Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Those Radio Times! (BBC TV Selections For 21 December 1976)

Back in 1976, the Christmas holidays across the UK were already kicking in and a sign of this was that BBC1 on weekday mornings always tailored their TV schedules towards children with a variety of cartoon series, repeats and old Black and White movies.

These frequently served as an education to me, it was during these periods I acquainted myself with Larry Buster Crabbe's Flash Gordon film series and Johnny Weismuller's Tarzan films from the 1930s. Promoted with excitingly illustrated programme billings in the Radio Times. These films would later get promoted to early evening slots on BBC2 around 1980 along with Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes films, Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd. Still that's another blog post!

Back to this morning in 1976, BBC1 kicked off at 10.20am with The Wombles, this was followed by The Great Grape Ape Show at 10.25am featuring Bailey's Comets, then Wild Wild World at 10.50am.

There was a Flash Gordon Double Bill at 10.55am with parts 3 and 4of the original film serial seeing Flash captured by the Shark Men and doing battle with a Sea Beast. Then at 11.30am Tarzan fought off Nazi Paratroopers in the jungle who were attempting to take control of the Hidden City in Tarzan Triumphs  - "Attaboy Tarzan!".

Other TV highlights today included Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and a cavalcade of early movie comic greats featured in When Comedy Was King (BBC1, 2.0pm) while modern day sport stars Gareth Edwards, Bjorn Borg, Ivo Van Damme and Guy Drut took part in Superstars (BBC1, 6.45pm).

Bob Harris visited the Macon Whoopee music event from Georgia in The Old Grey Whistle Test (BBC2, 8.15pm)  while David McCallum, James Mason and Michael Sarrazin starred in Frankenstein: The True Story (BBC2 9.15pm).

If stretching your mind was more to your liking you could catch Magnus Magnusson asking questions on the gunpowder plot or the life and works of Ibsen in the last of the semi-finals of Mastermind (BBC1, 9.15pm) while Polly James, Christopher Cazanove, Joan Sims, Annette Crosbie and Leonard Sachs featured in a televised stage version of East Lynne (BBC1,10.10pm).


  1. I really miss those old Laurel & Hardy films. Not sure who has the rights to them as there's some question as to whether they're now in the public domain.

  2. I agree - they were a great assett to the TV schedules back then as was Charlie Chaplin - they had a certain warmth to them as the dark nights drew in...



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