Monday 2 November 2015


From Autumn 1982: the fourth issue of the British magazine PRIMETIME.

This was a black & white journal dedicated to the serious issue of telly, offering heavyweight (but accessible) analysis ala some of the more highbrow movie mags. 

I already had a few of these that I had acquired over the years but I recently chanced across a longer run (of which this was the earliest) so I grabbed them for STARLOGGED.

As a journal of serious research, I would say this has one key disadvantage: the time this was published. This was before sell-through video and multichannel TV started to open up the archives (although early Channel Four wasn't afraid to pepper its schedules with some older, aquired, shows), so much of what the magazine contained must have been written from memory... With the knowledge that most readers wouldn't be any better placed to check the "facts". That's not to say that I suspect this is riddled with errors... Just that the individual writers must have had a tough time pulling the pieces together. 

Googling the title pulls up multiple entries for titles and services dedicated to older folk (and none of us are getting any younger) which makes finding hard facts trickier. I know it remained in black & white for the bulk of its life, but did adopt colour covers at the very end. I have one issue, purchased new circa 1990, with a colour cover devoted to ST:TNG, SHOESTRING and MIDNIGHT CALLER. That issue was definitely distributed via UK comics specialty stores.

Then, I think, it went on an extended hiatus before returning, once again in black & white, for an standout finale. That (unplanned) last issue featured an excellent Andrew Pixley penned timeline for the various series produced under the ITC banner, at home and abroad. Although I was aware of several of the shows from repeats on ITV and the BBC, the piece really sparked my interest and I later snapped the shows up on VHS and, latterly, DVD. 

Later mainstream titles like the excellent and much missed THE BOX tried a similar approach to treating TV with the same regard as film... But didn't find an audience (hey Haymarket.... I'm still waiting for that long-promised fourth issue). Marvel UK's PRIMETIME, which never progressed beyond a solitary pilot, probably would have also offered something similar as well. 

1 comment:

  1. The photograph from the BBC's 1954 production of 1984 depicted as missing/junked television isn't accurate since there's an existing telerecording (and indeed at the time it this issue was published it had been rebroadcast only five years earlier), but in the light of the BFI's recent announcement that the decade-long-in-the-works restored DVD of this seminal production will not be released, it is bitterly ironic, since it might as well have been junked - no thanks to the Orwell estate.


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