For the last day of Advent, let’s have an old favourite. From the Christmas Eve 1961 Billy Cotton Band Show, here’s old Bill with Eric and Hattie, miming to the Beverley Sisters’ recording of I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus. Such a simple comic idea, but done so gleefully. Merry Christmas to you all.
Another clip from the Philip Jones Silver Jubilee Show, in which Mike Yarwood does a lovely take-off of his boss, the head of light entertainment at Thames Television, Philip Jones.
A bit of regionalia for today, marking the move of Anglia’s news operation back from the converted bowling alley in Magdalen Road to Anglia House in 2005.
I was thrilled to receive an early Christmas present in the post today from Office Pest. It’s a tea towel promoting what would have been my local ILR station had I been living in my part of Gloucestershire in the 1980s. Severn Sound launched in 1980, becoming Heart Gloucestershire in 2008. A far cry from the days when Kenith Trodd presented a weekend show of 78 rpm records.
A picture taken in 2002 from the nearby Funkturm of the Sender Freies Berlin studios (now Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg). Believe it or not, Les Dawson made a show here in 1974 with Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen.
More Stan Tracey? More Stan Tracey. This number comes from the 1969 BBC2 special Love You Madly, mounted to mark the 70th birthday of Duke Ellington. Made and transmitted in colour, it survives only as a monochrome telerecording. However, I’m sure I can see chroma dots, so maybe it would be possible to restore the colour signal. Whatever the hue of the visuals, the music is peerless, and the soloist is Ian Carr, biographer of Miles Davis and a much-missed…
One of the grand traditions of this calendar is featuring publicity gewgaws. We’ve had ITV pedometers and jute bags. Here we have a wind-up mobile phone charger, promoting ITV’s Big Clean Up. For the full promotional effect, I’ve placed the items on my Daybreak mouse mat.
For day 17, we head way out west. To Plymouth, to be precise, to meet up with the VT department at TSW for their 1984 Christmas tape. Naturally, Gus Honeybun figures heavily, and I’m sure I spot the Devonian comedian Jethro (real name: Jeff Rowe) at one point. Never let anybody tell you that the old federal, regional ITV wasn’t better than the corporate monolith we have now. It was, even when it was rubbish.
Back to the 1930s for day 16, in the company of Sandy Powell. Best known for portraying a rotten ventriloquist while dressed as a Chelsea Pensioner, here he plays an inept magistrate.
It’s always a surprise and a delight to find colour stills of a show from the 405-line days of television. On the Bright Side was a comedy revue show starring Stanley Baxter, produced by James Gilbert, later BBC Television’s Head of Light Entertainment. It ran for two series in 1959 and 1960, and spawned a successful stage show at the Phoenix Theatre on London’s Charing Cross Road. No recordings survive. However, these production stills, featured in Richard Levin’s book Television…