Tonight’s Channel Television… in 1973 

7 August 2016

The Channel Television Times tells us what was on Channel TV on Tuesday 7 August 1973. Things worth noting include:

  • The liberalisation of television broadcasting hours in 1972 has created a whole new market, untapped since ITV retreated from daytime broadcasting in the retrenchments of 1956. While many European countries repeated primetime programming during the day for shiftworkers, if they had daytime television at all, ITV is firmly targeting what we then called ‘housewives’ and now call ‘full-time parents’
  • ATV were past masters of television for women during the day, persisting with the Noele Gordon vehicle Lunch Box for years after the other ITV companies abandoned most daytime output. They show their flair for the format with Lunchtime with Wogan – the ever-busy Terry also doing his BBC Radio 2 morning show concurrently – at 1pm and Women Today at 2.30pm
  • Women Today‘s description is sparse, but sounds very much like Lunch Box, down to the inclusion of Jerry Allen as a co-host. All-rounder Jean Morton was ATV’s head of viewer relations as well as a continuity announcer and presenter on the station
  • HTV Wales’s See it While You Can was a lovely series with fantastic daring and unusual aerial and ground photography, directed by the talented John Mead. It is underserved by being put on at 3pm; it’s also underserved in the Channel Islands by still being in black and white
  • Note that See it While You Can is credited to Harlech Television, two years after they rebranded to HTV
  • It’s not marked as a repeat, but the 3.25pm slot and the production date of 1971 would suggest Thames’s Public Eye is not on its first showing in the islands
  • One of the hardest jobs Channel Television still has is filling a half-hour news magazine slot five days a week. The islands are a placid place, and what stories there are often take place behind closed doors or with nothing but tracking shots of harbours and country lanes to run under the narration. It rather makes sense, then, for Channel to take the excuse of it being August to dump the regional magazine and replace it with an edited highlights package of old stories at 6.10pm
  • Do you detect some shade being thrown by “…we’ll be bringing you, once again, some of the items…”?
  • Just six episodes were made by ATV of Nobody is Norman Wisdom at 7pm and I don’t remember any of them. Perhaps that’s why only six were made?
  • Five minutes of cartoons at 7.30pm shows how strange a slot McMillan and Wife fits into. In the States, NBC treated it like a TV Movie, showing it in rotation with Columbo and McCloud. In the UK it tended to run as series in its own right – as did Columbo and McCloud for that matter – but the result is an odd length for British TV, especially with around 8 minutes an hour fewer adverts
  • The ninth episode (of thirteen) of Granada’s Sam is at 9pm. This is one of the (mostly Granada) series that would be parodied mercilessly by 1983’s Brass
  • 10.30pm sounds cheerful, doesn’t it?
  • A turnabout for the wrestling at 11.15pm. Wrestling was ABC Weekend’s speciality, with an hour devoted every Saturday to grapple fans. This hour got a midweek repeat/re-edit on Rediffusion in London, where ABC’s production caps were edited off and “Independent Television presentation” shoved on. ABC is now Thames, and the wrestling goes out midweek under their own name… while the Saturday edition is now an “Independent Television presentation” instead
  • Fifteen minutes of news, features and weather for Francophone viewers rounds off the day, and, with a weather bulletin in English, we’re off at around 12.15am

You Say

13 responses to this article

Dave Rhodes 7 August 2016 at 1:14 pm

Shrinking local news operations during the summer was the norm in many regions – I believe Thames dropped it altogether in July and August 1971.

Westy 7 August 2016 at 1:43 pm

The Public Eye episode was in black & white anyway, due to the colour strike a few years earlier, wasnt it?

And Channel would have been the only area with black & white Emmerdale too as well, as they didnt go colour till 76 did they?

Dave Rhodes 7 August 2016 at 2:32 pm

Something else worth noting – the late start time – no lunchtime children’s block, or First Report. And yet, oddly, a local news bulletin at 12.55 – no one else on the network was doing a lunchtime headlines at this point. Until the early eighties, Channel also dropped News at One, and came on air at the oddly precise time of 1.18pm!

Arthur Nibble 7 August 2016 at 2:49 pm

Apart from the fact it might put people off their tea, that 10.30 programme sounds like the sort of thing Thames would consider putting on at 6.30 on a Friday to put viewers off hanging around for London Weekend.

Divorcee drama “Harriet’s Back in Town” featured a lot of latterday comedy sidekicks – Pauline Yates (Reggie Perrin’s wife), Christopher Strauli (“Only When I Laugh”) and Jo Rowbottom (er, “Romany Jones”).

