Tonight’s BBCtv… in 1986 

2 November 2016 tbs.pm/10013

Radio Times tells us what was on BBCtv on Sunday 2 November 1986. Things worth noting include:

  • The format of a classic BBC-1 Sunday – religion, adult education, farming, sport, serial, comedy, play – hadn’t changed much since the 1960s.
  • With only four channels, capturing and holding an audience wasn’t an issue outside of primetime, so the BBC’s main channel could cater for various minorities, including over an hour not in English from 10.55am.
  • A mark of Sundays on the BBC, still to this day, is a serialisation of a classic novel. David Copperfield (5.50pm) with Simon Callow is on to its third part.
  • The David Copperfield serialisation is produced by Terrance Dicks and directed by Barry Letts. Does this make it official Doctor Who canon?
  • It’s Twenty Years of the Two Ronnies at 7.15pm. I’m trying to work out when they stopped making new material and started topping and tailing clip shows. 1972? [1987, you sarky git – Ed]
  • It’s Howards’ Way at 8.00pm. Now you’ve got the theme music in your head for the rest of the day.
  • Meanwhile over on BBC-2, the celebration of 50 years of BBC television (we don’t talk about 1939-1946) is in full swing. That’s after two hours of Pages from Ceefax from 9am.
  • I’m not sure whether the Go with Noakes at 2.05pm is part of TV50 or just a very old repeat.
  • Alice in Wonderland at 3.00pm sounds amazing – and look at that cast! Alan Bennett, then an actor/comedian, now a national treasure. John Gielgud’s Mock Turtle you can hear in your head, can’t you? Malcolm Muggeridge as the Gryphon is a surprise. Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts less so.
  • The evening of BBC-2 is fantastic. The Forsyte Saga (7.15pm) is always worth a rewatch. The TW3 (10.30pm) has been repeated to death but is still good. And Ella Fitzgerald Sings at 12.10am – wow!


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10 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 2 November 2016 at 3:55 pm

“Crackerjack” (CRACKERJACK!) on a Sunday? I don’t remember that.

“David Copperfield” also includes John Savident, who became butcher Fred Elliott, I say, Fred Elliott in “Coronation Street”.

The details for “Songs of Praise” neatly sidestep the full name of harpmaker John Thomas. Sorry.

“Rugby Special” features a nation who were very good at rugby at the time and, had events not taken a different course, Romania may well have been first pick instead of Italy in the expansion to the ‘Six Nations’.

Paul Mason 3 November 2016 at 4:52 am

Arthur – Its an old episode from 1964 shown as part of TV50 which was being shown with other archive programmes that day. Crackerjack finished in 1984.
It was the 50th, now the 80th anniversary of TV but obviously must take account of the World War II closedown. Mass TV as we know it started with the Coronation in 1953 and that that existed prior to 1950 was confined to a tiny London audience.

Paul Mason 3 November 2016 at 5:03 am

I remember a David Copperfield series in the 1970s starring Arthur Lowe as Mr Micawber, who was dead by 1986.
An unpleasant link to the early days of mass audience TV was Rolf Harris, presenting Cartoon C artoon Time. This sex offender is one of the few living links, along with Shirley Bassey to ITVs first week.

Paul Mason 3 November 2016 at 5:15 am

Regarding The Two Ronnie’s their history is chequered. “The Two Ronnies” ran from 1971-1987. The “20 years of” dates them back to 1966 when they were on The Frost Report on BBC1, and then went over to LWT on Frost on Saturday or Sunday. They did separate shows on ITV, Corbett doing No -That’s ME Over Here and Barker doing the hystetical Lord Rustless in Hark at Barker. Then they went back to BBC1 for years to come. Ronnie Corbett’s last TV work was a series of adverts for Wiltshire Farm Foods.

Arthur Nibble 3 November 2016 at 8:48 am

Duh! “Crackerjack” faux pas on my part, especially considering the host.

Paul Mason 5 November 2016 at 9:17 pm

Don’t worry Arthur. The host was of course Eamonn Andrews, and being 1964 this was his final series as he moved to ATV for his late night chat show and World Of Sport. This Is Your Life was revived on Thames TV in 1969. I’m not sure whether EA was with Rediffusion but his shows were on a weekend, so ATV is more likely. TIYL was a Mon,-Fri show so it must be Thames.

Kif Bowden-Smith 5 November 2016 at 9:25 pm

Sorry Paul, Eamonn Andrews never worked for ATV or Rediffusion, His late night chat shows and his presenting World of Sport for some years were both ABC Weekend TV productions.

On a separate point, some weekend companies produced stuff seen on weekdays and vice versa so it’s not really an indicator. Rediffusion’s “The Gamblers” series was shown by ABC Weekend and ABC’s Tony Hancock series was shown by weekday Granada.

As far as I know EA never worked for ATV.

Paul Mason 7 November 2016 at 4:18 pm

Wrong “Associated!” Oh dear.

Steven Oliver 27 November 2016 at 12:36 am

There was also 21 Years of The Two Ronnies in 1987, and 22 Years of The Two Ronnies in 1988 – these were the last new compilations to be fronted by Messrs Barker and Corbett prior to The Two Ronnies Sketchbook in 2005.

Each of the compilations featured a classic Two Ronnies serial. For the 20 Years of… series, that was The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town which was first shown in 1976.

George H 11 October 2017 at 11:31 pm

Wasn’t Sundays really depressing back in the mid 1980s? No shops open, and even worse, an omnibus edition of that soap opera to really depress people. Sluggish scheduling.

Fred Elliot is mentioned above. I can see that David Platt was producer of that disgraced man’s Cartoon Time programme. Not the footballer or the Corrie character of course.

Ironically, the foundation of ChildLine, I assume at 5.20 pm? Pity that That’s Life! wasn’t on in the autumn, apart from 1982.

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