Categories / Film and TV

Retro TV W/C 1st May 2009

Bland Barry Murphy returns once more trawl 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 1st May to Thursday 7th May 2009.

Highlights of the week 

BBC 4 tells the story of the blues this week with Blues Britannia: Can White Men Play the Blues? (Friday 1st, 9pm – repeated 1.10am & Monday 3rd, 10.30pm), a brand new documentary telling the story of what happened to blues music on its journey from the southern states of America to the heart of British pop and rock culture, providing an in-depth look at what this music really meant to a generation of kids desperate for an antidote to their experiences of living in post-war suburban Britain.

Narrated by Nigel Planer and structured in three parts, the first, Born Under a Bad Sign, focuses on the arrival of American blues in Britain in the late 50s and the first performances here by such legends as Muddy Waters, Sonnie Terry and Brownie McGhee. Part two, Sittin' on Top of the World, charts the birth of the first British blues boom in the early 60s, spearheaded by the Rolling Stones and groups such as the Yardbirds, Manfred Mann, the Animals and the Pretty Things.

The final section, Crossroads, looks at the next, more hardcore British blues boom of the mid-to-late 60s, with guitarists Eric Clapton and Peter Green and the international dominance of their respective bands, Cream and Fleetwood Mac. Featuring archive performances and interviews with Keith Richards, Paul Jones, Chris Dreja, Bill Wyman, Phil May, John Mayall, Jack Bruce, Mick Fleetwood, Ian Anderson, Tony McPhee, Mike Vernon, Tom McGuinness, Mick Abrahams, Dick Taylor, Val Wilmer, Chris Barber, Pete Brown, Bob Brunning, Dave Kelly and Phil Ryan.

Also new this week is Bobby Bland: Two Steps from the Blues (BBC 4. Saturday 2nd, 9pm – repeated 2.40am) a documentary telling the story of the life and music of Bobby 'Blue' Bland, one of America's classic vocalists, listed high in Rolling Stone magazine's Top 100 greatest voices and admired by Elvis Presley, Van Morrison and Mick Hucknall among others.

In 1947, Bland's mother brought her son from the country town of Rosemark to Memphis in search of a better life. A year later, Gladys Presley and her son made a similar journey from neighbouring Tupelo. At that time, Memphis was a musical melting pot and BB King reports that 'everyone who was anyone' turned up there sooner or later. Bland offered his services as a driver, but soon secured a spot singing with King's band, while the young Elvis hung around Beale Street taking it all in.

The film traces Bobby's musical path from its gospel roots, through jazz and into the blues, which he infused with a unique sophistication, becoming a major singing star in black America in the 50s and 60s. His songs were covered by the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and many others, and drummer Jab'o Starks recalls recording classic tracks like Stormy Monday, with which Bobby achieved great chart success. Contributors include Van Morrison, Quincy Jones, BB King, Mick Hucknall, Dan Penn and Grammy nominee Susan Tedeschi.

Friday 1st May

TV

The Professionals – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Bodie crosses a gang of gun-runners.

Blues Britannia: Can White Men Play the Blues? – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.30pm (Repeated 1.10am)
New. Documentary charting the British love of the musical genre over a 20-year period from the 1950s. Contributors including Keith Richards, Paul Jones, John  Mayall and Bill Wyman study the inspiration of American artists such as Muddy Waters, how young white audiences came to love the music, and the increasing international dominance of UK-based performers as the 1970s dawned.

Blues at the BBC – BBC 4. 10.30pm – 11.30pm (Repeated 2.40am)
New. Archive footage of blues performances from the past 50 years. Featuring famous songs by Son House, The Kinks, BB King, John Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton, plus lesser known tracks by Freddie King, Delaney and Bonnie and Long John Baldrey.

Mad Men (12/13) – BBC 4. 11.30pm – 12.15am
Series Two. The Mountain King. In Southern California, secrets are revealed when Don is reacquainted with an old friend. At Sterling Cooper, Peggy's ideas impress representatives of Popsicle after a brainstorming session with Ken and Sal.

