is there a name or a phrase for or anything much written about that distinctly British CREEPY VIBE prevalent in TV shows and movies of the '60s/'70s? (e.g. The Prisoner, Sapphire and Steel, Baker-era

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Was looking up this clip (embedding disabled) for the May Day thread and struck by the similarity in tone between a bunch of these things. Some Avengers episodes share it too, tho they're more on the light-hearted end of it. Maybe sort of the British equivalent to Rod Serling's shtick? But seems very particular to its era -- characterized by spartan production values (which are generally made a virtue of), often a surface sense of middle-class normalcy masking something sinister, and also often a hidden authoritarian and/or supernatural power.

In rewatching some of these things in recent years -- Sapphire and Steel most recently -- I'm surprised by how scary they can be. I was pretty much terrified by S&S and some Dr. Who episodes as a kid, but they still seem pretty creepy to me. Because it's about this pervasive vibe of dread and things-not-being-right, more than overt shocks or scares. And is obviously tied to political/cultural issues of the time.

Anyway. Just curious if there's ever been a good article about it or study of it or anything. Or a name for it. I think I'm going to start calling the feeling it induces "the Uncle Tom Cobleys."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlOSZXxdK8g

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:17 (nine years ago) link

Oops, over-ran the thread title. Meant to say Baker-era Dr. Who, obv.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:17 (nine years ago) link

In rewatching some of these things in recent years -- Sapphire and Steel most recently -- I'm surprised by how scary they can be. I was pretty much terrified by S&S and some Dr. Who episodes as a kid, but they still seem pretty creepy to me. Because it's about this pervasive vibe of dread and things-not-being-right, more than overt shocks or scares.

The uncanny or unheimlich?

emil.y, Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:27 (nine years ago) link

It overlaps with a lot of the stuff Ghost Box records are doing. There's a sense that, even if it's not referred to explicitly, there's something elemental and folkloric hidden just beneath the surface of a lot of sixties and seventies television. It's much scarier than effects-heavy horror. Nigel Kneale was the master at exploiting it but Brian Clemens was very good too.

I've seen some good BFI pieces about individual shows but i've not come across a comprehensive overview or name given to the wider concept.

I LOVE BELARUS (ShariVari), Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:36 (nine years ago) link

Well, I was thinking of referencing the hauntology phenomenon, but I think the OP is attempting more to consider what the similarity was at the time rather than in modern reception theory. So I'd place it more in the general tradition of the uncanny myself.

emil.y, Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:39 (nine years ago) link

The folkloric element is interesting. Obviously The Wicker Man makes that explicit, but some S&S episodes have it (the first one especially, with the nursery rhymes).

And it definitely is a form of uncanniness, but it has what seem to me (from the outside) like specifically British parameters and forms of expression. I can't think of American movies or shows with quite the same feeling -- I think because it so often draws on British history and the subversion or inversion of British cultural norms.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 15:43 (nine years ago) link

emil.y otm, it's unheimlich/uncanny

think it has a lot to do with the style of these shows, the location work, on 'the prisoner' in particular -- and that wasn't a spartan production

lloyd banks knew my father (history mayne), Sunday, 1 May 2011 15:57 (nine years ago) link

Well, much like hauntology, the uncanny often manifests itself in ways which are quite parochial, surely? Not wanting to get all Theory 101 but the 'unheimlich' stemming from 'unhomely' is a fair indicator. That sense of danger must arise from something known but transfigure it into the unknowable. Also, I guess, consider the Uncanny Valley - those figures that most closely resemble the human are the most fearful. Which is a long way of saying that British uncanny will by definition be different from the American uncanny, for our homeliness is different to yours. How that affects your reception is unknowable to me, being from the country under discussion.

But I do agree that there is more to these pieces than just a hand-waving 'oh, it's uncanny'. How to describe it further I'm unsure.

(that took me longer to write than it should have, being a 6-minute xpost)

emil.y, Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:04 (nine years ago) link

1981 version of Day of the Triffids fits in here I think

wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:11 (nine years ago) link

And I suppose by extension the whole "cosy catastrophe" genre.

wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:12 (nine years ago) link

Ha, maybe John Wyndham is a sort of patron saint of this. I was thinking of Village of the Damned as an early example.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:33 (nine years ago) link

(which of course has lots of similarities to Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- comparing the two would probably point up some nice differences in postwar British and American anxieties.)

