That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

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  1. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

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    I think my imagination just sploded!


    Glad to see that Henson is doing much better TTL.
    Will it mean an earlier or later foray into film?
    What could replace Dark Crystal? Whose loss is keenly felt here!
     
  2. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    Or he could sing "(Let me be your) Teddy Bear" with Fozzie.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
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  3. Thande Ricky Carlson / David Alameel '20 Donor

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    They would totally do that! :D
     
  4. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

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    A very nice update - love the Muppet Show here, and Shatner is great as a guest!
     
  5. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

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    It seems as if this Muppet Show is a bit earlier, and will have other differences. Is there some particular reason why Mia Farrow would be the very first guest in both timelines?
     
  6. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

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    Maybe more of a moral strawman, but he's a great character and I suspect we will see him again.

    I think the Pigs in Space skit still can exist - biggest differences might be that it is even closer to Star Trek than in our timeline, since they have the same parent company. On the other hand, it does appear to have been meant as a conglomeration of space operas, so maybe not. On the other, other hand, since they are going to have a Star Trek set and costumes, and do recycle, it would likely be easier for them to refit the Star Trek set and costumes of the continuing Pigs in Space skits.
     
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  7. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    It might. It might also mean it happens sooner & is more common, since it mocks the loser, "Lost in Space"...

    Actually, my first thought was, do we see an earlier "background" show describing how it's done? I'll never forget the quips from the one done OTL: "What are the two words you never say to a Muppet? 'Look down'" ("Aaaaargh!!!"):D:D:D And "Kermit said the 'P'-word!":D:D
     
  8. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    Yes, it first aired in 1976 in OTL.

    Not producing th Muppet Show could have an impact on Lew Grade's ATV. In the sixties, ITV had seperate regional franchises for weekdays and weekends. ATV held the weekday franchise for the Midlands and the weekend franchise for London. In 1968, they lost the London weekend franchise but gained the weekend franchise for the midlands. As a consequence, ATV had a large studio in Elstree near London. It was this studio that was used for the Muppet Show.

    Towards the end of the seventies, ATV was criticised for it's lack of local production in the Midlands region. As a result it was restructured as Central Independant Television and sold its Elstree studio to the BBC. ITTL, if ATV can't find another programme to produce at Elstree, it might decide to sell the studios earlier, in which case it wouldn't be criticised about non-local production. There would be no need to restructure and ATV would continue into the eighties.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
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  9. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    For those of us unfamiliar (moi, frex:)), can you offer some sample programs that would be affected? Or might get made & weren't?
     
  10. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    ATV was moving its production to the midlands in any case, so the main change would be organisational. No restructuring to form Central Independant Television means that Lew Grade's Associated Communications Corporation wouldn't have to sell 49% of the shares which would make it harder for Carlton to take over.

    One ATV series that would be affected is The Return of the Saint, which was filmed at Elstree in 1978/9.

    More interesting is what the BBC would do with Elstree if they aquired it earlier. In OTL, Eastenders has been filmed there since the mid eighties. Maybe the BBC could produce their own soap opera earlier. That would probably be better than their early eighties series Triangle, which has been described as some of the most mockable British television ever produced.

    Cheers,
    Nigel
     
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  11. Falkenburg CMII & Bar Monthly Donor

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    I'm not sure what shows were produced at Elstree but its absence from the ATV portfolio could be hugely detrimental.

    Pretty sure The Saint was shot there. Not my cup of tea but a good export, IIRC. EDIT: Damn didn't see NCW8'sPost.
    Perhaps more importantly, Elstree provided a lot of equipment and expertise for shows like ..At The Palladium.

    No Elstree might butterfly unique series like Sapphire and Steel. :eek:
    Would Lew Grade have the resources to bring Jesus of Nazereth to the screen without Elstree?
    No JoN means Monty Python's Life of Brian either costs a shit load more, or looks a LOT cheaper. :(
    (LoB made use of left-over JoN sets)

    Falkenburg
     
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  12. MatthewFirth Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a British Television timeline based on this may help answer some of these mysteries?
     
  13. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    On the other hand, the restructuring of ATV into Central was one of the factors in the demise of Saphire and Steel. If ATV continues then Saphire and Steel could last longer.

    It's true that Life of Brian used the same sets as Jesus of Nazereth, but I thought those sets were in Tunisia rather than Elstree.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
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  14. stevep Member

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    Guys

    Sapphire and Steel would be a big loss, as would be an inferior LoB.:( Hopefully S&S would survive and possibly last longer.;)

    With the Saint, if that's the Ian Ogilvy series, just checked Wiki and it is, then I think most of the programmes were shot on location, so the lack of the studios might not make a big difference. If I remember rightly many of them were set in Italy for cost purposes, despite a rumour I heard that they had to pay protection money to the Mafia to get them made!:mad:

    Steve

     
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  15. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    Thank you all for your enthusiastic responses to my latest update! And now, for my replies to your comments...

