Some Local Southern Progammes
Clive Lythgoe appeared on the opening night, introducing the station's theme music, Southern Rhapsody. His series The Lythgoe Touch was for a while the longest running musical series of its type, perhaps its most famous producer being Peter Frazer-Jones.
Bandleader Eric Winstone was associated with the company during its first year.
Jack Hargreaves rose to national prominence with his weekly confidential chat Out of Town. It used to send me to sleep. After being curator of the Piscatorial Museum in London (!) he was invited to
present the fortnightly Gone Fishing directed by George Egan, first seen on 8th May 1959. "Such was the interest" that from August it became a weekly feature on Fridays at 6.35pm. Surprise surprise, Barbara Hargreaves, wife of JH, then joined Farm in
Other Southern Programmes on Opening week that lasted at least the first two years were-
Southern Heritage introduced by George Egan with script and narration
by Willoughby Gray.
Sports Club produced by Terry Yarwood. Danny Blachflower was one
resident compere. Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie (captain of the Hampshire cricket team) took over in the autumn of 1960, by which time the programme had celebrated 100 editions.
Another long runner was Come Gardening.
On Sunday afternoons Southern Affairs covered theatre news. Among those interviewed were Frankie Howerd, Gerald Campion, JB Priestley, Frankie Vaughan, and on Jan 25th 1959 Sarah Churchill. Feb 8th 1959 included compere Wyman Baker with his Horror Show.
Other shows with familiar faces were ex-BBC Marguerite Patten who hosted the Thursday Your Ideal Home. And well known comedy writer Alan Melville had his own nicely titled show Melvillainy late on Sunday evenings. And celebrated radio man Leslie Mitchell also appeared in Southern programmes.
Lunchtime programmes for 1958 directed by Helen Standage were "Flotsam's Follies", "Take Forty" and from late 1958 Three's Company, all featured singer John Harvey, who left the programme at the end of this year. The Malcolm Mitchell Trio provided the music, with singer Bill Elliott included for the first part of 1959. Another regular, after two guest spots, was Billie Anthony from February 1959. Guests included Terry Burton (last two weeks of January 1959), and Ronnie Carroll (March 16th for a fortnight's stint). June 22nd 1959 saw the start of rehearsals for a replacement show, Take it Easy. The series introduced Jim Dale as host, and also included the ubiquitous Malcolm Mitchell Trio. Director Helen Standage left the station and the new director was Canadian Lorne Freed (fresh from STV's One o'Clock Gang). The first show went out on July 6th 1959 at 12.47pm, shown thrice weekly (Mons-Weds, ATV's Lunch Box was screened Thurs/Fris). With a script by Dick Vosburgh, singers featured included Janie Marden and Joyce Clark. Other regulars in this series which ran for eight months in 1959/60 were the Malcolm Mitchell Trio, and Dany Clare, who took over from Janie Marden during December 1959. The Liddell Triplets also made several spots in 1959.
The final programme was on Wednesday 16th March 1960.
Jim moved on to The Lunchtime Show which began on Wednesday March 30th 1960 and then ran thrice weekly, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 1.05pm. It included regularly weekly items by Julie Harris on fashion, Roy Rich as a DJ in an On Record spot, and the ubiquitous Gerald Campion, on food of course. Musical backing was provided by The Art Jones Quartet.
Special guests included Max Geldray (March 30th), Shirley Sands (April 6th and 13th), Victor Soverell (April 20th), puppeteers Joan and Paul Sharratt (April 27th), Russ Conway with his new recording Lucky Fives (May 4th) while Nat Gonella also appeared this week, Rosemary Squires (May 11th), Ray Allen (May 18th) and Terry Burton (May 25th), Mike Preston (June 15th-17th), Tim Field and Dean O'Brien (June 22nd-24th), Allan Bruce (June 29th week). July 1960 guests included Valerie Masters, Victor Feldman, Eddie Falcon and Shirley Norman.
