I Love The Seventies: 1979

In the UK, a television interview with Masaaki Sakai was screened as part of the "I Love The Seventies: 1979" show on Saturday 23rd September 2000, 8.55pm on BBC2! It was rerun on Saturday 28 July 2001, 9pm on BBC2, and again on Thursday 3 January 2002, 11.20pm on BBC2.

In 2000, the BBC did a television series called "I Love The Seventies", which was screened on Saturday evenings, and focuses on a different year in the 1970s each week. Each programme lasted for an hour, and contained 12 mini-features about that year.

[Visit the BBC Online - Cult - I Love 1979 web site (there's no page dedicated to Monkey within these pages).]

At 8.55pm, on Saturday 23 September 2000, BBC2 screened an edition of the programme focussing on 1979, which of course was the year that Monkey was first screened on BBC2. As part of this show, there was a 6 minute mini-feature about Monkey. This feature consisted of:

  • Masaaki Sakai's first ever UK television interview! This consisted of a few short interview clips, which were dubbed into English (in a Japanese accent). Here's some stills of Masaaki Sakai's interview. Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version of it.
    Masaaki Sakai interviewed on 'I Love The Seventies: 1979' (picture 1) Masaaki Sakai interviewed on 'I Love The Seventies: 1979' (picture 2) Masaaki Sakai interviewed on 'I Love The Seventies: 1979' (picture 3)
  • The planned interview with Andrew Sachs didn't appear. He provided the English-dubbed voice of Yu-Lung (the horse in human form) in season 2 of Monkey.
  • Miriam Margolyes (who voiced Tripitaka and various female voices in the English version) DID APPEAR in this Monkey feature, contrary to the recent news that she had pulled out at the last minute to go back to the US. She talked about her dubbing work on Monkey, and remembers particularly doing the voice of the princess in the first episode of Monkey, who shows Monkey with the magic wishing staff.
  • An interview with Burt Kwouk, although he wasn't involved in the English-dubbed version of Monkey. This is probably because he worked on the English dubbing of Monkey's "sister" NTV show "The Water Margin" ("Suikoden" in Japanese), which featured a very similar English dubbing cast (including Miriam Margolyes), and a superb soundtrack by Godiego. He appeared, and gave an overview of the story of Monkey.
  • Some "work" by Monkey fan Andrew Iann, who likes to dress up as Monkey (see the Monkey Costumes - Andrew Iann page for photos of him dressed as Monkey). At the end of the Monkey feature, Andrew appeared dressed as Monkey. He made his wishing staff appear, did a forward-roll, and then held up the word "1979" along with his friend dressed as Tripitaka! Here's some stills of Andrew Iann and his friend, as they appeared on this show. Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version of it.
    Andrew Iann dressed as Monkey on 'I Love The Seventies: 1979' Andrew Iann and friend dressed as Monkey and Tripitaka on 'I Love The Seventies: 1979'
  • Lots of clips from Monkey episodes. This included clips from the opening titles (which were compared to the opening titles of "Bergerac" by comedian Peter Kay), a clip of Pigsy fighting set to the Japanese version of 'Gandhara', plus lots of clips of Monkey, Tripitaka and Buddha.

    Masaaki Sakai did a television interview in Tokyo during the evening of Thursday 24 August 2000 for the Monkey feature in this programme.
    Here's a little information from my friend in Tokyo who attended the BBC interview with Masaaki Sakai:
    "Tonight I went to the interview with Sakai san by BBC. The interview was done in Japanese and will translate. It is a part of memorial of '70s program.

    Now he has 2 shows every day on stage as main actor. So he was tired, but when the interview started, he was very active and talked with some jokes.

    The interview crews live in Japan, and they have worked for the BBC for a long time. The interviewer asked Sakai san to write his autograph for the producer who is living in the UK. She said it is was her first experience that the producer asked for someone's autograph! The producer's a Monkey fan too!

    About the interview, to send the video tape , the crew used PAL video camera. They had only one camera and small monitor. So their camera angle was very limited. When Sakai san was speaking the camera was not moving. But after the interview they took Sakai san's stick action too. Maybe you can see it on the show."

    [Here's some information about the stage show that Masaaki Sakai was starring in at the time he recorded this interview: Between 1 August and 27 August 2000 at the Meijiza Tokyo, Masaaki Sakai starred in a stage comedy, a period drama based on a very popular character of early Edo era. The show was called "Gozonzi Isshin Tasuke" ("The famous Isshin Tasuke"). Tasuke Isshin is a legendary person in fiction like Robin Hood. Sakai plays Tasuke, a fish peddler, who is honest and straight without fear of authority. This story has been repeatedly made into movies, stages and TV dramas. Actually NHK made Tasuke story for prime time television in 2000. Here's a newspaper clipping advertising this stage comedy.]

    A possible consequence of this Monkey feature was that the interview that Masaaki Sakai did in August 2000 for the BBC for The Guardian newspaper (to publicise BBC Choice's Japan TV weekend), but which wasn't published as it missed the deadline - may have got published as promotional material for this "I Love The Seventies" TV show - but unfortunately, it didn't... For more information on this interview, see the Monkey Interviews - Masaaki Sakai - Guardian newspaper page.

    The BBC contacted me for information that would help them produce this Monkey feature. Here's what they told me:
    - They contacted David Weir (who wrote the English adaptation) for the show, and they found out that he's very ill, and therefore unavailable.
    - They contacted Toshiyuki Nishida's (Pigsy) agent for an interview with him on the same day as Masaaki Sakai's interview, but he wasn't in the area so couldn't participate.

    Back to the Monkey Interviews - Masaaki Sakai - Actual Interviews page