“Junior Showtime”. Help.

Channel may have skimped on their news service at this point, but it was still tons more than London Weekend.

Such a shame the description of the Partridge Family episode, “In 25 Words Or Less”, is just over 25 words!

Paul Mason 9 August 2016 at 1:49 am

I notice Junior Showtime featured Kathryn Apanowicz who became Richard Whiteley’s partner until his untimely death. It came from YTVin Leeds.I do remember Nobody is Norman Wisdom. It was peculiar because he played six characters all called Nobody. One very funny one was when he played Joe Nobody, pronounced no- bodie, a send up of Columbo. I’m amazed that the Channel Islands could support an ITV region whereas the Isle of Man had to rely on Border TV.

Paul Mason 9 August 2016 at 2:04 am

I note MacMillan and Wife, where Rock Hudson plays hetero. This , along with MMcCloud and Columbo came under the banner of Mystery Movie, and the opening titles mentioned all three. Later screenings of Columbo dropped the other two from the titles.
Sam was about a ten year old boy in 1935. Later series featured Mark McManus as the adult Sam set post war, the early 1960s and 1970, ending in 1974 with Sam as a 49 year old widower . These dramas all featured grand speeches by the characters, especially the Granddad whose character lived until 88. The Partridge Family was originally on BBC1,

Paul Mason 9 August 2016 at 2:17 am

In the year of his death it is timely to remember Lunchtime with Wigan, which was live. The show had two singers, Carl Wayne, from The Move, who sang the New Faces theme and whose death was untimely, and Penny Lane a female singer who despite her name was not from Liverpool. I remember one episode when the studio set came crashing down half way through Carl Wayne’s spot. Zee

Paul Mason 9 August 2016 at 2:18 am

Lunchtime with WOGAN, curse my spell checker!

Arthur Vasey 9 August 2016 at 5:12 pm

Channel Television had to – initially – rely on Westward Television for their ITV feed (according to the national papers, it would say “As Westward, except … then provide minimal details of their own local fare) – if the viewers used the national press as a guide to what ITV programmes were on Channel Television, they had to look under Westward – when Westward lost their franchise, they then took their ITV feed from TSW – TSW, however, had a tendency to not show some network fare, preferring to show something of their own, with Channel often having to broadcast something of their own, as the TSW regional variation – often literally being that – a regional variation – aimed at their own audience – a parochial offering – so Channel switched their ITV feed to TVS (Southern’s replacement) – as long as they were broadcasting network fare, Channel could also relay that to the natives of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney – unlike all the other regions, who could opt in to any other regions’ programming, Channel had to rely on (originally) Westward for its network fare – as long as Westward were broadcasting network fare and not something about walking on Dartmoor, Channel viewers could get ITV programming!

It’s interesting to note that they were the only region to remain on air during the ITV strike of 1979, relying heavily on archive programming!

Never been to the Channel Islands, so my account is fairly apocryphal!

Alan Keeling 14 August 2016 at 11:37 am

“The Partridge Family” had a 5.20 slot on this region, this series made a star of the then young David Cassidy, most, if not all ITV regions screened this 1970 series in various timeslots, the series’ first season had previously been shown on BBC1.

Glenn Aylett 21 August 2016 at 5:54 pm

Life By Misadventure, a programme about the seriously burned, such a joyful programme to watch before you went to bed. This is the kind of joyless PSB that used to crop up in the seventies and eighties, a similar type programme used to be hosted by Jimmy Savile on BBC One in the early eighties called Play It Safe. Apart from the now totally disgraced presenter, he seemed creepier than ever on this, Play It Safe, hosted at teatime when children expected something entertaining, was in similar territory to Life By Misadventure.

Bruce McCready 13 September 2016 at 12:55 pm

I really enjoy seeing these looks into the old schedules.

Now of course, there are no more regional schedules, or regional stations (apart from STV). Channel and even UTV in Northern Ireland have been bought out by ITV plc, will STV be next?

Martin Elsey 23 April 2019 at 11:53 am

I actually saw Life By Misadventure (10:30’s offering) as a tender 9-yr-old. I’d persuaded my Mum and Dad to let me stay up and watch it, cos I was interested in medical matters and fancied myself as a doctor when I grew up; yeah, I was a weird kid!. I frightened me witless and I didn’t sleep properly for a fortnight. Yep, just the sort of brutal public-information style broadcasting that the 70’s were famous for.

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