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.

321 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.


  6. Danger Mouse started on the same day as Bullseye. Captain Scarlet started on the same day as The Prisoner (a Friday), and Jo 90 (no relation to Basil 40) started one year later (a Sunday).


  7. Hooray! You’ve picked a day when Doctor Who was on. The City of Death was the standout story of the penultimate Tom Baker series. It was the current serial when Doctor Who Magazine started. I bought the first Doctor Who Weekly and became even more of a fan of the series than I already was. The day I bought the second issue I also borrowed a copy of the novelisation of Brain of Morbius from the library. The day the ITV strike ended I was on a family outing and I had a sneak peek at Doctor Who Weekly issue 3 in a newsagents. I was surprised to find out how old Jon Pertwee was.

    Also on that day Swap Shop returned, but was interrupted for an hour for coverage of the Pope’s visit to Ireland.

    Junior That’s Life was a flop but one of the children on the show later became a professional broacaster. I don’t know if any tapes of Junior That’s Life with Sean Ley survive, but it would be a good piece of Where Were They Then.

    Meanwhile BBC2 were doing a season of Jean Renoir films. I haven’t seen The Lower Depths, although I have seen some of the other films in the series, but that’s for Archive Film Musings. (Are there any decent film discussion websites.) The Lower Depths was based on a play by Maxim Gorky. Akira Kurosawa also made a film based on the play.

    La Gioconda is the opera that features Dance of the Hours.


    • There are two notable things about Channel Television. The first is that they didn’t go into colour until 1976, seven years after ITV started broadcasting in colour. Thames/LWT and several other regions started broacasting in colour on 15th of November 1969. The rest of the UK went into colour during 1970-71. But the Channel Islands had to wait until 1976. (I don’t know which ITV region serves the Isle of Man.) But then in 1976 households in Britain with colour tvs were still outnumbered by households with only black and white. It was in 1977 that households with colour televisions outnumbered those with only black and white.

      I don’t know when Channel Islanders got BBC in colour. There was an article in one of the Blue Peter books called Unst Upon a Time. They got a letter from an amateur dramatics society on Unst in the Shetland Islands, the most northerly inhabites island in the British Isles, who wanted some tips of pantomime make-up. And the Blue Peter team had to be aware that there were no colour televisions on the island so they had to make sure the item could be watched in black and white. I watched the programme round a neighbours’ house and their cat was not amused at Lesley Judd being made up to look like a cat.

      And the other notable thing about Channel Telesion is that, because the Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom, they carried on broadcasting during the ITV strike of 1979. But it mainly local news and films. (I don’t know which ITV region serves the Isle of Man.)


  8. When Captain Scarlet was on the cover of TV21 (the comic dated one-hundred years in the future), they did have a Spectrum club. The memberships for the various regions in the British Isles were administered by Captain Scarlet, Captain Blue and other spectrum agents from the tv series. (Captain Magenta did Republic of Ireland.) But some regions were administered by non-existent captains like, Captain Yellow, Captain Orange, Captain Purple, Captain Pink With Orange Spots etc.

    For more about TV21 I can recommend The Ultimate Book of British Comics by Graham Kibble-White.

    Sugar Smacks were a bit like Sugar Puffs, honey coated puffed wheat, not honey coasted heroin. I can remember going on holiday when I was very young and we had a variety pack as a holiday treat, and there was a packet of Sugar Smack with Gerry Anderson characters on the packet. We were very young and my brother and I had half a small packet each. I’m so old I can remember when Kellogg’s variety packs had eight different cereals.

    Sugar Smacks previously featured Thunderbirds on the packets, then Captain Scarlet, then Joe 90, then Star Trek, and then Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee version). Sugar Smacks also gave away a set of Doctor Who badges with the Doctor, Jo Grant, the Brigadier, the Master, Bessie and the UNIT logo. They can’t give away badges and plastic toys in cereal packets anymore because it’s a choking hazard.


    • And then of course there were the Doctor Who freebies in Weetibangs.

      The first was a set of cardboard figures given away in 1975. This was very early in the Tom Baker era so most of the monsters were from the Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee eras. I had a tee-shirt with the pictures used in the Weetibangs card, but it wore out too quickly because the material was too thin. But it was great design.

      In 1977 they did another set of cardboard figures, but these were meant to be slotted into a set of four board games printed on the backs of the boxes. So the Dalek figures would have the instruction “Get exterminated by Daleks. Miss a go.”. The four games would be fitted together with a Tardis console in the middle.

      Weetibangs did a set of four board games in 1983 featuring the Weetibangs characters Crunch, Dunk, Brains, Bixie and Brian. In the bovver boy days before they got trendy.


  9. Saturday Superstore started forty years ago today. Exactly six years after Swap Shop.

    There was a children’s programme called Take Two, a sort of Junior Points of View, where children discussed tv programmes, and just after Swap Shop ended they asked the children who they would like to see hosting Swap Shop’s replacement. Rather bizarrely somebody suggested Lenny Henry, but there was one name that kept popping up, and on the last edition of Take Two it was announced that Radio One’s Mike Read would be hosting Saturday Superstore in the autumn.
    Saturday Superstore is underrated. On the Five Doctor’s DVD there are clips of Doctor Who items from BBC Breakfast, Blue Peter, Nationwide and Saturday Superstore. And the best item was the phone-in on Saturday Superstore. I saw the interview with We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It from the last series on the internet, and that was rather good as well.

    (There was one time on Swap Shop where Noel Edmonds met Prince Charles who said that he’d be interested in being a guest on Swap Shop, but it never happened.)

    It’s best remembered for two guests on the last series, Prince Edward who appeared on the penultimate programme, and Margaret Thatcher. Neil Kinnock had already been on the programme, and David Steele was a guest later, so there was no political bias. Much has been made of the housewife who asked Margaret Thatcher an awkward question about the Falklands War on a Nationwide phone-in, but it’s not nearly as priceless as when the prime minister went on Saturday Superstore and a girl in the studio audience asked her where she would be in the event of a nuclear war.

    ITV’s alternative to Saturday Superstore was The Saturday Show, which was to have been Big Daddy’s Saturday Show but the wrestler Shirley Crabtree pulled out at the last minute. In 1981-82 Larry Grayson and Isla St Clair decided to leave The Generation Game, and the BBC decided not to continue with The Generation Game (which was losing viewers to Game For A Laugh (an abomination)), Noel Edmonds decide to leave Swap Shop, and the BBC decided to end Swap Shop, and Sally James decided to leave Tiswas, and ITV decided to end Tiswas. So that left the BBC with slots to fill on Saturday Mornings and Saturday Evenings, ITV with a slot to fill on Saturday mornings, and Noel Edmond’s and Isla St Clair looking for other jobs on tv. BBC replaced Swap Shop with a programme with the same format but different name and different presenter. BBC replaced The Generation Game with a vehicle for Noel Edmond’s called The Late Late Breakfast Show, BBC’s answer to Game For A Laugh. And Isla St Clair got a job on ITV’s new Saturday Morning show.

    I saw an interview with Gordon Astley, Sally James’ co-presenter on the last series of Tiswas. (Oddly enough before he was on Tiswas he was one of Keith Chegwin’s assistants on Cheggars Plays Pop.) There was an interesting parallel between Gordon Astely and Mike Read. When Chris Tarrant and co left Tiswas to do OTT they got some new people in to do Tiwas and it lasted for only one more series, and when Noel Edmonds left Swap Shop the BBC ended Swap Shop and started a new series with the same format but different name and different presenter, and it lasted for five years. In the interview Gordon Astley said that when he did Tiswas he realised that radio was his medium rather than television, and Mike Read was better on radio as well, although he was very good on Pop Quiz and Saturday Superstore.

    I was going to say that today was the fortieth anniversary of the first Saturday Superstore anyway, but then you On This Day cycle reached 1982. So far you’ve managed to pick the day the Sex Pistols made their tv debut, the day that Randall and Hopkirk was first broadcast, and the day that Saturday Superstore started, so that’s not bad going.


  10. 39 years ago today you might also have wanted to watch Riverside because it included an interview with Gerry Anderson. Riveriside was a magazine programme for young people originally broadcast from the famous Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, but that series was broadcast from a converted warehouse and pumping station by the Thames. Director David G Croft later directed and produced Crystal Maze.

    Re: The Peter Cushing Sherlock Holmes clip. Peter Cushing said that he didn’t like the way that Watson was often portayed as a fool in Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Holmes wouldn’t have suffered fools. I think he liked the more intelligent version of Watson in the Jeremy Brett series.

    Looking at the clip of Madness on Top of the Pops in 1980, I can see what Michael Hurll meant. The people in front of the band are dancing, but the people sitting at the back look like dummies.

    The Morcambe and Wise sketch was set in 1981 and was set four years after the duo split in 1977 when Eric got married. So the remake in the Thames series would have been set in 1992. One of the remake sketches in the Thames series improved on the original. It was the one where Eric tricks Ernie in to making a donation to the Salvation Army. The original BBC version begins with Eric firing a sucker dart gun at a photograph of Dennis Healey, but in the remake he was firing sucker darts at Margaret Thatcher which was much funnier.


    • Speaking of sucker guns. At the 1999 Cult TV Weekend the best item in the auction was a pink and turquoise sucker gun that was a promotional item for one of the tv channels, the one with the pink and turquoise livery. It came with a Target with pictures of the stars of old crime series that were being aired on the channel.


  11. Oops. You missed 1985. Programmes on BBC1 on 5th of October 1985 included Tripods. BBC2 did a season of films by my favourite directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger to celebrate for former’s 80th birthday. (Does anyone know any good film discussion websites?)

    One year later The South Bank Show did a profile of John Mortimer whose latest tv series was the underrated Paradise Postponed, which should have won the BAFTA for best drama series.

    Re: The Reginald Perrin clip. Geoffrey Palmer had the same conversation in Fairly Secret Army, also by David Nobbs.

