Discs A Gogo (1961-5 and 1968)- details of TWW's pop show
Land of Song (1958-1964)- For details of some of the programmes
So successful was Ivor Emmanuel (1927-2007), that he was given his own local series Ivor Comes to Town. Making use of TWW's new £100,000 Outside Broadcast Unit , this 30 minute show featured Ivor talking to locals, but with a "strong musical flavour."
"The series has been a qualified success," wrote critic Alec McKinty, "though it still
appears to me that Emmanuel is getting himself too clearly identified with just one vehicle of entertainment, TWW."
Time Out for Songs in 1958 featured the ubiquitous Ivor Emmanuel. Chief guest on the Dec 16th 1958 programme was Rosalina Neri.
TWW had the distinction of being first to screen an opera on ITV. As part of their coverage of the 1959 Bath Festival, Bizet's "Dr Miracle" was screened.
Another first was claimed in their Autumn 1959 series of programmes titled Camau Cyntaf, designed to teach Welsh.
A curious experiment was aimed at churches and chapels which had no regular ministers. The screening of two sermons at different times on a Sunday morning "so that people in the different places of worship will be able to place a television set in front of the congregation and hold their services round the fixed transmission time of the sermon." With twelve inch screens and no video recorders, one wonders if any chapels actually adopted this scheme.
The Bristol Old Vic
Early in their life, TWW formed an ambitious but doomed alliance with Bristol's Old Vic theatre. That this was not very fruitful, was due to TWW's inability to network any of the three plays that resulted from this collaboration.
First play shown on October 13th 1958 was Two By Two.
The second on March 25th 1959 was The Taming of the Shrew
starring Peter Wyngarde as Petruchio and Joan Heal as Katherine. Others in the 20 strong cast included Donald Pickering, Greville Hallam, David King, Valerie Gearon, Peter Jeffrey, Richard Davies, and John Woodvine. This was a 60 minute adaptation of the play performed by the Old Vic company, produced by Frank Dunlop, director John Wynn Jones..
Summer 1959 saw the taping in Cardiff of Rules of the Game with Stephen Murray as Leone, Adrienne Corri and Richard Gale. TV script by Robert Rietti. Produced by Douglas Seale, directed by John Wynn-Jones. Also in the cast were Rosalind Atkinson, Donald Pickering, Michael Danvers-Walker, John Barcroft, Peter Jeffrey, Gerald James and John Woodvine.
Originally the agreement had extended to six Old Vic plays, but I have found no evidence of any further productions. It's interesting to compare Southern Television's London Old Vic contract and note the similar networking problems encountered there.
One locally made play was a drama documentary on the life of local hero Isambard Brunel, which was taped during September 1959, written by Kem Bennett and directed by John Wynn-Jones. Not surprisingly Peter Wyngarde was given the lead. It was networked on November 18th that year. It wasn't until November 1961 that TWW contributed any drama to the network, in the Thirty Minute Theatre series, The Organ Blower. Then in the same slot in October 1963 came The Bearer of Bad News starring Kenneth Griffith, and The Dice with Harry Fowler.
Some Other TWW Programmes in alphabetical order.
One of TWW's most successful quizzes, which eventually received the accolade of networking, albeit when made by A-R, was
Abracadabra hosted by Roy Ward Dickson. It ran to several hundred shows (it was said that Roy's show on June 16th 1960 was his 200th TWW programme). Other quizzes he introduced were Pix and Think of a Number .
In Abracadabra questions were asked having answers beginning with a letter of the alphabet, randomly
selected. A correct response gave you that letter, the idea being to make a five letter
word out of your winning letters. A reviewer of the 18 Aug 1960 show complained
Dickson "insists on keeping up an intermittent badinage with his wife who is on hand
to check the spellings." Sounds quite normal for these days! (See also Mr and Mrs)
Challenge (from 1959) described by TWW as their "most controversial programme," was a late night show that ran for 34 editions in its first series, many of the programmes chaired by Dennis Vance. Each week a well known personality was quizzed about his job or interest by a panel of six students from a local university.
The format continued as the Welsh language programme Ar Brawf. On December 7th Alan Pryce-Jones was in the chair, with Daily Mirror columnist Mary Brown answering questions from students on Does Advice from Outsiders Really Help? The December 14th 1959 programme was hosted by Donald Houston with the subject Is Public Ownership Outdated, explored by Hon Patrick Maitland MP. On December 21st 1959, Father Joseph Christie SJ answered students' questions on Catholicism and Birth Control, it must have been lively for the priest's provocative programme produced a deluge of requests for a return visit.
