Tuesday, 24 March 2015

I Didn't Know There Was So Much in it: A Week to View from TV Times' Past - March 20th to March 26th 1976

Once again, we delve into the past to take look at what was on the commercial channel in this week, this time in 1976. As winter turns into spring and British Summer Time comes amongst the schedules, what was gracing the cover of this edition of the TV Times? 

Brenda Arnau was Benny Hill's guest on his Wednesday night show, but further down the cover is Benny exploring her navel. Yes, even on the cover, the chance for a Benny Hill joke looms large. But also looming large is a feature on the Royal Film Performance screened by ITV this week and the film itself has an ITV link to itself, with it being the David Frost produced 'The Slipper and The Rose'. The Cinderella story told through live action, little did they know nearly forty years that Disney would be trying the same thing.

The TV Times interviews the stars of the movie Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven, even grabbing a word with Annette Crosbie along the way. Showing that even just the appearance of the Royals at the opening of a film a big event for television and no less great promotion for the movie itself. 

From a Princess to a Cockney Sparrer, with a feature on George Innes reflecting on his new found fame and his route from Spitalfields Market to starring in a movie with Michael Caine and meeting his wife whilst filming the movie. Innes was starring in The Molly Wopsies on Wednesday nights and on Friday afternoon with Ray Burdis and Phil Daniels in Four Idle Hands. With musing that his American wife wants to move back to the United States and moving to either the west coast or New York, subsiquently he has starred in many movies and television programmes on both sides of the Atlantic including Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and also Sweeney 2 as well. Which could be could be said to be two films as different as they come.

One man from America and had become a hit on this side of the pond was Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar Man and with a contract to make the show almost as big was shown relaxing away from filming, no doubt trying not to shake the champagne with his bionic arm. 

Making you feel more then Six Million Dollars, Sanatogen offers some tonic wine, seemingly the only wine to cure your hangover. But seemingly just wine which won't get you drunk, though it'll keep coughs and sneezes away. If you have ever had any of this wine, why not drop us a line to tell us what its like and if we should go out and put it in a dusty cupboard, leaving it there.

But after all that partying and glamour comes this week's listings starting on Saturday and this being the Yorkshire edition of the TV Times, it seems natural after Catch '76 about sharks, Parents' Day about school and The Man from U.N.C.L.E, sadly not about Uncles comes The Geordie Scene as Tyne Tees' City Road rocks to the sound of Procul Harum. 

So what did World of Sport offer on the 20th March 1976? The ITV Seven had meetings from both Lingfield Park and Newcastle on one of the last National Hunt horseracing meetings for their season, with the Flat racing season just about start. However, who better to show what the programme's main event was on that day then host Dickie Davies.

The trophy he is holding is for the Unicorn World Darts Championships, a whole two years before the Embassy championship and with the difference being in this competition that pairs of players competed in teams from the UK and Ireland against the best players from overseas. With success of darts tournaments being covered by World of Sport during this period, helped to grow the game overall. Though as we'll later this wasn't the only darting action during this week.

Later on Saturday night, there was a chance to see some new faces to television with Derek Hobson in 'New Faces', on the panel this week was comedians Ted Ray and Jimmy Hanley, also Tony Hatch fast becoming the hatchet man of the show for his sharp tongued judgement of the acts plus radio presenter and musician George Elrick making up the panel. Those performing included Whisky Mac, a five-piece group from Westcliff-on-Sea, Jack Lille, a comedian from Torquay. Plus singer Louise Berry, Ivan Richards playing his harmonica, Blackpool's Tony Andrews singing, David James of Bromsgrove doing impressions and to round off all the acts, Burnt Orange, another five-piece group from East London. Quite a packed programme, I'm sure you'll agree.

Bob Monkhouse and the big box game returns at 6.30pm, including this week Arthur Mullard, Vince Hill, Irene Handl, Tony Blackburn, Roy Castle, Cyril Fletcher, Mike Reid, Barbara Windsor and as usual in the centre square, Willie Rushton and all embellished with Kenny Everett's voiceover.

At 7.15pm LWT asks, Now Who Do You Do? The fast paced impressions series including an early appearance by Little and Large as well as established performers such as Peter Goodwright, Janet Brown and Roger Kitter. Since 1972, the show had been a launching pad for impressionists and its its final series, this was the fifth show in a run of fourteen programmes stretching through to late May. Though the show itself was to have a huge influence on later impressionist shows in the 1980's such as Go For It and Copycats, both made by LWT.

After the big Saturday film, The Catcher, more classic drama with The Best of Upstairs, Downstairs. The show which helped the ailing LWT back at the start of the decade, proved even five years on from its opening episode, that the programme could still feature as Saturday night entertainment, claiming massive audience figures even for a repeat showing. Though drama in the Saturday night schedules, were a key to keeping viewers hooked and after The International Pop Proms at 11.15, The Collaborators brings police drama to the evening's end as Detective Sergeant Brewer and Dr Erickson get dragged into the world of voodoo by the case of a missing woman. So from faces with are new to voodoo, that is Saturday's schedule.

Sunday starts off on a religious mood with recorded coverage of the installation of Liverpool's new archbishop at 9.30am followed that morning's Morning Worship from Barry in Glamorgan, but literally floating other people's boats is an edition of Plain Sailing, this week looking at the Royal Yachting Association's new scheme for those wishing to plan a foreign cruise holiday.

From on the water, back to the land is Farming Diary at 11.30am followed by events of state introduced by Peter Jay and Mary Holland in Weekend World at midday. Meanwhile Brian Trueman has A House for the Future before Austin Mitchell, soon to become the MP for Greater Grimsby and Richard Whiteley introduce the latest local political news and views with Calender Sunday. 

After all that politicking, it must have been a relief to have Football Special at five past two, this week featuring Sheffield United versus Ipswich, with the away team coming out on top two goals to one. At 3pm, the Sunday Cinema featured Richard Todd in 'Death Drums Along the River' and afterwards The World at War looked at the bombing raids of between 1939 and 1944. All cheery stuff, it seems. The teatime drama slot at 5.35pm is filled by Yorkshire's own drama Dominic, with the god slot having Keith Macklin again asking the question in The Sunday Quiz, Open Pulpit exploring the current issues and after an appeal by Gordon Jackson, Fred Dinenage invites viewers to Start the Day at 7pm. His series, looking for new hymns for school assembly all across the land.

Lightening the mood is the Sunday evening film starring Stanley Baker, Ursula Andress and David Warner in Perfect Friday with Yes, Honestly providing some welcome comedy at 9.15pm. The Sunday play is A Land of Ice Cream looking at socialism in Wales and what it has come to mean in a modern society and finally at 11pm is an edition of The Street of San Francisco with Karl Malden and Michael Douglas fighting crimme on the aforementioned streets.

