TV

The masterstroke was the inclusion of Jim Davidson - an interview far more convincing about Reeves' and Mortimer's virtues than the most glowing praise

Radio One is 30 years old this month, which is a bit strange given that it's been at least 40 for half its life. The archive footage of the first transmission, which kicked off The Radio One Story (BBC1, Sat), summed up the generational paradox. As Tony Blackburn opened proceedings with his smiliest voice, the Controller at the time, Robin Scott, beamed down at him with avuncular pride. It was like something off the top of a vintage Meccano box - brilliantined age staring adoringly at the enthusiasm of youth. The mumsy sight of chief producer Doreen Davies - a woman who later controlled the all-important play-list - only confirmed the impression that from the very beginning this was a grown-up's view of what the youngsters would like. Rude boys - such as Kenny Everett - soon found out that getting over-excited led to tears before bedtime.

Fun was rather more important than pop, a point nicely made in Tina Jenkins's film by a machine-gun montage of disc-jockeys uttering that talismanic monosyllable. Any real passion for the music itself was viewed warily; "It was genuinely seen as a bit of a disadvantage," said John Peel, with the rueful chuckle he has had many years to perfect. As the station's resident brainbox, he was usually allowed to sit up in his bedroom with his friends playing records but every now and then he would be forced to go on a ghastly family outing. He recalled one surreal occasion on which the sight of frantic Bay City Roller fans being extracted from a protective moat by members of the BBC Sub-aqua Club was enlivened by the arrival of Tony Blackburn in a speedboat driven by a Womble.

You could tell that Jenkins regarded Peel as a voice of sanity because she employed none of the rug-pulling tricks practiced on other interviewees: "I was the face of children's television," said Mike Read, explaining why he had objected to the lyrics of "Relax". As he said it, you cut to a picture of him in fishnet tights and falsies. Adrian Juste's startling description of Dave Lee Travis as "very deep thinking" was similarly punctured by a picture of the hairy philosopher wearing a set of plastic beaver teeth. A quick word of approval, too, for Daniel Aberini's One Hit Wonders later in the evening - a lively assembly of pop trivia that proved as moreish as Pringle's crisps. If you didn't know that Joe Dolce's "Shaddapa Ya Face" had been translated into Aborigine, you do now.

For some time, I couldn't work out whether Paul Morley's Omnibus (BBC1, Sun) film about Reeves and Mortimer was a knowing spoof of the dangers of comic analysis or a demonstration of them - he's not exactly been a stranger to pretension on previous excursions into cultural commentary and there were lines that seemed to offer the old Morley hallmark of sonorous vacuity ("If The Big Night Out was their Alice in Wonderland, [The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer] was their Through the Looking Glass"). But after a while, you could see he had pulled off something rather tricky here - there was talk of Joseph Beuys and Gilbert and George but it was sufficiently off-hand and bashful to sneak the idea past your defences. What's more, although the documentary touched all the usual bases - the chemistry of partnership, the genealogy of influence, the chronology of success - it did so with an ambling, imitative wit that allowed both men to enjoy themselves. Reeves's discussion of his own comic tastes, for example, took the form of a sequence in which he identified surrounding trees in the "wood of comedy". There was also a funny scene in which they teased a camera-shy lighthouse keeper and a nicely solemn interview from Bob's former employer, in which it became clear that he had been no great loss to the legal profession. The masterstroke, though, was the inclusion of Jim Davidson - an interview far more convincing about their virtues than the most glowing praise. I've occasionally had my own problems with seeing the funny side of Vic and Bob, but if Davidson doesn't get it then they must be doing something right.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
news

Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

    £55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

    English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

    Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

    SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week