The Feb 1st 1960 discussion was Wales and the Next Ten Years with Lord Brecon. The final programme of the series (Feb 22nd 1960) had a reversal of roles as student Paul Wilkinson defended modern youth against an adult panel, Frank Cousins, Lord Harding, Moira Shearer, Lord Boothby, Lady Pakenham and Lord Brecon.
A second series began on October 3rd 1960, and it returned rather memorably with two programmes on the same evening. Interestingly this was accidental, as only one programme had been scheduled that evening, but someone muddled up the tapes, "a human error," explained a TWW spokesman. Thus the following programme, Sailor of Fortune, was postponed to enable the advertised discussion to be shown. The first programme actually screened
was about chastity, hosted by regular contributor Lady Pakenham. Critic Alec McKinty described her as "firm but unexpansive," with the questions from the students lacking in "penetration... and sometimes clumsily worded." The advertised Challenge programme, which followed half an hour late, was chaired by another regular Frank Cousins. However it was all a bit of an embarrassment for TWW, since Frank and the students had been pictured on the front page of Television Weekly!
The programme continued during part of 1961 at 10.35pm on Mondays, the mediator being George Scott.
A third series began on March 5th 1962 Lt General Sir Brian Horrocks was questioned on Where Does A General's Responsibility Lie? George Scott continued as the mediator. Producer was Anthony Hyland. Guests scheduled for this series included Lord Russell of Liverpool, Gerald Nabarro, and Vanessa Redgrave.
A variation on the idea came in 1963 with Celtic Challenge, in which the usual group of students questioned a local personality on an item of topical interest. What was different however, was that it was a series made in conjunction with other lesser ITV regions. As well as TWW, WWN, Scottish, Grampian, Ulster, Border and Westward stations also contributed programmes. One source also states that Telefis Eireann was part of the project.
The Cider Apple (from May 6th 1966), a half hour series of "folk songs, sea shanties and cheerful choruses." The setting was a typical quayside pub, specially built in the Bristol studios. Producer Derek Clark said, "the West Country has always been rich in folk songs." The host was Steve Benbow, and behind the bar was Judy Kenny. Regular guests were Chas McDevitt and Shirley Douglas, with Billy Burden. Guests on the first show were The Crofters, Tommy Reilly, Adge Cutler, and Shirley Collins.
The Crowded Years (Fridays, 1960) was a series of film clips showing life between the two world wars. The link man was Bruce Lewis, director Mike Towers. The first in the series on April 8th 1960 was titled Landmarks, and included an interview with George Bernard Shaw.
A 30 minute drama-type programme was introduced by Godfrey Winn. Dance Date provoked a lot of critical jeers but eventually gained in popularity. "A strong West Country flavour" was how it was first pushed, the series beginning on Saturday November 28th 1959. However though the plays were made by TWW, viewers couldn't spot much of the vaunted regional appeal. One story shown on January 2nd 1960 starred Jennifer Browne, John Gabriel, Karal Gardner and Daniel Moynihan, under regular director Don Leaver.
On 30th January 1960 the story was called Finishing School and starred Ann King and veteran Mary Merrall. A fortnight later the story featured Peter Sallis with Carol Ann Ford and Carole Maybank. The final programme was shown on March 12th that year. The theme tune of the series was written by Dave Lee with lyrics by Herbert Kretzner.
Dylan Thomas- a 30 minute 1961 documentary film directed by Jack Howells, narrated by Richard Burton. It won an award in 1963 for the best Documentary Short.
Exclusive (March 1965) going behind news stories, host Daniel Farson. "The theme of Exclusive will be to present the personalities behind the news events in the TWW area and to analyse any happenings which set people talking." Devised by Michael Towers and Wyn Roberts. This periodic programme had begun in TWW's early days.
For their first year, unlike most other regions, TWW avoided a lunchtime show, but at 1pm on Friday March 20th 1959 they followed the trend with an hour-long
Friday Special hosted by Rex Garner and Maureen Pryor, who left after May 15th, replaced by announcer Rita Street.
