Monday, 22 November 2021

Sixty Years Ago

22 November 1961. Elvis is number in the UK hit parade with His Latest Flame. Jimmy Dean's Big Bad John tops the Billboard Hot 100. The Biblical epic King of Kings is the latest cinema release. Macmillan's government has implemented a wage freeze and is considering joining the Common Market. JFK is not yet a year into his Presidency and the date two years on would prove fateful. Meanwhile at Hull's Hedon Road Maternity Hospital I was born.

But this is a radio blog. So what, I hear you cry, was on the radio that day? The BBC Programme Index helps fill in the blanks but you can't beat going back to the Radio Times listings.    

My edition of the Radio Times is for the north of England so on the Home Service we only get the first edition of Today with Jack de Manio. Replacing the second post 8 am news edition is Today from the North with John Watmaugh. It's term-time so schools programmes take a chunk out of the daytime hours. Wednesday means Choral Evensong and from 5 pm programmes badged as Junior Time in what was the old Children's Hour timeslot include a drama The Immovable Object produced by long-time Manchester-based producer Trevor Hill. From the current perspective the evening schedule seems a little odd, the Home Service carries the Bizet opera Carmen in four acts, so taking up most of the night. However, the Third Programme has the drama, in this case an adaptation of Un Caso Clinico (A Hospital Case) by Italian playwright Dino Buzzati.

The Light Programme offerings include Housewives' Choice with Kenneth Wolstenholme who was in a for a busy day with tv commentary to follow in the afternoon. Radio commentary on the second half of the England v Ireland international was by Raymond Glendenning and Robert Rosser. Lunchtime music was provided by Bob Miller and the Millermen and guests in Parade of the Pops. We now know how this show sounded thanks to a chance discovery of a recording of the programme from 30 August 1961 in my earlier post Back in Time On the Light - Part 1.   

There are some very familiar titles in the afternoon and early evening including Listen with Mother, Woman's Hour (it would not be until 1973 that it moves to Radio 4), Mrs Dale's Diary and The Archers, as well as the teatime magazine show Roundabout. The evening on the Light moves from the long-forgotten comedy Once Over Lightly, Jimmy Young presenting Younger than Springtime, a Mid-Week Theatre story by Philip Levene who would later script some classic episodes of The Avengers, through to Jack Jackson's Record Roundabout and the BBC West of England Players who bookend this day with appearances on Morning Music and the pre-closedown Late Date.               

Of course it wasn't just the BBC you could tune into to. There were any number of foreign stations, perhaps the AFN, but more than likely it'd be 208 metres for some alternative night time listening on Radio Luxembourg. The schedule for the 22nd can be found in the issue of Disc ("the top record and musical weekly") tracked down online by Mike Barraclough. Essentially its full of lots of very short  pre-recorded sponsored shows with not much clue, at least in this publication, as to who the DJs were

6.00 Record Show

          7.00 Pops at the Piano

7.17 Wednesday's Requests

7.45 Jimmy Young Sings

8.00 Honey Hit Parade

8.15 In the Groove

8.30 Sound of Fury

9.00 Internationalities

9.30 David Jacobs

10.00 Teen and Twenty Club

10.30 Record Show

11.00 Request a Golden Guinea

11.15-11.30 Hits for Six

12.00-12.30 Midnight on Luxembourg 

Meanwhile over on the telly ITV offered us Zoo Time from Whipsnade Zoo, The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, Coronation Street (so some things never change), Rawhide, the musical programme Pop! Vintage '48 and The Blackwell Story,  a drama about America's first woman medical student Elizabeth Blackwell. Over on the BBC it was an afternoon of live football with Kenneth Wolstenholme commentating of the England v Ireland international, The Flowerpot Men, Tales of the Riverbank, Cliff and the team with Tonight, the US series Frontier Circus, Peter Dimmock with Sportsview and the start of a new 6-part drama A Chance of Thunder by Z Cars scriptwriter John Hopkins.    


Capua said...

Hope you had a happy birthday - and thanks for the fascinating work you do with this blog!

simon fuchs said...

I remember listening to the North Regional Home Service news - often read by Doreena Brown I wondered what else she did but have never found any more information. I missed those opt outs when they were discontinued

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