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    Top of the Pops (UK)

    Top of the Pops (UK)

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    BBC (Holiday Event 1964)
    "It's still number one, it's Top of the Pops!"

    On Wednesday 1st January 1964 at 6.35pm, the BBC Television service (now BBC One) broadcast the first episode of Top of the Pops live from a disused church in Manchester. The show was only supposed to last a few episodes. Instead it exceeded all expectations, revolutionised music fans lives and become the longest running music show in the world.

    The original format of the show was of live preformances from the music artists headlining the charts of that week. The show always ended with a performance of the number one song. When artists were unavailable, dancing troupes were seen performing routines to the songs.

    40+ years on, after several image changes the show still follows a similar format, with the exception of the dancing troupes which have long since been made obsolete by the ability to pre-record artist performances and also the invention of promotional videos. In its final year the show also began to focus more on performances of upcoming releases rather than what was currently in the charts, reducing the amount of 'repeat performances'. Regardless, the show always ended with the 'number one' song.

    The show is currently being rested following low ratings with the Christmas specials remaining intact. Speculation was rife at the time of its weekly show axing that the show may, at some stage, return.

    Spinoffs

    As well as rival shows appearing over time, there have been many spin-offs from the show itself..

    Top of the Pops 2 Top of the Pops 2, had the voice talents of Radio DJ, Steve Wright, classic archive performances would be shown. Sometimes artists would film special clips to be shown throughout the 45 minute programme. Now that Top of the Pops has moved to Sundays on BBC 2, Top of the Pops 2's idea of archive performances has been mixed in with live new performances.

    Top of the Pops Plus Commencing October 2000 and running for two years, Top of the Pops Plus aimed to be interactive, letting viewers of the show on BBC TWO and UKPlay, to choose the playlist and vote for their favourite artists.

    Top of the Pops Saturday (click here for the guide) Originally airing as part of CBBC's The Saturday Show, Simon Grant & Fearne Cotton presented the 45 minute competition to ITV's CD:UK.

    Top of the Pops Reloaded Commencing Saturday 10th September 2005, a new look Saturday morning version of Top of the Pops featuring artist interviews, live perfomances and a behind the scenes look at the filming of the previous weeks Top of the Pops. In March 2006, Reloaded ended after a run of 28 weeks.

    The BBC has also licenced the name and branding of Top of the Pops to many different countries including USA, Germany, France and The Netherlands and offers the show as a package deal to any other countries interested in having their own slice of Top of the Pops.moreless
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    Doctor Who (1963)

    Doctor Who (1963)

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    BBC (ended 1989)
    "My name is William Hartnell, and as Doctor Who, I make my debut on Saturday 23rd November at 5.15." Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction TV series in history, airing initially from 1963 to 1989. The series told the story of the Doctor, a mysterious traveller in space and time, whose TARDIS can take him and his companions anywhere in time and space. Inevitably he finds evil at work wherever he goes… The series was postponed indefintely in 1989, but fans of the series would not allow it to die, and a whole cottage industry was created around original novels and audio-only productions. There was an abortive attempt to renew the franchise as a series of telemovies in the U.S., but ratings for the pilot were judged insufficient. In 2003, the BBC announced that, at long last, it would commission a revival of Doctor Who. The series, initially starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, was launched in 2005. You can read about the new series here. Traditionally listed by production, the data on this site has now been amended to TV.com standards and lists each of the 697 broadcast episodes from the original series. I hope that you find the site useful, and that it might act as a springboard to the wider world of Doctor Who appreciation. TheOldBillmoreless
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    This is Your Life (UK)

    This is Your Life (UK)

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    BBC (ended 2003)
    Each week, a celebrity guest of honour is surprised and presented with a 'Red Book' by the show host. The host conducts a biography of the guest with the help of family members, friends, and acquaintances.moreless
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    Monty Python's Flying Circus

    Monty Python's Flying Circus

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    BBC (ended 1974)
    And now for something completely different: Monty Python's Flying Circus was simply the most influential comedy program television has ever seen. Five Englishmen, all working under the constraints of conventional TV shows such as The Frost Report (for which the five Englishmen wrote), gathered together with an expatriate American in the spring of 1969 to break the rules. The result, first airing on BBC-1 on October 5, 1969, has influenced countless future men and women in the media and comedy since.moreless
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    Omnibus (UK)

    Omnibus (UK)

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    BBC (ended 2003)
    Omnibus was a multi-award winning BBC documentary series, which featured mainly on the people and works in the performance arts.
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    Hancock's Half Hour

    Hancock's Half Hour

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    BBC (ended 1960)
    Hancock's Half Hour stars Tony Hancock who plays Anthony Aloysius Hancock "Tony Hancock". Co starring was Sid James as Sidney Balmoral James. Written by the legendary Ray Galton and Alan Simpson this show was a huge success with English audiences and was helped by the magnificent performance given by Tony Hancock and some really wonderful scripts. The show had a great support cast including Hugh Lloyd, John Vere, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Bill Fraser and Arthur Mullard. The show is best known for episodes such as The Blood Donor, The Lift, 12 Angry Men and The Bedsitter.moreless
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    That Was the Week That Was

    That Was the Week That Was

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    BBC (ended 1963)
    Welcome to the That Was the Week That Was guide at TV.com. NOTE: Although the notional length of the programme was 50 minutes, the show's actual length varied wildly. Some weeks it was allotted 30 minutes but ran for 40 or more; most weeks its official slot was 50 minutes but since they had the luxury of being the last show on at night with nothing following (except for the first three weeks of season two, when a late film was scheduled afterward with the deliberate intention of forcing TW3 to end on time - a ploy which TW3 fought back against by giving away the ending of the film during their show), it didn't matter if they ran over, so frequently they did, stretching the 50-minute slot to anything up to an hour and a half.moreless
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    Dad's Army

    Dad's Army

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    BBC (ended 1977)
    Intoducing the Walmington-On-Sea home guard, a bunch of hapless old and young men who have kept people all over the world very amused for the past forty years. Creator/Writers David Croft and Jimmy Perry made each episode of Dad's Army as funny as the previous one, with an element of humour which has survived decades. It has the most memorable catch phrases of any sitcom and due to our fondness of it, it's probably the most re-run show ever. The BBC keep an episode of it queued up incase of a fault at TV centre and it even successfully invaded the big screen with a memorable, well loved Dad's Army feature film made by Columbia pictures.moreless
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    Panorama

    Panorama

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    BBC
    With the first episode being broadcast on November 11, 1953, Panorama is the BBC's flagship current affairs programme and the longest-running public affairs TV programme in the world. Panorama's job is to investigate and uncover stories about Britain and the world. The range of stories that the programme covers is wide but the guiding principles for Panorama are always the same:
    • To make programmes with authority which make waves and withstand scrutiny.
    • To report the world we live in with a depth of understanding often missing in many other programmes.
    • To scrutinise the use and abuse of power, both public and private.
    • To get to stories first.
    • To make the stories we tell relevant, accessible and engaging for the audience.
    • To treat fairly the people with whom we deal.
    moreless
  • 10
    Steptoe and Son

    Steptoe and Son

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    BBC (ended 1974)
    Welcome to the Steptoe and Son guide at TV.com. One of the all time classics of British TV comedy. After the writers Alan Galton and Ray Simpson had finished writing for Tony Hancock, they were commissioned by the BBC to write seven individual plays for a series called ‘Comedy Playhouse'. One was named ‘The Offer' .which has lived on while the others have long been forgotten. The Offer consisted of Albert and Harold Steptoe, a father and son who have a love-hate relationship who are in the rag and bone trade or what is now commonly known now as junk men. Albert is always putting Harold down about his lifestyle, and the girls he dates. Albert is right wing tory, while Harold is old school labour. Albert turns out to be better at everything that Harold takes up. From Chess to Scrabble to Badminton, Harold starts out enthusiastically only to find out that his dad is able to beat him comfortably. The casting turns to be just about perfect. Two relatively unknown actors were cast. Harry H Corbett as Harold, and Wilfrid Brambell as Albert. After the first series the BBC realised that they had hit upon a gold mine. Steptoe and Son as the series was to be called ran for eight series, and it just got better and better Some of the best episodes come to mind, ‘ The Piano' where a customer tries to get Harold to move a piano from a penthouse apartment, ‘The Bath' where Harold turfs Albert out of his bedroom so he can install a bath, ‘A Musical Evening' in which the two of them have a pitched battle over their musical tastes., The Bond That Binds Us' where Albert after trying for years finally wins a £1000 on the premium bonds, ‘The Siege of Steptoe Street' where the local traders gang up on the Steptoe's to get them to pay their bills. ‘Any Old Iron' where Harold is chased by a gay antique dealer, ‘Divided We Stand' in which Harold fed up with Albert refusing to decorate the house, splits it down the middle, and the ‘Desperate Hours' where a couple of escaped convicts break into the Steptoe's house and hold them captive. Even after almost 30 years since the series finished, repeats have introduced a whole new audience to this superb series. The American series "Sanford and Son" was based on this British series.moreless
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    Chigley

    Chigley

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    BBC (ended 1969)
    Chigley is the third and final stop-motion British children's television series in Gordon Murray's Trumptonshire trilogy, following Camberwick Green and Trumpton. The action takes place in a small hamlet near Trumpton and Camberwick Green. Chigley is more of an industrial area, and according to Gordon Murray, the three communities are at the corners of an equilateral triangle. Chigley consisted mainly of Winkstead Hall, Treddles Wharf, the Biscuit Factory, and the Chigley Pottery, all of which are linked by a private railway. In most episodes, Lord Belborough's steam engine Bessie would put in an appearance, accompanied buy "The Little Steam Engine" song. The main characters in Chigley are: Lord Belborough (Owner of Winkstead Hall) Brackett (Lord B's butler) Mr Bilton (Lord B's gardener) Mr Cresswell (Biscuit factory owner) Mr Fletcher (Biscuit factory manager) Harry Farthing & Winnie (Chigley Pottery) Mr Swallow (the Wharfinger at Treddles Wharf) Mr Rumpling (the barge owner) Mr Clutterbuck (the builder) Mr Gubbins & Mr Sneed (the dustmen) WIllie Munn (Biscuit factory worker) Chigley included many guest appearances by characters from the previous two series, including Windy Miller of Camberwick Green, and the Trumpton Fire Brigade. This was at least partly for economic reasons, as it allowed the existing characters' theme songs to be re-used, saving money on recording. The programme began with one of the characters being asked: "Are you going to Trumpton? Camberwick Green? Chigley? Can we come with you ?" At the end of each episode, any problems have been solved, the the 6 O'Clock whistle at the biscuit factory blows and Lord Belborough invites everyone to the gardens of Winkstead Hall, where he and Brackett play his vintage Dutch organ while the locals dance. Freddie Phillips' songs and music were very important to the programmes as virtually every character had his or her own song. Unfortunately, the original masters seem to have been lost, and the surviving versions of most episodes are extremely grainy and scratched.moreless
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    Z Cars

    Z Cars

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    BBC (ended 1978)
    Welcome to the Z Cars guide at TV.com.

    This long-running BBC drama series dealt with the goings on of the Newtown police and their Ford Zephyr squad cars or "Z Cars". Eschewing the post-war idyll presented in Dixon of Dock Green, Z Cars reinvented the genre for the 1960s, with an emphasis on personal drama and the day-to-day lives of an ensemble cast, combining police procedural and 'kitchen sink' drama. The show was initially filmed in the studio, but made extensive use of filmed inserts, which brought added realism. Early episodes were commonly screened live.

    The new realism excited some initial controversy, but the show became a ratings winner, leading to the commissioning of further episodes to extend the series beyond its planned 13-week run. By the mid 1960s, Z Cars had become a fixture in the schedules, switching to year-round twice-weekly broadcasts in 1967 before reverting to a conventional 50-minute drama format in 1971.

    Z Cars ran to 798 broadcast episodes, an unprecedented figure for any non-'soap' that remained unmatched until ITV's own version of the show, The Bill, passed it in 1994.

    Detectives Barlow and Watt featured in successful spin-off series Softly Softly and its sequels from 1966 to 1976.moreless
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    Blue Peter

    Blue Peter

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    BBC
    Blue Peter is the longest running British childrens television show, celebrating it's fiftieth birthday in October 2008. The show airs as part of the CBBC strand of programming on BBC One on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 4.35pm. It is currently in it's 52nd series. The show began on October 16th 1958, and since then has gone through a cycle of 31 presenters, with Andy Akinwolere, Helen Skelton and Joel Defries currently presenting. The name Blue Peter comes from the blue and white flag which hoists a ship in port when it's getting ready to sail. The logo for the show is a blue and white boat designed by Tony Hart. Blue Peter badges are worn by presenters and different variations of the badge are awarded to both viewers and celebrity guests. The theme tune to the show is a take on the sea shanty Barnacle Bill and was originally composed by Ashworth Hope and has since been re-recorded ten times, the current version is orchestrated by Murray Gold. Throughout it's first series it ran for 15 minutes on Monday nights. From the 1960s until 1995, the show ran twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, at 4.35pm until the mid 1970s, when it moved to 5.10pm. Throughout 1995 until 2001, three shows aired, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, in 2002 the show moved to 5pm and in 2007 remaining in the same time slot, shows aired on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. From September 2007, the show began airing twice a week and from February 2008 moved to it's current slot Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 4.35pm. The show has many features and traditions that it carry's from series to series. The show always features 'Blue Peter Pets', Petra the dog been the first. Their's been five dogs, seven cats, four tortoises and a parrot that have all appeared, before the current line up of two dogs - Mabel & Lucy, two cats - Socks & Cookie and a tortoise, Shelley. Another regular feature on the show is the 'Blue Peter Garden', based in the BBC Television Centre were Blue Peter is filmed, alot of features are based in the garden, so their's need for a regular Blue Peter gardener, Percy Thrower (who also originally designed the garden), Chris Crowder and Clare Bradley have all had the job, before Chris Collins took it on. The show has also made an appeal every year since the show began, these range from bring and buy sales been organised and endorsed by Blue Peter or to the more recent, Mission Nutrition campaign, helping kids eat better here and abroad.moreless
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    Dixon of Dock Green

    Dixon of Dock Green

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    BBC (ended 1976)
    Welcome to the Dixon of Dock Green guide at TV.com.

