Alfresco (TV series)
Alfresco is a British sketch comedy television series starring Robbie Coltrane, Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Siobhan Redmond and Emma Thompson, produced by Granada Television and broadcast by ITV from May 1983 to June 1984. Running for two series, it totalled 13 episodes and was named Alfresco because, unusually for a comedy sketch show of the time, it was shot on location rather than in a studio; the programme is a sketch show, intended as an answer to the BBC's successful Not the Nine O'Clock News. The main writer was Ben Elton, with Laurie receiving writing credits by the second series. Of the original team, Tony Slattery was supposed to join the cast for the three-part pilot There's Nothing to Worry About! in 1982, but accepted an offer from Chris Tarrant to join Saturday Stayback, his follow-up to O. T. T. After There's Nothing to Worry About!, which featured Elton, Laurie, Redmond and Paul Shearer and was shown in the Granada region only, a first series of Alfresco was commissioned, broadcast nationally and replacing Shearer with Robbie Coltrane.
The third of the seven transmitted episodes in 1983 was in fact a compilation show of the pilot series, featuring some additional material. The sketches of the first series had a odd and surreal mood to them. In the second series in 1984 the overall style changed slightly. A linking device in form of a "Pretend Pub" was created, the sketches themselves were less dark than in the first series. Though the programme is composed of one-off sketches, a few characters appear over several episodes. Elton and Laurie appear four times during the first series as two odd gentlemen in a strange cinematic black and white setting, they have a dialogue which relies on wordplay, Laurie does an obvious impression of Peter Cook in E. L. Wisty mode. Fry and Laurie appear four times during the first series as two young men discussing topics such as war prevention, a trendy cinema and the SAS; the characters appeared before on There's Nothing to Worry About! and the Cambridge Footlights Revue. Fry appears twice as Doctor De Quincy, a character he plays in the sitcom Happy Families in 1985, written by Ben Elton.
The cast appear as crew and guests of a pretend pub, which serves as a linking device during the episodes of Series 2: Pretend pub landlord Bobzza, barmaid Shizza, Lord Stezza, Huzza and Ezza. Mark Duguid, in the British Film Institute's Screenoline resource, described Alfresco as "a minor, but not undistinguished, piece of the alternative comedy jigsaw"; the Guardian wrote: "The comedy's more off-the-wall than Elton's work, there's a joyful, post-Python'anything goes' spirit". The A. V. Club wrote: "Much of the humor in these 16 episodes is more conceptual than funny". PopMatters wrote: "Not quite an embarrassment to all concerned but rather frayed around the edges and of inconsistent quality, only fans of the individuals concerned or'80s comedy completists need let their curiosity get the better of them." Series One: 1 May – 12 June 1983 Series Two: 28 April – 2 June 1984 DVD box sets containing all thirteen episodes, plus the three episodes of There's Nothing to Worry About as bonus features, have been released by Network DVD in the United Kingdom and Acorn Media in North America.
SOTCAA article on Alfresco
Electronic program guide
Electronic program guides and interactive program guides are menu-based systems that provide users of television and other media applications with continuously updated menus that display scheduling information for current and upcoming broadcast programming. Some guides feature backward scrolling to promote their catch up content, they are known as guides or TV guides. Non-interactive electronic program guides are available for television and radio, consist of a digitally displayed, non-interactive menu of program scheduling information shown by a cable or satellite television provider to its viewers on a dedicated channel. EPGs are transmitted by specialized video character generation equipment housed within each such provider's central headend facility. By tuning into an EPG channel, a menu is displayed that lists current and upcoming television programs on all available channels. A more modern form of the EPG, associated with both television and radio broadcasting, is the interactive program guide.
An IPG allows television viewers and radio listeners to navigate scheduling information menus interactively and discovering programming by time, channel or genre using an input device such as a keypad, computer keyboard or television remote control. Its interactive menus are generated within local receiving or display equipment using raw scheduling data sent by individual broadcast stations or centralized scheduling information providers. A typical IPG provides information covering a span of 14 days. Data used to populate an interactive EPG may be distributed over the Internet, either for a charge or free of charge, implemented on equipment connected directly or through a computer to the Internet. Television-based IPGs in conjunction with Programme Delivery Control technology can facilitate the selection of programs for recording with digital video recorders known as personal video recorders. In 1981, United Video Satellite Group launched the first EPG service in North America, a cable channel known as The Electronic Program Guide.
