Welcome home to TVTimes 

25 October 2015 tbs.pm/7714


Production of the TVTimes had ended quite quickly into the protracted strike of 1979, with the journalists and printers laid off, awaiting the return of their parent network.

When Independent Television returned, it was with almost no notice, falling back on to air with a national service derived from Thames in London. The TVTimes swung back into action and produced, for sale from 25 October, a scraped-together magazine with small national listings giving scant details and large photographs of the programmes we’d all been missing.

Here we present two articles from that TVTimes. The first is by the magazine’s editor, Peter Jackson, welcoming readers back to the TVTimes and explaining his plans for a revivified magazine. The second has no byline but reports on a survey done in each ITV region asking viewers what they were most missing while ITV was off.

Finally, there are a selection of programmes that TVTimes decided to plug in its big pictures on the listings pages. How many do you remember?



IT’S MARVELLOUS to be back and we can’t wait to tell you about the special issues we’ve been planning.

ITV is going to be brighter and better than ever and we’ve been making sure that your favourite magazine reflects the excellence of the programmes planned.

Only When I Laugh

Only When I Laugh

After so long out of action and all the cliff-hanging uncertainties over which particular day ITV would return to the screen, only emergency tactics have enabled us to deliver at all this week, so please be patient.

To speed our printing operation, we’ve had to put Family Scene in the middle of the magazine.

So you will find your programme guide for the weekend separate from the rest of the week by your regular favourites with Michael Aspel, Joanna Lumley and Joan Collins: and there are three great fashion competitions with stunning outfits worth £600 to be won.

The Muppet Show

The Muppet Show

And inside this section is a 32-page Family Scene Send Our Shopping Extra which invites you to join in the world’s biggest shopping spree, including first details of a free-entry competition bringing you a chance to win all the prizes Dick Emery and his Girl Friday have on display.

Despite our first cover price increase for two years, we believe that you are going to find the magazine a better buy than ever before.

This come-back issue is the first of a series of bumper-size TVTimes with as many as 128 pages. They will include 32-page Extras of a special kind not to be found in any other magazine.

Kathie Webber will enlist the help of your favourite TV stars for a Cook ’n’ Slim countdown to Christmas; Felicity Murray will reveal the stars beauty secrets in time for the big party season.

Cloppa Castle

Cloppa Castle

In the next of these Extra-large issues Lesley Salisbury reveals the Hollywood that only she knows: and we’ll be announcing an easy-to-enter free competition which could win two lucky readers an all-expenses-paid trip to America with Lesley as their guide. Plus tickets to one of showbusiness’s greatest events – Academy Awards nightHollywood next Spring.

We have done our best to bring you an accurate guide to the big network programmes on ITV this week. But there may be occasional late changes in your local ITV area, so watch out for on-screen announcements. We trust you will stay tuned to the brightest channel on your TV set – and that you will remind your newsagent you are looking forward to having TVTimes again every week.





AFTER 10 weeks off the air, things are getting back to normal on ITV. But what did you miss most in the Great Strike of ’79?

Some newspapers have suggested that the absence of those popular long-runners, Coronation Street and Crossroads, brought most misery to the average viewer. But an independent survey carried out for TVTimes revealed that the biggest “miss” was comedy shows, closely followed by films.


The study was conducted by European Marketing Surveys in every ITV area. More than 1,000 people from all walks of life were questioned.

Forty-four per cent said they missed the comedy shows; 40 per cent, films; 39 per cent, ITN News; and 38 per cent, sport. Serials, like Coronation Street and Crossroads, came next with 34 per cent, followed by current affairs programmes (29 per cent) and plays (23 per cent).



There were sharp divisions between men and women over who missed what. Many women – 49 per cent – mourned the absence of the serials, but only 19 per cent of men felt the same way.

Not surprisingly, sport provided the male’s biggest moan. Sixty per cent of men missed programmes like World of Sport. And only 16 per cent of women are celebrating the return of Dickie Davies and co.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 12.06.45

But there was no argument about the comedy shows. A high proportion both of men (43 per cent) and women (44 per cent) reckoned the loss of ITV’s funny men was no laughing matter.

Men missed the news more than women – 43 per cent to 34 per cent. And the sexes were also divided over plays – 28 per cent of women missed them and only 17 per cent of men.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 12.11.12

Perhaps the most interesting statisic in the report is the public’s apparently insatiable demand for something to give them a good laugh – a sign that the British sense of humour is alive and well. Although the BBC’s comedy output during the strike was as strong as ever, it seems viewers were crying out for more.

Filling the laughter gap on ITV over the coming weeks will be such old favourites as Mind Your Language and The Muppet Show, plus new shows like Freddie Starr’s Variety Madhouse, Only When I Laugh, with James Bolam, and Bernie, with Bernie Winters going it alone. And there’s the long-awaited series from one of Britain’s most promising double acts, Cannon and Ball.

Animal Kwackers

Animal Kwackers

You Say

5 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 25 October 2015 at 5:21 pm

Crikey, there’s a photo of Bunny from “Eldorado” – er, allegedly!

Not sure if James Bolam’s cover photo depicts the mood of readers bemoaning the price rise of TV Times, so soon after a months-long strike, or the imminent wall-to-wall coverage of “3-2-1” for which Ted Rogers’ picture could arguably have taken up most of the cover.

Martin Jarvis 25 October 2015 at 5:56 pm

Wasn’t Give Us a Clue a Thames production?

Russ J Graham 25 October 2015 at 6:05 pm


Corrected, with thanks.

Damien Cahill 26 October 2015 at 9:20 pm

A question of sport… as it is raised in the article that World of Sport was missed. How did live horse racing fare during this time? The ITV 7 during this time would’ve featured a lot of the autumn flat racing classics (St. Ledger, Cesarewitch etc.) Would the BBC have picked up on these races if ITV wasn’t able to show them?

Brian Renforth 10 March 2018 at 10:44 am

Didn’t get to see the return of ITV as voices downstairs told me I had to get in the car. I did notice HTV opened with their opening piece. Switching to ATV on ch12 VHF showed the IBA/ATV slide. I then had to switch the TV off and jump in to the car for the journey North.

Although a national service originated from Thames it was interesting at least ATV and HTV opened as regional services. I guess they must’ve immediately switched to the national output after the opening sequences ended.

The next day in the Tyne Tees region it opened around 1400hrs with the TTT opening. The first programme was the news with Martyn Lewis. His first word were, “Hello, it’s good to be back”.

What’s often forgotten is the IBA Engineering Announcements continued as usual during the long strike. It must’ve proved costly to show the apology caption throughout the day on all IBA 405 and 625-line transmitters.

The welcome back edition of TV times mentioned a new programme, “Minder” starring Dennis Waterman as Terry and George Cole as, “The Guv’nor”!

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