This week’s ITV children’s programmes… in 1974 

3 October 2018 tbs.pm/67636

First published in January 1971, Look-in was introduced as a companion to TVTimes for a younger audience, with a particular focus on ITV’s television programmes catering to that generation.

One aspect of the magazine which gained interest with readers was the weekly guide, illustrating recommended shows transmitted in every region at a time when variation was standard. Some have also claimed it also sparked their interest in the concept of the ITV network structure, and the various logos representing the companies…

In this piece, we look at company offerings from 1974.

General observations

The “Big Five”, and an additional handful of regional companies appear to have early starts on Saturday and Sunday, in comparison to the smallest of stations. As The Glasgow Herald‘s online newspaper archive elaborates, Ulster went to air on Saturday at 10.45am, with Grampian being the latest starter at 11.00pm. As was common at the time, Grampian, Scottish and UTV do not carry the Sunday morning religious service.

The Elton John documentary transmitted on Sunday at 12.00noon was an edition of Weekend World – a subversive attempt to brand a current affairs programme as required viewing for the younger population?

The 12.10pm “kid’s slot” is filled by one show for the entire week: ATV’s Pipkins.

Afternoon programmes for children are the same nationwide on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – Thursday sees division among the ranks, which we’ll explore further later.

While Crossroads and Emmerdale Farm are mentioned in various line-ups, there’s no reference to Monday or Wednesday’s episodes of Coronation Street.

Anglia

Along with Grampian, Granada, London Weekend and STV, Anglia place Candid Camera at 5.30pm, while the other regions run with New Faces at the same time – a possible hint at ITV regional politics at the time?

London Weekend’s Billy Liar may be one of the programmes mentioned on the cover of this edition of Look-in, but at the time many regions choose to schedule it – Saturday 7.00pm, viewers in the East of England (as well as the Midlands) see the game show from Norwich.

Meanwhile, Match of the Week on Sunday afternoon showcased Luton Town’s 3-1 home win against Carlisle United.

Thursday sees Anglia’s version of The Romper Room, with host Miss Rosalyn Thompson, in its tenth year of transmission. Their version of the internationally-franchised series would run until 1977, and was joined among the ITV network by local versions on Grampian and Ulster.

(It’d be remiss not to point out the Friday night regional beauty pageant, regardless on personal opinion on whether such programmes should be promoted to children or not…)

Midland (or, if you prefer, ATV)

Star Soccer‘s key match featured two local squads, as Leicester City welcomed Coventry City – and eventually lost 0-1. Later in the week, Billy Liar gets rescheduled from Saturday for ATV viewers on a Friday evening at 7.00pm.

Border

There’s uncertainty over the football coverage transmitted on Border this Sunday afternoon: the station wasn’t consistent with its choice between the options available – a decision made harder by the need to serve viewers in England and Scotland (and, at this point, the Isle of Man).

What we can confirm, thanks to the Glasgow Herald, is that on Tuesday, Border’s Mystery Movie is the same film playing on Grampian and YTV. Given the time slot, and the knowledge cinema productions took longer than three years to receive a premiere showing on UK television, we doubt sincerely it’s the 1971 release starring Richard Roundtree.

Grampian

Consulting with the Glasgow Herald, Grampian’s Sunday matinee at 1.40pm is The Amazing Chan, although the newspaper suggests this runs for 30 minutes, with Grampian teaming up with STV to simulcast Scotsport at 2.10pm.

Granada

Sunday afternoon football, packaged as The Kick-off Match, features an away tie by a home team; the same game as transmitted on the other side of the Pennines, albeit with different commentary, provided in this instance by Gerald Sinstadt. All is revealed in the Yorkshire entry below…

A 2.00pm showing on a Wednesday afternoon and replacing a Friday episode with Sale of the Century – could we deduce Crossroads was not popular among Quay Street staff?

HTV

Saturday morning’s Orbit was the station’s space-themed series for children; hosted by Alan Taylor, and accompanied by puppet companion Chester.

LWT/Thames

Given the Saturday to Friday timescale of Look-in and TVTimes, London Weekend get precedence in their column. Note as well the abbreviation, which the station wouldn’t officially adopt in terms of presentation for another two years.

The only Saturday strand mentioned among the listings, Saturday Scene featured Sally James (later, legendarily, of Tiswas fame) interviewing the pop stars of the day. Of the component programmes, London Bridge was a discussion platform for the capital’s children, chaired by Michael Whale.

Sunday’s The Big Match – also picked up on this occasion by HTV, Southern and UTV – led with Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat at White Hart Lane to Middlesbrough.

Scottish

The Glasgow Herald archive allows us to specify the Saturday evening film on STV: the 1959 Western Good Day for a Hanging. However, the paper suggests the same schedule runs as The Persuaders at 5.30pm, New Faces at 6.30pm and the film starting at 7.30pm.

