Sunday 2 July 2017

TV Times 1st July 1967

This week, colour has arrived on British televisions! But alas, that means absolutely nothing here as it was only for BBC2. Independent Television would have to wait a while longer yet.

The BIG news - from ITN

The new arrival on Independent Television this week is News at Ten and this itself is quite a big deal. As explored in a TV Times article back in May, the news was short - no more than thirteen minutes - and any analysis was explored in separate programmes. The idea of having a regular half-hour news programme that gave time to analysis, not just reporting of the news, was quite revolutionary.

It is so revolutionary and different that they are not entirely sure what it should be like and so plan to experiment. 'One night we may fill the programme with one item, as with the Aberfan disaster* or the war in the Middle East**. On another night it may be possible to fit all hard news into five minutes and give the rest to a major interview in depth or a piece of film of great human interest. On another night there may be three main items with the news wedged in between them. There will be no rigid pattern. Every night we start with a blank canvas.'

They seem keen to give more time to human interest stories, which I suppose will eventually morph into the so-called 'fluff' pieces often used at the end of the news. There should also be more room to devote to all sorts of sports reporting.

Running through the team, the lack of a female reporter is noted. Editor of ITN, Sir Geoffrey Cox, says, 'If we could find a good one, I would even be prepared to use her as a newscaster.' How generous! A year later Jacky Gillott will start as the first woman reporter on News at Ten. It would take until 1978 for Anna Ford to become News at Ten's first female newscaster.

Overall, these articles convey a great sense of excitement at the possibilities for the future. Behind the scenes, some were uncertain about this initial 13-week experiment. Yet, although ITV has tried a few changes over the years, these have never stuck and fifty years later News at Ten remains a staple in the schedules.

*The Aberfan disaster occurred in October 1966 when a colliery spoil tip collapsed. It hit a nearby school, killing 116 children and 28 adults. The BBC's 50th anniversary piece on it is excellent.

**The Six Day War had taken place from 5th-10th June 1967

It's Adventure Time!

New for the children...Anglia has a number of new series starting for children. Send Foster follows a junior reporter's adventures and Danger Island sounds very exciting, with a 12-year-old, Nicholas, getting caught up in an assassination plot while on holiday. Come Here Often is a new magazine programme. I like the sound of Country Boy, which sees a 14-year-old city lad come to learn about country life. Finally, Zoo Time takes a look at animals, starting with Chester Zoo. It's great to see such a variety of programmes on offer for children and it would be wonderful to see any of these. However, survival rates for children's programming are poor and sadly not a single one of these series still exist.

Embassy and Colgate

If TV Times is anything to go by, all sorts of companies were keen to encourage brand loyalty at this time. A popular way to do this was to have vouchers of some sort in each packet of cigarettes. Collect enough then send them off for something in the catalogue. These catalogues often offered a wide variety of household goods. In comparison, Colgate is simply offering some seamfree nylons.

Churchman's CIGARELLA

I am a great admirer of old tobacco advertisements and occasionally share them through a Twitter account: @fagsandbooze This one stood out as it was a brand I had not come across before. They are selling themselves as cigarettes and not cigarillos, having a filter that a cigarillo would usually lack. Compared to regular cigarettes, these are quite expensive at five shillings for twenty, with most other advertised brands not being more than 4/3.

Shell's 1967 Touring Pack

Shell is offering a book to tell you the cost of things in other countries. This seemed absolutely baffling at first - why pay for a book to tell you how much stuff is? Won't you just find out when you get there?

But looking at it in more detail, it becomes clear why the book might come in useful. As explored the other week, the government was keen to sort out its balance of payments. Restricting how much money tourists took out of the country was deemed a useful contribution to this. In 1967, this was limited to £50 and £15 in sterling per adult. £50 is about £832 today but with exchange rates, it is difficult to estimate how far this would actually have gone. Opponents argued it gave holidaymakers limited choice on where they could travel as some countries were more expensive.


For many, it is probably difficult to imagine a world before instant coffee. However, Nescafé came up with 'Freeze Drying' in 1965 so it was only two years old at this point. It is advertised as 'new' here, so I am not sure exactly when it was introduced to the UK. Previous methods had found the coffee taste and smell was best preserved in sweet milky coffee but now you could brew preserved coffee as black as your heart's desire.

Have a swinging Saba Saba Day

Cigar adverts are few and far between compared to the usual cigarette ones in TV Times so it feels we are being spoiled to get two, even if the first is hiding itself as a cigarette. Wills Cigars are providing a wealth of reasons to have a cigar every day, so why not? You too could find yourself patting an obviously stuffed lion.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

TV Times 17th June 1967

A selection of articles and adverts for the week of 17th June 1967.

The State of the Nation

An article promoting The State of the Nation in which the Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, will face tough questions on his economic policy. There will be questions from men from unions, men from industry, men from the City, a man from a university, a man from the press, a man from France, a man from America and from the man in the street.

At the time, the UK economy was viewed rather poorly due to a trade deficit. Basically, the UK imported more than it exported. The books had not been great for a number of years but 1967 was the year things really went to pot. The 'international situation' mentioned at the bottom is likely to be the Six Day War. This would raise the price of petrol, putting further pressure on the government. There were also a number of major industrial strikes throughout the year. By November, the government would take the decision to devalue the pound. £1 went from equalling $2.80 down to $2.40, the idea being it would make British goods cheaper abroad. Less than a fortnight later, the UK was denied entry to the European Economic Community (EEC), or European Union (EU) as it is has now become.

Harold Wilson's address to the nation attempted to reassure the public.

Play Bill

A 20-year-old Felicity Kendall is in Friday's Half Hour Story, 'Gone and Never Called Me Mother'.


A couple of readers are frustrated by a lack of repeats and they would particularly like to see 'some of the better plays' again.

Repeats are few and far between in 1967's TV Times. Actors' contracts and limited broadcasting hours mean they provide little appeal to broadcasters. Children's programmes are the most likely to be repeated, including the likes of Thunderbirds and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Also, in this issue, there are repeats of popular series, The Saint and The Avengers.


'Carter's have made me feel younger, brighter and more healthy' says Mrs G. Aldridge of Walsgrave, Coventry. 'Carter's are a safe, gentle but certain laxative'.


'Things happen in colour - remember them in colour'

Although photography had been around for some time, it had been many years before portable cameras were available to the masses. Like television, it began in black and white and so manufacturers then have to try to push the benefits of paying more for colour film. There are few colour pages in 1967's TV Times and even fewer colour adverts. The most likely candidates to pay extra for colour are tobacco companies and film or camera manufacturers. The Kodak adverts usually play on emotions and often contain photos of children. Even today, it is still the case that people start taking more photographs once they have children. This spur of the moment photo of a beautiful view with a figure in shadow is an interestingly slightly different take. Having the rest of the page in black and white also really draws attention to the colours.