Thursday 18 May 2017

TV Times 20th May 1967

A selection of articles and adverts from TV Times for the week beginning 20th May 1967.

Lanning at Large - Up With The Cup!

It's FA Cup Final week and ITV are covering it - Tottenham Hotspurs and Chelsea. The BBC will be broadcasting the match too. Not many club matches were broadcast on television at all as there were still concerns about match attendance numbers. But the FA Cup Final provides the choice of both BBC and ITV's coverage! Dave Lanning's Lanning at Large segment is a regular feature of TV Times and this week he has been to visit the FA Cup trophy.

The location of the cup is top secret so he starts to feel as though he has stepped into a clandestine world. The World Cup was stolen in Britain the previous year so 'big-time soccer is understandably jumpy about its silverware'. Lanning writes, 'no official is permitted to be photographed with the Cup' but fortunately he is not an official and a cheery photo accompanies the article.

Nonetheless, he describes the cup in detail. 'The end of the rainbow is 19in. high, 10in. wide, and weighs 175oz'. For those of you who only do metric, that is 48.26cm high, 25.4cm wide, and just under 5kg. As the cup weighs 11 pounds, Lanning reckons that must be why the players all pass it around so much in the victory lap - 'it gets to be quite a weight for one man to carry for a whole lap, particularly after 90 minutes of flat out football'.  One oddity of the article, and indeed for others of this period, is the interchanging use of 'football' and 'soccer', as we now usually regard the latter as an American word.

Among the facts we learn is the Cup is the third trophy for the FA Cup. The first was stolen in 1895 and the second withdrawn in 1910 after it was found to have been duplicated. Lanning is shocked at the low value of the cup - it is insured for £300, around £5000 today. For scrap silver, it would fetch about £75 (£1250 today). No small sum but perhaps not enough for a cup 'kings, queens, legendary soccer skippers have held'. This trophy would be retired in 1991, after becoming too fragile.

We also learn that 'in 1955 Newcastle's jubilant players, about to swig the celebratory champers, found a set of false teeth in the bottom' and 'in 1964 West Ham startled soccer by drinking milk from the Cup'.

I won't spoil the score because you can watch six minutes of highlights below, courtesy of British Pathé. A 'faces in the crowd' section at half time makes it well worth it. Also look out for Tottenham captain, Dave Mackay, kissing goalkeeper, Pat Jennings.


Granada is launching a new programme showcasing talent from the North. It will be a 'nightly three-minute showcase for newcomers'.

First up on Monday is 13-year-old Kathy Jones. The commentator helpfully tells us 'I hate this song' though admits her version 'makes it sound most attractive'. Kathy Jones would later play Tricia Hopkins in Coronation Street from 1973-6 and present A Handful of Songs in 1973.

Two Yorkshire lads, Lenny Westley and Danny Clarke, form Foggy Dew-o. They would release two albums the following year but Lenny then went into hospital with a rare lung disease. Some time after his recovery they started up again and lasted several more years before disbanding in 1973. Fun fact: Danny's real name was Granville.

Jazz-blues seven-piece, (The) John Evan Band, are set to be the most successful as they are the forerunners to Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson gets a credit as 'the composer and bearded vocalist'.

I was unable to find out any information about either Bill Brennan or The Cumbrian Folk so one presumes they found little long-term success from their 15 minutes of fame. This is a shame as I would have liked to have found out more about Bill, 'a contact lens consultant'.


Cliff Richard gets a full page colour photo to tell us his series, Cliff!, is back on Wednesday. We are told little about it with TV Times seeing fit only to give us the most vital information: 'there will be 14 girls - three singers and 11 dancers'.

Armchair Theatre: The Snares of Death

This play starring Richard O'Calloghan and Alfred Burke is described as a black comedy. Set in 1919, it depicts an undertaker in a small town. There are only so many people in a small town and apparently not enough of them are dying so the undertaker (Burke) 'plots a way out of his troubles with a forged death certificate'. Intriguingly, 'the plan takes a macabre twist when Rupert (Callaghan) decides to elaborate on the scheme'.

The other Richard O'Calloghan play alluded to in this preview is The Division, which goes out on Thursday. The Armchair Theatre previews in TV Times are often excellent like this. An increasingly frustrating problem presented here is finding out the episodes exist but are not released on DVD. However, we can present a colour photo of Alfred Burke printed in TV Times. This would often be the only way of seeing stars in colour. When I was watching Public Eye and first reached the colour episodes I was shocked to discover Alfred Burke had blonde hair as I had always presumed it to be dark! There are also a couple of colour photos from the set of 'The Snares of Death'.

Susan Maughan - Ideal Traveller

A singer, Susan Maughan enjoyed success throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Her column in TV Times usually specifically addresses women and contains fashion, make-up and housekeeping advice. What else could a lady want... Here, she informs us 'a housecoat is a must'.

Do It Yourself - Tampax Tampons

The crux of this advert seems to be that if you can put up a bookcase then you can insert a tampon. What baffles me is it seems to imply someone else was doing both of these things before.

Russian Cameras and Radios

I love that the advert includes a map to show readers where Russia is but fail to label the UK on the map. 'from RUSSIA - the nation that photographed the MOON!' 'DON'T BE CONFUSED BY IMITATIONS! MAKE NO MISTAKE - OURS IS RUSSIAN!' I have some doubts about the Soviet Union's technological prowess in consumer goods. An item described as 'AN IRON CURTAIN MIRACLE!' and 'NOT JUST A RADIO BUT TECHNOLOGICAL MAGIC!' just doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence in me.

These are part of a full page advert from a mail order company, Headquarter & General Supplies, which is quite possibly the blandest name for a company ever invented. In fact, it sounds like a cover name along the lines of James Bond's Universal Exports. Whilst looking them up I ended up on a couple of dodgy websites so I am still not convinced of their legitimacy. However, they did exist and eventually had a number of physical stores before going bust in the 1970s.


