Tonight’s BBCtv… and S4C… in 1986 

25 April 2018

Whilst on the surface it’s a quiet Friday on BBCtv, we see the start of an event which would become a massive show in years to come.

The Omnibus recording of the first ever night of Comic Relief at 10.15pm, which took place in the Shaftsbury Theatre, London on 4 April, on the surface seems unremarkable; just some alternative comedians telling gags in the name of charity, buried away under the main channel’s art branding. This is on the back of Band Aid and Live Aid, but this wasn’t anywhere near the level of the worldwide satellite rock and roll marathon of 10 months previous. Comic Relief was to go its own route; in two years, it was to become a biennial telethon that has continued to raise millions for charities in Britain and Africa.

Earlier in the day, Children’s BBC is not listed as such; Phillip Schofield is not given a by-line, but the Friday Film Special is, memories of which include Pip getting the popcorn and dimming the lights in the broom cupboard, for the showing of a Children’s Film Foundation production; this week it’s The Glitterball.

The Embassy World Snooker Championship provided the filler material throughout the day on both channels, with BBC-1 having a mid-afternoon rest at 3pm with Pages from Ceefax. Noted in the 9pm listing on BBC-2, “Dennis Taylor is supposed to be finishing his second-round match tonight, with Joe Johnson his intended victim”. Little did the writer know at the time of publication that Johnson was not facing the defending champion, but instead Mike Hallett, who had knocked Taylor out in the previous round. Johnson would go on to win the title, recording the largest upset in Crucible history.

Back on 1, Wogan was presented by Kenneth Williams, who must be the most memorable guest host of the thrice-weekly chat show. A very safe guest to start the show, in the shape of a dear friend and host of Just a Minute, Nicholas Parsons, a show which became synonymous with Williams and his fantastic linguistic ability. Sadly, within two years Kenneth would be gone. As luck would have it, here is the full show.

Normally associated with quizzes on ITV such as Crosswits for Tyne Tees and Name That Tune for Thames, Tom O’Connor swap sides for a programme called I’ve Got a Secret, based on the 1950’s US panel game of the same name, whereby the panellists try to uncover the “secret” of the guest.

Some programmes carry on as before. Gardeners’ World is still a mainstay of the spring and summer Friday evening schedules on BBC-2, during this period it was presented by Geoff Hamilton.

Heimat, the epic German serial which follows the life of a German family through the 20th century, is over halfway through its run on BBC-2.

Newsnight as ever wraps up the news of the day, with John Tusa presenting. Tusa had a remarkable career as a journalist and administrator. During the late 1980’s he was managing director of the World Service, before heading back in front of camera for the BBC One O’clock News in the mid-1990’s. He has recently published his memoir, “Making a Noise” which is worth a read regarding his frequent clashes with BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey.

As this is the Welsh edition of the Radio Times, its incumbent to mention some aspects of regionalia. Outside of the local news Wales Today at 5:35pm and Sportfolio at 6:30pm, a preview of the weekend sport, there are no local variation from the network. What sets the Welsh edition apart from the rest is the inclusion of S4C programming in a two-page spread. No English language programmes are listed (Rhaglenni Saesneg, those common with Channel 4, would require consultation with TV Times). It notes BBC Cymru productions, including the aforementioned Snwcar from Sheffield, but it also includes programmes like Y Byd ar Bedwar, which were produced by HTV, but that aspect is conveniently ignored here.

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6 responses to this article

Mark Jeffries 26 April 2018 at 12:57 am

“Rhaglenni Saesneg” at 5:30–“Countdown” and what else?

Nigel Stapley 26 April 2018 at 6:50 pm

A few things:

What we see in the image here is S4C’s programming from early Tuesday evening onwards (I assume Saturday – Tuesday tea-time were on the facing page).

Tuesday 8:35 gives live coverage of the 2nd leg of the Welsh FA Cup semi between Cardiff and Wrexham (game ended 1-2, a 2-6 aggregate win, with the Robins going on to defeat the mighty Kidderminster Harriers (!) over the two-leg Final).

Bilidowcar – a sort of combination of Blue Peter and Magpie (the name means ‘cormorant’) – had been running since the mid-70s, when it was on BBC Wales. In the same way, Ffalabalam (it means ‘ffalabalam’) had run on HTV in the pre-S4C era.

Nic Parry, the co-presenter of Ffair Dan Gap has also been a football commentator (most notably on the legendary Sgorio highlights of La Liga and Serie A). He has also been a Crown Court judge for the last eight years.

Dinas was a spin-off/successor to Coleg, one of the station’s first drama series.

Misus Potpupur (‘Mrs Pepperpot’) was presumably a re-voicing of the anime series made a couple of years or so before rather than anything to do with the regular featuring of the stories on Jackanory in the early 70s.

Paul Mason 28 April 2018 at 3:17 am

No surprise as such, only in retrospect, the “snwcer” afternoon slot was presented by David Icke five years before his messianic declaration on Wogan.

Glenn Aylett 28 April 2018 at 11:17 am

I remember Comic Relief from 1986, when it was a live show with comedians and musicians from Shaftesbury Avenue. I’m assuming this is the one where they had Spitting Image puppets of the Royal Family in the audience, Rowan Atkinson does his school registration monologue, and The Young Ones send up Cliff Richard. Far, far better than the telethon based shows that followed.

Davy Jones 28 April 2018 at 12:33 pm

I really thought “Dinas” was produced by HTV Wales.

Nigel Stapley 28 April 2018 at 5:06 pm

It was (as was its predecessor Coleg. I think someone at the Bîb was being a bit cheeky there!

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