Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Put yourself in the picture: TV

So what accompanied TOTP on BBC1 Thursday nights in September 1976? Well, with all specific listings corresponding to the 30th (for which the corresponding show won't be on until mid-October, but never mind)...

3.55 PLAY SCHOOL
Presenters FLOELLA BENJAMIN, JOHNNY BALL and JON GLOVER
4.20 ASTRONUT
More adventures of space traveller Astronut and his earthbound pal Oscar
4.25 JACKANORY
With MICHAEL JAYSTON
Princess Spindrift by SHEILA MACDONALD
4.40 BLUE PETER
with JOHN NOAKES, PETER PURVES, LESLEY JUDD
From Blue Peter: Inside The Archives, a complete and comprehensive BP episode guide compiled by former editor Richard Marson published in 2008 and just about still in publication, we know that the series started on the 13th with 'JOHN ON CRUTCHES AFTER GO WITH NOAKES FILMING MISHAP', on Thursday 16th 'WATER SAVING TIPS' (well, it was 1976) sat uneasily alongside 'WOMBLES WEATHER MACHINE + PA "RAINMAKER"', by Monday 27th they were on to 'BBC TEA LEAVES FROM CANTEEN FOR COMPOST', and the 30th offered 'SUB LOO AND PERISCOPE' and 'PENGE JUNIOR LATIN GIRLS TEAM'.
5.5 JOHN CRAVEN'S NEWSROUND
5.10 THE ODDBALL COUPLE

Elegant Spiffy and Messy Fleabag have nothing in common except a habit of falling into the same kind of trouble.
5.35 NOAH AND NELLY
in SklArk
Told by RICHARD BRIERS and PETER HAWKINS
5.40 EVENING NEWS
with KENNETH KENDALL
5.55 NATIONWIDE
The scene Nationwide co-ordinated this week by MICHAEL BARRATT, FRANK BOUGH, DILYS MORGAN, VALERIE SINGLETON and BOB WELLINGS
6.45 TOMORROW'S EUROPE
from the Royal School of Artillery, Larkhill. RAYMOND BAXTER, WILLIAM WOOLLARD, MICHAEL RODD and JUDITH HANN look at the prospects for European collaboration on weapons for the rest of the 20th century. Will European countries pull together to achieve more punch per pound, or wore separately to win the battle for lucrative arms exports in a European tug of war? If you were a Middle East defence minister, would you buy British or French missiles? German or British submarines? A German-Italian-British field gun? Or simply buy American?
(This series began on September 16th, preceded by Bellamy's New World)
7.10 TOP OF THE POPS
Introduced by DAVE LEE TRAVIS
TOP OF THE POPS ORCHESTRA
RUBY FLIPPER (though this was their last showing in the six-strong lineup)
Musical Director JOHNNY PEARSON; Choreography FLICK COLBY; Sound KEITH GUNN; Associate Producer PHIL BISHOP; Producer BRIAN WHITEHOUSE
7.40 HAPPY EVER AFTER
Starring TERRY SCOTT and JUNE WHITFIELD
Mistaken identity can lead to all sorts of problems, especially if you're Terry.
8.10 KOJAK
Another episode starring TELLY SAVALAS as Police Lieutenant Theo Kojak, a tough cop with a tough job in a tough town - New York.
9.0 NINE O'CLOCK NEWS
with KENNETH KENDALL
9.25 SAILOR
A frank account of life on the ocean waves in one of Her Majesty's ships. A series of ten programmes.
9.55 GANGSTERS
A series of six programmes by PHILIP MARTIN with AHMEA KHALIL, ELIZABETH CASSIDY, PAUL ANTRIM, PAUL BARBER, ALIBE
PARSONS, SAEED JAFFREY and MAURICE COLBOURNE as John Kline
Incident 4 - On the top of a modern skyscraper block, there is a general falling out of friends. Can John Kline avoid execution at the hands of three gunman? What is the extent of his partner Dermot Macavoy's treachery?
10.45 TONIGHT
with its nightly look at some of the people and topics that provoke, entertain, worry or interest us. DENIS TUOHY is in the Tonight studio and Tonight's reporters are out and about at home and abroad.
The Day Debate: ROBIN DAY examines an important topical issue with the people involved.
11.25-11.29 WEATHER
JACK SCOTT with prospects for this weekend and October

Meanwhile, BBC2 has Play School and the Labour Party Conference, then Open University between five and seven, and then...

7.10 TAKE ANOTHER LOOK
at The Beginning of Life
Throughout the animal kingdom, the creation of new life from an egg and a sperm is a both beautiful and mysterious process. Narrator ERIC THOMPSON
7.30 NEWSDAY
Presented by MICHAEL CHARLTON and CHARLES WHEELER, including every Thursday UK REPORT from BBC news correspondents in Britain, with ROBIN DAY at the Labour Party Conference. Newsreader PETER WOODS.
8.5 DIARY OF A VILLAGE
One year in Heddington, Wiltshire. A documentary serial in eight parts.
8.35 FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The new monthly edition of THE BOOK PROGRAMME in which guest critics review a selection of the month's top titles in conversation with ROBERT ROBINSON. This month's critics are RICHARD HOGGART, GERMAINE GREER and MICHAEL BILLINGTON
9.0 THE HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL: OKLAHOMA!
11.15 LATE NEWS ON 2
11.25-11.30 CLOSEDOWN

MARTIN MUNCASTER reads THE UNKNOWN CITIZEN by WH AUDEN

9 comments:

Arthur Nibble said...