Like most stations, Southern had their own talent spotting show. Easy to produce, the butt of complaints from professionals, theirs was Home Grown. Eric Winstone was the first compere, music came from the Ted Taylor Quartet. 2000 acts were auditioned, whittled down to 64 for six eliminating heats, in which winners were adjudged by viewers' votes, the finalists were faced by a panel of judges, including Roy Rich, Southern's Programme Controller and Eric Winstone, Musical Director. Directed by their stalwart Terry Yarwood, winners of the first series were The Brooks Brothers, who subsequently obtained a record contract (New Century Artists). They made a return appearance in the series on November 3rd 1960. The finals of the second series were judged by four distinguished tv producers: Dicky Leeman, Joan Kemp-Welch, Brian Tesler and Russell Turner. BBC's Peter Haigh was a presenter of a later series.
The show made some sort of history when it became the first regionally produced programme to make it into the Regional TAM Top Ten ratings. Encore commenced on January 5th 1960, this weekly feature reintroduced some acts from the first series.
Home Grown continued into the 1960s, and for the summer 1962 series, left the studios- Richard Davies (later well known as Dickie Davies in ITV's World of Sport) hosted programmes from as far afield as Weymouth (June 19th 1962), Bournemouth, Brighton, Hastings and Herne Bay, with the final held in Margate.
In common with other regional tv companies, Southern ran their own glamour conpetitions.
In August 1958, when Southern began, as there was no time to show any heats, an alternative competition was shown, the finals of the Bournemouth Holiday Queen Competition.
Variety Matinee was screened on Saturday November 8th 1958 from 3.55 to 4.40pm, an outside broadcast from the Royal Ballrooms Bournemouth.
22 girls competed, having battled their way through fifteen heats. They included Joan Marsh a shop assistant, Marilyn Mursell a fashion model, Diana French Miss Brighton (she had also appeared on Southern's opening night), Pamela Simpson a civil servant, Joan Bedson an aircraft factory worker, Margaret Hall a shorthand typist, Pamela Lonnen a worker in a cosmetics factory, Valerie Abbott an office telephonist and Diana Judd.
Directed by Bill Perry, the programme was compered by Ralph Barber and introduced by Kenneth MacLeod. Also appearing were the Harold Webb Formation Dancers, The Betty Raymont Rock 'n' Rollers, The Olivers with Lorna Lee, The TV Spotlights, Desmond Ellison and Brenda Winslade, and Haydn Powell and His Orchestra.
The winner won a trip to Paris and a silver cup. Second place received a holiday in Paris. Third place won a week in Bournemouth.
The 1960 show was titled Southern Belle. The final was shown on September 21st, made at Butlin's in Bognor Regis. MacDonald Hobley was the host (the automatic choice for the job) and also appearing in this show were Alfred Marks, The Jones Boys, Roger Carne, and The Brooks Brothers, with music supplied by Eric Winstone and his Band. TV direction was by Bill Perry.
The title for the 1967 competition was, to fit in with the national TV Times event, the more prosaic Miss Southern Television. The finals were screened from Margate Queen's Hall. Now for the results...
Third Place- Miss Hastings, Miss Diane Grey of Brighton.
Runner Up- Miss Southend, Mrs Lynn Taylor.
And the Winner- Mrs Valerie Appleby representing Dover.
Sea War was an acclaimed 13 part documentary made in conjunction with Rank, detailing the
role of the Royal Navy in the war.
In 1966 Southern produced their own contribution to the pop scene,
Countdown a pop quiz hosted by Muriel Young, with DJ Don Wardell.
Answering questions and performing on Oct 8th were Una Stubbs, Julie Rogers and Susan Maughan, along with The Spencer Davis Group, Paul Jones and Kenny Everett. Oct 29th featured Salena Jones, Marion Montgomery, Manfred Mann, Alan Freeman, and Cat Stevens. Nov 12th: Sandie Shaw, Eve Taylor, Chris Farlowe, Jonathan King, and The Troggs. Nov 26th: Beryl Marsden, Beverley, Chris Andrews, Barry Chambers, Dave Berry. Dec 3rd: Marianne Faithfull, Mia Lewis, Susan Hanson, Tommy Vance, Mark Wynter. Dec 10th: Helen Shapiro, Cliff Bennett, The Small Faces, Joan Turner. Dec 17th: Lulu, Anita Harris, Alan Price Set, Long John Baldry, Chris Rayburn.