    I’m glad you showed one of the more obscure Monty Python sketches. I see what one of your correspondent meant about the first series developing as it went on. In the first series the structure was more rigid, they always began end ended with the old man saying “It’s…”, with the exception of the one with the blancmanges sketch that ended with the Scotsman playing tennis. Later episodes were more free form.

    Sex and Violence was the first episode made, but the second to be broadcast, and Whither Canada was the first one shown but was made second. How to Recognize Trees was the third one made and the third one shown. Owl Stretching Time was John Cleese’s suggestion for the series’ title.

    Some of the sketches were remade in the film And Now For Something Completely Different, and some of them were an improvement. I saw the film version of the self Defence Against Fresh Fruit sketch first and thought the tv version dragged on by comparison. The original version of the Parrot Sketch goes on too long, but in the film it leads into the Lumberjack Song.

    The other best punchline to the parrot Sketch was in an Amnesty International gig in the late eighties when the shopkeeper agreed straight away that the parrot was dead and gave the customer a full refund plus some travel vouchers. John Cleese walked of saying “Who says Margaret Thatcher hasn’t changed anything?”.

    Which Blue Peter presenter was in which Monty Python film?


    • Lesley Judd played a woman whose husband got abducted by the Baby Snatchers in And Now For Something Completely Different.

      Sue Menhenick, my favourite one in Legs and Co, appeared as a dancer in the Christmas in Heaven sequence in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.


  12. One of the prizes on Blankety Blank 38 years ago yesterday was a Betamax video recorder with a selection of BBC videos, including Revenge of the Cybermen, the first Doctor Who serial to be released on BBC Video. It was the first video I borrowed from the library. The packaging was bulky, and it had an Earthshock Cyberman on the cover. (The novel of Tomb of the Cybermen had an Invasion/Revenge Cyberman on the cover.) Video were much more expensive then than they were later.

    Lenny Henry once said that he made sure no-one would steal his video recorder, because he got a Betamax.

    There’s a weird cereal cafe in Brighton. The menu is weird. And they provide felt pens so customers can draw on the walls and tables, they have ancient video games, and they have a video recorder with a selection of films. And it’s a Betamax.

    Speaking of prizes on Blankety Blank there was one time the lowest value prize was a mug tree, and Kenny Everett said they were really scraping the barrel. Later in the programme he came up with an answer that didn’t quite match the contestant’s and Terry Wogan wouldn’t accept it, but Kenny thought it should ha ve counted, so he got up and walked over to the prize lug, picked up the mug tree and gave it to the contestant.

    On the programme marking BBC televisions fiftieth anniversary Les Dawson admitted that some of the prizes on Blankety-Blank were horrendous. He said one week an old lady won a pumping iron kit, and he couldn’t see her ever using it.

    Every picture tells a story.

    Or does it?


  13. Meanwhile thirty-five years ago.

    The NME (a contemptible paper, I know) describe The Roxy, ITV’;s carbon copy of Top of the Pops, as the Albion Market of pop programmes. Which is a good description of Albion Market. And the Roxy. (You may knock ITV for doing a soap opera set around a London street market, but EastEnders is a rip-off of Coronation Street.)

    Raiders of the Lost Ark left me cold, and was probably edited anyway.

    I’d forgotten that Ronnie Corbett had his own series. Two months before the last proper Two Ronnies.

    Australia was a five part series of personal looks at the country just before its bicentenary year. The first three were by Australian writers Thomas Keneally, Patsy Adam-Smith and Phillip Adams, that night’s programmne was a guided tour of the outback from helicopter pilot, and the last was by Spike Milligan. I definitely remember the last three. Philip Adams had a look at recent Australian political history, and Dick Smith’s was possibly the most interesting.

    I ever did see the American version of Reginald Perrin.


  14. I watched a lot of comedy on Friday Nights in the autumn of 1988. On BBC1 there was the follow-up to Twenty Years of the Two Ronnies, and Twenty-One Years of the Two Ronnies. The first compilation series included Phantom Raspberry Blower, the second included Charlie Farley and Piggy Malone in Stop, You’re Killing Me, and in Twenty-Two Years of the Two Ronnies the serial was The Worm That Turned.

    (Confusingly ten years after Twenty Years of the Two Ronnies they did Twenty-Five Years of the Two Ronnies. The eighties compilations included clips from Frost Report which was the first series that Ronnies Barker and Corbett appeared in together, five years before The Two Ronnies. The nineties compilation included a butcher version of Phantom Raspberry Blower.)

    The straight after that BBC2 showed the comedy drama A Gentleman’s Club. I missed the last episode. Does anyone remember what happened?

    Later on Channel 4 there was Whose Line Is It Anyway? which as the newspaper cutting reminded me was a Radio 4 series first. The radio version felt like a pale imitation of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, but the tv version was actually better. Dan Patterson who produced the series recently did another improv show called Fast and Loose.

    Sometimes if I stayed up very late on a Friday I caught Halfway to Paradise ( a series I hadn’t though about for years until I saw the cutting.) It was the Sin City of entertainment programmes. The host, known only as Mr Sinclair, was in black and white except for a red rose in his lapel. The bands appeared in black and white with coloured backgrounds. I think the comedians appeared in colour. The show ended with a really old Scottish TV ident.

    Q the Winged Serpent, the late film on ITV, was later shown on Moviedrome.


  15. Where does the picture of Bill Maynard in the jumper come from? It looks as if he’s wearing an apron.

    But I agree that his performance in Kisses at Fifty was excellent. The look on his face when his daughter was making her wedding vows says it all.

    They repeated kisses at Fifty in 1993 when BBC2 did a season of Wednesday Plays and Plays for Today from the sixties and seventies. They showed Up the Junction, Where the Buffalo roam by Dennis Potter(you’ve got to have Dennis Potter), The Gorge by Peter Noichols, a not very successful family outing from a teenage boy’s point of view, another comedy The Fishing Party with Brian Glover, Kisses at Fifty by Colin Welland, a rather depressing play Hard Labour by Mike Leigh and starring Liz Smith, and The Spongers, a 1978 play about the Silver Jubilee. The BBC banned God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols, but Jim Allen got away with The Spongers.

    It was a much better use of the BBC’s quota of old repeats than the umpteenth screening of the same old sitcoms.


  16. I like Pop Quiz. I liked it because the showed a lot of clips of old pop songs. But later we got things like TOTP2 which made other pop clips shows redundant. Pop Quiz was one of the shows that went under when Michael Grade messed about with BBC1 in 1985. The revival with Chris Tarrant wasn’t a patch on the Mike Read version. (Both of the hosts on Pop Quiz used to present Saturday morning children’s shows.)


  17. To answer the question about the Dave Allen clip. He used to drink ginger ale during his act.

    I recently saw a bit of the last Z-Cars on the internet where Brian Blessed, Joseph Brady, Collin Welland and Jeremy Kemp all make cameo appearances. When Brian Blessed came in I thought Inspector Lynch was going to say “Fancy Smith! I haven’t seen you for donkeys’ years.”, but he wasn’t playing Fancy Smith. Whereas Frank Windsor of John Phillips did reprise their old roles as John Watt and Superintendent Robins.

    Later that year Joseph Brady played the manky chef in the last series of Reginal Perrin.

    Who is the medieval dude in the picture with Brian Blessed as Long John Silver?

    I saw Brian Blessed at a Doctor Who convention. He said that when he was on Z-Cars a journalist visited the set to interview the cast for a magazine. She asked them what their favourite television programmes were, and he was going to tell her that he like watching all the intellectual programmes like Panorama, Monitor and Horizon. But then Jospeh Brady said “I really like The Flintstones.”, and Brian Blessed thought “Well who am I trying to kid. What I like best is sitting in my favourite chair with a mug of hot coffee, and my daughter sitting in the chair beside me, and watching Doctor Who.”

    I only went to one job interview where they asked me what my favourite tv show was. (The Civil Service Commission.) It was the best answer I gave.


  18. I once went to Shari Lewis’ house for dinner. We had lamb chops.

    Your pictures of Nicholas Parsons should have included a picture of him as Rev Wainwright in Curse of Fenric, but you were right to include a picture of him with Arthur Haynes.

    I thought the picture of Frazer Hines with a pig was a publicity shot for Emmerdale Farm, but it was during his Doctor Who days.

    One of you correspondents said that the Fawlty Towers episode with the late Bernard Cribbins was the best one. It was one of John Cleese’s favourites because it shows how awful Basil was. He fawns over a guest who he thinks is the hotel inspector while being rude to other guests. As if the hotel inspector wouln’t be observing how he treats the other guests.

    The tv listing for 11th of October was in fact from 1968, not 1967 as stated. The Apollo launch was the Apollo 7 expedition, which was the first manned space flight in the Apollo project. Two months later the Apollo 8 was the first manned orbit of the moon.

    1968 was the year that Play School went into colour, and the year the BBC started repeating it on BBC1 in the afternoons. I heard a story about a group of builders who would have a bet on which window they would be looking through on Play School, but one worker went home for lunch and would catch the morning broadcast so he’d always get it right. Apocryphal.

    High points on tv a year and a day earlier included Pogle’s Wood, the best Watch With Mother programme, and The Picture Theatre with John Betjemain having a look at some of London’s oldest cinemas.

    I didn’t know John Bird and John Fortune went back that far either. Harry Worth appeared in a scool maths textbook. The chapter on symmetry. What was Tom Tom?


    • One of the other pictures of Nicholas Parsons is on the set of Sale of the Century with Pete Murray (rhyming slang for a popular Indian dish), Pyramid ?Game Steve Jones and Tom O’Connor. It might be form a special charity edition of Sale of the Century where Nicholas Parsons played against other game show hosts while John Benson asked the questions. Nicholas Parsons won and some people thought it was fixed, which it wasn’t.


