Categories / Film and TV

Cool Retro TV W/C 15th September

Barry Murphy once more trawls the TV and radio guides (so you don’t have to) to find anything worth tuning into this week. All listings are for UK terrestrial TV, Freeview and national radio, with the shows running from Friday 15th September to Thursday 21st September.

Stiff_1 Highlights of the Week

Terrestrial: What’s Going On? The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye (BBC 2 Friday 11.35pm)
Profile of the troubled soul star.

Freeview: Stiff Records Weekend (BBC 4 Friday – Saturday)
A weekend of archive footage and documentaries.

Radio: 40 Years of Monkee Business (BBC Radio 2 Saturday 9pm)
Hour long documentary on the Pre-Fab Four.

Friday 15th September


Ian Dury: On my Life – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
The late pop poet and leader of the Blockheads reflects on his career.

If It Ain’t Stiff (1/2) – BBC 4.10.00pm – 10.45pm
Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Captain Sensible look back at the maverick label Stiff. Narrated by Adrian Edmondson.

Stiff & Co at the BBC (1/2) – BBC 4.10.45pm – 11.15pm
Elvis Costello, Dr Feelgood and Ian Dury, live from the archives.

Tales of the Unexpected – ITV 3. 11.05pm – 12.15am
Another double bill of the classic series.

So You Wanna Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star? – BBC 4.11.15pm – 12.35am
On tour with the Kursaal Flyers (BW and Colour)

What’s Going On? The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye – BBC 2. 11.35pm – 12.35am
A profile of the revolutionary but troubled soul icon.

Jonathan Ross’s Japanorama (2/6) – BBC 3. 11.35pm – 12.05am
A look at "otaku" or nerd culture.


Book of the Week: Bringing the House Down (5/5) – BBC Radio 4. 9.45am – 10.00am
The author learns about his father’s secret in the school library. By David Profumo. Narrated by Robert Glenister.

Stop the World – it’s Anthony Newley (2/4) – BBC Radio 2. 7.00pm – 7.30pm
Jonathan Ross recalls the complex life and career of talent-heavy singer, songwriter and stage and screen star Anthony Newley, who died in 1999, aged 67. The series looks at Newley’s formidable accomplishments and how his fame and fortune offered him inadequate personal satisfaction. Contributors include songwriting partner Leslie Bricusse, Petula Clark, David Bowie, Elaine Paige, Julian Fellowes, former wife Joan Collins, son Sacha Newley and many others. This edition recalls his defining West End hits – both as co-writer and star.

The Funk & Soul Show with Eddie Piller – BBC Radio 6. 7.00pm – 10.00pm
New name, same great show. 3 hours of the best funk, soul and blues. Essential.

Saturday 16th September


The Quiller Memorandum (1966) – Film4. 4.55pm – 6.55pm
Cracking spy thriller starring George Segal as a secret agent on the trail of a neo-Nazi movement in 1960s Berlin.

The Long Good Friday (1979) – Film4. 9.00pm – 11.10pm
In this explosively violent, seminal British thriller, Bob Hoskins turns in a star-making performance as East End crime boss Harold Shand, who seeks revenge after a rival ruins a property deal.

Stiff & Co at the BBC (2/2) – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.00pm (repeated 2.00 Sun am)
Madness, Ian Dury and the Pogues are among the artists featured in the Top of the Pops archives.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2003) – BBC 2. 9.50pm – 11.50pm
Poignant biographical drama starring Geoffrey Rush in his Emmy award-winning portrayal of one of Britain’s greatest comic actors. Following his success in The Goon Show, Peter Sellers sets his sights on Hollywood superstardom, but the cost of his ruthless ambition is a deep insecurity and a loss of identity.

The Wicker Man (1973) – ITV 4. 10.00pm – 11.45pm
Classic horror starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee.

If It Ain’t Stiff… (2/2) – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 10.45pm (repeated 1.15 Sun am)
Suggs, Shane MacGowan and Pete Waterman reflect on Stiff Records. Adrian Edmondson narrates.