The new week on Monday brings programmes for School and Colleges during the morning with the daytime programmes starting with Issi Noho and Mr Trimble for younger viewers with The Way We Live, offering the viewers what they think that children will be living like in the future at 12.30pm. A bit heavy going for lunchtime, it seems and added with First Report at 1pm and the Calender News at 1.20pm, the relief of The Mary Tyler Moore show at 1.30 seems like a break from serious subjects with Mary in this episode backing Lou Grant's ambition of owning a bar.

Breaking away from the daytime schedule for a second, Evo-Stick has a performing seal, when you actually look at their advert, is not as exciting as it sounds. Only bathroom tile enjoyment here rather then any animal balancing a ball on the end of its nose. But thrill at the many colour the product comes in, if you want orange in their range, then forget it.

Back to Monday afternoon and after Good Afternoon with Judith Chalmers at 2pm come another film. The Falcon in Hollywood has the Falcon, funny enough solving a crime on a Hollywood film set, seemingly reducing costs right down. With a cartoon at ten to four, for all the drama Hollywood and The Falcon can offer, then from the Midlands comes General Hospital including later to be Crossroads' Tony Adams as Dr. Bywaters trying to find out the identity of an abandoned baby.

From one drama to the filming of another as Chris Kelly and Clapperboard at 4.25pm looks at the making of the movie Hindenburg and the story of the airship as well. At ten to five comes, The Kids at 47a with this week's episode 'Son of Love Story' written by Gail Renard looking at love between the characters within the programme. 

Monday brings a visit to Emmerdale Farm at 5.20pm followed by the news nationally and locally as well. The evening's entertainment starts with Hughie Green and Opportunity Knock and a illustration which could be said of its time. 

The show itself this week having Sir Bernard Delfont choosing his favourite six acts from the previous programmes in the series and the previous week's winner with them going onto Blackpool and Sir Bernard's show at the North Pier. After those surprises and the usual Monday visit to Coronation Street comes John Junkin, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Barry Cryer who celebrates his 80th birthday during this week in 2015. They are all together for Yorkshire's Hello Cheeky at 8pm, bringing their unique senses of humour to the screen. After that frivolity has World in Action at 8.30pm and Angie Dickinson in Police Woman at 9pm.

Tuesday highlights includes Mr and Mrs with Derek Batey at 1.30pm, Good Afternoon at two, Crown Court at 2.30pm, drama with Village Hall and another trip to General Hospital at 3.30pm. Later in the evening, after the film Dear Brigitte comes another edition of Rock Follies. The series, which was one of the breakthroughs for ITV during 1976, charting an all female rock group through their up and downs of trying to make it in the pop industry.

This week's episode involves the girls signing to a new manager and having regrets when he changes their image from feisty Rock chicks to 1920's style cabaret singers, turning away they fan base which had built up for them.

Via its style including musical numbers as well as the plot, feeling more like a musical, this helped Rock Follies win the BAFTA award for Best Drama and nominations for Julie Covington as best actress, the designers for best design, plus off the back of its success also a number one album.

Wednesday afternoon has Steve Race introducing There Goes That Song Again from Thames, appearing in the programme this week are Anita Harris and Rosemary Squires, this musical quiz tested knowledge of two teams. After General Hospital at 3.55pm, more questions are asked by the How team, as Jack Hargreaves finds out how you do the dustman's handshake, Bunty tells the tale of how a walk in the woods inspired a great invention and Jon Miller takes a television camera down a narrow drain. Where Fred Dinenage fitted into all this, there's no record of this. But seeing there maybe drains involved, Fred maybe in the sewers underneath the Southern studios or nearby.

4.50pm is the time for George Innes' first onscreen appearance this week in The Molly Wopsies as P.C. Berry is pleased when the Molly Wopsy gang are invited to the Harvest festival, but soon the church service turned into chaos and the P.C. has to take the blame.

When Calender and the ITN news has made their early evening appearances, comes a trip to the Crossroads motel at 6.35pm. Wednesday night means, Eamonn Andrews and his big red book in This is Your Life, where the surprise guest on this occasion was England footballer Alan Mullery surprised by Eamonn during a friendly game between his side Fulham and a team of schoolchildren from local school. 

With Coronation Street at 7.30pm and Man About the House at 8pm, the main evening's entertainment has an hour with Benny Hill at eight-thirty with his special guest, that week's TV Times cover star Brenda Arnau. Amongst her voice are sketches spoofing Murder on the Orient Express, turned into Murder on the Oregon Express including Frank Cannon, Ironside and Kojak trying to solve a murder and also Fanee and Jonee Claddock taking off that well known wife and husband cookery double act and the chance for Bob Todd do his drunken man impression.

Though in something that Benny Hill would be proud of himself, the News at Ten is on at 9.30pm, allowing for highlights of the Welsh FA centenary football match between Wales and England at 10 O'Clock. After The Royal Film Performance, at 11.30pm, there's another midweek session of Professional Wrestling from the Lewisham Town Hall featuring Steve Grey and Kendo Nagasaki.

Thursday afternoon starts off where last night left off, with more sporting action, as ITV launches the Flat Racing season from Doncaster with the first of three days of action from there with the annual Lincoln Handicap meeting. But in all the racing there is the chance to catch up with some of the fashions that the race-goers are wearing as TV Times' Fashion Editor Jill Whiffing looks at that. How much the average viewer tuning for the racing and to see if their ITV Yankee would come off, thought of this edition to the racing team, I do not know.

From the thoroughbreds at Doncaster, come the athletes from The Indoor League and their Champion of Champions competition at 5.20 with the strongest arm wrestlers all around the country and beyond. Later at 7pm, someone who would give them a fair run for their money appeared as the latest adventure for Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man donned a policeman's uniform to partner a police officer who suspects a group of stealing atomic components, but when Steve's new partner starts to have health issues. this arouses his suspicions.

Something, a bit more down to earth at 8pm with Sid James and Bless This House, when Sid Abbott hears strange noises from next door, he calls the police to help out but soon he gets more then he bargains for. After Clayhanger at 8.30, comes this week's edition of This Week with after News at Ten an edition of Emmerdale Farm with Police Surgeon wrapping up the night at 11.25pm.

Starting the weekend on Friday at 7pm is Nicholas Parsons and Sale of the Century with John Benson announcing the prizes as usual. After a quick cartoon at 7.35 is Bill Bixby in his pre-turning green days appearing as The Magician. The series which had become a huge success, saw Bixby appearing as Anthony Dorian, the magic man who fools the criminals and the tricksters. 

At 9pm, Gerald Harper as Hadleigh tries to sort out his family issues with his wife, Jennifer in New York and his god-daughter Joanna going off the rails, after News at Ten with Fred Dinenage and Keith Macklin make their third appearances of the week, this time preview the weekend's sport in the Yorkshire area in Calender Sport. The late film at 10.45 features Stephen Boyd and Elke Sommer in The Oscar, focusing on an Oscar night and the protagonists remembering what got them to where they are today. 