  19. I know what was on the cover of Radio and TV Times on this day in 1968. The Radio Times masthead was done in the style of the Mexico 68 logo instead of the usual Radio Times logo.

    1968 was when we first got a television. I remember Nice Time which I believe starred Kenny Everett and Germaine Greer. And The Impossibles, a cartoon series about a pop group who were also superheroes.

    Late Night Line-up was Colour Me Pop with Clodagh Rogers and Honeybus. Val Doonican’s guests included Les Dawson and Honeybus.

    Oh no. Doctor Who clashes with Joe 90. But Joe 90 got repeated on Saturday mornings in the seventies, and on BBC television in the nineties. I would have been too young for Doctor Who in 1968, but I saw The Mind Robber when BBC2 repeated it in 1992, and have since bought the video and it’s one of favourites from that series.

    I once said that Doctor Who was on every Saturday during 1968 because Evil of the Daleks was shown during the break between the second and third Patrick Troughton series. But I was wrong because the gap between the two series was longer than seven weeks, and there was a gap between parts three and four of Evil of the Daleks because of Wimbledon. (Some things never change.) And Doctor Who also took a break for a couple of weeks between The Mind Robber and The Invasion because of the Olympics.

    A lot of Olympic coverage was shown on both BBC channels at the same time. It was shown in colour on BBC2 for the benefirt of people with colour tvs, and in black and white on BBC1 for the benefit of people who couldn’t get BBC2.

    Twenty years later Doctor Who started later than planned because the Seoul Olympics were held in the autumn. This meant that Silver Nemesis and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy were switched round in the running order, and thus creating a minor continuity error.

    But the biggest influence the Olympics had on Doctor Who was in 1984 when Resurrection of the Daleks had to be rescheduled to make way for the Winter Olymics (Torvill and Dean dancing to Ravel’s Bolero etc), and instead of being shown as a four part serial it was shown as a two double length episodes (and is now officially a two part story despite being shown overseas and being released on video as a four part story). And as a result of this the following year’s series was shown as double length episodes.


    • Some people might be confused by the entry for Doctor Who in the newspaper listing. The Master is the Master of the Land of Fiction and not the villainous Time Lord who didn’t appear until the second Jon Pertwee series.


    • Honeybus were on Colour Me Pop, not Vall Dominican’s programme. It should have read that Vall Doonican’s guests included Les Dawson and the Top of the Pops dancers the Gojos.


  20. I liked Alexi Sayle’s Stuff. It was like a one-man Monty Python. But I hated the BBC2 TWO ident.

    Fifty-three years ago I’d just started school. I think we watched seeing and doing. (We definitely watched Watch.) Chigley was on its original run but I would have missed it as I was at school. Chigley looked like two programmes had collided and they’d used what was left of both programmes to make another show. (You Rang My Lord was the Chigley of Perry and Croft series for example.) I would have watched Littlenose on Jackanory, and Blue Peter, and Babar the Elephant. I don’t remember Handful of Thieves, but it featured a teenage Helen Worth.

    Babar was different to the other adaptations. It wasn’t about when he was king of the elephants. It was set when he was living in the city with the old lady and Berta the maid. It was performed by actors in horrible masks that made them look like tailors’ dummies. Eric Thompson narrated the English language version, which was a bit of a waste of talent really. This episode was Babar’s Birthday. He blew out the birthday candles with his trunk, so the cake would have been covered in elephant snot.

    You wouldn’t have watched Counterstrike because that was the episode that I was telling you about that didn’t get shown (Out of Mind).

    ITV showed an X film.


  21. Where did this evening’s goodnight picture come from?

    Last night’s goodnight picture of the Blue Peter team wasn’t the picture that appeared on the cover of Radio Times, but it was from the same photo session. The last time Blue Peter was on the cover of Radio Times was in 1988, thirty-four years ago. They had a competition to design the cover for Radio Times for Blue Peter’s 30th anniversary. But then on the week of Blue Peter’s anniversary the cover of Radio Times was Mel Smith in Colin’s Sandwich of all things. The competition winner’s design appeared on the Radio Times the week before Christmas, but instead of having the design on the full page they showed the Blue Peter team and the girl looking at the design in a gallery. Not good.

    You should have included a picture of Roger Moore as Ivanhoe. If he hadn’t got the role of James Bond he would be best remembered as a cult tv star, in three different decades. He also appeared on the cover of TV Times with Miss Piggy.

    Lady Penelope was the only tv comic for girls. There were strips featuring female characters from Gerry Anderson series, Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds, the Angels from Captain Scarlet and Marina from Stingray. (I preferred Atlanta Shore.) There were comic strip versions of iconic series The Monkees and Bewitched, The Girl from UNCLE, and rather bizarrely a comic strip based on Crossroads. (Though less distasteful than Fast Forward printing an EastEnders comic strip.) One issue included an interview with Lalla Ward. Later the comic changed its name to Penelope and the main comic strip changed to a strip about Lady Penelope’s childhood and it became a standard girls’ comic. It eventually merged with Princess Tina.

    Which version of Love Me Do was released in 1982. There are at least three recordings, with three different drummers. The first with Pete Best on drums, the version on the original single with Ringo Starr, and the version on the Please Please Me album with Andy White on drums and Ringo relegated to tambourine. EMI rereleased all the Beatles’singles twenty years after their first release right up to Let It Be in 1990, but Love Me Do was the only one that got anywhere in the charts, in fact it got higher than it did the first time. The other Beatles single released in 1982 was Beatles Movie Medley a rather badly put together medley of songs from the Beatles’ films, released to tie in with Beatles Reel Music, an album that was not worth having, especially if you’ve already got the original albums. (This was a year after Stars on 45 kicked off that dreadful medleys craze.) CBTV announced that they were doing an exclusive first showing of the Beatles Movie Medley video, but it was hardly an exclusive as it was a compilation of clips from Beatles films that had been on tv before.

    John Peel says “This one’s for you, Pete.” Who’s Pete?

    Of course James Beck didn’t get to play Hitler, and sadly didn’t get to do much else apart from Dad’s Army. The best portrayal of Hitler was by Bruno Ganz in The Downfall.

    There was a spin-off from The Doctors called Owen MD. (I thought it was O N M D.) But for some reason the characters name was changed from Owens to Owen. It had a famous theme tune.


  22. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Raymond Allen the creator of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em who died recently.

    Most people know who wrote Hancock and Steptoe and Son. Most people know who created Till Death Do Us Part. Most people know who created Dad’s Army, and that they also created It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and Hi De Hi, and that David Croft wrote other series with Jeremy Lloyd. Most [people know who created Porridge and that they also created The Likely Lads and Auf Widersen Pet. Most people knew who created Last of the Summer Wine and that he also created Open All Hours. Most people know who created The Liver Birds and that she also created Butterflies and wrote serious comedies.

    But not so many people could name the creator of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Raymond Allen tried to create other sitcoms such as The Dobson Doughnut, but they never got further trhan the pilot. He wrote sketched for Frankie Howerd, Dave Allen, Max Wall, Little and Large and Fast Forward, but he only wrote one classic sitcom. But it was one of the classic sitcoms, and it did produce a memorable character.

    Max Bygraves said that in the seventies there was a tv show for impressionists called Who Do You Do?, but whenever it was on the impressionists were either doing Tommy Cooper, and going “Just like that.” or doing him and going “I want to tell you a story.”. So he and Tommy Cooper set up a show called Who Else Do You Do? But in fact the most impersonated tv personality in the seventies apart from Tommy Cooper was Frank Spencer, and you’d turn on How Do You Do? and see someone going “Mmm, Betty, the cat done a whoopsie.”. When Crackerjack did a talent show they had girls going on in Pinky and Perky hats doing a bad impression of Frank Spencer.

    The 1974 Christmas episode, the only one where Frank did say “done a whoopsie”, Frank played the Angel Gabriel in the church nativity play and at the end of the show he was being lifted by a helicopter off the steeple of the church. Straight after the episode Mike Yarwood came down dressed as Frank Spencer in the angel costume and said “I’d better come down for The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show.”

    Michael Crawford was on the cover of the Christmas Radio Times that year, the year before they went back to the traditional covers.

    Another memorable episode was when Frank and Betty visited Betty’s brother who was very proud of his house that was fitted with all the modern gadgets. But the house proved not to be Frank Spencer proof and Frank got his head stuck down the toilet.

    However the most memorable episode was when Frank went rollerskating. He nearly made two cars collide, he went under a lorry, he grabbed onto the back off a bus (which isn’t possible with today’s buses), and ended up in a playpen in the local branch of Mothercare.


    • Mike Yarwood did a parody of Who Do You Do? where the politicians went on and did impressions. They had Michael Foot doing Larry Grayson, Cyril Smioth doing Oliver Hardy, and at the end they all did Tommy Cooper.


  23. Robbie Coltrane appeared in a lot of essential comedy shows of the eighties.

    The Young Ones was the comedy series of the eighties and he was in a few episodes. most notably as a Victorian scientist in Bambi. Bambi was the quintessential Young Ones episode. They often showed the quiz bit on Comic Relief but it doesn’t make senses unless you watch the whole programme. You don’t know where the giant chocolate eclair came from unless you saw the scene with Robbie Coltrane.

    When BBC2 repeated The Young One my brother taped Bambi shorty after he taped The Great Rock n Roll Swindle when Channel 4 showed it for the first time. During the summer my brother had a party round our house when our parents were on holiday. It wasn’t a successful party, as these things usually aren’t, except and the end when only three guests were left. One of the guests wanted to see The Great Rock n Roll Swindle, so I made her a peanut butter sandwich and my brother put the film on for her. And after the closing credits The Young Ones: Bambi came on so we watched that as well.

    The highpoint of Christmas viewing in 1988 was definitely Blackadder’s Christmas Carol in which Robbie Coltrane played the Ghost of Christmas. He played Doctor Johnson in Blackadder the Third, and reprised the role of Doctor Johnson in a straight play with John Sessions as James Boswell.

