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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

10th March 2013

Top Picture: A DER Repairman

Bottom Picture: I Love Lucy Poster

TV Repairman

“Children’s Television starts in 15 minutes better put the telly on to warm it up”. Do you remember Mother or Father saying that phrase from way back in the late 1950’s and early 60’s? Then after our own children’s TV programmes there was an hour and a half special Intermission before the adults programmes began when nothing was transmitted. This was deliberately programmed in so parents would have time to bathe and feed the children and put them to bed, then eat their own meal before settling down to an evening in front of the telly. Albeit there was only one channel to watch!

We would all rush in to watch Children’s Television as this was the time that if it was dry you’d be out in the garden playing Cowboys and Indians or Pirates and if it were wet, you’d be inside building models with your Meccano Set or running your Hornby Railway whilst the girls would be outside playing with their prams and skipping ropes or inside with their Doll’s Houses!

When my home first had a television set it was just after the Coronation in 1953 (we actually watched the Coronation on a neighbours telly), my father, who at one time was a radio engineer, was rather suspicious of television, maybe the technology had overtaken him, I don’t know!

Why did we have to turn the set on early? The reason for the fifteen minutes warning was so that the TV would have time to warm up enough for you to see anything at all! Dad would switch the set on and then after a short while a small whitish speck of light would magically appear in the middle of the screen and this would eventually mature into a full sized picture to fill your 14” screen, a picture with a distinctly blue tinge and set into a large piece of furniture made to look like a cocktail cabinet or some other piece of furniture!
Mind you it was well known that these early sets were very unreliable and every so often nothing would happen or maybe you would be halfway through Crackerjack (did I hear you shout just then?) or Nationwide and the screen would go black or a plume of smoke would gently drift up from the insides of the set and so it was time to call in the Radio Rentals or DER repairman, (it took Dad years to actually buy his own set) and calling the repairman was easier said than done as we did not have a telephone at home and it meant catching the bus into Cosham and visiting the shop in the High Street to book an appointment for the repairman to call. So it was back home with no TV and until the repair man arrived it was back to the radio and the Archers and Mrs Dale’s Diary, the Home Service, the Light Programme and the Third Programme for our entertainment, although as we got older it was more likely to be Radio Luxenbourg.

However at the appointed time the repairman would arrive clothed in his Radio Rentals uniform in a van with radio Rentals on the side ( the up side of this was that it showed all your neighbours that you had a TV in the house). The repairman would come in with his leather case full of tools and a small case of bits and pieces. After a brief inspection of the set he would normally declare that one of the valves had blown. He would dig into his case and produce a brand new valve, fit it and we would be up and running again.  With a cheery wave the repairman would be off saying I’ll see you again in a few weeks. Such faith in the 1950’s valves!

Ahh! These were the days of black and white telly, of one single channel and we were grateful for it. The days when the continuity announcers wore smart suits and dresses during the day and then changed into Dress Suits and Cocktail dresses for the evening links and we all felt that as these announcers came into our own homes they were our special friends! We did not seem to moan about the quality and quantity of the programmes then we just looked forward to them whatever they were.

I must be getting old!!!!

Stay in touch


You Write:

Carl(Fred) writes

Hi Peter, firstly a big thank you for having the diligence to continue with your splendid work with The Manor Court Updates. As I think I have mentioned to you in the past I spend a lot of time in France these days where I still do not have an internet connection, hopefully to be rectified this year when i get back out there, so I am not able to contribute as I would like to do so. however prompted by your most recent addition to the blog I've been fishing out some old photos and bits & bobs which may be of interest. I'm trying to put my hand on a copy of the programme of our production of " Messiah " in which I think I sang bass ( I'm a couple of years younger than you & I think my voice changed soon after we started such that I had to move from the tenor section). I'll know for certain when I find the programme which was signed by John Stephens. I think a lot of us got him to sign our programmes. yes where did the recording disappear to. Oddly, I do not remember there being any adults singing in the production other than the soloists. I was in the 1st year at Court Lane when Trial By Jury was produced & too young to be involved. I had started to learn the violin with Mr Harrison, the start of my life long interest in music. I hadn't realised that " Pirates " had been done by the school before & just after " Trial By Jury ". After John Stephens left a Mr K A Bailey joined the staff to teach music ( I remember his initials as he gave me his copy of a music theory book with his name in it ). Ken was his name. A very quiet soft spoken man with a bit of a hunch back who had great difficulty controlling 3b boys which was my class but we got on just fine as although at the time I was easily influenced by others, as my school reports regularly indicated, music did it for me. During that year I effectively left school to join the Royal Marines Band Service but during the Easter holiday a problem with my medical precluded me from going into any of the armed forces or even the police at the time so it was back to school head down, nose to the grindstone & try & make something of myself. When Ken Bailey left (he went into the church I believe) John Fellowes joined & took over music & things really looked up.  Ray Dopson produced " The Pirates Of Penzance " with John Fellowes looking after the music side. I was the Pirate King (being a bass) but I have a newspaper cutting listing all the principal players which I'll get to you with the other bumph. It was a great production & I was proud to have been part of it. I must say though that every time I listen to "Mesiah" I say to myself " bloody hell that was some achievement " which is why I'm so disappointed that no recording seems to have survived. Ray Dopson lives here on Hayling. I bumped into him a while back & said I would call to see him but had to go back to France but I will make the effort now & enquire as to the recording. 

I think I can put some names to question marks in some of the photos you have used over time but I expect that the gaps have been filled in by others now. Keep up the good work Peter it is appreciated & as soon as I find that programme I'll copy things over to you. Bye 4 now.P.S. I forgot to add that Brian ( Eggy ) Hobbs & Bobby Cummings did make it into the RM Band Service & whilst I never met Eggy again I bumped into Brian in Farlington one day & despite having had a fabulous life on the ocean wave ( including serving in H.M.Y. Britannia ) he was thinking of coming out.

John askes:

This science teacher article has got me thinking, There was a Science Teacher his name I cannot remember but I think it was Dave ******** (something), I believed he lived on the Railway Cottages just inside the Railway Triangle just off the Highbury Estate, if I can recollect he was only a youngish chap but he suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack I believe whilst teaching a science class.
Can anyone shed light on this, it must have happened about 1966/1967 ?  

News and Views:

The jazz legend Kenny Ball died today 7th March of pneumonia he was 81 years old. 

Tina Turner has been granted Swiss citizenship, according to an official notice by the the Kuesnacht city council Friday (January 25). The move still requires approval by state and federal officials but, if granted would mean that the Nutbush, Tennessee native will renounce her American citizenship. She has lived in the Zurich suburb since the mid ‘90s. Said Tina, “I'm very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here... I cannot imagine a better place to live

On this day 10th March 1960-1965

On 10/03/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was The Explosive Freddy Cannon - Freddy Cannon. The top rated TV show was The Larkins (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 10/03/1961 the number one single was Walk Right Back/Ebony Eyes - Everly Brothers and the number one album was Tottenham Hotspur. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25.The big news story of the day was The Dickie Henderson Show (AR).

On 10/03/1962 the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. 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 Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 10/03/1963 the number one single was The Wayward Wind - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. 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 Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

10/03/1964 the number one single was Anyone Who Had a Heart -Cilla Black and the number one album was With the Beatles - The 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 Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 10/03/1965 the number one single was It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. 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 Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

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