Back in time for TV: 1975 

29 May 2019 tbs.pm/68963

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There has been a lot of death and mystery this week as the majority of my 1975 viewing focuses on detectives and investigators, yet they are still a mixture of programmes. The decade-long run of Public Eye approaches its end while quality ITC in the form of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is still being shown and the likes of The Sooty Show will continue to provide some consistency, but the 1970s is starting to put its own proper stamp on the schedules. With the introduction of more programmes that seek to reflect the harsher realities of the decade, it definitely feels as though television is changing.

This week my ITV programmes are coming from Thames and Anglia.

3rd February
Public Eye ‘The Fall Guy’
Thames

After ten years on our screens, this is the final series of Public Eye, which features the cases of an inquiry agent, Frank Marker. Back In Time for TV hasn’t encountered any episodes previously because the majority of the early ones are missing. The show has managed to refresh itself by changing locations several times; Frank began in London, then moved to Birmingham, followed by Brighton and now Windsor. Fans of the series tend to agree that the Brighton episodes are the strongest and I found myself rather disappointed with the first Windsor ones. However, I think this final series comes back slightly better.

Frank is a loner by nature. He is very cautious over what company he chooses to keep and he has been burned in the past. Other people can’t be relied on. He’s always worked alone but ‘The Fall Guy’ is one of several episodes in which he decides to work in partnership with a fellow investigator, and ex-copper, Ron Gash. They share an office, but still work separately. I was never keen on Ron Gash as he’s just so unlike our Frank – he’s loud, cocky, brash and cares too much about the money. It always felt like it would be a precarious business relationship and Ron Gash shows his colours in this episode when he interferes with one of Frank’s cases to make some easy profit.

‘The Fall Guy’ is interesting for not being at all what it first seems, and probably not what the audience would expect. Frank is hired to follow a man and a young woman, his secretary, to a hotel on behalf of the man’s wife. When Frank later tries to get in touch with the wife, he gets nothing, and the man claims he isn’t married. After tracking down the ‘wife’, she tells Frank the young woman is her niece and she was worried about her. On Frank’s next visit he encounters the young woman at the house too and the real penny drops – the two women are gay. The secretary knew how her boss had screwed over other women, including a friend of hers, before firing them and planned to tease him out for months. Her partner’s interference is the exact reason she hadn’t told her about the plan to begin with and, standing with her bags packed, tells her she’s had enough of her controlling influence.

This isn’t the first time Public Eye has touched on homosexual relationships, but it’s been ever so brief. It’s left until late on in the episode, yet compared to an almost complete absence it does feel fairly substantial here. There are no words like ‘gay’ or ‘lesbians’ used. When the younger woman appears on Frank’s second visit, she is shocked that Frank believes the other woman to be her aunt, asking, “What’s going on here?” Frank’s reply is “I think I’ve just managed to work that out for myself… Mind you, I have been wrong before.” He’s never appeared judgementally homophobic and although he occasionally becomes more emotionally involved in some cases, he is content to walk away here and pry no further. I remain intrigued by the decision to include such a plot and it does feel as though they are treading ever so carefully, but it’s a start.

4th February
The Sooty Show
Thames

Sooty is among my earliest television memories and it is pretty extraordinary to think that the show has been on our screens almost constantly, in one form or another, since 1955. For the uninitiated and/or deprived, Sooty is a small, yellow, puppet magician. He is accompanied by his friend, a puppet dog called Sweep, and another puppet friend, Sue. Between them, chaos and mischief is guaranteed, and it is usually up to the show’s human host to deal with it.

In my childhood memories Matthew Corbett was the presenter but the original host was his father, Harry Corbett. I was therefore surprised and slightly thrilled to see Matthew in this episode alongside Harry. This year is the last one in which Harry will carry the show, with Matthew taking over the following year.

Today we are on a building site and Harry has managed to beg a job from Matthew, working as a labourer for Sooty and Sweep, the master craftspuppets. There is no sign of Sue, but this is the 1970s and presumably girls aren’t allowed on the building site so she’s probably been banished to make butties in the canteen. Unsurprisingly, a small amount of chaos ensues as the puppets take great delight in knocking buckets over Harry and snigger as he finds other ways to fall over. Matthew, the foreman, is not at all happy.

This version of The Sooty Show is shorter than the one I remember watching. It comes in at around 8 minutes compared to the 15-20 minute later version and is much more like a lengthy sketch compared to the sitcom-type show that came later. I still really love Sooty and the rest of the gang. I think it’s an excellent children’s programme and one I’m happy to keep returning to as an adult.

