Christmas Day on Tyne Tees… in 1977 

24 December 2017

It’s Christmas Day 1977 on Tyne Tees! TVTimes festoons its front cover with George & Mildred, Harry Secombe and Bonnie Langford, whatever happened to her?

In the good old days, it was traditional to buy both TV listings magazines at Christmas, so this edition of the TVTimes is packed to the rafters with advertising, but I believe somewhere in-between are the listings.

We start the day in Rothbury, Northumberland with a local school choir at 8.40am, then head off to deepest HTV West for more of the same from Wells Cathedral at 8.45am. The spirit of Christmas, in the biblical sense at least, is heavily featured on TTT this morning, with The Story of Silent Night at 9.45am and then, the traditional Christmas Morning Mass, from a church in the region at 10am.

Now, by this point the kids have had more fun with the wrapping paper than the presents, Dad is trying to avoid peeling the spuds and Mum is already on the second glass of sherry. Tyne Tees is on hand to offer some mid-morning entertainment with Tarby & Friends at 11am, as he offers you A Merry Morning with the likes of The Wurzels and Tina Charles… Actually, is there any sherry left?

A classic staple filler, Cartoon Time at 11.45am is followed at Midday by the first film of the day Robinson Crusoe and the Tiger. An extended Christmas edition of Just William begins at 2.05pm with the wonderful Diana Dors as guest star.

HRH on TTT at 3pm, followed at 3.10pm by our second film of the day. To See Such Fun was made by the BFI and covers 80 years of British cinema comedy. At 4.40pm Emu’s Christmas Adventure includes the likes of Arthur Lowe and WAYHEY! GET OFF! Jack Douglas.

Now, you must excuse me for a second as I’m just sending off for my ‘Twenties’ brochure. Okay, done. Two programmes on the one page here, the News from ITN at 5.40pm then Kermit and the gang bring us another Muppet Show with star guest Julie Andrews.

6.15pm and we are live, from Norwich, for the quiz of the Christmas week! Yes, it’s Christmas Sale of the Century with Sir Nicholas of Parsons. At 6.40pm it’s Stars on Christmas Day with a star-studded cast of singers such as Bing Crosby, Gracie Fields, Harry Secombe and, ahem… Don Estelle.

So, we’ve had our Christmas tea, time to settle down for an evening of pure entertainment, starting with drama at 7.15pm, Young Winston. Robert Shaw is in the starring role, playing alongside the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft and John Mills, with dear Dickie directing. A brief news update at 10.05pm, then it’s a comedy in the shape of Stanley Baxter’s Greatest Hits.

Religion creeps back into the schedule at 11.30 with Celebration, this time from HTV Wales. Then, to end the day, A Message for Christmas, followed by the weather and then closedown at 12.35pm.

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4 responses to this article

Paul Mason 25 December 2017 at 2:34 am

I thought in 1977 Bing Crosby had his own, and what would have been his final prerecorded Christmas special with David Bowie, an unusual mix. They both performed the Little Drummer Boy. I thought it was on ITV on Xmas Day, obviously not. The show featured his last rendition of White Christmas (Crosby died in October 1977).

Dave Rhodes 28 December 2017 at 2:26 pm

An hour from Wells Cathedral on ITV that morning, and an appeal on their behalf at 10.10 am on BBC1 – Michael Bentine passing round the collecting tin.

The Times suggests most companies took the network schedule in full, with Ulster and Channel kicking off at 10am. Grampian opt-out for a few bits early on including something called ‘Spotlight on Company Policy’ at 12.45pm. No idea – but it’s not obviously Christmassy!

Arthur Leslie Vasey 16 January 2018 at 1:05 pm

” … it was traditional to buy both TV listings magazines at Christmas …”

You had to buy both listings magazines all year round, up until around the 90s – Radio Times only provided listings for BBC 1, BBC 2, Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4 and your local BBC station, whereas TV Times provided details for only your respective ITV region – there were TV listings in the daily papers – but it didn’t provide details too greatly!

Starting Point, Tyne Tees’s first programme, was “the epilogue at the wrong end of the day” – the best description I can offer – usually was a Bible reading or something!

Unusual choice of film for Christmas afternoon – usually showed a premiere – like a Bond movie – I say a premiere – it was released in the cinema five years previously – used to take five years between theatrical release and television – today – even with video rental, video purchase, on demand and Sky TV, this year’s big cinema box office smashes can now be getting their first airing on terrestrial television by next Christmas!

Glenn Aylett 12 May 2018 at 12:35 pm

The Christmas Day service came from Tynemouth, about ten minutes from where I was born, and was networked. I believe they used the Catholic church on Front St, rather than the larger Anglican church just outside the town centre.
Of interest, I know some ITV regions didn’t contain ILR stations, but why did the TV Times never feature listings for local ILR stationsin the regions that did? Tyne Tees would have contained Metro Radio and Radio Tees by then, which were gaining large audiences, and a promo in the TV Times would have really helped them, particularly in the early days when Radio 1 was really huge.

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