Tess Daly takes a nostalgic look back at TV classics that have come out of the BBC in the North West over the last 50 years and a host of stars recall their favourite TV moments.
Browse content similar to TV Greats: Our Favourites from the North. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This is Salford Quays, the brand-new home of BBC North.
Match Of The Day, Breakfast News, 5 Live, they are all coming here.
Oh, and Corrie's moved in just around the corner.
I can't wait to see Gary Lineker rubbing shoulders with Ken Barlow
in the Rover's Return over a pint of best bitter. Love it.
Some of the very best of British TV has been made right here, up North.
Live on the show, Take That!
The only way now is up, up, up!
I'll be looking back at some of the great BBC TV shows which have been made in the Northwest
and finding out what it is about this part of the world
that's created some of the best telly of the last 50 years.
I don't know what you guys drink up in Manchester
but there seems to be something in the water
that says that little spark of creativity.
What about Salford? Any of you Salford lads, then?
Is there a process to becoming a Northerner?
Probably 16 pints of bitter...and 40 Embassy Regal.
What's going on?!
That is lovely.
I prefer to be spellbound.
One of my favourite TV shows as a kid was Top Of The Pops.
I loved the music and I LOVED the dancing.
I mean, I wanted to be one of Pan's People, for goodness' sake.
And hard to imagine, I know, but for the first three years
the show was actually broadcast from a converted church in Manchester.
This is BBC One.
Yes, it's number one! It's Top Of The Pops!
MUSIC: "The Last Time" by the Rolling Stones
Top Of The Pops was launched on New Year's Day 1964
by none other than the late King of Pop, Jimmy Savile.
Wednesday January 1st 1964,
7:30 in the evening, live, black and white TV,
first group the Hollies, Rolling Stones and people like that,
and it was...tremendous.
Who does anything on New Year's Day?
So the Beatles and the Rolling Stones... New Year's Day?!
So when they've been at Marianne Faithfull's penthouse flat the night before doing God knows what
they had to be on a train at 6am to Manchester to a disused church.
They must have said to Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham, "Are you serious about this?
"For some new pop programme? We're the biggest groups in the world."
"You're still going doing it. You can have a sandwich on the train."
# Well, I'm sorry, girl, but I can't stay... #
They decided to put Top Of The Pops in Manchester because they couldn't bear it in London.
London was very hoity-toity and Manchester... Where is Manchester?
Anything that they didn't want to do in London
they slung up to the old church in Manchester.
They didn't want anything to do with pop music, so that was our place.
To appear in the audience of Top Of The Pops was a dream come true,
and not surprisingly a few famous faces turned up at the studios.
Yes, that really is George Best strutting his stuff.
# Oooh, oooh Baby love, my baby love... #
The Supremes even made their world television debut on the programme.
There was absolutely no problem getting artists to come.
Top Of The Pops was THE number-one pop show in the whole WORLD.
# To make you stay away for long
# Cos baby love, my baby love... #
Jimmy Savile was so different.
He had a completely different voice, his total presentation was not...
I wanted to say not normal, but that sounds unkind.
It was just so entertaining and he was such a character.
# I got the blues in the morning
# I got the greens at night... #
Except I'm a tee-totaller. Oh, I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen. Yes...
Jimmy Savile, obviously, he's not got it QUITE right.
I've never seen anyone at a rock gig looking quite like Jimmy Savile.
But he's worked out that the suits and ties of the squares has gone
and the kids are going to do something else.
# You've lost that lovin' feeling... #
By the end of '67, the show was so successful it had outgrown the old church and was moved to London.
# You've lost that lovin' feeling... #
Everybody that comes up to the North is affected by the North
and Northern people and things like that.
And it just... It was a magic mix, the North and Top Of The Pops.
# Bring back that lovin' feeling
# Whoa, that lovin' feeling... #
In the early '70s, the BBC decided it needed more space.
The old church was demolished
and work began on new studios on Oxford Road in Manchester.
Now, on the fringe of the city centre, it's all down to New Broadcasting House.
Not so characterful, perhaps, as a collection of old churches,
but more appropriate to broadcasting in the '70s and the '80s.
Now, that's what I've been looking for.
Jeux Sans Frontieres, or It's A Knockout to me and you.
Unforgettable Saturday-night telly.
Stuart Hall's laugh, Eddie Waring's scoreboard,
those ridiculous giants' costumes.
You just could not beat it.
It was absolute genius. Absolute genius.
Everybody had to make a date with It's A Knockout.
It was just a seminal programme of our time.
All these people dressed up, not just in a costume,
but characters that were, like, six or eight feet tall.
Meanwhile, shambling up are St Albans!
STUART HALL LAUGHS UPROARIOUSLY
STUART HALL TRIES TO SPEAK BUT BREAKS DOWN LAUGHING
I think it's Stuart Hall's unbridled enthusiasm for everything that he does.
But now, equally divine, equally delectable,
is your actual uncle Eddie Waring. Ed.
You very rarely hear a grown man nearly wetting himself these days
on the television, and the simple joyousness of that conveys it.
It still works. When you hear it, you still can't help...
I think people of all ages... Because he's really having a good time.
