Tottenham its players and ground have featured on the TV a number of times over the years away from the more likely ‘match day’ programming. While Spurs have formed part of the backdrop in other shows.
Here we gather together a few of their TV and Radio appearances. As well as the comedies the lads turn up in quiz shows, soap operas, chat shows, and even detective stories.
They have had a role in many TV comedies, many having appeared on Indian TV at some point, as well as the radio versions. In ‘Two Point Four Children’ the late Gary Olsen, a massive Spurs fan, played the role of ….
a massive Spurs fan.
In the comedy ‘Second Thoughts,’ regularly on the radio here, the part of Joe is a Spurs crazy fan whose only wish in life is to play for Spurs and won’t go out with a girl if she is an Arsenal supporter.
Whilst Joe McGann in ‘The Upper Hand’ plays the role of a former Spurs center forward. The comedy ‘Porridge’ sees Ronnie Barker as a prisoner who in one episode wangles compassionate leave only to spend the day watching Tottenham win at home. Another example is the Jack Dee comedy ‘Lead Balloon’ where he says he doesn’t follow football but his side kick in the programme proclaims himself a Spurs fan.
In the drama department there was a programme ‘Footballers Wives.’ Which I’m informed was as exciting as it sounds! However our own Teddy Sheringham and Celeb Fan Anthony Worrell-Thompson both made brief appearances in the series. In seasons 3 and 4 the pitch scenes were filmed at White Hart Lane. Another Tottenham / TV link comes from Terry Venables, who co-wrote a series of Detective novels and these were later turned into a TV Drama, called ‘Hazel.’
Terry also upset viewers during an interview on Sky TV in 2014, Talking about the 1991 Cup Final as the teams emerged the Forest manager Brian Clough grabbed hold of Terry’s hand and wouldn’t let go and at one point swung it up and down. Talking about it Terry said we must of looked like a pair of woofers. This comment up set the political correct lobby and Sky TV were forced to issue an apology.
Left - A scene from Footballers Wives.
Below - Glenn Hoddle's first ever TV Interview after his debut game.
Showing their brains were not in their boots, The BBC’s ‘Weakest Link’ quiz show had a footballers special and Martin Chivers and Martin Peters reached the head to head final. This was won by Martin Chivers. Meanwhile Tony Galvin once appeared on the TV quiz ‘Crosswits.
In the middle of the Double season, the BBC attempted to land Danny Blanchflower on their live show, This is Your Life, I remember watching this as a lad, and going, good grief its Danny, by which time the surprised guest had turned down the opportunity and disappeared into the night, becoming the first of a only a few people to reject appearing on the show.
Tottenham men who have however agreed to take part in the programme are Willie Hall (1959). He has since been followed by Pat Jennings (1983), Alan Mullery (1976) and Gary Mabbutt (1999).
Danny Blanchflower did however do a ‘Face to Face’ interview for television the following year. He also appeared on radio’s Desert Island Discs. In case you don’t know the idea is that you chose eight records to take if you were stranded on an island. Then you chose just one, a book and a luxury object. Danny took his golf clubs and balls. The other Tottenham castaways was Gary Lineker (he took Wisdom’s cricket almanac and a bowling machine, (cricket not ten pin) and Bill Edrich who was on the programme in 1951.
A very different radio appearance was on “Hancock’ Tony Hancock was one of the top comedians in the 1950/60’s. In one of his shows he played the part of a school teacher offering advice to his pupils on doing the Football Pools. One of the boys asks What about choosing Tottenham? He replies 'No No No, betting on Tottenham that’s money down the drain that is.'
Not Tottenham, but wouldn’t you like to have seen it – The 1938 Cup Final was the first Broadcast by the BBC. After 29 minutes of extra time it was still 0-0 and BBC commentator Thomas Woodrooffe said: “If there’s a goal now I’ll eat my hat.” Within seconds the penalty was awarded – and Woodrooffee kept his promise! It gives a whole new meaning to the Star Sports pundits who often talk through their hats!
Above - Willie Hall the first Tottenham man on This is Your Life. Top Image - Pat Jennings is surprised for the programme as he leaves the pitch at WHL (Shame about the shirt).
OK just had a giggle - I suspect like me you sometimes turn your brain off to sit and watch some twaddle on telly. Have you seen Elementary the US version of a modern day Sherlock Holmes? Holmes catches a serial killer who is watching Woolwich play on TV and he says “An Arsenal supporter, if I did not have enough reasons to despise you already”. I’ve since discovered the actor who plays him is actually a Chelsea supporter, no wonder he moved to America and become a drug addict.
Another TV quiz show that feature Spurs was the early evening ‘Quizball.’ This featured teams answering questions to move the ball up the field and a score and ran on a cup knockout format.
I don’t remember Tottenham winning the competition but they had some good Cup runs. Sadly the results seem to have been erased from the BBC archives. There was a guest fan (in case the players were thick I assume) anyway Tottenham’s was Lord Ted Willis, who was author of the Dixon of Dock Green mysteries,
Ted Willis appears in the Celebrity Fan Box and one of his 'Dixon' had a murder committed at White Hart Lane.
Although I’m told in some ‘games’ Peter Cook the comedian 'played'.
Left - Peter with Pat Jennings.
Back on Radio - Another first was our fixture with Sunderland in 5th February 1927. The game was the first match to be broadcast by the BBC Radio. The band of the Grenadier Guards was on hand to lead the community singing. The BBC use two announcers. One describes the play whilst the other fills in other information often about the crowd.
I know there are a number of other Tottenham on the Telly links out there. I'm currently putting together a second evening on feet up in front of the box for you but if you know of any that deserve to be included please get in touch.
In the meantime don't forget Talking Tottenham has previously looked at The Motion Picture, The Juke Box. As well as the two Celebrity Fan Boxes. You can find all these via http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/talking-tottenham-past-conversations
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