The stuff that doesn't fit into my main blog Random Radio Jottings

Monday, October 31, 2011

One Day in the Life of Television - Part 2

Continuing the post about the BFI-led project One Day in the Life of Television featuring the television of 1 November 1988.

Starting in 1988 Channel 4’s long-running quiz Fifteen-to-One. This clip is from series 2 eventually won by Mal Collier. What a great quiz show this was, all questions and no gimmicks or overly complex rules.
Some real children’s TV classics in this clip. First Newsround with the original presenter John Craven – by now John shared duties with Helen Rollason and Roger Finn. Secondly Grange Hill, look out for a brief glimpse of Michelle Gayle. No Mrs McClusky but you will see Mr Bronson (Michael Sheard). Lastly Blockbusters with Bob Holness. Who knew there was a silent K in nutmeg!
By 1988 the Aussie soap Neighbours was at its height. From the days when Jason Donovan was still on Ramsey Street here’s a snippet of the episode.
News time. On ITV the ITN News at 5.45 with newscaster Alastair Stewart. On BBC 1 the Six O’Clock News with Nicholas Witchell and Laurie Mayer.
In peak time viewing at 7 p.m. BBC2 was still showing the Western film Guns of Diablo, Channel 4 News was starting with Peter Sissons, and on BBC1 Telly Addicts in which the Blakemores take on the Moore family. This clip starts with a rundown of the evening’s viewing voiced by John Braben.
Meanwhile on ITV Michael Barrymore was racing around the giant set of Strike It Lucky. Viewers in Scotland got to see Take the High Road.
No Corrie or Emmerdale tonight so the evening soap fix was EastEnders. In this extract you’ll see Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), Pete Beale (Peter Dean), Simon Wicks (Nick Berry), Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Dot Cotton (June Brown).

There was plenty of home-grown comedy on this Tuesday albeit two of the programmes were classic repeats (“another chance to see” in the days before UK Gold). BBC1 showed Fawlty Towers (a repeat of The Wedding Party and still getting a very respectable 12.2 million audience) whilst most ITV regions had Rising Damp. In this episode, Pink Carnations, Rigsby, still in search of love, takes out a personal ad.    

New comedy offerings were Thames television’s The Return of Shelley with Hywel Bennett and a script by Guy Jenkin and on BBC2 the first series of Colin’s Sandwich starring Mel Smith.

On BBC1 at 8.30 p.m. was A Question of Sport from the days when there was less silliness and more actual sports questions. In the chair is David Coleman with teams Ian Botham, Lloyd Honeyghan, Nick Farr-Jones, Bill Beaumont, John Aldridge and Martin Brundle. This was Beefy Botham’s second appearance as team captain having taken over the role from Emlyn Hughes.

Channel 4 evening offerings were not filled with the lifestyle programmes that proliferate today. At 8 p.m. The Divided Kingdom was a documentary series. At 8.30 p.m. journalist Penny Junor presented the consumer investigation programme 4 What It’s Worth. And at 9 p.m. Jacques Rupnik looked at the Communist party in Eastern Europe in The Other Europe.

The Nine O’Clock News with Michael Buerk offered viewers the second chance to see the new programme titles with its “Wagnerian thunderbolts”; Martin Lambie-Nairn’s redesign had first aired on the Monday evening.

ITV’s main evening programme, attracting an audience of 12.7 million, was the start of the third series of Boon starring Michael Elphick along with David Daker, Amanda Burton, Neil Morrissey and, in the second programme in a row on the channel, Hywel Bennett. Here are the opening titles.

The BBC1 drama series was South of the Border featuring private detectives Pearl parker and Finn Gallagher played by Buki Armstrong and Rosie Rowell.

ITN’s News at Ten was read this evening by Sandy Gall. This clip also includes adverts for Maxwell House coffee, Hartley's jam, Cathay Pacific and Dingbats plus a YTV trailer for Fight Night.

One of the best hospital dramas is St Elsewhere. Channel 4 showed the final episode of series five this evening. Here are the opening titles followed by two more adverts, this time Pearl soap and K shoes. The announcer is Veronika Hyks.

At 10.30 p.m. BBC2 carried Newsnight presented by Donald MacCormick and Peter Snow. This was the first week that the programme had a fixed start time together with new titles, set and graphics. Editor John Morrison said that “this has been the holy grail for successive editors down all the years…when John Birt’s legacy is counted, the fixed start time for Newsnight should be one of its treasures”.

