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 email@example.com
I also have a theatre related blog at Theatre Musings.
430 thoughts on “About”
I have recently learned that for head of BBC children’s programme Edward Barnes has died, aged 92.
He was best remembered for his work on Blue Peter and Swap Shop, and also devised Newsround.
I noticed that you recently featured “Strange Report” in your Twitter posts. Does that mean we can soon look forward to some reviews here?
I would like to tackle some more ITC series – hopefully I’ll be able to get round to this one sooner or later.
I would like to say a few words about the late Christopher Wenner. I read that he was dropped from Blue Peter because he was unpopular with viewers, but I couldn’t understand that. Simon Groom was visibly nervous when he started on Blue Peter, but Christopher Wenner was very natural from his first programme as presenter.
(In the Blue Peter 50th anniversary book they mentioned something about embarrassing disco dancing. That was on his first show as presenter, and he was actually quite good at it. And disco dancing is a bit naff anyway.)
Before he was a Blue Peter presenter he was a water ski instructor, and his first appearance on Blue Peter was a piece of film where he gave Lesley Judd a water skiing lesson.
And of course he made the legendary Star Wars Stew for Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
His last regular appearance was on Tina Heath’s last programme, and unlike her departure it was a complete surprise. He wasn’t mentioned in Blue Peter’s review of 1980. (likewise Michael Sundin wasn’t mentioned in the review of 1985.) He did make guest appearances on the 25th and 40th anniversary programmes, and got a mention in the documentary for the 50th anniversary.
I wasn’t surprised to hear that he’d died. I recently read on Wikpedia that he’d undergone treatment for throat cancer, and he did look worse for wear in the recent photograph. (Was he a smoker? When Simon Groom showed viewers how to make a key ring/pen holder to give someone for a Christmas present, Chris said it could also be used for penknives or lighters.)
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Christopher Wenner also came back to Blue Peter a second time in 1998, as one of the ex presenters who took part in that year’s panto ‘Back In Time’.
I’ve noticed something that I might find a bit alarming if I was Peter Duncan. Maybe this is a bit of a weird thing, but I have always divided up Blue Peter presenters by which ‘ilneage’ they were in, based on who they replaced. For example Simon Groom replaced Peter Purves who replace Christopher Trace, so they all form part of the same lineage, which I think of as the Trace line. Now if we look instead at the Noakes line we see that John Noakes (who was taken on as a third presenter and didn’t replace anyone) was replaced by Christopher Wenner who was replaced by Peter Duncan, who took a year out and was temporarily replaced by Michael Sundin before being eventually replaced by Caron Keating, who was replaced by Diane-Louise Jordan who was replaced by Romana D’Annunzio who was replaced by Konnie Huq (who left unreplaced, ending the line). Apart from the line mostly containing a combination of very short-lived presenters and very long-lasting ones, it also now contains four of the five deceased presenters, and three of them have died before their time from Cancer, all of which is a bit spooky. In comparison the Trace line is only missing Trace himself, and the Williams line is fully intact so to speak. So is the Noakes line cursed, and should Peter Duncan be worried?
For a series that’s being going for as long as it has it’s remarkable that most of the forty presenters are still alive. Four of the presenters who’ve died died of cancer.
His first appearance on Blue Peter was the water-skiing film. In the first Blue Peter Book to feature Chris Wenner (number sixteen) there’s an article called How I Came Aboard
There are 51 editions of Radio Times every year, unless it’s a year beginning on a Sunday or a leap year beginning on a Saturday when there are 52 editions.
Do you have a collection of old issues of Radio Times? And if so, do you have the issue for 21-27 of June 1980?
You didn’t do a look back for 18th of January, which I believe was the anniversary of the first edition of Blankety Blank. (Two days after part one of Life on Earth.)
Not that I blame you for not doing it. I watched the first edition of Blankety Blank when it was first shown and instantly wished I hadn’t. What made matters worse was on the following day we had an O-level geography lesson interrupted when the headmmaster got the class to take part in a questionaire. We were asked questions such as how many times we’d been abroad (none), and what we liked to watch on tv. And one of the questions was what we watched the previous evening, and I had to admit that I watched Blankety Blank.
The best guest they had on Blankety Blank was Spike Milligan because he gave stupid answers.
I love Wogan era Blankety Blank and have previously blogged my appreciation of it. I did consider putting up a quick post linking to my previous thoughts but didn’t get round to it.
I noticed that one of your twitter postings was an item from Look-In on Michael Bentine’s Potty Time. This series was originally shown at lunchtimes on ITV’s young children’s slot. But it was wasted in that slot so they later repeated them as double bills on the main children’s slot. (It was the only ITV children’s show I watched at the time.)
The picture in the article is from the Treasure Island parody. As in the book the three surviving pirates get left behind on the island. One of them asks what they’re going to do on the island, and Michael Bentine gives them a gramaphone and some records, and then the pirates fight over which record they’re going to play. I wonder how many children got the Desert Island Discs reference.
The Pottys first appeared on a BBC show called Michael Bentine Time. There was one series, shown once, autumn of 1972, and then the whole series was wiped. The show consisted of a couple of slots with the Pottys, unusual inventions in Yesterday’s World, the flea circus, and a sketch at the end where a couple of children in the audience took part.
In the last sketch the children had a go at being army cooks, waiters, spies, farmers, veterinary nurses (with Peter Glaze as the vet), and in one episode they had a go at being astronauts, and unlike the other careers items this was played straight. (Colin Bean from Dad’s Army was a;so a guest on one of the programmes.)
Yesterday you mentioned that 26th of January 1976 was the first screening of the first colour episode of Ivor the Engine. But that was only three weeks after the first screening of Paddington. So the first series of Paddington was only fifteen episodes.
I mentioned Michael Bond’s guest appearance on Swap Shop. I also remember him appearing on a documentary series about marketing broadcast during the summer of 1979. He was surrounded by Paddington Bear merchandise, and with the exception of the soft toy all the items came out after the tv series.
In the same programme the interviewed a businessman, and then played the interview over the Mr Chatterbox episode of the Mr Men. We saw a worm asking a question, and we heard the businessman talking while the sun went down, the moon came up, and the sun came back up again. And in another part of the interview Mr Chatterbox’s had grew while he was talking and we heard the businessman’s voice echo inside the hat.
In the end they made more colour episodes of Ivor the Engine than black and white ones. The later remade some Noggin the Nog in colour but only did two stories.
There was a popular tv trivia question “Which other comedy trio did Tim Brooke-Taylor belong to?”
The answer was Hello Cheeky, the radio series he did with John Junkin and Barry Cryer. So Barry Cryer was the last surviving member of the Hello Cheeky team.
In 1976 the tv version was broadcast on ITV. TV Times printed a set of figures of Barry Cryer, John Junkin and Tim Brooke-Taylor which could be stuck onto card and made into puppets. And I bet someone at Radio Times was kicking themselves and wishing they’d have thought of doing that with the Goodies.
He had a filthy laugh!
Your set of pictures of Barry Cryer included one of him with Kenny Everett. He did appear briefly on The Kenny Everett Video Show, during the Cock-up at the OK Corral sketch, smoking a pipe.
Which one played Hamish and which one played Dougal?