This is far from the sexiest of ads for Levi's but is probably the most badly illustrated.

Friday 12 May 2017

TV Times 13th May 1967

A personal pick of articles and adverts from TV Times for the week of 13th May 1967.

A Cathedral For Our Times

Two pages are given over to an article by the Archbishop of Westminster on the opening of The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool's new Roman Catholic cathedral. It had more glass than any other cathedral in Europe and the central altar was constructed from a 19 ton block of marble imported from the exotic climes of Yugoslavia. Having visited Liverpool and had the cathedral pointed out to me from a tour bus, I can say with confidence that today (well in 2013 at least), it remains a stunning building. In 1967 the opening ceremony was televised, though Cardinal John C. Heenan lamented, 'The pity is that colour television will not be available'. Colour was on its way and due to be launched later that year. I could not say for certain but I reckon the chances of a religious programme being one of the first to be shown in colour would have been slim. All the same, the programme is on for over an hour on Sunday evening. The feature goes on to describe the cathedral as 'the most exciting building to be erected in Britain for 25 years'. I would like to see TV Times' definition of 'exciting', considering the Post Office Tower had been constructed only a few years before. A magnificent colour photo of the new cathedral graces the cover of this issue.

My View - Alun Owen

An interview with writer Alun Owen, who has written the first play in a new series, Half Hour Story. He feels some drama has too much padding and 30 minutes (25 minutes, 30 seconds with adverts) is ideal for certain stories. 'Television is ideal for the small cast in a confined space, capturing a small moment in time'. A modern series that represents this perfectly for me is Inside No. 9. It often tells a story in real time and utilises a small but excellent cast. Alun Owen's greatest claim to fame is for writing the screenplay to The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. His Half Hour Story, 'Shelter', is included with other episodes from the series in an Alan Clarke collection.

Swing into the Seventies with Stork

Stork, the margarine company, are inviting us to 'Swing into the Seventies' with a competition to win 'one of many fabulous prizes of the future!' There are 50 first prizes of a colour television. 'These sets receive both colour and black and white. Colour programmes are expected to start later this year'. It is a decent prize too as the sets are 25 inches! My last CRT one was only three inches bigger. As well as the tellies there are many other 'trend-setting' prizes on offer too. 50 second prizes of a 13 inch black and white portable, 100 third prizes of a cassette tape recorder, 100 fourth prizes of a portable record player and finally, 2000 fifth prizes of your choice of an LP. To enter, go to a shop, pick up a Stork competition pack, choose four programmes 'in the order they would best appear to make an enjoyable evening's viewing for all the family', say which would be the best in colour, then send it off. Are you a couple? Do you live alone? Best make it up. Stork wants viewing for all the family.

By now, adverts for colour televisions are starting to crop up a lot in TV Times so readers will be well aware of the looming change. For many though, the price difference compared to a black and white set, as well as the higher licence fee, is going to be too much. It will be about ten years before the number of colour licences overtakes the number of black and white ones.

A CHALLENGE to This Week's team

Jeremy Isaacs' article on current affairs programmes is most interesting. There is concern in television land that everything has been done before and they worry about attracting viewers with something new. He also points out how short a period current affairs on television has been around for - a little over ten years. He gives an insight into early programming, saying, 'Only ten years ago, television did not dare to report by-elections, to put hard questions to Prime Ministers, to deal with unmentionables like illegitimacy or abortion, to devote more than a few skimpy minutes to any serious topic, no matter how important.' It really does give insight into how much has changed and how quickly.

Isaacs goes on to emphasise the difference made by current affairs programmes by 'responsible treatment of difficult topics' - the 'responsible' part is perhaps a swipe at any drama explorations. 'If people today are more tolerant of the mentally sick, the unmarried mother, the homosexual, it is undoubtedly because television has broken down barriers to communication'. It is difficult to measure this of course but Isaacs asserts these have been 'taboo' topics so to see them discussed at all could well have been a first for many viewers. He also mentions the fact that with television, it brought these subjects into the home. For some, this would probably have been horrifying but nonetheless, it was bringing them closer to reality.

Finally, a mention of the future. From July, 'Every week-night, at 10 o'clock, ITN will mount a half-hour news programme of a type not yet attempted in Britain'. For me, News at Ten has always existed so it is quite odd to think of it as once having been something completely different. The daily news was shorter prior to this, though there were longer weekly current affairs shows. News at Ten was expected to prove a serious challenge to them: 'The producers of weekly current affairs shows will have to ask themselves, even more forcibly than before, not just: "What have we got to say?" but: "What have we got to say that someone else hasn't said already?"'

Tivvy Club - Keeping Britain clean

As I understand it, Tivvy is the little creature in the corner and the Tivvy Club was something children could send off for. A letter in another issue revealed that the messages printed in TV Times could be decoded with information sent through as part of the club.

This Tivvy Club section intrigued me as I had never heard of a tax on soap. Tivvy informs us it was brought in by Charles I and removed by William Ewart Gladstone in 1852.

Viewpoint is the page for viewers' letters and one reveals that a previous issue's Tivvy cartoon demonstrated something quite dangerous.

Goblin Teasmade

In some ways, a Teasmade seems like the best invention there ever was for Britain. But then central heating became widespread and getting out of bed in the winter seemed a lot easier than setting up a Teasmade every night. Nowadays, if you really want to, you can set kettles to boil from your phone.

Big Fry - 100 day special offer!

Collect some wrappers and get money off a load of goods. The face of Big Fry is George Lazenby, who would achieve much greater fame a couple of years later as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I particularly like the drawings of the various items here.