    He was in the forgotten sketch show Alfresco with Stephen Fry, Hugh Lauire, Ben Elton, Emma Thompson and Siobhan Redmond. He played a heavy in Girls On Top. He was the only one who was funny in Laugh? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee. He was in Saturday/Friday Night Live. Comic Strip Presents was hit and miss, but he was in some of them, including the first one Five Go Mad in Dorest, and Charles Bronson as Ken Livingstone in Greater London Council.

    I must mention Tutti Frutti in which he played the singer in a middle-aged rock n roll band. The writer John Byrne is also an artist and he designed one of the most memorable Radio Times covers of the eighties.

    Cult TV Weekend used to have an award ceremony, and one of the categories was best guest actor in a regular tv show. If Cult TV Awards had been going in 2011 I would have voted for Robbie Coltrane’s performance in Lead Balloon. This was the middle episode of a three part story in which Rick Spleen (Jack Dee) got held hostage by a prisoner during a prison visit.

    These days Christmas isn’t Christmas without the latest adaptation of a Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler book. And Robbie Coltrane did the voice of the Gruffalo.

    Other tv appearances in the 2010s included National Treasure with Julie Walters and Tim McInnerny.


  24. I liked yesterday’s clip of Tony Hart. Who’s the puppet character he’s playing with in the picture?

    Yesterday’s Goodie Morning picture would have been from the time they shot Goodies Rule OK. Bill’s hair is longer than usual and he’s shaved his beard off, but he grew it back before the next series.

    The edition of The Goodies shown fifty-one years ago yesterday was Pollution. They probably showed a clip of the previous episode, Commonwealth Games, on Ask Aspel. The Goodies was the most requested programme on Ask Aspel, and the Goodies were Ask Aspel’s guests on a later programme.

    I think Arthur! is the Australian cartoon series Arthur! and the Square Knights of the Round Table. (One of the few Australian animate series shown in the UK.) The comic strip version appeared in TV Comic.

    But I would have watch BBC’s children’s programmes, Play School, Jackanory, Top Cat, Ask Aspel and Magic Roundabout. Top Cat was originally broadcast in the UK as Boss Cat. There was a brand of Cat Food at the time called Top Cat and the BBC didn’t want to be seen to be advertising. You may remember there was an abrupt jump during the closing credits. That’s because they cut out the bit where the series’ title appears on screen. In the opening titles he gets into a cab and pulls down the blind and it has “Top Cat” written on it, but in the original BBC broadcasts they cut that bit and put up an ident with the title “Boss Cat”. Later the BBC billed the series as Top Cat and showed the undoctored titles.

    There was a Top Cat comic strip called Boss Cat in the comics Yogi and His Toy and Fun Time, and the cats called him BC rather than TC. Yogi and His Toy had a free gist in every issue, which is the norm for tv tie-in comics today, but at that time it made it an expensive publication, and so it quickly folded and was revamped as Fun Time. Somewhat confusingly the Top Cat/Boss Cat strip on the cover of the first issue of Fun Time was a continuation of the serial that was left unresolved in the last issue of the Yogi Bear comic. Also either Brain was brown instead of orange, and Top/Boss Cat was brown instead of yellow. Or both. It’s all rather confusing really.

    Scooby-Doo’s real name was Lassie Meaty Chunks.

    Congratulations, you’ve done it again! Not only that, you’ve picked the day that two long running shows started Rainbow and Emmerdale Farm. It was part of ITV’s daytime revolution. Rainbow was originally presented by David Cook, while his successor was appearing in that day’s edition of Z Cars (along with Nicolas Smith). Bungle was originally played by John Leeson, and Zippy was voiced by Peter Hawkins.

    But the best daytime tv show of the seventies was the BBC series Pebble Mill at One. Earlier this month I said that the 2nd of October was the fortieth anniversary of Saturday Superstore, but it was also the fiftieth anniversary of Pebble Mill. It’s was my mum’s favourite programme. I saw the end of an edition of Pebble Mill in 1983, and Bob Langley was saying what was coming up on the nest day’s programme, and he said “This is better than breakfast television.”. And it was.


    • Crown Court was also part of ITV’s daytime tv revoluition. Who was the defendent in the picture beneath Milton Johns and next to Bob Hoskins?

      I clicked my mouse on the juror’s handkerchief because I thought you’d downloaded a clip and the white triangle sticking out of his pocket was the play symbol.

      Cult TV Weekend used to have a quiz where they’d show some opening titles from tv shows with theme tunes from other shows played over them. (Telly Addicts did the same thing but Cult TV Weekend did it with more style I thought.) I thought it would be rather neat to see the opening tiles of Captain Scarlet with the Crown Court theme tune played over it.


  25. A couple of general questions.

    Does anyone know of any good cult movie discussion websites?

    Do cult tv fanzines still exist?


  26. I remember Connections but I didn’t watch it. It was the first in a trilogy of series. The next was The Real thing about perception, which I did see. And the third series was The Day the Universe Changed which I didn’t.

    I also remember James Burke hosting a show called The Whole Universe Show which answers the question “Where do I come from?”. In the first programme a girl asked him “Where do I come from?”, and he said “From your mother.”, and she said “And before that?” and he replied “From your grandmother.”, and she said “And before that?” and he replied “From apes.”, and she said “And before that?” and he replied “From fish.”, and she said “And before that?” and he replied “From worms.”, and she said “And before that?” and he replied “From the big bang.”. And over the next eight weeks he explained the origins of the universe, the origins of the Earth, the origins of life on Earth, and the evolution of life on Earth from single cells to humans. But I only saw the first few episodes.


  27. Which year did that clip of Play School come from? One edition I remember well (and you can find on YouTube) was the tenth anniversary edition (and tenth anniversary of BBC2) where Derek Griffiths thre a party for the toys, and Chloe Ashcroft said it actually was the toys’ birthday. In fact it was only Humpty’s birthday, because as I mentioned elsewhere on this website, he was the only toy to appear in the first programme and the others came later.

    I saw the very first Play School in the Bradford Museum’s T Heaven room on my first visit to the museum.

    Fifty years ago the Royal Mail issued a set of stamps commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC and the seventy-fifth anniversary of Marconi’s first radio transmission. I don’t know if they’ll be doing some stamps for the centenary. (Mind you I get annoyed with the Royal Mail. They issued some stamps featuring Transformers which is an American thing, but they didn’t issue any stamps to commemorated England hosting, and winning, the Women’s European Championship.)

    As part of the BBC’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations there was an exhibition on television at the Science Museum which included some props and monster costumes from Doctor Who. I read an article in a Doctor Who fanzine from a fan who went on a school outing to the British Museum to see the Tutankamun exhibition. But she sneaked out of the British Museum and hopped on an Underground train to South Kensington and went to see the BBC exhibition at the Science Museum. A rare instance of someone absconding from a school outing to visit another museum.


  28. I told you everyone did Tommy Cooper in the seventies.

    After Eric Morcambe died Ernie Wise and Peter Cushing were guests on each other’s editions of This Is Your Life. I saw a clip of Peter Cushing’s This Is Your Life with Ernie wangling his way out of paying Peter Cushing’s fee, and it’s very funny. When Ernie Wise was the subject of This Is Your Life the last guest was Peter Cushing asking for his fee.

    A lot of people think Scooby Doo jumped the shark when Scrappy Doo came along. But I thought it jumped the shark when they did the series where they had guest characters from other cartoon series. Jeannie and Speed Buggy (one of the shows on tv forty-eight years ago today) first appeared on British television when the BBC showed the Scooby Doo episodes which they appeared in, and their own shows were shown slightly later.

    I usually associate Friday’s on children’t tv in the seventies with comedy shows like Crackerjack, Charlue Cairoli, Hope and Keen. But actually they did do serious programme on Fridays like Children of Destiny with Magnus Magnusson. Mind you the Record Breakers was sometimes on Fridays and that was quite a series programme when it started.


  29. The first episode of the second series of Alexi Sayle’s Stuff was broadcast exactly twenty years after the third episode of the first series of Monty Python. In the Monty Python Terry Jones is the boy nor wearing a blazer and is much cruder than the other two.

    The problem with the Alexi Sayle sketch was that it should have been celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the cartoon Alexi Sayle. The first Mickey Mouse cartoon was in 1928 and by the end of the thirties they were making feature length cartoons. I was going to ask who the presenter was, but someone already said it was Owen Brennan who played Nick Swainey in One Foot in the Grave. Unless they were mixed up with Angus Deayton, the animator in the sketch, who played Patrick Trench.

    In the early 2000s Blankety Blank guest Geoff Capes did an advert telling people to support their local takeaways. He said that a lot of people were buying things like Pot Noodles instead of using the takeaways and it was putting the takeaways out of business. But in fact it was an advert for Pot Noodles. I read an interview in a magazine with Geoof Capes and they asked him about his save our takeaways campaign, unaware that it was a fake campaign.

    I remember the Sunday afternoon show making toys. They usually had a Cheap and Cheerful slot showing you how to make cheap toys. The last programme was about making puppets. There was a BBC book Making Toys that cost £1.20. I also would have watched Ballet Shoes.

    I might have watched the animated title sequence of Charge of the Light Brigade when it was shown in 1975. (I’ve seen the whole film once on tv and once at the cinema.) The animations were by Richard Williams who later was an animation supervisor on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He made the animated version of A Christmas Carol which was based on the original illustrations by Phiz. And he did the titles for two of the Pink Panther films including the one where the Panther parodied King Kong, Batman, Alfred Hitchcock, The Sound of Music, and Jaws.


  30. I not only remember what I was watching on tv on 20th October 1976 I know what I where I was watching it.

    I was in hospital recovering from a dental operation. It was at the local cottage hospital. There was a twenty year old man who had a similar operation, and he was discharged the following day. I was twelve and the nurses said I had a high temperature and needed to stay in hospital another night. But my mum thinks they fiddled with the results because most of the patients were elderly and they didn’t get many children to look after.

