Back to April 1977 (30th April 1977)

First up this evening will be Wodehouse Playhouse on BBC2. A repeat of an episode from the first series (Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court) originally broadcast in 1975, this is one of the stronger efforts (even though John Alderton’s wig is very distracting). I’ve always found Wodehouse Playhouse to be something of an uneven watch, but maybe it’s about time to give them all another try.

Then it’s over to BBC1 for Kojak. The Daily Mirror synopsis of Lady in the Squad Room (Kojak has to suffer a woman as a colleague) slightly chills the blood, but the episode isn’t quite as forbidding as this suggests.  It’s obvious what the plot will be (feisty female battles male resentment before proving that she’s just as good as the men, honest).  Even given this clichéd material, Joan Van Ark is very good as Det. Josephine Long (a pity she was just a one-shot character).

I’ll then round things off with Bob Williamson at the Wheeltappers. Williamson was a folk/comedy performer who had a similar style to the likes of Jasper Carrott, Mike Harding and Billy Connolly, and his turn makes for a pretty convivial half-hour. If you haven’t got it, then I can recommend the sixth and final series of the Wheeltappers on DVD.  Not only for its decent line-up of shows like this one, but also for the studio tape of an unaired edition (which might not offer too much in the way of entertainment, but is a fascinating spotlight on how shows like this were put together).

10 thoughts on “Back to April 1977 (30th April 1977)

  1. I have a much more intense memory of watching television in 1979 than in 1977. I think that I even held the agency to switch the set on, though my parents could always then turn it off again.

    Despite their big night reputation, I often find Saturdays to be the weakest day in these old schedules… The obvious thing that catches my eye would have been the one thing that my six year-old self would have watched then – The Muppet Show!

    Nothing else that I’d feel a burning need to see until 10.30, when Tony Palmer’s All You Need Is Love would just have the edge over Match Of The Day.

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    • BBC1’s Saturday line-up isn’t very inspiring. Swap Shop was off until the autumn, as were Doctor Who, The Generation Game, and The Two Ronnies.

      ITV had Saturday Scene. I don’t remember whether I watched the repeat of The Muppet Show of Rolf Harris’ programme. (His best record was War Canoe.)

      I do remember All You Need Is Love, but didn’t see it because it was on so late. Has it ever been released on DVD. For the whole of 1994 Radio 1 ran an excellent series called The Story of Pop.

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      • The Story Of Pop was released on DVD in 2008, but unfortunately the set was a notorious aspect ratio disaster.

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      • I think you meant to say All You Need Is Love was released on DVD.

        The Story of Pop was made by the same people who made 25 Years of Rock, which was the BBC radio series I would most like to have seen released on disc or tape, but I don’t think either series could have been released because of the music clearance. (And on the recent repeats on Radio 6 they cut out the Gary Glitter records.)

        For the same reason the tv series The Rock n Roll Years (which wasn’t a patch on 25 Years of Rock) hasn’t been released on BBC Video or DVD. Someone downloaded episodes of The Rock n Roll Years on YouTube, but there are bits in the programme where the soundtrack’s missing. And the clip of the Doors on The Ed Sullivan Show is missing completely. When BBC4 were showing editions of Top of the Pops from 1991 they had to cut out the clips of the Doors sining Light My Fire, which was rereleased that year to tie in with the release of Oliver Stone’s biopic of Jim Morrison.

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  2. Was this episode of Wodehouse Playhouse one of the episodes which P G Wodehouse himself introduced.

    You mentioned that the last series of Wheeltappers’ Social Club were a vehicle for just one act rather than the variety format of the previous series. Who were the guests in the last series?

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  3. Saturday Night at the Mill of was spin-off from best ever lunchtime magazine programme Pebble Mill at One. I heard that it was very good, but like Parkinson it was on late.

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  4. Kojak would have been my choice from this evening. I do recall that most Stateside TV shown on the BBC/ITV channels was usually slightly behind syndication in America (sometimes a season behind).

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