Thursday, 4 May 2017

Noel Edmonds Is Special: A Look At The Telly Addicts Book

Originally running on BBC1 between 1985 and 1998, "Telly Addicts" was a perfect treat for all the family with fun, breezy questions and interesting clips dredged from the archives at a time where such things were rare and exciting. I was such a fan as a kid I even bugged my parents to buy us the Family Telly Addicts board game, even though I was 10 at the time and in those pre-UK GOLD days didn't have a clue what the Onedin Line phone number was or who Mr Hitler felt he was actually kidding. There's only so many times you can "sing the sig" to When The Boat Comes In before you want to take your own life but goddamn I loved that game!

Until recently however, I didn't know there was also a spin-off book released around the same time. In fact I remained clueless until some random Addicts related Googling for clips turned up a copy of the fantastically pompously titled "Telly Addicts Special" for a penny on Abe Books. And now its here, I can "proudly" "present" My Bestest Bits Of The Book Entitled Telly Addicts Special!

First of all, lets check that cover art...

So we are led to believe that Noel penned the entirety of the text inside this 98 page beast. Indeed there are no other author credits inside the book bar "in conjunction with" production by Richard Lewis and Louis Robinson. The Lewouises. The Louewesis. Okay, one of them is spelled wrong and needs to sort it out but I'm not going to be the guy who is going to tell them.

All present and correct here except...hold on? Nutkins and Packham are non-BBC Enterprises activated? What "Really Wild" stuff were they up to? Also, clock the copyright to Noel's own company the Unique Group as that will come up several thousand more times.

Fitting in with every adult comic of the time, fellow TV bearded prankster Jeremy Beadle comes under fire. Maybe its the fact he's no longer with us, his actual good sense of awareness about himself or I learnt just how ace his puzzles were (Seriously, you need the Beadle's Miscellany book) but it feels like a shitty low blow. Especially considering the shit Noel was about to get up to that decade on the other side.

Oh lovely, more bad stand up. The answers are as follows 1. Tactical police manoeuvres, 2. To increase dramatic tension, 3. The A Team are on the run so sleep wherever they can. This is made quite clear by the opening sequence, 4. No but I don't know them that well, 5., 6. I'm assuming he washes them in a lake and smelts his own silver bullets, I don't really care, 7. Because the TARDIS has a translation circuit. Also, its a television programme. You see that Fifth Doctor? He's an actor. I seen him in "Sink Or Swim".

And now the first of a running feature throughout the book entitled "Starfax" and dedicated to profiling your favourite TV celebrities from twenty two years ago - and look!, its hapless holidaymaker Keith Barron! Lets take a closer look at some of those responses (open the image in a new window to see it embiggened)...

Yes because you remember DWM was always yelling out for Barron as the next Time Lord. You couldn't move for Ian Levine tribute records to Haggard. Also: note the anger at Pop Larkin (a fictional character from a 1958 novel) for stealing his moves.

And here's the "awards" each star was supposedly handing out (or receiving? This process is very unclear. Are PwC involved? Is the winner Moonlight?) Incidentally that terrifying Noel Oscar which is not a Gotcha, THAT WAS VERY DIFFERENT.

Noel is humble about the success of The Television Addicts whilst talking of the "Game Show scene" as if its some seedy fluid fest that takes place round the back of some bins at TV Centre. Eeh, the things he's seen Norman Vaughan and Derek Batey do would make a tramp blush. Noel's mixture of self-belief and sheer ego is on full force throughout this book even though I doubt for one second he put bearded finger to paper. And were they not the 'Payne' family? Amazingly the internet doesn't care.

Some Only Fools trivia now and you've got to feel sorry for Nicholas Lyndhurst in a way. Even though he had many other successful sitcoms on TV, he still is "Robdeyplonkers!!!" I worry for any audiences sat watching things waiting for Del Boy to turn up - "WHAT'S THIS - THE LION KING? ITS JUST A LOAD OF FUCKING LIONS. WHEN'S DEL ON?" - Also worth noting that Lyndhurst's character was usually the clever, competent one in "The Piglet Files" which was more about the ridiculousness of espionage as opposed to Rodders falling over some bins in front of a comedy Russian. (Although admittedly it was written by Leveson and Minett so it was as funny as an upturned bin.)

A: They're all dead.

Andi Peters Starfax time! And oh boy, the things we learn from the "fresh faced 21 year old" such, he has a family and his work on Children's BBC is "popular with young people". Lets see who he rates in his "Not A Gotcha" special awards ceremony...Maxwell Caulfield?!!? From Grease 2? And your best one is Birds Of, we're done here. Get stuffed, Peters. "The Noise" was crap and you were rubbish in Toy Story 2. And no, I still don't know if he is one or not.

The first of what seems like seven million photos of Noel twatting about in his helicopter. Does the accompanying text have anything to do with helicopters? No. To read the full thing, click it. Or for the highlight...

Oh them pranks n punks. [NOTE TO SELF: pitch "Pranks n Punks" to ITV for Autumn schedule. Lee Nelson could fall over Ant and Dec or something. Pad it out with some Elastica later.]

A:  Dead, Got Slightly Older, After Dinner Speaker.

"We've tried hard to avoid television 'gimmicks' over complicated and showbizzy sets..." Except for in 1998 when you exactly did that and ruined it forever....

Good old "ROY".

A day in the life of Telly Addicts brings up this jolly paragraph which you can just grimly visualise, cant you? Filmed in Birmingham incidentally, not TV Centre fans of not very interesting facts! 

Noel outed as "not that arsed about the telly" once more especially avoiding those "harrowing real life dramas" they were always showing in 1991 like The Darling Buds Of May or Lazarus and Dingwall. At least he admits he only likes Telly Addicts for the clips much like the viewing public before the slow horrified realisation that he has become the thing he most fears and despises - ONE OF USSSSssssss.

Pictured: John Nettles having the last laugh.

Fred Dibnah's dream evening - Corrie and U Boats. We shall miss 'im grately.

All of the answers are Phil Cool.

Another page devoted to Noel effing about with helicopters although this time he is just quite near one rather than in it SO IT IS DIFFERENT THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

This is basically a page of what a great bloke he is whilst again reiterating that telly is for losers.

A lovely rare image from the fun 1977 ITV one off "The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It". Any prime-time Rushton is fine by me.

Awww ladies! Look at his cheeky little bearded face! Blobbybutter wouldn't melt! 

Cheer up Chris, you're in the Telly Addicts book! Lets see what he's into...

What TV do you like? "Books". Fair play to him for having some actual opinions and interests rather than just inane soundbites. A VHS of Twin Peaks taped off Bravo in 1996 is winging its way to you!

Bugger all to do with TV here but a blatant advert for yet more Unique branded products - this time bottled water. Yes, its ultimately charitable for the woodland but presumably the money raised just about covers the acres lopped down for Noel's multiple helipads.

Noel and pals present their favourite Python sketches ("Parrott" apparently included) along with their key authors, presumably grabbed from the then recent "Just The Words" books, with some quite nice rarer sketches in and amongst the obvious crowd pleasers (Dennis Moore! The usually censored Summarise Proust! Although you think he'd know its called "Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses" tscch!). Indeed it was probably Telly Addicts where I saw some of my earliest Python clips. Cheers Tidybeard!

And that's it. But don't worry, there's a last minute chance to send even more money to Unique Group with the grand purchasement of this fine spin-off board game and its much beloved Family spin-off which got a lot of play. Except of course when we were watching Telly Addicts...

What a lovely way to end this article.


1 comment:

  1. I would have thought Peter Woods was best known for having a live breakdown mid-bulletin after which he was quietly "retired".