We've got a pool, you can see behind,
and one of the very good games that's been in Knockout
through the few years we've been doing it is the pillow fight.
Bonkers decision with Eddie Waring.
From sport, from rugby league, to bring him into that!
So then to get a commentator who sounds just as bemused by what's going on...
It may be a little wet above, but the crowd are really enjoying this.
Don't know whether the competitors are. Hey, no holding.
It really looked grim. You were kind of glad to be indoors watching it
rather than there, I think.
And yet there was something kind of...that lifted the spirits
about people dressed as celery sticks
kind of rolling about in pools of murky rainwater and things.
Pauline Cooper can't count. Shall we ask what the Ely score there was?
-She can't count. Go on.
-I make it 24.
-Your mother will be very pleased. Right, hop it, then.
And that other fella, Arthur, in his striped blazer.
15. Two points to Ely.
Two more points to Ely. Get them on the scoreboard, Bev.
And then of course they went very international
with Jeux Sans Frontieres.
Where they used to...used to go abroad to places like Belgium,
and they'd do it at night and it looked all colourful
and the water would look like a swimming pool,
and then they'd cut back to Warrington...
-..filming in February, in the mud.
We had 80 million viewers, every Friday night.
IMITATING THEME TUNE: # Ba-ba bom-bom-bom, bom-be-bom-bom-bom... #
THEME TUNE PLAYS
Yes, 80 million viewers across Europe would tune in every week
to watch the European version of the show.
When it went abroad, you know, it all looked very glamorous.
It was Champions League It's A Knockout, wasn't it?
It did look much more glamorous. We thought, "Wow. It's very sophisticated abroad, isn't it?"
The penguin game, which is shown on YouTube non-stop, from Aix-les-Bains,
featuring the eight penguins collecting water on a carousel.
Go on, get in!
Why it works is everyone, except possibly Stuart Hall,
is taking this incredibly seriously.
You know those men in those penguin suits and their assistants,
that national pride is at work here.
The national pride of the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Latvia, wherever, is at stake.
And so that's what makes it so touching and so funny.
Now, Dougie, a dustbin man from Skegness, was our penguin,
and he gave us some of the greatest fun I've ever had in my life.
Because he completely destroyed it.
When they speeded up the carousel, he went quicker.
He took out the German, the took out the French. He took out the Dutch!
But he kept running, had nothing in his bucket!
HE TRIES TO SPEAK BUT BREAKS DOWN LAUGHING
STUART HALL LAUGHS UPROARIOUSLY
In there, Dougie!
STUART HALL SCREAMS WITH LAUGHTER
And there's been no shortage of laughter from up here.
Some of our best-loved comedians are from this part of the world.
Peter Kay, Johnny Vegas, John Bishop, Steve Coogan,
they all began right here.
You can see that the warm air is moving out of the way
and the cool air is coming back in, so that makes more sense...
Hi! It's roasting, Dianne!
My name's Paul Calf.
Er, support Man City, er, like drinkin'...
Scrap, fight, punch-up, break some bloke's nose. I like life!
Revolts me how some people live.
-Eddie, I think you need to wear a mask.
-Why, do you think I'm going to get recognised?
No, I just don't like looking at your face. Ha-ha-ha-ha!
Now is what counts, Rimmer, living for today.
Who knows what'll happen tomorrow? Or in the next five minutes? That's what makes life so excitin'.
Some of the best comedy shows of the last 30 years
have originated from Manchester.
My first job here, in this very studio,
was, I was an usher for Red Dwarf.
Erm, I just used to show people to their seats and make sure everyone had their tickets.
And I used to watch the show and watch Craig,
and I've since worked with Craig, just worked with Danny John-Jules.
I'd sit here and watch and go, "Oh, I'd love to be in something like this one day."
-We'll catch you up.
-Are you sure you've got everything?
Just the bare essentials, food and medical supplies.
I'm just taking the bare essentials too. 36 change of clothing and ten full-length dress mirrors.
Cat, we're going to be away for 12 hours.
You think I need more mirrors?
A lot of the time Red Dwarf was on, I was working in the evenings,
and one of the times I remember most fondly was the canteen,
before it was modernised, it was still very stark, just postwar...
The furniture looked like it could have come from Churchill's bunker or something in the canteen.
But I remember Red Dwarf being filmed
and the guys in the make-up, it was too expensive to strip it off and strip it back on,
so they'd be trying to have a salad with all that funny make-up on, or egg and chips or whatever it was.
There probably wasn't a salad bar in those days!
And that's it, there's nothing else?
Just a Pot Noodle.
Oh, and I found a tin of dog food in the tool cupboard.
It's obvious what's getting eaten last, then.
I can't stand Pot Noodles.
And the buzz that we got in the building, because there was
a network, big show being done here,
you saw those Chris Barries and people walking around, you know, they were very much part...
And I think that that's what the BBC in Manchester has always thrived on, really,
the fact that there are big productions coming out of here.
I haven't eaten for six days, I'm going to eat the dog food.
I'm sure the dog food will be lovely.
Rimmer, this isn't dog food.
This is a piece of prime fillet steak in blue-cheese sauce.
It's been charcoal-broiled in garlic butter
and is going to taste delicious.