Film: The Rat Pack (1998) – ITV 1. 11.35pm – 1.40pm
Biographical drama starring Ray Liotta. It's the early 1960s and the entertainers known as the "Rat Pack" are the epitome of cool. But the group are embroiled in a world of Mob connections, political feuds and troubled relationships.

The New Avengers – BBC 4. 12.15am – 1.10am
Purdey is kidnapped and Allied attack plans are demanded as a ransom.

Film: The Fiend (1971) – BBC 2. 2.55am – 4.25am
Brit horror starring Ann Todd and Patrick Magee and directed by Robert Hartford-Davis. A disturbed young man breaks away from a religious cult to prey on the lives of young women. Includes a great soundtrack featuring Maxine Barrie.

Radio

The Film Programme – BBC Radio 4. 4.30pm – 5.00pm
Michael Caine looks back at his movie career as his latest film Is Anybody There? is released. Also Terence Davis celebrates his favourite film, Alastair Sim comedy The Happiest Days of Your Life. Presented by Francine Stock.

70 Years of Cool (1/3) – BBC Radio 2. 7.00pm – 7.30pm
New series. MOR jazz midget Jamie Cullen celebrates Blue Note Records – the label that is synonymous with jazz, started in 1939 by German emigre Alfred Lion, with Francis Wolff (and later Reid Miles) behind the signature look of the stylish and moody LP covers. The label's back catalogue includes Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock, with Nora Jones a current star. The owners sold the company in the 1960s, and the series covers the various eras.

Saturday 2nd May

TV

Film: Carry On Screaming (1966) – ITV 1. 1.50pm – 3.40pm
Comedy starring Kenneth Williams and Harry H Corbett. DS Bung investigates a doctor who is carrying out sinister experiments.

Blues at the BBC – BBC 4. 8.00pm – 9.00pm (Repeated 1.40am)
Archive footage of blues performances from the past 50 years. Featuring famous songs by Son House, The Kinks, BB King, John Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton, plus lesser known tracks by Freddie King, Delaney and Bonnie and Long John Baldrey.

The Sweeney – ITV 4. 8.20pm – 9.20pm
A boy is kidnapped.

Bobby Bland: Two Steps from the Blues – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.00pm (Repeated 2.40am)
New. Profile of the American singer Bobby "Blue" Bland, who developed a sound that blended gospel with the blues. Also known as "The Lion of the Blues", he is considered by many to be one of the finest singers in postwar blues and has been championed by the likes of Van Morrison.

Blues on Later… with Jools Holland – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 11.00pm
New. Performances by many of the greatest blues artists that have appeared on the music variety show, including BB King, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton and Seasick Steve.

The Gangster and the Pervert Peer – More4. 10.00pm – 11.10pm
Fifty years ago, the Kray twins rose from small-time racketeers to head the most powerful criminal organisation London had ever seen. This second documentary in the Toffs and Crims season reveals how the Krays built their empire on fear, violence and extortion – and how another secret to their success may have been a relationship with a prominent Tory peer.

Rock Family Trees – BBC 4. 11.00pm – 11.55pm
The career of Fleetwood Mac, famous for their complicated inter-band relationships as well as their music.

The Real Casino Royale – More4. 11.10pm – 12.15am

During the 1960s, the world-famous Mayfair casino of multimillionaire John Aspinall became a glamorous playground for film stars, aristocrats and politicians. But, as this documentary in the Toffs and Crims season suggests, was Aspinall in fact robbing them blind at the card tables?

Originals: Long John Baldry – BBC 4. 11.55pm – 12.40am
Profile of the late British singer John William Baldry, whose enthusiasm for the blues inspired The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.

John Mayall: 40 Years of the Blues – BBC 4. 12.40am – 1.40am
Profile of one of the most influential figures in British rock music, John Mayall. 

Film: The Crazies (1973) – Channel 4. 1.25am – 3.15am
Sci-fi horror from George A Romero, starring Lane Carroll. When a plane carrying a biological weapon crashes in Pennsylvania, the virus – which causes either death or insanity – enters the water supply.

Mad Men (12/13) – BBC 2. 3.30am – 4.15am
Series Two. The Mountain King. In Southern California, secrets are
revealed when Don is reacquainted with an old friend. At Sterling Cooper, Peggy's ideas impress representatives of Popsicle after a brainstorming session with Ken and Sal.

Radio

Sounds of the 60s – BBC Radio 2. 8.00am – 10.00am
Brian Matthew spins two hours of hits, B -sides and album tracks. 

The Funk and Soul Show – BBC 6 Music. 6.00pm – 9.00pm
3 hours of funk, soul and blues presented by Craig Charles.

Sunday 3rd May

TV

Film: The Best of Benny Hill (1974) – ITV 1. 11.40am – 1.15pm
Golden moments from Benny Hill's early 1970s TV comedy shows are bought together in this compilation film.

Film: Carry On Again Doctor (1969) – BBC 2. 5.30pm – 6.55pm
Comedy starring Kenneth Williams. Dr Nookey's behaviour gets him posted to a remote island where he senses an opportunity to get rich.

Carry On Talking – BBC 2. 6.55pm – 7.00pm
Featuring on-set interviews with the cast of Carry On Up the Jungle recorded in 1970. Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Simms, Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Connor, Frankie Howerd and Terry Scott reveal home truths about life as a Carry On regular.

The Sweeney – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Regan gets a tip-off.

Film: Up Pompeii (1971) – ITV 3. 9.00pm – 10.55pm
Comedy starring Frankie Howerd. Lurcio, slave to the Senator Ludicrus Sextus, unwittingly intercepts a scroll containing details of a plot against Emperor Nero.

Flight of the Conchords (1&2/12) – BBC 4. 11.00pm – 12Midnight
Series One. Before season two starts next week, BBC 4 rerun double bills of the first all this week. Jermaine and Bret go to a party at a friend's house. Faced wire dire financial circumstances, the duo are forced to look for employment. Then, when Bret gets a job holding signs, he has no time for the band. Continues tomorrow at 12 midnight.

Monday 4th May

TV

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
Jeff investigates claims that his grave is being desecrated.

Johnny Cash: The Last Great American – BBC 2. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
A look back at the life and times of the influential singer/songwriter who left a legacy of more than 1,500 songs, including Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the Line, and was discovered by a new, youthful audience in the 1990s.

Beyond a Joke – ITV 3. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
New. How British sitcoms have reflected what was happening in the UK during the 20th century.

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
New. The Blues Britannia season continues with coverage of the duo's 2008 concert in Madison Square Garden, New York, featuring performances of Blind Faith hits Presence of the Lord and Can't Find My Way Home.

Ashes to Ashes (3/8) – BBC 1. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
Series Two. The daughter of a laboratory owner is taken to hospital after animal rights activists carry out a series of attacks in London.

Eric Clapton: the Rock 'n' Roll Years – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 10.30pm (Repeated 12.55am)
Profile of the guitarist and songwriter, who has survived both personal trauma and drug addiction to build a wide and varied musical career, from groups The Yardbirds and Cream to solo success.

Blues Britannia: Can White Men Play the Blues? – BBC 4. 10.30pm – 12Midnight
Documentary charting the British love of the musical genre over a 20-year period from the 1950s. Contributors including Keith Richards, Paul Jones, John  Mayall and Bill Wyman study the inspiration of American artists such as Muddy Waters, how young white audiences came to love the music, and the increasing international dominance of UK-based performers as the 1970s dawned.

Film: The Scars of Dracula (1970) – ITV 4. 11.40pm – 1.35am
Hammer horror starring Christopher Lee and Dennis Waterman. A young man is attacked by a vampire and imprisoned.

Flight of the Conchords (3&4/12) – BBC 4. 12Midnight – 12.55am
Series One. Bret and Jermaine are mugged. Bret starts dating but won't let Jermaine join him. The rejection leads him and Murray to decide the new girlfriend is intent on breaking up the group.

