The week on television: Sixties nostalgia never dies...

A flick-through sequence at the start of Omnibus (BBC1, Sun) on Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais demonstrated photographically how long their scriptwriting marriage has endured. From the hairy, whey-faced hopefuls of the early Sixties, they have metamorphosed into casually jacketed fiftysomethings domiciled in Los Angeles. Although the programme was too polite to say so, there's a sense in which the comfortable set of their middle-aged features is reflected in their work: the wilder flights of inspiration have been reined in with the hair.

There was a crude but perfect illustration of this in the account of the scriptdoctoring work they now do in Hollywood, where a joke about urinating into a jar they wrote for Ronnie Barker in Porridge was meticulously recycled for Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again. You can't rest on your laurels any more cosily than that. The other two peaks of their career are The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen Pet, but there hasn't been anything comparably original for years. It wasn't mentioned in the programme, but it seems appropriate that their most recent script, which they are trying to film this year or next, is about a Seventies rock band marooned in middle age.

Turn now to Classic Albums (BBC1, Mon), a new series about, er, classic albums, which tells of recording sessions before computers, when weird sonic effects were improvised in the studio by abraiding a piece of polystyrene on a plastic comb. Satisfyingly pitched somewhere between scholarship and gossip, the idea delivers a more or less exact facsimile of Mojo magazine, except the pictures move.

First up was Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland (or Electric Landlady, as it was erroneously renamed on the original acetate). It was a courageous decision to start here because, unlike other albums coming up in the series, its chief architect is less available for comment than the Artist Formerly Known As Prince. So there were loads of interviews with the musicians Hendrix pulled on board, and it was Clement and La Frenais all over again - except these guys don't talk in sentences, let alone paragraphs, so there was a lot of slightly desperate jumpcutting to quilt the narrative together.

In the old footage the musicians were lanky and wan. Spool forward three decades and the tame faces have turned into Ordnance Survey maps. The programme did nothing to persuade you that there shouldn't be compulsory retirement for pop musicians when they turn 33 or die, whichever comes first. It also killed off the conventional curiosity, which we also apply to Marilyn and JFK, about what Hendrix would look like now. On the evidence of those around him, better not to ask.

Alexander McQueen will doubtless one day be the subject of a programme like Omnibus but, for the moment, he's of interest to journalists rather than historians, which is why the first television profile appeared in The Works (BBC2, Sun). Let's reserve judgement on the summer line featured here, in which crocodile heads thrust Alien-style from jacket backs and antelope horns sprouted from shoulder pads. What was revealing was that McQueen had come up with a stronger and more personal reason for deploying them than the simple and traditional urge to shock. In his equation, designers have the same life expectancy as animals preyed on by big cats. There's one flaw in his analogy, and that is that the hunted attempt to fade into the landscape. On the evidence of this film, McQueen has no instinct for camouflage. With the first sign of success he seems to have been marauded by women in mile-high hats with absurdly distilled accents, whereas he still says "like that" without using a single consonant.

All Mod Cons (BBC2, Mon) could have been mistaken for a paean to another classic album. In fact, it's a history of DIY. Not so much the Jam as the jamb. Do-it-yourself had its own TV personality in the Sixties in the thoroughly kempt form of Barry Bucknell, who was full of the joys of Formica. All Mod Cons tracked him down and interviewed him 30 years on, and unlike Clement or La Frenais or Hendrix's entourage, he hadn't changed a bit.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.


ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent