Friday, 24 April 2015

I Didn't Know There Was So Much in It: A Weekend to view from the TV Times - 14th and 15th of April 1984

Welcome back to another look at the TV Times from the past, this time we go back to April 1984 and the weekend of the 14th and 15th of April. One which would turn out to eventful for reasons which no-one could for tell. With this being 1984, for the first time in our look backs at times past that we have Channel Four listings as well. The channel in its infancy with Jeremy Isaacs at the helm, alongside ITV. But as such, being neighbours of ITV itself, meaning that the channel as well as being its own self, that also it takes some programming which ITV would have shown previously. 

Anyway onto the listings and starting with Saturday 14th April, 1984 means that TV-AM is one year old and breakfast television on ITV had arrived. So at 6.25am, Good Morning Britain presented by Henry Kelly and Toni Arthur, the former having left Game For a Laugh and the latter had been working for TVS in such programmes as 'Watch This Space'. They came together for a lighter version of TV-AM's magazine programme with a more relaxed approach. 

During the programme, with this being Saturday, sport plays a big part in it. At 7.15am, George Best talks to Henry Kelly and Toni Arthur about the weekend's football. But of course, this wasn't to be the first footballer for TV-AM to use. With Jimmy Greaves, also a part of the team, but reviewing television in later years. Though Best's role was similar to what he'd been doing for TVS' "The Saturday Match" and "Sunday Sportshow", but how often George turned up at this early hour each week was up for consideration. 

Though Rusty Lee was in the kitchen cooking up some more tasty treats and give culinary ideas for the viewers to try at home, plus there was a preview of a new feature to start seven days hence as Harry and Sarah Greene offer up more DIY tips in doing up the TV-AM 'Dream Home'. The emphasis on hobbies, was right for weekend viewers encouraging them to try new skills at home. Much like the programme turning to a more tabloid style after its rocky start at the beginning of 1983.

Saturday morning means programming for children, at 8.40am there's Data Run presented by Edwina Lawrie, the sister of Lulu. This contained a combination of pop music and various features for its core audience, alongside Data Run was S.P.L.A.T. in 1984, known as this because of the acronym made from Soaps, Puzzles, Laughter and Talent. Introduced by future Wide Awake Club presenter James Baker, both of these could be seen to of the same family of the later Wide Awake Club and Wacaday as well.

So after breakfast television has finally been removed off the table, because this a North-Eastern edition of the TV Times, it means that Tyne Tees' listings that we'll be looking at for ITV this week and their day starts with an odd little programme called 'Morning Glory' at 9.25am with the children of Grangetown Primary School play Whistling Rufus. The song itself is of African-American origin and was composed Frederick A. "Kerry" Mills in 1899, It is typically described as a march, and can be used effectively as a two-step, polka or cakewalk. An example of its popularity is given on the first page of the music sheet: "No cakewalk given in the Black Belt district of Alabama was considered worth while attending unless 'Whistling Rufus' was engaged to furnish the music. Unlike other musicians, Rufus always performed alone, playing an accompaniment to his whistling on an old guitar, and it was with great pride that he called himself the 'one-man band'." Although not verified, this quote is likely from Kerry Mills as he was both the composer and publisher of the song.

It was more then likely, to go in an awkward five minute slot which on weekdays was filled by the North-East news headlines and most probably counted towards their religious quotation as it also fills up the same slot on Sunday morning. Though, it maybe quite apt to have a song from the deep south of America before at 9.30, an edition of Little House on the Prairie which was based in Walnut Grove, Minnesota around the same time that Whistling Rufus was written. But with each region scheduling its own programmes, meant what they thought was appropriate children's programming usually was what you would describe as programming for the whole family.

Following this at 10.30am is the last on the series of 'The Saturday Show' from Central and it is the last of the programme in its current form with the programme coming back as 'Saturday Starship' in the Autumn. The presenting team of Tommy Boyd, Isla St. Clair, Jimmy Greaves and David Rappaport had been there since the beginning in the Autumn of 1982, but the original plan was to have wrestler Big Daddy to be a ringmaster of sorts for the programme with his name on the show itself, even with Look-In in June 1982 previewing the show with a small article in the magazine. However owing to health related problems, Big Daddy pulled out and the show dropped his name out of the titles and opening titles where edited to take virtually any references to the wrestler.

