Categories / Film and TV

Cool Retro TV W/C 13th October

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 13th October to Thursday 19th October.

Ramsay Highlight of the Week

Martin Freeman’s the Great Unknown – Ramsey Lewis – Tuesday 17th. Radio 2. 9.30pm
A look at the Chicago-born jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, who had 60s chart hits with renditions of Wade in the Water, Hang on Sloopy and, most famously The In Crowd.

Friday 13th October


The Avengers – BBC 4. 11.30pm – 12.20am
Steed’s number appears to be up.

Tales of the Unexpected – ITV 3. 11.30pm – 12.40am
Another double bill of the classic series. In the first, a burglar is confused when his intended victim appears to befriend him. In the second, a man believes an item of furniture could make his fortune.

Sun Ra: Brother from another Planet – BBC 2. 11.35pm – 12.35am
Director Don Letts’s documentary mixes archive performances with interviews with the jazz musician who combined Egyptology with Afro-American politics to create his own philosophy.

Jonathan Ross’s Japanorama (6/6) – BBC 3. 11.35pm – 12.05am
The Japanese concept of "kawaii", or cuteness.


Blues to the Bone: the Life of Etta James (2/3) – BBC Radio 2. 7.00pm – 7.30pm
Candi Staton presents a profile of R & B, blues and jazz singer Etta James, whose turbulent life has found soulful expression in over 50 years of recordings. The story shifts to the mid-60s, when James struggled with drug dependancy and produced one of her defining works, the 1967 album Tell Mama. The programme also recalls her 70s funk-inspired recordings.

Alfie (3/7) – BBC Radio 2. 9.15pm – 9.30pm
Nick Moran reads a version of Bill Naughton’s 1962 play. Alfie is concerned about the shadows on his lung.

Saturday 14th October


The Soul of Stax – Community Channel (Freeview Ch. 087) 7.45am – 9.00am
One to set the video/DVD for. A French documentary, made in 1994 which explores the sound and legacy of the Stax label. Interviews with William Bell, Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, Alan Bell, Booker T Jones and Duck Dunn amongst others. Worth catching for the great rare footage of the European Stax/Volt tour of 1967.

The Culture Show (2/12) – BBC 2. 7.25pm – 8.15pm
A search for Britain’s greatest living icon is launched.

TOTP2 – (3/12) – BBC 2. 8.45pm – 9.10pm
More archive sounds from the TOTP vaults.

Life of Pryor – the Richard Pryor Story – BBC 2. 9.40pm – 10.40pm
A look at the life of the late comedian, from his humble beginnings growing up in his grandmother’s brothel to his status as arguably the greatest stand-up of all time. WARNING: Presented by Lenny Henry.

Film: Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979) – BBC 2. 10.40pm – 12.00am
Probably the greatest live stand-up ever, filmed before a live audience at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach, California in 1979.


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

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

Sunday 15th October


The 100 Greatest Albums – Channel 4. 8.00pm – 12.00am
Repeat of another of those contentious Channel 4 shows, where What’s Going On reaches number 46 or something, while Robbie Williams latest is in at number 2. You know the sort of thing.


Johnnie Walker – BBC Radio 2. 5.00pm – 7.00pm
This weeks special guest is guitarist Roger McGuinn, formerly of the Byrds.

Monday 16th October


Film: The Satan Bug (1965) – More4. 4.00pm – 6.05pm
Sci-fi thriller with George Maharis as an ex-government agent searching for the madman who is threatening to unleash a deadly virus.

Tuesday 17th October


Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace – Channel 4. 12.10am – 1.15am (Weds am)
Welcome double bill repeat showing of the tongue-in-cheek supernatural medical drama. (5/6)Romford is shrouded in a strange killer mist (6/6) Dr Sanchez falls in love.


Martin Freeman’s the Great Unknown (3/6) – BBC Radio 2. 9.30pm – 10.00pm
A look at the Chicago-born jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, who had 60s chart hits with renditions of Wade in the Water, Hang on Sloopy and, most famously The In Crowd.
Wednesday 18th October


The Saint – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Four business directors die in suspicious circumstances.


Tears of a Clown – the Smokey Robinson Story (1/4) – BBC Radio 2. 10.00pm – 10.30pm
Lulu presents a profile of soul tenor and songwriter William "Smokey" Robinson, who until 1972 fronted the Miracles. Interviewees include Smokey Robinson, ex-wife Claudette Robinson, original Miracle Warren "Pete" Moore, former Supremes singer Cindy Birdsong and Motown songwriters Lamont Dozier and Janie Bradford. The story begins with a look at Robinson’s early years in Detroit, where he met mentor Berry Gordy. 

Thursday 19th October


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. An American plane is destroyed.

Sounds of the Sixties – BBC 4. 7.00pm – 7.10pm
Fab sounds from the archives.

The Avengers – BBC 4. 7.10pm – 8.00pm
A festive party turns sour for Steed.

The Avengers Revisited – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 10.30pm
Patrick Macnee, Honor Blackman and Linda Thorson reflect on their time with the kitsch Sixties spy drama.


Paul Jones – BBC Radio 2. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Classic r&b and blues.