19 year old singer Maureen Evans was such a success that TWW put her under contract. Also a regular on the programme was Ted Trimmer, brother of actress Deborah Kerr, who presented film reports on diverse subjects such as ghost hunting in Monmouth
and an inventor in Weston-super-Mare.
TWW director Don Leaver stated it was "in the main light, informative with serious interludes. We shall not forget that there will be many men looking in, some in factory canteens and others relaxing at home before the afternoon shift." Programme editor was Michael Frostick.
Full House was another Roy Ward Dickson quiz, first shown on March 18th 1959. Engaged couples competed on the show, and before it even begun, over 700 applications to appear had been received.
Hecklers Halfhour appeared during the run up to the 1959 General Election- more details needed.
TWW's local news magazine was Here and There a traditional round up of local stories. One edition I would like to have watched was on December 10th 1959 as "Cardiff comedian" Stan Stennett and Harry Secombe came to talk about, quote, 'The Welsh Air Force', unquote, which was a project founded by Stan and since joined by no less than Stanley Baker. Guest on the January 7th 1960 edition was singer Shirley Sands, while on it was Jan 14th Don Rennie, who had his first TWW appearance in their very early days.
Hereford born singer Diana Day was guest in the week commencing March 28th 1960.
Here Today was Here and There's long running successor. It started three days a week and included an inter schools quiz on Mondays, a nature corner on Wednesdays and dancing lessons on Fridays. Host was celebrated pianist who became famous nationally on BBC's Face the Music, Joseph Cooper.
Critic Alec McKinty found plenty to like in the 1960 programmes even though Cooper wasn't to his taste, "trouble is, he insists on hogging the conversation." He continued, "Cooper's long windedness typifies the programmes main failing. It lacks briskness, it ambles along." More pace was needed. He liked the pets section and "the Star Spot is a draw," though resident musicians the Dill Jones Trio were not his cup of tea. Gust singer on April 4th, 6th and 8th April 1960 was Tudor Evans. In 1963 the resident music group on this daily Mondays to Fridays programme was the Dave Lee Trio. On April 19th 1963 guest singer was Maud Damons. Cleo Laine was the singer on May 29th and May 31st 1963, Mel Gaynor on June 21st 1963, Joy and Jennifer on July 31st and Aug 2nd 1963, Roberto Cardinale on Aug 21st 1963, Val Doonican Sept 20th 1963, Sheila Buxton Sept 23rd 1963, and Maureen Scott on Nov 22nd 1963.
By 1965 Here Today was still hosted most days by Cooper. Guest on Easter Monday that year was Janie Marden, whilst Dilys Watling was the guest singer on April 22nd.
One local programme that introduced some well known names was In Your View. First host was Bryan Michie, Hugh Griffith took the reins on the December 17th 1958, Harold Lawson hosted until in January 1959 Dennis Vance took over the chair. Frankie Howerd appeared on Tuesday January 13th 1959. Dilys Powell and Donald Houston appeared on February 24th 1959. From March 31st, the programme length was extended to 30 minutes, in this programme Dennis Vance was joined by Ted Willis and Sir Alan Herbert. The line-up on May 12th was Dilys Powell, Lord Birkett, and Sir Alan Herbert, on May 19th Harold Lawson, Ted Willis and Nancy Spain. Other guests who appeared included Lord Altrincham and Lady Violet Bonham-Carter. The programme was shown in a slot at 6.40pm, but moved to a late night slot of 10.45pm in January 1959. This coincided with an improvement,
a critic claimed, "with the panel discussing viewers' letters reduced from four to two," with the net result that "the discussions have been growing steadily more stimulating." Another wrote, "this is one of the few late night programmes which practically compel you to keep watching." The series finished its run at the end of May that year. In the summer of 1959 it was revamped as 'Challenge' (qv). However the similarly titled Your Point of View was screened in the autumn of 1962, hosted by George Scott who had also run Challenge earlier that year. For half an hour he discussed viewers' letters with his guests, and you were encouraged to write because three guineas was paid for any letter used.
Jazz Club began in June 1959. producer Michael Frostick claiming, "there will be no compromises- it will be a straight jazz series."
Four 45 minute Dig Dankworth were shown in the summer of 1959 to kick off the series. The first went out on June 9th from 10.45 to 11.30pm. TWW are said to have "paid their biggest fee to date" to secure Dankworth's signature. Such was the success of the programmes that Dankworth was re-engaged from the end of July for some more programmes. Bryan Michie announced "Dig Dankworth shows have been an outstanding success winning praise from jazz and non-jazz critics alike."
