Jason and the Argos Gnomes (Part Twelve): The Pye Tube Cube

Wake up to what Anna Ford is doing…

The start of 1983 would see a new era in television history. For many, the thought of watching television at 7am in 1983 was somewhat alien. Mornings either meant the Today Programme on BBC Radio Four, Mike Read on Radio One, or Pete Baker on Piccadilly Radio.

BBC drew first blood with BBC Breakfast Time, anchored by Frank Bough and Selina Scott. On the 01 February came TV-am, comprising mainly of Daybreak and Good Morning Britain. On the sofa was David Frost, Angela Rippon, Anna Ford and Michael Parkinson. Robert Kee held court on the early morning Daybreak programme. During commercial breaks, in its formative years, very little. Its first advertisement was for Walls sausages and bacon. Among the early adverts on its first morning of transmission was this device…

The Pye Tube Cube

Didactically, the Pye Tube Cube was described as “your next clock radio, cassette recorder and breakfast TV all in one”. It was sleek, could be rotated and included four functions:

  • An alarm clock;
  • LW/MW/FM Radio;
  • Cassette recorder;
  • Black and white television (10″) screen.

The four-in-one sets were a boon in small flats, hotel rooms and as a suitable bedroom television set. Fed up of TV-am or BBC Breakfast Time? Simple, switch over to Pete Baker or Mike Read. Fed up of the radio? Bung your favourite Supertramp album in the tape deck. Had your fill of Breakfast in America? Admire the red LED clock.

The device is probably an underrated design classic. Tuning controls and volume is placed on top of the set. Our LW/MW/FM radio receiver is tuned from the right hand, on top of the set. At the left side, our tape deck, with the speaker and earphone socket on the right hand side.

Pye’s Tube Cube was one of four similar devices advertised in the Autumn/Winter 1982 edition. Its closest rival was the Philips TC2100, which was basically a rebadged Pye 2001X Tube Cube with a black casing (Pye was owned by Philips at the time). That went for £10 more than the Tube Cube.

  • Argos Catalogue edition: Autumn/Winter 1982;
  • Page and item numbers: page 237, item 6;
  • 1982 Prices: £124.95;
  • 2014 Prices: £418.43.

S.V., 13 December 2014.

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