So having Jimmy Greaves come into the show, as he already was part of the Central sports team working on Star Soccer and other sport related programmes and segments for the company. His big personality helped filled the gap where Big Daddy was to be and it gave Tommy Boyd someone to talk about sport and broadening the show's range by having sporting guests on the programme. Meanwhile David Rappaport was there as 'Shades', a somewhat smaller version of The Fonz but also taking some of the presenting duties off Boyd and St. Clair as well as being a bit of a comic foil as well with his character. 

After a morning of fun, Tyne Tees has the first local news of the day at thirteen minutes past midday followed by an afternoon of sport introduced by Dickie Davies in World of Sport. Today, the sports anthology covered Rollerskating with the World Gala from Bury St. Edmunds, as the best skaters show off their skills on the skates of the wheeled variety to music, highlights from Augusta of the first two days play at the US Masters golf, followed by the first ITN news of the day at 12.45pm.

Following the news, World of Sport continues with On the Ball with Ian St. John and with Jimmy Greaves chipping in from up in Birmingham. There's an ITV Six from Thirsk and Ayr where the feature race of the day is the Scottish Grand National from Ayr, also there's horsepower of a different kind as England face the United States in the first speedway test plus also with grapple time with a bill of wrestling from Blackburn. So in just that one edition Anglia, Yorkshire, Scottish Television, Central Television and Granada all pooled their coverage to the London Weekend television studios to make this edition possible, which is a massive undertaking, but they did on a week in, week out basis to get the programme on the air.

And as a bonus, here some footage from World of Sport on that day. On the top the Scottish Grand National won by Androma and below that nearly twenty minutes of the England vs USA Speedway Test Match.

Anyway, moving along from sport for a while after the ITN News and a round up from of local news from Tyne Tees starting at Five o'clock in the afternoon, the evening's entertainment starts on ITV with a trip to Fraggle Rock, as the TVS made series was at its peak and had become and international success for both Jim Henson and Television South as well. The early Saturday evening slot was a good one for the programme, like many other crossover shows for both children and adults, the early evening slot was ideal as had been proved by many shows before it. But to add variety, there's American import Whiz Kids made by CBS, following four young amateur detectives using their computer skills to help them solve crimes.

Although this made the show run into trouble with stories of young computer hackers gaining access to sensitive information, meaning that the network bosses had asked for storylines to be changed to seem like the young detectives were doing their sleuthing by legal means and that other adult characters such as a police detective and a local newspaper reporter were introduced, meaning the young characters would have people to look to for guidance on certain issues relating to what they were doing.

After all that action, LWT bring a sense of fun to proceedings with an edition of 'Child's Play' with Michael Aspel as your host, where members of the public and their celebrity playing partners have to work out a group of young primary schoolchildren are describing. This was the last but one edition of this series, though we do not have any information as to who the celebrity playing partners are in this edition, but we can bring you an edition during that 1984 series to show you what the programme was like and how it actually played as a game. 

Following Child's Play at 7pm, Candid Camera returns with a look back some of their most popular jokes and pranks, looking as the title suggests "Candid Camera: The Difference Between Men and Women" to show each of the sexes would react in a certain way to a Candid Camera sketch. Though it is interesting to note that as well as Game for a Laugh, also Noel Edmonds' Late Late Breakfast's Hit Squad had been going over some of the same territory. But it is not surprising to learn that Peter Dulay had a hand in both.

Dulay himself had come from a show business family even with his father Benson Dulay had been a comedy magician of note on the music hall stage. But Peter Dulay had broken into television co-writing Roamin' Holiday with Eric Sykes for Max Bygraves in 1961, though after working regularly for comedy show on Independent Television, he had moved into the producing side of the industry such with 'Comedy Bandbox' for ABC-TV and also television specials for the likes of Frankie Howerd and Bruce Forsyth.

But in 1969, Peter Dulay moved to Yorkshire Television to become writer/producer on Sez Les, the new at that time vehicle for the comedy talents of Les Dawson, meanwhile in London he scripted for Leslie Crowther in London Weekend's 'The Leslie Crowther Show' and even scripting for Larry Grayson in 1972 for his 'Shut That Door' showcase for ATV and his last producing work was of producing a series for Tommy Cooper in 1978 called funnily enough "Just Like That" after Cooper's catchphrase.

After all the fun and pranks at eight o'clock comes American cop action as T.J. Hooker bursts onto the screen and with the real life events of the ITN News at 9pm bring all the latest national and international news to ITV viewers.

