A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1968.

I just love this photo of Marcel Duchamp looking incredibly unimpressed with something.  He appears in the archive section down below, in an episode of Late Night Line-Up.  In gathering together these links, it's impossible not to notice the range of different art strands which appeared in the past, how many outlets there were for exploring contemporary culture on television.  In recent years on the BBC, these recurring series have become less and less frequent.  Arena continues of course, as does imagine, although that's often says more about Alan Yentob than the subject of the documentary.

There's nothing on television on a daily or god forbid weekly basis capturing interviews with contemporary artists in the style of LNL, Monitor or Omnibus.  The Mary Beard fronted Inside Culture managed to survive the pandemic but was cancelled soon afterwards and The Culture Show, which was too glorious to survive eventually shifted to the "special edition" format to the "none at all" version.  BBC Radio is of course filled with such things across the different networks, with Front Row every night on Four and such things as Free Thinking on Three.  

But there are some things which simply don't work on audio and I don't understand why a format akin to The Late Show or Late Night Line-Up, which is what much of the BBC News channel looks like now could be revived for BBC Four now that its potentially been saved.  The BBC has this crippling fear of an accusation of elitism to such a degree that so much of its television output now is intellectually mid.  Almost none of it assumes a working knowledge of each topic in a way which used to be standard, even in presenter-led documentaries.

The BBC needs to trust its audience more and an intellectually rigorous discussion programme in which an expert interviews a subject about their work, not just as one off but on a weekly or god forbid daily basis would seem to fit the bill.  Filmed, perhaps, in Broadcasting House but with a greater focus on the latest cultural events than HARDtalk and range than Meet The Author, it could appear in the old The Late Show slot after Newsnight or as alternative programming to The One Show.  Putting every episode of This Cultural Life on television would be a start, rather than just random selections every now and then.

Dad's Army

"Most of the external footage for the series was filmed in and around the town of Thetford in Norfolk. Each summer the cast and crew would come up to the town and stay in either the Bell or the Anchor Hotels in Bridge Street. The actors usually stayed at the more 'up-market' Bell while the crew lodged at The Anchor. (The Anchor Hotel is now boarded up and derelict but may be re-developed shortly.)"
[Literary Norfolk]

"David Croft and Jimmy Perry, the writing team behind hit sitcoms Dad's Army and It Ain't Half Hot Mum, chat to William Hardcastle about their writing style."
[BBC Archive]

"Dad's Army scriptwriter Jimmy Perry salutes Arthur Lowe, Captain Mainwaring of the Home Guard, who has died aged 66."
[The Guardian]

"Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) and Sergeant Wilson (John Le Mesurier) visit the Blue Peter studio, to cast an eye over a mural depicting the adventures of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, as painted by pupils at Moorlands County Primary School."
[BBC Archive]


"Between forty and fifty members of the Welsh Language Society last night (Friday) staged a sit-in at the british broadcasting corporation studio in Cardiff and Bangor."

"30 November 1968: Protestors are unhappy about the scarcity of programmes in Welsh."
[The Guardian]

"Folk performers from across the world perform ahead of the 1968 Llangollen International Eisteddfod, in this early colour transmission."
[BBC Archive]

"Before long, we shall be seeing other worlds broadcast on our television."
Features the Daleks menacing the local mayor.
[BBC Archive]


"This film was produced for the daily BBC2 arts programme "Late Night Line-Up". Using a series of interviews and actuality footage, it looks at the content of the Brighton Festival, only in its second year and considers its potential for development."
[Screen Archive South East]

"This is a BBC film of John Betjeman discussing the architecture of Leeds. He unfavourably contrasts modern buildings and design with the Victorian heritage, especially in relation to the skyline. Among the places he visits are the City Square, the Town Hall, terraced housing in Armley, Spenfield House, Woodhouse Cemetery, Thorntons Arcade and Seacroft."
[Yorkshire Film Archive]

"I had to be ruthless in order to be free..."  Alan Whicker is concerned by The Stresses of Divorce.
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

"In an extended interview Joan Bakewell talks to French artist Marcel Duchamp (pictured) about his association with the Dada movement and challenging the art world with his pioneering contribution to conceptual art."
[BBC Clips]

"Desmond Hawkins returns to his native village of Aldbourne in Wiltshire to look at changing attitudes to the countryside and whether village life can still exist in 20th century."
[BBC Rewind]

"A film by Richard Taylor investigating claims of systemic racism in British policing including a panel discussion chaired by a youthful Magnus Magnusson."
[Richard Taylor]

"Inter-town fun and games between Worthing and Cheltenham Spa. Presented by David Vine and Katie Boyle, with referee/commentator Eddie Waring."
[BBC Rewind]

"Second episode in a series in which the amateur archaeologist that looks at techniques used on archaeological sites such as Fyfield Down and Durrington Walls."
[BBC Rewind]

"Magnus Magnusson talks to Professor Richard Atkinson and Dr John Taylor about the findings of the Silbury Hill dig and the excavation techniques used."
[BBC Rewind]

"World of Sound takes a look inside the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, during the production of the experimental 1957 radiophonic poem, Private Dreams and Public Nightmares."
[BBC Archive]


"Piers Plowright described himself as a 'radio man'. He'd grown up in a home where the wireless was moved into the living room of an evening for family listening.  Others have called Piers, who died in July 2021, the Godfather of the British Radio Feature.  His thirty-year BBC career began in 1968 as a trainee in English By Radio, after which he migrated via drama to documentaries."
[BBC Clips]

"Sue MacGregor looks back on five decades of broadcasting in this final goodbye to Radio 4.  It marked the end of 52 years of continuous broadcasting on the BBC, including a unique unbroken run on Radio 4 since its inception. In this goodbye to the network, she reflects on some of her most memorable moments, and the way broadcasting has changed since 1968."
[BBC Clips]

"Fifty years on, Joan Bakewell remembers speaking to the pioneering artist for the BBC, shortly before his death."
[The Art Newspaper]


"During the second major refurb of Television Theatre in 1968/’69 production moved to The Golders Green Hippodrome."
[TV Studio History]

"There are now 120 countries in the world transmitting television programmes. Some of these countries have more than one television service while others like the USA have several major networks and many local stations."


"Graham Williamson examines Whistle and I’ll Come to You, the unofficial first instalment in the BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas series…"
[Horrified Magazine]

Extensive website about the show which debuted in 1968.
[The White Horses Television Series]

"Following this appearance, fashion model Twiggy, who had watched the show, talked to Paul McCartney about Mary Hopkin. He then decided to call Mary Hopkin for an audition. Some months later, this would lead to the release of the first single by Mary Hopkin, “Those Were The Days“, under the recently created Apple Records label."
[The Paul Mccartney Project]

"John Baker, Brian Hodgson, David Cain and Dick Mills show Janet Kelly some of the techniques the BBC's in-house sound effects department use to create otherworldly sounds."
[BBC Archive]


"After 15 years, and about 200 programmes, dear old Auntie is showing signs of disenchantment with the puppet’s creator Harry Corbett."
[The Guardian]

"In this report the BBC looks back over a year tell of activity following the White Paper on Broadcasting of December, 1966. There were new ventures in television and radio."

"For the BBC most years see progress.  All hold problems.  In 1969 we shall have plenty of both."
[World Radio History]