On Reflection: Fifty Icons of London Weekend Television

50 reasons to celebrate LWT’s fiftieth birthday

If you are a child of the 1970s or 1980s (the latter like yours truly), an ITV weekend schedule without an LWT programme would have been unusual. For many, Play Your Cards Right on a Friday night, Blind Date on a Saturday, and Surprise Surprise! on a Sunday night, was appointment to view television.

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ITV Startup Music Through The Ages: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten great pieces of television startup music used by ITV franchises

Once upon, quite so long ago, there was a time before 24 hour television. Television channels used to start at around 9am or a little later, and finish at about the same time when most adults went to bed.

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A 1969 Space Oddity: David Frost’s Moon Party

Ground control to Major Frost?

  • Broadcasted: 1700 hours, 20 July 1969 – 0300 hours, 21 July 1969 (ITV);
  • Presenter: David Frost;
  • Showbiz guests: Sammy Davis Junior, Cliff Richard, Lulu, Englebert Humperdinck, Peter Cook, Mary Hopkin, Hattie Jacques, Eric Sykes;
  • Interviewed guests: Ray Bradbury (walked out before interview), A.J.P. Taylor, Dame Sybil Thorndike, Desmond Morris;
  • Produced by: London Weekend Television;
  • Further information: original VT long deleted.

Just over 45 years ago, rolling news meant correctly folding today’s copy of The Daily Telegraph. The thought of broadcasting for 10 continuous hours was unheard of in 1969. Television used to finish an hour or so after the public houses did. Sky News wouldn’t surface till twenty years later, and Rupert Murdoch was only months away from taking over The Sun from the Daily Mirror‘s owners. Continue reading “A 1969 Space Oddity: David Frost’s Moon Party”

On Reflection: The Definitive Collection of Visual Works by John Tribe

A profile and reappraisal of the illustrator’s works.

Previously published on East of the M60 as On Reflection: The Collected Visual Works of John Tribe on the 10 June 2014.

Though not one of East of the M60’s most read pieces, the original piece attracted the attention John Tribe himself! He was ‘flattered and speechless’ to say the least, and needless to say, I was amazed too. Amazed in the same sense how Joe Royle described 1989-90 as his ‘pinch-me’ season with the Latics going to Wembley.

Since then, I have had continued contact with Mr. Tribe who has kindly furnished me with further details, corrections and clarifications. Hence the slight change to the title.

Many thanks to John, not only for the research notes,  but also for the two lovely architectural books I received. One of which had been on my Christmas or birthday present list for the last five years.

Stuart Vallantine,
John Tribe,
Saturday 20 September 2014.

*                              *                              *

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Forgotten ITV Comedies #3: Me and My Girl

What Richard O’Sullivan did after Robin’s Nest

Pretty much a part of any Friday evening on ITV in the 1980s was a gentle situation comedy of some sort. Nothing too heavy going after a shift in the office yet suitable enough for family viewing.
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On Reflection: The Collected Visual Works of John Tribe

A profile and reappraisal of the illustrator’s works.

One afternoon, I caught the end credits of The Pallisers which are being rerun on BBC Two. I loved the ornate titles – obviously hand drawn and far removed from today’s CGI based examples, being of 1974 vintage. It had echoes of John Ruskin’s maxim of building something to last forever, something likely to stand the test of time in future generations. 40 years on, they looked perfect for a period drama. Continue reading “On Reflection: The Collected Visual Works of John Tribe”

Icons of London Weekend Television: The Not So Perfect Ten

A special Not So Perfect Ten to commemorate the 45th anniversary of London’s weekend ITV franchise

Second only to Granada Television, my favourite ITV franchise was known for its Aquafresh striped logo, Blind Date and the South Bank studios. Today, it is part of the corporate single ITV monolith but South Bank (or rather The London Studios), is one of ITV Productions’ key bases along with MediaCityUK. Continue reading “Icons of London Weekend Television: The Not So Perfect Ten”

1980s Television Nightmares: #2 Bottle Boys

Or ‘Confessions of a Milkman’

By the mid 1980s, ITV had covered every middle class and working class occupation in sitcom form known to man. From freelance cartoonists to secretaries and ESOL lecturers, they covered every section of Britain at work or play. Continue reading “1980s Television Nightmares: #2 Bottle Boys”

Forgotten ITV Comedies #1: End of Part One

East of the M60 recalls a television comedy long forgotten by most viewers

In the eyes of some critics, ‘ITV’ and ‘comedy’ seldom appear in the same sentence. For every The New Statesman and Man About the House, we also have The Brighton Belles and Fresh Fields. For many a critic, the phrase ITV Sitcom is often met with disdain. Amid this background, there are a few long forgotten gems. One of which parodied the programmes and advertisements of the day.

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