"And now on BBC 2 - the Open University".
December 15, 2006 3:32 PM   Subscribe

The Open University was founded in 1971 in the "white heat" of the communications revolution. Late-night lectures delivered over the television would revolutionise education - but they quickly became a much-loved/much-mocked UK icon, ideal for insomniacs (it was all that was on telly at that time of night), and replete with kipper ties, beards and Periodic tables. They also helped to inspire some affectionate piss takes and spoofs. This weekend the OU will broadcast its last ever TV documentary - from now on they will be sticking to DVDs and the internet. Last link goes to embedded BBC News video.
posted by greycap (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A "piss take" is sort of like a spit take, right?
posted by beerbajay at 3:51 PM on December 15, 2006

But actually the OU was one of my favorite things about British TV. At 2 am, I'd rather learn about France, French, and apple tarts all at once than watching yet another idiotic 'puzzle' game.
posted by beerbajay at 4:03 PM on December 15, 2006

Holy Fuck those Look Around You clips are funny (though only tangentially related to OU). I was a kid in England, for a while in the late 70s early 80s, and that all rings so true.
posted by Flashman at 5:11 PM on December 15, 2006

posted by popcassady at 5:32 PM on December 15, 2006

Late-night analogue TV has become *incredibly* shit here. Two channels of utterly inane phone-us-and-guess-the-word rip-off "games", one of sports, one of dull news and the other of Open University. If the OU is going, there'll be bugger-all on. Hmph.
posted by bonaldi at 6:06 PM on December 15, 2006

For those interested: a previous MeFi post about Look Around You.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:57 PM on December 15, 2006

"There's a pair of tits." -- from flashman's first Look Around You post up there, called The Birds of Britain
posted by Tuffy at 1:09 AM on December 16, 2006

One of my most vivid memories of the OU involves waking up early one Sunday morning on a sofa in a student crash-pad in Whitstable and peering bleary-eyed at a TV set trying to find something to watch to distract me from the awful taste in my mouth, the sick feeling in my stomach, and the pounding in my head as people around me started to come back to life and begin to make coffee.

So here I am, flicking through the channels and I get to BBC2 (OK, didn't take long to get there, but bear with me) and what do I see on screen but what looks like a nice Cumberland sausage on a countertop and I think "oh, cookery program, bet they'll make something nice" and then hear the voice-over say "... and here we see the reproductive tract of a pregnant ewe ..."

I skipped breakfast that day ...
posted by kcds at 5:08 AM on December 16, 2006

Way back in 1995 I was watching UFC 7 on pay-per-view, through a rented set-top box. It was the final fight, Paul Varelans vs. Marco Ruas, and the program was running overtime.

Suddenly, the live feed was cut off, and the default programing became a local University of Washington TV lecture on, I believe, integral calculus.

I believe I experienced the psychological phenomenon known as "buzz kill".
posted by Tube at 8:49 AM on December 16, 2006

I recently saw an episode of Look Around You on TV here. It took 2-3 minutes before I realized it was a spoof. I think specifically when they took the experiment materials, threw them in a garbage can, and SHOT THEM. It was awesome.
posted by antifuse at 11:39 AM on December 16, 2006

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