So an action packed week between March 20th and March 26th 1976, with strong men, even stronger women, laughs galore from some of ITV's finest ever sitcoms, a chance to bet on the horses or check out the fashions and finally, the chance in a TV Times competition to win the TV Times Adventure Wagon. 

Which appears to be a painted Ford Transit van and who wouldn't want that parked up outside their house.

Join us next time for another look into the TV Times archive to see what we watched and what other treats it can offer us. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

I Didn't Know There Was So Much in it - March 11th to March 17th 1967

Welcome back, our second look back at TV Times' past, this week takes us to this week in 1967. A place with three channels and still with all the original ITV companies, thus ABC rule the North and Midlands at weekends and ATV are London's weekend television with the might of Granada for the North and Rediffusion London, naturally enough in London. 

So what was gracing the cover of the TV Times this week then? 

It's Michael Miles, the host of Take Your Pick. This was not uncommon for one of ITV's biggest stars to be on the cover of TV Times, however there was a special reason for it and that reason being the bridge behind him in that picture. This week, Take Your Pick was going to Australia for a special show filmed in front of an Australian audience and with Australian contestants. Which at this time for a show to go to the other side of the world to film an episode was unheard of, especially with satellite television in its infancy. Rediffusion took the show to Sydney, where most of the audience were ex-pats, however thirty years before this, Miles himself had gone to Australia to establish himself in show business there. 

As such with this being a special edition, the sheer numbers of people wanting tickets was into the thousands and the production staff had to whittle that number down to 450 who were invited into the audience to see the show take place.

Meanwhile, the magazine reflects on just over forty years of Elstree Film Studios existence with an article about the productions which had been made their both for film and television, including the numerous television programmes which had been made upto that point by ATV. 

On the other end of the scale comes the chance to collect another set of six pictures for the colour Coronation Street album featuring Peter Adamson holding a pint as Len Fairclough, Eileen Derbyshire as Miss Nugent, Valerie and Ken Barlow featuring a very smiley Anne Reid and a even more smiley William Roache, Sandra Gough as Irima Barlow showing some leg, the Queen of the Rovers Return Annie Walker (Doris Speed) looking regal and Phillip Lawrie as Dennis Tanner, no doubt plotting something. This being the second chance to collect a set of pictures, then all the Weatherfield regulars would be in the other five sets of photographs to collect on a weekly basis. 

With this being 1967 and the Summer of Love coming, naturally in the summer. Marley somehow make a simple advert for linoleum flooring seem like talking down to women or as they put it 'Get Off Your Knees!' Which even as a joke about women scrubbing floors, seems a bit off in style and humour even back then. 

So onto the programmes, with Saturday 11th March. In a land where restricted broadcasting hours are still in place, Saturday starts off at a leisurely pace, that's if you call learning Russian leisurely. So at 12.35pm you can 'Say It in Russian', but after fifty-seven lessons of which this is the fifty-seventh one. I'm sure by then your could write a whole novel in Russian and there is no indication of how many lessons were left either. Though think that was hard, another lunchtime treat is First Steps in Physics, today the 22nd lesson about Magnetism. But in 1967, adult education, rarely seen nowadays on television, was a staple of the weekend schedules. This being because most people were at home at the weekend and it was also a further education aid to those already taking the subjects and an introduce to those wanting to learn them.

After the first news bulletin of the day from ITN at 1.20pm, then comes World of Sport introduced by Eamonn Andrews. For all the sensible sports in this edition, Racing and Rallycross. There comes a sport, which I don't think has seen the light of day on television ever since and that sport is Roller Derby. So the Australian Thunderbirds take on the Detroit Devils in this exciting contest, whether this was brought in from another television station or if this was staged in the UK, I do not know at all. However, this being World of Sport and knowing some of the thing that they would put on in later years, this seems sensible compared to them. 

As a separate programme, comes the more sensible sport of wrestling at 4pm with visit back to the World of Sport studio at 5pm for all the day's results from on horseback, on the football pitch or anything else which takes your fancy. 

From that comes Just Jimmy with Jimmy Clitheroe and Mollie Sugden at 5.15, this week when Jimmy tries to invent a brother for himself, but after the news at 5.40pm comes another Dynamic Duo with Batman and Robin, the Saturday night early evening imports seemingly making an impact for ITV even back then. With this week's episode 'Catwoman goes to College', making me wonder if she's taking the Russian course or the Physics course instead? So lots of daring do from the caped crusader there, but another hero of kinds comes along after them at 6.20pm, when Ken Dodd opens his Music Box featuring this week guests including The Hollies, Johnny Hackett and Barbara Law, not forgetting Bob Sharples and the ABC Showband plus the Mike Sammes Singers as well.

Doddy seemingly cramming a lot into his music box there, after high drama with The High Terrace featuring Lois Maxwell at 7pm, there comes then Charlie Drake in Who is Sylvia? If the question is Who is Sylvia? Is the answer, then Who is Mr Drake? Plus with a title of 'The Man from C.L.U.N.K., somewhat of a spying theme maybe going on in this episode. 

After that at ten past nine, the real secret agents come along as John Steed and Emma Peel find 'The Correct Way to Kill' as Steed changes partners and Mrs Peel joins the enemy and all wrapped in 55 minutes as well, again like last week Peter Vaughan features in one of the week's leading dramas at five past ten in The Happy Sacking, but the story is not as jolly as it sounds. With Vaughan starring as Elmo Frankfurter trying to train up Dug Whitby, played by Jim Norton in the art of how to win at business.

Then Honor Blackman is asked what she would put in The Magic Box of her favourite things by Kenneth Robinson at 11.05pm, followed by On the Braden Beat at 11.35pm where Bernard Braden adds his 'serious wit' to proceedings.

Sunday brings two more lessons in Russian and Physics after the Morning Service from Brixton Parish Church, later on at 3.30pm there is a whole galaxy of stars as James Mason tells the Story of the Stars focusing on 40 years of Elstree Studios. Plus with more stars at 5pm in the Sound of Laughter featuring Ted Ray, John Junkin, Rosemary Squires, Reg Varney and Ray Alan as well. Later on at 7.25pm comes the second part of the weekend's Batman story but afterwards romance is in the air for Deborah Kerr in the film Perfect Strangers at 7.55. Finally following up with a double of The New London Palladium Show introduced by Bob Monkhouse and also the Eamonn Andrews Show bringing Sunday to close.

On Monday at 6.30pm Barbara Kelly asks the question in Criss Cross Quiz, with Monday being a Coronation Street evening with All Our Yesterdays preceding at 7pm. Mrs Thursday loses an hour at 8pm with the reason being British Summer Time, right on time at 8.55 is the main evening news from ITN. After that at ten past nine, there's No Hiding Place with Detective Chief Superintendent Lockhart considering whether to prove another colleague wrong, but another man with a free brief is Mike Scott in Scott Free at 10.05pm. 