It allowed cable systems in the United States and Canada to provide on-screen listings to their subscribers 24 hours a day on a dedicated cable channel. Raw listings data for the service was supplied via satellite to participating cable systems, each of which installed a computer within its headend facility to present that data to subscribers in a format customized to the system's unique channel lineup; the EPG Channel would be renamed Prevue Guide and go on to serve as the de facto EPG service for North American cable systems throughout the remainder of the 1980s, the entirety of the 1990s, – as TV Guide Network or TV Guide Channel – for the first decade of the 21st century. In 1986 at a trade show in Nashville, STV/Onsat, a print programming guide publisher, introduced SuperGuide, an interactive electronic programming guide for home satellite dish viewers; the system was the focus of a 1987 article in STV Magazine. The original system had a black-and-white display, would locally store programming information for around one week in time.
A remote control was used to interact with the unit. When the user found a show they wanted to watch, they would have to turn off the guide and tune the satellite receiver to the correct service; the system was developed by Chris Schultheiss of engineer Peter Hallenbeck. The guide information was distributed by satellite using the home owner's dish as the receiver; the information was stored locally so that the user could use the guide without having to be on a particular satellite or service. In March 1990, a second generation SuperGuide system was introduced, integrated into the Uniden 4800 receiver; this version had a color display and the hardware was based on a custom chip. When the user found the show of interest, they pressed a button on the remote and the receiver tuned to the show they wanted to watch; this unit had a single button recording function, controlled VCRs via an infrared output. Available in North America, it was the first commercially available unit for home use that had a locally stored guide integrated with the receiver for single button viewing and taping.
A presentation on the system was given at the 1990 IEEE consumer electronics symposium in Chicago. In June 1988, US 4751578 was awarded to Michael H. Zemering and Frank Shannon; this patent concerned the implementation of a searchable electronic program guide – an interactive program guide. In 1996, Prevue Networks introduced the first IPG service in the United States, Prevue Interactive, designed for the General Instruments DCT 1000 series of set-top digital cable converter boxes. Prevue Interactive would become TV Guide Interactive, i-Guide. In Western Europe, 59 million television households were equipped with EPGs at the end of 2008, a penetration of 36% of all television households; the situation varies from country to country, depending on the status of digitization and the role of pay television and IPTV in each market. With Sky as an early mover and the BBC iPlayer and Virgin Media as ambitious followers, the United Kingdom is the most developed and innovative EPG market to date, with 96% of viewers having used an EPG in 2010.
Inview Technology is one of the UK's largest and oldest EPG producers, dating back to 1996 and in partnership with Humax and Skywor
Mission: Impossible (1988 TV series)
Mission: Impossible is an American television series that chronicles the missions of a team of secret American government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force. The show is a continuation of the 1966 TV series of the same name; the only actor to return for the series as a regular cast member was Peter Graves who played Jim Phelps, although two other cast members from the original series returned as guest stars. The only other regular cast member to return for every episode was the voice of "The Tape", Bob Johnson; the events of the series take place 15 years after the last season of the original Mission: Impossible TV series. After his protégé and successor as leader of the top-secret Impossible Missions Force is killed, Jim Phelps is called out of retirement and asked to form a new IMF team and track down the assassin, his team consists of a disguise expert and actor. After finding the killer, Jim decides to keep the team together. Midway through season 1, Casey is killed during a mission, Secret Service agent Shannon Reed succeeds her for the remainder of the series.
With the exception of this cast change, Phelps' team remains constant throughout the series. In 1988, the American fall television season was hampered by a writers' strike that prevented the commissioning of new scripts. Producers, anxious to provide new product for viewers but with the prospect of a lengthy strike, went into the vaults for written material. ABC decided to launch a new Mission: Impossible series, with a new cast, but using scripts from the original series, suitably updated. To save more on production costs, the series was filmed in Australia. Costs in 1988,were, some 20 percent lower in Australia compared with Hollywood; the new Mission: Impossible was one of the first American commercial network programs to be filmed in Australia. The show's core cast included several Australian actors, numerous Australians were cast in guest roles. According to Patrick White's book, The Complete Mission Impossible Dossier, the original plan was for the series to be an actual remake/reimaginging of the original series, with the new cast playing the same characters from the original series: Rollin Hand, Cinnamon Carter, et al.
