Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The first cuts are the deepest

Early warning - the BBC4 schedule lists tomorrow's repeat as being half an hour long. Now, according to our list there were twelve acts who performed or were shown in this episode, seven in the studio and two with Pan's People, and while a little judicious cutting wouldn't see them all have to miss out (we don't know for sure how long the original was, but if last week's was forty minutes...) the official blurb only names six. Clearly there should be plenty still in it for the discerning, but ironically for a show hosted by Dave Lee Travis it seems changes are being made here which go against their principles.

7 comments:

FishyFish said...

I'd always assumed that, apart from Christmas, they were all 30 minutes in length, so was a little puzzled by last week's 40 minute extravaganza. I hope they aren't cutting them to fit a neat timeslot though - part of the joy of these repeats is seeing the whole thing, warts 'n all.

Digiguide lists the next four as 30 minutes long in the schedules.

Steve Williams said...

I said this in Creamguide but I assumed the first repeat was a longer show edited to half an hour, but it was just clunky seventies editing. The length of Pops did vary wildly depending on what else was on BBC1 that night, it was a great way to fill awkward gaps, and it could be anything from 30 to 45 minutes. However I do think one of the reasons for alighting on 1976 is that a lot of the shows that year are indeed half an hour, in fact from September I think they all are until Christmas, such was the packed BBC1 schedule that autumn.

Anonymous said...

You will definitely be asking "where is Beatles band?" tonight then as they were among the omissions along with the Three Degrees and Silver Convention.

Neil Barker.

Gordon said...

The BFI database list the 15/04/76 episode as being 40 minutes long, here:

http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/662131?view=transmission

- so, yes, BBC4 are seemingly prepared to edit. Even though the 08/04/76 show was transmitted at 40 minutes.

Simon said...

Ta for that. A look through the next few weeks reveals the show length continues for a while at 40 minutes, then 27th May (including Twitter bait the Wurzels and Ruby Flipper's bravura effort at Bowie's TVC15) is 35 minutes, then a week at a straight half-hour, then back to 40 minutes for a couple of weeks, and on 24th June the full three quarters of an hour. Logical scheduling was clearly an overlooked art in 1976.

The Man said...

The 1970s were so loose in terms of scheduling. There was hardly the "stripped and stranded" schedules we get today, although its interesting that some programmes of the time were allowed greater leeway than others. Contrast the episode lengths of Dennis Potter's 70s and 80s classics 'Pennies from Heaven' and 'The Singing Detective'. The former wildly varied in length, anything from 50 mins to 90, whereas TSD was 60 min on the money every week.

Gordon said...

By the time of The Singing Detective the department that commissioned such things was called Series and Serials, but Pennies Form Heaven was a product of the Plays department, and as such was commissioned (and indeed billed in Radio Times) as 'Six plays with Music'. In the 1970s serious writers didn't do serials (serials were just thrillers or adaptations), they wrote one-offs. Consequently timeslots were quite fluid.