    Thank you. It was a very fortunate "in" that I found, which I basically explained within the post itself: "Yesteryear" would require two creatures, and virtually all of the large creature work was done by Janos Prohaska (IOTL and ITTL), who was only one man; they would have to farm out the second creature to someone else. Henson was definitely a "name" by this point (the episode would have filmed in the late spring of 1969; he would start filming the first season of Sesame Street a few months later), and his more relatable and expressive Muppets would have been deemed more desirable for the character of I-Chaya than Prohaska's more generic "monster" designs.

    Agreed about Sam the Eagle; the primary satirical element behind his characterization ITTL would be how the show is intended only for children, and how everything must be designed to appeal to them, which would be played up a lot more vis-a-vis OTL (it will also prove topical, with the Family Viewing Hour on the horizon).

    Sadly, I think "Pigs in Space" will not exist in anything near its OTL form. Collateral butterflies, alas.

    It seems that, IOTL, the lone ventures where his creativity was not met with commensurate success were his non-Muppet-Show-movies in the 1980s. The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth are the shining examples here. I obviously can't say what his career will look like when The Muppet Show finally comes to an end, but we'll see.

    Glad you're still reading! As to your comment... that of course assumes that there will be a Muppet Movie! ;)

    Glad you're still reading, Kalvan! But as e of pi so adroitly put it, In Living Color has in all likelihood been butterflied away. (Note that both Shawn and Marlon Wayans were born well after the POD). Also, I too have objections to describing In Living Color as a "variety" show in the classical sense. It was a sketch comedy show, punctuated by occasional guest musical performances (notably not musical numbers performed by the cast, which is a variety staple) and, if you really want to stretch, the Fly Girls.

    Yes, it won the Outstanding Variety Series Emmy, but that's a very broad category (and it has been awarded to a talk show every year since 1998, IOTL).

    Let's not get carried away, now - the "death" of the variety show is usually pinned to 1980 (with the series Pink Lady and Jeff), with In Living Color airing a scant decade later - and other variety revivals being attempted prior to that; some meeting with marginal success, such as Dolly and The Tracey Ullman Show (though you probably remember that one better for the weird cartoon about those yellow people that spun off from it). Also, syndicated variety shows like Hee-Haw endured into the 1990s.

    That may be true, but Henson shopped his concept around to everyone IOTL, and didn't discriminate. And ABC did air both test pilot specials IOTL, and presumably would have picked the show up as a series if they had deemed it sufficiently successful. (That they commissioned a second special after the first is proof enough of that.)

    I'm sorry, but that would never occur to them. What is the UK to them, anyway? They would want something more esoteric - like, say, a Swedish character ;)

    British Muppet aside, these are all intriguing possibilities.

    I like that idea so much that I'm willing to call it canon. Elvis Presley will be a guest star in the second season (1975-76). Sure he'll be bloated and past his prime, but he is still Elvis, and his appearance will be immortalized in popular culture ITTL. (It may well prove the "Nureyev moment" of the series.) Elvis impersonators were already a "thing" by the mid-1970s, so we'll undoubtedly see lots of Muppets in those ridiculous hairstyles and costumes. Colonel Tom Parker may have been a stick-in-the-mud, but the King himself had enough of a sense of humour that he would play along. And who knows what the appearance might do for his longer-term prospects?

    Be sure to clean up after yourself, Professor :p

    There's only one way to find out!

    Thank you! This is probably going to mark the beginnings of his rehabilitation ITTL - whether it will be as complete or successful as IOTL is another question entirely.

    Many actors refused to act with - and writers refused to write for - "felt" (as the expression goes), until such time as the Muppets were established (in the late-1970s IOTL, and the mid-1970s ITTL). Mia Farrow was obviously willing to give the Muppets a chance IOTL, and she's a reasonably big star, so I decided to stick with her. Obviously, for various reasons, the list of those guests who appear on The Muppet Show proper will be very divergent from the OTL roster.

    A possibility of a behind-the-scenes special ties into my executive plans for Desilu going forward, so you'll just have to sit on that for now.

    This is a fascinating consequence of Grade not being given the chance to produce The Muppet Show ITTL; thanks for sharing it with us.

    Now this is a curious scenario. When I discovered how young EastEnders actually is (it began running in 1985, in contrast to its eternal rival Coronation Street, which started in 1960; the two are habitually the #2 and #1 shows on British television, respectively), it really surprised me that the BBC would take that long to develop a "response".