The Mister Men ‘Mr Sneeze’
BBC-1

This is another series that I remember from my childhood so I was surprised to find that the 1970s had a completely different version. It turns out that the one I knew was a remake of this original animated series, based on the books by Roger Hargreaves. I immediately warmed to this one though, mostly due to the narration provided by Arthur Lowe, best known for portraying Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army.

Mr Sneeze lives in a very cold place called Coldland where everyone is very cold and as a result have very red noses. The capital of Coldland is Shivertown and Mr Sneeze spends his entire life there sneezing. I felt quite sorry for him and could fully understand his desire to leave Coldland to try to find a cure for his sneezing. If I have any fault with this lovely programme, it’s that Mr Sneeze takes the word of a random wizard that having a cold is caused purely by being cold. For all we know, Mr Sneeze could simply have been allergic to the foliage of Coldland.

5th February
Zodiac ‘The Strength of the Gemini’
Thames

I was intrigued by Zodiac, mainly because I couldn’t figure out from the synopsis what it was supposed to be about. After watching it, I didn’t feel much wiser until the last ten minutes or so. It seemed to take a while for our two main characters to get together so I wasn’t sure who the lead(s) actually were at first. It turns out one smart, charming young man is a con artist, using horoscopes to go on the pull, then tricking the ladies into lending him gambling money. It seemed very elaborate and far too much effort when he could probably have just hung around some upmarket venues and flirted his way through.

Our actual leads are the astrologist who the conman has been writing to for information while pretending to be various young women, and another smart young man. I never quite figured out how the astrologist and this fellow are connected. They don’t seem to be lovers and they are treading a line between friends and friendly acquaintances.

My greatest problem with Zodiac is that I believe astrology to be complete tosh and while I regularly suspend my disbelief for television, there needs to be some effort made on the programme’s part to allow me to buy into this.

I was surprised after watching it to see Zodiac described as a children’s show because despite its 3pm broadcast slot, it doesn’t feel like a children’s series at all and I simply assumed it was an evening show moved to the afternoon for repeats. Who makes an episode of a children’s series and includes a scene with two people wriggling around on a bed?

Despite my criticisms, I thought Zodiac was a fairly decent programme, just not my cup of tea. The male lead is played by Anton Rogers who I’ve seen guesting in numerous other programmes, so I enjoyed seeing more of him. Anouska Hempel plays the astrologist. Seeing her have a more prominent role than the male lead is nice, even if it is offset with some rather revealing outfits – I get the feeling this children’s show had half an eye on the market for teenage boys and upwards.

6th February
The Sweeney ‘Night Out’
Thames

I previously noted that 2006’s Life On Mars had played a key role in planting the seeds for my interest in this period, and one of my first steps into exploring classic drama came about because I was told that as I liked Life On Mars, I would probably appreciate The Sweeney.

We’re only a few weeks into the first series of The Sweeney, following an Armchair Cinema pilot last year. In 1970 I watched Special Branch, which had felt like quite a step up for police drama series, yet The Sweeney is another leap entirely. The series follows the work of the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, who investigate robberies across London. The title of the pilot was ‘Regan’ and this first series does tend to focus more on Detective Inspector Jack Regan, while later series make more of his partnership with Detective Sergeant George Carter.

Regan can be politely described as ‘unconventional’. For him, the rules of policing are merely rough guidelines that slow down investigations and make it harder to nail villains. He clashes with his superiors and there are several who would rather he was out of the force, seeing his methods as a danger to the police’s reputation and delicate public relations.

On the surface ‘Night Out’ is a quieter episode of The Sweeney as Regan is sent to occupy a woman’s flat above a pub, located next door to a bank that is being robbed. The episode is quite confined with almost all the action taking place in or outside the pub, in contrast to other episodes with multiple locations, and this also means it lacks the show’s typical car chases.

However, we tick plenty of other Sweeney boxes, including humour and epic fights. An old timer discovers Regan is a copper after he picks up the pub’s telephone. He begins to scream blue murder – “Old Bill all over the place!” – much to the exasperation of Regan. As the old fellow runs downstairs, Sergeant Carter is nearby to trip him up, but a mass brawl follows. As Sweeney fights go, it’s certainly a more humorous one as someone continues to tinkle on the piano while punches fling enormous blokes across tables and glasses fly everywhere. While we hear that piano, someone is chucked over the jukebox, in a nice juxtaposition of old and new aspects of pub culture existing simultaneously. One fellow stops to take his glasses off before smashing a right cross and another makes sure he stays out of things by stepping slightly out the way and continuing to sip his pint. But the fun stops when Carter chases someone outside and the poor fellow is beaten up by three blokes, who stop when they recognise him – they turn out to be the local cops.

