Hello.  Welcome to my blog about British archive television.  This will highlight programmes I’ve been watching whilst my Twitter feed – embedded in the blog and also directly accessable via @archivetvmus71 – contains many more archive treats.

The posts are broken up into categories (by decade and type – comedy, drama, etc).  You can also explore via the tags lower down the page.  Many of the programmes which have multiple posts can also be accessed via the top of the main menu (BBC/ITV/Christmas TV/Doctor Who/Grange Hill).

These top menu options have the posts re-arranged from oldest to newest (WordPress blogs display the newest posts by default).  So if you’re looking to read about, say, The Day of the Triffids episode by episode, then selecting it via the BBC button next to the Home button is the best option – since the posts will be in the correct order!

If you notice any broken links or have any comments or suggestions then please leave a message on the relevant post or drop me an email at archivetvmusings@gmail.com

I also have a theatre related blog at Theatre Musings.

188 thoughts on “About

  1. He didn’t remember the umbrella stand.

    Not long after that episode of The Generation Game was broadcast I went to the cinema to see the children’s film Bedknobs and Broomsticks in which Bruce Forsyth threatens a child with a knife. (The storyline of the film is completely different to the book.)

    There was one series of The Generation Game where in the last edition the conveyor belt broke down, so they had to get the stagehands to carry the prizes. Anthe Redfern was carrying one of the prizes, and the announcer said “Anthea Redfern.”. And when Bruce walked past with a prize he looked at the audience and rolled his eyes as if to say “Fancy doing this for a living.”.

    There was another edition when one of the prizes went past and the announcer said “I don’t know what that is.”.

    But the most notorious incident with the conveyor belt was on his last series in 1977. At the beginning of the programme he read out a letter from a viewer who said that every week they (like my family) would try and guess what the cuddly toy was going to be on the conveyor belt. And the youngest child always said it was going to be a gorilla, but so far it hasn’t been. So Bruce told the little girl to stay tuned to see if it will be a gorilla this week.

    But then during the last game the transmission stopped partway through the Brother Lees’ drag act, and the BBC were unable to show the rest of the programme that night, or that night’s edition of The Two Ronnies, and instead they put on some rubbishy film.

    The rest of the programme was shown on the New Year’s Eve compilation programme, and it was a toy gorilla on the conveyor belt. But what should have happened was Bruce Forsyth would read out the latter at the beginning of the programme and that week’s soft toy would be a gorilla. But the break in transmission killed the joke.

    But that evening there was a music evening at our church. We decided we’d rather stay at home and watch tv, but the tv went pear-shaped, and the following morning my mum found out that we’d missed a good evening at the church.

    The following year my mum went to the music evening with my brother and sister, and my brother said it was dreadful. He said the entertainment was dreadful and the refreshments served in the interval was puke.

    Of course by that time The Generation Game was hosted by Larry Grayson who I thought was better the Bruce Forsyth. Jim Davidson was a disaster.


  2. **** spoiler ****

    Re: the Sherlock Holmes clip. This is an adaptation of the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, first published in Strand Magazine in 1887. Sherlock Holmes investigates the scene of the crime where someone has written “RACHE” on the wall. The police think some was trying to write the name Rachel, but Sherlock Holmes knows it’s the German word for revenge.

    In the first episode of the Benedict Cumberbatch series Sherlock, A Study in Pink, one of the police officers thinks that someone wrote the German word for revenge on the wall, but Sherlock knows it was some trying to write Rachel.


  3. Regarding yesterday’s postings. I was going to ask what the design was on the tv presenters’ tee-shirts. (From the day’s when children’s tv shows were children’s tv shows and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.) I thought it might be Comic Relief tee-shirts but then it was too early for Comic Relief because Sarah Greene’s hairstyle is the one she had when she was on Blue Peter.

    But actually I think the design is the balloon motif that replaced the jigsaw pieces as the BBC children’s television ident before the short lived computer graphics. (And the reason the computer graphics were short-lived was because in the mid-eighties they started doing the Broom Cupboard. Blue Peter ran a competition to design computer graphics for the links on children’s tv, but then they weren’t used for very long because they started doing the Broom Cupboard.)

    I didn’t know there was a tv version of Paper Moon. I think it was in colour, whereas of course the original film was, like The Last Picture Show, shot in black and white to give it a period feel. The tv series was shown on tv before the film version. (I think the same is true of M*A*S*H.)