My sociological theory about why people up North have a better sense of humour
and all the best stand-up comedians are Northerners
is the fact that we've had it harder. Do you know what I mean? We've...
We're poorer and we've had tougher times.
And what do you do in a time when you're struggling?
You have a laugh about it.
-H-hello. I'm Bob.
Fat Bob. Paul's best mate.
For me, for my first TV job, Paul Calf,
it's a video diary about real people from Salford.
It's not me doing an act.
I've got to think, people at home have to think that Fat Bob
lives on an estate near the Flemish Weaver.
See the way she were looking at me? It's obvious, in't it?
She wants me body.
Let's face it, Bob, having a body that drives women wild
is a bit like having a green Ford Cortina Mk. 4.
You've either got one or you haven't. And I've got one.
Working-class communities produce people
who learn to laugh in the face of adversity.
And that notion of, something that would otherwise destroy you,
turn it into a gag, and disarm it, dismantle it, make something from it.
And Johnny Vegas plays a small-time drug dealer in the comedy sitcom Ideal.
Over the years, many famous faces have made guest appearances on the show,
most recently Paul Weller and Kara Tointon.
'I put the success of Ideal down to a really strong cast.'
Everyone genuinely loved working on the show and believed in it,
and it was just quirky enough,
'it was one of those shows that people just really got into.'
Anyone fancy cheese on toast?
You read me like a book.
-Could you cut the crusts off mine, please, Paul?
-No problem, love.
Ooh, and me.
Tell you what, I'll cut the crusts off the whole loaf.
Cheers, Paul. You're a mate.
Again, it's testament to the show
that everyone came in and didn't have a problem sending themselves up.
I thought the whole exhibition related a liminal anxiety.
It wasn't as mesmerising as I expected. I like to be mesmerised.
-I like to be mesmerised.
-I like to be mesmerised.
I prefer to be spellbound.
'I was kind of...honoured, you know.'
And Johnny loved it, he kept telling me he loved it,
and I wasn't really conscious of doing anything.
I remember I had to come into the frame and raise an eye.
To be honest, I didn't really know what was going on!
'I had my little scene, and I didn't really know what was going on.'
I came here straight from my philosophy evening class.
Right. And what did you learn about this week?
-Come on, you must have learnt something!
Caroline Aherne turned the traditional chat show format on its head in the '90s.
With her sharp wit and special blend of Northern humour,
Mrs Merton was a smash hit with audiences.
The genius of it is making it an old lady - a rather pleasant,
twinkly old lady - disarms everyone straight away.
Now, every woman's dream is to marry Paul Daniels.
This dream came true for the lovely Debbie McGee,
and she'll be popping up later.
Debbie McGee was on the very first show.
All I knew about the Mrs Merton Show was it was some sort of comedy chat show.
I walked on, and then her first question was...
What first, Debbie, attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?
"What attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"
Well, that, you know, that humour there,
because humour can be used as a weapon, and you feel that around Manchester and Liverpool,
anybody who's getting a little bit - and it's happened to me! -
who's getting a little bit above themselves.
Debbie McGee is disarmed by it so she can't object to it,
and that is a stroke of genius.
Caroline Aherne is brilliant at it, because she plays the old lady
'with both utter sweetness and a real naughtiness as well.'
Say you wake up of a night, and you're in your bed,
and you wake up, and you just put your hand out to stroke Paul's little head,
and he's not there - do you look up, and he's at the end of the bed,
pulling doves out of his pyjamas?
Do you find that happens?
'I never felt uncomfortable for a minute'
on the Mrs Merton programme, I laughed from beginning to end,
I laughed every time I watched her interviewing other people afterwards,
cos mine was the first one to ever be recorded.
I thought she was hysterical,
and my experience of it was just fun and laughter.
In the late '90s, Caroline Aherne returned to our screens in The Royle Family,
this time alongside co-writer Craig Cash.
We were like a real family.
It was beautiful, it turned into a lovely, lovely job.
I don't drink at all, me.
Just a bottle of stout of a night, and a sherry at Christmas.
What about a whisky at New Year, Nana?
Oh, aye, whisky at New Year!
Sherry at Christmas and a bottle of stout.
Sitting on that sofa, as I am now,
and the rest of the family were down here, I was squashed in together,
it was lovely. I could fall asleep between takes, it was lovely.
I remember ringing home and saying to my mum and dad,
you have got to watch this, because it's like being sat at home!
How many Northern families must have thought,
"This is like our house, exactly like our house."
And of course they didn't see that.
"Nothing happens, all they're doing is sitting there watching telly!"
DOORBELL Get that, will you?
'The Royle Family is genius.'
Very, very funny, but very, very moving,
in particular the sequence where Barbara is doing her mother's hair,
and they're singing to each other.
That is not just comedy, that's some of the greatest drama you'll ever see.
Do you think you could get on with me toenails next?
Thank you, Barbara.
And what the Royle Family is is a celebration of the ties that bind in Northwest families.
It's a family, a Northwestern family, under the microscope.
So many people are just dismissed into care homes -
get rid of them.
And years ago, they would remain in the family.
'And Barbara kept me in the middle of everything.
'It was wonderful, wonderful.
'A wonderful way to end your life, in the middle of it all.'