Late night drama comes about with The Invaders at just after 10.30pm and the News Headlines, finishing on this day with Bernard Levin interviewing Robert Bolt, the one time school teacher and now Oscar winning writer and playwright. 

As its 1967, so there is an advert for cigarettes in the middle of the listings between days. Advertising Richmond's Players Navy Cut for the price of 4/3d, commonplace these adverts were in magazines of the time. The way that advertising these products were to change over the next decade with them becoming less overt in style and not showing directly cigarettes themselves.

Onto Tuesday and during the schools broadcast, a programme which was to be become very familiar for many years to come started the day's broadcasting. At ten past eleven was Picture Box, with the same format as always but also directed by Brian Cosgrove, who of course went on to form Cosgrove Hall Animation Studios. Such was the way that the school programmes were spread out that they with intervals and closedowns are broadcast until 2.40pm. With a programme at 1.25pm, The Automobile Age produced by another long term Granada schools producer, Jack Smith. He was famous for Experiment later on in his career, but here in this programme which looks at what impact the motor car has had on the town and countryside.

In the limited hours that ITV was on the air at this time, meaning that Granada started up again at 4.50pm with 'On Air', a look at the day's news with a dash of pop and comment as well. The first children's programme of the after comes from Rediffusion with three very familiar names within it, Disney Wonderland is presented by Jennifer Clulow, who later was to be an announcer on both TVS and TSW, as well as her Peter Hawkins provides the voice of Goofy and Tony Hart pops by to launch a Cartoon Competition as well.

Afterwards in contrast to this at 5.25 is action adventure with Orlando starring Sam Kydd, this week's episode being the third part of a story called Irish Stew, with the episode subtitled Masks over Masks, this also coming from Rediffusion's children's department. Though once the ITN news and Granada's Northern News has been and gone, then Wally Whyton has more cartoon fun for all the family at five past six in Time for a Laugh.

The early evening itself concentrates on entertainment with My Man Joe starring Joe Baker at 6.30pm and at 7pm, Hughie Green gives the contestants the chance to Double Your Money. The show itself, a mainstay of ITV's schedule from the start was in its last two years until Rediffusion made way for Thames in July 1968. But still even in 1967, Double Your Money was one of ITV's biggest ratings winners with the combination of Hughie Green and the chance to win big cash prizes. 

The main feature of Tuesday is the film, The Barefoot Contessa, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardener, shown at 7.30pm but split into two parts bisected with the evening's main ITN news at 8.55pm. The action does not stop there with The Rifleman at five past ten and Danger Man starring Patrick McGoohan at 11.05pm, with agent John Drake being accused of being a double agent whilst in Jamaica. 

Wednesday evening brings more entertaiment with Tom and Dick Smothers in The Smothers Brothers show at five past six and Phyllis Diller in The Pruitts of Southampton at 6.35, for all the entertainment Bamber Gascoigne is the quizmaster in University Challenge at 7pm, though there's no record of who faced who in that week's TV Times. For all the brain nourishment, Wednesday brings another edition of Coronation Street, with a family gathering in the Barlow's house and a 'wet' idea from Miss Nugent played by Eileen Derbyshire of course later to become Emily Bishop.  

The main attraction from Rediffusion on Wednesdayat 9.45pm is an entertainment special starring Bing Crosby called 'A Little Bit of Irish' celebrating and looking ahead to St. Patrick's Day on the 17th of March. Bing's guests include Milo O' Shea, Siobhan McKenna and also Kathryn Crosby as well. 

Though not to make the English and the Scots to feel left out, then at 10.45, there are highlights from Hampden Park of tonight's Scottish League vs English League game of football, with the English team beating the Scots 3-0 with goals from Alan Clarke, who got two and Geoff Hurst who scored the other one. 

Thursday's early evening, has in depth reporting on the week's issues from ITN in Reporting '67 with Andrew Gardiner at ten past six, after there's another Time for a Laugh with Wally Whyton at 6.35pm and there's mystery in the air as Glynis Johns stars with John Justin and Cicely Courtneidge in Agatha Christie's 'The Spider's Web', at 8.25pm Galton and Simpson brings laughs with their latest sitcom starring Harry H. Corbett in Mr Aitch, though with it being a Thursday night, This Week appears at ten past nine looking at the stories in the news. Also Granada broadcast's Dr De Waldo's Therapy by Fay Weldon starring Ursula Howells, Wanda Ventham and Dilys Watling as well.

What The Papers Say is at 11pm follow by a comedy special starring Lucille Ball and Bob Hope called Mr and Mrs., which clearly had nothing to do with the Border/HTV gameshow of the same name. Which comes as light relief after current affairs heavy evening including two current affairs programmes and review of the week's papers as well. 

The end of the TV Times week on Friday starts with another edition of Disney Wonderland at 5pm, but the action comes thick and fast at 5.25 with another adventure with Stingray as Troy Tempest looks for The Cool Caveman in this edition, but there's more drama at 6.15pm after the ITN News and Newscene in Emergency Ward 10 as Dr Brook struggles to preserve a patient's sanity and also he clashes with a visiting consultant as well. All in a day's work for the medics of Emergency Ward 10, I suppose. 

At 7pm, television's new world sports programme brings you drama, danger and excitement introduced by Tony Maylam in Sportsweek from ATV. Someone else who is used to excitement is Simon Templar and at 7.30pm, The Saint spots a nun wearing high heels at a London train station and this leads him into what Sportsweek would call drama, danger and excitement. 

Then the pick of the week is shown at 8.25pm with the aforementioned edition of Take Your Pick from Sydney, Australia as Michael Miles and Bob Danvers-Walker go Down Under to give away prizes galore to the ex-pats on the other side of the world. After the main news at 8.55, Mr Rose stars William Mervyn in an episode called 'The Jolly Swagman' where Rose is offered a free trip on a luxury cruise but he meets two old friends and an old enemy as well.

This England at five past ten looks at the railwaymen in 'A Railwayman for Me' focusing on the men who work at the Doncaster Railway Works and the lives the lead as they build some of the most upto to date rail engines. Finally Friday Scene looks at what is going on around the Granada area with Brian Trueman and Chris Kelly directing the programme and at 11.45pm is Gideon's Way, with John Gregson as Commander George Gideon, where the whispered words of an accident victim reopens a old case for the aforementioned Commander.

So that's the TV Times from the 11th of March to the 1967 of March 1967, contain classic shows, strange by today's standards adverts, stars making their way in television as well as popular entertainment from ITV.

Join us next time as week, look at another edition from another year and say to ourselves, I Didn't Know There Was So Much in it.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

I Didn't Know There was So Much in it.. (A week to view with the TV Times) - 8th to 14th March 1980

Welcome back to Boggenstrovia's Bit or should I say "I didn't know there was so much in it..." Now to some of you that phrase will be familiar and to others who are scratch their heads, that was the tagline to the TV Times advertisements in years gone past. So I have dragged into the archives, so that each week we will time travel to a different year and hopefully in particular that exact week. 

