Back in the days of the late 80’s and early 90’s the idea of late night television was still fresh but TV companies weren’t too clued up on what to schedule so ITV in particular would be a Russian Roulette of anything remotely watchable to anyone. Of course the people most likely to be watching telly at 2am were either the unemployed or people staggering back from clubbing.
Which leads me nicely into one of ITV’s stalwart bits of programming in their Golden Age of late night telly (1987-1993), The Hitman and Her. The ”Hitman” was Pete Waterman, then riding incredible levels of success from his PWR record label who released works from the likes of Kylie Minogue. The ‘Her’ was Michaela Strachan, a TV presenter now best known for her work on the BBC’s wildlife programming bu from 1988 to 1992 could be seen each week standing near Darren from Mansfield as he spilled Fosters down his new chinos as he drunkenly tried to dance at clubs like the Ritzy in Nottingham.
Or the horror that was the Black Orchid.
Or yet another Ritzy, this time in Leeds.
Or astonishingly at Manchester’s famous Hacienda.
Or at any dodgy club where people would drunkenly attempt to pull, sort themselves out a knee-trembler down an alley before staggering home with a kebab and a fungal infection as you collapse on your sofa just as Darren from Mansfield is seen dancing in the backed trying not to look at Strachan’s arse. The Hitman and Her acted as a mirror upon people’s lives at a time when clubs were trying to still be neon-clad hellholes that attracted your average lad and lass, as well as the new, alternative rave scene with both often colliding onscreen in all the messy glory you’d expect.
Late night telly in 2017 is a depressing mess of quiz shows designed to rip the drunk/stupid/desperate or repeats with signing because programmers think the deaf never sleep. The Hitman and Her is a reminder of a simpler age when youth culture wasn’t so cynical and late night telly could throw up simple joys such as this. The past really is another country, and revisiting these grainy YouTube videos while sober brings back the days of staggering home, sticking the telly on and falling asleep laughing at Waterman and Strachan’s ludicrous antics. But Waterman may be many things but he loved and knew his music, even rave, and Strachan was just fun but we’ll never see anything like this on TV ever again and that’s a pity.