Who said TV isn't fun any more? The two biggest cult figures on the box are a mop-headed science boffin and a neurotic Scandinavian police detective.
The sofa surfers of BBC Breakfast had to let their bosses know by last Wednesday whether they fancied the move north to somewhere called MediaCityUK (sic) in Salford. The Professionals is to get the Hollywood treatment. Top of the Pops has just started repeating from 1 April 1976, in real time, on BBC4. Blue Peter may be moored in a digital backwater. Brookside is to be released on DVD to mark its 30th anniversary.
Channel 4 bravely announced the end of its Saturday night schedule mainstay – the mindless, endless list show. Oh yes, and Jeremy Clarkson is in the soup again – no change there then.
So have you been paying attention viewers? Why not put your telly-addled brain to the test.... (answers below)
Watching the detectives
Sarah vs Kurt
First there was Sweden's most depressed detective, Kurt Wallander in the TV adaptations of Henning Mankell's crime novels. Then, hot on his worn-down heels, came Sarah Lund, the dogged, dysfunctional Copenhagen police officer and star of The Killing which finished its epic BBC4 run last week (box set out tomorrow!). But just how well do you know know your Kurt from your Sarah?
Which of these utterly miserable Scandinavian detectives...
A... had a father who painted the same landscape 7,000 times?
B... is known for their natty (if tatty) line in knitwear?
C... falls back on nicotine gum in moments of extreme frustration?
D... suffers from diabetes?
E... has a tricky relationship with a daughter who attempted suicide?
F... survives on a diet of congealed leftovers?
G... was nearly killed by a drunk with a butcher's knife?
H... was accused, and acquitted, of police brutality?
I... suffers a fractious relationship with a disapproving mother?
J... couldn't care less about the suitability of polar pine for constructing saunas?
Our friends in the North
Stay or go? BBC staff must decide this week whether to move to the Salford Quays media city or lose their jobs. Breakfast anchors Sian Williams and Chris Hollins are among those not going. For those who do go, how well prepared are they?
1. Where is Salford?
A. To the west of Manchester
B. Actually nearer Bolton than Manchester
C. Somewhere north of Watford
2. The average house price in London is £336,620. What is it in Salford?
3. Salford is home to an important geological phenomenon. What is it?
A. A salt mine
B. A peat bog
C. An oxbow lake
4. Salford has spawned many notable actors. Which of the following wasn't a Salfordian?
A. Ben Kingsley
B. Peter O'Toole
C. Albert Finney
5. If you Google "Salford", what is the third highest suggestion, after the university and council?
B. Van hire
The spirit of '76
Break out the loon pants/bondage trousers – beginning with the 1 April 1976 edition, the BBC has just started repeating episodes of Top of the Pops in real time for a pop nostalgia-fest that could last, well, the rest of your life.
A perfect moment to sharpen your trivia knowledge for 7.30pm every Thursday on BBC4 for the next three decades.
1. Why, in 1967, did Jimi Hendrix start his TOTP performance saying "I don't know the words to this one, man"?
A. He was out of it, man
B. Instead of playing his hit "Purple Haze", he decided to improvise at the last minute
C. A technician played the wrong backing track
2. Which of these politicians has appeared on the show?
A. Conservative MP David Morris, pretending to play keyboards for his friend Rick Astley
B. Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes as a backing dancer
C. The SNP's Pete Wishart as part of the folk-rock group Runrig
3. Who did Kurt Cobain say he was trying to impersonate by singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in the wrong key during his band Nirvana's only TOTP appearance?
A. Cliff Richard
C. Shirley Bassey
4. Whose photo did Dexy's Midnight Runners play in front of while performing their hit "Jackie Wilson Said"?
A. The soul singer Jackie Wilson
B. The darts player Jocky Wilson
C. The children's author Jacqueline Wilson
5. Which act never performed on Top of the Pops but wrote the most-played song on the show?
A. The Clash
B. Arctic Monkeys
C. Led Zeppelin
Fire up the Capri
Great news for fans of exceptionally rock-hard TV cops – Bodie and Doyle are to ride again, in a film being put together by the producers of the latest James Bond movies. We dusted down the original CI5 file for this debriefing:
1. From 1977 to 1983, we thrilled to the exploits of The Professionals, but what was the ITV series' working title?
A. The A-Team
B. The A-Squad
C. The Z-List
2. The show's skull-cracking CI5 heroes are Bodie and Doyle, of course. But what are the characters' first names?
A. Tarquin and Felix
B. Bobby and Dave
C. William and Raymond
3. "Violent, uncouth and thoroughly unsavoury" was the verdict of which leading cultural critic?
A. Paul Whitehouse
B. Mary Whitehouse
C. Amy Winehouse
4. All good things come to an end. But which dynamic duo replaced The Professionals in 1984?
A. Cannon and Ball
B. Bonehead and Foyle
C. Dempsey and Makepeace
5. A new movie version of the series was announced last week. Who is being tipped to star?
A. Jason Statham and Gerard Butler
B. Gregg Wallace and John Torode
C. Daniel Craig and Danny Dyer
Following an internet campaign, Channel 4 has agreed to look into releasing the best of Brookside on DVD to coincide with the soap's 30th anniversary in November 2012.
