Tonight’s Tyne Tees TV… in 1980 

21 December 2016

The TVTimes tells us what was on Tyne Tees on Sunday 21 December 1980. Things worth noting include:

  • With the contract for the new breakfast television company due to be awarded next week, there’s no formal sign-on time for ITV and 9.25am is not the bright red line it would become. TTT comes on air at 9.05am, while sister station YTV opens five minutes early to run its community service announcements slot.
  • The pattern of Sunday daytimes have not changed since the mid-1960. A mixture of adult eduction programmes and religion dominate, giving the smaller ITV companies access to the network. Grampian gets in with Simply Sewing at 9.05am.
  • In many of the more rural regions, a farming programme runs. Border’s area is clearly not rural enough compared to TTT’s neighbouring expanse of green.
  • Sailing close to the copyright wind at 3.45pm is Charlie and the Great Balloon Chase. It’s not related to the Roald Dahl stories, nor to 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory… except it features an aged grandpa and his sweet-if-naïve grandson… and the grandpa, conveniently named Charlie, is played by Jack Albertson, Grandpa Bucket in Willy Wonka… and Moosie Drier is the spitting image of Peter Ostrum. But other than that, no relation whatsoever.
  • The 18th episode of the fifth series of The Muppet Show from ATV at 5.30pm has Marty Feldman as guest star. It is, of course, hysterically funny and you should seek it out. Feldman himself was already having heart trouble by this point; in less than a year he would be dead, felled by a heart attack at age 48, a cruel loss to comedy.
  • Night of One Hundred Stars at 7.15pm has two and half hours (minus 15-17 minutes of advertisements, depending on how ITV juggled the clock hours) to get 100 stars on and off stage, which, allowing for Terry Wogan’s topping and tailing schtick and some musical interludes, gives each star an average of just under a minute on stage – more if they appear as an ensemble, of course.
  • One wonders what to make of Leslie Mitchell, Mary Malcolm, MacDonald Hobley and Sylvia Peters – all former BBC Television Service announcers – being in the list of stars. Judith Chalmers, a former BBC-1 announcer, is also present, but not grouped with the rest.
  • Millicent Martin, Lance Percival and Kenneth Cope being together suggests a TW3-style sketch or song.
  • The awkward negotiations between an clearly unhappy Independent Broadcasting Authority and a deeply distracted (by becoming a movie mogul) Lew Grade shows up in Night of One Hundred Stars being an LWT production, despite looking and sounding like something ATV could do in its sleep. Later this week, ATV would find that it had won its new contract – but the name ATV had to go, as did the Elstree studios and, above all, Lew Grade’s Associated Communication Corporation too. In 1982, a boardroom coup led by one of the few deputies ever to beat Lew at his own game, Robert Holmes à Court, saw Lew out of the British television business completely for the first time since the early 1950s.

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4 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 22 December 2016 at 11:03 am

In their listings, Grampian’s “Seachd Laithean” (“Seven Days”) was a current affairs programme in Gaelic.

Looks like a few more ensemble pieces in “100 Stars” – I make out various cast members (though some key personnel are missing) from LWT’s“On The Buses” and Please Sir” and, bizarrely, “Steptoe and Son”, “Z Cars” and “Till Death Us Do Part” from the other side.

Eric and Ernie’s Christmas show this year featured Mick McManus, Jill Gascoigne, Alec Guinness, Peter Barkworth and, er, Rolf Harris.

Paul Mason 23 December 2016 at 6:36 am

Although not featured on this page Morecambe. and Wise were on their final ITV years. It now turns out Morecambe wanted to retire having had major surgery the previous year. The ITV shows were rehashes of their 70s zenith.
As the evening shows were networked I think we may have avoided Granada that evening!
Inevitable over 36 years but 57 (minimum) of the 100 stars are now dead, including the show’s host Terry Wogan.

Alan Keeling 2 January 2017 at 3:22 pm

Regarding The Muppet Show at 5.30, with guest star Marty Feldman, that’s one Muppet Show that I must have missed. It must have been great, I only hope it’s available on DVD.

Andrew Swift 3 July 2017 at 10:51 pm

The 1980 TTTV TVTimes worth 18p was not radically different in design from a tenpence (10d) TVTimes a decade earlier. It got the long overdue revamp nine months later but some HATED it…..

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