Thursday, 19 November 2009

Those Radio Times! (BBC Television for 19 November 1969)

MEN ON THE MOON proclaims the BBC1 TV listing page of the Radio Times for 19 November 1969, and indeed there were.

It might have been the first week of colour television broadcasting on BBC1, but if everyone in the United kingdom couldn't yet enjoy the new colour service, at least they could be united with the world in viewing the second manned mission to the moon!

Throughout the next two days Cliff Michelmore would introduce BBCtv's up-to-the-minute coverage of the space venture.

In the space studio, James Burke would track and translate each stage of the mission. With him in London, Patrick Moore, Colin Riach, Geoffrey Pardoe and Scientific experts commented on the moon walks. Michael Charlton was the man in America providing commentary from mission control, Houston.

Apollo 12 TV Coverage Got Underway At 7am

It was going to be a long day, and coverage began early on BBC1 with an Apollo Breakfast Special (7.0am) featuring minute by minute coverage as astronauts Conrad and Bean flew the landing module Intrepid down to the Sea of Storms. Touchdown was due at 7.53am.

As the events of the day unfolded there was further coverage, and it was probably tempting for many youngsters to miss school this particular Wednesday as moon mania took over BBC1 . The Moon Walk itself was scheduled for 11.30am and World News and Reaction at 3.30pm.

More Apollo 12 Programmes Into The Evening

Even the Children's television schedule had Children's Space Questions at 4.40pm answered by James Burke and Patrick Moore and the Latest News from 'Intrepid' at 4.50pm.

After the National News (5.50pm) and Look North (6.0pm) (or any appropriate local news service that served your regional area) there was a half hour Moon Walk Special presenting all the highlights of the days events for those of you who may have missed the BBC coverage!

This was history in the making, exciting television indeed, and a shame that the BBC didn't retain any recordings of the event for future generations to enjoy.

A New BBC Drama Series The Doctors Began

Moon Landing aside there was another highlight of BBC schedules today, The Doctors a new twice weekly serial showing how three Doctors handle the day-to-day problems and crises of their patients, and their own... John Barrie, Richard Leech, Justine Lord, Paul Massie, Irene Hamilton and Barry Justice headed the cast of this new colour drama series.

Actress Lynda Marchal who played Molly would later be known as successful writer of Prime Suspect, Lynda La Plant. The Doctors would continue to run until 1971 and spawn a successful spin off with the series Owen M.D. featuring Nigel Stock as Dr Thomas Owen, a character that would appear in later episodes of The Doctors.

The Laughter Parade film series at 7.30pm featured All for Mary starring Nigel Patrick, Kathleen Harrison David Tomlinson and Jill Day.

Newsreader Corbet Woodall Guested In The Wednesday Play

The Wednesday Play at 9.15pm was There is also Tomorrow by Hugo Charteris starring Glyn Houston, Jean Harvey, Ann Penfold, David Burke and a cameo from News Reader, Corbet Woodall, playing a News Reader.

Woodall would make many television and film appearances during the forthcoming decade in programmes such as The Goodies and Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads playing announcers and news readers.

If you were feeling deprived of sport action, Grandstand Special at 10.50pm included association football and international tennis coverage introduced by David Vine.

Also there was end of the day coverage of the Apollo 12 mission on The Main News (8.50pm) with Robert Dougall, 24 Hours (10.15pm) and Apollo Midnight Report (12.0am) with James Burke bringing an end to a long but exciting day on television.

Vera Lynn's guests included The Hollies


If you were a bit weary of all the Apollo 12 coverage, you may have taken the BBC2 option on 19 November 1969. Though apart from 20 minutes of Play School at 11.0am you would have to wait until 7.0pm when Joan Bakewell introduced the documentary series Expecting a Baby. This week the programme looked at the 10 days after the birth and how a mother learns to cope with her new babys needs.

Nicholas Parsons challenged Moira Lister and Fanny Cradock to Know Your Onions at 8.55pm.

Vera Lynn hosted her Show of the Week at 9.15pm with guests, Rolf Harris, The Hollies, Peter Rostal and Paul Schaefer and The Douglas Squires Dance Group.

James Thurber's Stories Were Brought To Life on BBC2

Man Alive at 8.0pm looked at the opposition to the Vietnam war in the United States in Resistance, while Doubts and Certainties looked at changing attitudes in the USA to Miss America, Playmate of the month and Christianity at 10.25pm, certainly not portraying the US in as positive a light as the events over on BBC1 today...

...perhaps then it was reassuring to tune into My World..and Welcome to it at 10.0pm, in which James Thurber's comical and witty stories and cartoons were brought to life.

In this weeks episode The Disenchanted, dispirited by one of those darker experiences that beset us all, ten year old Lydia packs her bags, bids a polite farewell to her parents - and leaves home.

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