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:35 (nine years ago) link

understand that you guys are talking about british television and culture, but i recently watched a few episodes of the invaders, an american television series from '67/'68 and was struck by the by its pervasive, unheimlich creep. it functioned mostly like a western and seemed to concern one man's attempts to uncover and spread awareness of a secretive alien invasion. an example of post-mccarthyite cold war paranoia taken to psychedelic extremes, old-fashioned in its small town good guy stoicism, but set adrift in an unknowable and morally ambiguous dream world. dug it quite a bit.

that said, it lacks the weirdly mythic/folkloric resonance that seems present in (for instance) the prisoner, the sense that everything you're seeing is an occult parable of a particularly sinister sort.

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Sunday, 1 May 2011 17:57 (nine years ago) link

Which is a long way of saying that British uncanny will by definition be different from the American uncanny, for our homeliness is different to yours. How that affects your reception is unknowable to me, being from the country under discussion.

Yeah, that's an interesting question. I'm a huge fan of this kind of stuff and immediately knew what the OP was talking about. But I always chalked it up to anglophilia + '70s-philia + radiophonic workshop fandom. But maybe there's something deeper to it that makes it a uniquely British sort of expression and yet for some reason doesn't affect the reception for some Americans.

Part of it may be some kind of weird axis of synergy between cosiness, creepiness, and low production values, where the sort of rough, homemade feel enhances both the cosiness and the creepiness. American TV shows and movies of the era explore some of the same territory but usually in a much slicker way.

wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:13 (nine years ago) link

Just like WK, I'm a huge fan of this as well and thought 'hauntology' immediately (in its un-'lol'-ed, original version, it seems to be made fun of recently, or not taken seriously anymore?).

I do think it goes beyond a mere fondness for sci-fi/occult/bbc radiophonic workshop et al. As a non-English person (though living with an English woman) I've always been attracted to the particular atmosphere of those tv shows and movies (The Witchfinder General, Wicker Man, the superb Stone Tape series etc) and the creepiness for me definitely lies in that in the English shows/movies (part of) the source of the eeriness is left undefined and unexplained. American counterparts have always seemed to rely more on explaining, polishing, rounding off a story nicely.

Image-wise England is way more gritty and raw, too. The landscape and the age-old history it encapsules seeps through any story you set there, whether it's one meant to have that certain 'creepy vibe' or not. It cannot be denied, even if it's not on the surface, it is there. Which is what I endlessly adore about England, too.

RIP Brodie, aspiring bellhop boy, 4 months old (Le Bateau Ivre), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:30 (nine years ago) link

Maybe one difference in American and British manifestations is that U.S. paranoia seems to be always about malignant outside forces (invasion of the body snatchers, invaders, etc) where in the U.K. iterations it's often something already-present but hidden or forgotten.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:47 (nine years ago) link

I love this stuff, but analyzing what I like about it and why in excruciating detail doesn't make me (personally) like it any more. It's part costume party, part ghosts, part human ritual trying in vain to control our violent natural environment and the rest may have something to do with the general aesthetic of the 60s/70s big hair/boobs + gunne sax dresses.

See also:

http://images.etsy.com/all_images/b/b9b/fb5/il_430xN.20355567.jpg

deez m'uts (La Lechera), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:55 (nine years ago) link

(interesting that the U.S. doesn't have more of a tradition of ancient-Indian-curse stories --Poltergeist aside I guess. Wonder if that storyline's just too uncomfortable for the culture to handle)

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:57 (nine years ago) link

...U.S. paranoia seems to be always about malignant outside forces (invasion of the body snatchers, invaders, etc) where in the U.K. iterations it's often something already-present but hidden or forgotten.

OTM, especially the "or forgotten" bit

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Sunday, 1 May 2011 19:11 (nine years ago) link

while i'm OTM-ing, also to le bateau for the similar/different point about landscape and history. american popular imagination, especially during the 60s & 70s when the imprint of the western was still so clear in everything, demands that landscape be seen as devoid as history, as "nature," the undiscovered country. this makes humans and their social spaces a sort of flotsam bobbing around on the surface of landscape, not really woven into it. humans are either with or against nature, but nature's aims are hardly secret.

