Posts Tagged With: children in need

The Smallerpictures video dump (2019, part seven)

After several months of catch-up, we are – almost – at the point where the videos are being blogged in the same season (if not quite the same month) that they were originally produced. That probably means you’ll see fewer of them on here for a bit, which is not a bad thing as we’re all a bit thick with series 12 stuff at the moment – although if you’re tired of reading about heavy-handed social commentary and politics then this may come as a welcome relief. Except one of today’s batch features the Prime Minister, so maybe not.

Shall we crack on, then?


1. Hulk Boris (September 2019)

September seems an age ago now, so let me play the magic harp sting that signals the beginnings of a flashback: it was one of those things that was trending, briefly, for no reason other than it was a Sunday and we were bored. “Banner might be bound in manacles,” Boris told the Mail, “but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country.”

He’s missed the point, but I’m not interested in deconstructing his argument; I will leave that to the likes of Mark Ruffalo, who had plenty to say. I just thought it would be fun to take some footage of Boris and score it to the Lonely Man theme from the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV series – you know, the moment at the end of every episode where Bill Bixby hoisted a small knapsack over his shoulder (presumably he’d just buy a new shirt in the next town) and then walk off down a tree-lined road, thumbing for a lift that never came, while the world’s most miserable piano music tinkled away in the background. That’s Boris, here. It doesn’t quite come off, but it was fun to throw together.


2. The Churchill Dog Does Back To The Future (October 2019)

Here’s something I’ve never told anybody: if you watch our wedding video, when I’m saying my vows, I am nodding my head up and down like a dog in the back of a car. I can’t remember why I was doing it; it was just the heady mix of nerves and passion and the maelstrom of chemicals that surge through you when you get married to someone you love. Emily calls it my Churchill performance, and it has become one of those running jokes that is amusing to you and you alone. I don’t even know why I’m writing about it.

Anyway. October last year – a few days before our anniversary, as it happens – and Churchill Car Insurance unveil a new advertising campaign, in which their iconic bulldog – now given a fresh lick of paint – is seen skateboarding along through a bustling urban locale while some pleasant ambient muzak drifts along in the background. It’s all very nice and calm and done rather well, but I really felt like they missed a trick by not using ‘The Power of Love’. So I stuck it in, and I can’t help thinking it’s an improvement.



3. Yellow: The Jodie Whittaker Version (October 2019)

OK, this one sort of exploded a bit.

Back in early autumn – it may have even been the dying embers of summer, depending on your geographical perspective – we got wind of an upcoming charity compilation for Children In Need, with various stars of stage and screen set to lend their vocal talents to a covers album. Said list included Adrian Lester, Jim Broadbent and Olivia Coleman, who is in everything. But the biggest news was Jodie Whittaker, who was covering ‘Yellow’. You can say what you like about Coldplay, who disappeared completely up their own arses after they became the backing music for just about every entertainment montage or charity video that TV could throw at us, but Parachutes is a great album, and ‘Yellow’ is a wonderful three minutes of unpretentious pop. Noticable from the preview footage was that Whittaker was opting to perform in her native accent, leading to various remarks (including one or two from me) suggesting that she’d actually be singing “…and it were all yeller”.

The album itself is quite good – Helena Bohnham Carter smashes ‘Both Sides Now’, Tennant supplies a servicable ‘Sunshine on Leith’ (although is there ever any point to a Proclaimers song that isn’t sung by the Proclaimers?) and the whole cast unites for a chirpy cover of ‘It Must Be Love’. But it’s Whittaker we want to focus on here, if only because setting her rather heartfelt vocal (delivered, as it turned out, while she was looking at a picture of her deceased nephew, to whom the song is silently dedicated) to a sequence of series 11 images really was a bit of a no-brainer. Why would you not?

I wasn’t the first. But publishing it on the anniversary of ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’ turned out to be a helpful move; people were, I think, a little more kind as a result. You inevitably get a bit of trolling when you launch something like this – I had to block several people from my YouTube channel (hello Michael McGrath, are you still out there waving your toxic micropenis?), but I left as many negative comments up there as possible, which annoyed me less than it usually does given that the vast majority of them seemed to be focussing on the song, with ‘autotuned’ being the prevailing sentiment among her critics. Other people liked it. “You may have single-handedly revived the fortunes of Doctor Who” read one bit of feedback that landed on my timeline. Well, I really wouldn’t go that far. But I do know that Mandip Gill liked it, and that’s good enough.