For our first jaunt, we go back thirty-five years ago to 1980 for the edition of the TV Times dated 8th to the 14th of March, to see what was on the television but what else could you look at in that week's edition of the TV Times. 

The cover features that week's big programme on ITV, Fox starring Peter Vaughan famously known around that period as Harry Grout from Porridge with the series only having finished a couple of years previous. Plus also one the of the co-stars in Fox, Richard Weinbaum, who himself played Vaughan's grandson in the series and also in the cover story making the point that Weinbaum is deaf. However with this being 1980, some of the language and the way that his disability is portrayed in the the interview is hardly enlightening, as to going to the point to say he is not dumb. Which can seem a bit almost patronising at times and stating that Richard will be taking his eleven plus in the next year and he likes football as well. 

What Weinbaum would say about this now, we do not know. But with many of all these look-backs, they can be consider of their time, even if the words which they use to put this across may not be the best to use.

This edition also give the chance for viewers to write in to nominate personalities for the TV Times Top Ten Awards, the National Television Awards of the day with handy recommendations on the page who the viewers might like like to vote for. In this line includes Bruce Forsyth coming off the back of his Big Night but recovery with Play Your Cards Right, Trevor Eve coming to the end of his time as Shoestring, Faith Brown, whose star was rising with her chat show one of the big show at the time. Plus also Reginald or Reggie Bosenquet as the magazine likes to call him shortly before leaving for pastures new and also ending up on 'Private Spy' a series of sell-through video journalism cassettes which make World in Action look like Ben Hur and also Penelope Keith, Dennis Waterman and Nicholas Ball famous for starring in Terry Venables' created Hazell, where Terry Venables managed to create the series whilst being a top flight football manager. Well, there's always time for Brendan Rodgers to do the same.

But more importantly, it give 20 lucky readers the chance to be able to go to the awards. That'll fill out the front two rows, then plus the chance to rub shoulders with Bob 'Jesus of Nazareth' Powell, Dickie Davies, Eamonn Andrews, Penelope Keith, Felicity Kendall, Kenneth Kendall etc. As such, later in the magazine comes the entry form to enter the competition, as you will.

Though now onto the programmes and of course such with the TV Times, we start on Saturday. This being the big day for television with most people tuning in on a Saturday night either on BBC1 or ITV, though as we've got ITV's listings, it will have to be for them. 

Saturday means World of Sport, but back to that in a moment. This week we are looking at the Anglia region, so its their choices this week starting with Ron Ely in a near decade's old adventure of Tarzan at 9.40am. Even by 1980, it was starting to look a bit tired but needs must against Noel and his multi-coloured Swap Shop. However to make Mr Edmonds jump at 10.30, comes Tiswas of course with Chris Tarrant, Sally James, Police Cadet Robert Johnston otherwise known as Bob Carolgees with Spit, John Gorman. But no mention of Lenworth Henry, though Dr Hook appear on this episode, eye patch and maracas etc. 

After two hours of the 'Was comes sporting achievements with World of Sport, looking at that photo used to advertise the Women's hockey international from Wembley, it looks pretty much the same as what had gone previously in the past two hours. To level things out, there was atletics from the US Indoor Trials, an ITV Six from Ayr and Sandown Park and more fighting apart from the hockey in another grunt and groan session with the wrestling, today from Lincoln so Yorkshire has that one covered as everyone waits for the results and pools news.

Saturday night continues with Richard O' Sullivan as the dandy highwayman, Dick Turpin and Norwich's dapper dandy highwayman follows him with Nicholas Parsons and his Sale of the Century, plus John Benson in full flow as well. Then comes ITV's first film of the night with Prescription: Murder, so did Dick Van Dyke discover the Diagnosis: Murder in later years? But what the diagnosis for the next programme is, I do not know. As at 8pm here comes the Australian series of Love Thy Neighbour, its all the same jokes, but down under. Followed by Nazis in Enemy at the Door, welcome home to ITV! Its little wonder why the BBC dominated on Saturday nights for a fair while, that said thought. This line-up would have had its fans from loyal ITV viewers, but Anglia rescues the evening with another Tale of the Unexpected, this week with Derek Jacobi as the lead.

To end Saturday, comes three differing programmes so far away from each other, they would have to be held together with string. First of all, an episode of Soap followed by Scottish Television's The Jazz Series with Annie Ross, if you are familiar with Wheel of Fortune, she does become one of its producers later in the decade. Plus with Mr dependable Fred Dinenage presenting Pro Celebrity Snooker from Leeds, sadly there's no record in this edition who was playing during this edition, which is a shame as I wanted to see who could pot a mean red and then screw back for the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black. They all in this programme, were obviously snooker loopy.

Come Sunday, apart from the religious and political programming which usually has the same reaction. Sunday means adult education and minority programming, which means Bill Grundy opens up the day with a book programme and to drum in the educational theme there's Fred Harris teaching about literacy, but of course later in the year he would turn up in End of Part One, so somewhat of juxtaposition here. Maths one minute and then appearing in a sketch about Life on BBC2, though he wasn't the first Play School presenter to pop up at Yorkshire and do serious programming as well. 

Sunday also means football on ITV and Anglia Gerry Harrison bring coverage of two of that weekend's FA Cup Quarter Finals, through research was Everton vs Ipswich and West Ham vs Aston Villa. ITV's pick of the four ties. If you don't want to know the score in either match, look away now. Right, now where was I? Oh yeah, Everton beat Ipswich two - one and West Ham beat Aston Villa one - nil. All OK? Good, now we can carry on to later that evening where the main programme of the evening was The Spoils of War or Hart to Hart depending on which way your drama wanted to go.

Onto Monday which apart from cuddly Kenny Everett appearing on screens, came the first part of Fox about Billy Fox and his large South London family, but apart from Peter Vaughan there was a supporting cast including Bernard Hill and also a young Ray Winstone, oh and Larry Lamb too. Hard hitting drama, but the type which was emerging more at this time and Thames helped push it to the fore. On a lighter note, the Monday visit to Coronation Street to meet the regulars was at the usual time of 7.30pm, followed by comedy with Rushton's Illustrated from ATV, with Roy Kinnear, Hugh Paddick and surprisingly Richard O'Brien as well. Something for everyone there, I'm sure you'll agree as the continuity announcer said ti the viewer.

Tuesday means Take the High Road at 1.30 after News at One, naturally 1pm with Peter Sissons. For the children at 4.15 from Granada comes Pop Gospel with Berni Flint and Garth Hewitt, making sure that children everywhere would switch over to BBC1 at that time. Though coming back for Magpie at 4.45, with the programme coming to the end of its run soon. But Tuesday on ITV wasn't all a big loss with Armchair Thriller and also Hollywood both from Thames, the later boasting narration from James Mason and musical scoring from Carl Davies. When the big documentary series from Thames could draw in millions of viewers and plenty of awards for the company itself.