    The first, and until recently the longest-running, police drama on British television, Dixon of Dock Green was virtually the diametric opposite of more modern programs centered around policemen in Britain and the United States. Instead of hard-nosed tough guys kicking in doors chasing after drug dealers, Dixon and his fellow bobbies were uncomplicated nice guys, more likely to sit down to tea while solving minor disputes in their fictional London district. First introduced in the The Blue Lamp (1950) Police Constable Dixon was a cozy, reassuring portrayal of a policeman, perhaps a trifle unrealistically so even in his day. In later years, Dixon was promoted to Sergeant, and was mostly confined to the station house.

    Every episode ended with Dixon summing up the events, and dispensing some homespun wisdom. The show survived the introduction of more realistic contemporary police dramas such as Z Cars but, despite being virtually an institution, the program finally ended in 1976, deemed old-fashioned and slow-moving compared to the new wave of action-based detective dramas typified by The Sweeney.

    Note that despite the stated programme length and time below, is soon moved to a Saturday teatime slot, and switched to 45-minute episodes in about 1962. (Some 45-minute episodes had already been transmitted.) The show was broadcast in colour from November 1969.moreless
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    Match of the Day

    Match of the Day

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    BBC
    Match of the Day on BBC1 provides football (soccer) coverage of premiership highlights, live coverage of FA Cup and international matches. Normally hosted by Gary Lineker with Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson they will provide game analysis and comment on the days matches. Very often there will be guest stars who will take a third chair to provide their insights. Match of the Day has had guest stars such as David Beckham and even Tony Blair. It is generally aired on a Saturday night for the premiership highlights and repeated on Sunday Morning. The BBC normally have priority over International games and have the rights to cast them Live. This is the same with FA Cup matches.moreless
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    Dr. Finlay's Casebook

    Dr. Finlay's Casebook

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    BBC (ended 1971)
    Based on the stories and characters created by A.J. Cronin this series is set in the 1920's and 30's in the fictional country town of Tannochbrae, some thirty miles from Glasgow. Dr. Cameron, a former surgeon now in general practice, takes on the newly-qualified Dr. Finlay as his assistant. Finlay moves into Arden House, Cameron's residence and surgery, where the two are looked after by Janet, the housekeeper.moreless
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    The Wednesday Play

    The Wednesday Play

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    BBC (ended 1970)
    Welcome to The Wednesday Play guide at TV.com. The Wednesday Play is a series of plays that ran from 1964 to 1970 (a total of 172 plays) and involved a variety of up-and-coming writers (e.g. Dennis Potter, John Mortimer, and David Mercer) and directors (e.g. Ken Loach, Gareth Davies, and Alan Clarke). The storylines often addressed important and controversial issues, including abortion, racial prejudice, class conflicts, and nuclear warfare. In 1970, the series was replaced by Play for Today, broadcasting on a Thursday.moreless
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    Softly Softly

    Softly Softly

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    BBC (ended 1976)
    Welcome to the Softly Softly guide at TV.com. This successful detective series, spun off from Z Cars, featured further cases for Detective Chief Superintendent Barlow and DCI Watt as they kept the peace up in the fictional Wyvern region, continuing their nice and nasty cop routine to good effect. The show was renamed Softly Softly: Task Force in 1969, midway through the fifth series, as it moved its focus to Thamesford Constabulary's CID Task Force. Characters like Constable Snow, the miserable dog handler, and the always cheerful Welshman Sgt Evans came along too. Further spin-offs followed, starting with Barlow at Large in 1973.moreless
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    The Gnomes of Dulwich

    The Gnomes of Dulwich

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    BBC (ended 1969)
    The Gnomes of Dulwich is a comedy series featuring garden gnomes which are living a secret existence alongside their human owners. The storylines were based mainly about the gnomes of 25 Telegraph Road and the European newcomers who have recently been introduced in the area, which led to many racial and cultural confrontations between the two groups of gnomes. The show starred Terry Scott as Big, Hugh Lloyd as Small, John Clive as Old, Leon Thau as Plastic, Anne de Vigeur as Dolly and Lynn Dalby as Rita. One of the biggest features of the show was the extravagant costumes and make up that was used.moreless
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    Songs of Praise

    Songs of Praise

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    BBC
    Songs of Praise is a Christian programme where the presenters visit different places in the UK. It features amazing stories, beautiful churches and wonderful singing.
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