CSI

When it first started on UK television (on Channel 5, in 2000), I loved the American television programme CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Las Vegas, not the other spin offs).

There were some issues with it – the computing was wrong and unreasonable, it was plainly dramatised a lot as CSI would not really be that involved in cases, there was an awful lot of exposition (ie telling the audience basic things that actual CSI would already know) and I always hated when they performed some test and looked all smug and smiley because it worked and made progress on the case (surely it was just their day-to-day work) – but many of the stories were interesting, there were big plot twists, plenty of style and it worked.

Best of all were the unresolved cases where you were just left hanging.

I think they reached a peak around series 5 or 6. Because I liked it so much, I bought the DVD collections. When the programme went downhill, me being me, I kept buying. Having watched the first few series then left the rest for years, coming back to them recently after a long time was like coming to something new. Certainly, series 5 and 6 gave me much joy, and I think the very early series were generally the best. Of course, every series has excellent shows and duff shows, but these were the best.

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Thunderbirds

I always loved the original Thunderbirds. It was great tv for its time. But, I have always had questions:

  • why were the launch procedures of the craft so complicated?
  • why did the Tracy brothers nearly always wear the same clothes?
  • what had John done that was so bad that he was almost always banished to the space station?
  • why did John wear his uniform at all times when he lived alone?
  • what did John do for fun?
  • how come no-one could detect T5 in orbit?
  • why weren’t IR working all the time? Surely people are in danger at all times, day and night?
  • although IR said no photographs, we have to be anonymous, plenty of people knew their names and their link to Lady Penelope…
  • how did the craft fly? When they were coming in to land, they seemed to hover with no engines burning. Then they fired downwards and this made them go downwards. Then they stopped firing jets, and settled gently to the ground, rather than falling like stones. How is this even possible?
  • why are T2’s wings on backwards?
  • how did The Hood get his name? Who does he work for?

Moon coverage

It’s great to see the proposed coverage on space events on TV. I can’t speak for all countries, but I know that Discovery in the USA is giving a lot of broadcast hours over to it.

Here in the UK, both BBC 4 and Channel 4 have very many programmes. As well as the films like For All Mankind, there are the old documentaries and some new ones. It seems there is still plenty to be said about the space race and the events of 1968, 69 and onwards.

As a television event at the time it was somewhat lacking. Black and white fuzzy pictures. But who cared. The excitement of the event was more than enough.

I remember Patrick Moore, James Burke and others covering the events so well.

I once had a holiday in Orlando. We spent three days in Disney, one in Cypress Gardens and one at Cape Kennedy.

Disney had a daily parade, and one car on that particular day contained Walter Cronkite and family.

In many ways, Mr Cronkite was the American face of space reporting. he knew the astronauts personally.

It’s a great dane

In the 1960s and 70s I became a little interested in politics. I thought Edward Heath and George Brown were the old fuddy duddy type of politician, but liked Harold Wilson (he gave the Beatles MBEs after all). I also liked Jeremy Thorpe, of the Liberals. He seemed young and trendy. Looking at newsreel clips of him now, I have no idea why I thought that.

There’s a complicated story surrounding Thorpe. Here is a brief summary:

It appears that Thorpe had a homosexual affair with a man named Norman Scott in the early 1960s at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Scott continued to pester Thorpe for money over a period of time. He wouldn’t go away, and then one day someone tried to ill him. Scott’s dog was shot and killed, but the gun failed and Scott was not killed.

He was tried for conspiracy, and acquitted, but it ended Thorpe’s career.

A new tv series (only 3 episodes) with, for once, a rather excellent Hugh Grant has stirred interest in the whole thing again. I suppose it was rather brushed under the carpet at the time.

This is from the BBC only a few days ago: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44336859