Several decades on, we still love the dove from above.
There may be an awful lot of rubbish on YouTube, but every now and then that baffling algorithm will throw up something wonderful, albeit probably completely unrelated to whatever it was you've just watched.
Shooting Stars: The Inside Story, for example, was first shown just over a decade ago, Christmas 2008, so why it suddenly popped up again the other day, who knows. But it's well worth catching if you either didn't, don't remember it, or do.
A long-running panel show hosted by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, Shooting Stars really grabbed a firm hold of the public consciousness. It ran from 1993 to 2002, on and off, with a comeback from 2008 until its eventual cancellation in 2011 - and yet even today, if you shouted 'Eranu!' in a public place, you could be fairly confident that someone would pipe up with the appropriate response. There's a YouTube video featuring every 'Eranu' and 'Uvavu' Reeves uttered, in fact. Some people have too much time on their hands.
It's interesting to speculate why the show crossed over so massively. You can well imagine back then that the nation's sofas were full of people betting amongst themselves on the big finale, which was invariably something like Johnny Vegas downing a Guinness with a big fake lion's head on. Today's punters have a wealth of online gaming alternatives, of course - you can even enjoy some Vegas and lion crossover action, using LeoVegas bonus code - and there are innumerable TV channels now vying for attention. Would it hit so big today?
Vic and Bob have made a career of taking surreal stuff into the mainstream: just this week they won a Comedy.co.uk Award for the latest series of Big Night Out.
In her introduction to Mortimer's splendid edition of Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 recently, new host Lauren Laverne described their style as 'Dadaist'. Indeed, Reeves - aka Jim Moir - is an aficionado of that avant-garde art movement. He even hosted a documentary about it: Vic Reeves Goes Gaga for Dada.
Shooting Stars was probably their most popular show, though, because it packaged all of that admirable oddness into a familiar structure. Vic would get trouser-frisky with the attractive female guest seated nearest to him, sing in the club style and tell an appalling joke to excruciating silence. Bob held it all together, beckoning The Dove from Above, introducing scoremaster George Dawes (then Angelos Epithemiou in later series) and demonstrating some truly tremendous dancing.
What really made it accessible was the guests. Like The Morecambe & Wise Christmas specials and The Muppet Show in its heyday, you watched to see how famous people would cope with it all. Featuring prominently on that documentary was Larry Hagman, aka Dallas villain JR Ewing, who remained in good humour despite looking understandably bewildered throughout, particularly when Bob presented him with the fartridge: part partridge, part fart.
The most extraordinary moment was always that finale, as a top celebrity would somehow be cajoled into undertaking a challenge that usually involved some extreme physical awkwardness: Anthea Turner being buffeted by what she thought was a bull, for example, or Richard E Grant roiling towards a bench full of plums, in a wooden barrel. Two decades on - early 2019 - and Richard has just been nominated for an Oscar. There's hope for Anthea yet.