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Sunday, 1 May 2011 19:17 (nine years ago) link

there was also a kind of creepy sub genre for kids in which you could include say:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xez4o1ujOPI

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFUQpCqwCOU

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoazQwVyzCs

and even

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJmF97aDwIM

all terrifying to me at pre teen age. especially The Book Tower.brrr.

piscesx, Sunday, 1 May 2011 20:32 (nine years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLpcr7KTi9I

Children of the Stones: Like The Wicker Man, but with ancient stone circles... for kids.

Hippocratic Oaf (DavidM), Sunday, 1 May 2011 20:56 (nine years ago) link

Image-wise England is way more gritty and raw, too. The landscape and the age-old history it encapsules seeps through any story you set there,

True, which also has a lot to do with the vast bulk of '60s and '70s American film and TV being shot in LA. There's definitely a sort of "sickness beneath the sunshine" vibe to some Hollywood productions that England can never hope to capture. Maybe more American horror would have had a gloomy pagan Lovecraftian feeling if the industry were centered in Boston. Cronenberg may have come the closest to capturing that English feeling in some of his '70s work, since Canada is a lot greyer.

(interesting that the U.S. doesn't have more of a tradition of ancient-Indian-curse stories --Poltergeist aside I guess. Wonder if that storyline's just too uncomfortable for the culture to handle)

Really? The ancient indian curse seems like such a cliche that it would be impossible to list how many times it was used. But again to the question of geography and architecture, there's something fundamentally different about it due to the lack of permanent native american architecture in the midst of big American cities and suburbs. It's one thing to have some Indian artifact or the land beneath your development be haunted, but it's not quite the same as your local church or pub, or entire village being taken over by a lurking evil.

So, lots of ancient architecture with pagan historical connections within easy filming distance of London, plus wartime experiences of actual invasion combined to create a fertile ground for exploring all sorts of themes of invasion and corruption from both outside and in.

wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:10 (nine years ago) link

As a kid, The Omega Factor used to scare the living shit out of me. My friends and I used to reference bits of it out and it was shorthand for the shitting-your-pants-scary-creeping-through-derelict-house adventures we would occasionally have. Because this was only broadcast in Scotland (to my knowledge) not many people remembered it. A few years ago it came out on DVD and I snapped it up, of course it wasn't a tenth as scary, and it's so damn *slow* and everything in the sets seem to be different shades of brown, but it's still faintly eerie.

Seems like the filter of childhood remeniscence contributes to this feeling, it's always retropective but it's very attractive, for instance when I see those Ghost box covers that Julian House designs I get such a strong notion of school textbooks and suchlike from my own past.

Anyhoo, check out the titles and the relentlessly brown colourscheme

http://youtu.be/HPXgQv6pwss

the crap gig in the sky (MaresNest), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:40 (nine years ago) link

it's in my wish list, they def broadcast it in England too

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:42 (nine years ago) link

imo a good part of the creepiness is yr exposure to it a certain point in childhood/young adulthood - the supernatural is a metaphor for the not-quite-fathomed mysteries of sex and mortality that are nagging away in yr head at that point in life. of course those mysteries never quite get fathomed which means that creepiness is always going to hang around

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:45 (nine years ago) link

there's some old good k-punk posts limning this stuff, aren't they? or maybe it was just a long parenthesis whilst talking about the Fall again. but mentioned the stone tape and the later quatermass.

one wonders if you could include: those creepy public info spots ('apaches' etc); the wicker man; i had a third, but i have forgotten whilst writing this sentence. m.r. james? enh.

thomp, Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:55 (nine years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xur13R23Qlk

In a similar vein: never saw the second half of this because my dad sent me to bed on account of it being "a right load of old rubbish". He may well have been right but apparently thanks to the magic of Youtube i can find out.

xp I think the stories of M.R. James play into this but the production values on the stories they filmed make them not quite the same thing maybe?