1. Brian Regan, who was last week charged with four drug offences, played which lovable rogue in the Close?
A. Ron Dixon
B. Terry Sullivan
C. Barry Grant
2. Which of these celebrities did not appear as themselves?
A. Paula Yates
B. Sarah Greene
C. Cilla Black
3. With whom did Anna Friel (as Beth Jordache) share British TV's first lesbian kiss?
A. Nicola Stephenson (Margaret Clemence)
B. Alexandra Fletcher (Jacqui Dixon)
C. Claire Sweeney (Lindsey Corkhill)
4. Who was the last resident to leave Brookside Close prior to its epoch-ending demolition?
A. Jimmy Corkhill
B. Thomas "Sinbad" Sweeney
C. Mick Johnson
5. Who did not end up working in Holby?
A. Louise Hope
B. Emily Shadwick
C. Nisha Batra
Blue Peter shipwreck
After 50 years on BBC1, Blue Peter, it was reported last week, may be dispatched to the digital backwaters of CBBC to cut costs. Do these people know the riches they are casting off? More to the point, do you?
1. In 2000, which sportsman admitted to trashing the Blue Peter garden as a wayward youth?
A. Les Ferdinand
B. Phil Tufnell
C. Lee Westwood
2. Which Blue Peter animal found themselves at the centre of a phone-in scandal in 2007?
A. Mabel the border collie
B. Shelley the tortoise
C. Socks the cat
3. Which Blue Peter presenter was caught on camera wearing his wife's underwear?
A. Peter Purves
B. Simon Groom
C. John Noakes
4. Which of these celebrities is not the proud owner of a Blue Peter badge?
B. Prince William
C. Sir David Attenborough
5. Which of these items was not in the 1998 Blue Peter time capsule buried under the Millennium Dome?
A. A copy of "MmmmBop" by Hanson
B. An asthma inhaler
C. A Tamagotchi
The rollicking farce that is the life of Jeremy Clarkson can always be relied on for a good old-fashioned punch-up. Last week brought Act XII, Scene 17... please turn your papers over now.
1. A long-running dispute over rights of way at Clarkson's holiday home on the Isle of Man escalated last week. What had vandals done?
A. Daubed abusive slogans, including "On yer bike" and "No more motor home"
B. Staged a 24-hour sit-in in his garden
C. Uprooted a fence
2. Tesla, manufacturers of an electric sports car, is suing Top Gear. What had Clarkson and his team done to provoke their anger?
A. Staged a race between a Tesla and a star in a reasonably priced car, which the Tesla apparently lost
B. Staged a race between a Tesla and a Lotus Elise, which the Tesla apparently lost
C. Hitched a Tesla to a caravan and blew them both up
3. Clarkson allegedly caused a rumpus in a Melbourne restaurant a couple of weeks ago after what had happened?
A. Michael Winner stole his table
B. His producer refused to pay
C. A fellow diner took pictures on his mobile phone
4. The Mexican ambassador to London demanded an apology from Top Gear in February after Mexicans were characterised as what?
A. Greedy, fat and thieving
B. Lazy, feckless and flatulent
C. Hairy, smelly and lecherous
5. Clarkson once caused offence by saying lorry drivers spent their time doing what?
C. Murdering prostitutes
Channel 4 did the decent thing last week, and confirmed, on the quiet, that its notorious list shows would no more clutter up its schedules. Which prompted this list:
Which of the five shows below is not just a very silly title but also never broadcast on national television in any form?
A. 50 Worst Live Telly Tantrums
B. 50 Greatest Plastic Surgery Shockers
C. 50 Greatest Celebrity Animals
D. 100 Greatest TV Moments from Hell
E. 100 Worst Britons
Watching the detectives A. Wallander, B. Lund, C. Lund, D. Wallander, E. Wallander, F. Lund, G. Wallander, H. Wallander, I. Lund, J. Lund
Our friends in the North 1 (A); 2 (C); 3 (B); 4 (B); 5 (C)
The spirit of '76 1 (C); 2 (All of them); 3 (B); 4 (B); 5 (C)
Fire up the Capri 1 (B); 2 (C); 3 (B); 4 (C); 5 (A)
Close encounters 1 (B); 2 (C); 3 (A); 4 (A); 5 (B)
Blue Peter shipwreck 1. (A); 2. (C); 3. (C); 4. (B); 5. (A)
Clarkson uncovered 1. (C); 2. (B); 3. (C), 4. (B); 5. (C)
And finally... A
What your score means
45-50 (plus one) Topulus of the Populus. Sad.
40-45 Goggle-eyed with a fine general knowledge, you are an avid reader of the red-top press.
30-40 Respectable. You probably have a life.
20-30 Are you perhaps a teensy bit out of touch?
0-20 It's George Osborne, isn't it?