Just before filming began, White writes, the decision was made to rework the characters so that they were now original creations, albeit still patterned after the originals, with only Jim Phelps remaining unchanged, with the Collier character becoming the son of the original to take advantage of the fact the actor cast in the role, Phil Morris, is the son of Greg Morris, the actor who played Barney Collier. One of the reworked scripts incorporated a guest appearance by the elder Morris as Barney Collier; the strike ended and the series was able to compose original storylines. Only a few episodes ended up being outright remakes of the original series, including the show's premiere episode; the show had aired on Sundays, was moved to Saturday evenings starting with episode 9 of the first season. At the start of the second season, ABC moved the show to the Thursday 8:00 p.m. timeslot, which proved to be a disaster. Being forced to compete with NBC's The Cosby Show and A Different World, Mission: Impossible's ratings declined.
ABC responded by moving the show back to Saturday nights to replace the sitcoms Mr. Belvedere and Living Dolls, which faltered badly in their time slots; the move was not a success and the series was cancelled at the end of the second season. The formulaic episode structure from the original series was repeated, although the writers took some liberties and tried to stretch the rules somewhat. Most notably, by the time of the revival series, the Impossible Missions Force was no longer a small, clandestine operation; the 1980s series had IMF agents using technology that nearly pushed the series into the realm of science fiction, such as one gadget that could record dreams. Instead of a tape recorder and an envelope of photos, Phelps would be directed by his contacts to the location of a small optical disc player with a thumbprint scanner built into its lid. After scanning the print, the device would open to reveal a video screen and a 12-button numeric keypad, on which Phelps would type in an access code to retrieve and play the disc.
The device would show photos and video clips related to the mission on-screen. As in the original, the voice would greet him with "Good morning, Jim." The series premiere, "The Killer", used "Welcome back, Jim.". As in the original, the voice gave a brief explanation of the mission and its goal with "Your mission, should you choose/decide to accept it" or words to that effect. M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions." The message would end. Good luck, Jim." At that point, Jim would close the lid and walk away as smoke began to emit from inside the case to
ITV Tyne Tees
ITV Tyne Tees known as Tyne Tees, Channel 3 North East and Tyne Tees Television, is the ITV television franchise for North East England and parts of North Yorkshire. The analogue signals in the Tyne Tees region were switched off in 2012, making the station, along with ITV London and UTV, one of the last ITV regions to broadcast digitally. Tyne-Tees Television Ltd and Tyne-Tees Television Holdings still exist; each of these companies is, along with most other regional companies owned by ITV plc, listed at Companies House as a "Dormant company". Tyne Tees launched on 15 January 1959 from studios at a converted warehouse in City Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, remaining in the city until July 2005 when Tyne Tees moved to smaller studios in Gateshead. Tyne Tees has contributed various programming to the ITV network and Channel 4, as well as its regional output; some of Tyne Tees' best known programming includes the groundbreaking music show The Tube, critically acclaimed adaptations of Catherine Cookson novels, children's programmes such as Supergran.
The ownership and management structure of Tyne Tees has altered across its history in various mergers with Yorkshire Television. The two stations were managed by Trident Television during the 1970s, the two stations merged again in 1992 to form Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television. A series of takeovers and mergers across the ITV network, instigated by the large groups Granada and Carlton, led to Tyne Tees becoming part of ITV plc in 2004. Independent television was introduced to Britain in September 1955. Only available in the London region, commercial television became available in other regions. After a financially difficult time for the first ITV companies, the Independent Television Authority decided to offer independent television to the rest of the country and advertised for bids. Several offers were submitted, including from the existing four companies, to the ITA. North East England was the last of the English regions without a television transmitter. Sir Richard Pease headed a local consortium that included film producer Sydney Box and News Chronicle executives George and Alfred Black.
This consortium, was chosen from among eleven applicants because of its strong local links, commitment to local programming, concentrating on regional topical matters, educational and children's programmes. The contract was awarded on 12 December 1957. Experienced television executive Anthony Jelly was appointed as managing director, although historian Andrew Spicer credits the Black brothers as the driving force and public face of Tyne Tees; the company opened its first Newcastle office at Bradburn House on Northumberland Street, it was from there, on 3 January 1958, the company directors issued 300,000 ordinary shares at fours shillings each. Tyne Tees is named after two of the region's three primary rivers. ITA considered the original name, "North East England", was imprecise; some of the consortium's suggestions were rejected: "Three Rivers Television" for being obscure, "Tyne and Tees" for being too long. In October 1958, the name "Tyne Tees" was announced; the other major river, the Wear, was represented within Tyne Tees' early signature tune "Three Rivers Fantasy".
