the 'T.A.R.D.I.S.'.

The characters in 'Blake's 7' were on the run from the Federation, which is like a sort of Galactic Government. The head of the Federation was called Dave Lee Travis, although in the series he is referred to simply as 'Travis', in order to avoid confusion with the Radio 1 disc jockey of the same name. Coincidentally, one of the good guys also had the same name as a Radio 1 disc jockey, Chris Tarrant, but he is similarly referred to only by his surname to avoid confusion. He had curly hair, like Jeremy Clarkson.

The 'Blake's 7' series was set in the far future. We know this, because they had an intelligent talking computer. As we all know, technology that talks back to you really is the stuff of science fiction and will never happen in our lifetime!

Eventually, all of the characters in 'Blake's 7' were shot dead, so it was decided not to make any further episodes, for obvious reasons!


WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?

'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' Well if that is the question, then my answer has to be 'Me!'

Strangely, however, this question has never actually been asked on this show. In fact, this show is well-known as one of the most complex quiz shows ever broadcast - but then so it should be, when the top prize is no less than 1,000,000,000!

The show is hosted by former Radio 1 breakfast DJ Chris Tarrant. The contestant is asked a series of multiple choice general knowledge questions, which get more difficult as the cash prize increases!

However, there are some 'lifelines' that you can use to help you out. One is 'phone or fax a friend', in which you can phone or fax your friend to see if they know the answer. Careful though, because they might be less clever than you are! Another lifeline is called '50/50', in which you can ask the host Chris Tarrant for some hints, but in return you to have to share your winnings 50/50 with him! Unsurprisingly, this is not a popular choice!

To this day, no one has ever scooped the top prize, but this doesn't stop people from trying! 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' is still on the air today, but is now hosted by former 'Top Gear' presenter William Woollard.


ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES...

'Only Fools And Horses...' is a B.B.C. sit-com (which stands for 'situation comedy'). It started in the 1970s or 1980s. It was written by John Sullivan, who rose to fame with his appearances in the I.T.V. sit-com 'The Sullivans'.

Strangely, this programmes does not actually feature any fools or horses, apart from in the title. Instead it is about a cockney market trader called Del (short for Del Boy) Trotter, and his younger brother Dave. They live in a top floor flat in the East London town of Peckham with their Grandad. Later on, he is replaced by his Uncle Bert.

Del has lots of confusing catchphrases. For example, he uses the French word 'bonjour' when he greets somebody. This makes no sense, as 'bonjour' is actually the French word for 'good-bye'. He also says 'this time next year we'll be millionaires'. However he is always wrong. Perhaps he should go on 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' (see above)!

A major error took place in one episode. A bar was left open by mistake, allowing the actor playing Del to accidentally fall through the gap. As a direct result, the B.B.C. have introduced stringent new health and safety measures, and it has been decreed that this episode must never be repeated.

The character I think I am most like is Trigger. This is because he owns a broom, and so do I.

The last-ever episode of 'Only Fools And Horses...' is the most watched programme of all-time. When it was first shown, it got viewing figures of over 65 million in the U.K. alone, which is actually greater than the population of the country at the time. Quite an achievement! Because of this, the B.B.C. decided to make another last-ever episode, and thank goodness it also got over 65 million viewers, so is still the most watched programme of all-time! Will they ever make another last-ever episode? Only time will tell...


DAD'S ARMY

'Dad's Army' is another B.B.C. sit-com. It was made in the 1940s, which makes it Britain's oldest sit-com! It concerns an army, made up entirely of men who are all fathers, hence the name 'Dad's Army'.

The leader of the army was called Captain Mannering. His famous catchphrases include 'permission to speak, sir', and 'don't panic, don't panic'. I'm not sure what any of the other characters were called.

One of the other characters was called Pyke. We know this, because in one episode a German man asks him his name, and Captain Mannering says 'don't tell him, Pyke'. What a silly mistake to make!

The show's theme tune was recorded by Robson and Jerome. Just like 'Dr. Who', it was released as a pop single and got to number 1 in the pop charts!

'Dad's Army' stopped being made at the end of World War 2, for obvious reasons! However, in the 1950s, a spin-off series was made, called 'Hi-de-Hi'. In it, we discover that the characters are now working at a holiday camp. The catchphrase was 'hi-de-hi, ho-de-ho'.


TOP GEAR

'Top Gear' is a television programme. I'm not sure exactly what it's about. Some historians believe that it started out many years ago as a programme about cars, but there is little evidence to support this theory.

