Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The last three weeks of the decade: STN's TV and radio guide

Not including those million channels on Sky all of which loop the same smallish pool of Christmas videos...

Saturday 14th December

12am TOTP2 Christmas (Gold)
7.00pm TOTP2 Christmas (BBC4)

There isn't a new compendium of the Corporation's seasonal song output anywhere this year so various outlets are filling space with some of the old selections. The first is from 2012 with Francoise Hardy, Lily The Pink, Mikey Dread's Reggae Reggae Christmas and Merry Gentle Pops by the Barron Knights; the second 2010 with Geraldine's Christmas single (remember? Peter Kay? No?), one of the other Mariah songs and the Sugababes (not the current ones, who are the old ones, but not these old ones) doing Santa Baby.

7pm Take That Live: Wonderland (Sky One)
Luckily this year is overwhelmed as usual with live performances. This is the trio version from 2017 at the O2.

7.05pm Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1)
Taylor Swift performs, and we hope someone tells her about the complaints after the recent same-sex dance so she changes her plans and does You Need To Calm Down.

8pm Pet Shop Boys: Inner Sanctum – The Super Tour (Sky Arts)
TV premiere of Neil and Chris recorded last July at the Royal Opera House.

9.10pm Rod Stewart: Reel Stories (BBC2)
Dermot O'Leary seems to make one of these shows a year where he talks a pop star through their contribution to the BBC TV archives, this one with Sir Rod The Sir Mod kicking off a whole evening...

9.40pm Imagine... Rod Stewart: Can't Stop Me Now (BBC2)
11.05pm Rod Stewart Live At Hyde Park (BBC2)

...featuring Alan Yentob's 2013 meeting and a 2015 live set.

10.10pm The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV)
Jason Derulo who's in Cats, Taron Egerton off Rocketman and Keane by their powers combined and placed awkwardly on a sofa.

10.15pm A Kylie Christmas (Sky Arts)
From the Royal Albert Hall in 2015, incorporating duets with Chrissie Hynde and Frank Sinatra, one more present than the other.

11.50pm Songwriter (Talking Pictures TV)
The first of several intriguing pick-ups from the film section of the TV guide planner's most quixotic channel, a 1984 satirical comedy-drama starring and loosely based on the life of Willie Nelson with songs and acting support by Kris Kristofferson.

RADIO: Brian and Eddie Holland join Radcliffe & Maconie (6 Music, 7am); John Grant, Jarvis Cocker, Gruff Rhys and Simon Raymonde compare notes on Music Life (World Service, 12.05pm, or download it as a podcast now)

Sunday 15th December

8pm The X Factor: The Band – Live Final (ITV)
This was originally advertised as an X Factor All Stars series but the celebrity version tanked so badly - 2.6m watched the final, less than half the number who saw last year's close - that Cowell changed his mind and it became a search to find a new group, in no way intended to undermine the similar BBC/Little Mix show announced for next year, except they'll likely do it in more than four ad hoc days of which only this one is live.

RADIO: Cerys Matthews (6 Music, 10am) celebrates a calypso Christmas with Keith Waithe.

Monday 16th December

9pm Bohemian Rhapsody (Sky Movies Musicals)
But if they hadn't recorded with Freddie for years before Live Aid how did they make Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free and One Vision?

RADIO: Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth (Radio 4 Extra, 8.30pm) is a 2010 documentary about Vince Taylor, the erratic early rock'n'roll star who inspired Bowie. Mark Lanegan is in session with Marc Riley (6 Music, 7pm); Justin Hawkins is Ken Bruce (Radio 2, 9.30am)'s Tracks Of My Years guest.

Tuesday 17th December

8pm Carpool Karaoke Special: Celine Dion (Sky One)
Having somehow become R&B's hippest name drop the often game Celine joins Corden in his car of unspeakable doom.

RADIO: Jo Whiley (Radio 2, 7pm) presents from her house with Jamie Cullum, Will Young, Snow Patrol, Kate Tempest, Alex James (interesting off-air discussions likely between those two) and Lucy Rose.

Wednesday 18th December

Do something better with your life for now.

RADIO: Marc Riley (6 Music, 7pm) presents the first of four best of the year's live sessions shows, the second of which is on Thursday.