Probe chaired by Fenton Bresler, and directed by Berkeley Smith, "gives local residents the opportunity to vent their feelings on the way they are governed." The first programme aired on Monday May 25th 1959 at 6.25pm, and was from Bournemouth asking the vital question, "Does Bournemouth give a square deal to its visitors- and to its residents?" Southampton and Yeovil were the next locations, and Portsmouth hosted the programme on July 7th 1959 at the new time of 10.15, then Rex Ballroom Bognor Regis on August 18th. The first series ended on Sept 1st 1959 with a programme from Town Hall Ryde.
Most towns queued up to get some publicity, however Shaftesbury, Dorset, Town Council took a stand and in December 1959 voted against allowing cameras near them, "these programmes are not an advertisement but are just a means of taking the rise out of a town." Berkeley Smith defended the series, stating, "this is a debate in public rather than a public debate, which we believe will produce a controversial, lively and entertaining programme."
Canterbury Council's General Purposes Committee in 1960 recommended this city should not participate
either, but an offer from Southern Television of £500 to the municipal controlled Marlowe Theatre seems to have swayed the council's debate and on a majority vote, the proposal that they take part in Probe was agreed.
The programme was popular and returned for a second series in early April 1960, Berkeley Smith again defending Probe dispelling completely "the idea that the programme puts members of Councils on the fence as pigeons to be shot at."
Swop Shop (1959) made a celebrity of the Duke of Bedford. He ran it with Elizabeth Allan. Drawings by Ronald Searle. The format was first tried out by ABC from whom Southern bought the idea, which was that if viewers saw goods in the shop and they could offer something of equal value, Swop Shop arranged a swop. From Autumn 1959, Helen Standage, returning to Southern TV, directed the series.
included Snakes and Ladders
The ancient board game became one of Southern Television's first regional quizzes, commencing on Monday September 22nd 1958 at 8pm.
Question master was Kenneth Horne, on the Hammond Organ was Robin Richmond, with assistant Dorothea Hodgson, the cashier who handed out the winnings. These were £1, yes £1, for each correct answer, with the jackpot which was £25. If not won this was increased by this amount each week. Another assistant for seven weeks was Julie Shearing.
The basis of the game was a giant snakes and ladders board that can be seen in this photo, taken at rehearsals. A box titled The Brain Box (a little like a mini Criss Cross Quiz board) offered a choice of three subjects, Films, Art, Golf, etc etc. The Brain Box then calculated the value of the question, and the contestant moved along the snakes and ladders board that amount. The first player to reach home, the 50th square had a chance at the jackpot.
Scriptwriter was Larry Forrester. Director Bill Perry. Kenneth Horne was ill during part of December 1959 so Robin Richmond took on the quizmaster's role for a couple of weeks, while George Blackmore provided the musical backing.
The programmes were made at various locations around the Southern TV area, this first show was made at Hove Town Hall. Among the many other venues were Newbury Corn Exchange, Alexandra Gardens Theatre Weymouth, Worthing Assembly Hall and St Peter's Hall Bournemouth. As from January 26th 1959 the quiz moved to Mondays at 7pm, this first show in the new slot was from Devizes. A programme was announced in April 1959 from Jersey. Final show May 4th 1959 came from Guildhall Theatre Southampton, with celebrity contestants donating winnings to charity- Elizabeth Allen, Brenda Bruce, the Duke of Bedford, plus Southern's Berkeley Smith and Robin Richmond.
More information on this quiz welcome- if you appeared on it, I'd love to hear from you!
Kenneth Horne chaired several other offerings from Southern TV, including the children's quiz Full Marks.
What Do You Say? (1966)
claimed to be a 'first,' a religious quiz. Ten ITV regional stations (the Big Companies didn't participate or screen it) competed. Each twenty minute programme consisted of three rounds. 1 Straightforward questions, 2 a poser without marks for a general discussion, and 3 a choice of hard or easy questions, with corresponding differences in marks.
Quizmaster was Rev Bill Todd, Southern TV's Religious Adviser, and Bill Eagen originated and produced the series.