Articles on the History of Essex, Researching your Ancestors, and British History

What was on BBC television in 1969?

old televisions
Old televisions.
Image courtesy of Frankie Roberto on Flickr CC-BY

Much shorter viewing times and the latest Doctor Who.

In this age of multi-media 24 hour television, it is a shock to look back and see the limited viewing opportunities available in 1969. Here's a few of the programmes on the BBC on Saturday, 26 January 1969. It will be a nostalgia trip for those of a certain age. The links take you to the IMDB where additional information on the programmes may be found.

There were three television channels: BBC 1, BBC 2 and Independent Television (known as ITV). ITV was split into geographical regions, each with a slightly different programme schedule.

BBC 1 started at 9.30 am with 2 hours 30 mins of programmes on learning a language. The rise of cheap package holidays meant that more and more people were travelling to Europe and these programmes were aimed at those who wanted to learn enough to get by on holiday.

From 1pm to 5pm, Grandstand, the BBC's flag-ship programme of sport which had been running since 1958. This afternoon featured: boxing, horse racing, rugby league, skiing, gymnastics, and of course, the iconic teleprinter bringing the football results at 5 pm.

At 5.15, Doctor Who. The Seeds of Death: Episode 1. By this time Patrick Troughton had been the Doctor since 1966.

Then followed by Tom and Jerry. This cartoon often popped up in the schedules for a quick 10 minute slot of cat chasing mouse with the cat invariably loosing out.

6.25 to 7.30. Three variety shows from singer Lulu, comedians Morecambe and Wise, and Rolf Harris. Followed by Shield for Murder, a 1954 film-noir thriller.

9.35. Till death us do part. Ground breaking comedy which caused many bitter complaints about its contents and its obnoxious lead character Alf Garnett.

There then followed highlights of a football match played earlier that day, and Braden's Week, a consumer affairs programme.

BBC 1 closed after news and weather at 11.50 pm.

The BBC 1 broadcast had been in black and white, however, the BBC 2's output on this day was in colour. BBC 2 had started broadcasting in colour in 1967.

Programmes started at 3 pm with a western film The Outcast.

There followed a break until 7.30 pm when there was the news followed by rugby union. Then a number of plays and dramas especially produced by the BBC for broadcasting in colour.

Two late-night music shows followed: Once More with Felix, and Colour me Pop. The evening rounded off with another film, Dangerous Exile.

All this meant you could stay up until the very-late hour of 1 am! Unheard of 10 or even 5 years earlier.

The back catalogue of the Radio Times and particularly the listings information between 1923 and 2009 is now available on the Genome Project. A good source of information if your ancestor or living relation was involved as an actor, presenter, etc., or just to go down memory lane.

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