Sunday 5 May 2024

The Birth of Thames Television in 1968

Boasting productions such as The Bill, Minder, Man about the House, Rainbow and The Sooty Show, Thames Television produced some of my favourite television programmes of all time. And then there’s that iconic Thames Television ident, featuring the London skyline against Johnny Hawksworth’s classic Thames theme. Yes, there’s a lot to love about Thames Television. But you know what? I know barely anything about how it came to enrich our lives, so let’s head back to the late 1960s to find out.

Friday 22 March 2024

The Slow, Slow Start of BBC Video

I still remember the first BBC Video I got: Pyramids of Mars, the classic 1975 Doctor Who serial featuring Tom Baker. This was in 1987, and it meant a lot to a five-year-old who had only been on the planet long enough to catch the end of Colin Baker’s tenure in the role. But BBC Video was about more than just Doctor Who. Suddenly, the BBC’s archive could be opened up to a country rapidly installing VCRs in their homes. However, it was an enterprise hampered by a slow start. A slow, slow start.

Saturday 17 February 2024

YouTube Pick: My Brother David

The tale of David Scarboro isn't one I was overly familiar with, but his short life and career on British television is, in itself, very much like the soap opera which defined his early fame. Full of highs, lows and tragedy, it's almost as if the infamous EastEnders doof doofs were positioned perilously above his head once he found fame. And the excellent 1989 edition of Scene entitled My Brother David tells an emotional story, all family pride and revulsion at the way the press tore his life apart.

Sunday 11 February 2024

BBC Select: A Failed Subscription Service

If, in 1987, you had been watching television very late at night, we’re talking post-closedown late, you could have stumbled across something very interesting on BBC2. To be precise, you would have encountered an encrypted engineering test. These tests would have made little sense to the average man on the street. But, for the BBC, they represented tentative steps into their first subscription service. And it failed spectacularly.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Early Children's ITV Continuity Captured

I’ve been digging through some Betamax tapes this weekend and, as luck would have it, the first one I pulled out of the box had an absolute gem on it. And it came in the form of a rare clip of Children’s ITV continuity.

Friday 22 December 2023

New Print Article: The Birth of Teletext

A year on from my last published article, I’m back in the pages of Best of British with The Birth of Teletext.

Ever since I first laid eyes on Pages from Ceefax back in the mid-1980s, I’ve been a little obsessed with teletext. We didn’t actually get a teletext television set until 1997, so it always felt like an exciting world of information which was just out of reach. Sure, I used to see it at friends’ houses, as we caught up on the football news and played Bamboozle, but I couldn’t get my teeth stuck into it.

Saturday 16 December 2023

All the Slices of Archive TV Christmas Footage I've Found

Christmas television has always been a landmark event. Or, at least, it always was. These days, scanning through the Christmas issue of the Radio Times with a highlighter is more a novelty than a necessity. Times change, and so do our viewing habits. But, luckily, old video tapes full of home recordings offer up a fossilised view of the way it once was. And, as I've been scanning through old video tapes for seven years now, I've found more than my fair share of Christmas TV footage.

Now, I could show you the various repeats of the 1977 Christmas edition of The Morecambe and Wise Show alongside Blackadder's Christmas Carol and The Snowman, but they're currently all being shown 24/7 on some digital channel somewhere. So, instead, I've decided to gather together all the ephemeral slices of archive TV Christmas I've found over the years. Some are fascinating, all of them are intriguing, and it's unlikely you would have seen any of them since they were originally broadcast.

Saturday 2 December 2023

Philip Schofield's Final Day on Children's BBC

2023 was a disastrous year for Philip Schofield's television career and private life, and it remains to be seen whether he'll ever return to our screens again. However, back in 1987, life for Schofield was very different. Following two years presenting the Broom Cupboard sections for Children's BBC, he had quickly risen from an unknown into the hot future of British television. Going Live! was just around the corner and, by the 1990s, Philip would be cemented as part of the lineup of British television's primetime schedules. But what happened on his final stint in the Broom Cupboard?

Thursday 30 November 2023

Navigating Career Transitions: A Guide to Embracing Change and Finding Success

Career transitions are an inevitable part of professional life, and in today's dynamic job market, individuals often find themselves navigating through various changes in their career paths. Whether prompted by personal growth, economic shifts, or a desire for new challenges, successfully managing these transitions is crucial for long-term career satisfaction and success. This article explores key strategies and insights to help individuals navigate career transitions effectively.