Sunday, 15 November 2009

Those Radio Times! (BBC Television for 15 November 1969)

If you expected to see BBC1, or as it was now known "colourful one" in colour with your newly purchased (and possibly very expensive) colour television set, on the morning of 15 November 1969 you might have been disappointed...

The first two shows of the day that Saturday morning were at 10.0am Repondez Sil Vous Plait (an invitation to learn French) and 10.30am Wie bitte? (a beginners course in German).

Still, after Closedown at 11.0am, BBC1 returned at midday with Weatherman Bert Foord taking a look at the weekend weather and in full colour too...

Colour Television - A Gradual Process 1969-71

In fact, BBC1's switch to colour 40 years ago today wasn't all over the United Kingdom. Like our switch to digital over 40 years later, it was going to be a gradual process...

From today, if you lived in London (Crystal Palace), Birmingham (Sutton Coldfield), South Lancs (Winter Hill), and South Yorks (Emley Moor), you would be in the first of the four areas served by the colour transmitters . Other areas would have to wait from the end of 1969 to the spring of 1971, so many viewers were still watching in black and white!

Perhaps it was as well that there were other things to distract the British Public on this particular day as we received updates on the Apollo 12 moon mission via radio and TV bulletins...

Casey Jones and Charlie Chaplin - Not In Colour!

Back to BBC1's first day of colour TV, or not so colour TV (whichever way you looked at it), at 12.5pm there was a rerun of Casey Jones who this week was tracking down The Lost Train.

At 12.25pm, there was another classic Charlie Chaplin film with The Tramp in which Charlie falls for the farmer's daughter and gallantly rescues her from a band of robbers. It may have been black and white but it was still fun!

Grandstand or a Classic Film Were BBC Saturday Afternoon Choice

At 12.45pm, the first colour edition of Grandstand presented by Frank Bough went out. Including today a football preview, racing from Cheltenham, motor racing - The Grandstand colour trophy Meeting featuring the W.D.and H.O. Wills Formula 3 Trophy, and the Osram/G.E.C. Trophy race for Saloon cars (commentary was from Murray Walker with guest commentary from Graham Hill).

There was also International Gymnastics featuring the European International Meeting event from Fairfield Hall, Croydon, while The Rugby League European Champions Cup for the Wills trophy at 3.5pm was from Headingley and featured Leeds v Perpignan with commentary from Eddie Waring.

If a Saturday afternoon film took your fancy, there was a good reason to switch over to BBC2 at 3.PM when John Mills and Richard Attenborough starred in Saturday Cinema: The Baby and the Battleship.

BBC2 went back to sleep at 4.30pm with Closedown.

Star Trek and Dixon Of Dock Green For Tea-Time Entertainment

Following the results, we had another new episode of Star Trek at 5.15pm.

In this week's colourful episode Arena, a treacherous attack obliterates the outpost on Planet Cestus Three and the USS Enterprise hurtles in hot pursuit of a mysterious alien vessel.

Simon Dee introduced his guests with his popular tea-time chat show at 6.15pm (unless you lived in BBC Wales in which you got from Moel-y-Parc, Disc a Dawn).

Jack Warner pounded the beat in the first colour episode of Dixon of Dock Green at 6.45pm. Tonight, Dock Green police found themselves in an unusual environment following an incident involving one of the students at a girls' teacher training college. Norman Bird, Jeremy Young and Bill Treacher were amongst the guest stars in this weeks episode starring Jack Warner and Peter Byrne.

On BBC2, following Percy Thrower's second look at growing Fuchsias in Gardeners' World at 7.15pm, Cliff Morgan introduced The First English Trial at the Reddings, Mosely in Rugby Special at 7.30pm.

'Visually Funny' Harry Secombe's Guest Was Lulu

At the same time over on BBC1, Harry Secombe introduced guests Lulu, Arthur Askey, Julian Orchard and Jonathan James in The Harry Secombe Show. Speaking in the Radio Times Harry said of himself 'I think I'm visually funny, not terribly funny verbally'.

At 8.15pm, BBC1 added the first in a season of High Adventure to its new colourful schedule as Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr and James Mason starred in The Prisoner of Zenda.

Back on BBC2, at 8.15pm,there was a look at Napoleon in Chronicle: The 100 Days. Anita Harris, Danielle Rigoulet and Mark and Paula joined Ray Alan for another edition of The Ice Show at 9.5pm.

At 9.50pm, Richard Baker read The News, while the serial The First Churchill's continued over on BBC2.

Match Of The Day.. In Colour!

David Coleman hosted Match of the Day's first colour coverage at 10.5pm on BBC1. However; if you lived in the North, the chances were you'd be watching Northern Match of The Day presented by Stuart Hall with commentary by Alan Weeks.

James Mossman presented the weekly arts magazine Review at 10.35 on BBC2 featuring this week, A feature on Graham Greene on the publication of his new book, Travels with my Aunt with excerpts read in the studio by Emlyn Williams. One of the USA's best known poets Marianne Moore was in conversation with Leo Aylen while WH Auden read from A Mosaic for Marianne Moore in the studio.

Bernard Braden with John Pitman and Esther Rantzen took a look at some of the that happened and some of the things that didn't in Braden's Week on BBC1 at 11.5pm. (One of the things that didn't happen was that this programme didn't go out in colour according to Radio Times). This weeks musical memory came from 1947 as Donald Peers performed 'In a Shady Nook', while song of the week came from Alex Glasgow.

BBC1's broadcasting closed down shortly after a detailed forecast from the Weatherman at 11.45pm.

John Peel Hosted Line-Up

Back on BBC2, disc jockey John Peel hosted Line-Up: The Week in which he took a look back at TV programmes and issues of the last seven days.

If you still didn't feel like going to bed , following the News Summary at 11.45pm; Richard Burton, Joan Collins and Cy Grant starred in the Midnight Movie : Sea Wife at 11.50pm.


  1. are there any videos or dvds of the BBC Grandstand Trophy Saloon Car Race from Thruxton 15-11-1969 I won that race & have the Trophy thanks Richard Longman Email

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for contacting us Richard. You could try to see if it still exists or perhaps the BBC archive.



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