I’ve mentioned before that I love seeing pubs on television and unsurprisingly this episode offers plenty. When Regan first walks in he asks for a bottle of scotch that costs him £3.31, which seems reasonable enough even when converted to £34 for 2019.

There are numerous smoking items behind the bar, including the distinctive packaging of Swan Vestas matches. I also spotted Manikin, who at this time had been using a variety of barely-dressed young women to advertise their cigars in exotic locations. They were stripping off in the jungle and topless sunbathing on the beach with the tagline of ‘Sheer Enjoyment’. The 1970s is definitely still a man’s world. Continuing on the tobacco theme, later on there is a wonderful shot of a pint glass exploding over a gin and lemon while sending a packet of John Player’s No. 6 spinning.

During the punch-up, Regan ducks as something flies about his head to smash a Worthington’s Ales mirror, which seems something of a minor travesty. I hope they were nicer to the rest of the actual pub interior because it’s magnificent. The carved, semi-circle wooden bar is enormous. There is also a large staircase with a wooden banister, along with numerous columns and stained glass windows around the room. It is clearly a real pub, with one of the coppers demonstrating actual working taps when he helps himself to half a pint. I was therefore doubly delighted to learn that at a time when pubs across the country are now under threat, not only does The Warrington Hotel in Maida Vale still exist but the main interior features look much the same. I somehow doubt they still have the vinyl jukebox though.

Back with the episode, Regan is not at all happy with his superiors. In fairness, he was annoyed from the start to be dragged in on his day off – “I was going to be spending a dull afternoon watching Fulham play.” But Superintendent Grant (played by the sometimes villainous and always wonderful T.P. McKenna) wants to wait until the robbers emerge before grabbing them, so Regan has to wait around until he hears what route they will be using to come out. The police know they used the flat’s window to go in, which is why they want Regan there.

One of the doomed robbers is played by Peter Childs, who I saw earlier this week playing Ron Gash in Public Eye, proving I was right to have always had him down as a wrong ‘un. He will make a miraculous return though, taking up the mantle of the law once again as Detective Sergeant Grant in Softly, Softly: Task Force next year.

There is a good reason they have picked Regan for the job – he knows the woman in the flat, Iris, and we soon discover they previously had a relationship. It means the evening isn’t a complete waste for Regan, who gets his gun cleaned (in the dishwasher), a meal, and a couple of shags, which are in fact far less explicit than some of the phallic Manikin commercials. Iris’s flat is quite intriguing, being covered in posters of young men, who I presume to be actors and musicians. A more knowledgeable eye than mine may recognise some but none stood out to me. It seems more like a teenager’s den than the flat of an adult woman.

Although Regan is usually a loud-mouthed, confident guy who does his best to shove his weight around, in the episode’s climatic scene we get a look at him from a different angle. The villains have concluded their operations and are preparing to exit, and Regan believes they are planning to come up through the cellar’s trap door behind the bar. He heads downstairs to try to move a barrel of beer over it. Iris appears in a dressing gown and isn’t taking the situation seriously at all. Regan tells her to go get dressed.

“Alright, what do you think I should wear? Something inexpensive ’cause of the bullet holes? Or something dark so it doesn’t show the blood?”
“That’s not funny.”
“You’re getting hysterical.”
“I am not getting hysterical – I am terrified.”

It turns out that while one of the robbers is coming through the bar, two others have come through upstairs and a shoot out begins in the bar. The unsecured trap door bursts open and Regan turns on the man emerging. He is left with three corpses and a hole in his leg, which he seems oblivious to until Iris points it out. It doesn’t feel triumphant and Regan is stunned, perhaps less at the death around him and more at how close he came to his own demise due to the decisions of his bosses.

7th February
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) ‘That’s How Murder Snowballs’
Anglia

As I’ve written fairly positively about all the previous ITC programmes I’ve encountered, it should come as no surprise to long-term readers that I’m also a fan of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). I was drawn in by the premise of a private investigator accompanied by his ghost friend and immediately fell for the show, so had seen a lot of episodes before my visit to 1975. It’s one of a few ITC programmes that only lasted one series but the small increase in daytime television has ensured some repeat slots in the afternoon, which is how something first broadcast in 1969 is still getting an airing. Additionally, like other 1960s’ ITC series, Randall and Hopkirk was made in colour, but started going out before colour broadcasting began. Although these were technically repeats, they would have been the first time most viewers had seen the episodes in colour.