I heard on Radio 4’s Last Word that the toy maker Kristin Baybars died last month. You may not know the name, but you have heard of her most famous creation because she made Humpty for Play School. In fact I found a picture of her on the internet surrounded by Humptys, all different colours but all the same design.
Humpty appeared on the very first programme (although several Humptys were used during the series’ twenty-four year run as the old toys got worn out), the first programme broadcast on BBC2 of course. The other toys came later. I saw a black and white clip where they had a teddy bear called Ted, so I presume Little Ted came later and they started calling the first bear Big Ted after that. Hamble was replaced with another doll called Poppy, but then Play School finished only two years later.
Humpty and the other Play School toys are now on display in the National Media Museum (formerly the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television).
Kristin Baybars ran a toy shop in North London which looked more like a toy museum. I saw a piece of film of her shop, and one of the items on display was a circus automaton which I may have seen at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre that used to be in Covent Garden, and definitely saw in the automata exhibition in the Oxo Tower on the Southbank.
I was saddened to read that the longest running children’s programme in the world is Blue Peter, and the second longest running children’s programme is Play School – the Australian version.
The Australian Play School started in 1966, two years after the British version, and is still going. The format was directly copied from the BBC version. But the BBC version could have been the second longest running children’s programme. When they did axe Play School they replaced it with Playbus which was so similar it begged the question as to why they axed Play School. And on CBeebies there was a series called Tikkabella which was the same format.
(The person who appeared on more editions of the Australian Play School is Don Spencer, who is one of the few people to have presented both the British and Australian versions, and he was doing the Australian version long before he did the British version.)
Who are the comedy writers in the group photograph that appeared on your Twitter the other day?
If you scroll through the replies to that tweet there’s a link to a newspaper article which lists them all.
I did see it but it was too small to read properly, so you’ll have to tell me. Thank you.
I just had a look on his Twitter, and had the same problem, that it wasn’t readable, as even if you zoom it right up to like 400% the resolution isn’t sharp enough ro read it. Luckily I have access to the British Newspaper Archive and found the original, which was across two separate pages/scans.
The writers are numbererd from left to right across the back row, then the front row, then finally the man lying on the floor at the front:
1. Alan Simpson (Steptoe and Son, Hancock’s Half Hour, Frankie Howard’s shows)
2. Barry Took (Bootsie and Snudge, The Army Game, Round the Horne)
3. Marty Feldman (At Last The 1948 Show, Bootsie and Snudge, Stars and Garters)
4. Tony Hawes (The Des O’Connor Show, Spotlight, Dickie Valentine material)
5. Dick Vosburgh (The Frost Programme, On the Braden Beat, The 1948 Show, Roy Hudd series, Stars and Garters)
6. Sid Green (Dave King show, Citizen James, Winning Widows, Morecambe and Wise shows)
7. Dick Hills (Dave King show, Citizen James, Winning Widows, Morecambe and Wise shows)
8. Dave Freeman (Harry Worth, Benny Hill and Charlie Drake shows, Illustrated Weekly Hudd)
9. Ray Galton (Steptoe and Son, Hancock’s Half Hour, Frankie Howard’s shows)
10. Johnny Speight (Till Death Us Do Part, all sketches for the late Arthur Haynes)
11. Lew Schwarz (Mrs Thursday, Harry Worth, Benny Hill, Tommy Cooper shows and previous Charlie Drake series)
12. Vince Powell (Harry Worth show, George and the Dragon, Never Mind the Quality Feel the Width, Coronation Street) [NB his writing partner, Harry Driver was unable to be present for the picture]
13. David Cumming (Marriage Lines, Sam and Janet, Baker’s Half Dozen, Bootsie and Snudge, Army Game and Dicke Emery show)
14. Bill Oddie (Twice a Fortnight, That Was The Week That Was)
I just realised that Bill Oddie is the only one of those who is still alive.
Thank you for the information. So that was Johnny Speight having a smoke. I was about to say that Bill Oddie is the only one still alive.
I have recently learned that a tourist attraction that was used as a tv location will be closing later this year. Bristol Zoo will be closing at the end of the summer, and the animals will transfer to a wildlife park in South Gloucestershire.
From 1962 to 1983 Bristol Zoo was was used as a filming location for Animal Magic.
I went away with the school one Easter and on the last day we went to Bristol. The teachers were thinking of taking us to the zoo, but decided that we didn’t have time, especially as one of the teachers particularly wanted to visit the SS Great Britain, which was then undergoing a major restoration. But two year later there was another school holiday and one day when it raining heavily one of the teachers took his young children to Bristol Zoo while rest of us went for a walk.
It would have been nice if there’d been another school holiday a couple of years later for the next lot of pupils, but the teacher who organised had left, one of the other teachers was expecting her first child, because they could have gone to Bristol to see the SS Great Britain fully restored.
I thought about going on holiday to Bristol on my own and visiting the SS Great Britain, the camera obscura at the Clifton Observatory, and spending a day at Bristol Zoo. But I never did.
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I recently learned that two people from the world of Doctor Who have died.
Stewart Bevan played Professor Clifford Jones in The Green Death, the only Doctor Who serial to acquire a Friends style moniker, “The One With the Giant Maggots”. This was the last story to feature Jo Grant who left the Doctor to marry Clifford Jones. Stewart Bevan was engaged to Katy Manning at the time, but they never married, but they did remain friends. (When Katy Manning appeared in Sarah Jane Adventures it was stated tat she and Clifford were still married.) (Jon Pertwee had three female assistants, and the other two assistants’ husband appeared in Doctor Who.)
Henry Lincoln had died aged 92. He co-wrote the two Yeti stories and The Dominators with Mervyn Haisman, the last was under the pseudonym Norman Ashby. The Yeti are regarded as one of the classic Doctor Who monsters. The Quarks were one of the few monsters from Doctor Who to feature in TV Comic, but without their creators’ permission. The Quarks other claim to fame was that they appeared with the more famous Yeti, Ice Warriors, Cybermen and Daleks in the best bit of The War Games.
He also made a documentary called The Priest, the Painter and the Devil, which was about a mysterious religious sect, hidden treasure, and cryptic messages in a Painting by Nicholas Pousin.
Henry Lincoln was the last surviving Doctor Who writer from the sixties. The last surviving writer from the Perwtee era was Bob Baker who died last year, so the earliest surviving Doctor Who writer is now Chris Boucher whose first story was The Face of Evil.
Just over thirteen years after the series started.
I remember It’s Murder, But Is It Art? being on. I didn’t see it because I was too young.
I remember seeing a trailer with a man dancing with a dummy. And you can download a very bad recording of the theme on Yoy Tube.
Was it based on a book?
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It is forty years ago today that Swap Shop finished
You posted a couple of items yesterday that brought back some memories.
Yesterday was the 44th anniversary of the first screening of The Rutles. It was first shown on Easter Monday 1978, and I missed it because I was away with the school (the same holiday I was talking about earlier when one of our teachers took his children to Bristol Zoo)), but my dad recorded it on a reel to reel tape recorder for me. It worked very well with just the soundtrack.
It got a repeat showing during the Whitsun weekend two months later, but I missed it second time around because I was on Scout camp. It was some years before they showed it again. I did borrow the record from the library which had a booklet inside with stills from the programme.