'Top Gear's first ever presenters were Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. They had previously been the presenters of B.B.C.1's countryside magazine, 'Last of the Summer Wine'. When they switched to comedy, all kinds of unexpected hilarious mishaps would occur, and sometimes these would happen while they were driving cars.

When Hammond and May were appointed to join HM Government, Clarkson had no option but to stand down from his job. Things got so bad for him that he had to eat out at hotels where he wasn't even able to afford a hot meal!

They were replaced by a new generation of younger presenters, such as Angela Rippon, Noel Edmunds, William Woollard and Radio 1's Chris Tarrant. 'Top Gear' is now only broadcast to viewers in the North of England, while those in the south receive 'Dragon's Den' at the same time.


THE GENERATION GAME

'The Generation Game' is a popular B.B.C. quiz show. It started in the 1970s. The format is very simple to understand. People from different generations compete in lots of fun games and challenges, to see who is the best. Every episode ended with the famous 'potter's wheel'.

The first presenter of 'The Generation Game' was Sir Bruce Forsythe. He is remembered for his cheery personality and big chin. He had lots of famous catchphrases, like 'nice to see you nice, nice to see you nice' and 'shut that door'.

When Sir Bruce applied for a job at I.T.V., he was replaced by Larry Grayson. He was often heard to utter the phrase 'shut that door'. This was an instruction to backroom staff to ensure that the door was closed to prevent unauthorised access to the studio.

The next presenter of 'The Generation Game' was Sir Bruce Forsythe. But don't be confused - this Sir Bruce was in fact the son of the earlier Sir Bruce Forsythe! He had all the same jokes and catchphrases as his famous father.

When Sir Bruce Jr applied for a job at I.T.V., he was replaced by the funny comedian Jim Davison. When Jim presented the show, he introduced a new character called Mr. Blobby. Mr. Blobby was so popular that he would go on to star in other Saturday evening shows, like 'Noel's House Party' and 'Going Live and Kicking'.

'The Generation Game' has stopped being made, but a children's version called 'The Children's Generation Game' started in the 1980s on Children's CBBC, and continues to this day. It is presented by the funny comedian Darren Jones.


THE EURO-VISION SONG CONTEST

'The Euro-Vision Song Contest' is a contest about songs. It is a spin-off of the B.B.C. pop music show 'Top Of The Pops'. The difference is that 'Top Of The Pops' only has singers from Britain in it, while 'The Euro-Vision Song Contest' has singers from all over Europe (which is where the 'Euro' bit of 'Euro-Vision' comes from).

This is a very long-running programme, in fact it is believed it has been running longer than television itself! That's not the only thing that's long about it, as each show lasts for about 10 hours. Luckily, there is a boring bit in the middle to allow viewers a toilet break.

The late great Sir Terry Wogan hosted the contest every year for over 45 years! Every country in Europe takes it in turn to host the contest.

The format is extremely complex. Singers representing every country in Europe sing a song, and then the viewers at home vote for their favourite. The winner is the country with the most votes.

I'm proud to say that the United Kingdom has won the contest 7 times, more times than any other country! The most recent was Buck's Fizz in the 1970s with the song called 'Boom-Bang-a-Bang'.

It is rumoured that one day countries outside of Europe might enter 'The Euro-Vision Song Contest', such as Israel and Australia. I don't understand how this could ever be possible. It has even been said that the moon, and even planet Mars, might also enter the contest one day! Just imagine that!


SHERLOCK

Sherlock is a drama programme about detectives. It is based on the lives of Sherlock Bones and Dr. Whoson, but in the series the names have been changed to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, for copyright reasons.

In the series, it has been changed so that Sherlock is an extremely clever detective, who is really good at solving crimes, while his trusty assistant Dr. Watson is not quite so clever, but is also really good at solving crimes.

This series has been brought right up to date, so everything in it is very modern, such as the mobile phones and cars. The police also wear modern uniforms like the real police do.

Although this programme is extremely popular, no episodes have ever been made of it. This is to ensure that no bad episodes are made, ensuring that the series retains its popularity.


THE TEST CARD

To this day, the 'Test Card' remains one of television's greatest mysteries. No one knows why it was made, or what purpose it serves. Even the identities of the little girl and her clown friend remain unknown. However, there they would sit, sometimes for hours on end, playing a game of noughts and crosses for the entertainment of viewers across the country. (This would, of course, now be illegal under child labour laws). Even more mystifyingly, the little girl does not appear to have aged a single day, despite the 'Test Card' having been on our screens for over 25 years - very strange!

I think we must chalk this one up as one of television's great mysteries! Perhaps we should get Sherlock Bones to investigate!


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