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  1. #1
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    Default The Season 14 contemporary TV thread

    As I stated in an earlier post I have a Radio Times for the week beginning September 4th 1976. I may have others too, but not to hand.

    The cover of the magazine features Gemma Jones as The Duchess of Duke Street, an Edwardian serial following the fortunes of Louisa Trotter, cook to the famous and owner of the infamous Bentinck Hotel. The series also stars Christopher Cazenove and June Brown.

    New and returning series this week include series two of The Good Life starring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin starring Leonard Rossiter as the titular bored businessman who strives to release himself from his mundane everyday life at Sunshine Desserts, going to extremes in finding extraordinary ways out. One of the funniest scenes in this is where he imagines his mother in law as a hippopotamus.
    The Two Ronnies also return, as does Parkinson for another series of his popular chat shows.
    Saturday nights at this period came to be known as a "Golden Era" for popular, light entertainment with it's great line up of shows from around six in the evening to late night, from Doctor Who, Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game, The Duchess of Duke Street, The Two Ronnies, Starsky and Hutch and Parkinson. A fantastic line up of shows which certainly held their audience.
    Late night viewing on BBC2 in this week featured "The Masters of Terror" film season, this week featuring John Barrymore in the classic 1931 film The Mad Genius, and Vincent Price in 1961's The Pit and the Pendulum.
    As we go through the week we find on Sunday a new five part adaptation of Lorna Doone in the children's serial slot at five o clock. Later on Sunday evening the popular series The Brothers returns. Page 15 has a feature on this show and shows a picture of Colin Baker and Liza Goddard as their characters are married in the series. This series is followed by repeats of series one of Fawlty Towers.
    Monday sees the return of popular medical series, Angels, following the lives of trainee nurses in fictional St Angelas hospital.
    Tuesday's early evening viewing features The Ellery Queen Whodunnit, a new series of The Dick Emery Show and the return of Mastermind.
    Wednesday includes a new series of detective show Softly Softly, starring Frank Windsor, while the aforementioned Reginald Perrin begins his show at 9:25.
    Thursday evenings include the obligatory Top of the Pops, this week presented by Jimmy Saville, a new series of comedy Happy Ever After starring Terry Scott and June Whitfield, a new series of Kojak, starring Telly Savalas as a tough cop in a tough town, New York. The nine o clock nes is followed by documentary Sailor, about life on board HMS Ark Royal, this series used as its theme Rod Stewarts Sailing, resulting in the track racing back up the charts to number two a year after it had originally been number one.
    At 9:55 a new series, Gangsters by Phillip Martin begins. This series deals with gang wars, drug smuggling, immigrants and the prostitution racket, which Martin feels is symptomatic of any British town.
    Friday evenings in comparison seem a little low key with loads of regional opt outs. The highlight of Friday however is the new series of The Good Life.
    I'll try and dig out some more Radio Times, I'm sure I have some, and I'll report back with some more schedules from this period of 1976.

    OH! I almost forgot, the main reason I kept this particular issue was because of the Doctor Who feature on page 9 heralding the start of the new season. Phillip Hinchcliffe talks about how he feels the traditional Doctor Who monsters have become out-dated, and about how he and the cast and crew enjoyed filming in Portmeirion in North Wales.
    Last edited by Stephen Morgan; 9th Sep 2011 at 7:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for that Steve, interesting as always. I can very dimly remember all those (well, except Gangsters - I was only 5) and have hazy memories of me & bruv occasionally being allowed to stay up and watch Starsky & Hutch if we were good!!

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    Default It started with Swap Shop

    At 9.30am on Saturday, 2 October 1976, the face of Saturday morning television changed forever as the BBC launched The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop.
    Compared to the normal Saturday morning kids shows Swap Shop was new and radical. A live three-hour programme with pop music, cartoons, live phone-ins to its guest stars (many of which came from Dr. Who, Tom Baker and Lis Sladen appeared on the very first edition, a clip of the interview and subsequent phone in can be found on the Hand of Fear DVD), an outside broadcast and much more was ambitious and brave - but the BBC pulled it off and a new type of television was born.

    Originally planned for 6 shows, little did we know at that point that Swap Shop would run for 6 years and a total of 146 editions. It would spawn it's own awards show, two supergroups, several specials, four books and a top twenty hit single! It would also test the 1970s technology to the limits with, for example, music duets played in different parts of the country and live EuroSwaps from places such as Bruges.