After Marty Hopkirk is murdered, he returns as a ghost and continues working with his partner, Jeff Randall. While many of the ITC series had been recycling plots from each other, I think Randall and Hopkirk benefits from trying something so different. Like The Persuaders! after it, scenes can be built around two regular lead characters and the supernatural element brings in some unusual plots. I can’t argue that they are all fantastic plots, but they are nonetheless different and entertaining. Sometimes the writers seem unsure of how to use Marty as a ghost, although the series does provide a few interesting ideas. Only Jeff can see and hear Marty, though Marty can create gusts of wind to move things and teleport between places. He can also communicate with psychics and other ghosts or people on the edge of death.

In ‘That’s How Murder Snowballs’ Jeff is in the audience for a variety show when a magician is accidentally shot by a gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks. Jeff takes his place in the show, helped by Marty to perform a mind reading act. Being part of the cast enables him to investigate the murder behind the scenes. There are bodies dropping all over the place throughout the episode and there seems to be all sorts of nooks and crannies to hide in backstage.

Jeff Randall is the main reason I enjoy Randall and Hopkirk so much. Previous ITC leads have been heroic and rather aspirational figures. Many a viewer has admired John Drake, Simon Templar and McGill – they display, to varying degrees, sophistication, charm, style, and the ability to put up a hell of a fight. I like to think I could be as effortlessly cool as any one of them, but the reality is that most of us are much closer to Jeff Randall. In one scene from this episode, Jeff takes a massive smash to the back of the head, which is sudden and violent but can’t be too surprising because Jeff gets knocked unconscious in almost every episode. The poor bloke must have begun suffering terrible damage. Though he can throw a punch or two when needed, Jeff does not appear to be a natural action man and he regularly gets pummelled. He would probably think twice about entering dark alleys.

Humour plays a large part in the show and is really Kenneth Cope’s strength as Marty. It is also a different sort of humour as while Jeff does get some sarcastic one-liners, the double act enables conversations to be built around different things as opposed to the slick lines our heroic ITC men provide, often spat back at villains. There is also inevitably a lot to be done with the fact that no one else can see Marty, so to onlookers Jeff often appears to be arguing with himself. This week it happens while he’s chucking bread to some ducks though and an old lady is delighted that she isn’t the only one who speaks to birds.

It’s clear that Jeff and Marty have some sort of link. Sometimes Jeff can call out for Marty and he’ll appear, but sometimes Jeff is left alone in frustration. It’s clear that Marty is often busy with his own afterlife. One of their conversations reveals that Marty has been out for dinner.

Jeff: You can’t eat!
Marty: I know, Jeff, but I can’t break the habit. I like sitting at the table.
J: Where d’you go?
M: The Savoy.
J: And with whom did you dine?
M: The Prime Minister.

Well you would! I enjoyed this as it’s interesting to find out what Marty gets up to when he isn’t with Jeff. I’d imagined that he just went to a sort of purgatory hangout area, but I guess that as being unable to ascend to any form of the afterlife is the reason he’s a ghost in the first place, he must always have to materialise somewhere on Earth.

There are a couple of people to note in this episode’s cast. David Jason plays the magician’s assistant, in what must be the earliest straight role I’ve seen him in. Uncredited as the theatre’s page boy is Robin Askwith, whose name would have been known to few on the episode’s original broadcast but by now he was a star to spot, having played the lead in the top-grossing British film for 1974, Confessions of a Window Cleaner. A popular series of sex comedies, I’ve always expected the four Confessions… films to be wonderfully terrible so am tempted to stop by the pictures on a future visit to the 1970s.

One character that left me intrigued was a journalist who is also an old school friend of Jeff’s. His mere existence left me full of questions as I would love to know what Jeff was like at school. What’s his background? How did he and Marty meet? What made them start a private investigation agency? No one just leaves school and becomes a private detective. We are similarly in the dark for Public Eye’s Frank Marker, though the longevity of that series means we occasionally learn snippets. Frank’s temporary partner of Ron Gash is an ex-copper, but Frank isn’t and based on Jeff’s uneasy relationships with the police, I think we can safely assume that he isn’t either. It’s something more to ponder on.

