Tonight’s ABC North… in 1963

TVTimes tells us what was on ABC in the north Saturday 9 November 1963. Things worth noting include:

  • World of Sport has yet to be invented, so the sports programmes are merely grouped together under the banner Saturday Sportstime – there’s no overall linking and continuity between each item is left with each ITV company
  • A science fiction thriller serial for family viewing going out on Saturday evenings after the sports results starting in November 1963? Gosh. Emerald Soup at 5.15pm was not renewed for a further series, having been crushed by something over on the BBC later in its run
  • Down to the Alpha Studios in Aston, Birmingham, at 5.50pm for Thank Your Lucky Stars. Pop music as we think of it now basically began in 1963, so this episode captures the tail-end of the era of manufactured groups singing each other’s songs and the start of original groups singing their own material
  • Janice Nicholls (I am, by law, required to call her Janice “Oi’ll give it foive” Nicholls, I believe) is already a star. Her moment of stardom would be brief, but her fame still persists
  • Series 5 (of 6) of ATV sitcom The Larkins premieres at 8.10pm, with a change of format. Gone is 66 Sycamore Street and the crowd of relatives who live there and nearby. Now Alf and Ada run a café, the family are never mentioned again (including the family of Barbara Mitchell’s character Hetty) and Hugh Paddick arrives as their posh-but-poor lodger Osbert
  • ITC’s Espionage at 8.55pm took advantage of a fashion for anthology series in the States at the time. It had no regular cast or situation or plot, just an overarching theme of “spying”. Anthology series were popular with producers mainly because they were cheap to make (no actor egos demanding more cash all the time) and were generally shot on film with multiple episodes in production at any one time, making them easy to export. This one was picked up by NBC
  • Episode 7 of the third series of ABC’s The Avengers at 9.50pm is a stunner of an episode. So much double-dealing and tension and a great fight scene denouement as Steed and Mrs Gale steal gold bullion
  • ABC News Desk at 11.40pm settles forever the idea that weekend companies didn’t do news. This was combined news from the north and the midlands, making for a very very odd bulletin


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