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

Friday, April 18, 2014


There’s at least two generations who on hearing the words “Crackerjack” will instinctively shout back “Crackerjack!”  (Witness the response to Ed Stewart on Pointless Celebrities the other week.) And that Crackerjack pencil must surely be one of the most iconic pieces of stationery alongside the Blankety Blank cheque book and pen.

BBC TV’s Crackerjack ran from 1955 to 1984 and is recalled in this Radio 4 programme from the series Trumpton Riots Again titled It’s Friday, It’s Five O’Clock and It’s …

The title comes from the opening announcement to the show during its late 60s/1970s heyday and has led to the popular misconception that Crackerjack was always on a Friday and always aired at 4.55 p.m.  In fact for the first ten years under Eamonn Andrews stewardship it ran on either Wednesday or Thursdays and only moved to Fridays when Leslie Crowther took over in 1964. It was 16 December 1966 before we first get to both that well known day and time.  By the time it came to an end in 1984 it had shifted to 5.15 p.m.

This programme is presented by Jenny Hanley (of Magpie fame) and includes contributions from Michael Aspel, Ed Stewart, Don Maclean and Bernie Clifton. It was first broadcast on 26 December 1997.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Birth of a County

It was not the most popular county in England. Formed today 1 April in 1974, Humberside County Council had a lifespan of just 22 years.

This is part of the leaflet that dropped thought the letterboxes of the county just before Humberside and the new nine district councils came into existence.

My local government career started at Boothferry Borough Council in Goole but I eventually got to work at County Hall in Beverley, though by then it was as an employee of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Humberside persists though, in the names of the police service, the airport and, of course, the BBC local radio station.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We Cannot Return Your Paintings

Fifty years ago today saw the launch of a new children’s television series, Vision On. Though it’s nearly four decades since it ended the programme is still fondly remembered with the music, the Gallery and Pat Keysell’s reminder that “we cannot return your paintings” entering  the public consciousness.  Checking a clip online I see that Pat’s actual line was: “Thank you for sending us your pictures. Sorry that we can’t return any to you but we give a prize for all those we show.”

The Radio Times told viewers that the new fortnightly show “is intended mainly – but by no means exclusively – for deaf children. It takes the place of the old monthly programme called simply For Deaf Children, and once again Ursula Eason is the producer. Says Miss Eason: ’Nowadays, children who are deaf are encouraged to mix much more with those with hearing, and they go to the same schools whenever this is possible. So, in Vision On, we are following this trend, and we would like all children to watch it together.”

Vision On’s original presenter was Pat Keysell (Tony Hart didn’t join until January 1966). Pat was a former actress who by 1964 taught drama and mime to the hard of hearing on behalf of the RNIB.  In this Radio 4 programme from the series Trumpton Riots Again Pat, Tony, Wilf Lunn and Sylvester McCoy recall their time on the show. The presenter is Fred Harris.