# Que sera sera
# Whatever will be will be
# The future's not ours to see
# Que sera sera
# What will be will be
# When I grew up and fell in love
# I asked my sweetheart... #
The old BBC Manchester building has never won any prizes for its architecture,
but then you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
Some of the most original and creative TV shows of the last three decades
have come out of this place.
And one or two of them have revolutionised the way television is made.
In 1987, Janet Street-Porter moved here from Channel 4,
and made radical changes to youth programming.
'When I arrived at the BBC, I could see that using the offices in Manchester'
as our base, instead of being in a studio,
with reporters popping up and sitting behind desks,
the people that made the programme would be part of the programme.
We want to know what you think about rescue outreach.
You'd see the office, and it was all part of the same thing.
They'd tell you how the story was going, and how they put it together.
The programme that I'm probably most proud of that I made in Manchester
was Rough Guides, because before that, travel shows were so drab!
You'd have Judith Chalmers standing on the beach,
they'd be talking about value for money, it was always about beaches,
hotel rooms, and it was never about what the locals got up to.
We start looking for company in Anchorage,
home to half the population.
Where drillers turn to killers, lonely hearts are melting, and the ice men cometh.
'We wanted to recreate what would happen'
if you did actually go as a backpacker to these places,
and took a wrong turn.
With contract killings in Russia now numbering 500 a year,
the police have decided to fight fire with fire, by forming an elite squad.
'For me, the most frightening people'
I ever met in my life were the police in Moscow.
Moscow itself, at the time, when we did Rough Guide to Russia, was absolutely terrifying.
The whole place had just opened up,
but it seemed like no-one was in charge.
'And we went out for the day with the police, chasing gangsters.
'In actual fact, it wasn't the gangsters that terrified me,
'these police were running round, brandishing guns around.'
Raids take place almost daily.
The fast cars and big guns may conjure up images of the latest Die Hard film,
but in reality, dying is all too easy.
There have been over 100 police deaths on such missions in the last few years.
And on the way back, we got stopped by police,
and they...we had machine guns in the car,
pointing in your face, saying, "Where are you going? What are you doing here?"
And we'd say, "We're just a little travel programme!"
Down the corridor, The Travel Show was also doing things differently.
But for a more mainstream audience.
I think what set The Travel Show apart from other travel programmes
that were on air at the time was that we were given the brief
to tell it as it is.
So we were sent to a particular location, and basically,
'had to tell the viewers back home what it was that we found.'
I've come to the Greek Orthodox Saint Gerasimus monastery,
home to guess who - Gerasimus. He's the patron saint of Cephalonia,
and apparently is taken very seriously by a lot of the islanders.
I have to put on... Cover myself up.
we went to the shrine of St Gerasimus,
and basically, I had to squeeze through this tiny little hole.
Apparently anyone of any shape or size
is supposed to be able to get through this hole.
It's an interesting front door!
Once through this hole,
you're supposed to be cleansed of all your sins,
but if you're very, very bad, you'll come in here clean,
and you'll go out there dirty.
Right, now I've got to try and get out of this place.
'I ended up in this chamber, and then we had all the subsequent problems of trying to get out again.
'It was fine.'
I'm not quite sure whether or not I was cleansed,
I'll leave that to everyone else to decide.
Hi, we are live from Manchester for ORS '84, let's go!
In the '80s, the BBC in Manchester was once again at the cutting edge at music.
Some of the biggest bands of the day made their TV debuts on the Oxford Road Show.
Broadcast live from the studios every Friday evening.
Well, Oxford Road Show, presumably most people thought it was coming from Oxford,
but it had a ring to it,
and it was a brand, that, for the BBC, for a while.
And in fact, the BBC in Manchester
and the Oxford Road building did have a kind of reputation for music.
MUSIC: "What Difference Does It Make?" by the Smiths
# All men have secrets and here is mine, so let it be known
# For we have been through hell and high tide
# I think I can rely on you
# And yet you start to recoil, petty words... #
Because it has always been such a great music town, and such a small city centre,
you could feel the buzz of creativity,
you had Factory Records just behind the BBC on Oxford Road,
so if you wanted to see if New Order were up to anything, you could nip next door and see Tony Wilson,
and it was that kind of town, really, Manchester.
You a fan of the Smiths?
You'd better say yes!
Yeah, yeah, I am(!)
They were on the show three weeks ago, and we asked Morrissey
if he'd take us out to show us round his home town.
He doesn't normally do this type of thing, but he said for us, he would do.
He's showing us around Stratford and Salford.
The show produced some remarkable firsts,
like this rarely-seen film about Morrissey's angst-ridden youth.
The only way that I could find any mental relaxation
is to simply go out and walk.
And to walk around these streets.
Which can seem quite depressing to most people.
That film, now it seems like someone doing an impression of Morrissey, doesn't it?
"Oh, I was so misunderstood..."
I was always struck when he started out, the way Morrissey spoke.
He didn't speak like other people in bands.
Although I've always lived in Manchester,
and relatively close to here, to this part of Manchester,
now, when I pass through here, or even being here today,
it's just so foreign to me.
He looks like he'd been watching The Naked Civil Servant before he came out.
He was very enunciated. He was his own creation, even then.
