Tonight’s Yorkshire Television… in 1975 

23 May 2018

It’s Friday 23 May 1975. The 1970s have much worth noting about them, but the weird weather conditions in the middle of the decade stand out. 1976 would be the year of the great drought after a startlingly long and hot heatwave. This would be followed by floods in the winter. Meanwhile, with the heatwave a year away, there was snow on the ground in many parts of the UK, and that afternoon a thick blanket of fog settled across a swathe of the country.

On YTV, the day started with schools in the morning, followed by the usual mix of programmes for those who may be at home and watching television during the day: Hickory House and A Handful of Songs from midday for children, Songs that Stopped the Shows at 12.30pm for pensioners, the ITN news at 1 – not yet called that – for the middle classes eating lunch, and then into the programmes for housewives from 1.30pm.

The second part of this week’s Crown Court drama features few recognisable names. The show often had character actors you recognised but couldn’t place, or young actors whose names would later be famous but weren’t at this time. The judge was played by William Mervyn, the epitome of the former phenomena: he was in The Railway Children, Doctor Who, All Gas and Gaiters and a couple of Carry Ons, but I bet you couldn’t pick him out of a line-up.

The only name that leaps out of ATV’s General Hospital‘s cast at 2pm is Tony Adams, playing Dr Bywaters. His fame lay before him: he moved to ATV’s perennial soap opera Crossroads in 1978, playing the role of Adam Chance.

The 25-minute episode of The Count of Monte Cristo at 4.25pm is baffling. Them there interwebz have no record of an episode called “Caverns of Slavery” from either the 1956 ITC series (which this is most likely to be) or the 1964 BBC series of the same name. ITC had released a film of The Count of Monte Cristo in January of this year, but it’s not likely to be part of that either. Odd.

Prime time starts at 7pm, after Crossroads, with something that sounds truly terrible: Husband of the Year, with a downright weird panel chaired by Pete Murray. As an aside, just after the advertisement break in this show, I arrived in the world head-first.

At 7.30pm we have a split network, as each region goes their own way. The Yorkshire edition of the TVTimes says, as you see, that YTV showed Shut That Door!!. The Anglia edition says that YTV showed F.B.I. Meanwhile, the Anglia edition says Anglia is showing Shut That Door!!, while the Yorkshire edition says Anglia is showing “Dollar Man” (presumably the then-new The Six Million Dollar Man).

Both of the shows the out-of-region TVTimes are showing for 7.30pm are, in-region, then shown at 8pm. Nobody ever said this job was easy.

At 9pm, and pushing everything to run ten minutes late for the rest of the evening, the “No” campaign for the forthcoming advisory EEC referendum have their allotted broadcast. “Yes” had theirs at the same time last night. The result on 5 June was a convincing large majority vote of over 67% in favour of the status quo – remaining members of the European project. This near-landslide then spent 40 years being described as “a close thing” until we re-ran it in 2016 and got the definitive, strong, the-people-have-spoken, no-arguments-allowed answer of… 51.9:48.1% to leave. Ho hum.

The network having got back together at 9pm, it continues as such for The Main Chance, a long running serial drama about a man who moves from London to Leeds to seek his fortune.

The network splits again after the News at Ten at 10.10pm, and again the TVTimes gets confused as to what’s on where. Anglia do indeed appear to go for Kung Fu at 10.40pm; but Anglia’s TVTimes puts Cinema at 10.40pm on YTV and the following film at 11.10pm.

Note that YTV’s reporter for its special on Leeds in the European Cup is Fred Dinenage – a man inextricably linked to Southern and TVS in my brain, but often to be seen popping up all over the country throughout his long career.

The Friday Night Film at 11.40 is the 1964 British black-and-white 20th Century-Fox sci-fi thriller The Earth Dies Screaming, a bizarre cross between Terry Nation’s Survivors and a zombie flick. It’s truly terrible and well worth a watch.

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7 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 23 May 2018 at 12:01 pm

It’s Q from the James Bond films and Mr. Harman the maintenance man from “Are You Being Served” in “Follyfoot”.

I remember “Husband of the Year”. It was shudderingly dreadful. I particularly remember one heat where a husband had to convince or persuade an actress playing his wife to his way of thinking over something or other. She spent at least two minutes demolishing his argument sentence by sentence then suddenly agreeing with him and giving him a kiss on the cheek, just to stop the torture for him and the viewers.

Larry Grayson’s associate director Peter “Candid Camera” Dulay produced at least two of his singles – the almost top 50 hit “Shut That Door” and the Christmas novelty (if you can call it that) “Who’s Stuffing Your Turkey This Christmas”.

Dave Rhodes 23 May 2018 at 3:18 pm

Marjorie Bilbow talking ‘Cinema’ on ITV – brother Tony was at Cannes for BBC2’s ‘Film Night’ the following evening.

Alan Keeling 23 May 2018 at 4:19 pm

“Caverns of Slavery” was an episode from a 1974 cartoon series called The Count of Monte Cristo, produced by Halas and Batchelor in London for ITC/RAI. The series was first shown on ATV on Sundays at 5.30pm from January 1975.

Dave Rhodes 25 May 2018 at 2:03 pm

Not sure how long ‘Living and Growing’ ran at 10.30am, but looks like there’s no mid-morning pause in Schools programmes that day. Instead, an early finish with (presumably) an interval on Anglia. The Times reckons Thames, ATV, and Tyne Tees filled with cartoons until the ‘official’ children’s programmes.

Arthur Nibble 25 May 2018 at 4:01 pm

Wasn’t “Living And Growing” shown late at night on Sundays by London Weekend, to allow parents to see what their kids would watch at school during the week and prepare them for some possibly awkward biological questions?

Paul Mason 26 May 2018 at 7:25 pm

I was too young to vote in the 1975 referendum, a simple Yes/No vote.
Referring to weather that year snow fell in Buxton on 2nd June, but it was freak weather and it turned hotter later in the month.

Back to TV Graham Hill the racing driver had retired and turned up on many shows, but 1975 was to see his death in a plane crash in which he piloted.

Also deceased (in 2018) was John Stride from The Main Chance.

MIKE COXON 5 June 2018 at 3:44 pm

Very interesting. I’m not sure how much of this schedule actually went out. Friday 23 May was the first day of a national strike by the technicians’ union ACTT. My local paper, the Derby Evening Telegraph, carried a story headed “It’s hopeful for ATV as screens go blank”. Apparently, some of the Schools’ programmes were transmitted normally in the morning, but very little else.

ACTT had called a strike for the three days of the Whitsun Weekend, intending to go back to work on Bank Holiday Monday. However, when the staff arrived at the various ITV studios on Monday morning, many found themselves locked out.

Eventually, ITV returned to normal a week later on Friday 30 May.

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