Thursday 19th December

8pm Capital Jingle Bell Ball (Sky One)
Like the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party if it had had nearly all its humour surgically removed. Taylor Swift, Stormzy, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Rita Ora, Sam Smith, AJ Tracey, Tom Walker, Mabel, The Script, Sigala, Anne-Marie and Ava Max, who apparently is a real person and not an AI designed for massive commercial radio support while not penetrating any other area of culture, perform today and tomorrow at the same time.

9pm Freddie Mercury: A Christmas Story (Channel 5)
The flood of Queen documentaries has turned into a deluge. Already scraping the barrel, this examines the band's affinity with Christmas - Bohemian Rhapsody, the famous Christmas Eve gig (which another channel has the actual broadcast rights to) and, um, Freddie really liked Christmas.

10pm The Story Of Fairytale Of New York (BBC4)
A forensic examination of the song, lyrics and legend within a framing device of the band setting up to perform the song, which they never actually do.

11.20pm TOTP2 Christmas Special (BBC2)
The usual set again taken from 2015, but when did you last hear Just Jack's Starz In Their Eyes?

RADIO: The listing doesn't say so but we think this will be Gideon Coe (6 Music, 9pm)'s annual three hour Christmas show.

Friday 20th December

8pm Top Of The Pops 1988 (BBC4)
9pm Top Of The Pops 1988 (BBC4)

The end of another year of BBC4's glorious stroll through the neon back catalogue, which in a marvellous feat of self-defeating starts with the Christmas special - presumably with Gary Glitter joining the Timelords edited out - and follows it with the year's final regular show with Kylie & Jason, A-ha, the Four Tops and pregnant Neneh Cherry.

9pm Queen: From Rags To Rhapsody (Sky Arts)
10.15pm Queen And Adam Lambert: The Show Must Go On (Sky Arts)

Firstly the final part of the Rhys Thomas trilogy, telling the story up to 1975 in detail, and then jumping forward to 2011 when they're *checks notes* better than ever!!!

9.30pm Country Music by Ken Burns (BBC4)
10.25pm Country Christmas (BBC4)

The last part of the documentary series goes up to 1996 with Garth Brooks, the New Traditionalists and Johnny Cash's American Recordings, them Trisha Yearwood fronts the CMA's tenth annual holiday hullaballoo.

10.55pm Staying Alive (Paramount)
The difficult second John Travolta as Tony Manero movie, co-written and directed by Sylvester Stallone six years after Saturday Night Fever for all the good that suggests. 0% on Rotten Tomatoes!

RADIO: The Official Chart Show (Radio 1, 4pm) gets the Christmas number one nonsense over and done with. Dance Monkey getting the title by dint of having its twelfth week on top would be very funny, wouldn't it?

Saturday 21st December

8.15pm Michael McIntyre's Big Show (BBC1)
Robbie Williams, who has a Christmas album out, surprises some karaoke singers. Do South Of The Border!

10.15pm Ed Sheeran: Austin City Limits (Sky Arts)
2017 performance on the long running live series.

10.25pm Robbie Williams: Radio 2 In Concert (BBC2)
As heard live on November 29th. Not many of the huge hits.

11.30pm David Bowie: Glass Spider Tour (Sky Arts)
Of course Bowie would tell you that the production values and theatrics would inspire many others, but that doesn't make this notorious nadir of the Dame's down period much better regarded. For more of his work in this period Labyrinth is on Sky Movies Musicals at 7.15pm.

RADIO: Radio 4 Extra has a good breakfast time double of repeats, with David Bowie: Verbatim (8am, repeated 3pm) telling his story in his own words and Peel Acres: John Peel Remembered (9am, repeated 7pm) from 2014 intersperses clips from his whole output with Jarvis Cocker meeting the Pig of legend, Sheila Ravenscroft. Elton John talks about his classical music upbringing and influence on A Life At The Piano (Classic FM, 9pm); Pick Of The Pops (Radio 2, 1pm) features the Christmas or pre-Christmas charts from 1979 and 1986.

Sunday 22nd December

6pm Celebrity Catchphrase (ITV)
With Davina McCall, Jo Brand and... Jarvis Cocker! Can't wait to find out what his reason for accepting this one is.