And you also posted the edition of The Generation Game with Roy Castle filling in for Bruce Forsyth. I remember when they showed the 100th edition of The Generation Game I pointed out that it was only the 99th one that Bruce Forsyth had done because there was one edition where Roy Castle filled in, and sure enough Bruce said that he couldn’t believe that he’d hosted 100 editions of The Generation Game and then got a phone call from Roy Castle telling him that he hadn’t.
In his autobiography Roy Castle said that just after he recorded that show he learned that Ross McWhirter had been killed.
The title sequence includes a clip from an earlier show with the constants doing The Laughing Policeman. One of them was wearing a kilt. He must have been from Scotland Yard.
I’ve just learned that Denise Coffey has died. She first became well known as the only female performer in Do Not Adjust Your Set. (She died two months after Jo Kendall, the only female performer in I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again.)
In the late seventies she was in the Radio 4 series The Burkiss way which broke the same rules on radio that Monty Python did on television. She then did the ITV sketch show End of Part One which was meant to be the tv equivalent of The Burkiss Way.
In 1979 she filled in for Willie Rushton on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, and in some of the games did better than the regulars. In that series they played a children’s party game each week, and in this programme they played witch hunt. My mum said that when she heard it she was laughing so much that she was glad nobody came in when it was on.
The article about predictions for tv in the seventies was interesting.
They were mostly wrong about some tv channels being in colour and some in black and white. When colour tv started in Britain, a year after the article was published, it was on BBC2 only, but BBC1 and ITV followed quite soon after. So apart from that period from 1967 to 1969 it was either all black and white channels or all colour.
One time I went to the British Newspaper Library and had a look at the first issues of The Sunday Times Magazine (or Sunday Time Colour Section as it was known originally), and one of the early issues ran a feature on colour television. In 1962 the USA and Japan had colout tv, and Britain could have had colour tv then as well, but after the Pilkington Report it was decided to delay the introduction of colour tv.
By the end of the seventies there were still only three tv channels. By the end of the eighties there were eight.
I still think the broadcasting bill of 1989 was a mistake. I don’t know if anyone else on this website ever went to Cult TV Weekend. At the first Cult TV Weekend Victor Pemberton said that he thought six tv channels would be about right. I presume he meant three BBC and six independent channels, but I wish I’d asked him.
At school we had a single period every week called film and tv studies, which wasn’t much cop, but sometimes we watched a schools’ programme called Looking at Television, presented by John Thaw. One programme looked at the senties pipe dream the Open Broadcasting Authority. It was suggested that instead of being another BBC or ITV channel, the next tv channel should be the OBA where the public now make their own programmes. Of course we get this on the internet.
There article mentioned pay-tv where you could watch the film version of Doctor Who on a Sunday. I believe the first screening of the film version of Doctor Who and the Daleks was on Saturday the 1st of July 1972.
Regarding the Sunday Times article on colour television. If the BBC had started broadcasting in colour then Doctor Who would always have been in colour, and there probably would be fewer missing episodes as its shelf life for overseas sales would have been longer. The USA might have bought Doctor Who earlier if it had always been in ccolour. Discuss.
I’ve noticed you’ve started a Doctor Who marathon. But what about the website’s Doctor Who marathon. You got as far as The Massacre. When are we going to get The Ark?
I think I’ll sort out the remaining Hartnell reviews when I reach those episodes in a few months time.
You’re getting there.
But which fanzine did the article on The Myth Makers come from?
The reviewer said that Vicki lacked the depth of Susan, but Carole Ann Ford left the series because Susan didn’t have enough depth. And Doctor Who Magazine’s Time Team were surprised to find how much they liked Vicki.
Just looking at that clip from Coronation Street, people have knocked Doctor Who for making references to earlier episodes that only hardcore fans would understand, but here we have an episode of Coronation Street referring to an episode broadcast fifteen years earlier.
Did that make sense?
When you mentioned that today was the 54th anniversary of the tv version of the Railway Children one of your correspondents pointed out that the younger girl was played by Gillian Bailey who later appeared in The Double Deckers.
Before The Double Deckers there was The Magnificent Six and a Half, a series of films made for cinema by the Children’s Film Foundation. The leader of the Magnificent Six and a Half was played in the first series by Len Jones, who was unable to take part in the second series because he’d just got the job of voicing Joe 90, and the role was taken over by Robin Davies who later became a regular in Catwezle.
Michael Audreson and future Aswad member Brinsley Forde appeared in both series of Maginificent Six and a Half and then appeared in The Double Deckers along with Gilliam Bailey who was in the tv version of The Railway Children with Jenny Agutter. Jenny Agutter reprised her role in the Railway Children for the film version, but Gillian Bailey was unavailable for the film, because she was doing The Double Deckers, so her role was played by Sally Thomsett who had previously appeared in several CFF films with Len Jones, and the two of them would work togetther again on Straw Dogs. And the boy in the film version of The Railway Children was played by Gary Warren who was Robin Davies’ replacement in Catweazle.
It’s all rather confusing really.
Speaking of Children’s Film Foundation Films featuring Sally Thomsett, For the past ten weeks Talking Pictures TV have been running the CFF serial Danny the Dragon.
I see you’ve now reached the Dodo era in your sequential Who rewatch. Does that mean that we can soon look forward to seeing the Hartnell series blogs starting again? I think you got about halfway through The Ark before Coronas of the Sun was terminated.
I’m planning to do single posts for the remaining Hartnell stories over the next week or two. After that, I’ll probably take notes as I work my way through the series from Troighton on and turn them into blog posts every so often.
Thanks. Look forward to seeing them!
Yeasterday you mentioned that it was the anniserary of the birth of Peter Cushing. But you didn’t mention that today was the centenary of Christopher Lee. (And also the 111th anniversary of the birth on Vincent Price.)
Some random comments on yesterday & today’s postings.
What was rather good about Morcambe & Wise’s Cleopatra sketch was they did a sketch where Glenda Jackson (who may have been the only MP to have been a guest on The Morcambe and Wise Show) visited their flat to have a look at Ernie’s new play and she read one of the lines out loud: “All men are fools, and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got.”, and during the Clepatra sketch she says “All men are fools, and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got.”,.
In Louis Barfe’s book on Mocambe and Wise, Sunshine and Laughter he notes that they did sketches where Ernie thought he was a writer but Eric knew he wasn’t, and they did sketches were Eric thought he was a musician and Ernie thought he was.
I liked Come Back Mrs Noah. It’s a shame it didn’t last for more than one series, because I once read somewhere that If they had made more Come Back Mrs Noah they would have stopped making Are You Being Served? which jumped the shark very quickly.
David Collings played hyperactive composer Percy Grainger in Ken Russell’s play about Delius.
The clip from the Kenny Everett Christmas Show with Geoffrey Palmer was actually broadcast on Thursady the 27th of December 1984.
Did the singer Marian Montgomery make a guest apprance on The Golden Shot.
You mentioned a programme broadcast on 13th of June 1975 called The Balloon Game. This is also known as a balloon debate. In the tv series there were three contestants, but it’s usually four or six contestants. Each person pretends to be a historical character, and they are in a hot air balloon which is losing height, so someone must jump out. And each person has to explain to the audience why they should stay in the balloon. And the audience have to vote on who to throw out until only one person remains. (There is a variation of the game where they are in a nuclear fallout shelter.)
