Video: Postcard from... |
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Postcard from...


I regret to announce that, as of today February 8, 2021, YouTube has closed the account of user "Cleops", a free channel carrying high quality copies of Clive's 'Postcard' series, plus many other classic TV programmes not available elsewhere. I will try to find adequate copies of the programmes now missing from this archive — SJB

S01E03 — Postcard from Paris, first broadcast by BBC on 18th January 1989
In the 1960s, as a young expatriate Australian writer, Clive James discovered Paris, his spiritual home. Twenty-five years ago he sat alone in the Left Bank cafés, wondering how to meet the women of Paris. This time he meets them: the writers, the models and the actresses who were part of a different world in his youth. He also meets the unchanging arch-enemy of any visitor — the Paris taxi driver.
[ I mustn't miss the opportunity here to thank YouTube user Cleops for preserving these excellent 720p copies of the 'Postcards' for posterity. Let's hope he or she manages to locate the two missing episodes — SJB ]
S02E01 — Postcard from Miami, first broadcast by BBC on 17th May 1990
Clive James set out to discover the truth about Miami. The city is now seen as the vice capital of America, teeming with money, illegal aliens and cocaine. He goes under cover and investigates beneath the surface. During his visit he meets two of Miami's most famous residents, actor Don Johnson and singer Gloria Estefan.
[ YouTube blocked website embedding of this video due to a music copyright claim from UMG, so here we link direct to YouTube ]
S02E02 — Postcard from Rome, first broadcast by BBC on 24th May 1990
Rome: focal point in the 60s for the world's jet-set. Now James arrives determined to find the dolce vita and acquire some Roman sophistication. He stays on the Via Veneto, seeks advice from a notorious socialite prince and discovers Mussolini's son in an unlikely setting. He learns a dubious lesson or two from a self-styled sexologist and is taught a few more by an aristocrat billed as the wildest woman in town.
S03E03 — Postcard from Shanghai, first broadcast by BBC on 31st May 1990
In May 1989, Clive James set off to see the city that was once known as the 'Paris of the East' and discovered China on the brink of revolution. As the demonstrating students joined three million cyclists to clog the Shanghai streets, he fought his way through to meet a once wealthy socialite who survived the Cultural Revolution, a baby-washing entrepreneur, the local eel gutter and a jazz band playing Jingle Bells on an empty ferry cruising up the famous Huangpu River. Leaving on one of the last flights before the government clamped down, he brought back this personal view of a city at an exciting and crucial moment in its history.
S02E04 — Postcard from Los Angeles, first broadcast by BBC on 27th September 1990
Los Angeles is a city of big money, big cars and big dreams. Young people from around the world are drawn to it for a shot at the entertainment bigtime, but how do they go about becoming stars? James's exploration of LA takes in the contrasts between the glitz and sleaze apparent in the city and he meets expat Dudley Moore and actress Kirstie Alley in his quest to discover how to become a star.
S03E01 — Postcard from Sydney, first broadcast by BBC on 30th May 1991
In the 30 years he's been away both Sydney and Clive James have grown a little. His hometown has now become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world — with towering new skyscrapers competing with the beautiful symbols of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. And there's new good Australian Chardonnay to discover, juicy seafood cooked in delicious continental ways, and of course, a hot beach life. Clive's confident he can pick up where he left off — as a surfing hero to rival the very best of Australia's Iron Men. If he can just keep his athletic silhouette in trim!
S03E02 — Postcard from London, first broadcast by BBC on 31st July 1991
In 1961 Clive James and his cardboard suitcase arrived in swinging London. Thirty years on he re-assesses the city he knew then and the city he finds now. Out on the town he samples heavy rock night at the Hippodrome nightclub. In contrast he goes to a masked charity ball in the presence of Princess Alexandra and Bubbles Rothermere. Meeting Michael Caine in Mayfair, Victoria Wood in Islington, Peter Cook in Soho and driving with Terence Donovan in his Rolls, he rediscovers what it is about London, his home for 30 years, that makes it a unique place to live.
S04E01 — Postcard from Cairo, first broadcast by BBC on 21st November 1993
In an occasional series that has included reports from Shanghai, Rome, Sydney and Los Angeles, Clive James makes his first trip to the Middle East and finds a city of opposites: liberalism and fundamentalism, opulence and poverty, ancient and modern. James visits the pyramids ("they're exactly as advertised: big, pointed buildings"), tries to buy a camel and talks to Omar Sharif about his love for Cairo's traditions of tolerance and cosmopolitanism.
