Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Those Radio Times! (BBC Radio and TV for 22 November 1961)

Clifford Evans Featured on the Radio Times
cover this week in 1961 alongside Barbara Murray
Today Those Radio Times is taking a very special journey back half a century to the very day fellow blogger Andy Walmsley was born Wednesday 22nd November 1961!

Andy kindly sent me a few scans from that weeks Radio Times so I’m going to pick out a few items Andy and I noticed in the schedules. It’s worth remembering that TV and Radio was very different back in 1961. We only had one BBC TV channel for a start and the BBC radio service was split between The Home Service, The Light Programme and The Third Programme with very little pop music programmes on offer.

International Football (BBC TV 2.15pm; The Light Programme 3.31pm)

The major TV event of the day was undoubtedly International Football between England and Ireland from The Empire Stadium, Wembley on both The Light Programme and BBC Television. Kenneth Wolstenholme provided commentary on television while Raymond Glendenning and Ronald Rosser provided commentary for the second half on radio. The score was 1-1.

Radio For 22 November 1961

Here’s some highlights from today’s radio in 1961 of which Andy points out was orchestral music at the beginning of the day with no Breakfast programmes materialising on radio until 1965 in the form of Breakfast Special. Still, it beats Chris Moyles on Radio 1 50 years later doesn’t it?

Housewives Choice (BBC Light Programme, 9.0am)
Housewives Choice was presented today (and every day this week) by Kenneth Wolstenholme, obviously before he set out to record that day’s football commentary from The Empire Stadium in Wembley. Housewives’ Choice was followed by the daily story, hymn and prayer from Five To Ten (9.55am).

Parade Of The Pops (BBC Light Programme, 12.31pm)
A young Anita Harris (years before Just Loving You, Carry On Doctor and David Nixon) and Ken Jones featured on today’s Parade Of The Pops with Bob Miller and The Millermen and The Raindrops. Introduced by Denny Piercey the show featured the week’s popular music and predictions of hits to come, though it’s likely many of the songs would have been performed live. Does any Parade Of The Pops still survive?

Afternoon Theatre (BBC Home Service, 3.0pm)
Lady Of The Decade was today’s Afternoon Theatre. A comedy by Richard Townshend Bickers, very little information is given as to who starred in it. Does anybody know?

Once Over Lightly (BBC Light Programme, 7.31pm)
Ted Ray and Dick Bentley headed a crazy comedy programme about the week’s current events in Once Over Lightly. Ted’s long running Ray’s A Laugh having already ended the previous January.

Younger Than Springtime (BBC Light Programme 8.0pm)
Jimmy Young’s guests in Younger Than Springtime included The Springfield’s (featuring Dusty!) and pianist Johnny Pearson (who later was a musical director on Top Of The Pops and gave us the TV themes for All Creatures Great and Small and Owen MD).

A Hospital Case (The Third Programme, 8.30pm)
Nigel Davenport, The Navy Lark’s Stephen Murray and Miriam Karlin were amongst the actors who appeared in Italian writer Dino Buzzatti’s A Hospital Case. The drama also featured stage actor in the role of the patient on the third floor – Patrick Magee. Magee would later feature in Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange. At just over two hours it must have been an intense drama!

Jack Jackson (The Light Programme, 10.40pm)
If you had been tuned in to A Hospital Case, there was time after its conclusion to join radio favourite Jack Jackson on his Record Roundabout on The Light Programme. What a nice way to end the day with a mug of Cocoa before Late Date at 11.31pm with the BBC West Of England Players!

BBC Television For 22 November 1961

BBC Television today got started at 10.5am with a programme for Schools: People Of Many Lands. David Jacobs famed for presenting Pick Of The Pops and Juke Box Jury fronted the midweek miscellany known as Wednesday Magazine at 1.30pm which featured Mrs Hugh Gaitskell chatting to Anne Edwards.

Classic Children’s TV favourites today included The Flowerpot Men (4.45pm), Tales of the Riverbank (5.0pm) with commentary by Johnny Morris and Film Club (5.40pm) introduced by Alex Macintosh which today looked at How to Shoot Real Life. The BBC News programme Tonight (6.50pm) featured Cliff Michelmore and Alan Whicker.


A Chance Of Thunder (BBC Television – 8.45pm)

A Chance Of Thunder featured Radio Times cover star Clifford Evans, Peter Sallis (later of Last Of The Summer Wine) and Peter Vaughan (later Grouty in Porridge). Described as an Assassination Thriller by the BFI this was the first of six episodes.

Be My Guest (BBC Television 9.45pm)

Music star Joan Regan said Be My Guest on BBC Television at 9.45pm with guests
Sergio Franchi, Ingela Brander and The Polka Dots. I wonder if Joan featured her forthcoming Christmas single “It Must Be Santa”.

Points North (BBC Television 10.15pm)

Brian Redhead presented the news programme Points North. As Andy Walmsley points out, Brian later presented of Today on BBC Radio 4.

  • Thanks to Andy Walmsley for providing the information for this post and a very Happy Birthday Andy!

You can check out Andy's Random Radio Jottings Blog (which recently celebrated its 1st birthday) here!

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