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!
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'
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' 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
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
'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
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,
'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
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' 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
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 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.
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
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
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 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
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.
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!
Don't forget to visit my All-Time
Top Ten pop singles page!
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