Tonight’s Granada TV… in 1959 

3 November 2015

The TVTimes gives us a run down of the programmes on Granada for Tuesday 3 November 1959. Things worth noting include:

  • The TVTimes is going through one of its periodic twitches where it doesn’t feel the need to name the production company for each programme. Pressure from both the production companies themselves and from viewers would change that policy.
  • Granada usually comes on air at 5pm, but today it is serving its large north Wales coverage area, which currently does not have a contractor. Teledu Cymru will appear in late 1962, just at the moment Granada stops making programmes in Welsh; this plus the heavy overlap leading most to most people in north Wales sticking with Granada’s English programmes, would doom the company by early 1964.
  • To save electricity and manpower, only Channel 9 – the Winter Hill transmitter – comes on for the Welsh programmes. That means Emley Moor gets its own start-up sequence at 4.55pm, before the two halves of Granada sync at 5pm.
  • Lucky Dip at 5pm is from Associated-Rediffusion, who at this point are no longer bankrolling Granada, as they had been since the company came on air in 1956. They’re now getting their money back, taking most of Granada’s profits each year.
  • The Diamond Bird is by Elisabeth Beresford (1926-2010), famous to a couple of generations of children from 1968 for her Wombles.
  • William Tell at 6.15pm is the 34th of 39 episodes of the ITC drama. It had first aired six months earlier on ATV.
  • Talking Shop was Granada’s admag, where a presenter, usually playing a role – say a barman or a shopkeeper – would chat to other characters, casually dropping in the names, prices and availability of products and services from local companies too small to afford a spot advertisement of their own. They were banned in 1963 for blurring the line between entertainment and advertising and replaced by ‘chip shop corner’ local advertising where the duty announcer would read a 5-second script over a still slide.
  • A pause for some music as Bill McGuffie (1927-1987) thumps out some old tunes on the piano before he hands over to Ronnie Carroll, the Cliff Adams singers and various leggy dancers for more song murdering at 7pm.
  • Canadian David Gell (born 1929) hosts the gameshow Concentration at 8pm. He was also host of Junior Criss Cross Quiz and would announce the results of the Eurovision Song Contest on radio in 1965 and on television in 1970.
  • Granada’s private eye/murder/spy drama-with-comedy thing Knight Errant ’59 was very similar in style to ABC’s The Avengers in the Diana Rigg years, but on videotape – full of surreal happenings and sci-fi/horror plots. It ran for three series of 12, 25 and 38 episodes each. This is episode four of the first series. Only 2 of the 75 episodes survive.
  • Arthur Miller’s The Crucible at 9.35pm stars Sean Connery. He gets top billing here but is not, at this point, that big a name. A spy film he made in 1962 would change that.
  • Dance hall music after the news at 11.05pm shows that pop music hasn’t yet arrived. Such programmes would sadly be swept away by the tide of The Beatles and the Mersey sound in 1963.
  • More ITC drama at 11.35pm with Sword of Freedom, episode 23 of 27 in the first series (there’d be another 12 a year later). This episode had first gone out three months earlier on ATV.

You Say

2 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 3 November 2015 at 1:06 pm

“The Song Parade” features Cliff Adams, whose singers appeared in Radio 2’s “Sing Something Simple” immediately before Radios 1 and 2 used to join forces for the top 20 chart countdown on a Sunday.

“The Melody Dances” features Cyril Stapleton, who managed five UK chart hits. He reached number 2 with “Blue Star”, the theme to NBC’s 1954 ground-breaking doctor drama “Medic”.

“Chip Shop Corner” would have been a great name for a show back then!

Jim Nugent 14 November 2015 at 6:49 pm

That has to be the same Gerry Dorsey – in “Song Parade” – who would have so many hits from 1967 onward as Engelbert Humperdinck.

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