Tonight’s ATV Midlands… in 1965 

11 June 2016 tbs.pm/9090

TVWorld gives us a run down of ATV programmes in the midlands for Friday 11 June 1965. Things worth noting include:

  • There are no schools programmes, so ATV comes on air with The Tinga and Tucker Club at 4.45pm.
  • Junior Criss Cross Quiz at 5pm was a spin-off of the long-running adult quiz show and was remarkably popular given the sparse nature of the game: contestants were asked a question, and if they got it right, got to place and O or an X on a grid to play noughts-and-crosses (US: tic tac toe). And that was it.
  • As is pretty standard practice across ITV at this time, the local news is separate from the features-and-plugs magazine show that follows it. In some areas, the local news was every day while the magazine was two or three times a week, depending on company resources and the amount of material available. In the midlands, ATV has plenty of both, so the 20 minute programme runs all week.
  • At 7pm it’s off down to London for Take Your Pick. Until recently, Rediffusion in popular memory was a light, fluffy company that made quizzes like this and entertainment like Ready Steady Go and the like. The popular perception has since changed to Rediffusion being a dull, heavyweight company that churned out This Week and documentaries about Down’s Syndrome. The reality is somewhere in the middle: before 9 or 10pm, Rediffusion’s output was usually quite light, which made it a pile of money. That money subsidised the extremely heavy programmes after 9 or 10pm.
  • Needless to say, those heavy programmes don’t get much of a look in on ATV.
  • Granada’s The Man in Room 17 debuts at 9.40pm. This oddball drama would run for two series across 26 episodes, according to The Internet; that same internet fails to note the strange double-headed nature of the first episode/s shown today.
  • The series itself had the detectives sat in Room 17 playing the game “Go” and thinking about this week’s unsolvable crime. They would talk it out between themselves, then telephone the ordinary police with the solution and the police would arrest the culprit. This was just as weird as it sounds. Only one episode of the series is thought to still exist.
  • The Friday Film at 10.40 is 1935’s Splendour (released without the ‘u’ in its native USA by United Artists). It’s a fairly grim tale of lost money and status bound up with some quite startling sexual politics that unaccountably made it past the Hays Code. TVWorld takes the opportunity to promote David Niven up the cast list; a huge star in 1965, he was a virtual unknown in 1935 and was little more than a supporting player in the film.
  • We closedown at an unspecified time – allowing for film to over-run due to the news break, the weather forecast to be short or long and the vicar to to be talkative or quiet – with the Epilogue. This was made by Alpha Television, the ABC-ATV joint company that owned the studios in Birmingham both operated out of, and thus ran 7 days a week in the midlands. Up north, Granada didn’t hold with an epilogue or much in the way of religious programming at all, so the programme only ran on ABC’s two nights. Alpha sometimes forgot this, leading to northern viewers watching the vicar mysteriously say “As I was saying yesterday…” on Saturday or “Tomorrow I’ll tell you about…” of a Sunday. What those viewers made of this, I’ve no idea.

You Say

7 responses to this article

Mark Jeffries 11 June 2016 at 9:41 pm

“Criss Cross Quiz” was based on the American “Tic Tac Dough,” which went off the air due to it being discovered during the quiz scandals that the prime time, bigger money version of the show was being rigged. Looks like the UK version had a much longer run due to not being rigged. (In 1978, the U.S. producers licensed “Tic Tac Dough” back from NBC, who had bought them out right before the quiz scandals, and the programme ran for eight years in syndication, with an attempted syndicated revival in 1990 much less successful, distributed by the American branch of Lord Lew Grade’s ITC).

Paul Mason 12 June 2016 at 3:47 am

My parents thought of entering me for Junior Criss Cross Quiz but it ended before my 10th birthday. Drat!
I wonder how the USA TV company got around Hollywood Squares, which in Britain ran as Celebrity Squares? Both were based on O and X puzzles. Many of my favourite Granada programmes perished with the 1968 franchises which saw the end of ABC and the young Diddy David Hamilton at weekends.

Paul Mason 12 June 2016 at 8:18 pm

Who could forget Tingha and Tucker? (I tried).; I remember the show, and other puppets such as Willie Wombat. Again in our region it was on a Sunday and was quasi-religious with the puppets acting out Bible stories, but there were secular fun bits. Jean Morton (1921-2012) was the token human on the show. All the puppets oddly enough were Australian animals with Pinky and Perky type distorted voices. On Wikipedia it states that the Sunday show was religious and it was this one ABC or Granada showed. That’s all I remember as I want to rely on memory with a little help from YouTube and Wikipedia.

Victor Field 14 June 2016 at 5:50 am

When”TV Times” stop listing the writing and directing credits for their buy-in series? (Did they realise one day that ITV would show “Hill Street Blues,” which usually gave loads of writers credit on an episode) and wanted their work down a bit?

Alan Keeling 16 June 2016 at 11:36 pm

The featured cartoon on The Tingha & Tucker Club is Tales of the Wizard of Oz, an abstract style Canadian series from 1961, whilst the 1950s Robin Hood episode is another repeat from season 1. The evening’s Bonanza episode is from season 6, the end of which one of the main cast, namely Pernell Roberts leaves the series.

Arthur Nibble 20 June 2016 at 11:08 pm

Strange idea to cut the film after a maximum of 21 minutes for the news headlines. Was this normal practice by ATV, and was the news break usually that early into the Friday film?

Arthur Nibble 23 June 2016 at 1:17 pm

The returning series mentioned on TV World’s front cover, “Hawaiian Eye”, was an American detective series that ran for four seasons and 134 episodes between 1959 and 1963 on their ABC network. Fleetingly mentioned in Alan Keeling’s “Battle of the Alphas” article published by this bespoke site on 1st February 2007, fact fans!

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