"Nobody understood me, I just stayed in my room, reading Proust,"
or whatever he said he was doing.
I never had a social life, I never left the house,
I just simply sat in and read and watched television,
and done all the things that in life are considered to be quite negative and soul-destroying.
Joy Division made their one and only network TV appearance at the studios.
I think that's probably most people's
first experience of Joy Division on the telly.
You know, nationally. People must have thought, "What on Earth?
"What on Earth is this?"
# Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio
# Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio
# Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio... #
'In front of it you've got Ian Curtis, who still remains
'one of the unique presences in front of a band, I think.
'Just kind of lost in the music,'
in a trance, really, and doing that peculiar dance and dressed in these very utilitarian clothes.
It was very anti-showbiz. It was very stark,
but it was arresting.
# Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio
# Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio... #
Children's television has launched a lot of TV careers.
I got my big break on SMTV in 2002.
See if you recognise these faces.
# 8-15 from Manchester, 8-15 from Manchester
# 8-15 from Manchester... #
Joining us in the studio all morning are the latest teenage heart-throb.
They're with us today, live on the 8-15, Take That!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
'People were queuing around the block,'
-and that was before Take That were even anything.
I wish I'd known then how big they were going to be.
We'd have been a lot nicer to them.
Perhaps you'd like to introduce yourselves to the nation.
-And we are...
-ALL: Take that!
-I thought you were going to say good morning as well.
-ALL: Good morning!
'I remember seeing a video of them the day before,
'when we were in rehearsals.'
They were being very much marketed toward a gay audience.
-Yeah! And there was a lot of, you know,
Lycra shorts and back-flipping and puffed up and, yeah...
I remember thinking, are they right for us?
But when they came in
'they knew exactly how to play it. They knew what we wanted.
'I just thought they were pros from the word go.'
I hear you've all got party pieces that you do.
Entertain your friends and impress people.
-What about the splits, Howard?
-ALL: Go on, Howard!
He's been rehearsing this all afternoon!
I don't believe you can do the splits!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Robbie was doing his impressions.
HE LAUGHS Well, I don't know about that!
HE PUTS ON STRANGE VOICE
It's Jimmy Savile!
I just remember Robbie being absolutely bags of fun and charming.
He just had it. From an early age,
he knew what we he was doing.
I don't suppose it's a disadvantage that you're very, very good-looking boys, is it?
-How do you feel about the fact...
-She's a smooth talker, isn't she?!
-Are you being promoted?
-Thank you, we didn't know!
I found him really irritating, actually.
I thought, "Oh, he's full of himself, isn't he?"
That's what it takes to be in a band.
I know, Dianne's much more charitable than I am.
Another famous face also made his debut
on the children's TV show Why Don't You?
This is the last letter,
and it's been stuck in its box for months and months and months.
'Yes, long before he became one half of Ant and Dec,
'a very young Anthony McPartlin revealed he was a natural on camera.'
-Dollop that on, like that.
-'Ah, bless him.'
Put your cream on... This is my best bet, this.
Just go mad with it!
Don't worry if it goes in a big lump,
cos you just spread it around with the knife.
And, oh, yes, Manchester is responsible for the Chuckle Brothers.
To me. To you. Ahem!
They're amazing, aren't they, the Chuckle Brothers?
That they've lasted this long, and they are still as popular today.
-I'd say THAT is amazing rather than THEY are amazing.
Oh, dear. Oh!
But they are really popular with kids, still.
It just goes to show that you can never tell, really,
what the audience is going to like.
Let go, Barry. Oh, hang on!
That was close. Give yourself a clap.
-Have you seen the goldfish?
-All safe and sound.
BBC Manchester is home to some of the longest-running TV shows -
A Question Of Sport, Songs Of Praise, Mastermind...
I wonder what my specialist subject would be?
The thing about Mastermind, I believe,
it's intelligent. It doesn't make any concessions.
It doesn't assume that the general public
are thick as two short planks, because they're not.
As a family, I always used to sit down, usually with my mother,
and watch Mastermind. I think she wanted to find out if I was learning anything at school.
But it was that music, you know, "Duh-duh-duh-duuuuh...dah!"
In the spotlight tonight is the Strictly dancer Darren Bennett.
His subject is the sci-fi films that became a force to be reckoned with.
The writer and DJ Stuart Maconie takes on a century of works by Britain's greatest poets.
It is absolutely terrifying. When he says, "Our next contender, please,"
you feel a band of steel around your stomach -
it's like Narnia or Poltergeist, "I've fallen into the television."
It's both really exhilarating and really frightening.
What is the title of Laurence Binyon's poem that contains the line,
"They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old"?
I thought, "I'm not going to do pop music or pies, or any of the things people think I'll do.
"I'll do 20th-century British poetry, because that's what I'm interested in."
In the green room, the lad from The Bill said, "What are you doing?
I said, "20th-century British poetry. What are you doing?"
He said, "I'm doing Star Wars." I said, "Right."
And then the nice girl from Big Brother said,
"I'm doing Nirvana, the band," and I thought, "Why have I done this?
"What was I thinking of?
"Out of sheer, hubristic showing off, I've picked this.
"I'm not going to know any of the answers!"
What if you did get 0?
You'd look a fool, wouldn't you?
