Christmas Day on Anglia… in 1967 

24 December 2017

A Service for Christmas provides your home with a Christmas Day church service. It is perfectly acceptable to attend this one in your pyjamas. There is not much competition from the BBC who are showing a different service from a different church on BBC1, though you could opt for Play School on BBC2.

Talk about choice! While the BBC show Leslie Crowther meeting kids in Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children, Anglia shows Wilfred Pickles meeting kids in St Vincent’s Orthopaedic Hospital in A Christmas Stocking. Wilfred Pickles has The Enunciation Boy Singers and The Carmel Singers, and the BBC has The Monkees. Only one of these artists currently has a single in the top ten (‘Daydream Believer’).

Christmas needs children tunelessly singing carols and I Saw Three Ships… ensures no one need miss out on this. In fact, they have even listed the order of carols so you can pop out to put the veg on while they screech your least favourite.

Have you had enough of Christmas? Are the cards with snowy scenes becoming a bit repetitive? In fact, is the entirety of Winter getting to you? Take a pre-lunch break from it all with Sounds of Summer.

The musical showcase All Kinds of Music provided what its title said. It had originally ran for a series in 1961, returning for one-offs on Christmas Day in 1967 and 1968, plus one more episode in 1970.

Watch it, Sailor! is a 1961 comedy. Further down the cast list is Frankie Howerd, playing a church organist.

Albert Tatlock has organised a tug-of-war contest with pubs The Rovers up against The Flying Horse in Coronation Street. We are visiting Weatherfield not because it is Christmas Day, but because it is a Monday. It would be some years before soaps became fixtures in the Christmas Day schedule and while Christmas Day editions of soaps get enormous audiences today, this episode gained Coronation Street‘s lowest viewing figures of the 20th century. Being up against the BBC’s popular Christmas Night With the Stars cannot have helped.

The main event today is the pantomime and this year sees Cliff Richard and the Shadows, along with Arthur Askey, starring in Aladdin. The production is based on a version performed at the London Palladium in 1964-5 and shares several of the same cast members.

Arthur Askey must have liked the story of Aladdin as he had been in the BBC’s production the year before.

A Mrs. L. Barber had written to TV Times the month before asking for pantomimes and circuses to be put on earlier as ‘our little boy, and I am sure a lot of other children, were disappointed at missing so many of these programmes, owing to late showing’. ATV and Granada obviously favoured the younger audience more than Anglia as they put this panto on early in the afternoon, straight after The Queen at 3.10. Anglian and Rediffusion kids had to stay up until 9 to see the end of Aladdin!

Most of the songs from the Palladium show were recorded as an album ‘Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp’ (yours for a tenner on eBay), which meant the cast were able to mime for most of the songs in the TV version.

If you know the story of Aladdin, you will be aware that there is a noticeable lack of guitars, even in most panto versions. This is clearly a problem when you need The Shadows to perform a few numbers. Rediffusion’s Aladdin is lost to the magic carpets of time but in the Palladium’s version at least, the boys take a Chinese caravan everywhere, giving them somewhere panto-appropriate to store their guitars between Widow Twankey’s puns.

The last big programme of the day is a film – The Big Country. The Western is more exciting than Watch it, Sailor! but on the downside, it is a repeat. It’s an epic so even after being interrupted for News at Ten, there is still over an hour and a half left.

If you haven’t dropped off after all the food and booze yet, there’s a little bit more religion for viewers with Reflection.

Anglia has one of the earliest finishes today. Rediffusion’s last programme doesn’t start until 12.15 and Granada closes down at 12.50. The BBC are also up late with BBC2 starting Late Night Line Up at 12.05 and BBC1 rounding the evening off with The Weather Man at 12.47. As so many of the programmes earlier in the day are religious ones and don’t count towards the day’s permitted hours, they are all able to take advantage of the extra broadcasting hours this gives them.

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3 responses to this article

Paul Mason 25 December 2017 at 2:10 am

Regional news (About Anglia) on Christmas Day!

Alan Keeling 27 December 2017 at 4:13 pm

Christmas Day with Popeye at 1.45 is always a hit and the US sitcom Wendy & Me (1964/64) at episode 14.

Tina King 12 September 2018 at 2:30 pm

Broadcasting over the festive period was relaxed by the Postmaster General from around 1960 onwards.

Regulations from 1962 allowed both the BBC and ITV to broadcast for more than the usual 8 hour restricted broadcasting day only on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Christmas was that one time of year which the regulator felt “united the nation together”, and so broadcasting hours were relaxed.

It should be noted, that New Year’s Eve and Day were days both channels didn’t really bother to use the relaxed restrictions, and would treat them as a usual day, with a few little added bits to their schedules.

BBC Radio also used the relaxed restrictions, with the Light Programme, and later Radio 2 offering a 24 hour service on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

1972 saw the end of the regulations, as restricted broadcasting hours were gone.

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