Ideas galore 

22 March 2018

Article from TVTimes London edition for 18-24 August 1963

Debs, diamond dealers and divers, butlers and steeplejacks, soldiers, models and students…

As wide and varied an assortment of people and jobs one is ever likely to come across — but with one thing in common.

They have all at some time or other over the past 20 months, appeared in Here and Now (Mondays to Thursdays).

“So have barrow boys, dancers, musicians, salesmen and aldermen, airmen, clergymen, actors and shoe girls,” said producer Michael Ingrams. “Anyone, in fact, whom we feel has a story to tell.

“Do we ever run out of ideas? Never. Our viewers make sure of that.”

Viewers’ suggestions are “chewed over” by the programme production team at a story conference every Monday morning.

The “chewers” are Michael Ingrams, interviewers Huw Thomas and Vanessa Thornton, and writers Michael Nelson, Pat Ward and Tony Gray.

“Suggestions that survive the chewing are passed on to Mike, Pat and Tony for researching and scripting and eventually, if they survive that process, they end up on the screen,” Michael Ingrams said.

The “team,” who work from two small offices looking out over Kingsway in Television House, London, all remember favourite programmes from among the 400 Here and Now shows that have gone out since the show started in November 1961.

Michael Ingrams’ own favourite is the programme in which he “danced” himself off his feet.

“We did a Here and Now to illustrate how dances are launched,” he said. “The dance was the Beeje, a wonderful jazzy number for which Steve Race wrote the music. Although it hasn’t exactly replaced the Twist, it is still going places in its own small way!”

Planning a Here and Now programme. From left: Elaine Hall, Tony Gray, Michael Nelson, John Zambardi, Pat Ward, Tessa Turnball, Michael Ingrams, Bimbi Harris, Madge Barnes, Huw Thomas and Milton Shulman

For Huw Thomas not even the Beeje measured up to the night he was able to lavish £250,000 worth of diamonds on his wife!

“We did a programme about diamonds and my wife took part. She was a sort of prop for me to hang these fabulous stones on.

“I knew it wasn’t for real but, all the same, it was a wonderful feeling, recklessly draping her with thousands of pounds worth of diamonds!”

Tony Gray’s favourite programme was one he did on a horse fair at Southall, Middlesex.

“It was one of the most colourful outings I’ve ever been on,” he said.

“The place was teeming with gypsies, rag and bone men, excited children and parents committing themselves to buying their sons and daughters ‘that cute little pony’.”

Fellow writer Pat Ward remembers the day he tricked Huw Thomas at the School For Divers, featured by Here and Now.

“I visited the school by myself first,” he said. “I didn’t dare to dive — couldn’t bear the thought of being wrapped up underwater in one of those huge suits — but when I got back to the studio I told Huw that I had dived and that it was a piece of cake!

“Huw wasn’t too keen on the idea, but I re-assured him. ‘It’s nothing,’ I said, ‘you’ll love it down there underwater.’

“Huw fell, hook, line and sinker, and went down for two hours.

“He actually enjoyed it, so, in a way, the joke backfired.”

You Say

1 response to this article

Alan Keeling 22 March 2018 at 3:45 pm

One member of the Hear & Now team was the late Michael Ingrams, a man of many talents who starred in films such as The Square Ring (1953), Dangerous Voyage (1954) plus an episode of the cinema series, Scotland Yard. Michael also scripted many of the Look at Life cinema shorts and also in 1955 was writer, director and interviewer for an Associated Rediffusion series of 15 minute documentarys called Look in on London.

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