    With the Radio One Breakfast show host Noel Edmonds in the presenter's hot seat, a young and enthusiastic Keith Chegwin (best known by thousands for his Children's Film Foundation outings) out on the road with the 'Swaporama', and the Newsround front man, John Craven, brought in to add a little gravitas (and some awful jokes!) - the combination was perfect.

    To balance things out just a little bit Maggie Philbin joined the team as the fourth presenter, debuting on the third programme of the third series (14 October 1978). She had a floating role, being either out with Keith on in the studio with Noel and John. Maggie was the butt of many of Noel's jokes, but she took them in her stride.

    The show itself also had a number of characters - Posh Paws the purple dinosaur who sat on Noel's desk, Igor who's hairy hand we only ever saw, Lamb who popped up from under the desk in the last year of the show during a technical fault, and of course, Eric a mysterious never-seen person who lived up in the studio's roof and operated the large clear-plastic ball that had the competition entries in. The best look that anyone got of Eric was by artist Tony Hart who managed to sketch what he saw, but even then it didn't reveal that much.

    The main concept of the show was based around swapping, and by brilliantly introducing an interactive element to the show, children could ring in and 'make a swap' - the idea being that they offered something they had for something they wanted. The best of these would go onto the 'Top Ten' Swap board. Or they if they were lucky enough to be in the area of the 'Swaporama' they could go along in person and swap something there. The third 'swap' was actually something that the celebrity guests would bring in as a prize - probably the most unusual swap was a huge cut-out camel that Mike Batt (who wrote the show's original theme) brought in!

    Swap Shop ended after six years of swapping and fun on 27 March 1982. The show played out rather appropriately with Brown Sauce's I Wanna Be a Winner. For many children, Saturday mornings were just not going to be the same ever again.

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    Now you're talking. Swap Shop was just brilliant and compulsive Saturday morning TV. I was actually on it once, well my voice was during a phone in. I remember entering several competitions and not winning one of them way back in the days of sending your answer in on a postcard or on the back of a sealed envelope. There was no sign of those rip off phone lines you have to use now.

    I was devastated when it all came to an end and even though Saturday Superstore picked up the baton, it just wasn't the same. These days BBC1 has nothing for kids on Saturday mornings. Such a shame.
    Iím being extremely clever up here and thereís no one to stand around looking impressed! Whatís the point in having you all?

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    I was doubtful about Swap Shop when it started, c'mon, I was almost 21 years old and I was watching a kids show. I only tuned into the first edition to see Tom and Lis knowing that later that evening her last story would be going out. Anyway, I was hooked and hardly missed the show over the next six years, (must have been the lure of the cartoons, Hong Kong Phooey! being my favourite). Come to think of it, I hardly missed Superstore either.

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    Same here but in 1976 I was just 10 years old. I stuck with Swap Shop all the way through it's run. Who remembers the time when that glode operated from Eric actually fell from the studio ceiling and alost hit Noel. Getting a part-time job when I was 17 meant I missed a lot of Superstore but watched it when I could. I did also watch those that followed such as Live and Kicking and Going Live and even as a mature adult I was there with my kids laughing at Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.
    Iím being extremely clever up here and thereís no one to stand around looking impressed! Whatís the point in having you all?

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    Many happy memories of watching Swap Shop - don't remember Tom & Liz, but Mr Davison appeared partway through Castrovalva (I think). I have a feeling that Cheggers Swaporama came to Carlisle (where we'd lived since 1976) about a week after we moved in 1982!! I've got that Brown Sauce record somewhere as well...

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    ha! So have I.
    Iím being extremely clever up here and thereís no one to stand around looking impressed! Whatís the point in having you all?

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    Penny Keith don't need me at the Manor...

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    Saturday mornings were great, weren't they? I loved Swap Shop although I missed it between December 1977 and May 1980 while we were out of the country. I remember not liking the remixed theme music (by B.A. Robertson) so much at the time, though now it still sounds nostalgic! I also bought Brown Sauce 7" and still have it - it has that remixed theme tune on the B side. I had no idea that Maggie only joined in the 3rd series though! I liked the way they had brief snatches of the actual Top Ten singles as Noel went through the Top 10 swaps.

