October is the month of the list of tens. Coming up very soon is the list of top ten list of television programmes I enjoyed. Of all the tens I could think of, it was the one I felt was most appropriate for this blog.
It’s amazing recalling how I watched a programme on a big old box 30 years ago and now I can watch programmes on a small device.
Recalling the hours, days and weeks of television that I’ve watched over the years has meant recalling so many television programmes. Determining a final top ten has proved to be harder than I thought. So many worthy candidates from the television that I watched in the 1980’s, to the series I catch up on in this second decade of the 21st Century.
In celebration of that length of time and the spectrum of programmes I enjoyed, I list here the ten programmes that made it to the top 20 shortlist but missed out on the illustrious top ten. I deliberately did not include cartoons in the list as they would have to be a category in themselves. These ten are not in any particular order.
Let me be honest, I loved this programme for the characters, especially the female characters. And the ways they expressed their athleticism. It was in that transitional stage of women from being maternal or sisterly figures to a realisation that there were other aspects to them. To be fair though, the competitive element was alright. The show was fun.
2. Spitting Image
It’s a special programme in my upbringing because it was the first time I saw something usually associated with being a child to something a bit more grown up. It was very influential in my growing understanding of how good it was to see how and why things worked the way they do. To be able to use memorable humour to convey that heavily influenced me.
3. The A-Team
You must know it would take a lot for me to not to put this programme on the top ten list. This show was brilliant. The characters were memorable, the story was standard, the adventure and action was guaranteed, and as I discovered it was weird in the sense that it was action without the graphic nature of later action programmes. “I love it when a plan comes together” has got to be one of my favourite catchphrases.
Innovative and interesting story making is bizarre in the 21st Century. It’s even more bizarre when it is sourced in text written almost 100 years earlier. Yet when the Sherlock programme came on BBC 1 I was immediately taken by its telling of an old story in a modern setting. It also grabbed onto something really cool, which is that series doesn’t need many episodes in it to be good and keep you hanging on.
Darts. There are many reasons to hate darts. It’s a sport distinctly associated with smoky and boozy environments. Worse still here was a sport that depended on a higher ability when to came to Maths. Double tops, treble numbers all that kind of stuff – not for me. Until of course you get a Northern comedian hosting a show where prizes can be won if you stay out of the black and into the red, with nothing in this game for two in a bed.
6. Knight Rider
So those Americans and their action television programmes again!! I am not sorry. Blame ITV and BBC for not coming up with anything better. Knight Rider, though – one man can make a difference. What a load of rubbish as I later discovered when I tried talking into my watch to get my car to rescue me from having to watch an episode of Blind Date with my family later. Still, though, it was good to see David Hasselhoff when he was good doing some good. I especially loved the episode when he played two characters in two competing vehicles. That was brilliant.
7. Street Hawk
Grossly underrated. What on earth were people doing when they pulled this programme off the screen? What were they doing? Here was an awesome programme about a man and a machine fighting crime with the help of a guy in the background with all the computers and stuff. Sure, you can call it Knight Rider for bikes, but it was more than that. Certainly more than that to me.
Watching too much TV apparently rots your brain. That could be true, unless you watched Blockbusters. Sure there was the “I’ll have a P please, Bob.” jokes. There was a lot more to the programme than that though. Here was a programme you could sink your teeth into to gain all those pieces of trivia to use to impress your friends for 30 seconds. This whole show left an impression on me about the value of being good at answering questions. Brilliant stuff.
My Dad wasn’t into television at all, other than this programme. He could quite comfortably go for a whole week and never bother the television. His children would be glued to the box and he would take the opportunity to do some reading. But when it came to this programme, all of a sudden my Dad was up for it. I wanted to see why and when I watched I saw exactly what it was. Specialist subjects, general knowledge, passes, Magnus, the hot seat, guessing the answers, which eventually grew to searching for the answers. Superb programme
10. The Incredible Hulk
What marks this as a programme with a difference is this: I remember programmes from yesteryear based on their theme tune. Going beyond that the content of the programme was fairly forgettable. The formula for the Incredible Hulk though was absolutely rock solid excellent. That doesn’t mean every episode was, but more often than not I left an episode with that heavy heart for the man who would grab his satchel and walk along the busy road hitch-hiking his way to wherever would take him closer to the cure for the beast that raged within. Outstanding storytelling, brilliant acting, superb directing and undoubtedly the greatest theme tune to a television programme ever.
Now if I can rave about programme like these and they are not on my top ten, it should tell you something about the quality about that top ten.
C. L. J. Dryden