Never be able to walk the streets again.
"There's that Gene Hunt. He's thick, isn't he? Stupid."
I watch the contenders walking out from their chairs and...
their eyes fixed on the black chair, and however experienced as quizzers they are,
however clever they are, you know they're scared. Everybody's scared
'when they go and sit in that Mastermind chair.'
Now then, you are...
..I'll probably offend you by saying this -
a professional Northerner?
-Oh, John, I regard myself as a gifted amateur.
We had some good-natured banter about me being a professional Northerner.
Oh, you've got coffee bars up there, now?
Oh, we've got everything. Running water, electricity...
I threw the chair at him, but I think that's edited out of the transmitted version.
And A Question Of Sport's been putting sports stars to the test for an incredible 40 years.
All three of us say,
when we come to work to do A Question Of Sport,
it feels like a hobby, not a job. We thoroughly enjoy it.
'For me, it's the best thing I do on TV.'
'For me, growing up, it was one of the things I always watched.'
Also, when I was asked to come on it as a player,
'it was a rubber stamp that you've done quite well in your sport.
'I was very proud the first time I appeared as a guest as well.'
There are four, altogether.
I wouldn't know, no...don't know.
-Take a look over there.
The Princess Anne moment, I think, would probably be,
if there was a top ten iconic Question Of Sport moments,
I think that would probably have to be up there.
-I would love to put my arm round you!
-My handbag is heavier than it looks!
I would love to put my arm round you!
Whenever someone talks about Question Of Sport and a guest,
it was that. Not only the coup to get her on the show, but then
the way she was loving being on the show and having a laugh and a giggle
and for him just to think it was absolutely fine to give her a hug!
It was magic. It was Question Of Sport magic.
Emlyn's been giggling in the background as if he knows exactly who it is.
-No, we think it's Alan Lamb.
-It's Alan Lamb.
-Good stuff! Good stuff!
There was that amazing moment when Emlyn Hughes was the team captain
and you have Princess Anne...
'I can't imagine if I had Princess Anne here now, I'd say,'
"Do you fancy singing Love Divine, mate?"
It just wouldn't happen!
I can see you're with the right captain!
Well done, mate!
Good stuff, you can come back again!
And it's ladies' night on Matt's team.
He's joined by two stars who have jumped their way to glory.
It was another story two decades later when Princess Anne's daughter Zara Phillips
appeared on the show opposite husband-to-be Mike Tindall.
'I suppose it was a bit different when I had Zara Phillips on the show,'
because I look at her as a friend rather than
part of the Royal Family. That was the difference with Emlyn. You could sense...
it wasn't that he was bowing, but it was all very, "Everything OK, ma'am?"
'Whereas with Zara, she will give as good as she gets,
'which is a fantastic trait for someone who is under pressure so much.'
She doesn't care. She will be giving out plenty of banter,
which is, again,
'a great dynamic for the show.'
Gonna tell me the truth?
Ah, that's lovely!
I love that!
Whatever you like, you're in charge.
So Mike tells me.
The appeal of Question Of Sport is the...interplay.
Move on! Move on! What's this?! The horses!
The posh stuff!
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-If you're not first, just...!
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
'It's very English,'
Question Of Sport.
Quite self-deprecating and not taken too seriously.
When it comes to fear factor,
there's nothing more terrifying than entering the Dragons' Den.
It's taken you 14 years to send an e-mail?
Doesn't that worry you?
I wouldn't for one second consider investing in you.
You're what? You're going to sell your house
to back this?
sell your house for this.
When you see individuals come up the stairs,
you can sometimes physically see an individual shake.
When you see their nervousness
and then all of a sudden you get engaged in a conversation with them,
and especially when you see that the individual has got it - and when I say "got it",
you know they've got that entrepreneurial spirit and drive and coupled with a great product -
you're sitting there thinking, "Now I'm starting to shake."
I find it really, really difficult
to actually take on board what you've achieved.
I'm totally blown away by it.
That is all I can say.
And I'm going to make you an offer.
But every now and then
the show throws up some disastrous pitches, like the famous chair multi-gym.
It's a walking machine, not a running machine.
What made it even more hilarious for me was that Duncan,
being the gym expert, went up and tried to use some of these things.
I tell you, I cried my eyes... I mean,
'it was hilarious.'
You're frightening the life out of me!
You're like two old codgers!
Two old codgers in their living room trying to get fit!
'I couldn't have summed it up better than that. Duncan was out of breath, giggling away,
'it was like Laurel and Hardy. If there's one thing'
in television that I've learned, it's that when your show becomes really successful,
on occasions, you have your show parodied,
so other people try to emulate it. One of the great things I remember is Harry and Paul,
where they would actually mirror the Dragons.
Here's the bit that we think will really excite you about Augcember.
We intend to relocate Christmas Day to the 15th of Augcember.
Over to you, Ken.
So there are two... Thanks, bro.
'It was weird,'
because they'd do things you don't realise you're doing yourself.
So, Harry would turn around and say, "Hello. I'm Peter."
That's a lot of Christmas shopping time. Good USP.
I like the sound of this, I sell a jolly lot of calendars
in my shops and I can hear the cash registers ring-a-ding-a-dinging,
I feel very sorry for Deborah Meaden, because I think she got the short straw on that one.
