Tonight’s BBCtv… in 1968 

13 November 2014

A look at what BBC1 and 2 had to offer on Wednesday 13 November 1968, as told to us by the Radio Times.

  • A repeat of docu-drama Cathy Comes Home is the centrepiece of post-watershed BBC1. By this point Tony Garnett and his inner circle had defected to Kestrel Productions, the ‘arms-length’ production house which enjoyed a brief and often turbulent relationship with the fledgling London Weekend.
  • Cathy is not the only nod to social concerns tonight. The Man Alive on illiteracy pre-dates the BBC’s own efforts to tackle the problem with On the Move, Your Move and Write Away in the mid-to-late seventies.
  • The Party Political Broadcast at 9pm is a three-way simulcast, being shown on BBC1, BBC2, and ITV at 9pm. To make room, BBC1 is obliged to cut its main evening news to just ten minutes – a pre-Pebble Mill Bob Langley does the honours. And note that at 8.50pm, the billing simply reads ‘Weather’, rather than The Weatherman – suggesting the announcer is to read the forecast.
  • Future Director-General Ian Trethowan is among the Twenty-Four Hours team.
  • A peak-time spot for Sportsnight. The newcomer to the BBCtv Sport stable is just a few weeks old at this point.  Launched as a post-watershed attraction on Thursdays, it switches days and times to offer highlights of victories for both home fighters.
  • The Newcomers, in the third year of its four-year run, is another of the BBC’s attempts to establish a continuing serial to match the success of Coronation Street. Note that term, continuing serial. ‘Soap opera’ was a term of derision at the time – the BBC and ITA’s yearbooks studiously avoided it. A rough timeline: Hazel Adair and Peter Ling’s Compact preceded The Newcomers, which gave way to The Doctors, which in turn made room for Angels, and, latterly, Eastenders – to which, sadly, no end seems in sight.
  • Television was gaining recognition as a valuable training tool. Skills for Managers may seem ultra-niche now, but was typical of the adult education fare common in the sixties and seventies

You Say

2 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 14 November 2014 at 1:02 pm

Interesting to see that Michael Aspel chatting to four former Miss Worlds gets five more minutes airtime than the yet-to-be-on-Thursdays “Tomorrow’s World”.

Hazel Adair and Peter Ling also gave us “Crossroads” which, in turn, spawned hit singles for Sue Nichols, Kate Robbins, Stephanie De Sykes…and Simon May.

Alan Keeling 14 May 2016 at 8:35 pm

The one & only American import of the day was the 1967 Filmation series, “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, based on Jules Verne’s famous book. Poor animation ruined this series.

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