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:58 (nine years ago) link

xpost - sorry -

oh, my original third was dennis potter

op: 'characterized by spartan production values (which are generally made a virtue of)'

i was just trying to work out whether you could draw a line around the era being talked about in terms of whether the bbc was using video or film but i don't think it quite works

but i think mb. the organising principle is that (if we accept for the moment that a lot of the effect of horror -- well, of this sort of creepiness -- is the whole unheimlich palimpsest thing, the idea that this stuff underwrites quotidian experience) this is a period where people in tv are starting to know how the conventions of tv drama have settled down, and are willing to game them -- tho not to the level of, say, the totally silly baker stories with the candy monster, or of 'ghostwatch'

so the formal characteristics of this particular vibe are on some level identical to their thematic ones, is what lends it its odd power

however i am mostly familiar with this stuff at second hand so i may well be talking out of my arse here

thomp, Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:01 (nine years ago) link

I've mentioned this before on other threads, but the Open University mnemonic is my all time pant crapping childhood memory and for what reason I still don't know.

the crap gig in the sky (MaresNest), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:01 (nine years ago) link

The flatness of 70's video cameras goes a long way towards the vibe imho.

the crap gig in the sky (MaresNest), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:02 (nine years ago) link

yeah I thought about Potter, particularly Blue Remembered Hills. Altho he is arguably working in a less explicitly supernatural way - even in something like Brimstone and Treacle - i think he is exploiting similar themes of the uncanny. Rather than Invasion, which the UK didn't really experience during WWII, I wonder how many of the writers were expressing anxieties about displacement, and specifically the displacement of city kids evacuated to a sinister-seeming countryside during the war. as well as the rearrangement of the cities caused by bombing etc.

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:08 (nine years ago) link

and I suddenly remember Penda's Fen which again is a deal better than the campier end of this stuff but rocks the England's Ancient Evil line to brilliant effect. No DVD apparently and i seem to have agonisingly lost my avi of it but copies are out there i think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m5To7_kzvs

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:20 (nine years ago) link

and a quick wiki search reveals that it was written by the guy who wrote Artemis 81 and the adaptation of James' "The Ash Tree" so duh

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:22 (nine years ago) link

i was just trying to work out whether you could draw a line around the era being talked about in terms of whether the bbc was using video or film but i don't think it quite works

Well, a huge part of this aesthetic for me is the use of video for interiors and film for exteriors. When I saw Doctor Who on PBS as a kid that was one of the most immediately jarring and almost distancing elements for me. I obviously didn't know technically why it was happening but I remember that distinct feeling that parts of it felt like some kind of old educational documentary and other parts felt like a really bad public access TV show.

wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:28 (nine years ago) link

Or actually, a soap opera is a better point of reference for that weird live video look.

wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:30 (nine years ago) link

If you want something scary from the 1970s, you can't beat public service information films. This still gives me the creeps, 38 years after seeing it for the first time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg6IVUvVsAs

Cluster the boots (Billy Dods), Sunday, 1 May 2011 23:05 (nine years ago) link

I wonder how many of the writers were expressing anxieties about displacement, and specifically the displacement of city kids evacuated to a sinister-seeming countryside during the war. as well as the rearrangement of the cities caused by bombing etc.

Interesting idea. One thing that strikes me is the sinister sort of cuts both ways -- you get this sense of lurking pagan forces, but also the idea that "normal," middle-class postwar life is fundamentally hollow, covering over all this other stuff. Which is just normal suburban anxiety in a way, but takes a different form in a country and culture with so much history (as opposed to American suburban anxiety, where the suburbs are hollow because there's nothing underneath, no history, no anything -- or if there is, it's something recent and specific, like the Amityville Horror).

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 23:12 (nine years ago) link

This still gives me the creeps, 38 years after seeing it for the first time.

Jeez, yeah.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 23:14 (nine years ago) link

but takes a different form in a country and culture with so much history (as opposed to American suburban anxiety, where the suburbs are hollow because there's nothing underneath, no history, no anything -- or if there is, it's something recent and specific, like the Amityville Horror).

yeah, that's what i was getting at earlier. occurred to me when thinking about the 70s-era US boom in occult-themed horror - for example, the brotherhood of satan, which i watched just a few days ago. it's set in a small, isolated town that seems to be collapsing in an orgy of unmotivated violence. turns out that a secret satanic coven is behind things, no surprise, but you never get the sense that the looming evil, however ancient the forces it might draw on, has any real history or deep connection to place. it seems, in fact, more like a foreign invader - or a commie/druggie plot from within, not to put too fine a point on it...