RADIO: Graham Norton talks to Richard Carpenter in Carpenters, A Song for You (Radio 2, 5pm) - the comma is correct, apparently.

Monday 23rd December

7pm Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1979 (BBC4)
It's 2014, the TOTP repeats are entering the year of its highest rating shows (albeit because of the ITV strike) and here's Gary Numan, Nile Rodgers, Jah Wobble, Chas & Dave, Linda Nolan and others to recall it.

7.45pm Bee Gees: In Our Own Time (Sky Arts)
2010 retrospective, so Robin's still around.

10pm Queen: Rock The World (BBC4)
11pm Queen: The Legendary 1975 Concert (BBC4)

Firstly the 2017 documentary about News Of The World with a plethora of previously unseen archive, then the much touted Hammersmith Odeon Christmas Eve gig.

2.15am Rock City (Talking Pictures TV)
Now this is quite something, and definitely one to put on your recording box of choice - a 1973 film of footage from over the previous nine years incorporating the Stones, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Otis, Ike & Tina, Cream and Cat Stevens interspersed with interviews and 'scene' footage.

RADIO: Marc Riley (6 Music, 7pm) returns to his best of the year list with part three. Glyn Johns guests, alongside JK Rowling, on The Museum Of Curiosity (Radio 4, 6.15pm)

Christmas Eve

7.15pm The Seven Ages Of Elvis (Sky Arts)
9pm Elvis: The Final Hours (Sky Arts)

Firstly a 2017 documentary in no way inspired by the Bowie Five Years work, dividing his career into seven specific points, then the Memphis Mafia tell their tale.

9pm The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV)
Rita Ora, Jamie Cullum and Sharon Osbourne pretend to look impressed.

9pm Top Of The Pops Christmas Hits (BBC4)
An hour which oddly includes a different East 17 song to the obvious, but does feature Saint Etienne and T'Pau's drummer fighting an inflatable snowman.

10pm Roy Orbison: Austin City Limits (Sky Arts)
The ACL series made its name and put it on a national stage with the Big O's 1982 appearance, just as it rescued Orbison from having to appear on Wheeltappers again.

11.15pm I Am Johnny Cash (Sky Arts)
Made in 2015, so that's clearly a lie. Plenty of heavy hitters among the talking heads, though.

11.25pm Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Film4)
What was supposed to be the Lonely Island's big statement for the age, but ended up being forgotten about within a couple of months.

RADIO: The Green Room (Radio 2, 9pm) is an intriguing concept - saxophonist and swing/rhythm & blues bandleader Leo Green and his troupe are covering the songs of one year over the course of four shows, and tonight he's doing 1983. If that seems unlikely, wait until tomorrow. Following that Soul Symphony (Radio 2, 10pm) sees soul and R&B classics reimagined for the festive season, singers including Laura Mvula and Ray BLK with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. Little Simz is the first of this year's Wise Women (6 Music, 4pm), her choices of programming including Iggy Pop, Damon Albarn, Michael Kiwanuka and Jimi Hendrix. Headliners (Radio 5 Live, 6pm) features the best music from Nihal Arthanayake's show, including Aurora, Editors, Lewis Capaldi and Richard Hawley; The Gallaghers (Radio 5 Live, 10pm) cuts and shuts Liam talking to Nihal with Noel chatting to Eddie Hearn.

Christmas Day

8.10am Britain's Favourite Christmas Songs (Channel 5)
Repeated at 6.40pm, we can't tell if this is an old countdown or newly packaged but the blurb does say it features Christmas Wrapping, which because it doesn't have an official video or any known live footage isn't usually acknowledged on TV shows such as this.

11.35am Top Of The Pops Christmas Special (BBC1)
Earliest slot it's ever had, maybe suggesting the direction away from big old family light entertainment that most young people's chart music has taken these days. That said Lewis Capaldi, Tom Walker, The Script, James Blunt, Dermot Kennedy and Jack Savoretti are hardly frenzied fireworks of all-out POP. Mabel, Freya Ridings, Labrinth, Sigala, AJ Tracey & Jorja Smith and Jax Jones & Ella Henderson fill the rest.

