A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1976.

For people of a certain age, namely your blogger, 1976 has become a pretty foundational year.  Not because I particularly remember much of it, I was only in my third year of life, but because of how much of the television that backgrounded my childhood began here, and then into my later life.  As well as the programmes mentioned below, let's break this blog's unwritten style guide and break out the bullet points:
  • the TV version of Paddington Bear which reached its apogee with the Singin' in the Rain recreation
  • Ripping Yarns (which was recently repeated on BBC Four again)
  • Brotherhood of Man winning Eurovision with Save Your Kisses For Me, one of the first pop songs I remember singing along to
  • Starsky & Hutch made its UK tv debut
  • On ITV, The Muppet Show began
  • The first series of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin for which I have a strong memory of the title sequence than anything else
  • When The Boat Comes In, which I only really knew from the 7" single of the title music my Dad bought
  • I, Claudius as well, for goodness sake 
  • The Val Doonican Music Show, a cornerstone of Christmas Day viewing
  • One Man and His Dog, whose title music still has the ability to bring me to tears for some reason.  I have no idea what the source of that trauma was.
  • And of course ...

The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop

"One of my Covid projects has been scanning thousands of 35mm colour slides.  Here are some pics taken on a “Multi-Coloured Swap Shop” in (I think TC7) back in the 1980s."
[A Tech-Ops History]

"Lesley Judd takes to the Swap Shop phone lines, hoping to play one small part of a bigger production effort of making the swappers dreams come true."
[BBC Archive] 

It's 40 years since Multi-Coloured Swap Shop made its television debut and kick-started the Saturday morning kids' TV slot...
[Gen of Deek]


"The story of the world's most famous fighter plane -recalled by those who built and flew her."
[Wessex Film and Sound Archive][BBC Programme Index]

"Female employees in the Open University Students Records Office discuss their work."
[Open University Digital Archive]


"14-year-old Belfast boy Joe Reynolds is interviewed about his role as Jimmy in the BBC TV play 'Your Man From Six Counties' by English playwright Colin Welland. Richard Lightbody reports."
[BBC Rewind]

"Duncan Hearle is interviewed by Barry Cowan on his retirement from the BBC after thirty years."
[BBC Rewind]

"To maintain uniformity, consistency and naturalness, the BBC Research Department developed a very high quality photograph of a live subject for use on a test card. Lynne Holmes, an administrator for the BBC, was used as the model."
[Science Museum Group]


"BBC opens new £1m extension to Broadcasting House, Belfast. Sir Michael Swan gives a speech."
[BBC Rewind]


"Subtitled “The End of the Road Show”, the pilot was recorded in October 1975 with a view to transmission in the new year."
[Off The Telly]

"During the course of a contrived special edition of Radio 4′s Front Row in 2002 that dealt with the curiously undefined genre of “sit-trag”, Mark Lawson voiced the opinion that shows like The Book Group, The Office and The League of Gentlemen were revolutionising television comedy by dealing with “dark” themes of failure, humiliation and ill fortune."
[TV Cream]

"Andrew Screen, author of the forthcoming The Book of Beasts, explores a ‘touchstone of folk horror and hauntology’, the seminal 1976 series Beasts by Nigel Kneale."
[Horrified Magazine]

"“Rome is sick,” an elderly mother quietly informs her son, “sick to its heart.” Such is her overwhelming disgust at what she sees around her, she then exits the scene – an impeccably well-realised Roman parlour – seeks out a nearby bathtub, and kills herself. But while her newly orphaned offspring, overcome by tears, reflects on this wholly unexpected turn of events, an elderly attendant suddenly appears to rather fussily insist the deceased’s hand is cut off and a coin placed in her mouth “to pay the ferryman.”"
[Off The Telly]

"Aliya looks back at Dennis Potter's powerfully disturbing, formerly-banned 1976 television play Brimstone & Treacle..."
[Gen of Deek]

"Here's how Japanese TV epic The Water Margin, based on a Chinese classic, was dubbed into English by a writer who understood neither Chinese nor Japanese."
[BBC Archive]

"Roger Limb - the studio manager of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop - demonstrates some of the techniques he uses to create electronic music and sound effects for radio and television."
[BBC Archive]

"Formby's trip to Silsden at the end of October gave Squirrels' officials Adrian and Merrick Cork the chance to make a long-awaited pilgrimage to the site of a past football comedy gem."
[The North West Counties Football League]

"Channel to show vintage episodes from equivalent week 35 years ago ..."
[The Guardian]


"The BBC, like the rest of the country, has had to economise throughout the last year. Some of this will have been evident to our viewers and listeners -a reduction in the hours of broadcasting and a slowing down of our regional development. But most of the economies have been achieved behind the scenes and out of sight. Despite the lack of money we have fought to maintain the quality of our programmes by determined efforts to increase our efficiency - efforts to which everyone in the Corporation has contributed. "
[World Radio History]