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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Web Page No 778



Three programmes from our Youth


This was an ITV documentary series featuring archive news footage of the previous 25 years. Unusually its duration time was only 20 minute duration and ran for two series. 1960 - 73. 1987 - 89.

It was of Granada Television's most successful series of all time, and began in 1960 and was presented by James Cameron who linked together edited version of two 1930s cinema newsreels from the same week twenty-five years ago. In 1961 Brian Inglis took over and it was with him that the programme became best remembered.

Each programme took a somewhat light-hearted look at past life; but by 1964 it took on much more serious overtones as it concerned itself with the outbreak of World War Two. In fact a friend of my mothers saw her husband going off to war on film and unfortunately he never came home again. This really upset her and she wrote and complained to Granada who sent a standard letter of apology in reply. Studio guests and newspaper articles were used to get a flavour of the time. The programme continued with the war years throughout the rest of the 1960s and in the early 1970s took a look at post war austerity and how the Britain came to terms with the after-effects of the conflict. 'All Our Yesterdays' finished in 1973 after thirteen years. The series was revived in 1987 and was presented by Bernard Braden, utilising footage from the archives of Granada, ITN and Pathe Newsreel-but it finally disappeared from our screens in 1989.

Animal Magic

Who can forget this unique BBC programme all 440 half hour episodes of it between 1962 and 1984!

Presented by Johnny Morris 'Animal Magic' was a firm children's favourite on BBC television for 21 years. Johnny Morris had previously hosted a radio show in the West Country in which he became a jack-of-all-trades, doing other people's jobs for a day. The shows were 15 minute slots and went out under the title 'Pass The Salt.' Later on he became television's Hot Chestnut Man, telling a weekly self-penned children's story whilst standing on a street corner waiting to sell his next bag of hot chestnuts from his barrow. It proved hugely popular and ran for 8 years. The year after he finished with The Hot Chestnut Man, he was asked to host a new show when the BBC's Natural History Unit was formed. It was thought that the show should be about animals that was instructive and entertaining. It was said that "Children love animals and they love magic," so it was called 'Animal Magic.'" Originally the programme staggered along to start with until a new producer was found and it was under him that Johnny Morris became the zookeeper who was responsible for looking after all the animals at Bristol Zoo. You never saw the boss - he was a voice off-stage who shouted out from time to time, 'Morris, what do you think you are doing?”

In order to get close up Johnny would often enter the animal's cages as a nervous cameraman filmed him. Mostly, the cameraman took as little equipment as possible into the cages because once a young gorilla ripped a tripod from a camera man's grasp and hit him over the head with it. Oddly enough it was years before the BBC realised that they hadn't taken out an insurance policy on their star presenter. In spite of its success, 'Animal Magic' drew criticism. To make animals appear as though they were talking was absolutely unscientific and complaints were received that it was a cheap way to entertain children. Despite this 'Animal Magic' became a runaway success and soon other nations zoos realised they had increased attendances. 'Animal Magic' was very much a show of the 1960s. The zoos may have provided the animals, but it was Johnny Morris who provided the magic.


Out of Town was a hugely successful series from our local station Southern Television that ran for 25 years, each episode presented by Jack Hargreaves offering viewers an insight into rural life of years gone by, as well as their dwindling traditions.

Jack Hargreaves effortlessly managed to cross the generation gap and imparted his knowledge of country life of times gone by. Up to the age of 17 he went to a market every Wednesday at 6mph behind a grey pony called Quicksilver. At 23 he sailed to America in five days on the Aquitania to take part in a programme called 'The March of Time'. He had listened with earphones to Big Ben chiming midnight on 31st December 1921: this was 2LO, the first station of the British Broadcasting Company. As an army cadet he learned to shoot a Lee Enfield rifle and was blown up in Antwerp by a V2. At 22 he became associated a radio entertainment and when he was 44 he was asked to do a few television programmes about the old country life.
but he believed people had little interest in the past. How wrong he was as 'Out of Town' on for 25 years.