Radio

Get Up for James Brown (5/8) – BBC 6 Music. 12Midnight – 12.30am
Mark Lamarr with a 2006 profile of the funk giant, with rare material and input by Brown.

Tuesday 5th May

TV

The Professionals – ITV 4. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
CI5 enters a deadly race with the KGB.

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet – ITV 4. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
Ally's dodgy dealings take a turn for the worse.

Later… with Jools Holland – BBC 2. 10.00pm – 10.30pm
Featuring a performance from Booker T.

Mad Men (13/13) – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 10.45pm
Series Two. Meditations in an Emergency. Betty finds out that she is pregnant but insists that now is not the right time, and Duck outlines his vision of the company.

Film: The Scars of Dracula (1970) – ITV 4. 10.05pm – 12.10am
Hammer horror starring Christopher Lee and Dennis Waterman. A young man is attacked by a vampire and imprisoned.

Julie London – the Lady's Not a Vamp – BBC 4. 10.45pm – 11.45pm
Profile of the singer and actress whose career peaked in the 1950s. Her sensual voice graced 30 hit albums and her version of Cry Me a River still remains popular.

Flight of the Conchords (5&6/12) – BBC 4. 11.45pm – 12.40am
Series One. Jemaine reconnects with Sally and moves out of the apartment. Comments by Murray make Bret insecure, until advice comes from an unusual source- David Bowie in a dream.

Radio

Get Up for James Brown (6/8) – BBC 6 Music. 12Midnight – 12.30am
Mark Lamarr with a 2006 profile of the funk giant, with rare material and input by Brown.

Wednesday 6th May

TV

Minder – ITV 4. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Arthur is conned into buying a dodgy greyhound.

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet – ITV 4. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
Barry announces his wedding is going ahead. Last in the series.

Film: Dracula – Prince of Darkness (1965) – ITV 4. 10.35pm – 12.30am
Hammer horror starring Christopher Lee. A group of tourists are left stranded in the home of Count Dracula, who has been supposedly dead for ten years.

Flight of the Conchords (7&8/12) – BBC 4. 11.30pm – 12.25am
Series One. Bret and Jemaine prepare to go to war with a fruit vendor, then both band members manage to pick up women at a croissant shop.

Mad Men (13/13) – BBC 2. 12.15am – 1.05am
Series Two. Meditations in an Emergency. Betty finds out that she is pregnant but insists that now is not the right time, and Duck outlines his vision of the company.

Radio

Get Up for James Brown (7/8) – BBC 6 Music. 12Midnight – 12.30am
Mark Lamarr with a 2006 profile of the funk giant, with rare material and input by Brown.

Thursday 7th May

TV

Film: Carry on Dick (1974) – Film4. 3.05pm – 4.50pm
Saucy comedy starring Sid James. In Georgian England all travellers are fair game to highwayman Dick Turpin. The Bow Street runners are at their wits end: little do they know that Dick has the most ingenious of disguises.

The New Avengers – BBC 4. 7.40pm – 8.30pm
Steed investigates a mysterious case involving Russian soldiers.

Blues on Later… with Jools Hollan
d – BBC 4. 10.30pm – 11.30pm

Performances by many of the greatest blues artists that have appeared on the music variety show, including BB King, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton and Seasick Steve.

Beyond a Joke – ITV 3. 11.10pm – 12.10am
How British sitcoms have reflected what was happening in the UK during the 20th century.

Flight of the Conchords (9&10/12) – BBC 4. 11.30pm – 12.25am
Series One. Murray arranges for the band to go on tour, and the boy's fan base triples after a gig.

Film: Prick Up Your Ears (1987) – Film4. 1.00am – 3.25am
Biographical drama of gay playwright Joe Orton, starring Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina.

Radio

Get Up for James Brown (8/8) – BBC 6 Music. 12Midnight – 12.30am
Mark Lamarr with a 2006 profile of the funk giant, with rare material and input by Brown.