At 9.15pm, the first of Saturday night's movies is 1967's 'Wait Until Dark' starring Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for some drugs with also Richard Crenna, Jack Weston, Julie Herrod and Efrem Zimbalist Jnr co-starring as well about a tale of drugs, intrigue and murder. After a quick five minute community service announcment, the second movie appears of the night. This time is it home grown comedy with the film series of Granada Television's sitcom 'The Lovers' starring Richard Beckinsdale and Paula Wilcox as Geoffrey and Beryl, a young courting couple. From the pen of Jack Rosenthal who had previously also written 'The Dustbinmen' for Granada as well during his time there. So at 1am Tyne Tees closes down for the night, but what exactly was Channel Four showing on the same day?

They opened up at 1.50pm with 'Some Mothers by Daughters' from the Moving Picture Company, as we will see in quite a lot of Channel Four's listings during this week a lot of independent production companies, some familar and some not so. Following this at 2.15 is the film 'The Sign of the Cross', produced and directed by Cecil B. Demille in 1932 about Marcus Superbus, a Roman solider under Emperor Nero who falls in love with a young woman and converts to Christianity for her. Taking many of the same themes as used in Quo Vadis, but staying faithful to the stage play of which this adaptation comes from itself.

At 4.35, there's another edition of Mama Malone, with the titular Ms. Malone being the host of a live cookery show from her fourth floor apartment in Brooklyn, the CBS sitcom had actually only been running in America for about two weeks previously before Channel Four started showing the first edition on 14th of April. Though the show was only to have a one series run, finishing in July of 1984 in America. Though doubtless, the programme would also have finished in the UK a few weeks after that.

Though as you'll see in the show's opening credits above, the show had a catchy theme tune or catchy enough to put people coming back each week to see the show it seems.

But from home spun wisdom, American style to home spun wisdom, Scouse style with this week's Brookside omnibus as in the previous Tuesday's episode that Sheila feels guilty over what has happened to Matty and Paul receives an invitation to a reunion at PetroChem. Meanwhile in the previous Wednesday's episode that Annabelle is embarrassed when she doesn't realise that the potential buyers she has to show around Heather's house are a gay couple. So a lot going on in Brookside Close during the previous week there and we will coming to this week's episodes a bit later on.

At Six o'Clock, Gary Crowley presents another edition of Ear' Say, with pop music for the kids on a Saturday night, but sees one of the first Action Time productions on the screen with the later to go on to bigger and greater successes as a production company during the 1990's. As they say, from humble beginnings and all that, but the show was important enough to show that Channel Four could also do pop music as well alongside what The Tube was doing for Tyne Tees themselves. 

After the Channel Four News headlines and weather at 7pm is a documentary from Granada Television called 'The War of the Springing Tiger' looking at the 40,000 men who deserted the Indian Army to fight for the Japanese against the British for an independent India during World War Two. Led by Subhas Chandra Bose who rejected Gandhi's non-violent campaign against the British Army, the documentary looks at the Indian National Army which had been revived by Bose in 1943 and why Indian Prisoners of War decided to join up with the Indian National Army, also its role in the Burma and Imphal Campaign and its role in the Indian Independence Movement.

At 8pm, there's a look at the political week in '7 Days' from Yorkshire Television follow by Four American Composers, directed by Peter Greenaway famous for directing films such as 'The Draftsman Contract', 'The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover' and 'Prospero's Book'. This week's film looks at the musical works of Phillip Glass accompanied by some of his compositions, made by Trans Atlantic Films for Channel Four, the other programmes in the series concentrates on the composers Meredith Monk, John Cage and Robert Ashley. 

Drama at 9.35pm with a another showing for The Avengers from ABC-TV, during the early years of Channel Four, Chief Executive Jeremy Isaacs used archive programming such from ABC and ATV to reshow on the forth channel. The popularity of repeats of The Avengers and also The Prisoner gained a whole new audience who were too young to see the programmes when they originally went out on ITV during the 1960's, but also with an eye to viewers who appreciated a re-showing of them as well. 

To round off the evening is the second visit to the Augusta National Course for live coverage of The US Masters at 10.40pm for the Third Round of the tournament, at this stage after two rounds of golf that Mark Lye, a player playing in his first Masters Championship was leading by three strokes from Tom Kite with Ben Crenshaw, a further stroke behind in third place at that stage. Though with any live sporting event, it is difficult to tell how long it will last for, so the TV Times puts an approximate Closedown at 12.35am.

Sunday morning on ITV starts with TV-AM featuring Rub-a-Dub-Dub with Dick King-Smith at 7.30am and Good Morning Britain at 8.30am. Tyne Tees comes onto the air at 9.25am with some more 'Morning Glory' again featuring Grangetown Primary School, followed by Central's programme for the disabled 'Link' at 9.30am. The Morning Worship is presented by TVS at 10.00am with afterwards, a look around at some of the events taking place in the Tyne Tees area in Lookaround at 11am.