I mean, she really was...
I think Harry Enfield really, really...
I don't think they're ever going to speak, Deborah and Harry Enfield.
'It's all down to the grumpy one. But she doesn't look impressed, either.
'See how she looks at them with loathing and contempt.
'Hating every fibre of Brian and Ken's perspiring bodies.'
Ken, I'm out.
But it just shows the success of the programme
and I can't tell you how great it is to hear and see other people
almost taking the mickey out of us, it just shows we've made it.
# Be still for the glory of the lord
# Is shining... #
Another long-running favourite made here is Songs Of Praise,
recently celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Aled Jones was already famous for his angelic voice
when he first appeared on Songs Of Praise as a choirboy.
But his singing wasn't always appreciated
when he joined in the hymns while watching the show at home.
As a child I always used to, sort of, be told off for singing along, you know, too loudly,
and spoiling it for my gran!
And in 2001, Aled presented his very first
Songs Of Praise from his home city in Wales.
Welcome to Bangor and the oldest diocese in Britain.
Yeah, I was petrified going back to Bangor.
I knew all the people in the congregation and to this day, I'll let you into a little secret,
I don't like doing the pieces to camera in front of the congregation
because if there are kids there, they're invariably going...
Or... looking at their watches.
And I'm saying, "The next hymn is..." I'll have to do it, usually, about 13 times.
We begin with a hymn dedicated to all the saints in Wales
sung to this very familiar Welsh tune.
I've always thought we should be wearing a T-shirt saying
"Songs Of Praise, the world's greatest karaoke."
Because nowadays I think it's watched by 13 million, or something like that, worldwide.
And I would say that maybe half of them even maybe don't go to church,
but they minute they launch into "Praise My Soul, The King Of Heaven,"
it takes them back to school assemblies or maybe a comfortable, happy time in their lives.
'When Songs Of Praise turns up in a parish, it causes bedlam.'
It's a massive deal within the church itself
and then suddenly there's people going, "She doesn't come here, she goes to St Bernadette's.
"Oh, the cheek of her!"
I love the whole idea that the church is only full when Songs Of Praise is there.
I'm not sure if that's the case. Maybe there are a few more in the congregation
than there would be on a Sunday morning. I think the big difference Songs Of Praise makes to a community
is that the hairdressers make a lot of money.
One of his proudest moments was when the show was featured on The Vicar Of Dibley.
Well, I've had a letter from BBC Religious Programmes,
chap called Tristan Campbell,
he says that he wants to film Songs Of Praise here at St Barnabas.
Heaven preserve us.
I loved the fact that they thought it was Tom Jones.
It was like, "No, Aled Jones, you know, ooh!" I get that a lot.
And the Northwest has produced some of the most memorable dramas of the past 50 years.
Three words - Life On Mars.
-'I've got a reported stabbing.'
'Christie's Textiles, Queen Mary Road, uniform's already on the scene.'
-Queen Mary Road?
-Alpha-One, we're all over it.
'Life On Mars re-created 1970s Manchester, with scenes filmed all over the city.'
It's a one-way street so take a left, and then...
# Oh, yeah!
# It's like lightning
# Everybody was frightening
# And the music was soothing
# And they all started grooving
# Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah!
# The man at the back said everyone attacked
# And it turned into a ballroom blitz. #
Life On Mars, I'm not going to speak about
cos they should have given me a role in it, all right.
Life On Mars was Glenister and John Simm.
Do you know what?
I think you're trying to show me up.
You don't scare me, Hunt.
It's an interesting point you raise, allow me to retort.
Fantastic performances, a great drama.
Every copper has to be whiter than white or the whole thing falls apart.
No, you're living in cloud-cuckoo-land, Sam.
Once I'd got the script, I...
And I'm not just saying it, as people sometimes do, I couldn't put it down.
'They sent me the first episode of it, and I thought, "It's never going to work,"'
and I don't even think I finished reading it.
And then my agent told me to finish reading it and I did.
The first 15 pages, you know,
it just seemed like another ordinary cop show.
Modern day, et cetera, and then suddenly, that moment, bam!
Where Sam gets run over,
suddenly wakes up in 1973.
# It's the freakiest show
# Take a look at the law man Beating up the wrong guy... #
The scripts describing we pan back and we see, "The Mancunian Way, coming soon."
# ..Cos I wrote it ten times or more
# It's about to be writ again
# As I ask you to focus on Sailors, fighting in the dance hall
# Oh, man, look at those cavemen go... #
And it was one of those things where you just thought
this is either going to go, you know, straight down the swanny or it's going to be a massive hit.
And luckily, it was a massive hit.
I just watched it, it blew me away because they knew how to do that
with total respect for an audience who like watching telly
these days with all its technical... Yeah, they just did it so smartly.
And so credibly.
'It lit me up and, yeah, five-star, world-class product.'
Don't ever waltz into my kingdom acting king of the jungle.
Who the hell are you?
Gene Hunt, your DCI, and it's 1973, almost dinner time. I'm having hoops.
They were such... such different characters
and they clashed every time.
But then there was a begrudging respect
and they came to love one another by the end.