Wednesday's entertainment is larger then life as you'll see in a minute, but surrounding it is This is Your Life, where Eamonn Andrews surprises yachtswoman Claire Francis, hopefully not in the riggings as Brown Sauce suggested a year later. So plenty of nautical tales, ahoy there. The second of the week's visits to Weatherfield is at 7.30pm, an ITV Playhouse starring Gabrielle Lloyd and Desmond McNamara at 9pm plus with Brian Moore introducing Midweek Sports Special at 10.40 including Shaw 'Keep 'em Peeled' Taylor commentating on the World Ice Skating Championships from Dortmund. 

So back to the question, who is this large figure who dominated the 8pm slot on Wednesday 12th March?

Mr Bernard Manning with a one hour television special for Granada, produced as ever by the wonderful Johnny Hamp. As much as people might not see nowadays, back then Bernard Manning could pull in big audiences for ITV, not only for his jokes but also his singing as well. As proved on his time as on The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, that Manning could hold an audience in the palm of his hand. Not to everyone's tastes, but Granada and ITV were confident enough that he could hold the major Wednesday night entertainment slot on his own.

If that type of humour was not your thing, then Thursday night at 7pm would not be for you with Jim Davidson appearing in his own show then. However after that at eight came part two of that week's Armchair Thriller, TV Eye reporting from near and far at 8.30. But News at Ten was sandwiched by sport on this particular evening, with Robin Cousins still at the World Ice Skating Championships, funnily enough still in Dortmund with Shaw Taylor commentating on it. But from the grace of Robin Cousins comes the arrow slingers in International Darts Matchplay from Caister's holiday park in Norfolk meaning Gerry Harrison pops up introduce the action, all sponsored by Ladbrokes and Marlboro cigarettes. How the two relate, I do not know. But it seems Caister is the place to go for smoking holidays and top darts action.

Before we go onto Friday's programmes, here is an advert for John Moores' mail order catalogue.

OK, but what is this woman mean to be? Its the latest 1980 fashion, but she looks like a cross between Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman, does that make her the daughter of Torchy, the Battery Boy? Plus if you get that reference, well done and half the rest of the readership are going 'huh?' at this very second, either way it just looks odd. No wonder Grattans had Lulu advertising for them after seeing this.

Anyway, Friday having gone through The Tomorrow People and Magpie. After the national and local news, what programmes could welcome in the weekend? Yes at 7pm, here's Brucie! Play Your Cards Right in full effect to welcome in the weekend from LWT stretching to an hour before Derek Nimmo proves that Life Begins at Forty in his Yorkshire sitcom at 8pm. Someone way beyond forty at 8.30pm, as Hawaii Five-0 is still going seemingly with Steve McGarrett's hair staying the same colour since the late 1960's.

Popping up after Danno has booked them is Roy Walker looking at bookings of a different kind in Fully Licenced for Singing and Dancing, taking a look at various nightspots where people go out to have a meal and see some cabaret. But behind this show is Granada's Mr Showbiz, again. Its Johnny Hamp, no doubt also looking to see the next generation of talent for one of his productions. 

And that's as far as the listings go, for our first look at the TV Times from a relative week in the past. Do return next week, I will be look at another week's TV Times to see what the past can produce and see what's so different from today's schedules.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

"We are Sports Lawyers for you..." or things you find when your research for something else... - Number One

Back again after a break, the blog takes in a more stranger twist. Yes, there will be occasional post about looking at light entertainment and television etc. But all work and fun makes Jack a dull boy. Well according to that episode of The Simpsons with Gillian Anderson in it anyway, but in the journey of researching and writing there comes things which are odd and strange or just generally and we hope to bring you that a bit more this year.

Starting off with these gems whilst research about World of Sport, 50 years ago that it started in January 1965 with Eamonn Andrews and Richard soon to be Dickie Davies plus also as I found out thanks to the television authority Chris Bowden-Smith of the excellent Transdiffusion website that Fred Dinenage was there it seems as well billed as 'The Man from How' which makes it sound like a failed pilot for a late sixties spy thriller show.

But however when it comes to appearing for promotional shot for newspapers and magazines to use, it can get a bit strange.

"We can get you 100% of your compensation when your team loses to a last minute goal at home..."
Mr 'His head looks uncannily like the London Planetarium' along with not Johnny from Friday Night Dinner appearing like they are selling policies to the weary in a slightly cheesy Lionel Hutz type of way, although the truth is less fun and it is a 1980 publicity shot advertising The Big Match, so that newspapers can use it on their television page. 

Yes, the standard generic photograph apart from an action shot of a footballer usually a Burnley striker and Wolves defender jumping up for the ball together. How this actually conveys the excitement of a football match is surprising, maybe Burnley and Wolves' game was called off that week. I cannot vouch that Brian and Jim turned up each and every time like that, but I can't imagine them being a double act like Morecambe and Wise.

Do you think they were the only sports presenter to appear in a strange way? Apparently, no actually. There is another champion of this as well, I bring you Dickie Davies. Him of the honest hands trying to convince us Clown Diving is a sport. From the first ever edition of Look-In magazine comes Dickie's introduction to the World of Sport column in there, whether Fred Dinenage did the column when Dickie was not presenting we do not know.

"Hello ladies, everything is two pound a pound to and I'm getting more of it in next week..."
Strangely this introduction seems if Dickie is pitching for a date, which in a magazine aimed at children doesn't seem quite appropriate somehow. I can imagine that at the first meeting, the talk was about who could encourage children to watch ITV Sport. Later on, it seems children got bored with cyclo-cross and water polo and thus Brian Moore made the column about football using 'On The Ball' as a way for children to meet their sporting heroes through Look-In.

Who needs an Oscar selfie when Dickie can photobomb any event he wants!
But think only Brian Moore and Jim Rosenthal can flog things? Think again.

"Its the World of Sport Scouts everybody!"

Yes, Dickie was helping to flog stick-on patches of course. What makes you stand out from the crowd in your parka coat then stick on patches referring to World of Sport, if you collect them all I reckon you could fill in for Dickie one Saturday afternoon. A record of the theme tune, yes. An annual, yes. But stick-on patches though? I mean you would not see David Coleman hawking himself for this type of thing, besides I don't know how official they are anyway with a Liverpool address to send your money off to. Which makes me think, did a business have a load of stickers and someone came up with the bright idea to cut them up into the World of Sport ident to flog them cheap.

But teamsters, making it sounds like the viewers of Grandstand and World of Sport were like the Jets and Sharks from West Side Story. Were they to recreate the previous Saturday programmes in interpretive dance? Still if you want to take Mr Davies up on the offer of the stickers, forget it because the offer ran out in 1973. I'm sure you could write to the address stated on the advert, but most probably its a Greggs bakery now.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day 25) - Christmas Meant ITV, but what does television mean nowadays at Christmas?

