Tonight’s Rediffusion, London… in 1966 

4 July 2017 tbs.pm/12792

The TVTimes tells us what was on Rediffusion on Monday 4 July 1966. Things worth noting include:

  • Kicking off with Children’s Television, we seem to progress through the age range. We start with Small Time for the very young, grow up a little bit for Flipper, then a little more for the magazine programme, Action. The news from ITN is then a firm sign for children everywhere that their television time is over. They have had 70 minutes’ worth today.
  • All Our Yesterdays looks back at the events of 25 years ago, so that means the Nazis working their way through Russia. It is astounding to think how close these events were then, considering how far the world seemed to have come since the war. Many prominent Nazis were still alive and there were several trials during the 1960s.
  • ‘Don’t Forget You’re Mine’ is the second episode of the second series of Public Eye. It is one of only 5 episodes from the first 3 series to survive, out of a total of 41 episodes. This one sees Alfred Burke’s inquiry agent Frank Marker moving from London to Birmingham. Have fun playing ‘spot the genuine Brummie accent’. I really like the idea of the programme description being taken from Marker’s diary, something we don’t even see in the series. This seems like a rather early slot for the somewhat grim and seedy era of the programme, which has several episodes slip in the odd ‘bastard’.
  • Having two main dramas on a weekday evening seems at odds with today when one show at 9pm tends to be the focus. It means something like Public Eye with adult themes gets shown early and yet the church-focussed sitcom Our Man From St Mark’s comes after it. It also means Play of the Week strand Plays of Action doesn’t start until pretty late at 9.40, finishing after 11pm.
  • Under Plays of Action, ‘The Cretan’ is set in Crete in 1941. The TVTimes informs us Roy Dotrice had his ‘chest dyed black for the part’. Plays of Action sounds like a great title for a series but is actually a strand of Play of the Week. Only three episodes were broadcast under this title, with ‘The Cretan’ being the first. TV Brain lists it as having being postponed from 25 November 1963 but gives no reason why (the assassination of President Kennedy two days prior seems a likely explanation). Interestingly, after being postponed, ‘The Cretan’ was brought forward, replacing another Plays of Action, ‘The Division’, which wouldn’t be shown until the following year. The ITA had originally deemed ‘The Division’ to contain ‘an unacceptable degree of violence’.
  • Dateline would seem better placed straight after the brief news headlines but instead anyone wanting further details on the top stories will have to hang around for half an hour through Shop Talk.
  • With Rediffusion not coming on air until 4.45pm but staying on until way beyond midnight, it would appear they felt there were more viewers to be gained late at night compared to lunchtime or mid-afternoon. The schools have finished for the year, which is presumably the explanation for a lack of school programmes too.

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7 responses to this article

Richard Jones 4 July 2017 at 1:48 pm

Was the ABC Weekend production being shown on a Monday in London as a result of ATV London’s schedules being too full, or did it get networked in this slot? (Brain is overthinking today)

Russ J Graham 4 July 2017 at 1:56 pm

ABC/ATV bickering. If ATV wouldn’t give it a programme a “good enough” slot – or the network slot ABC was seeking – then ABC would sell the programme to Rediffusion, effectively denying it to ATV London.

There was also a tit-for-tat going on: if ATV had a big show on film, it would often show it on ATV London on weekends and ATV Midlands during the week, effectively denying access to it by ABC. ABC would then respond by taking one of its own big filmed shows and selling it to Rediffusion rather than letting ATV London show it.

Sometimes Rediffusion would join in, selling something otherwise networked to ABC to deny it to ATV Midlands.

Politics, hey?

Richard Jones 4 July 2017 at 3:18 pm

well, that would never happen now, with ITV Studios shows being seen, say, on BBC Television…

*trips over halo*

Jeremy Rogers 4 July 2017 at 7:51 pm

By this time programmes were traded between the weekday contractors by barter or scale. The regionals paid scale related to their net ad revenue. Only at the weekend did the original pattern persist where ABC & ATV would charge each other a commercial cost and sometimes offer the minors competing programmes. The main strain on ABC and Rediffusion was missing out on the ITC filmed series so it isn’t surprising they could sometimes help each other with these.

Arthur Nibble 5 July 2017 at 12:47 pm

Cover programme “You Can’t Win” was a seven-part series about the life of a teacher and would be novelist for a ten year period from approximately the start of the Second World War.

I take it the host of “Action” is Pete Murray with a slightly longer first name.

Didn’t realise newscaster and reporter Peter Woods had been an ITV man.

Some lovely Westward-style precise but odd looking timings in the late hours.

Paul Mason 9 July 2017 at 12:06 am

All Our Yesterdays was an education to me as I learned about World War II throughout its run. A marvellous history lesson presented by Brian Inglis during the time I saw it as a child. It sadly finished in 1972 when AOY reached 1947.

Jeremy Rogers 9 July 2017 at 10:24 pm

Peter Woods was recruited by ITN from the BBC in 1964 to set up and run their United States office. He returned to the BBC in 1967 for the expansion of ‘Newsroom’.

He has been credited as being the first journalist the BBC had recruited from the ‘popular’ press, working at the Daily Sketch and previously at the Mirror and Mail.

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