I saw the repeat of the episode of The Adventure Game with Denise Coffey. (I was camping the weekend that it was first shown and the camp was a dead loss.) I agree that the team didn’t do very well, and there were a few bits where the camera faded out while they were trying to solve the puzzles, and I think this was the only time they did this on The Adventure Game. And they skipped the vortex game at the end.
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I’ve probably mentioned it before, but it’s very noticeable that the episode lengths of the first series are wildly different – suggesting that a fair amount of editing had to be done in order to get the shows in some sort of transmittable order.
By series two everything seems a lot smoother, as the puzzles aren’t quite so impossible to solve.
I thought the first series of The Black Adder was the best one.
I heard that Rowan Atkinson never wanted the unscreened pilot to be broadcast or released on video or DVD. In this clip we don’t see much of Philip Fox as Baldrick, although I believe his portrayal was closer to the Baldrick of the later series, just as Edmund in the pilot is more like the Edmund of the later series. In fact Edmund is more like a viper in the pilot than any of the other episodes.
Some years ago BBC2 did a series late on Friday nights called Pilots Paradise where they showed pilot episodes oo long running series such as Last of the Summer Wine, Citizen Smith and Happy Ever After. But a real Pilots Paradise should have had a wider scope than that. They should have had unaired pilots (like Black Adder), pilots for shows that never went to a series, dramas and factual programmes as well as comedies, and American and possibly other foreign programmes.
I’ve been looking at your clips from the later episodes of Z Cars. There was another version of the theme that was used in the seventies. A brassy, urgent sounding theme. It may have been used when the series first went into colour. I remember the funky version used up to the penultimate series.
Grange Hill went back to the original theme tune for its final series.
(I’ve said that if I was taking over as producer of Doctor Who in 1990 I would have gone back to the original version of the theme tune. I hop that wouldn’t have been the kiss of death.)
Jospeph Brady also made a cameo in the last episode of the last series of Z Cars, along with Brian Blessed, Colin Welland and Jeremy Kemp as men complaining about a gas leak.
The only episode of Z Cars I watched on its first broadcast was the last one. I had to watch it on the black and white tv because the baby sitter wanted to watch the beauty contest on the other side.
Ten days after the last episode of Z Cars James Ellis was the guest on the first edition of the third series of Swap Shop. The prize was a tin box with his old toys in it, whistles from Christmas crackers, champion conkers etc, and the question was “Which Irish-Liverpudlian folk song is the Z Cars theme based on?”.
Speaking of which, does anyone know the name of the Lindisfarne track that features a medley of British folk songs including Johnny Todd?
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The edition of The Adventure Game with Derek Griffiths was broadcast straight after episode one of The Five Doctors, being shown as part of The Five Faces of Doctor Who. Part one of the tenth anniversary story was originally broadcast a month after the series’ ninth anniversary, but the repaeat was on the show’s eighteenth anniversary.
I look forward to your review of The Ice Warriors.
The Three Doctors was shown as part of The Five Faces of Doctor Who.
We must pay tribute to Bernard Cribbins.
I believe his first Jackanory was stories with toy theatres, like the once you can by at the Pollock’s Toy Museum. He did the first one in colour, The Wizard of Oz appropriately enough. (Jackanory didn’t go straight from black and white to colour. The next week’s programme was in black and white, and they did the odd week in colour before changing completely to colour.)
His favourite was Wind in the Willows which was shot on location by the Thames, and he later played Ratty in the radio version of Toad of Toad Hall along with Richard Goolden who played Mole in the original stage production and played the part for over fifty years.
He read Rebecca’s World by Terry Nation (a book which I don’t think is in print). In the trailer the BBC announcer said erroneously that it was written by the creator of Doctor Who.
Arabelle and Mortimer by Joan Aitken was memorable, and Quentin Blake must have been one of the most frequently featured illustrators on Jackanory.
Also memorable was a reading of The Hobbit to mark the series’ 300th edition, with Jan Francis as the narrator, with Bernard Cribbins as Bilbo, Maurice Denham as Thorin and other characters, and David Wood as Gandalf, Gollum and other characters. It was excellent.
Last year when Una Stubbs and Lionel Blair died a lot of people mentioned Give us a Clue. But Star Turn, which was original hosted by Bernard Cribbins, was a better programme because they played other games as well as charades.
One of his lesser know contributions to television was James and the Giant Peach, shown on BBC television at Christmas 1976. (It’s not listed on Internet Movie Database.) He played the Centipede.
The Saturday before Christmas he was a guest on Swap Shop. He did an interview with Noel Edmonds in his Centipede outfit, but then he changed back into his own clothes to answer the viewers’ questions. But talk about spoilers. The clip they showed from James and the Giant Peach was the end of the programme when the Centipede was singing the song which summed up their whole adventure. They even showed the closing credits.
We’d read James and the Giant Peach at school the previous year, but when we went back to school instead of asking us if we saw James and the Giant Peach, our English teacher asked us if we saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which got it’s first British tv screening on New Year’s Day, and I didn’t like it.
And then there was his contribution to Doctor Who.
I have tried to get people who watched the David Tennant series of Doctor Who to watch the Peter Cushing Doctor Who films (as well as the old tv episodes), especially as there’s a familiar face in the second film.
In 1994 I saw a special screening of the two Doctor Who films at the Screen Cinema in Walton-on-Thames.
Apparently he auditioned for the role of the Doctor when Jon Pertwee was leaving. Whe Barry Letts asked him why he thought he would be good as the Doctor he replied that he would be good in a fight. But Barry Letts said they weren’t looking for an action hero, but Bernard then said that when Tom Baker started the first thing he did was punch someone in the jaw.
His regular role in the David Tennant series came about by accident. Originally the semi-regular cast was going to include Howard Attfield as Donna’s father who was in The Runaway Bride, but then Howard Attfield died, so they asked Bernard Cribbins to reprise his role as the news vendor from the 2007 Christmas special and they made the character Donna’s grandfather.
I don’t know if he ever did any Doctor Who conventions. He would have been a great guest. (And I’ve barely touched his film career.)
Does the BBC’s version of James and the Giant Peach still exist?
The 1976 James and the Giant Peach can be found on IMDB here:
According to Kaleidoscope’s TV Brain it does indeed survive in the archive, as a Digital Betacam copy of a D3 digital videotape copy of the original 625 line PAL colour 2″ videotape.
I remember watching A Hard Day’s Night for the first time 46 years ago yesterday. It was the first of a short season of Beatles films, followed by Help on August the 10th, Yellow Submarine on the 17th and Let It Be on the 24th.
The next time I saw A Hard Day’s Night was at the Royal Academy’s Pop Art Show in 1991. I appreciated more when it was older. Help hasn’t dated as well. Yellow Submarine is still a fantastic cartoon.
In Christmas 1976 we visited my mum’s cousin and her family, and my second cousin who’s also a Beatles fan said that the BBC usually showed a Beatles film at Christmas, but that year they didn’t. But they showed them in the summer.
The next time the BBC showed the Beatles film was Christmas 1979 when they showed a season of six Beatles films.