So the search for finding out who did ITV's Christmas Promotions and Trailers goes on, which have fascinated through a article which was sent to me by a friend outlining the start of ITV promoting itself through a seasonal basis of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Christmas split between the big five companies. Those being Thames, Granada, ATV, London Weekend Television and Yorkshire Television, the first of which came in 1969 when ITV did try to do a united effort but this didn't much have an effect to all intrinsic purposes. Where they failed to beat the BBC in 1969, ITV had seemingly gone through a traumatic year in 1970.

1970 for ITV meant a colour strike and union strife, meaning that where airtime was sold at a lower rather then a higher rate that colour broadcasts brought to the companies themselves. So Thames took it on themselves to come up with something for that year's Christmas to use on all companies but more importantly an ITV branding which was already being used on other programming that the network was showing.

But the original idea seemingly was to come from London Weekend but with Michael Peacock having gone in 1969 meant Muir Sutherland, an executive at Thames led a committee to come up with what ITV were going to use for Christmas 1970. The other companies put in the financial support to do so, this meant that Ron Walsby who had previously been at ABC before Thames came up with the promotions which was delivered via inter-company lines to all the companies throughout the network. But one problem was the Colour Strike still on going at the time, meant the promotions were seen in black and white on viewers' screens. 

To come out of all of this was a scheme where each season was give to one of the big five companies, sharing out responsibility equally among them, but as Winter 1971 followed on so shortly on from Christmas, this meant there was a jump to Spring 1971 seemingly Thames taking on responsibility for the Winter schedule as well, but this was to see what effect the promotions had at Christmas, if they were a good thing to continue in this way. Though in 1968, London Weekend had to be persuaded to spend more money on their on screen promotions when advertisers were paying good money to advertise with them. 

As the 1970's went on, the big five companies shared out duties between themselves but with some many big voices shouting all at once to promote their programmes as well as such big personalities in the management of each of Thames, LWT, ATV, Granada and Yorkshire wanting to push their wares on the ITV network. But as the BBC went into the Christmas of 1977 with one of their strongest festive programme line ups ever, ITV had to respond as the fight for viewers were becoming more competitive as ever. 

This meant ITV had to up their game as they had in 1970 with a campaign which was memorable even if the programmes may not have been like the BBC's. Though the 1977 promotions fell upon Granada for this year, not only with an animated Father Christmas cartoon going around delivering his presents as well as the very catchy 'Robin Song' behind the trailers made for a bright and cheerful set of promotions and trailers. The New Year's trailers are just the generic Granada trailers even using their own slides but with a 'New Year on ITV' ident where the usual Granada ident is placed.

Such with the promotions, that they used the companies own announcers to voice them meaning that voices not usually heard outside their own regions got an airing on ITV over Christmas, Malcolm Brown later of TVS was to be heard on the 1977 and 1980 Christmas promotions both done by Granada. 

1978 saw the promotions done by ATV, with a very cosy style of promotion very much different to 1977's effort. Taking inspiration from a traditional Christmas, by using three animated candles with a gold and red font these promotions hark back to a more traditional time seemingly less commercial but never the less adaptable to each regions own needs. With this being the first year of Morecambe and Wise on ITV since their move there after the previous year's Christmas special for the BBC and also Bruce Forsyth's big money move, the promotional package had to be a strong one with no doubts Thames and LWT wanting it to be as competitive as it could be to show off their assets and the whole network's assets as whole. Compared to 1977, the package offered up for 1978 is as good as any which had gone before it and proved ITV were getting stronger in promoting what they had as well as the BBC could do and they had the stars to prove it as well. 

The commercial network offered Bruce Forsyth on Christmas Eve and the movie premiere Charade as well, with the day before Christmas falling on a Sunday meant that LWT and Michael Grade was in charge, so his and ITV's biggest signing could appear on Christmas Eve itself to somehow recoup some pride from what Bruce Forsyth's Big Night had done for the network as a whole over the the Autumn season. However with the big day falling on a Monday, this gave Thames the upper hand with the main part of the evening turned over to the premiere of 'Diamonds are Forever', The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show of which this was Eric and Ernie's first one since their return to ITV and also a 'This is Your Life' special as well. 

Where as 1970 had been tough year for ITV, 1979 was to be its toughest year to date with the network totally wiped out by a ten week strike. The autumn season only starting in late October when the channel came back on air, leaving it very little time to regain viewers who had come to the network in the previous twelve months, in putting on a big show for ITV's return on the 24th of October. The Christmas promotion seemed slightly staid, with a Christmas card type of scene of a village as its main identity, however the menus and trailers seem very sparse indeed, almost understated in their approach. Seemingly the promotions and trailers done by Yorkshire were to be just that with the channel still finding its feet after such a long time away and viewers still loyal to the BBC.

However for the programmes, they offered as strong a line up as it had been in years, but with a familiar look to it too with 'The Three Musketeers' as the big film, Eric and Ernie on their second Christmas special since moving back and also 'This is Your Life' once again. Tried and tested it was for ITV, but as a recovering network they need to make their Christmas line up and promotion even better.

Come 1980, the honour once again of promoting ITV at Christmas fell to Granada yet again. Compared to Yorkshire's sparse effort of the previous year, the company for the North West of England decided to follow the same pattern as they had done for 1977, animated promotions and a catchy tune to go behind them. By using a wrapping paper and gift tag motif, they made it simple where as the BBC's efforts were getting overblown by this point. Granada known for their understated promotions, made something something which captured the new decade perfectly with its minimalism and also synthesizer backing track, showed that the promotion could be simplistic but effective. 

Much could be said about the schedule as well, 3-2-1, James Bond in 'The Man with the Golden Gun', Morecambe and Wise as well as This is Your Life. The same schedule almost for the third year in a row, by now the predictable nature of the Christmas Day schedule of ITV was starting to see the viewers get used to what was going to be on at a certain time in the evening, as much as they enjoyed the programming, there was a danger of also alienating them by having not much choice at all.

Something had to be done and in 1981, that something was a freshening up of both programmes and also a more exciting look to Christmas on ITV. By taking ideas used previously such as a Christmas scene in a urban setting, using Father Christmas flying his sleigh and also a star in the sky made for another Christmas card scene yet again. Different company, different ideas. But Thames came up with the promotions this time round, offering their take on how a promotion should be used and almost very BBC in style.

Yet with the big day falling on a Friday, this also meant a split in who was going to offer up the programmes themselves. This first part of Christmas Day meant that Thames could offer up Dr No after the Queen's Speech and also This is Your Life but much earlier in the evening than previous years, but the main movie of the day came from Lew Grade of which The Muppet Movie was shown at 5.50pm leading through the time that Thames handed over to LWT at 7pm. Meaning this could have been a deliberate ploy to allow the handover to go on in secret with ATV holding the fort. Though with LWT in charge, this allowed them to show their big hit of the year and away from The Generation Game on BBC 1 which had appeared after the Queen's Speech. Game for a Laugh produced by Alan Boyd, had fought off his previous show and stood proudly on Christmas Day, this was backed up with the third edition of It'll Be Alright on the Night another LWT production meaning that ITV could put out a different schedule than in previous years. But for the first time in a very long time Morecambe and Wise were not on either channel on Christmas Day, with their Christmas Special appearing on the 23rd of December when Thames put it in the slot where London Night Out with Tom O' Connor usually appeared, meaning that went to Christmas Eve at Eight o' clock in the evening.

