1 9 8 9 (UK)
6 x 50 minute episodes
Jools Holland, having lost his gig on The Tube due to a slip of the tongue, is enjoying a quiet pint in a remote Northern pub – albeit accompanied by a film crew – wondering where his next series is coming,
Suddenly, lights flash and the earth moves – and in walks a naked man with a small H-shaped aerial on his head. The Martians have landed – well, one of them anyway.
Before you can say “Squeeze”, the sharp-suited Holland is giving the Martian (Rowland Rivron) a six-part guide to life in Britain.
For the first few minutes, the naked alien strolls country lanes (and Hadrian’s Wall) in the buff – which does nothing for on-coming traffic or for ramblers out on a hike.
Clothes are clearly essential so Jools supplies him with some snappy threads and now the pair can take a close look at all kinds of travel.
The pair look at luxury boats, Lewisham buses, small aircraft at Lydd Airport, the New Romney railway, and visit a top-quality car dealer. Money being a problem, they decide to nick a Rolls Royce and give it a re-spray.
The whole approach of this Channel 4 series was lighthearted nonsense.
It was all very reminiscent of Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy – but all played tongue in cheek with Holland doing an attractive documentary-style job as he talked directly to the camera.
Full marks must go to Jools Holland for the way he linked and presented without the hint of a smile, treating the transport tour as a bona fide documentary as the man from Mars found out how Earth people lived, made their money, and had fun.
Guest appearances came from astronomer Patrick Moore, novelist Jeffrey Archer, Bruce Kent of CND, Social Democrat leader David Owen, Michael Heseltine and Sunday Sport publisher David Sullivan. The series was directed by pop video specialist Tim Pope.
A fake bank raid in a Lake District village in one episode attracted controversy when someone phoned the police, who failed to see the funny side.
Never Work with Children, Animals or Martians | An Englishman’s Home | Get On, My Cocker | Sid & Sad and the Fish Tank | It’s Nice to Be Important, But Important to Be Nice | The Biggy