Hmm, let's see, what shall we watch at 7.10? The creation of new life from an egg and a sperm on BBC2, or TOTP on BBC1? Tough choice!

wilberforce said...

a couple of things of interest to me here: i wonder if the tome read on jackanory relates to shelagh mcdonald, who was the "female syd barrett" and also rumoured to have written children's books?

the other thing i note (that seems unbelievable now) is that both channels closed down before midnight and one ended with some guy reading a poem! this reminds me of the "epilogues" that were screened in those days (apparently at the insistence of the state) carrying a religious and/or moralistic message to give us something else to think about when tucked up in bed counting sheep...
out of sheer fascination (and also because i didn't want to turn in!) i used to watch the TVS pre-closedown show "company" in the early eighties, where a disparate bunch of do-gooder types would sit around a kitchen table sipping mugs of cocoa, ostensibly chatting about mundane everyday things in a semi-improvised/ad-hoc manner before inevitably steering the conversation around to a religious angle - i've managed to dig up one such edition on youtube (btw, guy on the right: nice mullet!):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD9UC3Q_EB0
even more incredibly, the channels available back then used to play the national anthem at closedown! maybe they did it to get the blue-rinse brigade to stand up in pavlovian response so they would then remember to turn the set off (no remotes then) rather than just carry on snoozing in their easy chairs ha ha! but if that didn't do the trick then the white noise that followed usually would! (don't forget if you didn't switch your telly off it would be likely to blow up or catch fire...)

Arthur Nibble said...

I think the reason for the early closedowns is that the television technicians' unions held a very strong hand back then (hence all the strikes in the 1960's and 70's), and the telly companies were obliged to pay overtime even if the programmes overran by one second - overtime usually kicked in somewhere around midnight or 12.15.

BBC amd nearly all the ITV stations played the National Anthem at closedown in those days. One highly notable exception was Granada, due to the religious and political persuasion of its founders the Bernstein brothers, and their refusal to end the evening as expected caused a bit of a brouhaha at the time.

Zaphod Camden said...

As far as I'm aware neither the epilogue nor the national anthem was required by "the state" (and indeed, as Arthur said above, Granada didn't do the anthem, and nor did BBC-2) It was just seen as "the right thing to do" back in the 1950s and took rather a long time to die out. Always preferred the BBC-2 closedowns personally, a little poetry and then, if you were lucky, a little light music before the doors were closed.

The BBC late shift apparently ended at 00.15 and indeed, one second over that time and everyone still working got to claim overtime. There's a closedown kicking around YouTube somewhere where they're clearly rushing like buggery trying to get off the air by 00.15 and managed with just a couple of seconds to spare.

Mind you, 00.15 was a luxury for those who remember the enforced 22.30 closedown on ALL three channels during the 3-day week which would still have been quite a vivid memory in 1976…

Arthur Nibble said...

Marvellous! I've found that rushed BBC1 closedown....

http://www.tv-ark.org.uk/mivana/mediaplayer.php?id=1a06e30eb4705b5a9567680ad76ed92d&media=bbc1_closedown_1981&type=mp4

The Man said...

I think they should bring back the closedown...

wilberforce said...

i got the lowdown on the history of religious programmes on the telly from this interesting site... as for the national anthem, although it may not have been mandatory i also have a vague recollection of it also being played at the end of events in cinemas, theatres and suchlike (where of course everyone was expected to stand to attention)...

in my case, the playing of the anthem at closedown acted as a massive incentive to get off my backside and switch the telly off just so i didn't have to listen to it! apart from being at odds with the lyrical sentiment, it's also a dreary dirge to boot... i'm always envious of the likes of the americans, french and italians when theirs are played at sporting events - why can't we have something a bit more uplifting like they do? (actually, we have unofficially - it's called "land of hope and glory"...)

Arthur Nibble said...

I can never understand why, before sporting contests, Scotland and Wales sing their own country's anthems for example, yet England use 'God Save The Queen' instead of the English anthem of 'Land of Hope and Glory'.

I'm also puzzled by the name of our Olympics team - it's called Great Britain, but the team includes athletes from Northern Ireland (which I don't think is part of GB), so should the team actually be called either Great Britain and Northern Ireland or United Kingdom?

wilberforce said...

yes arthur i agree - unless it is actually the UK being represented, then england should have its own national anthem just like the scots, welsh, etc...

the olympics team IS actually referred to as great britain and northern ireland, the reason apparently being that our island is known as great britain, which of course nothern ireland is not part of, being on the island of ireland (although confusingly both GB and ireland are known as "the british isles")... it still seems absurd though that a very small part of our country gets a separate mention, and as such in my opinion we should be known as the united kingdom in sports as in other matters... perhaps to end all the confusion we should henceforth be known as "the united kingdom of britain" (well at least until such time the royals are kicked out!) - either that or maybe as macca mooted a while back: "give ireland back to the irish" ha ha...

another absurd anomaly is that us brits insist on breaking down our "unified" country into subdivisions for some sporting events (football, rugby union, commonwealth games, etc) but not others (olympics, tennis, etc)!