The Detectives: Harry O ‘Eyewitness’
BBC-1

Since September 1974, The Detectives strand has been running on a three-week rotation with fellow US series Cannon and A Man Called Ironside, and it will run until April. A brief revival follows in the summer with the addition of The Rockford Files, before it begins again in the new year, ditching Cannon for Switch, and again lasting until April. I’m watching a different episode to the one scheduled, which was the last but one to go out in the Harry O cycle.

Harry Orwell is a retired cop turned private detective in California. In this episode he looks to help a friend of his, whose son, James, has been arrested for a murder that took place in the halls of an apartment building. Harry is played by David Janssen, who I watched playing Dr Richard Kimble in The Fugitive during the 1960s. Harry’s still very much connected with the police, being able to waltz in and out on fairly friendly terms, though he does seem to clash with some.

Harry goes to speak to James, who has quite the attitude so probably hasn’t helped himself all that much during the police interviews. But as Harry started to investigate further, I began to think that James’s surly gobbiness was hiding his fear.

In the apartment building, Harry meets Ginnie Adams, who he knows as a former heroin addict. We discover that she’s now working for a pimp called Teaser, who has her severely beaten up when he finds out she’s been holding back money from him. Perhaps unsurprisingly, from his first scene Teaser comes across as a complete bastard but he’s a great villain to hate. Of course he’s going to be behind the murder and as his reputation is well known, it’s no surprise that James won’t say anything more, so we’re willing Harry to nail Teaser. Another piece of connectivity is in place because Ginnie’s brother is the sole witness to the murder but is also blind.

We don’t see the police do a great deal of digging compared to Harry, who gets himself out into the community to find out what’s been going on. He visits a shopkeeper, who he previously protected from a violent thief and is now only too happy to help Harry. It proves a useful relationship to have as when Harry leaves he is accosted by Teaser and one of his goons, who try to get him into a car. The shopkeeper sees it and calls the police, whose response times appear to be about thirty seconds – they clearly look after their own! It’s apparent that Harry spent his time in the force trying to build relationships with the people he encountered, like Ginnie and the shopkeeper, and now he’s freelance it’s paying off.

Harry O uses voiceovers for us to get an insight into Harry’s thoughts, an aspect of the show I really liked as after its use in the opening scene, I hadn’t expected it to continue throughout the episode. As he doesn’t have a partner or any other type of sidekick to talk the case through with, it’s a way for us to hear his thought processes and it isn’t used so much as to become intrusive.

One characteristic of this episode that I have neglected to mention so far is that outside of the police and Harry, every other character is black. Apart from Love Thy Neighbour, I’m struggling to think of any British television show I’ve encountered during Back in Time For TV that has featured people of colour in substantial roles. There has been a growing immigrant population in Britain since before the Second World War but they are barely reflected on our screens at this point. Among the vernacular sprinkled throughout ‘Eyewitness’, Harry is called a “honky”, a “cat”, there is reference to a “funky cop”, and more than once Harry is asked “can you dig it?” Over forty years later, it’s a little cringy for me, having grown up hearing all these words used to represent 1970s’ clichés. Yet mostly – and I could be wrong – they stand out as Americanisms to me and I don’t think they would have been representative of Britain’s black population. It would be interesting to see other episodes of Harry O because while there are positive representations in the form of the shopkeeper and a small role for a cop, the majority of the episode’s black characters are criminals.

8th February
Kojak ‘Nursemaid’
BBC-1

I am mainly aware of Kojak because The Good Life‘s Barbara wondered why the postman kept asking her, “Who loves ya, baby?” Apart from the detective’s penchant for lolly pops, I knew nothing more about him.

Kojak is a New York police investigator played by Telly Savalas, who I’ve only ever previously known from the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in which he plays my favourite version of Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I believe he’s by far the most menacing incarnation of 007’s arch enemy, looking hard as nails, something reflected here. Kojak wears a variety of striking double breasted suits and still manages to convey looks that say he’d knock your block off if you gave him any shit.

A young man is killed in a gang shooting and the gang’s leader is soon killed in a shoot-out with police, but Kojak is more concerned with finding out who supplied the gun. We’ve already seen a gun dealer intimidated into supplying a pile of handguns to some people he owes money to. A load of the guns are turned up and having traced some of the serial numbers, Kojak has words with the dealer, offering him protection. Soon afterwards the dealer turns up dead in a car boot and Kojak finds himself looking after a feisty old lady, who was the dealer’s bookkeeper and saw some men taking him away in a car.