Jazz Club continued for 23 programmes, the last starring Chris Barber went out on November 17th 1959 and the producer was able to state, "we have kept our word. We have been true to the music and the thousands of viewer-jazz fans who have kept a weekly late night date at the club."
Journey into Spain with Bob Danvers Walker, focussed on traditional tourist spectacles like bull fighting, plus a look inside Salvador Dali's home. "We have gone into the little places of Spain," Bob explained. The programme was shown on November 30th 1959.
Life Begins at 80 (late 1959/1960) was a show based on an American format to which Bryan Michie bought the rights, and he turned it into what he believed was entertainment, "I am convinced that a series featuring octogenarians will be of great interest and entertainment value in the region."
Critic Alec McKinty said "the programme invariably proves well worth watching- due to a great extent to the bluff, friendly manner of Bryan Michie as chairman.... Michie never allows the proceedings to sag into any sort of reminiscent monologue, he keeps things going with the pally remark or joke, accompanied by a deep and hearty guffaw."
Among the many on later shows were Harry Levaine, Tom Crawford and Gilbert Gordon.
Veteran star of the halls, Ada Reeve became a regular, saying, "the thrill of being in the TV show is just the same for me as was appearing on the stage as far back as 1879. I never get tired of it." To prove the power of tv, Ada added that "fully 100 people have stopped me in the street to shake my hand since I have been on the programme. It's wonderful."
Another music hall star to appear was Albert Whelan in July 1960 in a show recorded in the Town Hall Bridgwater.
Such success lead to the series being transmitted also in London and The Midlands.
Live and Learn was a TWW inter-town quiz for children (summer 1962), question master Geoffrey Stone.
Melody Time (1959)-
on Tuesday May 5th and for the following two weeks, the music of Julian Slade was featured, with the composer himself at the piano, as well as Margaret Tudor Evans. The songs were sung in the first programme by Eleanor Drew, Ray Parks, and Angus McKay. Some songs were from Slade's show Christmas in King Street. May 12th was devoted to his best known Salad Days, and included singer Jane Wenham. The May 19th show had music from Free As Air.
A rival to Edgar Lustgarten was Rev Gordon Lang who introduced a series called Mind Behind Murder starting in April 1960. He discussed "some of the famous criminal trials he has attended over the past 35 years." This was of course nothing like Lustgarten's Scotland Yard!
The fifth in the series dealt with the Thompson-Bywaters case, and included an account of a condemned woman's last moments on the scaffold. A councillor complained this programme was "particularly repulsive... it was startlingly unpleasant to hear from Lang that the informer was the executioner." But the ITA rejected the complaint. TWW added, "the programmes in the series are now broadcast late on Saturday evenings, usually about 11 to 11.20pm. The series is regarded by ITA as being responsibly conceived and prepared and is presented seriously and without sensation."
The series continued until 1962, one later programme dealt in two half hour parts with Evans and Christie (Jan 1st 1962), in which Lang discussed the motives and background of the accused with Peter Lilley.
Lang also hosted numerous TWW religious programmes.
Miss Holiday Belle was TWW's beauty talent contest. The 1958 final was shown on August 30th, with winners from the ten heats. One heat had been held in Penarth, which had been won by Miss Eira Roberts of Barry, Shirley Escott of Cardiff came second, and Olive Romano of Swansea was third.
New Airs and Faces on Thursdays starting in January 1958, was a talent show, resident compere Wyn Calvin introducing acts never seen on tv and songs and tunes never before published. Wyn also devised the series, "we have auditioned hundreds of youngsters and we reckon that in every programme at least one good solid entertainer could, given the right opportunities, make it." Producer was Jeff Inman. Originally planned for a six week run, it continued into the spring.
Acts featured included comedy duo Geoff Morris and Pearl Shaw (Feb
15th 1958), Bernard Glover on the Hammond organ (March 13th), and John Wade (April 17th 1958).
