Tonight’s BBCtv… in 1966 

21 November 2015

The Radio Times gives us a run down of the programmes on BBCtv for Monday 21 November 1966. Things worth noting include:

  • Two session of programmes for schools and colleges was the norm at the time. Later, when they had shrank down to mornings only, there’d be an obvious progression of ages – from 5 years olds at 9am to sixth formers at noon. This doesn’t happen here.
  • Intervals abound: 10.15am to 10.25; 10.45 to 11.05; 11.25 to 11.35; noon to 1.05pm (full closedown and start-up for that one); 1.25pm to 1.30; 1.53 to 2.05; 3.40 to 4.05; 4.35 to 4.40. Such a lot of testcard, clock and music to be seen and heard!
  • Owen Edwards has the news and features in Welsh in Heddiw (‘Today’) at 1.05pm, from the London, Birmingham, Northern and Western transmitters. This is aimed squarely at the diaspora outside of Wales and is not being shown on BBC Wales (as BBC-1 in Wales was called).
  • Captain Zeppos at 5.25pm was made by Belgische Radio- en Televisieomroep (BRT, later BRTN, now VRT), the Flemish-language public service broadcaster in Belgium and was dubbed into English by the BBC. It is fondly remembered in its own country and seemingly completely forgotten here.
  • 5.58pm is the remarkably precise time for the regional news – a pan-north service for Lancashire and Yorkshire presented by Stuart Hall coming form Holme Moss and the north-east version with Mike Neville from Pontop Pike and one of the Sandales.
  • 6.17pm is yet another remarkable precise time, this time for CBS’s Daktari (1966-1969), featuring a doctor fighting poachers in east Africa.


  • United! at 7.05pm was an attempt to get men to watch soap operas. Too soapy for men, too football for women, it failed. No episodes now exist in the archives, so we can only guess what it was like.
  • The Monroes at 8pm is another American import, this time from ABC. It lasted one season. Unusually, the BBC are showing it almost simultaneously with ABC rather than waiting to see if it would survive.
  • The weekly Panorama at 9.05pm and the daily Twenty-Four Hours at 10.25 share much of the same resources and on-screen staff, including Ian Trethowan who would become Director General of the BBC between 1977 and 1982 (and later chairman of Thames Television). The editor of Panorama is Jeremy Issacs, whose career has seen him working for Granada, Rediffusion, Thames and the BBC before going on to launch Channel 4.
  • Meanwhile on BBC-2, still being run on a budget of fourpence, we’ve come on air for 25 minutes at 11am for Playschool and then shut down until 7.30pm.
  • It’s one hell of a heavy, Third Programme-style night on BBC-2 tonight. Psychology, St Francis of Assisi, a Fay Weldon play, Chris Chataway looking at trans* issues (sort of), and an adaptation of Winifred Ashton’s plodding post-Victorian works.
  • There is 45 minutes of variety, err, cabaret at 9.05pm with Kenneth Williams gloriously hosting various international acts of varying quality and interest.

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4 responses to this article

Victor Field 21 November 2015 at 10:27 pm

Actually, the “Daktari” theme embedded above came along in season two – BBC1 was still running the first season at that time which had a very different theme tune:

The end title was different as well (from a German print):

Arthur Nibble 23 November 2015 at 11:34 am

Interesting to see the old-style format for children’s programmes, e.g. “The Magic Roundabout“ shown before “Blue Peter” and not immediately before the news, and the weather preceding the headlines.

Two portions of Peter West, at 2.5 and 9.45, the latter appearing to have the teams’ performances in different locations rather than at a neutral venue.

A quick check on the IMDb website shows that Valente-Valente and Mismoune made appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, “International Cabaret” and very little else, and Valente-Valente are described as a poodle act. Tony Del Monaco was an Italian actor.

I do like the Shakespearean actor credit and theatre appearances mentioned after the 7.5 and 7.30 listings.

jazzy_andy 10 May 2017 at 11:41 pm

In truth, Heddiw should have been renamed Ddoe, as it would presumably been a repeat of yesterday evening’s BBC Wales programme…

jazzy_andy 10 May 2017 at 11:43 pm

Should have been a smiley face, not angry

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