The BBC transmitted their programmes from the Pontop Pike transmitting station in County Durham. The ITA built a new transmitter nearby at Burnhope, to cover an area from Alnwick to Northallerton, west to Middleton-in-Teesdale. Television sets required a new aerial, the Yagi array, to receive the high frequency that the transmitter was using. Tyne Tees went on air at 5 pm on 15 January 1959, three years after the first British independent television station; the then-prime minister Harold Macmillan, the Member of Parliament for the nearby Stockton-on-Tees for two decades, was interviewed live on the opening night. This was followed by a live variety show, named The Big Show, broadcast from a small studio. However, this local content was followed by an episode of the American police series Highway Patrol and an evening of entertainment programmes including I Love Lucy and Double Your Money. In the 2006 documentary A History of Tyneside, veteran North East newsreader Mike Neville suggested that the launch of Tyne Tees enabled local people to be able to hear local accents and dialects on television, since early broadcasters those from the BBC, tended to speak in Received Pronunciation.
Scholar Natasha Vall suggests that the station's commitment to broadcasting comedy helped establish a regional identity. George and Alfred Black had toured working men's clubs looking for material for television. Local comic Bobby Thompson was invited to host a solo show. However, poor ratings and an unenthusiastic cast led to the show's cancellation after a year. Where most independent television companies published their schedules in the magazine TV Times, Tyne Tees produced their own listings magazine; the Viewer was published by News Chronicle, a company with connections to the station through the Black brothers. It was produced to satisfy "'Tyne Tees' policy to be most regional of all the independent stations". Produced from an office in Forth Lane, near Newcastle station, it moved to the City Road studios when Dickens Press took over publication in 1963; the magazine became the biggest selling magazine in the region, with a circulation of 300,000 per week. New contracts issued by the ITA in 1968 stipulated that all ITV companies publish their listings in the TV Times, which became a national magazine with regional variations for the listings.
After 498 editions, the last issues of The Viewer was published in September 1968. The first advert
Charlie's Angels is an American crime drama television series that aired on ABC from September 22, 1976 to June 24, 1981, producing five seasons and 110 episodes. The series was produced by Aaron Spelling, it follows the crime-fighting adventures of three women working in a private detective agency in Los Angeles and starred Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith in the leading roles and John Forsythe providing the voice of their boss, the unseen Charlie Townsend, who directed the crime-fighting operations of the "Angels" over a speakerphone. There were a few casting changes: after the departure of Fawcett and Jackson came the additions of Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, Tanya Roberts. Despite mixed reviews from critics and a reputation for being "Jiggle TV", Charlie's Angels enjoyed huge popularity with audiences and was a top ten hit in the Nielsen ratings for its first two seasons. By the third season, the show had fallen from the top 10; the fourth season of the show saw a further decline in ratings.
The series continues to have a cult and pop culture following through syndication, DVD releases, subsequent television shows. The show spawned two feature film adaptations and a reboot television series in 2011. Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts came up with the idea for a series about three beautiful female private investigators as a breakthrough but escapist television series. Producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg first considered actress Kate Jackson during the early pre-production stages of the series, she had proven popular with viewers in The Rookies. Jackson was cast as Kelly Garrett, but was more attracted to the role of Sabrina Duncan, her request to switch roles was granted. Farrah Fawcett was next cast, she was offered a part by Spelling. Jaclyn Smith was among the hundreds of actresses. Despite liking Smith and Goldberg were wary about hiring her because their initial concept concerned a brunette and red-headed woman. Smith was the only brunette who auditioned for the role and was cast only after producers liked the on-screen chemistry she shared with Jackson and Fawcett.
Producer Leonard Goldberg, had the initial idea three years for a show that would be a cross between The Avengers and Honey West, a short-lived drama from the 1960s about a female private eye. Goff and Roberts had first titled the series The Alley Cats in which the three females would reside in alleys and wear whips and chains. Jackson disapproved of the title, since she was given semi-control over the development of the series, she encouraged producers to find a new title, it was Jackson who decided the three women would be called "Angels" after seeing a picture of three angels hanging in Spelling's office, the series became known as Harry's Angels. This title was dropped, when ABC did not want to run into conflict with the series Harry O, was thereby changed to Charlie's Angels. In the initial concept of the series, the three females' boss would be a millionaire who aided them in their assignments. With this, millionaire Charlie Townsend was an unseen character on the series who only spoke to the Angels via a Western Electric speakerphone.