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Farewell Janet and John

All right. Look, don’t watch the whole thing. Just the first few seconds, until he sits down.

I kind of love this. It’s Nicholas Cage back when he was young and edgy, working with the Coen Brothers and David Lynch and sporting that awful nasal voice he had in Peggy Sue Got Married. It predates Nicholas Cage the action hero (John Woo did his best stuff in Hong Kong, but was there ever a more quintessentially 90s movie than Face/Off?) and Nicholas Cage the safe romantic lead (City of Angels) and, most notoriously, Nicholas Cage the questionable casting choice (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin / Ghost Rider / The Wicker Man, although how that movie was greenlit is one of the biggest mysteries of Hollywood, along with the declining trajectory of Robert De Niro’s career and how Shia LaBeouf got to star in anything, ever).

Anyway. Never mind shirtless Nick. Pay attention to the interviewer. For those of you reading this in foreign climes who don’t recognise him, his name is – was, I am forced to correct, with something of a lump in my throat – Terry Wogan, and he’s been around longer than I can remember. In our house, Wogan was much a part of the furniture as the full length mirror that hung in the hall or the set of nesting tables that are now cluttering up my lounge. He was there every morning, as he was in thousands of households all tuned to Radio 2 and the sounds of the breakfast programme he hosted, with its innuendo and quirkiness and brilliant listener correspondence. His chatshow, Wogan, was notorious for giving us a drunken George Best, a deluded David Icke and an uncooperative David Bowie (whom Wogan later admitted he wanted to thump). And it was his acidic commentary that made Eurovision that little more bearable. “Who knows what hellish future lies ahead?” he quipped at the beginning of the 2007 show, before adding “Actually, I do. I’ve seen the rehearsals.”

And now he’s moved on, another victim of the disease that takes so many, and I feel like another part of my childhood is over. I can’t argue that 77 is a good innings, and I think you only really start to notice these things as you get older and more of the people you know are struck down, but I’ve never known the start of a year to be so depressing. Go home, 2016. You’re drunk.

Here’s where we’re going with this: every year Wogan co-hosted Children In Need, a telethon that continues without him, aimed at raising both awareness of and funds to aid underprivileged and disadvantaged children. It’s one of the BBC’s flagship events (another is Comic Relief, which takes place every second March). Children In Need usually features dancing newsreaders, lip-synching boy bands and a great many of those tearful appeals, accompanied by slow motion black-and-white-footage of upset children, with elegiac piano music morphing into ‘Fix You’.


If this seems like it’s taking the piss a bit, I should point out that Children In Need has always been quite good at showcasing Doctor Who. The Tenth Doctor had his first scene with Rose in the rather dreary ‘Born Again‘, before locking horns some years later with Peter Davison in the rather more memorable ‘Time Crash’. Off the TARDIS set, actors have frequently popped into the studio to chat with Wogan, who has become as synonymous with Children In Need as Lenny Henry has with Comic Relief or Peter Capaldi has with unnecessary eyebrow gags.

Anyway. here’s something I dug up from 1985: a moment Wogan opened the door of the TARDIS and produced a fanboy’s wet dream. It deserves to be seen again, because it’s about the best Who-themed tribute I could find for a man who was such a big part of my childhood, and who will be missed, even if he hadn’t actually done much in years.

I’d like to say that this will be the only post you read today that features both Patrick Troughton arguing with Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Cage doing a somersault, but I’d be lying…

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When Doctor Who meets Children in Need

I’m not going to talk about this:

Because it’s not particularly interesting and I’ll probably do a Metro column on it at some point anyway. (Someone has Tweeted that they wanted it to be called ‘The Santa Claus of Axos’, which I do think is inspired.)

If you’re reading in the USA and have no idea what Children in Need actually is, it’s one of those telethon things where newsreaders dance, singers try to act, and comedians appear in tear-jerking videos about abused children, accompanied by tinkly piano music that morphs into Coldplay. It’s all very worthy, but it encourages giving from people who probably don’t give to anything else, so I can live with the big cheques and poor attempts at comedy.

However. Those adverts are so formulaic. So after looking at a meme I made for other purposes last year, and seeing that it’s fairly topical following Missy’s revelation in ‘Dark Water’, I figured this one sort of worked.

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