The Little Book of Fate (Warriors' Gate and Beyond).

Books  It would be quite disagreeable for the anniversary year to pass by without some new Eighth Doctor prose but it is a surprise to find it at the back of Stephen Gallagher's expanded TARGET novelisation of Warrior's Gate.  The Doctor is called to Cumbria by an interstellar distress call which leads him to a travelling carnival (not that one) and some familiar faces which bring the story of Warrior's Gate full circle (sorry) (I'll leave the spoilers in the "Placement" section below).  We're in the territory of a Brief Encounter or Short Trip in which a later Doctor becomes embroiled in elements from an early tv adventure.  Gallagher captures this Doctor very well in the tiny wordage within which he's working and the final few lines have a big emotional punch.  In an ideal timeline, Gallagher would already have a commission for a full Eighth Doctor novel that follows on from this.

Placement:  Hoo-kay.  The Doctor's travelling alone and with the mention of where he'd found his frock coat and despite its shabbiness we could assume its in during the Greenpeace gap.  But then we find that this is supposed to be Romana's first encounter with the Doctor in this incarnation and also that she's recently regenerated.  Even taking into account the idea that they're meeting in the wrong order, I'm having a braingasm as to how this fits with Shadows of Avalon, Happy Endings, The Apocalypse Element, the Shada rerun and a whole bunch of other things, especially since the description suggests she's now in the Trey incarnation played by Juliet Landau (berets are cool).  

In the end none of this matters, probably.  As with anything related to continuity in Doctor Who there'll be a perfectly logical explanation which happens off page/speaker/screen.  As the TARDIS wikia says, "there were multiple contradictory accounts of how Romana became the President" and that's true of most of the key moments established outside the television series (and indeed within the television series).  It's heavily suggested here that it's also supposed to be this Doctor's first encounter with the results of the Time War and implies at the end that he's going to be become involved (helping out where he can) even though he's wearing the wrong clothes.  So let's just squint and put it at the start of the Time War section on the checklist and assume that has something to do with it (unless I hear otherwise!).

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1964.

When exactly did BBC Two begin?  The official date is the 20th April 1964 with a full schedule appearing the following day after the infamous power cut with Play School as the first show to officially be broadcast.  Except if you seek the opening days of BBC Two on the BBC Programme Index, you'll find that transmissions actually began on the 4th January 1964 with The Way To Wimbledon, a Pathe short documentary (which is available to watch on YouTube).

A complete list of the schedules for the following few months can be found at the Test Card Circle.  Between test cards and tones, the rest of the day offers a mix of documentaries and feature films.  The former included Severn Westward (1952)The Wallace Collection (1955), Cranwell (1964), Reflections on a Village (1960) and The Steel Goddess (1959) (links are to their original transmission).  In other words, a selection of programmes which wouldn't have been out of place on BBC Four until recently.

The BBC had sealed a deal with RKO Pictures which meant they had the rights to show around a hundred of their films in perpetuity (which is why so many of them have taken up permanent residence on the iPlayer).  The first film on BBC Two's broadcast channel was Double Dynamite, the 1951 American musical comedy starring Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, and Frank Sinatra.  Then at tea time, Farewell My Lovely, the Chandler adaptation from 1944.

If I was a viewer back in 1964 who could afford a television and yet didn't have a job to go to, I'm pretty sure, I would have watched these test transmissions absolutely agog at the variety of material I suddenly had access to.  The disappointment with which some viewers must have greeted their end on the 18th April with Two Tickets to Broadway must have been palpable especially since, apart from Play School, the new channel wouldn't broadcast during the day again until well into the 1970s.

BBC-2 Opens

Kenneth Adam, BBC Director of Television writes: "Let us consider what BBC-2 will not be. It makes a change, and it is a chance to correct some wrong ideas which have been put about, wilfully, or guilelessly, or exasperatedly because we hung on to the plans until the last moment. Competition has taught us a thing or two."
[Radio Times via Rediffusion]

"After a first night – in April 1964 – plagued by a power cut, BBC Two took a few years to find its feet before going on to golden years of innovative programming."

"This article is about a British television network owned by BBC. For a defunct Philippine television network, see Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation."

"Just 10 people have had direct responsibility for running BBC2 during its 40-year existence."
Published in 2004.
[Off The Telly]

Play School

"Judging from the massive pre-launch publicity (which, for some reason, heavily involved two animated kangaroos called Hullaballoo and Custard), the arrival of BBC2 on 21 April 1964 was intended as a momentous, epochal event that would proudly herald a new dawn in television."
[Off The Telly]

"Sue MacGregor reunites people involved with classic children's TV programme Play School, which ran from 1964 to 1988."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

"On the 21st April 1964, the first edition of Play School was broadcast. It was the first programme to be transmitted on the new BBC Two channel - due to a power cut on the evening of the 20th April, which made it impossible to broadcast any of the programmes scheduled on the station's opening night."
[BBC Archive]