6pm Freddie Mercury: The Tribute Concert (Sky Arts)
7.45pm Queen: the Phenomenon (Sky Arts)

Bowie's Lord's Prayer and a Spinal Tap cameo enliven the former, and we're basically just counting out the many ways the latter information can be displayed by now.

8.30pm Dolly Parton: Here I Am (BBC2)
10pm Dolly Parton At Glastonbury 2014 (BBC2)

Francis Whately, who did the BBC Bowie documentaries, promises to reveal "the real" Dolly. Well, let's see, but there's good access and an examination of the songs and influence over the image. After that, the performance that at least in this country took her away from the cliches.

8.35pm David Bowie: Stardust (PBS America)
You do have it, it's Sky 174, Virgin Media 273 or Freesat 155. This is the story of Ziggy.

9pm The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years (More4)
Ron Howard finds one of the few bits of Four lore that hadn't been fully mined and excavated. Christmas Day TV is always a disappointment compared even to the days around it but the documentaries are doing well.

10.30pm Kylie's Secret Night (Channel 4)
12am Kylie's Golden Tour (Channel 4)

For no apparent reason TV's having a Kylie night of it. The first is a one-off where the audience think it's going to be a fan convention but are instead treated to a performance and conversation with Alan Carr, plus hidden camera stuff and that. Afterwards, the TV premiere of part of her 2018 tour. Meanwhile...

11.10pm Kylie At Glastonbury 2019 (BBC2)
So it's live Kylie whichever way you look on the secondary terrestrial channels tonight - and in addition to all this there's an advert in Radio Times with ITV brading reading 'Kylie And Mates – Right Before The Queen's Speech'. No idea what that's for. Maybe it's actually about Kylie Pentelow.

RADIO: Radio 1 are giving over the bulk of the day to its Superstar Playlists (from 10am), to be precise Little Mix, the Top Gear team, Yungblud, some random actors, Louis Tomlinson and Selena Gomez. Radio 2 kicks off with Junior Choice (9am) with Anneka Rice as only seems right, followed by Paul O'Grady (12am), Matt Lucas (2pm), Gary Davies (4pm) presenting the Christmas number ones of the 80s and 90s, Family Rhythms (6pm) with Liza Tarbuck talking to famous families including the Kemps, Bryan Adams Rocks! (8pm) and The Green Room (9pm) in which Leo Green and his band tackle the hits of 1994. Looking forward to that swing version of Let Me Be Your Fantasy. Over on 6 Music Shaun Keaveney (1pm) corrals Brians Cox and Eno as annually, following which the second of the year's Wise Women (4pm) is Jessica Hynes, her show choices involving Dr John, Young Fathers and a Candi Staton fronted documentary on Disco Demolition Night. 1Xtra gets everyone together for a Big Christmas Dinner (1pm), then spends the early evening in 1Xtra In Jamaica (4pm) before repeating Stormzy At Glastonbury (7pm). Headliners (Radio 5 Live, 2pm and 3.30pm) repeats Nihal's chats with Liam Gallagher, Chrissie Hynde, Westlife and Dido. Up at BBC Radio Scotland there's Travis: The Man Who At 20 (2pm) and Natasha Raskin Sharp (8pm) on board Belle & Sebastian's Boaty Weekender.

Boxing Day

1pm The Rolling Stones At The BBC (Yesterday)
2pm Tom Jones At The BBC (Yesterday)

A couple of old BBC4 compilations to fill a dreary day.

RADIO: Radio 1 Anthems (from 10am) begins a series stretching every day through to the 31st of playing the biggest anthems of every year of the century so far, kicking off by going through to 7pm and still only getting as far as 2003. The 6 Music equivalent is Martin Freeman: Decades (1pm), three hours split by decade again every day up to New Year's Eve. Later on Kate Tempest rounds off this season's Wise Women (4pm), her takeover incorporating Bjork and Grace Jones. Absolute Radio's 80s spinoff turned ten years old earlier in the month and their celebration leaks onto the main station today with the Greatest Songs Of The 80s (5pm) countdown and Paul Gambaccini fronting Tribes Of The 80s (9pm), followed by a glance Inside Abbey Road (11pm).