rosemary's baby, perhaps because it was directed by an "old world" european, positively reeks of occult history, but here even history becomes a sort of threat from without. the movie consequently seems like a battle between a placeless and superstitious anciency and the ostensibly rational modern world. to pare it down even further: between corrupt wisdom and innocent naivete, age and youth, europe and america.

upthread, wk says that, "the ancient indian curse seems like such a cliche that it would be impossible to list how many times it was used," but i'm not so sure about that. it's certainly a familiar device, but i'd hardly say that it's dominated the imaginations of american horror filmmakers over the last 50 years. and films like pet sematary and creepshow 2 (both stephen king adaptations, oddly) have often used the idea of the "indian curse" without any perceptible investment in the significance of history or landscape. poltergeist seems more interesting in this regard, given the political implications and the eventual eradication of suburban property as a sort of penitential sacrifice. then there's the shining, which allows any number of readings, but remains maddeningly vague.

i like the idea of an american horror film in which a presence or purpose coded into the landscape, something that predates european settlement, enacts itself in ways that destablize "ordinary" american life. maybe not because the presence/purpose is evil or aggrieved, but simply because its ends are different. there must be examples of this, but i can't think of any offhand...

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Monday, 2 May 2011 06:33 (nine years ago) link

i dunno. maybe i'm giving pet sematary short shrift. though it's not as direct as poltergeist in its suggestion that american comfort is built on genocide, it does invite similar interpretations. the contemporary nuclear family existing in a state of constant existential peril, threatened from one side by the very things that supply its material comforts (the road with its long-haul trucks), and from the other by a terrifying forest that conceals an explicitly forbidden history, stinking of death.

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Monday, 2 May 2011 06:43 (nine years ago) link

The Dark and Lonely Water, Billy Dods up here is sending shivers down my spine... Perfect example!

RIP Brodie, aspiring bellhop boy, 4 months old (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 2 May 2011 07:50 (nine years ago) link

voiced by donald pleasance too...

koogs, Monday, 2 May 2011 11:29 (nine years ago) link

Even Disney got in on this -- Watcher in the Woods is probably the first movie like this that I saw growing up in Ohio. It was really really scary at the time.

Also, The Shining to thread (re: uh oh burial grounds).

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_D1ZZyTOG7tQ/SureA53-vvI/AAAAAAAAFwU/5eUKUJ9Tg8s/s400/Watcher+in+the+Woods+Lynn-Holly+Johnson+Bette+Davis+Kyle+Richards.jpg

Oh, and speaking of Bette Davis, what about The Dark Secret of Harvest Home?! (The book was really good, too btw)

http://www.go4film.com/thumbs/586ec9539c37d994933f50b051181b96.jpg

deez m'uts (La Lechera), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:15 (nine years ago) link

The cover is pretty cool -- has the same most dreadful sacrifice theme as Wicker Man, only it's set in a quasi Peyton Place sort of atmosphere. The Widow Fortune is sort of like Lord Summerisle, I guess?
http://worldsstrongestlibrarian.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/harvest-home-208x300.jpg

deez m'uts (La Lechera), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:18 (nine years ago) link

Haha, we own so many of these things. In fact, just watched Penda's Fen again last night for film club. Such a strange and beautiful film.

I think the Britain = internal/forgotten histories/nature and USA = external/eradicated history/urbanity thing is spot on, actually. I want to agree that the Indian burial ground plot is a very common trope but can't think of many more examples than those already mentioned. I guess America does also have the natural spookiness of vast desert landscapes etc but I'm unsure if that's *uncanny* or something different. I guess it's less centred on the homeliness of the small British island and more on exploration of the unknown?

emil.y, Monday, 2 May 2011 13:29 (nine years ago) link

feel like the vibe y'all are talking about got expressed in the US via dystopian future fantasies like phase iv and the like

don't judge a book by its jpg (Edward III), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:44 (nine years ago) link

for some reason equivalent US examples I can think of are TV movies

dark night of the scarecrow
don't be afraid of the dark
crowhaven farm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kgZ-0hTPdM

don't judge a book by its jpg (Edward III), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:48 (nine years ago) link

