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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

 17th  August 2013
Top Picture: Jean Metcalfe and Cliff Michelmore.

Bottom Picture: More icons of the early 1960’s Harry Corbet with Sooty and Sweep.

Everyone must remember Two-Way Family Favourites.

Successor to the wartime show Forces Favourites (which was before our time), Family Favourites (much better remembered by its later name Two-Way, or even Three-Way Family Favourites) was broadcast at Sunday lunchtimes first on the Light Programme, then Radio 2 plus the British Forces Broadcasting Service until 1980. It was a request programme designed to link families at home in the UK with the men and their families of the British Forces who serving in West Germany or elsewhere overseas. Running for well over thirty years it was a big success.

It had the memorable signature tune "With A Song in My Heart" composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Lorenz Hart. Orchestral arrangement by Andre Kostalanetz and played by Andre Kostelanetz and his Orchestra) and was presented by a variety of well-known radio personalities including Cliff Michelmore, Jean Metcalfe, Bill Crozier in Cologne, Michael Aspel, Judith Chalmers and Sarah Kennedy. Its final presenter was Jean Challis.

When it expanded it encompassed far flung corners of the Commonwealth with, amongst others, Bill Paull being the memorable link man in Toronto, June Armstrong-Wright from Hong Kong, Ross Symonds from Australia and Marama Martin from New Zealand.

The time in Britain is twelve noon, in Germany it's one o'clock, but home and away it's time for "Two-Way Family Favourites"

That was probably one of the most famous announcements on radio during the 1950s and '60s. At its peak it had an audience of 16 million in Britain alone. The programme started during the war as Forces Favourites. Jean Metcalfe along with Marjorie Anderson , Joan Griffiths and Barbara McFadyean presenting.

After the war, the BBC determined to raise the moral tone of Family Favourites, as the programme had now become. Mention of fiancées and girl friends was declared taboo; there was to be no banter; and noisy jazz was forbidden on Sundays.

A special edition, Two-Way Family Favourites, linked service personnel in occupied Germany with their families at home, and from 1947 Jean Metcalfe (b1923 - d2000) was the announcer at the London end. One morning early in 1949, she noted that the name "Michelmore" had been inked in as the replacement for Derek Jones, the usual presenter in Hamburg.

Their conversations on the telephone link before going on the air soon took a flirtatious tone. That April, Cliff Michelmore came to London to meet her; and soon "the agreeable young man connected with our local church", to whom Jean Metcalfe had once been engaged, was wholly forgotten.

But no hint of the romance was allowed to appear in Two-Way Family Favourites until after Cliff Michelmore had left the programme. They married in March 1950.

On Two-Way Family Favourites, Jean Metcalfe came to command a weekly audience of 12 million. One of them even left her £3,000, which the Michelmores put towards the purchase of The White House, Reigate, in 1958.

Some of the '50s British Forces presenters were: John Jacobs, Hedley Chambers, Don Douglas, Bob Boyle, Dennis Scuse, Bill Crozier and Derek Jones.

The programme was originally a half - hour Tuesday evening show but was expanded in 1960 to a longer 90-minute Sunday show. Each presenter took turn to read a dedication and introduce the next record.

In the 1950's and early 1960's Family Favourites was one of the few BBC radio programmes devoted exclusively to records, so its audience in consequence was huge, going far beyond the audience at which it was aimed. It offered the 'real thing', the popular records themselves which by the late 1950’s were what people wanted to hear, as against versions of the songs being played live in a studio in London.

With the launch of the new BBC radio networks in 1967, the show was listed by Radio Times as a Radio 1 show, however it was relayed on Radio 2. Two - Way Family Favourites became exclusive to Radio 2 in 1970 until it was axed in 1984.

In our family Two-Way Family Favourites was essential listening in Farlington and Pam tells me it was also essential listening for her and her family in Munchen Gladbach. It was the heralded the Billy Cotton Bandshow, the Comedy Half Hour, Sounds of the 60’s and Movie Go Round with Peter Haig.