Young Guns: Go for it – BBC 4. 10.45pm – 11.25pm
Members of Madness, the 80s pop band formed by London friends with a love of ska, recall their hits and splits.

The Great Hunger: the Life and Songs of Shane MacGowan – BBC 4. 11.25pm – 12.25am
How a London punk turned himself into arguably Ireland’s greatest balladeer.


Sounds of the 60s – BBC Radio 2. 8.00am – 10.00am
Johnnie Walker stands in for Brian Matthew. Two hours of hits, B-sides and album tracks.

Jonathan Ross – BBC Radio 2. 10.00am – 1.00pm
Hammer star Ingrid Pitt guests.

The Funk & Soul Show with Eddie Piller – BBC Radio 6. 6.00pm – 9.00pm
3 hours of funk, soul and blues.

40 Years of Monkee Business – BBC Radio 2. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
Mark Radcliffe pays tribute to pop sensations the Monkees, whose zany, Emmy-winning TV series debuted on American television 40 years ago this week. Conceived as a new Beatles for the next generation, the quartet overcame initial doubts about their musical abilities and produced some of the finest examples of pure pop. The programme recalls some of their many 60s gems – and gets the lowdown from Monkees Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork. Plus input from music producer Chip Douglas, composer Bobby Hart, film and TV producer Bert Schneider and many others from the hugely successful hits machine, from which the band liberated themselves to take creative matters into their own hands.

Sunday 17th September


Arena: the Peter Sellers Story: As He Filmed It – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 11.30pm
Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon and the Prince of Wales feature in the temperamental comedy genius’ personal archive.

Monday 18th September


60s: the Beatles Decade – UKTV History. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
How the Fab Four personified cultural change in Swinging Britain, beginning with Lennon and McCartney meeting as teenage rebels.

Folk Britannia (2/3) – BBC 2. 11.20pm – 12.20am
Folk Roots, New Routes – Richard Thompson, Norma Waterson and Bert Jansch are among those providing the soundtrack to a look at the 1960s, when hippies repackaged folk to appeal to a wider audience. Plus music by Fairport Convention, Simon and Garfunkel, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd.


Mark Lamarr’s Alternative Sixties – BBC Radio 2. 9.30pm – 10.30pm
Mark showcases obscure 1960s records that have eluded the general public from rock, pop and psychedelia to folk, soul, R&B and garage.

Tuesday 19th September


UFO – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
A missing spaceship pilot returns after two months, much to the astonishment of his girlfriend and the mistrust of SHADO.

60s: the Beatles Decade – UKTV History. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
The boom in youth culture in mid-60s Britain as the Fab Four rocked Liverpool’s Cavern Club.


Great Lives (7/8) – Nina Simone. BBC Radio 4. 4.30pm – 5.00pm
The Chanteuse, pianist, composer and civil rights activist Nina Simone is the choice of another female musician who has made a career of defying convention: Joanna MacGregor. Presented by Matthew Parris.   

Wednesday 20th September


The Saint – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Templar receives death threats.

60s: the Beatles Decade – UKTV History. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
A focus on the immense influence of 60s fashion icons such as Biba, Twiggy and Vidal Sassoon.

The Otis Redding Story (4/4) – BBC Radio 2. 10.00pm – 10.30pm
Stuart Marconie concludes a tribute to singer/songwriter Otis Redding, whose unpolished and achingly expressive vocals exemplify the kind of unaffected soul singing no longer heard in mainstream popular music. 

Thursday 21st September


The Champions – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
Three agents of Nemesis are granted miraculous powers by a mysterious stranger after they crash-land in Tibet. A nation breaks an international treaty.

The 60s: the Beatles Decade – UKTV History. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
Radical social change, including the legalisation of abortion.

Jonathan Ross’s Japanorama (3/6) – BBC 3. 11.00pm – 11.30pm
The country’s urban tribes – including girl bikers and goths.


Paul Jones – BBC Radio 2. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Classic r&b and blues. This weeks guest is Bayou singer/songwriter Tony Joe White, best known for his 1969 hit Polk Salad Annie and the song Rainy Night in Georgia (a 1970 US smash for Brook Benton).