    Oh, and my favourite cartoon in it was Valley of the Dinosuares - anyone remember that?

    Steve, would you be good enough to run through the children's weekday programme lineups from your RT? I'd love to know what was on when!

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    Steve has jogged our memories and let us know about some scheduling from autumn 1976 - here's how popular some of those programmes were along with an idea of what was hot on ITV. Here's the Top 20 for September 1976 with ratings expressed in millions of homes, not viewers.

    1) George and Mildred - 8.8m
    2) The Sweeney - 8.2m
    3) Generation Game - 7.9m
    4) Crossroads - 7.6m
    5) Pilger - 7.4m
    6) The Two Ronnies - 7.2m
    7) The Good Life - 7.1m
    8) The Benny Hill Show - 7.1m
    9) The Duchess of Duke Street - 7.1m
    10) Crossroads - 7.0m
    11) Crossroads - 6.8m
    12) The Bionic Woman - 6.8m
    13) Coronation Street - 6.7m
    14) Crossroads - 6.3m
    15) Spring and Autumn - 6.3m
    16) Coronation Street - 6.2m
    17) Nine O'Clock News (BBC) - 6.2m
    18) News At Ten - 6.1m
    19) The Dick Emery Show - 6.0m
    20) Dr. Who - 6.0m

    With 8 shows in the Top 20, BBC was definitely faring better than many other times in the 70s and that made Who the 8th most popular programme on the Beeb!

    Corrie not too popular (relatively speaking) right then - it's normally at or near the top!

    I fondly remember Bionic Woman (and Six Million Dollar Man) but had no idea it was that big a hit! I had a board game of it - long gone now!

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    Gah - swap shop was nothing compared to the mighty behemoth that was TISWAS
    Bazinga !

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    Yay TISWAS!!!!!! Watch out for the Phantom Flan Flinger!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonno Simmons View Post
    Steve, would you be good enough to run through the children's weekday programme lineups from your RT? I'd love to know what was on when!
    OK! Here's a rundown of some of the kids stuff from the BBC the week 4th to 10th September 1976.

    Saturday at five past five was Tom and Jerry followed by the news at 5:15, followed by The Wonderful World of Disney at 5:25.

    Sunday's classic serial was a new adaptation of Lorna Doone starring Jennifer Thanisch and Richard Beaumont. Looking through the cast I see Patrick Troughton in the cast too. That was at 5 o clock and followed The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.

    Monday's schedule featured Play School at 4:20, Go With Noakes at 4:45. John Noakes races across the channelin The Guernsey Handicap, that was a repeat. 5:10 to 5:40 was Play Away with Brian Cant.

    Tuesday featured Play School (again), We Are The Champions 1976 followed by cartoon Lippy Lion and his friends Touche Turtle and Wally Gator, followed by a repeat of The Magic Roundabout.

    Wednesday was yet another Play School followed by Crystal Tipps and Alistair after which came a Welsh opt out programme, but I see from the BBC1 variation panel that BBC West had Speed Buggy which was a "film cartoon". The highlight of Wednesday would have been Ask Aspel at 5:10 with guests The Goodies. Another repeat of The Magic Roundabout followed.

    Thursday included yet another Play School followed by Dastardly and Muttley followed by a repeat of the final episode of Here Come The Double Deckers. At 5:15 another Welsh opt out programme but BBC West were showing a wildlife film followed by another repeat of The Magic Roundabout.

    Friday's schedule was no less inspiring, another Play School followed by a repeat of a repeat of a repeat of the three part German serial The Singing Ringing Tree. It's a fairy tale that has gained something of cult status over the years. By what I remember of it it's a bit creepy and would have scared a few kids at the time. I think you can get it on DVD along with a few of these type of things. That programme was followed by, surprise surprise, another repeat of The Magic Roundabout.
    Last edited by Stephen Morgan; 20th Sep 2011 at 9:08 PM.

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    Get on Board with the Double Deckers was brilliant. I'm singing the theme tune in my head as i type this. I'd love to see some of that again.
    Iím being extremely clever up here and thereís no one to stand around looking impressed! Whatís the point in having you all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by duncan View Post
    Get on Board with the Double Deckers was brilliant. I'm singing the theme tune in my head as i type this. I'd love to see some of that again.
    All 17 episodes are available on DVD. @ Amazon at the pricely sum of £7.97

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    Bargain!
    Iím being extremely clever up here and thereís no one to stand around looking impressed! Whatís the point in having you all?