Also on tv that day was a repeat of the 1966 World Cup Final shown as part of Festival 40, the fortieth anniversary of BBC television, running on BBC2 during August 1976.
The series consisted of the introductory programme Forty Years (repeated on BBC2 on Christmas Day), It’s A Square World from 1963 (Monday nights was comedy), the 1966 World Cup Final, Doctor Finlay’s Casebook: A Right to Live, Z Cars: Police Work (Z Cars was still going then), What’s My Line? and Face to Face both with Gilbert Harding, Your Life in Their Hands: Corneal Grafting, Billy Budd, A Walk in the Sun from 1969 with tightrope walker Karl Wallenda, the first Steptoe and Son from 1962, Dispute, Cathy Come Home from 1966, Omnibus: Tyger Tyger from 1968, The Making of a Natural History Film, The Billy Cotton Band Show, Frost Over England from 1967,Last Night Another Soldier from 1973, the 1971 Monreaux Festival edition of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Mother Theresa of Clacutta: Something Beautiful for God from 1969, Tea Party by Harold Pinter, Civilization: The Fallacies of Hope from 1969,Man Alive: Gale is Dead, Workshop: The Golden Ring, The World in a Box, a look at television around the world, Hancock: The Blood Donnor (first time I saw it), Metro-Land with John Betjeman from 1973, shown to mark his 70th birthday, The Wednesday Play: Where the Bufalo Roam by Dennis Potter, a profile of L S Lowry (who didn’t have a television), Culloden from 1966, Ballet Class, What Do You Think of It So Far? a discussion on television hosted by David Frost.
The day after Cathy Come Home was broadcast one of the papers did a report on homelessness in Britain with the headline “Ten Years On and Cathy Still Has No Home”.
Today you printed a cutting from 1977, and one of the programmes on BBC2 was part of Festival 77, shown as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations. Shown over 27 consecutive evenings, the series began with Thanks For the Memory with a selection of clips from BBC programmes from the past 25 years, followed by one programme from each year from the Queen’s reign. This was the best of the retrospectives because it did cover the whole period, whereas the fortieth anniversary was more of a celebration of the last twent years of tv. Did that make sense?
The other programmes were Retrospect 1952, 1953 – Press Conference with Aneurin Bevin and Adlai Stevenson (possibly the best president the USA never had), 1954- Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1955 – Bless Em All a forties nostalgia programme cerebrating the tenth anniversary of V E Day, At Home with Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher and Kenneth Horne, 1957 – Men in Battle: Arnhem, 1958 – The More We Are Together, 1959 – Who Me? a musical play by Colin Morris, 1960 – a double bill of Face to Face with Evelyn Waugh and Adam Faith, 1961 – Here’s Harry: The Request with Harry Worth, 1962 – Pop Goes the Easel (which I saw later when BBC2 repeated it to tie in with the aforementioned Pop Art Show), 1963 – That Was the Week That Was, 1964 – Ten Years After, an update on Special Enquiry from 1955, 1965 – The Wednesday Play- Up the Junction, 1966 – Till Death Us Do Part: A House With Love In It, 1967 – The Wednesday Play: In Two Minds by David Mercer, 1968 – All My Loving, the first colour programme in the season, 1969 – Royal Family, 1970 – Bird’s Eye View: Beside the Seaside with John Betjamin, 1971 – Edna, the Inebriate Woman, 1972 – The Morcambe and Wise Show with Glenda Jackson, 1973 – the first episode of Whatever Happened To the Likely Lads?: Stangers on a Train, 1974 – Horizon: Joey, 1975 – Just Another Saturday, a play about Glasgow Orangemen, 1976 – Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, 1977 – Horizon: 2002.
They could have shown Special Enquiry from 1955 (unless it no longer existed) and then people could watch Ten Years After nine sdays after.
Repeating an edition of Swap Shop was a shrewd move. The programmes from the fifties and sixties hadn’t been on for years, but a lot of shows from 1976 wwre currently being repeated so they showed something that wouldn’t normally be repeated. (And it was very much the BBC’s latest succes story.)
The fictitious future editions of Horizon featured in the last programme were 2001- Plant Power, 1999, – Live 200 Years, 1990, – Diseases of Change, 1989 – Industry: The Next Revolution, 1988 – Agromania, 1985 – Unemployment for Ever, 1982 – What Would You Do with £200,000,000,000?. I never fogave the BBC for not repeating Horizon: 2002 in 2002.
The Radio Times cover for the week that Festival 77 started was a montage of 25 old editions of Radio Times, something which has since become a cliche.
While I’m at it I might as well look at the BBC’s fiftieth anniversary retrospective season.
This was shown in over the first week of November 1986, so unlike Festival 40 it was shown around the actual anniversary of BBC Television. The season began on BBC1 with the clips show That’s Television Entertainment.
Over the following week BBC2 showed Go With Noakes from 1977, the last episode of The Railway Children from 1968, Jonathan Miller’s version of Alice in Wonderland from 1966, Eamonn Andrews’ last edition of Crackerjack from 1964, Wheldon Talking, Going For a Song, Face to Face with Adam Faith from 1960, Juke Box Jury from 1960, the one with David McCallum and Jill Ireland and Nina and Frederick, The Forstythe Saga from 1967, Peter Grimes, the last edition of TW3 from 1963, The Rag Trade, Doctor Finlay’s Casebook, The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show 1978, Horizon: The Crab Nebula from 1971, Fawlty Towers: The Kipper and the Corpse from 1979, although this may have been part of a complete run of Fawlty Towers, Edna the Inebriate Woman from 1971, The Goodies: Kitten Kong the 1972 version, Dixon of Dock Green: Firearms Were Issued, The Best of Dick Emery from 1973, Fanny Craddock Invites You to a Chess and Wine Party from 1970, Signals for Survival, Not the Nine O’Clock News from 1980 complete with original joke Radio Times entry, On Giant’s Shoulders from 1979, Up Pompeii! from 1970, All Creatures Great And Small: Calf Love, The Billy Cotton Band Show, Man Alive: Gale is Dead, Hedda Gabler from 1972, What’s My Line?, the last Z Cars (although I heard that got replaced by an earlier episode), Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game, Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Sex and Violence from 1969, Blue Remembered Hills from 1979, Quatermass and the Pit from 1959, On Safari with Armand and Michaela Denis, Coldiz: Tweedledum, This is Your Life with Harry Secombe, Children Talking, The Search For the Nile, a 1964 episode of The Likely Lads and a 1962 edition of Points of View (the one where Stanley Unwin interviews Bill and Ben voice artist Peter Hawkins) which replaced Not Only But Also from 1965, Boys From the Blackstuff: Yosser’s Story from 1982, the most recent programme in the season and one of only two shows from the eighties, and Whistle and I’ll Come to You from 1968. Very biased towards the sixties.
The problem was that that week BBC2 was all repeats. It was better doing one archive programme per night over several weeks. It wasn’t a very inspiring line-up. The only programme I watched with any interest was Alice in Wonderland, which was crammed between two children’s programmes, but this is an adults’ version. I didn’t see Monty Python because I was out that night and was recording Girls on Top on the other side, and I had seen it before and since. I wanted to see Not Only But Also, but that got dropped. (it was an episode with John Lennon so maybe they didn’t get permission from Yoko Ono.)
