Tonight’s HTV Wales and West… in 1980 

5 October 2016 tbs.pm/9770

TVTimes tells us what was on HTV on Sunday 5 October 1980. Things worth noting include:

  • There’s a belief that ITV has always started at 9.25am or later, as if there was some magical reason that regional transmitters simply don’t work before 09:25:01 clicks by on the studio clock. At 9am today, Sesame Street.
  • Weekend World at noon had been a surprise hit for LWT. It was thought that there was little audience for hardcore politics during the day on Sunday, but the audience who liked that sort of thing was clamouring for it and would go wherever it was being shown. Also, that audience was in the demographic ABC1, BBC-2’s demographic, much further up the social tree than ITV’s usual C1/C2DE audience of the time. And advertisers would pay big money to get time with that unusually hard to reach audience.
  • The “West” region has always been ill-defined, its existence an accident of geography and transmitter locations. At 1.30pm, HTV lays claim to serving “the West Country”, which it sort of does… part of it, anyways. Modern ITV has merged the South West region (last held by a company called Westcountry) and HTV West’s West region into one region they call Westcountry, to howls of complaint from viewers in Liscard and St Ives that their news is now all about crimes in Bristol.
  • At 2pm we have an import from Crawford Productions (makers of The Sullivans and The Flying Doctors), originally produced for the Seven Network in Australia, with Young Ramsey. It follows the usual pattern of a young/out of state/replacement for a lifelong community member turning up and looking after the animals/emergencies/footcare of a tight-knit/salt-of-the-earth/quirky community of farmers/miners/hoteliers to general suspicion until they take him into their hearts in episode 3.
  • 5.30pm and it’s time for The Muppet Show! It’s impossible, at this distance, to describe just how popular and loved The Muppet Show was. Families moved teatime in order to not miss it. People came home early to see it. Famous people – actual famous people, not just “clebs” – like Roger Moore and Julie Andrews queued up to appear on it, moving filming schedules and rushing back and forth from hits on the West End to appear on it. And it was unfailingly hysterical all the way through.
  • That’s except for viewers in Wales, who have Genesis O’r newydd (Genesis Anew), a series of films showing the stories from the Old Testament’s Genesis in new ways.
  • 7.15pm sees our third import of the day, the ever-popular Hawaii Five O featuring Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett in a performance sponsored by the Forestry Commission.
  • The Professionals at 9pm had something of a troubled production history, with one episode never transmitted, episodes shown out of order and long breaks between series – two years at one point. This is reflected in this episode being the premiere of ‘Need to Know’, airing as episode 5 of the fourth series whilst really being episode 6 of the third.
  • Two hours are given over, from 10pm, for Granada to do a television version of a play that had just finished in at the National Theatre in London. Granada made several of these, but the productions were expensive and didn’t translate to television all that well, leading to them having been largely forgotten. They were, however, quite popular on television in the United States.

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7 responses to this article

Geoff Nash 5 October 2016 at 2:50 pm

Southern is listed in the regional variations in this HTV edition of the TV Times, somehow this was never reciprocated in the Southern/TVS editions. This always puzzled me as there was clearly an overlap in the Wiltshire and north Dorset areas.

Arthur Nibble 5 October 2016 at 4:56 pm

A friend of mine who lived near Bournemouth had a hill in the way between him and the nearest Southern / TVS transmitter, so he had to tune to a transmitter which gave him HTV instead.

Paul Mason 5 October 2016 at 5:38 pm

The so-called God-slot is still there between 6-15 and 7-25 but by 1980 we had BBC2 offering an alternative, usually News Review for those with hearing impairment. The last early evening Sunday ITV programme was Harry Secombe’s Highway show.
This TV Times came out two weeks after the 25th anniversary issue which sadly I lost. That week there was a Bruce Forsythe/Sammy Davis.jnr special and Tommy Coopers final ITV series began.

Paul Mason 5 October 2016 at 5:41 pm

zI should have stated Highway was ITVs last early evening Sunday RELIGIOUS show.

Dave Rhodes 5 October 2016 at 9:32 pm

Oddly, it appears West Country Farming was shown in Wales too – unless I’m missing something really obvious.

The Welsh opt at 5.35 effectively extends the Godslot in the Principality to an hour and a half, with a break for news. They could, perhaps, have kept the Muppets and ditched Jaywalking, but that would have left them 5 minutes short. And in any event, there may have been God in Welsh on BBC Wales. (Presumably the channels consulted to avoid any Welsh output overlapping?)

HTV have a brief regional news bulletin at 6.8, at a time when ITV companies rarely bothered with weekend local bulletins – although Southern sneak one in at 2.55.

Staying with Southern, they are showing Play Squash Jonah’s Way four years after its outing in many other ITV areas.

Dafydd Phillips 5 October 2016 at 10:26 pm

West Country Farming was shown on HTV Wales too whilst Farming Wales was also shown on HTV West. They were shown on alternative weeks so basically the pattern would be week 1: Farming Wales, week 2: West Country Farming, week 3: Farming Wales, week 4: West Country Farming and so on.

Arthur Nibble 5 October 2016 at 10:48 pm

Was “Positive Soccer With Jack Charlton” the series with a very early clip on “It’ll Be Alright On The Night” when a loose shot makes Wor Jackie’s sensitive area impersonate a pawnbroker’s sign?

I love the way that diagram of the two golf holes suggest you have to get the ball onto the green in two on the par 3 and hole a single putt for par.

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