S&S is also available on Amazon Prime

Brad C., Wednesday, 3 June 2020 16:17 (nine months ago) link

TPTV has been repeating Quatermass, the tv series, which is probably thread adjacent. featuring Toyah, pre singing career(?) (actually, i think it finished last night)

my DVDs of sapphire and steel have been spoiled by sunlight getting into the transparent cases and one episode of assignment 1 and one of assignment 6 won't play. so i'm hoping to fill the gap with the Forces TV broadcasts. currently halfway through Assignment 2.

koogs, Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:57 (eight months ago) link

Toyah, pre singing career(?) (actually, i think it finished last night)

Largely finished by 1986 IIRC.

Noel Emits, Wednesday, 10 June 2020 12:57 (eight months ago) link

Quatermass
Original release 24 October – 14 November 1979

but i now realise that was a joke 8)

she's been in news lately iirc. did a lockdown thing with mr fripp?

koogs, Wednesday, 10 June 2020 13:25 (eight months ago) link

Assignment 3 of Sapphire and Steel (which started last night) is the one i remember making my mum watch (it was on at 7pm on itv, a summer replacement for Emmerdale). she wasn't impressed. it seems like a change of direction - is more sci-fi than the previous two.

koogs, Thursday, 11 June 2020 11:39 (eight months ago) link

Forces TV needed re-tuning today. Hopefully it's done and tonight's episodes will record.

Assignment 4, man with no face, ok
Assignment 5, tea party in the 1930s not so great

Assignment 6 starts tonight and I remember it as creepy more than anything. 3 still my favourite

koogs, Monday, 22 June 2020 21:46 (eight months ago) link

three months pass...

This seems to be the closest thing we have to a folk horror thread, so I just wanted to mention that I watched most of the Punchdrunk 12-hour livestreamed episode of The Third Day w/Jude Law yesterday. Incredible stuff, can still be watched on the Sky TV facebook page I think.

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Sunday, 4 October 2020 10:43 (five months ago) link

I wondered what the story was on that when I passed by it and saw that it did seem to be 12 hours long.
I was on the way to something else as I stepped through the channels.
Hadn't realised the tv show itself was on a channel I got

Stevolende, Sunday, 4 October 2020 17:16 (five months ago) link

Stumbled across it and looked up what was going on

Enjoyed what I had on, cos I love slow TV, don't think I'm bothered about catching up with another Wicker Man retread tbh

1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 4 October 2020 18:18 (five months ago) link

Don't want to spoil it for you or anyone else who might be thinking of dipping their toes in, but I will say that the basic premise is v different from The Wicker Man.

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Sunday, 4 October 2020 18:35 (five months ago) link

yeah that wasn't fully serious tbh but i'm guessing the filmed eps are not quite as strange a proposition as yesterday's programme?

1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 4 October 2020 18:52 (five months ago) link

I haven't seen those yet tbh, I'm playing catch-up as usual!

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Sunday, 4 October 2020 19:00 (five months ago) link

Listened to half of the BBC radio adaptation of Children of the Stones, I think they've done it really well. The whole 'investigative journalist podcast within a podcast' thing is definitely overplayed but so far not hampering my enjoyment. You can find it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08sy3qx

emil.y, Tuesday, 13 October 2020 22:02 (four months ago) link

ooooh ty

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 14 October 2020 10:28 (four months ago) link

Made in 2018, repeated today so up for replay for 28 days: a radio adaptation of a twice-lost* 1963 Nigel Kneale TV play, The Road. While the programme itself was wiped, the original 1963 sound effects tape was unearthed by Radiophonic Workshop flame-keeper Mark Ayres, and used in this production.

* it was remade in Australia a year later, and also not archived.

Un-fooled and placid (sic), Monday, 26 October 2020 08:55 (four months ago) link

I watched 4 of the non-12-hour-episodes of The Third Day and thought it was okay. The first couple felt oddly like a indie video game - following your Jude Law avatar around as he finds a clue inside a box, overhears a conversation, etc etc. Not much thrill power & didn't hit my pleasure centres at the spots it seemed to be aiming for - folklore/ritual uncanny & lingering images.

I don't have any great enthusiasm for finishing watching it but I probably will. tbh the 12-hour thing sounds more interesting.