    Monty Python's what? Looks like someone else is getting ahead of themselves again :cool:

    Welcome aboard, Matthew! To answer your question, I'm afraid I'm far too megalomaniacal to cede direct control over this fictional universe that I've created, at least with regards to the Anglosphere. Besides, I do have an excellent consultant on the subject, supplemented nicely by the helpful suggestions of the apparent plurality of my readership hailing from the British Isles :) You will hear more official word on the state of British television in later cycles, I can assure you.

    Indeed, we'll get a taste of British television through transatlantic eyes when we finally take a look at the would-be "fourth network", PBS, in the very next update!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
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  16. Thande Ricky Carlson / David Alameel '20 Donor

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    The main reason I believe was concern over the Reithian vision and the licence fee, i.e. people in the establishment would get narked off if their licence fee money was being used to create the sort of lowbrow drama associated with commercialism (think about where the term 'soap opera' comes from, they started out AS adverts, the antithesis of the BBC philosophy). As far I know, this changed due to a cultural change on the BBC Board of Governors with new people coming in who decided the BBC had to justify its existence to the privatisation-happy Thatcher government by offering populist programming that could have the same mass appeal as ITV's. So in your TL with British politics sticking to a more moderate course (as well as the reasons to do with the ATV sets mentioned above), EastEnders might be butterflied away altogether--the BBC will still make soap operas, but nothing as huge with the same deliberate proletarian mass-appeal as EastEnders.
     
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  17. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

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    With regards to Pigs in Space, I think that Henson is going to want to develop a running gag to poke fun at Sci-Fi tropes (even if he doesn't use that term). I think the first season appearance of Shatner will guarantee that they develop the costuming and sets for a Star Trek like skit, and they are frugal enough to want to reuse that, almost guaranteeing a Trek-like running skit. It could be something different than Pigs in Space technically, but....when the first Sci-Fi skit is likely to be a Star Trek parody with Shatner, you've got to ham it up, so I think Pigs in Space is still likely.

    Now then, you would likely see differences in the development of the roster of characters on TTL's Pigs in Space (or whatever it's called - Ham Trek, anyone?). However, undoubtably it will include Miss Piggy in a prominent role.

    Given the success and popularity of Doctor Who in the US in this ATL, it is actually likely that there would be one skit, or at least references to, Doctor Who in the Muppet Show. If you are looking for an alternate guest star, Jon Pertwee would be GREAT!

    And another recommended alternate guest star - That Wacky Redhead herself! She's overall out of the acting biz, but once the Muppet Show becomes an institution, she might come out of retirement temporarily for her company's own variety show. I could see interest in her doing an appearance being sparked by the anniversary show.
     
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  18. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    However, the BBC did make soap operas before Eastenders. On the radio, there is The Archers which has been broadcast since 1951 - before ITV even existed. They killed off a major character in an episode that was broadcast on the day that ITV was launched. On BBC tv between 1954 and 1957 there was a soap opera called The Grove Family, written by the father and brother of Jon Pertwee. In the 1960s there was The Newcomers, which launched the career of Wendy Richards (better known for her appearances in Are You Being Served ? and Eastenders ).

    The problem seems to have been that none of these soap operas survived the transition to colour tv. Coronation Street seems to have raised the bar in terms of production quality and the BBC took a while to respond. Part of this might have been that the Beeb didn't have the space for the permanent back-lot set necessary for a high quality soap opera. Note that a lot of the problems with Triangle stem from the fact that it was filmed on location on a north sea ferry to avoid having dedicated studio space. Elstree studios gave them the space needed for a successful soap opera.

    Cheers,
    Nigel
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
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  19. Thande Ricky Carlson / David Alameel '20 Donor

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    Yeah, I was simplifying there: I just think EastEnders sticks out from other BBC efforts in the area because of it being a bigger and flashier production, more populist/proletarian in character, etc. Interestingly the longest-running BBC (TV) soap is the Welsh-language Pobol y Cwm, which goes out on S4C but is made by the BBC. It started in 1974 and is still going.
     
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  20. NCW8 Go, Lemmings, Go!

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    That's in Welsh, so it must be Culture :)

    You're right that there was resistance to the BBC spending a lot of money on soaps. As long as soap operas were cheap (on the radio or made in black and white) there was no problem. When colour tv pushed up the costs of production, it killed off the BBC tv soap for a few years, during which imports such as Dallas were broadcast. Grenada reacted differently by pushing up the production standards of Coronation Street. ATV didn't follow suit, which is why Crossroads became such a byword for poor scripts, bad acting and wobbly sets. By sixties standards, it wasn't actually that bad - it just seemed so by comparison.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
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