There seemed to be an awful lot of airtime on this day devoted to programmes about television. At 10.55 p.m. BBC1 offered Network in which Anna Ford hosted a discussion on the coverage of football. Anna did double duty that night as she also provided the narration for the OU produced programme on computer aided design that followed, The Search for Realism.

Speaking of sport Channel 4 provided coverage of the American NFL with Mick Luckhurst in American Football, a repeat of the programme first aired at 5 p.m.

And so to bed. Announcer Martin King closed down BBC2 for the day at 12.35 a.m. Five minutes later Cathy Stewart says goodnight to BBC1 viewers.

TV schedules for 1 November 1988:

07:00 Breakfast Time
09:00 News followed by Open Air
09:20 Kilroy!
10:00 News followed by Going for Gold
10:25 Children's BBC with Andy Crane: Playbus followed by Jimbo and the Jet Set
10:55 Five to Eleven
11:00 News followed by Open Air
12:00 News followed by Daytime Live
13:00 One O'Clock News
13:30 Neighbours
13:50 Going for Gold
14:15 The Importance of Being Earnest
15:45 Behind the Screen
15:50 Children's BBC with Andy Crane: What's Your Story?, PC Pinkerton, Fireman Sam, Ratman, Knowhow, Newsround and Grange Hill
17:35 Neighbours
18:00 Six O'Clock News
18:30 Regional News Programmes
19:00 Telly Addicts
19:30 EastEnders
20:00 Fawlty Towers
20:30 A Question of Sport
21:00 Nine O'Clock News
21:30 South of the Border
22:25 Wildlife on One: Meerkats United
22:55 Network
23:45 The Search for Realism  

09:30 Daytime on Two
14:15 See Hear!
14:40 Championship Bowls
15:00 News followed by Suite Dreams
15:30 Championship Bowls
16:25 The College
16:55 Northern Lights
17:00 Advice Shop
17:30 First Time Garden
18:00 The Tuesday Western: Guns of Diablo
19:20 Personal Notes
20:00 Floyd on Britain and Ireland
20:30 Brass Tacks
21:00 Colin's Sandwich
21:30 The Mind Machine
22:20 Building Sights
22:30 Newsnight
23:20 Championship Bowls

Channel 4
09:30 Schools' Programmes
12:00 The Parliament Programme
12:30 Business Daily
13:00 Tourism: The Welcome Business
13:30 Catering With Care
14:00 Film: The Iron Mask
15:20 The Three Stooges
15:40 The Oprah Winfrey Show
16:30 Fifteen-to-One
17:00 American Football
18:00 The Cosby Show
18:30 Design Matters: Cities with a Future?
19:00 Channel 4 News
19:50 Comment
20:00 The Divided Kingdom
20:30 4 What It's Worth
21:00 The Other Europe
22:00 St Elsewhere
23:00 The New Statesman
23:30 American Football

05:00 ITN Morning News
06:00 The Morning Programme
07:00 Good Morning Britain with Anne Diamond and Mike Morris
09:00 After Nine with Jayne Irving
09:25 Lucky Ladders
10:00 The Time...The Place...with Mike Scott
10:40 This Morning
12:10 Rainbow
12:30 Regional Variations
13:00 ITN News at One
13:20 Regional Variations
15:00 Give Us a Clue
15:25 Regional Variations
16:00 Children's ITV presented by Mark Granger: Tickle on the Tum, The Adventures of Tin Tin, The Sooty Show and Count Duckula
17:15 Blockbusters
17:45 ITN News at 5:45
18:00 Regional News Magazines
18:30 Prove It with Chris Tarrant
19:00 Strike It Lucky
19:30 Rising Damp
20:00 The Bill
20:30 The Return of Shelley
21:00 Boon
22:00 News at Ten with Sandy Gall and Alistair Stewart followed by Regional News
22:35 First Tuesday
23:35 Regional Variations

Quotes are taken from One Day in the Life of Television by Sean Day-Lewis (Grafton 1989). Thanks to Robin Carmody for confirming some of the continuity announcer names.  


  1. Where can I find the documentary "One Day In The Life Of Television" of 1989? In particular, the one that at the end shows Cathy Stewart in the continuity studio...

  2. Some wonderful soul has uploaded it to YouTube, in full. Enjoy!