Back to May 1986 (18th May 1986)

Peak time BBC1 repeats of Hancock’s Half Hour (or, strictly speaking, Hancock) are almost impossible to credit now (or indeed, even just an off-peak BBC4 slot). Although some channels (Talking Pictures TV, say) are content to play monochrome material, there’s still a wide assumption that “the masses” just wouldn’t accept it.

But back in the eighties I don’t recall any particular revulsion against these HHH re-runs. Although that’s possibly because back then colour television was still a relative novelty. It might have been introduced in the UK during the late sixties and early seventies, but many would have stayed with black and white until later in the 1970’s (or possibly even into the 1980’s).

Anyway, tonight’s episode, The Radio Ham, is a must watch. I’ll have my tray of bread pudding and the results of the Daily Herald brass competition to hand ….

When rifling through these schedules it’s very noticeable how many repeats there were in primetime. Along with Tony Hancock, there’s another chance to see the second and final episode of Miss MarpleThe Moving Finger. This is a swifter re-run than the Lad’s effort though (originally broadcast in February 1985).

The Moving Finger might not be Christie’s most baffling mystery, but it’s always been a favourite of mine. Julia Jones’ adaptation treats the source material with respect – she makes changes along the way (Miss Marple, for example, only made a fleeting appearance in the original novel) but Christie’s voice remains clear. Some recent writers who have tackled the Dame’s work and twisted it almost out of recognition, should take note …

And with direction from Roy Boulting and an excellent cast (Michael Culver, Richard Pearson, Sabina Franklyn, Hilary Mason and John Arnatt) you can’t really go wrong.