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.

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