Tonight’s BBCtv… in 1964 

10 March 2016

The Radio Times gives us a run down of BBC Television Service programmes on Tuesday 10 March 1964. Things worth noting include:

  • Programmes during the day get both in and out times, useful for teachers and busy mothers planning their day
  • The 11.55am to 1.25pm gap merits a full closedown and a start-up sequence
  • Meanwhile, the gap between The Woodentops finishing at 1.45pm and the single schools programme at 2.05pm probably warrants a ticking clock, a slide, or maybe a brief visit to the testcard. Whichever, there will be funky music
  • Children’s BBC in 1964 is not up to much. Rubovia, a puppet thing on film at 5.10pm, is dull. The Fascinating Facts Kenneth Kendall comes up with at 5.30pm aren’t
  • Here in the South East we’re not really bothering with local news, since 95% of it will have been on the national news at 6pm. So instead here’s continuity announcer and newsreader Michael Aspel at 6.10pm with a slightly lighter presentation of local events


  • Compact at 7.35pm was very popular, despite not being popular with BBC executives. They eventually messed with its formula, timeslot and budget until it shook most of its audience off. Then they cancelled it and wiped most of the tapes. Well done everybody!
  • Episode 3 of series 7 of Sykes and a… is missing along with many of the shows across all nine series. There’s no huge stars in this one, but everybody who was in it was spot on. It’s a work of genius
  • NBC’s The Dick Powell Theatre gives us a rather taught drama about a man released from being a POW in Korea returning to his home in the US to find that everybody around him is corrupt and venal. If you’re wondering where Dick Powell comes into it, he was the original host but died in 1963; his name survived on the programme
  • Nielsen knocked out Walker in the eighth round
  • BBC-2 is getting ready for launch in April and is thus showing quite a varied and full schedule for people who have already got 625-line UHF sets and a new aerial and are within reach of the Channel 33 signal in London (ie, almost nobody)
  • Testcard and tone is mixed with test films and generic films used as a test, but there are a couple of items for early adopters and television shop showrooms to display – the rather generic 1951 musical Two Tickets to Broadway at 3pm and the creaking 1940 comedic romance Lucky Partners at 6.40pm
  • There’s nothing from the soon-to-be BBC-2 in the evening because the BBC even in its finest pomp couldn’t spin evening programmes as test transmissions

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7 responses to this article

Victor Field 11 March 2016 at 10:14 pm

“If you’re wondering where Dick Powell comes into it, he was the original host but died in 1963…”

…and he pretty much took Four Star’s success rate (“The Big Valley” excepted) with him, although their output survives in repeats today (as Talking Pictures TV can attest).

Russ J Graham 12 March 2016 at 10:58 am

Today was from Thames alone; its predecessor on Rediffusion was Three After Six. A TVTimes feature on Three After Six can be read here.

Paul Mason 13 March 2016 at 8:44 am

One Compact survives because it was screened as a part of either a Sixties or a soap night. Ronald Allen- later in Crossroads appeared in it.

Some of the Sykes and a….episodes still exist as Sykes and a Bus turned up on BBC4. Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques remade many of their 1960s shows in colour in the 70s, including the BUS episode.

Paul Mason 15 March 2016 at 3:36 am

Regarding regional news London./South East must have had a weekday bulletin by the time Nationwide started in late 1969. NW had two elements, regional news from 6pm to 6.25pm and then the London studio took over. I remember Frank Bough, Michael Barratt, Bob Wellings and a young Sue Lawley. These would do the London/South East news.
The NW London would have screens with the regional studios who would be called on to contrb ute items. I remember seeing Christopher Trace from the Look East studio, only ONCE in 1973. Our region was Look North Manchester usually presented by the vile.Mr Hall.

Alan Keeling 25 April 2016 at 11:29 pm

“Rubovia” or “Rubovian Legends” was an excellent string puppet film series with interesting, if rather comical characters from an historical land. Voices were provided by Derek Nimmo & Roy Skelton. If only this lovely series from the late-fifties was available on DVD.

Alan Keeling 10 June 2016 at 11:59 pm

After the passing of Dick Powell as host of “The Dick Powell Show” (US title), other well known stars, such as Jack Lemmon & Steve McQueen replaced the late Dick Powell as the series’ host.

Ian McLachlan 18 June 2016 at 11:21 pm

Totally agree Alan. I remember Rubovia well – there is a website for it. And like you I wish it were on DVD.

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