    The only one television in the hospital was in a ward occupied by two men, and the nurses persuaded me to give up the tv for the evening so I could watch it. When I went home the next day I had to nip into their ward to thank them for letting me borrow the tv.

    The picture was very flickery and took a while to stabilize. I think it had stabilsed in time for Noah and Nelly. I watched, or at least heard, The Wombles, Jackanory with James Villiers reading Arthur the Kid by Alan Coren, a horsey programme with Susan King, John Craven’s Newsround, the football drama Striker, and Noah and Nelly.

    I also watch Carry On Cruising. The running gag with the injections was too topical. It was a good job it wasn’t Carry On Nurse.


  31. One of your correspondents asked about records featuring music from Trumpton.

    There were records featuring music from Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley issued by the BBC in the late sixties and very early seventies. You can find them on ebay, Amazon etc.

    The Camberwick Green record was one of several BBC Records issued on CD in 2010. Side one is about Peter Hazel on his post round and meeting other Camberwick Green characters. Side two is a story about Windy Miller.

    I had a friend who had the original Camberwick Green LP, and when Half Man Half Biscuit brought out Trumpton Riots he was disappointed to discover that they no longer had the record. (But he was embarrassed that they still had the Grease LP.)

    He was also disappointed that his parents threw out the unused roll of Wacky Races wallpaper. He use to have Wacky Races wallpaper on his bedroom walls. Later the room was redecorated and all that was left of the Wacky Races wallpaper was a thin strip between the two layers of double glazing.


  32. I enjoyed the Alexi Sayle clips.

    I also like the clip from the poignant final episode of the first series of Reginald Perrin. It was one only two episodes to feature David Warwick as Reggie’s son Mark. He never returned for the sequels. He was mentioned in the books. In the novel of the second series he got kidnapped, and in the third book he comes home for Christmas in a scene that’s not in the tv series. In the pointless Legacy of Reginald Perrin it’s stated that Mark was murdered by terrorists. (The books were darker than the tv series, especially the original novel.)

    David Warwick later went on to appear in Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet, and Ripping Yarns: Roger of the Raj.

    Where where they then? Forty-five years ago Patrick Stewart was on Jackanory reading Annerton Pit by Peter Dickinson, the author of The Changes.

    It was serious programmes on Friday’s children’s tv with another chance to see Blue Peter Special Assignment on Charles Darwin. They never got any of the late seventies/eighties presenters (Simon Groom et al) to do Blue Peter Special Assignments.

    I didn’t see The Muppet Show with John Cleese because I was at Scouts. When the second series started the cover of TV Times had a photograph of Robert Redford (who was appearing on something on ITV that week and there was an article about him in the magazine) surround by various Muppet characters. And the caption read “This was to have been Robert Redford’s cover, but the Muppets are Back!”. And I was disappointed that it was on Fridays. They did move it back to Sunday evenings in January, starting with an edition on New Year’s Day with Julie Andrews, but I missed that because my mum’s cousins came round and she decided we wouldn’t have the tv on.

    I did see some of those episodes of The Muppet Show when the BBC showed them in the eighties. And I saw the John Cleese one in 1994 when BBC2 showed it as part of their ATV night.

    BBC1’s early evening film was Good Times, a vehicle for Sonny and Cher directed by William Friedkin who later made The French Connection and The Exorcist. Then again John Boorman’s first feature film was Catch Us If You Can with the Dave Clark Five.


  33. I didn’t like It’s My Party by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin. It was a miserable record. When I was in the sixth form we had a weekly ritual of tuning into Radio 1 on Tuesday lunchtimes to hear the new charts, and Radio 1 used to have a competition where listeners tried to predict the next week’s top three. There were two consecutive weeks where nobody got it right. There was one week where most people predicted that the previous week’s number two, Invisible Sun by the Police, would either stiil be at number two or would get to number one. But it slipped back to number three. And the following week nobody predicted that It’s My Party would get to number one.

    It’s a song about a girl whose boyfriend dumps her and gets engaged to another girl at her own birthday party. It was originally recorded by Lesley Gore (Catwoman’s assistant) who did it as a bobby poppy record, whereas Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin turned it into a miserable song, which it is. Some people in the sixth form wanted to get the record for the school disco.

    I once hear a man singing it, a busker on the London Underground, and he changed the words to “Nobody knows where my Julie has gone, buy Johnny left the same time. Why was she holding his hand when she’s supposed to be mine.” There’s also a Scottish version that goes “Nobody know where my Jimmy has gone , but Jinty left the same time.”

    I didn’t know David Renwick wrote for The Two Ronnies and Smith and Jones.

    There was one time some colleagues were having a discussion about Marvel films and someone asked me who may favourite Avenger was and I replied Joanna Lumley. I’m too young to have seen the original Avengers first time round, and The New Avengers was the first version I did see, and I still prefer it to the old series. I believe Peter Cushing was a guest actor in the old series, Return of the Cybernauts.

    I was hoping the clip from Fairly Secret Army would be the one I mentioned before where Geoffrey Palmer has the same conversation he had with Leonard Rossiter in the second series of Reginald

    The outtakes , The Comedy of Errors, were my favourite bit on The Dick Emery Show.

    Was the picture from Dad’s Army taken during a rehearsal. Ian Lavender’s hair looks a bit longer than it did in the programmes. He and John Laurie were friends off screen. I believe that John Laurie and Bill Pertwee were godfathers to Ian’s children.


  34. I thought for a moment it said Robert Duvall was on Stars on Sunday.

    Forty-four years ago yesterday BBC1 showed two Sunday Serials. There was John Buchan’s Huntingtower, which had previously been adapted by the BBC as a radio serial in 1930. I remember watching the repeats a couple of years later when they showed it weekday children’s televsion. And later there was R F Delderfield’s A Horseman Riding By, and as soon as that finished BBC2 showed the last episode of Wuthering Heights. (But for some reason BBC Genome has a still from the 1939 film version.)

    Where were they then? In Huntingtower Wee Jaikie was played by Eric Cullen who later was a regular in Rab C Nesbitt.

    BBC2’s late film was a rare screening of Skidoo, Groucho Marx’s last film, featuring three Batvillains, and directed by another.

    Forty-three years ago today it was half term. I saw a bit of Prince Regent with Peter Egan. It was the episode where his daughter Princess Charlotte died giving birth to her stillborn child, and the following day we visited Windsor Castle and saw her tomb in St George’s Chapel.

    As you said, forty-three years ago tomorrow the ITV strike ended. And after we visited Windsor Castle we visited an great aunt and uncle who lived in the area. We watched ITV for the first time in a couple of months. We watched the ITN News followed by The Muppet Show with Dudley Moore. (Miss Piggy was one of the ITV starts on the following week’s issue of TV Times, the first issue for as many weeks.)

    The news stories included the ITV strike ending. Leonard Parkin said he spent the break doing the decorating and other odd jobs he didn’t usually get time to do, and the main story they missed was the death of Lord Mountbatten. The other main story was Paul McCartney being entered in The Guinness Book of Records as the most successful recording artist of all time. He had all those number ones with the Beatles, and then had the most successful solo career of the four, including the then best selling single of all time Mull of Kintyre.

    But talk about the difference between Coronation Street and Crossroads. The news included an item about shooting the first episode of Coronation Street since the summer. Len Fairclough came back from a holiday and Bet Lynch told him what had been happening since he went away. After the Muppets we saw the beginning of Crossroad which began with Meg Mortimer sitting at a desk telling viewers what had happened before the break.

    “Welcome, welcome, welcome home, to ITV. ITV.”


  35. Jack Warner was nearly 80 when that edition of Dixon of Dock Green was made, and was 80 when it finished. Funnily enough yesterday I stumbled on a clip on YouTube of Jack Warner introducing the Barron Knights on Christmas Night With the Stars 1964. It was shot in the Top of the Pops studio but it was made for Christmas Night With the Stars and not Tiop of the Pops. They parodied the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Bachelors, the Animals and the Honeycombs.

    I liked the clip of John Laurie on Jackanory. It was an edition from the mid-seventies with the funkier theme tune. The first Jackanory to use that version of the theme tune was Arthur Lowe reading stories about dragons. And you also downloaded Arthur Lowe reading The Emperor’s Pancake. I remember John Le Mesurier reading Arlo the Dandy Lion, and James Beck did a Jackanory. Did any of the other Dad’s Army regulars do Jackanory?

    In October 1980 The Amazing Adventures of Morph was on its first showing. This was an unusual episode as it’s mostly told without Tony Hart’s narration. He’d brought a cake with him to eat, and he was about to tell the story when the phone rang. And while he was on the phone Morph and Chad climbed up onto the shelf to pinch the cake. Someone wrote to Points of View (or possibly the Junior Points of View slot on Swap Shop) and said The Amazing Adventures of Morph was the best thing on tv and asked to see a clip from the cake episode.

    For some reason when they repeated Morph they replace the original theme song, Hey Wake Up Morph, with an instrumental.

    I missed It Ain’t Half Hot Mum because I was at a Venture Scout meeting, but I saw the repeat. It was the injections episode.

    A year and a day later I missed an episode of Great Expectations because I was on a hike with the Venture Unit. I usually liked the BBC Sunday Serial versions of Dickens novels, but I was disappointed with the one based on the only one of his novels I read. (I read it for school.) The version shown on ITV in 1991 with Anthony Calf, Anthony Hopkins, Jean Simmons and Ray McAnally was much better.

    The next day (26th October 1981) it was half term and Pebble Mill did a reconstruction of the Gunfight at the OK Corral to mark its centenary.

