Friday, 17 August 2018

Friday's Five of the Best Archive TV Clips - Vol.3

We've made it through another week and, at the end of this weekly rainbow, there's a pot of gold waiting for you. Unfortunately, it's not the type of gold which will make your fortune and keep you in Betamax tapes for the rest of your life, but it will stimulate your nostalgia gland and remind you that life used to be a little bit simpler. This week we take a look at gentle childhood romps, early examples of colour TV and a rather grand piece of music to get you feeling all patriotic.

Children's ITV & Ragdolly Anna - 1986

One of my favourite shows when I was a pipsqueak pre-schooler, Ragdolly Anna was based on the stories of Jean Kenward and ran for three series during the 1980s. This particular episode encapsulates everything that’s fantastic about the series. Starting off as a genteel day out, ‘Ragdolly Anna Gathers Primroses’ soon indulges in a spot of exceptionally mild jeopardy before the cutesy (but far from cloying) denouement arrives.

Also included in this clip is a helping of Children’s ITV continuity featuring Bernie Winters and Schnorbitz the dog. Now, as Children’s ITV wasn’t live at this point and programming was usually transmitted from whichever ITV region an individual programme was produced by, it made for a few production errors. There was often a delay in programmes starting and this is why Bernie Winters is left holding his skiing pose for slightly longer than is comfortable.

Channel TV Opening Routine – 1982

Despite being much closer to France than Britain, the Channel Islands are most definitely British and if proof were ever needed then Channel Television is all you need. A regional outpost of ITV, Channel Television provided unique programming in amongst the standard ITV network schedule. Launched in 1962, Channel Television (now known as ITV Channel Television) has been running for 50 years. And, to give you a taster, here’s a 1982 startup routine which welcomed viewers each morning.

The Moody Blues on Colour Me Pop – 1968

One of the earliest British TV shows to take that new-fangled colour television to its hearts was Colour Me Pop. Providing a showcase for the contemporary pop sounds of the day it featured a whole swathe of 1960s movers and shakers. Only a few episodes still exist in the BBC archives, but here’s a clip featuring The Moody Blues with a suitably psychedelic intro which makes full use of the new colour palette.

Thames Continuity - 15th February 1979

From the end of the 1970s comes this snippet of Thames continuity featuring a bearded David Hamilton introducing The Jim Davidson Show. Prior to this is a series of promos for upcoming shows featuring Jasper Carrott, Alan Bennett and Richard O'Sullivan as Dick Turpin. 

Channel Four Closedown December 1984

The final pick for this week may not offer much in terms of moving images, but the soundtrack more than makes up for it. By 1984, Channel Four had already dispensed with in-vision presenters taking late night viewers through the closedown and, instead, the order of the day was a few animated slides detailing the next day's schedules. The line up featured here is nice enough if nothing spectacular, but the use of the Four Score theme tune is out of this world.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Rare Chills: DVD Review

There's nothing like a bit of horror to get the adrenaline flowing through your veins and blood pumping through your heart at a rapid pace and British TV has been more than happy to oblige over the decades. From Nigel Kneale's Beasts Series through to the BBC's legendary A Ghost Story For Christmas, television has endeavoured to put the willies up us with an eerie level of precision. Two servings of British TV horror that you may not be aware of, however, are The Fearmakers: The Shadow of Death and Supernatural: Mrs. Amworth.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018


Ever wondered who keeps the streets clean for our highly polished shoes first thing in the morning? Probably not as it's one of those things we take for granted. However, beavering away throughout the night - in major cities at least - and into the wee hours are an army of late night street cleaners. And Horace Stockford is one of the finest examples of what it means to be a Nightcleaner.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Missing Believed Wiped: 30 Years of Kaleidoscope

Not only has it been 25 years since the BFI first launched their Missing Believed Wiped programme, but it has also been 30 years since the genesis of Kaleidoscope. Missing Believed Wiped, of course, is an endeavour that looks to rediscover television long lost from the archives and screen it in its full glory down at the BFI Southbank, London. One of the key contributors, over the years, to Missing Believed Wiped has been Kaleidoscope, a collection of archive enthusiasts headed by Chris Perry who all share a common love for British television.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Friday's Five of the Best Archive TV Clips - Vol.2

This week's selection of archive clips are a curious melange of televisual goodness and should herald the start of a fantastic weekend. Well, at the very least, you'll learn about outdated encryption methods and that's surely better than anything else you've got planned, right?

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Archive Tape Digging: July 2018

It's been another bumper month of dusting down VHS tapes and holding them up to the light of the modern day. I'm still wading through the pile of tapes I got at the start of June and they're still throwing up some intriguing finds. Progress is a little slow due to life commitments, but I've been making regular uploads over the last month and here are some of the best picks:

Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Year of the Sex Olympics: 50 Years On


Today's blog is written by Jonathan Hayward, a man with an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of British TV

This Monday will see the finale of this year’s series of Love Island on ITV2, the most successful yet in terms of viewing figures and, indeed, the most successful in the channel’s and digital TV history. What will also be truly extraordinary, if a trifle disturbing, will be the fact that it will be almost 50 years to the day, and virtually the exact time, that Nigel Kneale’s The Year of The Sex Olympics was first broadcast by BBC2.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Friday's Five of the Best Archive TV Clips - Vol.1

Welcome to what I hope will be a regular Friday feature and, as the title suggests, it will feature five archive TV clips that I've found online and think will be of interest to Curious British Telly readers. So, every Friday, at the end of what will almost certainly be a tough week, there will be a little dose of nostalgic escapism to remedy the horrors of the modern world.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Laugh??? I Nearly Paid my Licence Fee

If Scotland had only ever contributed Naked Video, Rab C Nesbitt and Still Game to British comedy then it would represent a significant contribution. Thankfully, for our funny bones, Scottish comedy doesn’t begin and end with these three shows.

With an output that also includes A Kick up the Eighties, City Lights and Limmy’s Show, Scotland can be rightly proud of its unique take on comedy. Cast your eye towards the periphery of these rightly venerated shows, though and you’ll discover one of the lesser known, yet just as fantastic, shows in the form of Laugh??? I Nearly Paid my Licence Fee.