Tonight’s BBCtv… in 1965 

5 June 2019

The Radio Times recommends…


Ben Travers introduces a new production of his famous farce

A farce hero may always expect to be plunged up to the neck into trouble. Gerald Popkiss of Rookery Nook, who is Brian Rix’s latest addition to his gallery of farce heroes, is no exception. He is such a nice chap, only recently a happy bridegroom and, as such, of exemplary character. Then suddenly one night he finds himself up against an extraordinary domestic problem. What can he do?

After all, what could any kind-hearted, well-intentioned man do? He arrives a day or two ahead of his young and loving wife at their holiday home and there, out of the night and clad in her pyjamas, comes a sweet and innocent girl seeking sanctuary from her tyrannical German step-father. His natural gallantry comes to her rescue; force of circumstance compels him to give her shelter. But he is asking for dire entanglement and perplexity and gets them. His secret is discovered by a gladiatorial daily help and by a jealous and scheming sister-in-law. He cannot even succeed, as he finally does, in putting things right without becoming involved in further catastrophe.

Rookery Nook is the fifth of my Aldwych farces to he used for television by Brian Rix and his splendid team. It was first produced in 1926, when social and domestic observance was still influenced by stern Victorian morals. It is to this period that the theme of the farce, really belongs. The same applies to its characters, their motives, their behaviour, and their wardrobe. Wallace Douglas, the director, Brian Rix, and all concerned agree on this point and delight in it. So there will be no illusive ‘new look’ about the production. But I hope and think that it will wear a delightful complexion tonight.


With Tokyo a season behind us and Mexico City looming ahead, the 1965 athletics season gets off to its traditional Whitsuntide start at the White City Stadium, London, with the sport ‘British Games’ (once again sponsored by the News of the World) today and Monday.

The all-male programme embraces the inter-counties championships and a leavening of eight international events. France, Hungary, both East and West Germany, and Italy will be sending star track men. The Italians are hoping for a victory for their hero, sprinter Livio Berutti, who will doubtless be accompanied by his famous dark glasses.

Though legally Middlesex went out of existence on April 1, athletically they are very much in business. They are the favourites to retain the Achilles trophy, which they have already won fifteen times in the last forty years. Their closest challengers will be Surrey (also fifteen wins), Essex (two wins), and the fast-rising Lancashire, who have yet to break their duck.

This is the occasion when a lonely winter’s training can pay off and when new stars first throw off their wraps. It was at the British Games a year ago that Lynn Davies first revealed the form that was within five months to make him Great Britain’s first ever Olympic long jump champion. Norris McWhirter

Irish Games

The Irish rate among their most exciting and treasured possessions two wonderful native field games — hurling and Gaelic football. Today at Wembley the top-rated players of these games will be in action.

Gaelic football combines the handling of rugby with the footwork of soccer. The contest is made up of two thirty-minute spells with no stoppages for injury. In each side are a goalkeeper, six backs, two centre-field players and six forwards — the backs on each side marking the opponent’s forwards. The players are completely free to roam about the field, as there is no offside rule. The ball may be kicked or fisted, and a player may handle it, but must not carry it more than four steps before playing it either by kicking or fisting.

The goal posts are similar to rugby posts, and the scoring consists of three points for a goal when the ball passes under the crossbar and between the uprights, and one point when it goes over the crossbar and between the uprights. In Ireland crowds of up to 90,000 people see the top games.

Hurling, the other Irish native game, is played with ash sticks shaped like hockey sticks but wider from handle to base. The player may hit the ball with either side of the stick and may also handle it.

Hurling, one of the world’s fastest field games, has the same team composition and scoring as Gaelic football. Michael O’Hehir

Scott on Food

Terry — gourmand or gourmet? Is there just a hint of gluttony about those ample cheeks and that solid form? or has he a fastidious appreciation of the pleasures of the table? In tonight’s show Terry backed by his writers, Marty Feldman and Barry Took, gives answers to these questions — answers underlined by Clive Dunn, Willoughby Goddard, and Francesca Annis. As in the previous shows Scott on Birds and Scott on Money the Don Riddell Singers provide the background for several numbers, and there is a spot for boxing commentator Harry Carpenter who describes a heavyweight eating contest.

That War In Korea

It has been called ‘the strangest war ever fought by man.’ It started fifteen years ago — on June 25, 1950. For three years, one month, and two days a devastating battle was waged from one end of Korea to the other, and it ended in an unstable truce almost exactly where it had begun. But in the process the United Nations had faced its first great trial, met it and saved itself.

For the first time in history, a world organisation took up arms for a ‘police action’ to oppose aggression and keep the peace. In all, sixteen countries contributed troops and supplies to the United Nations force; but the brunt was born by the United States and Britain — particularly by the United States which suffered 54,000 dead and many more wounded.

The memory of Korea — the first great limited conflict of the nuclear age — has been a nagging one for American defence planners ever since; and never more than today, when they find themselves more and more heavily involved in Vietnam. Both conflicts have led to the carrying of the war into the Communist North — in Korea by land, in Vietnam by air strikes. And in Korea, the Chinese finally intervened by sending in 300,000 of their own forces.