Six years later some people slagged off TV Heaven, but I thought it was a much better selection of programmes than BBC’s fiftieth anniversary.
A couple of years later BBC did a season of repeats of Face to Face including the one with Gilbert Harding, Evelyn Waugh, and Adam Faith.
In Festival 77 they could have shown the last episode of the original Likely Lads which would have tied in neatly with Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads one week later
The Smash Hits article was interesting. Top of the Pops actually got reduced from 40 minutes to 30 minutes the same week that that broadcasting disaster EastEnders started.
In the latter half of the eighties the best music was the indie music which rarely made it into the main charts.
I believe Matthew Waterhouse had a letter published in one of thje early issues od Smash Its.
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When was the photograph of the Play School presenters taken? My guess is the eighties.
I recognized Derek Griffiths, Johnny Ball, Fred Harris (Doctor Eyes), Carol Leader (Adrian Mole’s favourite Play School presenter), Chloe Ashcrodt, Carol Chell, Floella Benjamin, and the late Sarah Long. But who were the others?
While I’m at it, a while ago I asked if anyone could tell me the names of the Play School pets, but no-one replied.
I’d hazard a guess and say 1984 to mark the series’ 20th anniversary. Some of the replies to my original tweet have filled in some of the missing names.
On the front cover of the Television Today section of The Stage from 19th April 1979 there is another photo from the same shoot. It says they were celebrating the 15th anniversary of Play School, and that all 13 regular presenters got together for the picture.
Apparently from left to right they are:
Bruce Allen, Fred Harris, Delia Morgan, Chris Tranchell, Johnny Ball, Derek Griffiths, Carol Leader, Ben Bazell, Chloe Ashcroft and David Hargreaves. Seated:Sarah Long, Floella Benjamin and Carol Chell.
Obviously they may have switched about a bit between the two photos though. Certainly Big Ted and Humpty have moved between shots anyway.
I remember watching a programme celebrating Play School’s 15th anniversary. It was hosted by Barry Took, and Brian Cant explained how he got the job on Play School. He was told to sit in a cardboard box and do War Canoe.
I just looked it up Zanygang. It was on 21st April 1979 at 830pm on BBC2, and was called “Twenty-Five Minutes’ Peace?”. Not only do TV Brain and Getty Images both show it surviving, I’ve found that it’s actually available on youtube at the moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUV6WGbiz_E
I was interested to see the cutting from Stage and Television Today from twenty-nine years ago. When EastEnders started it was on twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wogan on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That was at least one edition too many per week of Wogan, and two editions too many of EastEnders.
When Terry Wogan decided to leave Wogan in 1992 the BBC put on another soap called Eldorado which was on three times a week, but it seemed that viewers didn’t want another soap and Eldorado was a spectacular flop.
But a year after Eldorado’s demise the BBC started putting on EastEnders three time a week, so it seemed that what some people wanted was more EastEndwers.
But the picture in the corner of the cutting looks like a subtle hint as to what sort of drama series the BBC should have been making in the 1990s.
I can remember The Emperor’s Oblong Pancake being read twice on Jackanory. The first time it was read by Gary Watson with illustratons by Gerald Rose. Gary Watson also hosted Clapperboard, the programme which featured the first appearance of The Pogles. The second time it was read by Arthur Lowewith illustrations by Quentin Blake.
I also remember seeing the first half on an animated version by John Ryan on the schools’ programme Watch one Shrove Tuesday when it was the half term holiday. And of course I missed the second half because I was back at school.
I would like to know which programmes the pictures of Leslie Dwyer came from.
But in your item on what was on tv on this day in 1976 you picked an important tv moment. It was only shown on Granada television, but on the 28th of August 1976 the Sex Pistols made their tv debut on the last edition of the first series of So It Goes.
Incidentally, contrary to what it says in the paper Dudley Moore did not appear on the programme, but Peter Cook did in an interview with Clive James.
Curious fact. After he left the Sex Pistols Glen Matlock joined another group called the Rich Kids who made their tv debut on ATV’s Revolver, which was hosted by Peter Cook who was interviewed on the same edition of So It Goes which the Sex Pistols made their tv debut.
So far the two most interesting posts were the clip from the first Blockbusters, which was on Bank Holiday Monday (1983 had the same calendar as this year). I watched The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp on BBC2.
And the other was the item on BBC2’s reruns of Randall and Hopkirk. The first episode of Randall and Hopkirk I saw was The Ghost Talks, the atypicasl episode where Marty tells Jeff about a case he solved when he was alive, when ITV were doing some repeats on weekday lunchtimes and I had a day off that day. And then I saw the first programme on TV Heaven, and it was the best thing they showed on TV Heaven.
Some of the programmes that were shown on TV Heaven such as The Persuaders and The Prisoner did get complete reruns later, either on Channel 4, of BBC bought the rights. (When BBC2 showed Thunderbirds I thought it was bizarre of the BBC to show and ITV show, but it was welcome.) BBC2 showed the episodes of Randall and Hopkirk in production order, and the last one was The Ghost Talks.
A few years earlier I went to an event in North London where one of the activities was a tv quiz. One of the questions which no-one got right was “Which tv detective was filmed getting killed in Lauderdale Road, not far from where we are now?”. Lauderdale Road was where Marty Hopkirk was filmed getting run over in the first episode of Randall and Hopkirk. The following day we went to see the location.
Furthermore. In the newspaper article Kenneth Cope says that his Coronation Street character Jed Stone only had a few more years in prison, so he could return to Coronation Street. He did return over a decade later, and over forty years afyter his last appearance in the series.
44 years ago yesterday it was the last week of the school summer holidays. So it was seriously tactless of the BBC to put on repeats of Grange Hill.
I saw a post on the Guardian website from someone who said that during their last year at primary school the secondary school was just like on Grange Hill. But this was during the Gripper Sebston era so the correspondent was really worried. The teacher should have been sliced and boiled.
I noticed that each of you OTD cuttings from the past week was from one year later than the previous days’.
I don’t remember Yellow Submarine being on in 1982, but it was a Friday so I would have been at Venture Scouts and we didn’t have a video recorder. I still hadn’t seen it in colour.
There were a number of programmes on for the BBC’s sixtieth anniversary.
Was it Steve Race’s eyes again.
Next time you do a look back at what was on so many years ago this week perhaps you should choose a week when a long running tv series started, eg week commencing 23rd of November 1963, or the week that BBC1 and ITV went into colour (although I did write an article about that), or the week the ITV strike ended, or the week a new channel started, or a week when there was a major news event such as the first moon landing.
I was going to suggest have a look back at what was on at Easter, but it’s difficult finding another year that Easter was on the same day as this year. Next year Easter Sunday is on April the 9th, but the last time Easter Day was on April the 9th was in 1950 when there was only one tv channel, and the last time before that was in 1944 when there was no television because of the war. In 2024 Easter Sunday id on the v31st of March so you could have a look back at Easter 2002 or 1991.
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The writer in the 1984 cutting was honest about the uninspiring line-up on BBC1. One Friday in early 1992 a colleague asked what was on tv that evening, so I read out the tv listing in the paper, and he said that I was sarcastic about everything apart from Doctor Who.
