Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

The BBC schedule of 26 April 1967

Thanks to the BBC making all back issues of the Radio Times available online, you can now see what the Beeb put on air on any day since Edwin H. Lemare and Harry Goss-Custard played the organ at Steinway Hall on 30 September 1923. I am looking here at what was broadcast on a particular Wednesday 48 years ago.

On 26 April 1967, BBC One started broadcasting at the curiously precise time of 0938, with the world premiere of a musical piece called The Turtle Drum - words by Ian Serraillier, best known for his 1956 novel The Silver Sword aka Escape from Warsaw about the adventures of four children in Poland immediately after the second world war; music by the future Sir Malcolm Arnold, then best known for his film music including the score for Bridge on the River Kwai, now better remembered for his orchestral works. It's a pretty high-powered creative team for a piece performed by eleven-year-olds at a school in Thornton Heath. Incidentally both Serraillier and Arnold were pacifists. The Turtle Drum was broadcast in eight parts during the summer term of 1967, and this was the first.

Other things that caught my eye later on BBC One:

An educational programme with the title Power for 1980 - Coal. When 1980 came round in real life, of course, coal was heading for oblivion.

Jackanory with Marian Diamond reading part 3 of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. She lated voicer Galadriel in the BBC Radio Lord of the Rings. This page has pictures of her making phone calls in 1960 and 1974.

This episode (Space Monkey) of Top Cat. (There was also a Magic Roundabout episode, but the Radio Times does not record which one.)

At 6.17 pm (another curiously specific timeslot) we got highlights from that year's Wembley concert organised by the Stars Oganisation for Spastics (now the Stars Foundation for Cerebral Palsy), featuring Paul Jones, the Kinks and Lulu.

Tomorrow's World previewed Expo 67 in Montreal, which was then about to open. I remember wandering through its decaying plastic exhibit space five years later.

Then police drama Softly, Softly, starring Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor, reached the 26th episode of its second series.

The Wednesday Play was another repeat, first shown in 1966: The Executioner by Robert Muller, directed by Michael Hayes (who also directed three Doctor Who stories including City of Death), with the cast including a couple of actors (David Garfield, Eileen Way) who also appeared in Doctor Who. It is about the assassination of Trotsky.

BBC One ended its day with a reflection on the life of the Quaker pioneer George Fox, featuring John Abineri (another multiple Who actor) following his path through England with readings by Paul Eddington (who was himself a committed Quaker).

All the presenters of all the current affairs programmes appear to have been men.

As for the relatively new BBC Two, it started with Play School at 1100. One of the presenters was Ann Morrish who was apparently a girlfriend of the then Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton. The other was Gordon Rollings, who had co-presented the very first edition of Play School, the first programme ever shown on BBC Two in 1964.

The channel then took a break, presumably illustrated by a test card (though not the famous girl with the clown, which was first shown only in July 1967) until 7.30 pm, when it returned with a hard-hitting documentary about angling, followed by another about Catholic priests and celibacy. (Actually it's possible that only one of these was hard-hitting).

It then switched to drama with a thirty-minute theatre piece, Boa Constrictors by William Bast, who is best known now for his early relationship with James Dean and his later show-running of Dynasty spinoff The Colbys. He lived in the UK in the mid-1960s; this play is about a couple attempting to go out for a party while being impeded by their cleaner. (Though the fact that the non-cleaner characters are called Frankie One, Johnny One, Frankie Two, Johnny Two, and Frankie Three and Johnny Three makes it sound interesting, especially as Johnny Two is black and Frankie Three is a man.)

That was followed by the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock film Shadow of a Doubt, and then by the tremendously highbrow experience of Sir Hugh Casson extolling the virtues of St Pancras Station. The evening ended with a report from the Golden Rose festival at Montreux, where The Frost Report won the overall prize.

On radio, the Home Service featured a dramatisation of Robert Louis Stevenson satrring Anthony Jackson, who I remember from later years as Fred Mumford in Rentaghost. The producer's name was Brian Miller, working from the BBC's West of England studios; I wonder if this is an early non-acting role for Elisabeth Sladen's future husband? He would have been 26, which is not impossible for producing a children's radio series.

The Home Service centred its evening around, believe it or not, the annual dinner of the Royal Academy, at which the guest speaker was the prime minister, Harold Wilson. I note that the president of the RA got his knighthood later that year. The Book at Bedtime was Silas Marner, read by Alec McCowen.

Over on the Light Programme, Woman's Hour reported from Belgium, Round the Horne repeated the previous Sunday's episode, The Phantom Of Bogmouth Hip, and featured a new play, Safari to Paris, by Anton Delmar starring Barbara Cavan and Carol Marsh.

I wasn't paying attention to any of this, because I was born just a few minutes before the world premiere of The Turtle Drum, and I suspect I concentrated on other issues for the rest of the day.
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