And it was quite a touching relationship, I thought.
I mean, there's some scenes in it, which usually end up in the pub,
and it's usually at the end of the episode.
And they're usually quite moving, I find, when I see them.
There was a wonderful scene where we start hearing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John, playing.
-Do you want my appraisal of you?
# ..to my old man
# You know you can't hold me for ever... #
It's your round, then.
'And I still watch that scene and I get quite choked watching it.'
I think it's a lovely scene.
# ..to open
# This boy's too young to be singing the blues... #
Gis a job. Go on, gis it. Gis a go, go on.
Over the years,
the Northwest has produced some of the very best television drama.
-Am I right!?
-Am I right?!!
-You should never chain-smoke alone, you know.
-Do you want one?
-Mate, what are you doing here?
-I've got a couple of things on.
-Business or pleasure?
And the North is blessed by some of the best drama writers in the UK.
Paul Abbott, Alan Bleasdale and Jimmy McGovern, to name but a few.
-45 years old?
About, yeah, I didn't really see his face, he was driving.
He's dead, Willy.
'There's a great love of language'
in and around Manchester and Liverpool pubs,
a great joy in language and a great joy in storytelling.
In conversation, actually, in the sense of a community,
and I think writers have tapped into that
and brought it, you know, to a national audience.
-What's your name?
And it's this love of language and storytelling
that Jimmy McGovern has used to such dramatic affect in The Street.
Otto? Why Otto?
Well, look, I'm no good to you. I can't even look after myself, never mind someone like you.
What's distinctive about The Street, and any great writing, is you feel
like the writer listens to how people actually speak.
And we all know that in Manchester and Liverpool it's very idiosyncratic.
'There's a joy in language and I think Jimmy has a very acute ear
'for the way people in the Northwest talk and think.'
Don't read anything into this, yeah?
Another writer who's made his mark is none other than Paul Abbott.
Tricks like this get round. He'll be a very lonely guy, he'll need somebody to write to from prison.
Can I answer the phone?
He started out writing on Coronation Street and Cracker,
before BBC's Clocking Off.
Mackintosh Textiles, Trudy speaking, how can I help you?
I remember Paul talking about the demise of the single play,
you know, The Play For Today, the Wednesday Play, whatever it was.
And how he wanted to reinvent that.
And the only way that he could do that, or to get a commission,
was to sort of basically link six different stories
around this setting which was the factory.
-Trudy's out of her kennel.
Big day, she's washed her hair!
When I look at the amount of work that must have gone into six single films for one series
that can't fail, and I wrote them like a train.
Very hard work to make that much work to fit into one hour in cost terms, but we did.
-She won't talk to me.
-Get him out, he's scaring us.
'It was great fun to do.'
I love working in Manchester.
It was a great job to do and also quality, quality writing, you know.
Paul Abbott teamed up with John Simm again this year with Exile.
Dad, lie down, it's 10. Nancy said if you don't go to bed at 10 O'clock you get cranky and then...
A psychological thriller set in Lancashire about a tabloid hack
who's forced to take care of a father with dementia.
Nothing changes, does it?
I want Nancy!
Don't we all?
Exile was a fantastic script, you know, an idea by Paul Abbott written by Danny Brocklehurst
staring Jim Broadbent, which, you know, it's going to be good.
I thought, "That's going to be good, as long as I don't mess it up."
Yeah, great part, great part, and I was lucky enough,
I think Danny had me in mind when he wrote it, which was a lovely thing for me.
I mean, I'm humbled by that. So I hope I did it justice.
-Do you remember the planes crashing into the Twin Towers?
-Do you remember Margaret Thatcher?
-I'll take that as a yes.
What about...Liverpool winning the Champions League?
Dementia's not all bad, then.
John Simm does things so excellently, they're nearly invisible,
and it's proper acting, and yeah, I loved his respect for the technique of Jim Broadbent,
and that's what John can do, he's like a chameleon and he can just hop in like you're meant to be able to.
'And he dovetailed really beautifully with Jim Broadbent.
'And they got the best performances out of each other.'
And I know it's still in there.
And believe me, I'm going to get it out.
So the BBC has come a long way since its days of studios in converted churches.
It's now starting a whole new chapter here at Media City on a bigger scale than ever before.
The BBC in the Northwest launched the careers of some of our best-loved stars
and left us with some classic TV gold.
Put that soppy bloke down and get in. Going to Archer Lane,
shots fired, lovely. You two tarts, get in.
Oh. Tom! Oh! Good to see ya.
Come on, Jack.
Let's be naughty, I know you want to.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Tess Daly takes a nostalgic look back at TV classics that have come out of the BBC in the North West over the last 50 years. She is joined by a host of stars as they recall their favourite TV moments and celebrate the distinctly northern flavour.
In his last BBC TV interview before his death, Sir Jimmy Savile talks about the magical beginnings of Top of the Pops, while Stuart Hall recalls his favourite memories of It's A Knockout.
Debbie McGee explains why she enjoyed her famous appearance on the Mrs Merton Show when Caroline Aherne famously asked her 'what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?'.
John Simm and Philip Glenister, alias Gene Hunt, reveal the secrets of Life On Mars, and Dragon Peter Jones lifts the lid on the famous Den.