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    Thanks Steve, quite a few surprises to me in there, as unlike the early 80s era I really remember, I see that it kicks off with Play School only at 4.20 whereas I remember that being on at 3.55 (a repeat of its lunchtime showing which I think was on BBC2). Also, no Blue Peter but presumably they were still on summer break in early September.

    Also intrested to see Play Away at 5.10 on a Monday - I only remember that being on Saturday afternoons on BBC2, around 4.30? Used to love We Are The Champions and have fond memories of Ask Aspel too. Magic Roundabout was a regular in that 5 minute slot before Nationwide - along with the likes of The Wombles and Paddington Bear - magic!

    Thanks for the tip off on Double Deckers - I watched repeats of that on Saturday mornings in my latter student days - circa 89/90.

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    I went to look for some TV Times from this era today at my parents attic. Unfortunately my sister in the slow process of getting rid of some unwanted stuff and I couldn't get to where I know those old mags are. Shame really, just when I want them, just a few short weeks ago I could have laid hands on them easily enough.

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    While we were saying goodbye to Sarah Jane, here's what else we were watching in October 76 - figures are for number of homes, not viewers.

    1) George and Mildred - 9.0m
    2) The Sweeney - 8.8m
    3) Generation Game - 8.4m
    4) Kojak - 8.2m
    5) The Two Ronnies - 8.0m
    6) Crossroads - 7.5m
    7) The Duchess of Duke Street - 7.5m
    8) Coronation Street - 7.4m
    9) Crossroads - 7.4m
    10) Happy Ever After - 7.4m
    11) The Good Life - 7.4m
    12) The Benny Hill Show - 7.3m
    13) Crossroads - 7.3m
    14) Coronation Street - 7.2m
    15) Crossroads - 7.1m
    16) Nine O'Clock News - 7.1m
    17) Sale of the Century - 7.1m
    18) Opportunity Knocks - 7.0m
    19) Nine O'Clock News - 6.8m
    20) General Hospital - 6.7m

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    I must check out General Hospital, it started out as a half hour soap around lunchtime, it seems to be getting a respectable figure for that time slot, but I do remember it was given an early evening slot and extended to an hour due to its popularity. I wonder if that audience fugure was for its evening slot?

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    I knew Kojak and The Sweeny were quite well known, but I didn't realise how huge they were!

    Has Kojak been released on DVD? Are there hoards of Kojak fans desparately campaigning? Literally all I know about the series was that Kojak was bald. That seemed to be the defining trait.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    Has Kojak been released on DVD?...
    All five series of Kojak are available on shiny disc, ranging in price from around £10 to £25. As are its contemporaries, McCloud, Ironside, Starsky and Hutch, The Streets of San Francisco, Columbo and many others of its ilk.

    "Who loves ya baby?"

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    Punk Rock had been an elitist fashion amongst teenagers in London since at least 1974. Kids were listening to music from The New York Dolls, The Tubes and The Ramones, none of which had any impact on the UK charts, which some claimed were full of dross and needed a kick up the arse.

    On the 1 December 1976 The Sex Pistols were booked to appear on Thames TV's 'Today' programme, which aired live at 6.25pm. The group were a replacement for Queen, who had pulled out. The resulting encounter between presenter Bill Grundy, The Sex Pistols and an entourage who included Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin lapsed into a slanging match that included the use of four letter words. The resulting media frenzy and public outrage (one incensed viewer apparently kicked in their TV screen) turned the Sex Pistols into a household name overnight, and propelled Punk Rock into the annals of chart history with its first hit, Anarchy In The UK.
    Over the course of the next year or so the sight of kids swearing, spitting, and pogoing along to their music became a familiar sight on many music oriented TV shows.

    The Bill Grundy interview was the kiss of death for his TV career, his request for the band to "say something outrageous" did not go down well with TV chiefs and he was soon moved to a lesser spot with a book reading programme, and he quickly disappeared from the face of TV.
    Last edited by Stephen Morgan; 28th Sep 2011 at 8:32 PM.

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