S05E01 — Postcard from New York, first broadcast by BBC on 19th January 1994
"I got mugged the last time I was here. The guy only wanted 25 cents for a cup of coffee, but he had very bad breath." says Clive James as he adds New York to his occasional series of city snapshots that has included Shanghai, Sydney and, most recently, Cairo. Haunted by his previous experience, he takes a quick lesson in self-defence from a policewoman before hitting the mean streets of Manhattan. Armed with tips such as "don't go out alone at night", the anxious Aussie globetrotter braves the city's infamous subway system, gets the lowdown on its lowlife as well as being smeared with seaweed, attacked by killer poets and ambushed by the names who help to give the Big Apple its bite.
[ YouTube blocked website embedding of this video due to a music copyright claim from UMG, so here we link direct to YouTube ]
S06E01 — Postcard from Bombay, first broadcast by BBC on 21st February 1995
Clive James samples life at either end of the social spectrum in Bombay, where he encounters both the country's top film stars and the city's street children.
S06E02 — Postcard from Berlin, first broadcast by BBC on 7th March 1995
With only a faulty Trabant car for company, Clive James goes to the reunited capital of Germany and finds a kaleidoscopic city of energy, invention and excitement. He mingles with the weird and wonderful youth of Berlin, keeps a last appointment at the notorious border-crossing Checkpoint Charlie, and eventually finds himself cold-shouldered off the road by former East Berliners in convertibles.
[ YouTube blocked website embedding of this video due to a music copyright claim from UMG, so here we link direct to YouTube ]
S07E01 — Postcard from Hong Kong, first broadcast by ITV on 27th August 1996
Clive James sends a pre-Handover postcard from Hong Kong at a time of change, with only a few hundred days until its lease reverts to China. Includes a ride in a leaky sampan, a night at the races, a game of tennis in the grounds of Government House, an interview with Governor Chris Patten, a meeting with Lord Lichfield on a glamour model shoot, and a visit to plutocrat Kai Bong Chow and his socialite wife Brenda in their `House of Gold'.
S07E02 — Postcard from The Melbourne Cup, first broadcast by ITV on 4th November 1996
[ No copy available ]
S07E03 — Postcard from Mexico City, first broadcast by ITV on 2nd December 1996
Clive passes on the insect restaurant experience in favour of tequilas at the famous Tenampa Bar. Next day a slightly hung over Clive pays a visit to the local TV studios to see how the popular telenovela's (soap operas) are made. He interviews famous Mexican actress and singer Thalía, who was appearing in Marķa la del Barrio at the time. In conversation with writer Carlos Fuentes he tries to get to the bottom of what drives the people of Mexico City.
S08E01 — Postcard from Las Vegas, first broadcast by ITV on 8th April 1998
Clive James travels to America's gambling capital, an oasis of extravagance in the vast Nevada desert. He visits casinos and chats with stars, including Engelbert Humperdinck and Debbie Reynolds.
[ Hard-coded Dutch subtitles. Huge thanks to Koen Koen and Cleops for bringing us this! ]
S09E01 — Postcard from Havana, first broadcast by ITV on 18th September 1999
Forty years ago, Fidel Castro swept into Havana at the head of a popular revolution. Now it's Clive James's turn. In a classic Chevrolet convertible, Clive sets out to discover how communism has affected the life of the Cuban people and tours the city that was once the playground of rich American movie stars and mobsters. "At the Tropicana Cabaret the showgirls are shaking their feathers like frantic flamingos," says Clive. "From what I'd read before I got here, after 40 years the revolution is on its last legs. But if these were the legs, how bad could things be? The only way to find out was to take a look around."
[ No copy available ]
S01E01 — Postcard from Rio, first broadcast by BBC on 4th January 1989
Strolling along the promenade at Copacabana one could easily believe that the citizens of Rio are the luckiest in the world. But sunshine, music and the beach are the only blessings Rio hands out with fairness. The chance to eat well and die healthy is the privilege of the few and the envy of the many. The poor living on their wits in the favelas can only trust the voodoo gods to see them through. And if that means sacrificing the odd chicken, so be it. Clive James is made welcome by rich and poor alike. While the cariocas live in their own worlds, making contact only when a servant is paid or a millionaire is mugged, the outsider can meet them all.
[ YouTube blocked website embedding of this video due to a music copyright claim from UMG, so here we link direct to YouTube ]
S01E02 — Postcard from Chicago, first broadcast by BBC on 11th January 1989
Chicago is America's best-kept secret. Clive James discovers there's more to it than memories of Al Capone and Mayor Daley. The architecture is unique and the music is sensational. The people are surprisingly forthright about the problems of living in a city where millions of dollars change hands at the board of trade, but little is done to solve the problems of gang violence in the housing projects where shootings are a daily event.