    I remember The Further Adventures of Lucky Jim. It was a sequel to Kingsley Amis’ novel Lucky Jim which was published in 1954 and adapted into a film (with Ian Carmichael) in 1957. The Further Adventures was set a decade later in 1967, which was then only fifteen years ago. Glynis Barber’s other contribution to tv in 1982 was Jane.

    For some reason when the second series of Fawlty Towers was first shown (in February and March 1979) they only showed the first five episodes, and the last episode was shown at the end of the repeat run in October.

    Did Basil Fawlty die in the last episode of Fawlty Towers? At the end of Basil the Rat we see Basil being dragged across the floor, either dead or unconscious by Manuel, and then there no more episodes. So for all we know he could be dead.

    I have a theory that there’s a missing scene at the end of Basil the Rat where the hotel inspector has another look at the biscuit tin and sees that there is a rat in the biscuit tin and has the hotel closed down. And it never reopened.

    A week later Not the Nine O’Clock News began with the opening titles of Fawlty Towers and then we see Basil Fawlty on the phone explaining to the BBC that they’re not on this week because the health inspectors closed them down and suggests that instead they show a film or a trashy sketch show, and the BBC show a trashy sketch show. Which proves that Basil Fawlty is alive, and backs up my theory about the missing scene. Although the sketch isn’t canon. But you’d better ask Johann Pacelbel to make sure.


  36. Going back to the 1989 series of Alexi Sayle’s Stuff, these days you get all these CGI films where they make animated films that look like live-action, so the opening sketch in the first programme was ahead of its time.

    Forty years ago today Screen Test rather intriguingly showed a clip from Greogory’s Girl. They also showed a clip of the Secret of Nimh, and three films from the Young Film Makers’ Competition. I’m guessing they were either very short films, or more likely that they only showed short extracts. I remember one time one of the films in the animation section was a ghost story film, and they showed the beginning which was live action, but stooped as they got to the animated bit because they thought it was too scary for children.

    Originally it was the Search Young Film Makers’ Competition, but when Search finished Screen Test took it over. (And this probably contributed to people getting John Craven getting mixed up with Michael Rodd.) At the end of Screen Test the presenter asked the viewers a question about one of the films, but when they did Young Film Maker’s Competition he sometimes asked a question about the competition film, which was surely a badge of honour.

    But I probably would have been watching CBTV on ITV. There was a rather run of the mill children’s magazine programme on ITV called Ace Reports. And presumably it wasn’t doing well, because partway through one edition a pirate tv show called CBTV came on. It was initially hosted by Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen and the premise of the show was that they hijacked a tv studio to do a pirate broadcast. Later they got legalized and it wasn’t as good, and Jim and Steve left and it went downhill.

    After BBC2’s repeat of Grange Hill there was a visit to a real comprehensive school in the documentary Kingswood, another chance to see Saturday evening’s programme.

    I think The Discovery of Animal Behaviour was part of the BBC Wildlife Unit’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations. It sounded fascinating but I had to give it a miss as I was studying.


    • As well as Secret of Nimh, Screen Test showed a clip from Lady and the Tramp. In the seventies they only showed a clip from one animated film.


  37. Where were they then? Before they did Gavin and Stacey and Life on Mars, Larry Lamb and Philip Glenister were appearing in the true crime series In Suspicious Circumstances. It was one of Amanda Holden’s first tv appearnces.

    Foggy is one of a few replacement characters in a sitcom who proved more popular than the original. (Arthur English in Are You Being Served was another.) Michael Bates was the only actor that Roy Clarke had in mind when he created Last of the Summer Wine, but it was the Compo, Clegg and Foggy line-up that’s regarded as the classic line-up. (I thought it was Colin Jeavons as the bys conductor, but the conductor and driver were played by Jim Whelan and Peter Wallis.

    Whoever wrote the tv listings in the newspaper cutting should have been a satirist.

    There’d been some changes on BBC1. There was an increase in daytime television, although a lot of it was repeats of evening programmes like Mastermind. Play School got a revamp and was now calle Play School It’s… (In this case Play School It’s Thursday). Nationwide had been dropped after fourteen years and had been replaced by Sixty Minutes.

    One of the most accurate observations made on Not the Nine O’Clock News was when Rowan Atkinson had a rant about tv shows and said that Nationwide was ****. But Sixty Minutes which replaced it was pretty **** as well. Some people have described The One Show as a latter day Nationwide. And I would agree because The One Show is also pretty ****.

    When Biddy Baxter was a guest on either Saturday Supserstore or Going Live someone asked if any presenters had refused to do any items on Blue Peter, She said that Sarah Greene refused to do an item where she would parachute out of a hot air balloon. But on Blue Peter on 27/10/1983 Janet Ellis did a parachute jump from a balloon.

    Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle was the first film in the series with Gordon Scott in the lead role. (His next one, Tarzan and the Lost Safari, was the first Tarzan film in colour.) His co-star was his wife Vera Miles who is best known for playing Laurie Jorgensen in The Searchers and Lila Crane in Psycho.


    • And speaking of Blue Peter, I heard that someone wrote a book with details of what was in each edition of Blue Peter.

      There’s a Top of the Pops Archive website, which says who was on each edition of Top of the Pops, including the missing programmes. If I look up, for example, the programme dated 27/10/2022 I’d find out that they played:

      Destination Zululand bu King Kurt
      All Night Long by Lionel Richie
      007 by Musical Youth
      Union of the Snake by Duran Duran
      The Love Cats by the Cure
      Kissing With Confidence by Will Powers
      Puss in Boots by Adam Ant
      Please Don’t Make Me Cry by UB40
      The number one record Karma Chameleon by Boy George
      Over and Over by Shalamar played over the closing credits

      It would be good to have a website like that for Blue Peter


  38. Where did the picture of Tommy Cooper, Hattie Jacques and Eric Sykes come from. It looks like a sketch show as Tommy are in period costume and Eric isn’t.

    The picture of the Two Ronnies is from their 1982 Christmas Show. Chas and Dave were everywhere. Chas and Dave were guests on Jim Davidson’s Christmas show, Jim Davidson was a guest on Chas and Dave’s Christmas show, and the Two Ronnies did a parody of Chas and Dave on their Christmas show.

    The picture comes from the part of the sketch where it segues into a black and white film sequence set in the 1930s. It was reminiscent of the Courage Best adverts which used their music. There was one advert that used the song Gercha, and a rough animated version of that advert was shown on a BBC series called The Persuaders which looked at marketing and adverting, shown in the summer of 1979.

    And ironically The Persuaders was on when ITV was on strike, so it was the one time you could see adverts on ITV. They also showed a couple of rough animated adverts for the new snack Monster Munch. The first showed a monster in a room with bare floorboards, peeling wallpaper, and a lightbuld, who talked with an Arthur Mullard voice, and the other was the one which was used, the monsters talking in their own language whie a narrator explains that their talking about a new monster snack. The children didn’t like the first one because they said that monsters don’t live in rooms like that. They don’t talk, and if they did they wouldn’t sound like that. But they connected with the other one.

    They showed an advert which you wouldn’t have seen on ITV if there was no strike because cigarette advertising was banned on British tv in 1965. You may remember those Benson and Hedges poster adverts, known colloquially as the Pyramids and all those one. There was one where the fag packet was depicted as a sardine tin floating in a swimming pool. They made a cinema advert based on that poster.

    There was another looking at tv merchandise. One interview was played over the Mr Men episode Mr Chatterbox. There was a bit where a worm asked a question, and we heard the interviewee talking while the sun went down, the moon came up, and the sun came up again. We heard the interviewee talking while Mr Chatterboxes hat got bigger and we heard his voice echo inside the hat.

    They spoke to Michael Bond who was surrounded by Paddington Bear merchandise. He said that the first piece of merchandise was the soft toy, but everything else came out after the tv series. (I’m surprised the BBC have only just got round to doing a series based on Olga da Polga.) They also spoke to Dez Skinn who talked about a new Hulk comic, and he was thinking about doing the Silver Surfer next. In fact the comics legend’s next job was as editor of Doctor Who Weekly.

    I would have seen one edition of The Persuaders on the black and white tv when we were on holiday on the Isle of Wight. On the way to the holiday we were killing time in Portsmouth before it was time to catch the ferry when we saw some yobs having an argument with a traffic warden, and one of them said “Gercha!”.

    Talk about every picture telling a story.


  39. The Daleks Go On Forever is how some people feel about Daleks’ Masterplan.

    If I could go back in time a change three things about Doctor Who I would 1) go to BBC archives and tell them not to wipe any tapes of Doctor Who because they will definitely regret it later, 2) go back to 1984 and sock Michael Grade on the jaw before he takes Doctor Who off the air for eighteen month (and this would also prevent the creation of EastEnders), and 3) I’d rearrange the third William Hartnell series. I’d put The Myth Makers on straight after Galaxy Four, and keep Vicki at the end. Mission to the Unknown would be on the week before the first part of Dalek’s Masterplan with the Doctor, and I’d make Daleks’ Masterplan shorter so it would end the week before Christmas. I’d either have Vicki stay until Polly takes over, or bring in Dodo earlier.

    The tv line-up for 28/10/1984 isn’t very inspiring to be honest. I probably did see Carry On Sergeant that day. The earlier Carry Ons are now the ones that stand up best.

    That was a poignant clip from Dad’s Army. It was a good episode. During the first Gulf War in the early nineties the BBC cancelled an episode of M*A*SH but still showed this episode of Dad’s Army.

    How Green Was My Valley was one of Stanley Baker’s last roles. He was awarded a knighthood a year later, but died before he could attend the ceremony.

    Which show did the clip of Jerry Lewis come from? His appearances on British tv included The Old Grey Whistle Test, and Blue Peter. I hope he still had his Blue Peter badge. He was the last of the big fifties rock n roll stars. He was the same age that Elvis would have been, but he lived more than twice as long.


  40. Oh no! The tv listing is actually the one for Monday the 28th of October 1985, and not Tuesday the 29th. There was slim pickings on tv on both days. The best programme on 29th of October 1985 was Whistle Test with Siouxsie and the Banshees.