    My brother and I watch the first screening of Paper Moon on British television on the Sunday the week before Christmas Eve 1978 on the black and white television. It was something of a guilty pleasure as it had rude words in it. Paper Moon is fifty years old next year, and is one of the films which I’ve seen on tv but would like to see on the big screen.


  4. Yesterday’s clip of Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore was funny, although the jokes about Sabu were a bit near the edge as the actor had died only a couple of years only. Was this the episode that was broadcast after the Rolling Stones’ appearance. When the Rolling Stones did Sunday Night at the London Palladium they refused to go on the turntable at the end of the programme saying that it was naff and out of date, and the following week Pete and Dud were guests and at the end of the show they went on the revolving stage with cardboard cutouts of the Stones.

    I also enjoyed the Morcambe and Wise clip. As I said before I saw this programme long before I saw Andre Preview’s first appearance on the show, the Christmas 1971 edition, which I think was the one the BBC showed when Eric died. Andre Previn’s third and last appearance on The Morcambe and Wise Show was when he was one of several guests who said how appearing on Morcambe and Wise had changed their careers. He was now a bus conductor.

    Michelle Dotrice was also in an episode of Inside No 9. Elisabeth Sladen was considered for the role of Betty Spencer, and if she had got the part she wouldn’t have played Sarah Jane Smith.

    I always remember The Waltons being on weekday nights (usually Mondays) on BBC2, but in the autumn of 1976 they showed it on BBC1 on Sunday afternoons. I had a great aunt who had a colour tv before we did, and I have two memories of watching her colour tv. We went to see her in the summer holidays in 1976 and we watched Screen Test, and they showed a clip of The Sound of Music (The Lonely Goatherd) which we’d seen at the cinema earlier in the holidays. And later that year we watched The Waltons in colour for the first time, and found out that some of the children had red hair. The second time we saw The Waltons in colour was one week later when we watched it on our own colour tv.

    (It was more of a shock when I saw Crystal **** for the first time in colour and found out she had purple hair.)


    • I was going to say that the last time we saw The Waltons in black and white was the week before we saw it round my great aunt’s but we saw an episode a few years later when we were on holiday.

      Which brings me onto the subject of watching tv on holiday. I went on a couple of holidays in the late sixties and early seventies when the chalets had coin operated televisions, and the programme would go off when the money ran out so you had to put coins in the slot.

      But we only had one holiday where the television was in colour. That was in Easter 1979. When we had black and white tv at home the places where we went on holiday, chalets in holiday villages,converted bungalows, always had black and white television sets. The first holiday we had after we got colour tv at home the tv was not only black and whgite, but it was also an old model where had to use a dial to tune into the tv channels instead of pushing buttons. That was the cheap and nasty end of the holiday market. But the next holiday was the one where they had colour tv, and later that year we went on another holiday (on the Isle of Wight) where the tv was black and white, and we watched The Waltons.

      After that holiday my Mum didn’t think it was worth having the tv on holiday, although I thought it was. (We also watched Hollywood Greats and Top of the Pops.) And the following year my dad got a rubbishy trailer tent and we went on camping holidays, which I didn’t enjoy because the trailer tent was rubbish and I was by then too old to go on holiday with my parents.

      But I would say that in the early eighties most of the holiday villages and holiday bungalows would have replaced the black and white tv sets with colour sets. I could even imagine holiday villages later having video recorders installed in the chalets so people could record their programmes when they went out for the day, and even renting out films on video in the camp shop.

      What do you mean you don’t go on holiday to watch television? There’s always one!


  5. Forty-five years ago today.

    I remember Big John, Little John. Little John was played by Robbie Rist who had previously played Cousin Oliver in The Brady Bunch. There was an episode of The X-Files where Agent Doggett says that he used to like The Brady Bunch, but said it jumped the shark when Cousin Oliver joined the series. The irony being that he himself was a replacement character in a tv series.

    But the real highpoint of the day was Ripping Yarns, the one where the black pudding was so black even the white bits were black.

    At the time I told a friend of mine about Ripping Yarns and he said it sounded “trash”. But the only episode he watched was the only one I missed first time round, and he said it was trash. I finally saw Across the Andes by Frog well over a decade later and it was the weakest episode by far.

    The best Christmas present I bought for my dad in his last years was the DVD of Ripping Yarns.


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