Tonight’s Anglia and C4… in 1988 

1 March 2017 tbs.pm/11057

The TVTimes tells us what was on Anglia and Channel Four on Tuesday 1 March 1988. Things worth noting include:

  • TV-am, so frequently now referred to as “ITV’s old morning show”, was, of course, an entire company, not just a programme. As if to prove it, their 3 hours and 25 minutes in charge of the ITV network features three programmes.
  • The handover from TV-am to the ITV regions happens at 9.25am; even today, the switch from ITV breakfast programming to ITV/STV/UTV still happens at 9.25am. This is a shadow on the pavement of how things were back in 1983: TV-am ran until 9.25am, there was a minute of black, then a 4-minute start-up sequence with symbol, music and an announcement of who the broadcaster was (the Independent Broadcasting Authority, not the ITV company) and who was providing the programmes (your ITV company). ITV programmes then began at 9.30am That start-up sequence faded away over the course of the early 1980s, with TV-am jump-cutting to the ITV contractors instead… but still always at 9.25am rather than the more logical 9.30am.
  • Give Us a Clue from Thames at 9.30am is something of a demotion: the programme used to run in prime time from its founding in 1979.
  • Daytime on ITV had, since it began in the early 1970s, always been a good place to find a network outing from one of the smaller companies. Today STV host anthology series About Britain at 11.30am and UTV get Henry Kelly talking books at 3pm on The Write Stuff.
  • About Britain was a handy filler piece for ITV, turning up at all hours, from daytime here to 4.30am on other days, and providing companies like Border and TSW with a network outing for a local documentary.
  • At noon, Central brings us Gas Street, named for the small side-street behind their studio complex, where twenty years later they would take refuge in the corner of an office block, the main studios falling into disused and dereliction.
  • Central announcer Gary Terzza, be still our beating hearts, is one of your co-hosts on Children’s ITV from 4pm to 5.15pm.
  • Crossroads at 6.35pm has just over month left to run before it was cancelled.
  • 1972 Anglo-EMI (formerly Associated British) romp Our Miss Fred at 8pm is a bawdy, double- and single-entendre-laden sub-Carry On. It’s exactly what you expect it to be like.
  • It’s followed by its comedy antithesis, That’s Love, at 9.30pm. This TVS sitcom dealt, in quite a grown-up way, with grown themes, culminating in charting Jimmy Mulville’s character having a messy affair. Quite unusual.
  • Overnight, Anglia’s output is roughly what you expect – mostly Australian (the excellent camp soap Prisoner, the gripping and equally camp miniseries Return to Eden and the dull natural history hour The Poseidon Files). Leavening the mix is a cheap NTSC-converted music show from Canada at 3am.
  • Schools programmes have recently made the move from ITV to Channel Four, creating something new for the network: a regional opt-out for Scotland at 11.39am.
  • Channel 4’s job at this time was to provide an alternative to ITV’s programmes (without knowing what they were going to be – the ITV programme heads were very reluctant to share such commercially sensitive information with their upstart next door neighbour) and to serve underserved minorities.
  • To this end, there’s two pieces of adult education, via the short-lived ‘Open College’ strand. Circuit Training at 1pm sounds like a standard “you and your micro” programme, but is actually more of a remedial GCSE maths session. Write On at 1.30pm offers advanced writing tips for budding authors – something people will pay a lot for online now, and were clearly prepared to pay a lot (£25 then is £65 in today’s money) for it then.

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3 responses to this article

steve brown 1 March 2017 at 1:12 pm

I used to love the 0930 game show slot,my fave of all the shows has to be CrossWits

Arthur Nibble 1 March 2017 at 1:48 pm

Not just “Give Us A Clue”, but also lunchtime filler “What’s My Line?” had been prime time entertainment back in the day.

A post-“Liver Birds” and pre-“Emmerdale” Elizabeth Estensen appearing as T-Bag, and a post-“Screen Test” and post-(“Tomorrow’s World” baiting) “The Real World” outing for Michael Rodd in “Circuit Training”.

Ah, “Bygones”, one of Anglia’s classic regional / part networked gems, complete with the theme tune used by muscle man Tony Hollands when he dominated “Opportunity Knocks”.

“That’s Love” was a clever sitcom highlighting aspects of a marriage gone wrong. A similar comedy I loved was BBC2’s “Joking Apart”, with Robert Bathurst as a stand-up comedian whose wife leaves him.

Dave Rhodes 1 March 2017 at 1:53 pm

Give Us A Clue’s first series was indeed at peak time (7pm) on Thames, and nearly-peak (6.30) on Granada, but many regions carried it at 3.50 on Thursdays in early 1979. Interesting to see The Write Stuff at 3pm – seemingly with legitimate authors rather than celebs puffing their ghosted works. Note the involvement of Jill Cochrane, ex TVS, as ‘reporter’. Presumably she taped interviews in London with authors whose PR tours didn’t allow for a stop in Belfast.

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