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.