TV Cream is a British television nostalgia website, which has expanded to cover not only television, but film, toys, books, and other objects. The Daily Telegraph called it "a labour of love" and praised "the standard of the writing". The Sun's TV critic Ally Ross said "everyone who loves TV should worship at the altar" of this "genius, nostalgia site". It was nominated by Yahoo! UK & Ireland as best comedy website in 2003. Its sister website Off The Telly offered more serious insight into television.
The site originally appeared as The Arkhive in 1997, before adopting its current name the following year. The site, founded by Phil Norman, mainly consists of highly opinionated reviews of hundreds of programmes shown on British television (but not necessarily made in the UK), mainly during the 1970s and 1980s, though some earlier and later shows are also featured. In addition, the site features a selection of nostalgia-based articles relating to other areas of popular culture, such as pop music, film, comics, and so on.
The site is a collaborative effort. The writers include Steve Berry, Chris Diamond, Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Graham and Jack Kibble-White, Suzy Norman, Jill Phythian, Matthew Rudd, Ian Tomkinson, Simon Tyers, Steve Williams and TJ (Tim) Worthington. Some of the site's contributors were also involved with "Off the Telly" , a more academic television review and analysis site. Many of the participants have also been involved in journalism and/or written books. Graham Kibble-White wrote about television for the Daily Mirror and has been cited by the press as an expert on television. Jill Phythian has appeared as a talking-head on TV list shows.
TV Cream also operates email lists; the number and details of this have varied with time. "Creamguide" provides subscribers with a weekly mailout listing forthcoming TV programmes of interest. Creamguide is currently the only regular email; past emails include the monthly "TV Cream Update" (usually referred to as "Creamup"), a well-researched magazine-type mailing examining nostalgic subjects in some depth; and a weekly film guide.
In 2009, TV Cream moved from its previous domain of tv.cream.org to a new redesigned site at tvcream.co.uk. The new-look site became the home for redesigned (and in some cases updated) versions of features from the previous site, and additionally gave the opportunity for new features to be introduced; the new-look site absorbed the TVC blog, which had previously been run separately from the main site, and also allowed links to content of interest on sites such as YouTube and Spotify to be featured more prominently.
The website and its contributors have produced a number of spin-off books, some marketed as TV Cream tie-ins, others individual projects by writers:
Official TV Cream books
TV Cream: The Ultimate Guide To 70's and 80's Pop Culture (aka TV Cream: Nostalgia Book of the 70's And 80's) (ISBN 0-7535-1080-4) was published by Virgin Books in June 2005.
TV Cream's Anatomy of Cinema (ISBN 190554846X) was published by The Friday Project Ltd. in April 2007. The Independent praised it for telling the truth about the often ropey quality of British cinema.
TV Cream Toys by Steve Berry (ISBN 1-905548-27-3) was published by The Friday Project Ltd. in November 2007. The book rates toys according to their "status, lifespan, usability, 'eBayability' and overall play satisfaction".
TV Cream Tuck Shop by Steve Berry (ISBN 1906321450) will be published by The Friday Project in March 2012.
Related books by contributors
Closet Reading by Phil Norman (Gibson Square) was a history of the spin-off books produced to accompany British television comedy series, such as The Brand New Monty Python Bok and The Goodies File, volumes which were often used as toilet reading. The Guardian called it "a wittily written curio, and to hardcore comedy fans, it's a definitive reference work".
Morning Glory: A History of British Breakfast Television by Ian Jones and Graham Kibble-White. A serious history of breakfast television by 2 regular TV Cream contributors, based on material originally published on the Off The Telly website.
Fun At One! The Story of Comedy at Radio 1, a history of BBC Radio 1's comedy output, by contributor Tim "TJ" Worthington.
- Knight, James (29 Dec 2007). "Top 9 nostalgia links". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Ally, Ross. n.d. "Everyone who loves TV.." Sun, The (UK), May 26, 2005, p 11.
- "Izzard beats bus shelter website to award". The Daily Telegraph. 16 Jan 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "BB 'micro-celebs' are big TV draw". Metro (UK). Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Film books: the mad, the maverick and the macabre in the year's cinematic offerings". The Independent. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Win TV Cream Toys book". Toy News Online. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "TV Cream Toys (Book)", Bookseller, 12/10/2007, Issue 5302, p11-11
- Kettle, James (7 November 2009). "This week's comedy previews". The Guardian.
- Fanthome, Christine, "Morning Glory: A History of British Breakfast Television (Review)". Journal of British Cinema & Television; 2005, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p372