I’m guessing that the sign off picture tonight is from the final episode of Dad’s Army as the women are wearing best hats and flowers in their lapels. A good choice of picture for what would have been David Croft’s 100th birthday.
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Thanks. I do my best!
It’s not really that a lot of classic comedy series had their “birthdays” so to speak on this day, as it was the start of the autumn season.
As one of you correspondents mention, the reason why the pilot of Are You Being Served go broadcast was because they needed to fill out the schedules when the Olympic Games got suspended after the Israeli athletes were murdered. The pilot was made in colour but only the black and white copy survives, although I heard that they did recolourise it as they did with Dad’s Army: Room at the Bottom and some of the Jon Pertwee Doctor Who episodes.
But I agree that Are You Being Served jumped the shark very quickly, around the time they did Mr Grace This is Your Life.
(The best episode was the toy department episode. It’s got a really sweet ending.)
You also showed an out-take from Sykes. It wasn’t really surprising that Peter Sellers corpsed during the episode. On the first edition of It’ll be Alright on the Night Dennis Nordern said that when they were looking at the clips they found out that Peter Sellers was one of the biggest corpsers. (Is that a word.) Most of the out-takes they showed were from the Pink Panther films.
I checked out the Tales of the Unexpected episode The Verger with Richard Briers and Patricia Routledge. It’s a lot gentler than other episodes. It was based on a short story by W Somerset Maugham. There was a series of British portmanteau films based on Mauham’s stories called Quartet, Trio and Encore (another trio). Tri featured another adaptation of The Verger starring James Hayter who played Mr Tebbs in Are You Being Served, which is almost where I came in.
Your tribute to the Queen was an unusual choice, but a pleasant surprise. As I’ve said before the original broadcast of the jogging episode of The Good Life was an interesting piece of television.
George Cole was lucky to get a single scene in that episode. (The other guest actor was the taxi driver who only appears in the filmed sequence.) And we get to see the writers John Esmonde and Bob Larby in the clip.
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Yesterday I forgot to talk about Counterstrike. This was a particularly unfortunate example of a tv programme being wiped.
Counterstrike was a science fiction series starring John Finch, who played Macbeth in Roman Polanski’s film of the Shakespeare play and played the lead role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy. It was one of the last BBC drama series made in black and white, the last episode was shown the week before BBC1 went into colour.
One of the episodes was dropped from the schedules to make way for a programme about Ronnie and Reggie Kray of all people, but then never rescheduled, and the series was never repeated. Later some of the episodes were wiped. Some episodes still exist, but one of the episodes that was wiped was the one that didn’t get shown. So not only was the episode never broadcast, but no-one can see it .
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Two of the pictures of Gwyneth Powell were from Grange Hill, but where did the other two come from? The one with David Bradley and the one where she’s in twenties costume.
When she was twenty-five she was in a series called The Guardians which was set in a totalitarian Britain ten years in the future. It was similar in tone to The Old Men at the Zoo.
Some interesting posts during the last couple of days.
I noticed that the design used on the tickets for The Good Old Days towards the end of the series’ run was the same one that was used eight years earlier. I was also surprised that the theatre had a row I. Most theatres and cinemas don’t have row I or O because they look like a 1 and a 0. I a theatre has more than eight rows the ninth row is usually row J, and the row behind row N is row P.
And were the audience members provided with Victorian costumes or did they have to bring their own?
I was surprised at how little children’s tv there was on BBC in 1965. Not the hour and a half we got in the seventies. I noticed on ITV there was The Littlest Hobo. The 1980s version with the famous theme song was a remake.
The picture of Peter Glaze and Bernie Clifton shows Bernie with his boxing ape puppet. He’s best known of course for his comedy ostritch, but he also had a lesser known cat puppet that sat on his shoulder and the even lesser known ape puppet. On the last edition of his first series of Crackerjack they did a Noah’s Ark sketch so that they could use all the animal puppets.
UFO was first shown 52 years ago today, but not in every ITV region. (They weren’t shown nationwide until BBC2 showed them, and they cocked it up.) Some sources say that UFO ran from 1970 to 1973 which is misleading. There was only one series that was shown during 1970-71. But there was one episode, partly filmed in London Zoo, that was omiited from the first run because it was considered too druggy, and it didn’t get shown until 1973 when it was shown during a repeat of the series.
Some sad Grange Hill news.
RIP, Mrs McCluskey
It’ll Be on the Night was first shown 45 years ago yesterday. It was shown just before The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It, starring John Cleese as Sherlock Holmes’ great-grandson and Arthur Lowe as Doctor Watson’s great-grandson. When the second series of Just William was shown Adrian Dannett said in a TV Times interview he didn’t usually get time for television, and one of the most recent times he got to see two programme in a row was when he saw It’ll Be on the Night followed by The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It.
And before It’ll Be on the Night they used to show the outtakes on The Dick Emery Show.
The recording of the first It’ll Be on the Night on YouTube was the repeat showing where they left out a couple of clips from comedy shows where something that was supposed to go wrong in the script didn’t go wrong when the shot it. They showed a clip from The Fosters where Lenny Henry was supposed to take a can from a stack of cans in a supermarket and they all fall down, but in the outtakes they didn’t fall down.
They finished with a clip from Bruce and More Girls where he was doing a sketch set in his flat and the tin opener fell off the wall, and he said “It’s a gag for later on.”, but they kept that in the broadcast programme. (And later in the sketch the tin opener fell off the wall when it was supposed to.)
There were a couple of editions of Kenny Everett’s where something went wrong but they left it in the broadcast version. There was the Cock-up at the OK Corral sketch from the ITV series, and in the BBC series there was a sketch where he interviewed two priests played by Cannon and Ball (or Canon and Ball), and during the interview Bobby’s braces snapped.
Some of the outtakes have become more famous than the original programmes. For example there was a lager commercial where Franz Schubert id working on his latest composition when his friends come round and ask him if he wants to come out for a drink. He tells them that he’s working on his latest score. But they tell him that the bierkeller is serving the lager being advertised so he joins them. And at the bierkeller one of his friends says “Franz, what about your unfinished symphony?” to which he replies “What about my unfinished lager?”.
But the only reason the advert is remembered (and I can’t even remember which brand was being advertised) is that a comedy show did a sketch parodying the advert where Schubert’s friends come round and ask if he wants to come to the bierkeller. He tells them that he’s working on his latest score, and they tell him they’re selling the brand of lager, and he replies “But you haven’t seen my latest score.” and an attractive woman appears at the window. But the only reason the sketch is remembered is because an outtake appeared on a later edition of It’ll Be on the Night where Schubert and the woman fall down.
The first edition includes an outtake from The Waltons where it’s a night time scene, and John Boy’s hoolding a lantern and his father says “I’m John Pendleton and this is mu son John Boy.”, and John Boy says “Your name is not John Pendeleon!”. But many years later, after The Waltons had finished, Channel 4 bought the rights to the series and showed them on Sunday lunchtimes, and they showed the episode that the outtake came from. They got to the scene where John Boy was holding a lantern and John said “I’m John Walton and this is mu son John Boy.”, and we all said “That was the bit they showed on It’ll Be on the Night.”.