Also finally watched the Mackenzie Crook Wurzel Gummidge & thought of this thread. I liked it better than almost anything roughly in the zone for a while, I think because it feels like it enjoys the countryside & enjoys telling a story more than it likes the creepy vibe, ie too many of these things reach for the vibe first and don't take a bit of time hanging out, enjoying the landscape (like they are more interested in the Wicker Man than the world). Refreshing to see the creepiness embedded in pleasure-in-nature (& it helps that it's actual kids/family TV, & so has to be relatively straightforward).

woof, Monday, 26 October 2020 11:47 (four months ago) link

The long performance was wonderful just for existing

Notes on "Scamp" (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 October 2020 11:53 (four months ago) link

three months pass...

curiously, Sapphire and Steel is being shown on two different freeview channels at the moment. ForcesTV has been showing it daily with a 6-episode omnibus on saturdays and LondonLive has been showing it in it's 19:00 slot, which is around the time i remember it being on originally, the summer replacement for emmerdale.

i've also just finished reading The Owl Service, the tv series of which would fit here, but i have no memory of it.

koogs, Friday, 5 February 2021 15:48 (one month ago) link

I rewatched the owl service within the last year, and still can't remember anything...

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Friday, 5 February 2021 15:52 (one month ago) link

there is some discussion upthread.

ledge, Friday, 5 February 2021 16:04 (one month ago) link

The Owl Service is brilliant. It does get pretty dark and sexual for a children's TV programme though - I went in expecting more of a Children of the Stones "v spooky but family friendly" vibe and remember being really surprised by it.

emil.y, Friday, 5 February 2021 16:08 (one month ago) link

the titles are amazing though, aren't they?

fbclid=fhAZ3l (f. hazel), Friday, 5 February 2021 16:18 (one month ago) link

I don't get ForcesTV on Freeview?

Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Friday, 5 February 2021 17:38 (one month ago) link

You should from the December retune I think. It's way up in the 90s channels - 96?

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Friday, 5 February 2021 17:40 (one month ago) link

96, yes. i think about half my devices get it, half don't. helps if the weather's good when you retune 8)

it's on Multiplex com7 - ARQC - Arqiva C which says
"Broadcasting to 20.6m UK homes from 30 masts (77%)"
same mux as bbc4hd and bbcnewshd

https://ukfree.tv/transmitters/multiplexes

koogs, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:08 (one month ago) link

I don't get ForcesTV in Glasgow. Or London Live, obv

The last time I read The Owl Service, the use of the word 'n*g-n*g' (as a childish insult) screamed out at me - I wonder if it's been removed for more recent editions. It's pretty much the only blemish in the bk, and the TV series is a dece attempt at it.

Ward Fowler, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:27 (one month ago) link

wasn't in my version (50th anniversary, pullman intro)

koogs, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:41 (one month ago) link

i love the Owl Service but I don't think I've seen the show.

Party With A Jagger Ban (dog latin), Friday, 5 February 2021 18:43 (one month ago) link

if anyone's interested in this stuff and you're on Facebook, join the Folk Horror Revival group

Party With A Jagger Ban (dog latin), Friday, 5 February 2021 18:43 (one month ago) link

Retuned. Still no Forces TV.

Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Friday, 5 February 2021 19:34 (one month ago) link

your tv knows you didn't clap for major tom

Dusty Benelux (jim in vancouver), Friday, 5 February 2021 19:34 (one month ago) link

Who says I didn't?

Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Friday, 5 February 2021 20:05 (one month ago) link

not our words, the words of Forces TV

Scampi reggae party (Noodle Vague), Friday, 5 February 2021 20:20 (one month ago) link

I assumed Forces TV was endless repeats of Soldier Soldier and Get Some In!, but it's hard to discern a military theme (or any entertainment value) in Sapphire & Steel.

Ward Fowler, Friday, 5 February 2021 23:52 (one month ago) link

it's all things like Robin's Nest and Bless This House, Sikes, Dukes of Hazzard, Chips. they've showed Space 1999 and UFO before now. it's an odd mix.

koogs, Saturday, 6 February 2021 03:02 (one month ago) link

also a lot of Leni Riefenstahl movies

Scampi reggae party (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 6 February 2021 04:36 (one month ago) link

Royal It's a Knockout.

Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 February 2021 13:46 (one month ago) link

The Blue Light on it? Dont think I get this channel either

or something, Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:06 (one month ago) link

Xp re riefenstahl

or something, Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:07 (one month ago) link

No I was just drunkenly calling soldiers nazi sympathisers, Forces TV would never show anything as aesthetic as a Riefenstahl movie but if you want to watch 237 episodes of Never The Twain bob's your uncle

Scampi reggae party (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:14 (one month ago) link

Leni Riefenstahl's Royal It's a Knockout is a big favourite with our boys.

Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:15 (one month ago) link

I definitely catch sight of Bless This House and George and Mildred when I flick through Freeview of a morning, I think they're on ITV4 too - along with things like The Sweeney and The Avengers (often the Diana Rigg colour episodes). I miss the Kojak repeats, which seem to have dried up at the moment.

Ward Fowler, Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:29 (one month ago) link

Oh haha, bit slow today xp

or something, Saturday, 6 February 2021 15:18 (one month ago) link

> The Avengers (often the Diana Rigg colour episodes)

it was actually the emma peel / tara king handover episode on friday.

emma peel is, i recently realised, outside my 'half age plus seven' range now.

koogs, Saturday, 6 February 2021 15:41 (one month ago) link

This YouTube channel seems to have quite a few video obscurities that are of interest to this thread. I came to it by looking for - and finding – the 80s TV adaptation of Robert Aickman's brilliant short story 'The Hospice'. It doesn't really capture the original's queasily dark laughter at the hell of English cuisine and hospitality, but it's pretty faithful to the text and def has its moments:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLitwlP-m7c

Ward Fowler, Friday, 19 February 2021 14:50 (two weeks ago) link

oooh thanks for the heads-up

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 19 February 2021 16:15 (two weeks ago) link

I treated myself to a couple of 80s kids shows that are minor players in this/Scarred For Life scene in the recent Network sale.

King of the Castle is very Baker & Martin, with a surreal version of a boy's life after moving to a tower block where there are bullies and the workshy nature of his jazz musician dad jars against his 'ideas above his station' (which seem to amount to singing in a choir), all played out in a broken lift shaft and/or medieval tower. Talfryn Thomas and Milton Jones as the main players should tell you a lot about it.

Raven is bang in this territory, or Alan Garner land, with Phil Daniels as someone who may or may not be King Arthur reborn investigating and trying to stop nuclear waste being dumped in a cave system mapped to the zodiac while letching after Debbie Out Of EastEnders. It's definitely missing something, hence the relative obscurity, but worth the limited runtime.

The Clifton House Mystery, I hate to say, doesn't actually have that much going for it except when Peter Sallies turns up. For fans of This Sort Of Thing it's utterly predictable - and fails to go The House That Bled To Death when given the opportunity, probably because of being screened in the middle of the afternoon. The girl of the children is sidelined in favour of briefcase wanker Justin Bennett Out Of Grange Hill but most annoying of all THE HOUSE IS CLEARLY IN HOTWELLS AND NOT CLIFTON.

Into The Labyrinth was the most fun of all though, at least for the first two seasons with Ron Moody - although the third lets the wonderful Pamela Salem chew the scenery without competition. A sort of Quantum Leap performed as a pantomime, the kids go on a fetch quest while the adults dress up in period costumes and Rep-approved regional accents as they pretend to be ignorant of the plot. There's a genuinely amazing episode where Moody is Holmes and Salem is an 'actress' in Victorian London that's more camp than Duncan Norvelle slap fighting with Charlie Hawtrey. I'm not convinced it's for everyone though...

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Friday, 19 February 2021 16:51 (two weeks ago) link

i am still haunted by a barely remembered scene from King of the Castle which i can't elaborate on right now probly cos it's Friday pub time but there's a weird incestual scene that burned into my head at time of broadcast, couldn't even remember what the show was called for decades after

The Scampo Fell to Earth (Noodle Vague), Friday, 19 February 2021 17:54 (two weeks ago) link

There was a sampling platter of these shows on my DVD of Children Of The Stones. Months later I saw a kid proclaim themselves king of the castle and was like "oh fuck they're still at it".

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 22 February 2021 11:51 (two weeks ago) link


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