"'If I got frustrated, I'd just punch Hamble, the doll with the squashed face. She couldn't sit up and that's not helpful'"
[The Guardian]

"On 15 May 2004, the National Film Theatre staged a one-off Play School event, hosted by former presenter Stuart McGugan. Also in attendance were Julie Stevens, Iain Lauchlan, Fred Harris, Carol Chell, Brian Cant, Chloe Ashcroft and Ben Thomas. After the show, we were given admittance to the back-stage bar where – aside from the thrill of watching Fred Harris drinking lager – we were given the opportunity to talk to the great man himself, along with his equally fantastic colleagues Brian Cant, Iain Lauchlan and Stuart McGugan. The tapes of this encounter have lain untranscribed for nearly two years. Until now."
[Off The Telly]

Top of the Pops

“Top of the Pops, a new series for teenagers, will be based on the latest discs, mainly hits from the current week’s top 20 or 30. In many cases you will meet the artists whose records are being played. They will mime their songs. This is a departure from normal BBC practice, but the rule is being relaxed because the purpose of the programme is to let you hear the discs exactly as recorded, though within the setting of a television programme. No artist gives quite the same performance twice, but what goes out in Top of the Pops is precisely what won the ‘pop’ the first place.”
[Off The Telly]

An oral history website covering the work of the tech ops at the BBC.  Here's the talk about working sat TOTP which launched in 1964.
[A Tech-Ops History]

"The unofficial home of Top of the Pops, the long running BBC Music UK chart show that regularly ran from 1964 to 2006.  From artist appearances to showing times - it's all listed on our extensive encyclopedia of all things TOTP."

"Sixties producer Kate Greer and 90s producer Stanley Appel look back at the pop institution that upset Pete Waterman – and saw Yoko Ono appear wearing a sanitary towel on her face."
[The Guardian]


"BBC One broadcast Under the Helmet, a documentary about Alasdair Gray’s work in painting and verse. Produced and directed by Robert Kitts."
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

"Celebrations of Midsummer in East Anglia and Warwickshire."
[East Anglian Film Archive]

Robin Day interviews Labour Leader Harold Wilson on Panorama.

"BBC East documentary, John Betjeman gives his views on the landscape and architecture of Diss."
[East Anglian Film Archive][BBC Programme Index]

"A documentary looking at the changes which have taken place in the Bermondsey, Camberwell, Deptford and Southwark areas of south London which had been extensively damaged during World War Two. Many people, from the elderly to young bikers, discuss their lives and changes in the area."
[BBC Rewind]


"In 1964 journalist and broadcaster Cathal O’Shannon was working for the BBC. At the Jacobs’ Awards Brian Farrell caught up with O’Shannon and asked him about the difference between working for RTÉ and the BBC?"

"David Hendy presents a feature exploring how an unlikely friendship led to the epic 1964 radio series The Negro in America presented by the great Harlem poet, Langston Hughes."
[BBC Sounds]


"A number of students from overseas countries have been undergoing a course in television production at BBC tv headquarters in London."

"With the opening of its new Studio A, BBC Scotland has the most modern and technologically advanced television studio in Europe. We take a look behind the scenes and drop in for the opening ceremony."
[BBC Rewind]


"The BBC began the new decade with a new format for poetry programmes. ‘The Living Poet’, which ran until the early 1990s, would feature a single poet giving a recital of their poems. In 1960, this was a radical departure from convention: most poems broadcast on the BBC were read by actors, and most programmes were anthologies bringing together poems by many different poets. ‘The Living Poet’ realised that poets, and poetry audiences, increasingly wanted not just the poet’s words, but their voice."
[The Poetry Archive]

"It’s Friday 31 July 1964 and the Radio Times gives us a look at what was on the BBC’s three radio services."

"Charles Jarrott’s Galileo exuded a confident sense of certainty about what could and could not be achieved in the BBC Television Centre studio, acknowledging that the production was studio-made through the inclusion of cameras and the production gallery in shot, an artistic decision that complicates the view of ‘as live’ studio television as being best suited for an “intimate” form of drama."
An essay about the production.
[Spaces of Television]

"Developments of major importance are impending in Sound Broadcasting."

"This site contains a list of the games that were shown on the BBC's Match of the Day between 1964 and 1992."

""Vision On" was one of the most successful, funny and anarchic programmes ever to grace the little grey box in the corner; it's 'Gallery' theme music still a trip down memory lane for viewers of a certain age."
[BBC Sounds]


"Cathal O'Shannon reports from the shores of Shetland, where television has arrived for the first time. How will this impact traditional life on the islands? Will the hand knitting industry be irrevocably damaged? Local residents give their views and an official from neighbouring Orkney gives a stark warning."
[BBC Archive]

"The past year has marked, for the BBC, the end of one era and beginning of another."

"This handbook is designed to be a convenient source of information about all the activities of the BBC, at home and abroad."
[World Radio History]