The first edition of It’ll Be on the Night included the legendary scene from Another Bouquet (the sequel to Bouquet of Barbed Wire) where the soundtrack of The Muppet Show got played over the top. They also had the continuity link that got interrupted by an advert for Yogs yoghurts.
I remember Yogs. There was Yogorilla which was a banana yoghurt, Yogophant, Yogopotamus, and Yogodile which were strawberry, raspberry, and (I think) mandarin yoghurts but not necessarily in that order, and Yogoroo which was pear and cola flavoured yoghurt. The most bizarre flavoured yoghurt featured the most bizarre choice of animal as kangaroos don’t live in the jungle. But I never saw that advert for Yogs except on It’ll Be on the Night .
And advert from the seventies which I saw only once was an advert for Unigate orange juice. Or one of the other dairies that delivered fruit juice as well as milk.
They showed Sammy the Sparrow and his friends helping themselves to juice instead of milk, and the narrator said “No wonder the birdsongs sound more cheerful in the morning.” and the birds started singing rock around the clock.
This was around the time that Rock Around the Clock was rereleased and Bill Haley and the Comets performed on Top of the Pops and The Wheeltappers’ Social Club.
One day you should do a whole article about the ITV strike of 1979. But regarding the Reading Evening Post cutting, in 1978 BBC was nearly off the air over Christmas.
On Saturday 16th of December the BBC were unable to show live programmes so that day’s Swap Shop was cancelled. (Michael Crawford who was supposed to be that week’s phone-in guest appeared on the programme two weeks later.) And later in the week BBC television was off he air completely. The dispute was resolved within a week and BBC tv came back on air the day before Christmas Eve, just in time for BBC2’s screening of Around the World in Eighty Days.
Doctor Who was unaffected by the strike. They were able to show recorded programmes so the last part of Androids of Tara was shown on the 16th of December, and the strike was over by the evening of the 23rd so part one of The Power of Kroll went ahead. The Key to Time Boxed set included the continuity links as extra items, and part one of Power of Kroll was preceded by the rotating Santa head that BBC1 had instead of the globe that Christmas. (Also On That Day in 1978 was the Basil Brush Christmas show which was David Nixon’s last tv appearance.)
Swap Shop was affected. It was off the air on 23rd of December as well. And Blue Peter was affected. I heard that the school children turned up at Television Centre on Thursday 21st of September only to be told that the programme wouldn’t be on, but as the show would have been broadcast live they would have known earlier that it wouldn’t be on. The presenters showed off their presents on the New Year’s Day show.
ITV was back well before Christmas. Freddie Starr’s Variety Madhouse was shown that autumn. Quincy’s Quest went ahead. It was on the cover of TV Times for the week before Christmas. It was shown on the Thursday evening and I was able to see it because the school broke up on the Thursday that year so the school carol concert was on the Wednesday night so I was able to watch tv on Thursday evening.
I remember Radio Times printing letters for people complaining about BBC showing “the usual drivel”, but there were some excellent programmes on BBC television during the summer of 1979. On Wednesday evenings there was an excellent evening’s viewing on BBC2 comprising Mother Nature’s Bloomers, Seven Artists, and My Music. ( Do Mother Nature’s Bloomers and Seven Artists still exist.) There was the first series of Jigsaw, Barry Norman’s Hollywood Greats, Proms concerts, new wave era Top of the pops. Not drivel.
Another programme that was unaffected by the 1978 pre-Christmas strike was Pinocchio, although we missed the penultimate episode because it clashed with the Sunday school carol service. The last episode was shown on Christmas Eve. Fortunately it was repeated the following Christmas and I watched the episode I missed instead of the Royal Institute Christmas Lecture that our Physics teacher had told us to watch.
(The previous occasion that Christmas Eve was a Sunday I missed Disney Time because the Sunday school service was on Christmas Eve, but that was on of the few Christmases that we didn’t go to church on Christmas Day. Sometimes the last episode of the Sunday serial was on on the same night as the Sunday School carol service/nativity play.)
Thursday 21st December was the edition of Blue Peter that was lost to the strike, and would have been the last show before Xmas, which always followed the exact same script, and always packed Studio 1 with hundreds of children from school choirs to sing the same two carols every year. Biddy has cited that day as the single worst of her career, having to send hundreds of sobbing children away from Television Centre. I suppose that the BBC staff, including the Blue Peter team, were working on the assumption that the strike could be resolved at any time, so they had to prepare for shows as normal, and therefore needed to have the children arrive, just in case the show went ahead and they needed them. Perhaps Biddy was also hoping that they’d be allowed to pre-record the show for that day, as Blue Peter sometimes did pre-records anyway (though admittedly they were a rare occurence in the 70s), but I’m guessing they weren’t permitted to get around the strike that way in the end.
I read about that in a book celebrating Blue Peter’s fiftieth anniversary, which was an interesting read.
The Christmas Blue Peter was usually the same things, a brass band version of Good King Wenceslas playing over shots of the home-made cards from the viewers, an update on the Blue Peter appeal, how to make a last minute Christmas decoration, the Christmas pantomime or show, presents for the pets, the Christmas crib, and the carols( Oh Come All Ye Faithful and Hark the Herald Angels Sing on alternate years). But that was comforting.
The editor of an influential cult tv fanzine (Archive TV Musings’ predecessor in a way) said that whatever happens to you during the year you can alwayss rely on the Christmas edition of Blue Peter.
Randall and Hopkirk was shown for the first time on 19th of September 1969, but it was shown in the London region on 21st of September. And London was the only region at the time to show it in a single twenty-six week run. The running order varied in different regions, and in Geoff Tibballs’ Randall and Hopkirk book (published in 1994) the episode guide listed the episodes in the order that they were shown in the London region for that reason. As mentioned before BBC2 showed Randall and Hopkirk in production order.
I saw an episode of Strange Report at Cult TV Weekend. It was good. There series also starred Anneke Wills.
Until now I thought Parkin’s Patch was a vehicle for Molly Parkin (who did have a regular column in TV Times for a while.)
When I chatted to her, Anneke Wills had fond memories of Strange Report – apparently there were plans to film a second series in the US but the regulars weren’t keen so it never went ahead.
She talked about Strange Report when she was a guest at the first Cult TV Weekend.
I think the version of Wind in the Willows shown fifty-two yeas ago today was made by the same people who also did Treasure Island and Little Grey Men. An actor told a story and they used still paintings rather than animation.
And speaking of Broaden Your Mind, the first episode of The Goodies was shown on Sunday the 8th of November 1970.
Yesterday you posted the BBC clock used for schools’ programmes. There was one I remember with an animation with two diamonds, and they played flute music, and I think the piece was called Sara’s Theme. At my first job we had flexi-time, and if you built up enough extra hours you could get a free day off work. On the first of these days off I went to the Natural History and Science Museums, and as I was walking through the tunnel that connects South Kensington underground station to the museums I hear a busker playing that tune on a flute.
Which paper did the listing for 21/09/1971 come from? One of your other correspondents wanted to know who was on The Old Grey Whistle Test that night. According to BBC Genome it was America and Lesley Duncan, plus a look at the NFT’s Celluloid Rock Festival which sounds interesting. According to another source the programme included footage of Jimmi Hendrix singing Wild Thing from Monterey Pop, so that must have been one of the films included in the festival.