Friday 27th December

9pm Richard Osman's World Cup Of The Decade (Channel 4)
You can unmute and refollow him now, he's stopped all that, but this is what it was in aid of and there's the results of the poll for the 10s' best single too.

9pm The Decade The Music Died (Sky Arts)
Sky Arts have been putting together these thoughtful end of year memorials for the last few years but now they're shoving an entire ten years' worth of clip and talking head obituaries together.

9.30pm Fleetwood Mac's Songbird: Christine McVie (BBC4)
Having joined after Peter Green left - although she was already friends and had played session piano with them - been one of the splitting couples around Rumours and stepped away for fifteen years to rejoin at their critical height McVie was there throughout the world straddling years so she's best placed to tell her singular story.

10.35pm David Bowie: A Reality Tour (Sky Arts)
Recorded in Dublin in 2003, so a few then-recent songs you've likely forgotten about but a lot of family favourites.

RADIO: Late Junction (Radio 3, 11.45pm) revisits the greatest advances in the wild side of music over the decade. At the other end of the scale, Matt Lucas' TV Themes (Radio 2, 2pm). Where's Matt Berry when you really need him?

Saturday 28th December

2.25pm Sunshine On Leith (Channel 4)
Dexter Fletcher seems to have carved a niche as a music-based film-maker and this Proclaimers jukebox musical, as if more than two Proclaimers songs are on any single jukebox outside Edinburgh, was his first go.

6.45pm Coldplay: Live In Sao Paulo (Sky Arts)
The last date of their 2017 world tour.

7.45pm The Hit List Celebrity Special (BBC1)
8.30pm Pointless Celebrities (BBC1)

The Humes' quiz show which has never quite worked out it should be prioritising questions over chat goes festive with Scott Mills, Chris Kamara, John Barnes, Tomorrow's Star Melvin Odoom, Vick Hope and the unrelated to music on surface level Susan Calman. Then it's a repeat of last year's number ones themed show which put Slade and Mud together on one team and let Jamelia and Roger McGough share a stage.

8pm Mamma Mia! (Channel 5)
Can't wait for a third film. Keep going until they have to perform Bang-A-Boomerang!

9pm Guns n' Roses: Appetite For Democracy (Sky Arts)
As much as everyone knows what it refers to, putting 'democracy' in an Axl Rose context is risky.

9.20pm Mystify: Michael Hutchence (BBC2)
11pm INXS: Live Baby Live (BBC2)

Bros: After The Screaming Stops, which surprisingly isn't on anywhere as far as we can tell, was released in cinemas but people only picked up on it once it had been on telly, so the same is being applied to two recent film documentaries over the next couple of nights. The examination of Hutchence through home movies and a phalanx of friends is followed by a recently remastered and upgraded print of the 1991 Wembley Stadium concert film.

RADIO: Radcliffe & Maconie (6 Music, 7am) devote all three hours to cover versions.

Sunday 29th December

10.15pm Liam Gallagher: As It Was (BBC2)
If anything's going to get the GIF makers working overtime it's this candid appraisal following what the press release optimistically calls "the greatest comeback in rock history".

11.40pm Supersonic (BBC4)
And here's the first part of that story, produced by the main movers behind Amy with the same keen documentation and offscreen talking and wisely cutting off at Knebworth.

RADIO: David Hepworth joins Johnnie Walker on Sounds of the 70s (Radio 2, 3pm); in Wild Music (Radio 4, 4.30pm) Erland Cooper and poet John Burnside explore the neolithic sites of Orkney.

Monday 30th December

3.45pm Six-Five Special (Talking Pictures TV)
Yes, there was a spinoff film from the groundbreaking BBC rock'n'roll series. Lonnie Donegan, Petula Clark, Dickie Valentine and Jim Dale perform, as in their own way do Mike and Bernie Winters.

4.45pm Top Of The Pops New Year (BBC1)
Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Sigma, Tom Walker, Freya Ridings Jack Savoretti and Dermot Kennedy all return for another go, joined by Joel Corry & Hayley May (whoever the hell they are), Lily Moore & Dan Caplen (ditto), Regard & Jay Sean (half), Blossoms (OK, we know them) and Celeste (just won all the Best 2020 Artist awards). OK, so none of the Americans were around, but was Stormzy pretending to be out? Hell, does Ed think he's too big for this?