Jack Hargreaves was not born a country boy he came from North London on the last day of 1911, to James and Ada Hargreaves. Jack (christened John Herbert) was one of three brothers. The family was rooted in Huddersfield but in his youth Jack was placed by his mother with old family friends at Burston Hill Farm north of Aylesbury. Later, he went on to study at the Royal Veterinary College at London University, but left to earn a living as a copywriter, journalist and script writer for radio and films. By the late thirties he had established a enviable reputation.

With the outbreak of war in 1939, it was recognised that broadcasting would become an important part of the war effort and his talents meant he would possibly be recruited by radio. However, he wanted active service and joined the Royal Artillery as a private. He working his way up to an NCO and entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and then commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment. He could not escape his reputation as a communicator and was recruited to the staff of General Montgomery to help setting up broadcasting services to allied forces before and after D-Day. He left the army in 1945 as a major.

After the war, he returned to the media and during the 1950s became editor of the magazines 'Lilliput' and Picture Post. He was recruited to the National Farmers Union by Lord Netherthorpe and developed the NFU's Information Department, founding the 'British Farmer' magazine. In 1959, as representative of the NFU, Jack was sent to Southern Television to talk to Roy Rich following an inaccurate TV programme on 'meat marketing', that had incensed the union. From that, Southern Television began a series called 'Farm in the South'. and Jack was offered the post of programme maker and assistant programme controller, which he accepted. Roy Rich he'd heard Jack was a bit of a fisherman, and asked if he would he take a cameraman and catch a fish for them live on air. Once again Rich was impressed and offered Jack the chance to do another show like the last one. Allegedly, Jack replied "I'll do six, for a lark!" and Rich said okay. Those six shows went out under the title 'Gone Fishing'. The signature tune to 'Gone Fishing' was sung by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong 28 editions of the programme were made.
'Gone Fishing' led straight into 'Out of Town' which began in 1963. An article in 'Television and Radio 1978', informed viewers that 'whether it shows the shoeing of horses, angling or rabbiting, 'Out of Town' presents a complete and unsentimental picture of country life in all its aspects. It is not a programme solely about fishing, nature or gardening, but all of these things as they effect the countryman; if it is interesting and part of country life it will be in the programme.' Jack received a 1972 silver award from the Royal Television Society for outstanding creative achievement in television in front of the camera, and later still an OBE from the Queen.

Jack Hargreaves became a household name in England during the 1960s and 70s. He devised and co-presented the long running 'How! shown from 1966 until 1981 when Southern Television lost its franchise. His country TV programmes continued in the 1980s with 'Country Boy' and 'Old Country' for C4. Jack Hargreaves passed away on 15th March 1994. The series may well be a distant memory, but its legacy lives on. The Inner London Education Authority found Jack a fifty acre farm at Beaulieu, Hampshire where a hostel was built called the 'Out Of Town Centre', to show children what rural ways and life in the English countryside were really like. Jack regarded this as his retirement project and, still going strong today as part of the Countryside Education Trust.
Take Care



To be confirmed
Next spring, the Solid Silver 60s tour will be The Troggs, Swinging Blue Jeans, plus Vanity Fare who will back Brian Poole, Dave Berry and Mike Pender.
In the autumn, The Searchers undertake a large tour, with Gerry and The Pacemakers, PJ Proby and The Tremeloes with Chip Hawkes


On 17/10/1960 the number one single was Tell Laura I Love Her - Ricky Valance and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 17/10/1961 the number one single was Michael - The Highwaymen and the number one album was The Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 17/10/1962 the number one single was Telstar - The Tornadoes and the number one album was Best of Ball Barber & Bilk. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Hyde Park Underpass opens.

On 17/10/1963 the number one single was Do You Love Me? - Brian Poole & the Tremoloes and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Macmillan resigns as Prime Minister.

On 17/10/1964 the number one single was Oh Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles.
The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Brezhnev replaces Krushchev.

On 17/10/1965 the number one single was Tears - Ken Dodd and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Lesley Ann Downey's body found on Pennines.

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