Celebrating moments from Saturday night TV
Rock on Tommy - here's a chance to relive some of the best moments Saturday night TV has delivered over the decades The Saturday Night Story (ITV, 8pm). Actually, let's qualify that somewhat, some of the best moments to feature in ITV's shows, because this is really just a low-budget way to fill up the schedules while the broadcaster gives itself a good, oldfashioned, pat on the back. Last December, Michael Grade hosted a rather more serious and in-depth programme entitled The Fight for Saturday Night TV over on BBC Four. He was the ideal man to take charge, basically because he'd been in the thick of it himself, doing battle for both the Beeb and ITV at different times in his career. The documentary examined how and why Saturday's evening schedule had become such a battleground over the years, and that it was a war for ratings that was still raging, with the heavyweights, Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor, currently packing the biggest punches. Over the years, ITV has probably fared the best out of the two stations; perhaps glitz, glamour and flashing lights sit more easily on the third channel than they do on the BBC, a place that no matter how hard it tries, can't shake of its mantel as a venerable institution. We're not sure we'd want it to, either. So while Strictly may have bucked the trend by pummelling Simon Cowell's all-singing juggernaut into submission during the past few years, overall, ITV has featured more light entertainment classics than it can shake a stick at. And there's one woman who will certainly feature highly in this short series. It may have been produced before Cilla Black's sudden death a fortnight ago, but as she had been a stalwart of Saturday nights on ITV thanks to Blind Date, you can bet she'll pop up before too long. But there are plenty more celebrities and their programmes featured here. 'Rock on Tommy', the words that open this article, is, of course, the once-famous catchphrase of Bobby Ball, and were always spoken to his comedy partner Tommy Cannon, usually accompanied by a pull on his brightly coloured braces. They were popular with everyone from the age of five to 95, and had a longrunning show that lasted from 1979 to 1988. They're among the famous faces offering their opinions on Saturday night telly here.
Top TV Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon look back.