At five past eleven, there's film fun with Laurel and Hardy in One Good Turn, as Stan and Ollie are victims of The Great Depression and are begging for food, when a friendly old lady gives them some sandwiches but as they eat them they overhear that the lady is about to be thrown out of her house because she has been robbed and cannot pay the mortgage. Though Stan and Ollie don't know that the old lady is rehearsing a play. So in kind hearing about her plight, Stan and Ollie decide to sell their car to pay so she can remain in her home. Though during the auction of selling the car, a drunken man puts a wallet in Stan's pocket and Ollie thinks that Stan has robbed her but when they return to the old lady's house they learn the truth about what has happened and Stan takes revenge on Ollie for accusing him of doing such a thing. 

Following Laurel and Hardy at 11.30am is the last in the series of 'Me and My Camera' from Yorkshire, where they looked at all aspects of photography and how to take better pictures with hints and tips from the experts. 

After the North-East News Headlines at two minutes to midday, Brian Walden introduces this week's edition of Weekend World looking at the scene politically both here and abroad, also including the ITN News as well. But what was happening in the news during this week? On Sunday, the USSR performed a nuclear test in what is now Eastern Kazakhstan and Alexander Trocchi, Scottish Writer died as well. During Tuesday, an event which was to change the whole week's tone occurred when PC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead outside the Libyan Embassy during demonstrations there, Wednesday saw the Challenger space shuttle arrive back at Kennedy Space Centre after a mission. Though an event later on Sunday evening was to overshadow all of this. 

This week's edition of University Challenge, presented by Bamber Gascoigne is at One o'clock followed by Farming Outlook introduced by Stuart Seaton, as we saw last week he was the presenter of Farming Outlook for ABC-TV and nearly twenty years on, he was doing the same job although by now it was a Tyne Tees production instead. Following all the latest for farmers and those interested in in country pursuits at 2.00pm, there's a chance to relive Tinseltown's golden age with a compilation of some of its most popular musicals in 'That's Hollywood'.

At 2.30pm, an afternoon of sport starts with The Big Match as Brian Moore introduces one of that weekend's FA Cup Semi Finals between Everton and Southampton, which Everton won one-nil at Highbury and coverage of a Second Division match from Tyne Tees' own patch as promotion chasing Newcastle United lost to Sheffield Wednesday one-nil as well. Though the sport takes a more local theme at 3.15, when Derek Thompson introduces Extra Time with a look horse racing, golf and also at the weekend's football. 

Meanwhile Channel Four starts the day at 1.45pm with Irish Angle from Iona Productions looking at issues from an Irish perspective followed by the Sunday afternoon matinee, The Eddy Duchin Story at 2.15pm which is a biopic about band leader and pianist Eddy Duchin starring Tyrone Power and Kim Novak. Following Anything We Can Do at 4.30pm is Book Four from LWT, hosted by Hermione Lee with the latest reads from the world of literature.

On Tyne Tees at 4.50pm from Central, its Bullseye with Jim Bowen and Tony Green with contestants hoping to win big on Bully's Prize Board. After the latest ITN news at 5.20, part three of Jesus of Nazareth is shown. The multi-million production directed by Franco Zeffirelli starring Robert Powell as Jesus with a supporting cast of Olivia Hussey, Ernest Borgnine, Anne Bancroft, James Mason, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quinn and Peter Ustinov to name but a few. The other parts had been shown in the lead up to Easter Day with the fourth one shown on 22nd April 1984. 

Over on Channel Four at 5.45pm, there is a more cerebral quiz as Ray Alan asks 'Where in The World', where two teams and their guests try to identify well known places from around the world from pictures, objects and the food of that country. Ray is able assisted by former Countdown hostess Beverley Isherwood and also by the team captains John Carter of the Holiday programme and latterly Wish You Were Here plus John Julius Norwich, travel writer and editor of such books as Great Architecture of the World and The New Shell Guides to Great Britain. Following the Channel Four News headlines at 6.15, there's the first of two live visits to the US Masters Golf introduced by Steve Rider before an edition of The World at War from Thames, as the landmark series gets a repeat show on the Fourth Channel. Which is little wonder as Jeremy Isaacs was the producer on the series itself, comissioned in 1969 by Thames Television, the series took a total of four years to produce at a cost at the time of £900,000. Itself a record amount of money spent on a British television programme, which would equate to over twelve million pounds today.