Overall ITV's Christmas in 1981 had been different, as such revitalized itself once again. Though much thanks to the actual system of ITV then its programmes, with LWT taking the lead on Christmas Day, the commercial channel's schedule seemed a lot strong then it had done for years.

1982 brought the usual Christmas card scene for the promotions, but with the voice-over by Michael Aspel made them seem like effort was taken to get the promotions right and that they should be done properly. The lessons had been learned that ITV could get their Christmas look right, with more companies adopting it for their own in vision continuity spots. Meaning a good look could be universal through the ITV network and what they'd wanted for years, something which bring their identity to the fore. 

Such with Channel 4 having been launched in November, this was more then important with viewers able to pick from four channels and another commercial channel for a start. The ITV brand was getting used a lot more than it had been previously, but still they had no ident of themselves to speak of so they could not have a clear identity on their own promotional trailers.

With Christmas Day falling on a Saturday, meaning that LWT could have the whole day with no Thames programmes having to fit into the schedule. Which meant for the second year in a row, no place for Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise on the big day yet again. They would have to wait till the 27th and Thames to return. Yet, for the BBC's schedule on Christmas Day, the reliance on LWT meant that at the start of the day, the film Journey Back to Oz wasn't much entertainment at all and with Christmas Parade on BBC 1 it seemed like Christmas Day early on for both channels didn't seem to want to get started at all.

The actual schedules on both BBC 1 and ITV didn't started until after the early evening news had finished, however with LWT calling the shots, ITV went headlong into their schedule with a little help from Yorkshire Television and their festive edition of 3-2-1 at 5.35pm but there on in for the main part of the evening was all LWT made programmes. This meant an appearance for the second Christmas in a row of Game for a Laugh followed by Bruce Forsyth in Play Your Cards Right, the movie premiere of Disney's 'The Black Hole' followed and after that, Chas and Dave had their Xmas Knees-up including guests such as Eric Clapton and Jim Davidson. 

ITV had the might of LWT to provide programmes for them on Christmas Day, so finally they had taken on the BBC and gave them a real fright, but as such they still did not have an identity which they could call their own. In 1983, all that changed.

Christmas Day fell on a Sunday meaning LWT called the shots in programmes, yet again for ITV but the promotions went from them to Central, who took the theme of presents and decided to give them an eighties spin, literally. The present and gift tag idea used by Granada in 1980 combined with flying objects such as crackers, ribbons and presents but it did have an odd effect of like staring into a Christmas vortex with so many flying objects, with this being the year of ITV's 3D-TV experiment, it seemed like Central had taken it to the extreme somewhat. Though finally ITV had adopted their look and a first ident for the network used on screen. 

With drawing out the big hitters such as Superman - The Movie, Bullseye, a Royal Carol Concert, Play Your Cards Right and Jimmy Tarbuck reviving a sort of All Star Comedy Carnival/Christmas Night with the Stars calling it his 'Christmas All Stars' including the cream of ITV's and LWT's talent along with satellite links with the stars of Hart to Hart and Andy Williams. The strength in depth made ITV's Christmas strong however, the BBC used their stars in their own shows and played to their strength knocking ITV back somewhat from where they had been in the previous two years. 

As with most things, the computer graphics age was transforming television presentation and this was none more evident in 1984. But with Christmas falling on a Tuesday, ITV could not rely on LWT to help them this year, where as the BBC had been lackluster in the past few years, it was formerly one of there own which would be going up against ITV. Michael Grade had joined as the Controller of BBC 1 in 1984, as such he wanted to put on a show against ITV, Where as the BBC freshened up their line-up it seemed out of place somewhat.

For their literal Christmas Card look with flying train, Granada who provided the look made the effort to make it look modern, but modern doesn't always look right and 1984's look compared to BBC 1's looked sparse and almost bleak, the hard sell was there for the programmes but yet it feels cold and uninviting. Even the programmes apart from the Eric Morecambe tribute at 6pm don't have an effect at all. Making the line-up seem almost humdrum in comparison to what the BBC had on offer. Michael Grade knew how to construct a schedule and it would take a lot for ITV come back and properly challenge BBC 1.

Fast forward to 2014, today and BBC 1 are relying on the same programmes they have done for the past couple of years, Strictly Come Dancing looming large in the schedules along with Dr Who and Call the Midwife, ITV seems not to compete at all largely with just celebrity lead documentaries for most of the afternoon and early evening, with the later part of the evening not entertaining at all. Maybe its time for a change, after so many years the viewing public are getting bored of the same old thing again. So something is needed to happen to wake ITV on Christmas Day out of its comatose state, which it has been in for many years now. 

Where as the BBC cannot rely on the same programmes year after year, it would be surprising that people might go to on demand services and DVD's for their entertainment this year. Television faces the same problem as it did in the mid-1980's with the rise of home computers and VCR's. Innovation is the key for channels nowadays and there is very little of that on Christmas Day. 

So what will I be doing on Christmas Day? Pretty much what everyone else will be doing as usual, but in this multi-channel age I will be flicking around the many channels out there. As I have to say that television has let me down now, without serious thinking it could be looking at a very tough future for itself at Christmas.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day Twenty) - Goosing with Dick while Aladdin watches

Its Panto Time once again and for the twentieth day, here are some awkward Pantomime television ads to look at..

First off upto to Scotland to see how they can advertise a panto with mainly Scottish flavour, pantos do have a strong regional flavour in certain parts of the country and they draw on this to enhance what they have got already. However this just seems like the raw footage for a commercial which has somehow sneaked it way onto the internet, letting light behind the magic somewhat.
"No, the camera's over here..."

And over to Southampton as this is this year's advertisement for the production of Cinderella starring Brian Conley and Gok Wan, yes that Gok Wan is in panto. Conley, a veteran so many of these shows, makes it look so effortless. But hey, in a world where local advertising is so short nowadays, isn't reassuring that a show like this is going all out make itself noticed.
No puppets were harmed in the making of this advert

Or how about another way to get you message across, mainly shouting it out there! In Weymouth that's the way they like it seems, making sure everyone notices them. The simple pleasure of seeing the panto comes to us all, in my time I have seen everyone from Lorraine Chase, Cardew Robinson to the great Brian Cant, even appearing on stage with him. Overall panto has kept up with the times, with whoever is famous is cast in these shows, from the rash of soap stars in the late 80's through to reality stars of today. Its these people who make panto what it is and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Giant, doesn't cover it...