✎ One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a really weird historical anachronism 

19 January 2017 tbs.pm/10618

Well, this is odd.

Every quarter, TWW sent a leaflet out to potential advertisers, giving them a run down of the provisional schedule for the next few month to allow them to choose suitable advertising spots.

Here’s the TWW leaflet for the third quarter (July, August and September) of 1967:

I’ve highlighted the problem: the programme Magpie. The Magpie we know and love is a year away: it’s a Thames programme and aired for the first time on the network on Thames’s opening day in 1968. So, okay, fine, it’s a different programme with the same name… in roughly the same slot. It happens.

A quick look at a copy of Television Weekly, TWW’s listing magazine, for 22-28 July 1967 should show us what this Magpie was about.


In that slot, on both Tuesday and Friday (Tuesday is shown above) is a now-forgotten Rediffusion show, Come Here Often. A show with a description that’s very similar to the later Thames Magpie. Double coincidence.

Right. Let’s look at the next, 4th (October, November, December), quarter of 1967.

Hello, Come Here Often. You’ve appeared. Well, that’s very helpful and it seems… oh.

Cancelled, either by Rediffusion or locally by TWW. Okay.

And, no, it’s not that the year is printed wrong on the leaflet(s) – OpNox and Armchair Theatre are still shown as being on the weekend, but both were taken to weekdays when ABC became most of Thames in a year’s time.

So what is going on here?

No idea. I’m completely baffled. It’s likely just a strangely coincidence, and 50 years later it probably doesn’t matter to anybody besides me. But nevertheless.

Anyone care to theorise?

With thanks to Paul S for spotting this anachronism.

UPDATE: In the TWW and Teledu Cymru Facebook group, Richard Wyn Jones says “I noticed [the above], too, and decided that Magpie was in the pipeline from Rediffusion but was postponed until the launch of Thames…”

Meanwhile, on Transdiffusion’s main Facebook page, Oliver Ashmole says: “I’ve looked at TV times from 1967 for Anglia, Border and Rediffusion and they all show the programme to be Come Here Often. So looks like Magpie was the working title for the programme in 1967 that was not used in the end. Photo attached of the TV Times for the 1st programme of Come Here Often.”

Thanks, guys! Any other theories?

You Say

5 responses to this article

Geoff Nash 19 January 2017 at 8:44 pm

I always understood that Magpie was a Thames initiative especially coming from Teddington rather than Television House. For that reason I’d be very surprised if Rediffusion had promoted it early, albeit re-titlinget it as Come Here Often (a show I enjoyed and remember well).

Arthur Nibble 20 January 2017 at 4:30 pm

This is interesting. I didn’t realise Cliff (commentator for “that try”) Morgan was a children’s presenter during his career. The Imdb website shows a certain Mick Robertson as both a researcher and a host of this programme at some point, with Spike Milligan making occasional appearances and Pink Floyd were in one edition.

Geoff Nash 21 February 2017 at 5:43 pm

I remember Spike Milligan’s appearances well, he was a frequent guest on the show. There were regular music slots with guest bands and artists and a small studio audience who were invited to partake in the show and discuss various issues of the day. Typical Rediffusion output for “older children”, a slightly more mature magazine approach than Magpie. Sarah Ward had previously hosted ‘Junior Points Of View’ on BBC1 and I believe went on to host a late night show on Capital Radio from it’s launch in 1973.

Anthony Teague 10 April 2019 at 10:51 pm

I also remember Come Here Often, albeit vaguely, although I specifically recall The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band playing The Equestrian Statue, and near the end of the series there was a vote for the song viewers most wanted to hear, which turned out to be the Kinks’ Days, which was performed by the group in the studio. Can’t remember too much about the non-musical items, and as a result the programme lingers on the edge of memory more as entertainment than education although Cliff Morgan seemed to have been recruite to fulfil the sensible Christopher Trace role.

David Smith 14 April 2019 at 6:04 pm

The one episode of ‘Come Here Often’ that sticks in my mind is the one where the female reporter visited the Century 21 film studios in Slough.
They were filming ‘Captain Scarlet’ (which followed Thunderbirds). Captain Scarlet had not yet been broadcast. I can vaguely remember Captain Scarlet and one of the Angel pilots taking cover in a ditch to avoid a hail of bullets. We were shown into the puppet workshop where the new puppets were compared to the Thunderbirds type, as represented by Parker. The female presenter preferred the Thunderbirds style of puppet, if my memory serves. We were also shown into the Special Effects department, where one of the technicians was trying to launch a model missile, on wires and pulleys. I would love to see this again.

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