I immensely enjoyed Kojak, from the first of the New York accents to the last gunshot. In a similar way to The Sweeney and to an extent Harry O, it feels like it’s raised the stakes with the violence and seriousness of the crimes appearing on our screens. Also in line with The Sweeney, it has a lead character who doesn’t seem like he’s ever going to shy away from giving as good as he gets.

It should be mentioned that both the US shows got there before the home grown one, and both first appeared on British screens a few months earlier as well. These US programmes do have criminals that are bigger and more powerful than those of The Sweeney. The armed ne’er-do-wells drilling into a bank are small fry compared to the more organised villains running their illegitimate businesses in California and New York.

Out of the three series, Kojak displays the more blasé attitude to death in this week’s episodes. This isn’t always the case with The Sweeney, which is often happy to let the bullets fly around, but even then it does normally display plot deaths onscreen. The gang leader shot by police in this episode of Kojak is barely seen and his death is merely the result of a phone call. There seem to be so many bodies as well – the first from the gang shooting, the killing of the gang leader, the gun dealer in the car boot.. This case is littered with corpses and no one seems too concerned – what else do you expect with gangs in New York? To an extent, though it may have been a world away for most British viewers, this is representative of the changing face of New York, which had seen its murder rate more than double over the previous decade. The city was gaining a reputation as a dangerous place and though that wouldn’t change any time soon, I suppose we could at least be reassured that Kojak was doing a decent job of looking after part of the city.

You Say

5 responses to this article

Joanne Gray 30 May 2019 at 1:26 pm

I’ve never seen any of the Confessions silms, but I’ve read a couple of the books, and they were more amusing and bawdy than raunchy.

Andrew P 1 June 2019 at 6:22 am

After previous attempts to post to this blog have failed because I appear to be utter useless at using the internet, I’ll give it another go because I *really* want to celebrate how very good the “Back in Time for TV” blog is. I’d enjoyed the initial postings, and it was lovely to be able to meet HE Cooper when she was kind enough to come over and speak to my wife and myself at a recent event. I wish we could have talked for longer.

What’s so great for me about these blogs is that they are looking at television as a whole period thing. It’s not just one series, or one sort of show. It’s a very nice mix indeed, and there’s a great deal of context and understanding on display here. The use of language is most engaging, and comes across particularly in the way that society and broadcasting *has* changed across the decades. Even although the above shows are items I’d have watched at the time, when I now view them, I often find myself watching a different programme with different points of interest… normally to do with changes in attitudes and thoughts.

So much of the time I find myself in agreement with the very astute observations being made here, and when I’m not in agreement, I find the new perspective fascinating, Gosh – an episode of a series I like is felt not to work; hmmm… you know, if the episode’s being watched in isolation rather than in sequence, then, yes, that could well be. How interesting!

Reading these has been one of my many delights in seeing archive television – a subject which I care deeply about – examined and studied and understood and, most importantly, appreciated and enjoyed. I’ve tried to flag it up on a few of the fora that I post to, and have certainly enthused about it to my friend. I hope that others really get a lot out of reading these well-written pieces, and long may continue to do so.

H E Cooper 3 June 2019 at 9:51 pm

Thank you for such kind words, Andrew – they are very much appreciated. I too enjoyed our chat, was glad of your time and hopefully we’ll bump into one another again eventually.

This experiment began as a way for me to see programmes in the context of their original schedules, as well as to try to experience a greater breadth of 1960s’ programming. After covering almost 20 years, I’ve loved seeing how things have changed and occasionally recognising the development of things from more modern shows. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey when I head off to the 1980s!

Darren Brian Renforth 19 June 2019 at 4:56 am

Another excellent article!
One issue worth pointing out is ‘Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’ went out with a different title sequence to the still shots shown here.
These are obviously the original titles, as seen during the 1980s repeats, but at the time of original transmission they had been re-done in the graveyard with Marty’s voiceover.
“Jeff, it’s all right, Jeannie can’t see or hear me. Nobody can, only you Jeff only you”.
Presumably the 1970s repeats came from the original transmission prints complete with break bumpers.

Simon Coward 25 August 2019 at 12:26 pm

As you may well have found out since you posted the article, you’re quite right about Zodiac really being an evening show. They’d originally been shown on Monday nights at 9pm, late February to early April in 1974. Oddly, I remember seeing the afternoon repeat of one of them – not this episode but the next one, “Saturn’s Rewards”. I presume I must have been off school ill, it would have been too early for half-term.

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