A later local talent spotting programme was called Now's Your Chance, hosted by TWW's Programme Manager Bryan Michie. Over 3,000 applications to audition were received, among those successful in getting a spot on the show were:
Barbara Walter (singer at the Astor Club London), and
Doug Evans (a singer from Swansea). TWW expressed themselves very pleased with audience ratings, "well worth the hard work which went into the auditioning." The big names certainly were attracted, as for the first programme on January 12th 1959, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bristol were in the audience at the Cardiff studios, as well as their Town Clerk. The talents on this show were Lee Fallon (a ballad singer from Weston Super Mare),
The Crackpots (a comedy miming group from Bristol), The Hot Rods (from Swansea), and Betty Hendra (a soprano from Neath). The final programme went out on June 15th 1959.
However, the following week, Encore showcased artists who had already made an appearance on the show. Then on August 8th 1959 Michie launched a new series Double Chance, offering previous entrants in Now's Your Chance, a second turn, as well as offering opportunities for new faces.
By summer 1962 the talent spotting series was called Looking for the Stars, Bryan Michie still conducting his eternal quest for talent. The 'expert' judges varied from week to week but among them were Norrie Paramor and Philip Phillips. By June that year it was being screened in the peak slot around 9.35-10.05pm on Saturday evenings.
Now! was a show compered by Michael Palin in his tv debut, that began in late 1965. Among guests in an early March 1966 edition were Diane Ferraz and Nicky Scott, Billie Davis joining Michael in the presenting. The edition on May 20th 1966 included Tom Jones, the Alan Price Set, Patti Labelle and the Belles, and Bluesology Inc. Tom also was one of the judges in the pop personality contest.
Nye! an hour long documentary on Aneurin Bevan, written and directed by Jack Howells, shown on March 1st 1965, then networked on July 7th 1965.
Pegasus Overland was an occasional programme that began on December 3rd 1959, filming eight territorial Army men setting off on a world tour to Australia that began from TWW's Pontcanna Studios.
I cannot find information if they made it, but they planned to be in Teheran by Christmas. "The journey will take them through every variety of terrain- jungle, desert, plain, swamp and over mountainous land. Their jobs range from botanist to window cleaner."
Police Five- TWW's regional version was first screened on Wednesday June 5th 1963 at 8.55pm
Presenting Maurice Woodruff began on Wednesday January 10th 1962. The famous clairvoyant talked to local people about "themselves and their personal problems."
Soapbox (1958). This series ended on January 5th 1959, the final programme included John Baker, Joy Owen, Ronald Delderfield and Wally Reyburn.
Rex Garner was one of the panel of "hecklers" during the run.
Summer Serenade (Wednesday August 10th 1960). Alec McKinty described it, "without doubt TWW's new series... is the quietest, the most pleasant, soothing and entertaining they have yet produced." He described this first programme as having "a relaxed, engaging atmosphere with Bach and Grieg ... rubbing shoulders with the more popular compositions.
There's a great chance here for TWW to prove that they can put on a classical-popular series in the Eric Robinson idiom... Joseph Cooper... compered and played the piano, He made a good job of both. With but a small orchestra Norman Whitehead backed him, and the other artists, with satisfactory skill.
Laurence Payne appeared, looking as much like Kirk Douglas on screen as he does on stage. Louise Parker's singing became a bit squeaky here and there. But all in all, the whole programme was well produced and performed"
Time (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer was a series of three 15 minute shows made at TWW's Pontcanna Studios on July 7th 1960. In just six hours, Tom had discussed rehearsed and recorded 45 minutes of songs. A TWW offical stated, "certainly not the lukewarm variety- they're the sort which have aroused controversy." I don't have any transmission dates but TWW had planned to screen them during October that year. It is good to note that the soundtracks have survived.
Try for Ten (1963)
was one of many quizzes devised by TWW's Roy Ward Dickson.
The aim was to get a sequence of ten correct identifications of whether statements found on cards are true or false.
The successful format was sold to some minor regions for their own (English) versions:
including Anglia, Border and Grampian.
David Hamilton hosted Anglia's version in 1967/8, which came from 26 different towns in the Anglia area.
A Welsh language version, Taro Deg (qv) was also made by TWW. Alan Taylor hosted TWW's English version in which the top prize was £500. One nice touch was that contestants were occasionally pictured in Television Weekly, these included a Mrs Vera Copley of Ely Cardiff on June 4th 1963, and Mrs A Evans of Glanamman on June 18th 1963.
Maurice Woodruff, the well known clairvoyant had his own peak time series on TWW from January 10th 1962 at 8pm. "He will forecast future events for viewers and for members of the studio audience."