Meanwhile, readers of a certain generation may feel cheated Look-in fails to mention The Glen Michael Children’s Cavalcade on Sunday at 3.25pm.

Tyne Tees

Shoot! on Sunday relayed coverage of the same tie as The Big Match – perhaps presented in a more optimistic manner given the local victory.

Ulster

The Saturday schedule for UTV printed in Look-in also differs to that listed contemporaneously in The Glasgow Herald, where Sportscast airs at 5.20pm, a cartoon fills the gap between 5.50pm and Sale of the Century at 6.00pm, and New Faces doesn’t air until 7.00pm. Perhaps the vagaries of late schedule changes, or a lack of co-ordinated communication between broadcaster and printer?

Westward

In an area often renowned for quirky scheduling, a London Weekend programme airs on a Tuesday – Billy Liar the culprit, again.

Also on Tuesday on Westward, Treasure Hunt did not involve any helicopters, but did feature contestants aiming to win cash prizes. One element of this long-running local game show was the Golden Galleon, allegedly modelled on the craft used in the station’s logo and numerous idents.

Yorkshire

Sunday’s football action featured Sheffield United’s 1-0 home victory over Liverpool: the same match as seen by Granada viewers, only with a different commentator, most possibly Keith Macklin.

You Say

4 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 3 October 2018 at 12:49 pm

Probably a daft question, but why no listings for Channel?

Dr Russ J Graham 3 October 2018 at 3:23 pm

The TVTimes wasn’t distributed in the Channel Islands, CTV having kept their own magazine as they needed the money it generated for them. Therefore, Look-in didn’t have the rights to print Channel’s schedules.

Arthur Vasey 4 October 2018 at 10:33 am

Also, Channel Television had very few of their own regional variations – they were little more than an offshoot of Westward, to begin with – then, when TSW took over, they often opted out of network programming, which meant Channel taking its network feed from TVS – they had no direct network link for donkey’s years!

I don’t think they even made anything for the network, either – even Enemy At The Door, set on Jersey, but actually filmed on Guernsey, was made by LWT!

The magazine Look-In was an oddity of a production – as well as featuring interviews with the pop stars of its time and the footballers of its time, it had strip cartoons of the popular kids’ shows at the time – but also featured strips of stuff shown in prime time – one issue I read from 1979 featured a Mind Your Language strip and another edition I read in the early 70s featured Please Sir.

According to Tiswas Online, an almost defunct site mainly dedicated to Tiswas, the programme Orbit, featured above, had previously aired under the title of Ten On Saturday and saw them opt briefly into – wherever possible – other ITV regions’ Saturday morning offerings – taking care not to opt into a movie or a cartoon or an episode of Captain Scarlet – most offerings on ITV, prior to Tiswas finally being fully networked – as it did do from 1981 onwards – no doubt someone will contradict me and say it was 1979 – but Tyne Tees and Ulster still stuck to their own regional stuff for ages – looked like this,depending on where you lived – if your region didn’t take LWT’s Saturday Scene or Our Show, Southern TV’s Saturday Banana or ATV’s Tiswas, Saturday mornings in other regions were as follows:

A programme similar to Tiswas, Saturday Banana or Saturday Scene or Our Show, presented by someone from the staff, who worked well with kids, with an audience of kids;

They just put the announcer in front of the camera (those regions that did in-vision continuity) and got him or her to read birthday greetings and introduce reruns of Gerry Anderson puppet shows and thirty-minute cartoons like The Osmonds and The Jackson Five and – certainly in the Tyne Tees region – films that weren’t really kids’ films – other than Wombling Free and The Man Called Flintstone (a feature- length Flintstones episode where Fred swaps places with a lookalike spy), they were either war films or old Ealing comedies – which idiot staff member on Tyne Tees thought that Battle Of The River Plate, Double Bunk and even the documentary Cup Glory were kids’ films should have been sacked! Kids are off school on Saturdays – it was bad enough showing adult education on Sunday mornings either side of Morning Worship, without making Saturdays equally unappealing to kids – although TSW opted out of showing the Central half of the final series of Tiswas, preferring to show their regional “Saturday Show” and even – for kids – University Challenge! Yes,they did show The Incredible Hulk – but University Challenge? For kids?

Bob Stanley 21 October 2018 at 5:54 pm

The Amazing Chan (and the Chan Clan) was a cartoon series from the Hanna-Barbera stable, starring private investigator Charlie Chan solving mysteries with the help/hindrance of his large brood (and dog). The kids were also a pop group, and two of the senior ones had a van which could change shape (!). Not been repeated since I first saw it as a nipper: Charlie himself was presumably based on Warner Oland’s portrayal in the 50’s films, so you can probably work out why.

Your comment

Enter it below