    It’s good to see a picture of Jon Pertwee and the Sea Devils. If the Paul McGann tv movie had gone to a series two adventures they should have done where one where the Great Intelligence invades North America and The Sand Demons where the Doctor meets the desert dwelling relations of the Silurians.

    The interview with Patrick Troughton was to tie in with his role as Nicholas Lyndhurst’s grandson in The Two of Us. This was one of his last tv roles and after he died the part was taken over by Tenniel Evans.

    Someone mentioned David Troughton. I saw David Troughton playing a farmer in the film The Levelling, and his father would have been proud of his performance.

    There were two records in 1981 called Happy Birthday. (The other was Stevie Wonder’s tribute to Martin Luther King.) Legs and Co were dancing in the front row (my favourite one is the one in the blue leotard with a shorter hairstyle than the others), and this may have been a clip from an earlier programme as the previous week’s programme was officially Legs and Co’s last Top of the Pops (infamously dancing to The Birdie Song), and the next week’s edition was the first one with Zoo. On their later programmes Legs and Co tended to dance to songs while the band was playing, for example the dressed up as police women to dance to Shut Up by Madness. It was during this time that Prince Charming by Adam and the Ants was at number one, a record that sold because of an inventive video, so dance groups on Top of the Pops were on the way out. What’s the connection between this clip and Crime Traveller?

    When one of my colleagues got married another colleague gave her some advice about the disco at the reception. He said they should start with Anarchy in the UK, then I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and I added “And if the DJ plays The Birdie Song, Agadoo or any of those records, don’t hesitate, stick a knife in his gizzard.”.

    Only When I Laugh and Minder started on the same day. ITV’s belated autumn season had started in dead earnest. A month earlier Peter Bowles appeared on BBC1 on the first edition of Tom the Manor Born. Christopher Strauli’s other main tv role was as Bunny Manders in Raffles with Anthony Valentine as the eponymous title character.

    Your corespondent asked why the patients were in hospital for so long. (And for that matter the character in Duty Free seemed to be on a long holiday.) But you’re forgetting that Dad’s Army and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum ran for more years than the Second World War.

    Who were the act in the still from The Wheeltappers Social Club?


    • The connection between Altered Images and Crime Traveller is that Claire Grogan and Chloe Annett both played Kristine Kochanski in Red Dwarf.


  41. Hattie Jacques was a regular on Tony Hancock’s radio series, but only Sid James joined him on the tv show. So it’s good to see her make a guest appearance here. Kenneth Williams was in the Alpine Holiday episode. Did Bill Kerr ever appear in the Hancock tv series?

    Did Emu appear on that edition of Sez Les? You said that he was borrowing from Robb Wilton. His character in the Cissie and Ada sketches was inspired by music hall comedian Norman Evand who did a series of sketches called Over the Garden Wall. His grave looks like a section of a garden wall.

    The Top of the Pops line-up on 30th October 1986 was:

    Showing Out by Mel and Kim
    Take My Breath Away by Berlin
    To Have and To Hold by Catherine Stock
    Close To You by Gwen Guthrie
    Top 40 Breakers with clips of Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, Ask by the Smiths, and Notorious by Duran Duran
    You Keep Me Hanging On by Kim Wilde
    The number one record Every Loser Wins by Nick Berry
    You’re In the Amy Now by Status Quo

    And after Top of the Pops with Nick Berry from EastEnders it was EastEnders. EastEnders was going through its awful records phase. (The worst was Anyone Can Fall In Love.)

    I knew someone who ran a role playing game which included a quiz section. One of the questions was “Name three members of the Banned.”. The person he asked didn’t know any, and I said “Robbie Robertson.”, but he said it wasn’t the Band, it was the Banned as in banned from the pub. He said their names were Kelvin, Sharon, Ian, Harry, Eddie and Nicksy. I pointed out that his name was Wicksy, and he said “One of the rules of the game is don’t piddle in the soup.” But 1) the answer was wrong, 2) the question was ambiguous as he read it out, and 3) EastEnders was one of the broadcasting disasters of the eighties.

    I agree with guy who wrote the tv listing about The Kenny Everett Show. Kenny Everett said that he wanted to do a sitcom but the BBC insisted on him doing more sketch shows, but the sketch show was looking tired. Whereas Lenny Henry said that he had had enough of sketch shows, even though his last sketch show still looked fresh, and he was allowed to do s series of playlets which were really unfunny, even the one by Ben Elton. He later did a sitcom, the Delbert Wilkins series, which was also not very good.

    The best programme that evening was Girls On Top. It didn’t work as well with only three of the girls, but their characters developed more in the second series.


  42. I’ve not seen The World at War. The BBC repeated it but they put it on a daytime slot on consecutive days making it difficult to follow. I did see the 1964 BBC series The Great War. Although they kept chopping the series up instead of showing it in a single run like they did first time round.

    Thirty-five years ago Live and Kicking had just started. At the time the only bit of the programme I liked was Trevor and Simon’s bits. In early 1992 they fronted a youth programme on BBC2 called 100 Per Cent. And they had a one-off Trev and Simon Summer Special one Saturday evening in the August 1995 which never went to a full series.

    ITV’s alternative was Wide Awake Club (patronizing), No 73, and Top of the Pops carbon copy The Roxy.

    In the evening there was Blockbusters. My Family and other Animals was the first tv adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s book. There was a tv film shown on BBC television in 2005, and more recently there was The Durrells on ITV.

    The Paul Daniels Halloween show was controversial. Some people thought it was in poor taste after the incident on The Late Late Breakfast Show the year before. Ghostwatch was controversial as well. Inside No 9 tried to emulate Ghostwatch with their live Halloween edition, but it wasn’t very successful. Ghostwatch is the one that people talk about years later, in much the same way that there have been many April Fools’ jokes on tv but the one that people still talk about is the first one, the spaghetti hoax on Panorama.

    I probably would have taped Monty Python, and given the Saturday Live compilation a miss. (I don’t know which episode it was.)

    I remember Nigh Network. They showed a lot of old shows like Batman, Captain Scarlet and The Partridge Family.


    • Furthermore, in Biddy Baxter’s memoir Blue Peter: The Inside Story she said that Sarah Greene, who she thought was one of the best presenters the series had, left Blue Peter because she said she wanted to return to acting, and she was disappointed when she got a job presenting another children’s tv show. Sarah Greene said she only did three years on Blue Peter because “The first year is leaning, the second year is consolidating, and the third year is repeating.”. But she spent ten years on Saturday morning tv, four years on Superstore, and six on Going Live (twice as long as she spent on Blue Peter).

      Her most notable acting role was as a Cryon in Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen, and you don’t know which one she was.


  43. The Blue Peter picture was from their Three Bs appeal, where viewers had to send in metal buttons, badges and buckles to raise money for a Blue Peter guide dog. One viewers suggested a fourth B, so viewers called also send in bottle tops. Viewers were asked to vote for a name for the new guide dog. We thought it should have been Be-Be (or Bibi, or something pronounced B B), but they called it Buttons.

    A year later they had an appeal where viewers sent in old clothes to raise money for a pony for disabled riders. We thought it should be called Connie because it was a Connemara Pony, but they called it Rags.

    I didn’t know the Two Ronnies’ Mastermind sketch was originally a sketch on The Burkiss Way. The Burkiss Way broke the same roles on radio that Monty Python did on tv. I remember The Butrkiss Way did a parody of Blankety Blank which was lot funnier on radio than it ever could have been on television.

    That episode of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes was written by Philip Mackie, the grand father of Doctor Who assistant Pearl Mackie. Caroline John played Laura Lyons in The Hound of the Baskervilles with Tom Baker as Sherlock Holmes.

    This week BBC Television is 86 years old. The title sequence to That’s Television Entertainment has dated badly, and the medley of theme tunes is terrible.

    The tv line-up for 1st of November 1988 is not very inspiring. The best thing is Floyd on Britain and Ireland. I watch Colin’s Sandwich, but it’s not a classic.


    • Esther Rantzen’s only contribution to That’s Television Entertainment was singing “We want Muffin playing the fool.”.

      The introductory programme to Festival 77, Thanks For the Memory, they had members of the public talking about their favourite BBC tv programmes from the past twenty-five years, but the fiftieth anniversary programme had tv personalities talking about programme they watched or made. Ronnie Barker was interviewed in his dressing room while doing a country singers sketch for The Two Ronnies, and was wearing a cowboy hat, a long wig and an eye-patch.

      Terry Jones and Michael Palin talked about Monty Python and they showed some clips, finishing off with John Cleese saying “And now for something completely different.”. This cut to Michael Palin singing “We want Muffin. Muffin the Mule.”, Esther Rantzen sang the next line, and Penelope Keith sang the rest and said that she had a Muffin the Mule puppet, and then they showed some clips of Muffin the Mule and other young children’s programmes.

      That’s Television Entertainment did have a whole montage of Doctor Who clips, whereas the Festival 77 programme only showed the mind battle sequence from The Brain of Morbius which was the easiest way to show all four Doctors.

      Both clips ended with Morcambe and Wise. Thanks For the Memory ended with a couple of milkmen reminiscing about Angela Rippon’s guest appearance on The Morcambe and Wise Show the previous Christmas and they showed that clip. That’s Television Entertainment ended with Ernie Wise saying his favourite routine was Singing in the Rain, and they finished with that clip. But in the earlier programme the last clip was almost up to date, and in the later programme it was about a decade old and it felt vaguely anti-climactic.

      And BBC Television’s fiftieth anniversary was something of a damp squib. Of the archive repeats shown during the week the only one I watched with any interest was Jonathan Miller’s excellent version of Alice in Wonderland. I missed Monty Python because it clashed with Girls on Top, and Not Only But Also got dropped.