On Tyne Tees, Chas and Dave presented another edition of 'Knees Up' combining the best music and also the best comedy around including Jeff Stevenson and also Lonnie Donegan who had been a fan of Chas and Dave's musical work for a long time. The original idea for Knees-Up had come from a Christmas Special broadcast on Christmas Day that Chas and Dave had done for LWT, when that show was such a success, that executives decided to commission a weekly series of shows for the ITV network. Also on this programme were appearances from Renee and Renato as well as a young Brian Conley as well.

With this being Sunday night, LWT held the tiller for most of the programming for the evening. At 7.45pm, the network went live to Her Majesty's Theatre, London as Jimmy Tarbuck introduced 'Live From Her Majesty's'. The bill that evening featured Les Dennis and Dustin Gee, Donny Osmond and also an appearance for Tommy Cooper. Though no-one was to know what was going to follow, whilst performing his act on the stage, Cooper had a heart attack and was seriously ill. Meaning after this had happened, the programme cut to an advertisement break but afterwards when it came back, the show continued with Cooper receiving CPR behind the curtain. It was announced later that Cooper had died on arrival at hospital. For Les Dennis, this same experience was to strike again a few years later when also lost his double-act partner Dustin Gee to the same thing.

The ITN news updated viewers with the latest news at 8.45pm, but the palpable shock had been felt across the country when one of Britain's best loved entertainers had been seen to collapse in front of live television cameras. Cooper had not done much performing on television for a while and this was seen as a special treat, especially as host Jimmy Tarbuck had known him so well.

This was followed by an edition of The Professionals at 9pm As Bodie and Doyle try to find out why an organisation is hiring people to kill seemingly normal members of the public. On Channel Four at 8.15 was another chance to see Staying On, a drama from Granada Television which had been shown on ITV on the previous Tuesday. Based on Paul Scott's award-winning novel and filmed on location in India, this is the postscript to the story of The Jewel in the Crown. As when in 1947, when India gained independence from British rule, most of the British Raj returned home. But some elected to stay on in India post-1947 and this drama is about the experiences of Tusker and Lucy Smaller recalling their memories of that time as the last English residents of Pankot.

On Tyne Tees at 10pm was the latest edition of Spitting Image with the promise of Tony Benn, Len Murray, Fidel Castro and Bernard Levin being lampooned by the programme, the programme which had been broadcast since late February had not quite caught on with the public at this point after the show had got 7.9 million viewers for its first episode, those numbers slowed slipped away and so much to the point that the series which was to have been thirteen episodes long, was reduced back to twelve with the show nearly being cancelled owing to such a drop in viewing figures and also with the cost of the shows to make totally up to £2.6 million, double the amount of any other prime time series at that time.

Following this at 10.30pm was this week's edition of The South Bank Show as Melyvn Bragg introduced Professor Sir Ernest Gombrich, art historian and author examines the effect of eyes in our imagination both in art and life giving a lecture on this subject, meanwhile over on Channel Four at 9.55pm is Jesus The Evidence, in the start of Easter week, this programme looks at recently found evidence that Jesus may have been very different to the one which who's image had been portrayed in both fact and fiction. Questioning this traditional image and asking if he had influenced by the Jewish faith and the context it has on Jewish history.

After the South Bank Show, there's the last in the series of a repeat run of the Irish RM, the series which had been made in co-production by Ulster Television and Radio Telefis Eireann and first shown on Channel 4 in 1983, adapted from the books of Anglo-Irish novelists Somerville and Ross concerning the life of an Irish ex-British Army officer resident magistrate appointed to this position in Ireland in the days when Ireland was a whole before the creation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Peter Bowles played the role of The R.M. Major Yeates, much like the creation in the books leading to the stories being played as comedy drama reflect the situation in Ireland with its culture and people at that time.

On Channel Four at 10.55pm is live coverage of the final round of the US Masters golf as Steve Rider presents with Ben Crenshaw hoping for his first win at the Augusta National course and it was Crenshaw who won by two strokes from two time Masters winner Tom Watson, the coverage of the Masters tournament had been with ITV and Channel Four for the past couple of years before switching to the BBC in future years.

And to round off the night at 12.30am on Tyne Tees, the The Eskdale and Skinningrove Male Voice Choir sing 'The Donkey' before closedown.

I've you enjoyed this look at the weekend of the 14th and 15 of April 1984, brief as it maybe. Next week, we'll be back to normal looking at a whole week via the TV Times as we once again say 'I Didn't Know There Was So Much in it'.

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