John Forsythe, who played the unseen Charlie Townsend, recorded his lines in an audio studio and was never on set. Thus, Forsythe met any of his female co-stars; some years he bumped into Farrah Fawcett at the tennis courts, as he recalled, "I was coming off the court when she came up to me and said,'Charlie! I met Charlie!'" Forsythe was offered the'Charlie' role in a panicky late-night phone call from Spelling after the original choice, Gig Young, showed up too intoxicated to read his lines. "I didn't take my pajamas off – I just put on my topcoat and drove over to Fox. When it was finished, Aaron Spelling said,'That's perfect.' And I went home and went back to bed". Spelling and Goldberg decided to add actor David Doyle to the cast as John Bosley, an employee of Charlie, who would aid the Angels in their assignments. Although ABC had approved of a pilot film, they were concerned about how audiences would accept three women fighting crime on their own. ABC executives brought in David Ogden Stiers as Scott Woodville, who would act as the chief backup to the Angels and Bosley's superior.
The 74-minute pilot film aired on March 21, 1976. The story focuses on Kelly Garrett who poses as an heiress who returns home to gain her father's successful winery. In the end of the film the three women are caught in a bind and Scott attempts to save them, but to no avail, leaving them to solve the dilemma on their own. ABC executives were somewhat disappointed in this initial project, fearing there was more emphasis on camp than serious drama. After viewing the pilot, Spelling encouraged executives to delete Scott Woodville from the series.
Cheryl Ladd is an American actress and author best known for her role as Kris Munroe in the ABC television series Charlie's Angels in which she was hired for its second season in 1977 to replace Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Ladd remained on the show until its cancellation in 1981, her film roles include Purple Hearts, Poison Ivy, Permanent Midnight and Unforgettable. Ladd was born Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor in Huron, South Dakota, the second daughter of Dolores, a waitress and Marion Stoppelmoor, a railroad engineer. After high school, she travelled with the band The Music Shop and played in many mid-western joints before settling in Los Angeles in 1970. Ladd came to Hollywood to begin a career in music. However, she soon began to land non-singing roles in commercials and episodic television, including guest appearances on shows such as on The Rookies, The Partridge Family, Police Woman, The Muppet Show and Happy Days, her big acting break came in 1977, when she was cast in the ABC television series, Charlie's Angels, replacing star Farrah Fawcett, who left the show after only one season to pursue a movie career.
To make the transition easier for audiences, producers cast Ladd as Fawcett's character's younger sister, Kris making her a part of the "Angel's family". In the years to come, this practice of replacing Angels became a common event for the show, but Ladd remained a part of the main cast until the show's end in the spring of 1981. While starring in the rated Charlie's Angels, Ladd took advantage of her new-found popularity to further her musical career, guest-starring in musical-comedy variety series and specials, performing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl XIV in January 1980, releasing three albums, she had a gold record. Following Charlie's Angels, Ladd remained a familiar face on television and has starred in more than 30 made-for-television films, including as Grace Kelly, the Philadelphia heiress who became a Hollywood glamour girl and a European princess, in a biopic, begun shortly before Kelly's death, she appeared in a number of feature films, such as Purple Hearts, Poison Ivy and Permanent Midnight.
Ladd had the lead role in the television series One West Waikiki and made guest appearances in other TV shows such as Charmed and Faith and CSI: Miami. From 2003 until the show's cancellation in 2008 Ladd played Jillian Deline, the wife of the lead character Ed Deline, in 29 episodes of the television drama series Las Vegas. In 1996, Ladd published. In 2005, she published Token Chick: A Woman's Guide to Golfing With the Boys, an autobiographical book which focused on her love of golf. For several years, Ladd hosted a golf tournament sponsored by Buick. In September 2000, Ladd starred on Broadway, taking over the title role from Bernadette Peters in a revival of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, she played the role until January 2001. On April 17, 2010, along with her co-angel Jaclyn Smith, accepted the 2010 TV Land Pop Culture Award for Charlie's Angels. In 2010, Ladd started in the TV film Love's Everlasting Courage for the Hallmark Channel, which aired on October 1, 2011; that same month, she guest-starred on NCIS in the show's ninth-season episode "Thirst" as the love interest of medical examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard.
In December 2011, she guest-starred in an episode of Chuck. Stoppelmoor married fellow actor David Ladd, with whom she had Jordan, she took his surname as her own. Ladd has been married to music producer Brian Russell since 1981 and has a stepdaughter, Lindsay Russell. Ladd is a celebrity ambassador for the child abuse treatment non-profit Childhelp. Official site Cheryl Ladd on IMDb Cheryl Ladd at the Internet Broadway Database Cheryl Ladd at AllMovie Cheryl Ladd discography at Discogs Charlie's Angels website Interview on role in 1983 Grace Kelly movie, July 7, 2014, Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel The Perfect Wave