That was Sundays in the 1960’s.   Take care and keep in touch


You Write:

Anida Writes:-

Ah Wash Day!  I have two distinct memories of this, one of wash day at my Nan's house in North End and the other at our house in Cosham.

My Nan lived in a house built in the early years after the first World War, she had indoor toilet only by virtue of the fact that they had built a sort of lean to/conservatory at the back enclosing the toilet and where the gas cooker lived along with the wash 'copper' and the mangle.  The bath complete with terrifying geyser lived in the kitchen next to the butler sink (very chic nowadays!), it was covered with a wooden board which was the only work surface available. 

My Nan had a morning 'uniform' as the first job of the day was to clean the grate and lay the fire ready for lighting in the afternoon and this was a dirty job.  She wore a cross over cotton pinny and a black beret to protect her clothes and hair.  On wash day, which was as you say on a Monday, my Grandfather would light the fire under the 'copper' before he went to work in the Dockyard so that the water would be hot when Nan was ready to do the washing. Bearing in mind there was no polyester and all the sheets would be made of heavy cotton it was a tough job to wring the water out, first the wash water and then the rinse. My Grandmother had a life long love affair with bleach, if any stains dared to appear on her white sheets or towels then there would be a rigorous application of bleach before washing began. There was one other process that had to take place before the mangling could begin, starching. Out with the Reckitts Blue and everything that could hold starch went in. This was a much more fearsome concoction than your pathetic spray starches of today. Handkerchiefs would threaten to slice your nose in half, bolster covers and pillow cases that had to be broken in before a good night's sleep was achieved. When all was bleached, washed and starched mangling could finally begin.  As a child I loved to turn the big green mangle, even on non wash days, but it was hard physical work.  Nan's garden was very tiny but nevertheless sported a pulley washing line courtesy of HM Dockyard, and the washing would be heaved up to blow in the breeze and woe betide if there were smuts from the coal fires when it was finally dry.  I say dry, but there was a certain critical degree of dryness that had to be achieved, if you have ever tried to iron bone dry starched cotton you will know it is almost impossible to get the creases out, therefore it had to be "dry enough for ironing".

At home in Cosham, we had a somewhat more sophisticated system in the 1950's a wash boiler with a hand mangle on the top.  Monday was still traditionally wash day, lunch (or dinner) was generally an 'easy' meal usually the left over Sunday roast beef minced and turned into a Shepherds pie.  Although there was sometimes a beef stew and if this co-incided with a wet wash day then all the washing had a slightly beefy aroma as it had been dried on the 'airer' over the stove in the kitchen.  My mother also used starch but not so liberally as her mother, I can remember one famous occasion when my friend Patsy and I were instructed to wash our hands and faces before tea, seeing water already in the bowl in the kitchen sink, we duly obliged only to find that we had starched ourselves much to my mother's horror!  We also had a pulley washing line but because it was a much bigger garden ours was a double line, there is a certain satisfaction seeing the results of your labours blowing in the breeze high above the garden.  However, a little mis-pegging and your washing could end up several gardens down on a very windy day.  I was always encouraged to iron, and I have a photograph of myself with my own little ironing board and wooden airer, happily ironing my doll clothes.  I still like ironing to this day and yes, I do starch which all my friends and family find absolutely hilarious - ah well old traditions die hard.

 News and Views

An exhibit of 12 previously-unseen pastel sketches by Bob Dylan will open August 24 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The show will run through January 5. A spokesman described the works as, "an amalgamation of features the musician has collected from life, memory and his imagination and fashioned into people, some real and some fictitious."

On this day 17th August 1960-1965

On 17/08/1960 the number one single was Please Don't Tease - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) 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 17/08/1961 the number one single was You Don't Know - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Harpers West One (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 17/08/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. 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.

On 17/08/1963 the number one single was Sweets For My Sweet - Searchers 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.

On 17/08/1964 the number one single was Do Wah Diddy Diddy - Manfred Mann and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) 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.

On 17/08/1965 the number one single was Help - The Beatles and the number one album was Liverpool. 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 were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. Watts race riots in US and the big news story of the day was Riviera Police (AR)

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