Tonight ‘s documentary, in which the commentary is written and narrated by René Cutforth, who was the BBC’s correspondent in Korea, is a vivid account of a struggle which had no precedent but may have set one.


From the Radio Times London and South-East for 5-11 June 1965 comes this run down of what you could be watching. Things worth noting include:

  • Adult education starts the day at 10:15 for two programmes. Then the network goes off-air at 11:10. The resulting gap is useful for the BBC-1 regions to shove in something they’ve had to bump from elsewhere last week. Here in the south, excluding London, it’s a feature on the scumlords of the Beaufort Hunt, presumably from BBC West.
  • The Independent Television companies had long been using Public Information Films to fill unsold advertising time, or, in the case of Granada and ABC, to balance a break when they’d sold more in one half of their region than the other. The BBC had long resisted showing such films between programmes, despite government pressure to do so. They showed one at closedown each night, but otherwise steered clear of the hint of advertising that such films suggested. To placate those who wanted such material to appear – like the Postmaster-General, their ultimate boss – Notice Board was a five minute slot inserted into otherwise unused time on weekends, featuring a run of six or so PIFs.
  • It’s episode 3 of 6 of the Doctor Who serial we now know as ‘The Chase’ – one that survives in its entirety for once. This serial sees the exit of original companions Ian and Barbara and the introduction of Peter Purves as new companion Steven Taylor. His character is named as Morton Dill in the Radio Times synopsis.
  • The Flying Swan was a fictional hotel in the Midlands with Carol and Mollie as daughter and mother proprietors. It ran for 24 episodes and was both better and less successful than that other Midlands hotel on TV at the time.
  • 21:55 sees the Yorkshire detective Caleb Cluff in action. The BBC made two series of this Heartbeat predecessor but managed to lose the first one. The second series, of which this episode is one, survives.
  • One wonders if Joan Baez, an ardent feminist, would’ve enjoyed being described as a “girl folk singer” at 22:45. The rest of the description I can’t argue with. This seems much more of a BBC-2 programme either way.
  • Speaking of BBC-2, the Match of the Day branding has been so successful (enough that BBC-1 had stolen the programme) that we have the same programme but for athletics, renamed Sport of the Day, at 19:00. That didn’t last.
  • NBC in America is still a full-service television network in 1965, so documentaries are not unusual to find in their schedules. BBC-2 have picked up this one at 20:10, looking back at the recent Korean War – a war overshadowed and eventually completely eclipsed by the Vietnam War, only now escalating under President Johnson. That latter war would be his undoing.
  • The BBC-2 day finishes as always with Late Night Line-Up. The programme is so named because it used to start each day on BBC-2, presenting a line-up of what was to come on the new channel. There was an inherent problem with this: the guests, mostly drawn from what was on BBC-2 that night but also of general interest, would either be crash hot – making the interviewers cut them off mid-flow to start the night’s programmes – or taciturn – leaving the presenters desperately padding the time out. Shoving it to the end of the day made everything much more flexible: keep talking (within reason: BBC-2’s hours were limited by finance and by law) or wrap things up and close the station down. Either worked.

You Say

4 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 5 June 2019 at 1:36 pm

I didn’t recognise two of the “Juke Box Jury” panel and had to look them up. Luciana Paluzzi was an actress about to be unveiled as an assassin in the upcoming James Bond film “Thunderball”. Ginette Spanier, who was 61 at the time, was director of a Paris fashion house and had been decorated for her wartime work.

Alan Keeling 5 June 2019 at 3:37 pm

On the 5th of June 1965, The Dick Van Dyke Show was the only US TV show shown on BBC1, the featured episode was from the show’s third season (1963/64).

Ray Oliver 8 June 2019 at 2:12 am

Re: Doctor Who – The Chase. Wearing my Whovian hat (and scarf) I have to clarify that, although both parts were played by Peter Purves, Morton Dill and Steven Taylor were entirely different characters.

Tina King 19 October 2019 at 11:22 am

Adult Education – the saviour for BBC and ITV during the regulated/restricted broadcasting hours era.

Adult education was exempt from the strict control over broadcasting hours on television until 1972.

By 1965 the allowance was 7 hours of regular programming per day Monday to Friday, with 7.5 hours per day on Saturday and Sunday, amounting to a total 50 hour week.

So adult education, along with schools programming, religious programming, state occasions, political/ministerial coverage and for some truly bizarre reason Welsh language programming were exempt from the restrictions and BBC and ITV could air as much as they wish of these types of programming.

Sporting coverage came under a separate quota of hours permitted per year, roughly 300 hours by 1965.

What a different world television broadcasting was in 1965.

ITV used adult education to not only fill up vacant slots on ITV to provide an extended schedule (especially on Saturdays and Sundays – but also used the accumulated minutes of advertising which was not allowed during adult education programming to be directed into prime time programming, and thus securing ITV much more revenue, more than what was needed to cover the costs of making the adult education shows.

BBC used adult education to fulfil their annual quota and to extend their broadcasting day with this cheap programming.

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