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 25th August to Thursday 31st August.
Highlight of the Week (1)
Be My Baby – the Girl Group Story – Thursday 31st August. BBC 1. 10.35pm – 11.35pm
Over the last five decades, the girl group formula has yielded hit after hit. But this classic pop template is also guaranteed to deliver high drama and backstage rows. This nostalgic documentary examines the phenomenon as it applies to six celebrated girl groups – the Supremes, the Three Degrees, Sister Sledge, the Bangles and the Spice Girls – with contributions from artists, managers and producers.
Highlight of the Week (2)
The Otis Redding Story – Wednesday 30th August. BBC Radio 2. 10.00pm – 10.30pm
Stuart Marconie presents 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. Redding died in 1967, aged 26, leaving a distinctive repertoire that includes I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (to Stop Now), Respect, Try a Little Tenderness, Tramp (with Carla Thomas) and the posthumous US number one hit (Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay. The Series features modern interviews with Redding’s guitarist Steve Cropper, trumpeter Wayne Jackson, songwriting partner and soul giant Jerry Butler, and trumpeter Ben Cauley, the sole survivor of the 1967 plane crash that took Redding’s life.
Friday 25th August
Tales of the Unexpected – ITV 3. 11.10pm – 11.45pm
Another double bill of the classic series. After the deaths of their first three children, a husband and wife are finally blessed with a child. But will this one also meet an untimely end? A man who fantasises about a life in music meets a young woman in an empty concert hall. But events take a sinister turn when her true motives come to light.
The Avengers – BBC 4. 11.00pm – 11.50pm
Death at Bargain Prices: A London department store is at the centre of a fiendish plot.
The Funk Show with Eddie Piller – BBC Radio 6. 7.00pm – 10.00pm
3 hours of the best funk, soul and blues. Essential.
Saturday 26th August
Sounds of the Sixties – BBC 4. 7.00pm – 7.10pm
Julie Driscoll with Brian Augur, Arthur Brown and the Rolling Stones.
Sounds of the 60s – BBC Radio 2. 8.00am – 10.00am
Brian Matthew plays two hours of hits, B-sides and album tracks.
For One Night Only – Radio 4. 10.30am – 11.00pm
Elvis Comes Back. In 1968 Elvis’s star was somewhat tarnished; overtaken by the likes of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, he hadn’t topped the charts for six years. He’d not played live since 1961 and he’d only been in movies that were increasingly awful. But it all changed in December 1968 when his electrifying performance on NBC TV convinced America that he was still "the King". Paul Gambaccini re-lives the event.
The Funk Show with Eddie Piller – BBC Radio 6. 6.00pm – 9.00pm
3 hours of funk, soul and blues.
Sunday 27th August
Bless This House (1972) – Film4. 7.20pm – 9.00pm
Big-screen version of the TV comedy starring Sid James and featuring top 70s dolly bird Sally Geeson.
The Great British Black Invasion – Channel 4. 1.05am – 3.05am (Mon am)
A nostalgic look back at the real story of Britain’s black population from the 1950s to the present day.
The Art of Pop – Radio 4. 1.30pm – 2.00pm
Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker – one of many pop musicians to have had an art-school training – explores the connections between British art schools and pop. The 1960s and 70s saw numerous pop groups springing from a freethinking art-school background. But successive governments were concerned about the kind of education art schools were offering.
Monday 28th August
The Strange Report – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
Detective series set in London following the exploits of detective Adam Strange. In this episode, Adam targets smugglers.
The Persuaders – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Another case for the playboy detectives. The duo go camping.
The Rolling Stones in Concert – BBC Radio 2. 8.00pm – 9.30pm
The Radio 2 Music Club presents the veteran rockers in a concert recorded on 25th August at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.
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. This week, four in a row from girl groups and a Kinks competition.
Tuesday 29th August
Don’t Start me Talking – BBC Radio 2. 9.30pm – 10.00pm
The story of pop and rock as recalled by the listeners and consumers who fed the careers of everyone from Cliff Richard to the Sex Pistols. Expect to hear reminiscences and anecdotes from fans of all ages.
Wednesday 30th August
Jason King – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
A Caribbean holiday turns deadly.
Gangster No1 (2000) – Film4. 10.50pm – 12.50am
Impressive and stylish British thriller, told in flashback during the sixties, about the rise of a London crime lord.
The Funk Factory – BBC Radio 2. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
Norman Jay spins a collection of classic, forgotten and modern funk.
The Otis Redding Story – BBC Radio 2. 10.00pm – 10.30pm
We Interrupt This Programme – BBC Radio 4. 11.30pm – 12.00am
The Firesign Theatre. Mark Thomas looks at the four-man comedy ensemble formed at a California radio station in the late 1960s.
Thursday 31st August
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.
Be My Baby – the Girl Group Story – BBC 1. 10.35pm – 11.35pm
Paul Jones – BBC Radio 2. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Classic r&b and blues. This weeks guest is British R & B singer James Hunter.
We Interrupt This Programme – Radio 4. 11.30pm – 12.00pm
National Lampoon. Mark Thomas looks at the National Lampoon Radio Hour (1973-4), which launched the careers of John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and many others.