  44. I remember that episode of Sykes. The telephone gag was surreal, but not as surreal as the bit earlier in the programme where Hattie turned on the tv and the Sykes theme tune came on and she said “I love this programme. People say I look just like her.”

    Some people think there’s a mistake in Remembrance of the Daleks when the tv announcer says that it’s quarter past five and time for the new science fiction series, but it’s still light outside in November. Firstly the story clearly isn’t set in November, and secondly the programme can’t be Doctor Who, because that would be the equivalent of someone in EastEnders watching EastEnders. But when I’ve discussed this matter, I usually mention that episode of Sykes.

    Jimmy Edwards later appeared in a Christmas episode of Sykes as himself.

    I saw the first edition of the second series of The Adventure Game. It would have been the best series if it wasn’t for those dreadful Argond costumes. The only person who correctly guessed that Lesley Judd was the mole, and convinced the rest of the team, was a Rubik’s Cube expert, and the best contestant they ever had. They wrote a message on a Rubik’s Cube and he had to solve the cube so he could read the message. And he was the first person to take the sandwich with him when he crossed the Vortex, and tossed the sandwich onto the space in front of him to see if it was safe.

    The Adventure Game was followed by The Five Faces of Doctor Who (which also ran for five weeks). This was the first time I saw An Unearthly Child. I’ve since got the story on video and it’s one of the stories I watched most often along with Genesis of the Daleks and The Five Doctors.

    When my sister was primary school age one of her friends used to watch The Money Programme with her dad on Sunday evenings. Years later she watched Attack of the Cybermen round our house after my sister’s birthday party. But that’s another story.


  45. The first thing I watched on 2nd of November 1989 would have been Channel 4 Daily. Six years after the race between BBC and ITV to get breakfast tv started first, and all the petty oneupmanship that that involved, Channel 4 came up with the best breakfast tv programme, the thinking man’s breakfast tv.

    Bluebirds was an awful programme. It was repeated on Sunday mornings along with Blue Peter omnibus. A couple of weeks later they replace it with Maid Marian and Her Merry Men.

    The Radio Times for Alexi Sayle’s Stuff reads:

    “Dear Radio Times,

    I am a senior citizen struggling to make ends meet on a small fixed grin, and am unable to get out of the house these days due to the front door being bricked up by Friends of the Earth. As such I watch a great deal of television and take particular exception to Alexei Sayle’s Stuff. If Mr Sayle finds life here so disagreeable, may I suggest he moves to England, where totalitarian government, lack of human rights and a disastrous economy would really give him something to moan about.

    Mrs Martina Kalashnikov,

    Alexei Sayle replies: Who gives a damn what you think?”

    After Alexi Sayle’s Stuff I switched over to BBC1 for the last episode of Blackadder Goes Forth. When Baldrick told Blackadder he had a cunning plan just before they went over the top, and Blackadder said it would have to wait, I had a feeling that this time Baldrick really did have a cunning plan that would have worked.

    And speaking of former Not the Noine O’Clock News stars. I wasn’t really a fan of Not the Nine O’Clock News, and I found some of the sketches in Alas Smith and Jones offensive, but I thought the best thing Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones ever did was Smith and Jones in Small Doses. Only the one series of four programmes were made. They were The Whole Hog by Graeme Garden, the only one I didn’t see, The Boat People by Griff Rhys Jones (in reality Jones was the boating enthusiast and Smith hated boating), this week’s edition Second Thoughts by and Anthony Minghella with Smith and Jones as Sam and Boz, and The Waiting Room by John Mortimer, the only one to feature an additional member of the cast (Deborah Norton as the receptionist).

    The eighties was a great decade for comedy with The Young Ones, Blackadder, Spitting Image, Saturday Live, Happy Families, Girls on Top, Red Dwarf etc.


  46. The picture of Richard Hurndall with the Parrot is from WhoDunnit. You should do an article about WhoDunnit for the website one day. You’ve got a picture of Richard Hurndall in Blake’s Seven which is the role that got him the part of the first Doctor in The Five Doctors, the role for which he’s best remembered. I would like to have seen a picture of him from The Five Doctors, and I think his performance as the Doctor is underrated.

    They showed an episode of Manhunt on TV Heaven in 1992. It starred Peter Barkworth.

    I don’t remember Insight Magazine.

    There was a Bet and a Betty in Coronation Street? You don’t often get two characters with the same name in drama series. There was a pupil and two teachers called Peter in Grange Hill, and three boys called Matthew or Matt, but they weren’t in it at the same time. In the Library episode of Doctor Who two of the expedition party were called Dave.

    Was that Jacqueline Hill in An Age of Kings? I heard that Sean Connery was in the series as Harry Percy. Any chance of a clip?


  47. Audrey Atterbury and Molly Gibson pull the strings
    Gladys Whitred sings the songs
    Peter Hawkins speaks the voices
    Maria Bird writes the songs and music

    I watched Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men.

    Hector Heathcote was a series of cartoon made by Terrytoons, the studio that made Mighty Mouse and Deputy Dawg. They were cheaply made cartoons. I saw a Hector Heathcote cartoon and another short film at the cinema before Porky’s, and it was better than the main feature because Porky’s is the worst film I’ve ever seen.

    Zoo Time with Desmond Morris on ITV finished in time for Animal Magic on BBC1 with Johnny Morris. The latter was the last in the series and was replace with Zoo Challenge.

    The first series of Magic Roundabout was being shown for the first time. Eric Thompson was on that week’s Play School. The Fabulous Fenella Fielding did the Blue Voice in Dougal and the Blue Cat.

    Tony Hancock had long defected to ITV, but the BBC showed a 1959 edition from his BBC series.

    Interestingly Bewitch was first shown on British television at 8.00 in the evening, because I remember when they showed it in the seventies it was on children’s programmes. This was one of the black and white episodes, but Channel 4 have shown the colourised version, which is just wrong.

    I saw Up the Junction in 1993 when BBC2 ran a season of Wednesday Plays and Plays For Today.


  48. Twenty extra channels? No thanks. Especially if they’re owned by Rupert Murdoch. Am I the only person on this website who thinks the Broadcasting Bill of 1989 was a mistake? At the first Cult TV Weekend Victor Pemberton said that six tv channels would be about right, and I would agree. Now I’ve got a colleague who tells me I should get Netflix, but I don’t watch the channels I have got.

    I would disagree with your correspondent about the interview with Biddy Baxter. If Blue Peter didn’t change when she was on it it was because it was a winning formula.

    Her book Blue Peter: The Inside Story is an interesting read. There’s one story where it said that when Blue Peter had competitions they invited the winners to the studio, and paid for their travel expenses, which was fairly inexpensive if it was someone who lived in London, more expensive for someone who lived on a remote Scottish Island. One of the people who supplied the prizes suggested to her in all seriousness that they could save themselves money by only selecting winners from the Home Counties. He barely got out alive.

    Biddy Baxter always had her hair piled up. When she was a guest on Swap Shop the question was “How long is my hair?”.

    The guest storyteller on Play School on 4th of November 1965 was H E Todd reading one of his own stories. Herbert Eaton Todd also appeared on Jackanory reading his Booby Brewster stories, the boy who liked sardine sandwiches and talked to his toothbrush. Some of these were told in front of an audience of school children. That week’s storyteller on Jackanory was Jon Pertwee reading ghost stories for Halloween.

    Manfred Man and Cat Stevens were both guests on both Crackerjack and Ready Steady Go! The latter was also an early tv appearance by Eric Clapton in The Cream.

    And speaking of people who went on to bigger things. The World Tomorrow looked at Ronald Reagan’s bid to become Governor of California. He ran for unsuccessfully Republican Party presidential candidate in 1968, twelve years before he was elected president.


    • Speaking of Jackanory. Someone did tray and do a complete guide to Jackanory on another archive tv website, but they gave up after the first ten years.


  49. The Top of the Pops clip was from the same edition that Zoo made their debut. They danced to Twilight by ELO. I never warned to Zoo. Legs and Co were six individuals and everyone had their favorite (mine was Sue), but Zoo were faceless.

    I passed up a firework party to watch tv that night. (There were no rockets or bangers allowed because the host kept turkeys, so they shouldn’t even be having fireworks in their garden.) I also watched Russell Hart’s programme where his guests included a direct descendant of Guy Fawkes.

    The Return of the Saint was clearly borrowing from Strangers on a Train. Carolyn Seymour was a guest at the first Cult TV Weekend. My favourite bit of Return of the Saint was the title sequence with the animated stick man. They one had a quiz on The Generation Game where contestants had to name the creators of fictitious detectives, and the pictures were cartoons of Bruce Forsyth dressed as the detectives except for the Saint who was a stick man with a halo in the position Bruce did at the beginning of the show.

    I studied Macbeth at school. The BBC Shakespeare series started around that time but they didn’t do the plays in any particular order. (We did got the the theatre to say Macbeth which out teacher said was the second best version of Macbeth that he’s seen, and it was the best version of any Shakesprea play I’ve seen.) Long after the English Literature course, the BBC showed their version of Macbeth on the 5th of November 1983. And I didn’t realize it was on an only caught the end. Nicol Williamson played Macbeth.

    I always remember Sooty being on ITV, but he started on BBC. He moved to the other side in 1968 when we got or first tv. Jeff Smart who worked on the later Sooty shows was a guest at Cult TV Weekend 2000 where he gave a talk on his work with Sooty, as well as a talk on Gerry Anderson.

    Call My Bluff was in colour but Captain Scarlet, my favourite Gerry Anderson show, was originally shown in black and white. I watched the whole series when BBC2 showed it in 1993-94 and again in the 2000s. I watched The Prisoner when Channel 4 showed it in 1992-93, the only time I did see it apart from single episode, The Girl Who Was Death, which they showed on TV Heaven.

    Who drew the caricature of Tommy Cooper?

    No Brownie team points for guessing which eighties pop group the goodnight clip reminded me of.


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