RADIO: 1Xtra's Decade Of Music spends the day (from 10am) racing through the best of the ten years, an hour per year. Michelle Visage's Fabulous Divas (Radio 2, 7pm) was an inevitability. Marc Riley (6 Music, 7pm) closes off his best of the year shows. Absolute Radio sneak in a couple of late documentaries, (Not) Just A Girl (10pm) with Claire Sturgess examining the role of women in the industry this decade, then The Gig That Changed The World (11pm) a grand title for a look at the legacy of the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

New Year's Eve

9.05pm Dame Edna Rules The Waves (BBC1)
10.20pm The Graham Norton Show (BBC1)
11.25pm Craig David Rocks Big Ben Live (BBC1)

Chic do the music on Barry Humphries' latest go-round on the old routine, Melanie C joins the end of year chat, then a somewhat surprising choice to wrap around the bells. Hardly qualifies as the usual big party act for all the family, surely?

11.15pm Jools' Annual Hootenanny (BBC2)
HOOTEno. Stormzy does turn up here along with Rick Astley, Tom Walker, Brittany Howard, Stereophonics, Yolanda Brown, La Roux, Eddi Reader, Melanie, Pauline Black and invariably Ruby Turner.

1.15am Best Of Glastonbury 2019 (BBC2)
As much of a tradition as the Rhythm & Blues Orches-Tra! these days.

RADIO: Radio 1 starts its Party Anthems at 1pm, Radio 2 at 7pm with Tony Blackburn, Ana Matronic, Gary Davies and Scott Mills taking a decade and ninety minutes apiece before Dave Pearce's Dance Anthems drives us all home from 1am. Hot Chip's New Year's Eve Party is 6 Music's warm-up from 7pm with Craig Charles first footing from 10pm. In a more refined state, Loose Ends Lounge (Radio 4, 10pm) features the best of the show's musical output of the year.

New Year's Day

11pm U2: Experience – Live In Berlin (Sky One)
But they said all is quiet? This, from November 2018, is being broadcast worldwide for the first time on this day.

RADIO: Andrew Ridgeley plays two hours of what he and George grew up with on Wham! The Music That Made Us (Radio 2, 12am). Cillian Murphy (10am) and DJ Shadow (1pm) are 6 Music's idea of a New Year balm. Absolute take a look at why bands split in The Music Differences (10pm) and then commemorate Parklife 25 (11pm), though that's still on Absolute's listen again feature if you want to seek that out.

Thursday 2nd January

Sorry, you'll just have to go back to work without our guidance.

RADIO: And so everything gradually returns to normal, Rick Astley Rocks (Radio 2, 7pm) notwithstanding. Although Gideon Coe (6 Music, 9pm) has an ambient and drone special.

Friday 3rd January

7pm A Hard Day's Night (BBC4)
Shown over the Christmas period four times in the 1970s and on lunchtime BBC2 last Boxing Day, Richard Lester attempts to synthesise the moptops' famed cheek with the aid of Wilfrid Brambell, Victor Spinetti, a sadly washboardless Deryck Guyler, Lionel Blair, Are You Being Served?/Allo Allo creator Jeremy Lloyd and an uncredited (Lloyd's then fiancee) Charlotte Rampling.

8pm Pink Floyd: PULSE – The Dark Side Of The Moon Live (Sky Arts)
10.15pm Pink Floyd Live In Pompeii (Sky Arts)

Firstly a performance of the latter named album while ostensibly promoting the former in 1994, then the famous 1972 ruined amphitheatre set.

8.30pm Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1989 (BBC4)
9.30pm Top Of The Pops: Big Hits 1989 (BBC4)

Onwards! Into 1989 with the traditional introductory documentaries, the first one featuring contributions from Jason Donovan, Lisa Stansfield, Shaun Ryder, Chris Rea, Marc Almond, Sharleen Spiteri, Jazzie B and Jenny Powell, maybe explaining just how she stumbles over so many of the intros.

10.30pm Soft Cell: Say Hello Wave Goodbye (BBC4)
And to close this marathon, the really good Marc'n'Dave retrospective from earlier in the year. Mind how you go.

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