Tonight’s Anglia TV… in 1974 

18 April 2018 tbs.pm/65504

From the pages of TV Times, a look at what Anglia had to offer on Thursday 18 April 1974.

0930 – Schools aren’t back from the Easter break until next week, but there’s a sneak preview of next term’s highlights for teachers. Programmes are screened on a company-by-company basis, and it’s Thames’ turn this morning. Possibly the company’s education officer gave a brief piece to camera before the first programme. Note the feature at 0950, filmed literally round the corner from Thames’ Euston Road HQ. Incidentally, all four series featured today began life under Rediffusion.

1040 – There’s no mention of an interval around now, but clearly there was one – or perhaps even a brief closedown?

1100 – Unusually for the time, Graham Kerr’s kitchen capers are stripped across the week from Tuesday; Monday having been a Bank Holiday.

1130 – The same goes for Funky Phantom, of which only seventeen were made for America’s ABC in 1971. ITV got their money’s worth from it; the cartoon was a useful filler for school holiday and weekend slots from 1972 to 1981, but perhaps the most bizarre scheduling saw it playing at 6.10pm on Wednesdays in February and March 1979 on Channel.

1205 – After a five minute rest, we’re into an early episode from the third series of Rainbow. Charmian, of course, is the splendid Charlie Dore, of ‘Pilot of the Airwaves’ fame.

1225 – Clem ‘Eyebrows’ Vickery sounds like a Look Around You character, but he seems to have done the rounds of light entertainment including a spell with the Black and White Minstrels. Jess ‘not-quite-Paula’s-dad’ Yates is in charge of this Junior Showtime spinoff.

1240 – The News is still not at 1. Robert Kee has not yet got fed up.

1300 – After edging ever closer to a midnight start time, ITV finally switched midweek wrestling to an afternoon spot in October 1973, and cut it back from 45 to 30 minutes of grappling and grunting. The 4pm slot in World of Sport remained inviolable for another decade.

1330 – Madeleine Smith and Ursula Howells are the feuding actresses in this week’s case. There was generally a familiar face or two at Fulchester most weeks.

1400General Hospital was co-created by Dick Sharples, who was also involved with BBC1’s early evening serial The Doctors in 1969. He’s best known, of course, for bringing us YTV sitcom In Loving Memory. Tony Adams must have caught someone’s eye at ATV, as he became Crossroads’ Adam Chance. Jill Gascoigne’s character Janie was killed off at one point, but her identical twin fortuitously joined the Midland General staff!

1450 – Chat and recipes from Bristol have to be curtailed, as it’s time for the gee-gees. In 2018, the main ITV channel are again showing prestige meetings – in the seventies the OB teams were busy at all manner of courses. Yorkshire join at 3pm, just in time for the first race, having shown Tyne Tees’ Play with a Purpose at 2.30

1625The Romper Room format was picked up by Ulster and Grampian as well as Anglia. In 1964, The Observer suggested that it was an easy way to impress the Authority by racking-up locally made hours for peanuts. To be fair, Anglia made an effort in other areas, as we’ll see later on.

1650Elephant Boy is not the story of John Hurt’s troubled early years.

1720 – Don Revie will feature in the following week’s This is Your Life, and take up the England job in July; in which role, sadly, he won’t be able to poach any Scotsmen. Amusingly, Thames play Tyne Tees’ documentary Meanwhile Back In Sunderland at 1800; a reference to Leeds’ humbling defeat in the ‘73 cup final. And yes, that means no regional news in London all day. The world kept turning.

1800 – Anglia’s patch still includes Belmont – but by the early summer, they will cede Hull, Grimsby and much else besides to YTV.

1820 – The glorious oddity that is Arena – a regionally-made upmarket talking heads programme on national and world affairs. An odd way to warm up for Crossroads

1900 – Country music traditionally played well in East Anglia – much as it continues to do in Northern Ireland – so Anglia’s half hour showcase merits a 7pm spot here. Played at 1.0pm Friday on the rest of the network.

1930 – Terry Nation forsakes space opera for the perhaps equally far-fetched world of Lew Grade’s mid-Atlantic action piece. Peter Vaughan and a pre-Wexford George Baker provide the gravitas.

2030 – Having starred in Frontier – one of Thames’ early successes in hour-long drama – Paul Eddington picks up a role in offshoot Euston Films’ first series. Susan (Take Three Girls) Jameson joins in the investigative effort.

2230 – Anglia brings us a half-hour mystery anthology series. But not the obvious one. Roald Dahl’s Tales are a few years away. Orson provides the intro and outro, there’s a pretty strong cast. John Barry even writes the theme. So why is Anglia playing this at 10.30pm? Certainly hints at a lack of confidence. And perhaps with good reason. The series failed to get network clearance; Granada tried it at 7 on Friday nights, then shunted it to bedtime after a few weeks. Ulster dallied with it at 8.30 on Friday, but also seem to have lost faith. Peter Fiddick in The Guardian reckoned it was a case of trying to cram too much into a 24 minute slot.

2300 – Granada’s venerable Cinema is in its tenth, and penultimate, year. Barry Norman’s Film 74 is currently only available to those sophisticates in London and the South East over on BBC1.

2330O’Hara came off second best to the Partridge Family in the States, and one season was all that was made.

0025 – Graham Bell talks to the Dean of Lincoln about Belmont’s re-allocation. They agree that God does indeed move in mysterious ways.


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3 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 19 April 2018 at 4:16 pm

Trevor Howard on the cover of TV Times again! He was there with his wife in another schedule review a few weeks back. Yes, I need to get out more!

Country music from East Anglia appears to have been something of a minor speciality. I remember a midweek country music series on BBC2 (Tuesdays in the mid-70’s, I think) which was broadacst from the Snape Maltings complex in Suffolk.

Dave Rhodes 23 April 2018 at 1:56 pm

There’s a legit stream of ‘The Don of Elland Road’ on the BFI Player here: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-don-of-elland-road-1974-online

In the interests of balance, ‘Meanwhile Back in Sunderland’ is available in the obvious place…

Andrew Swift 17 June 2018 at 11:23 am

Belmont’s switchover from Anglia to YTV was on Monday 30th July 1974.

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