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on selected small images for larger versions of the same image or a large different image from the same programme                            Main Page    1961 TV Viewing Ratings
       

A for Andromeda
BBC 1961
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7 x 45 minute episode science fiction serial written by astronomer Fred Hoyle and John Elliot in which a radio telescope detects a signal from a distant galaxy which instructs Earth scientists in the building of a super computer. When completed, the computer creates an android girl, played by Julie Christie, which it proceeds to control. The scientists were played by Esmond Knight, Peter Halliday, Frank Windsor and Mary Morris. Norman James and Michael Hayes produced. A sequel series called 'The Andromeda Breakthrough' was made in 1962
Also see Bill Harry's Sixties Page
Comedy Playhouse
BBC 1961 - 74


A series of what were essentially comedy 'pilot programmes' that was the starting point for a number of Sixties classic comedy series such as 'Steptoe & Son', 'All Gas And Gaiters', 'Me Mammy', 'Till Death Us Do Part', 'The Liver Birds', 'The Last Of The Summer Wine', 'Not In Front Of The Children', 'Open All Hours' and 'Happy Ever After'. The concept was initiated by Tom Sloan, Head of BBC Light Entertainment

Drama '61
ATV 1961-64 1966-67

A series of dramatic presentations which were screened on Sunday nights, alternating with ABC's 'Armchair Theatre'. The series title changed with the year, becoming 'Drama 62' etc. with the exception of the later two series which were both called 'Drama 67'. Playwrights included Reginald Rose, Harold Swanton, Frederic Raphael, Anthony Thorne and Tad Mosel Ghost Squad
ATV 1961


39 x 60 minute episodes were made of this 'undercover agent' crime series which was produced by Connery Chappell, based on Scotland Yard's International Investigation department. The series was named after the book by Det Supt John Gosling and starred Donald Wolfit as the head of operations, Sir Andrew Wilson. Agent Nick Craig was played by Michael Quinn
Harpers West One
ATV 1961-63
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A weekly 60 minute soap-style drama created by John Whitney and Geoffrey Bellman which revolved around the operations of Harper's, a fictitious London store, covering all aspects of its day to day happenings from shop floor to boardroom. The cast notably included a young guy named John Leyton who played pop star Johnny StCyr and the show launched his smash hit record 'Johnny Remember Me', written by Geoff Goddard and produced by Joe Meek. Other cast members included Jan Holden and Vivian Pickles My Three Sons
U.S. ABC / CBS1960-72
Three Images

Superb U.S. domestic comedy starring Fred MacMurray as aerospace consultant Steve Douglas, documenting his efforts to raise his three motherless sons Chip (7), Robbie (14) and Mike (18) first with the help of father-in-law Bub O'Casey (William Frawley) then later 'Uncle' Charley O'Casey (William Demarest). The programme was a sitcom, but tended towards a heavily moralistic albeit light hearted view of the various generation gaps during its twelve years and 369 episodes. Great entertainment, highly watchable.
One Step Beyond
A-R 1961-62
Collier -Young Productions / Lancer Films


"Explain it? We cannot. Disprove it? We cannot." These words were part of the introduction by Hollywood's John Newland to 13 x 30 minute British-produced stories about the occult and supernatural phenomena which were mixed in with similar American productions from a U.S. programme called 'Alcoa Presents', subtitled 'One Step Beyond'. The British episodes were produced by Peter Marriott

Points of View
BBC 1961-


In the early years, this long-established BBC programme which gave viewers the opportunity to air their opinions, took the form of a 5-minute filler which went out between major programmes. The first presenter was Robert Robinson, followed by namesake Kenneth Robinson in 1965 and reclaimed by Robert later in the decade. RR also presented a 'Junior Points Of View' from 1963 to 1970. Strangely, the most recent presenter has also been a Robinson - Anne, following on from the only 'anomaly', Barry Took, who presented from 1979
Sir Francis Drake
ATV - ABC 1961-62


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Anthony Bushell-produced 26 superb 30 minute episodes of this costume drama adventure series set in the reign of Elizabeth I (played by Jean Kent). Terence Morgan starred in the title role, battling against his Spanish arch-enemy, Ambassador Mendoza, portrayed by Roger Delgado. Drake's ship, the Golden Hind, transported him and his crew of Sea Hawks through many adventures and to locations as far apart as the English Channel and the West Indian 'Spanish Main'. Some of the episodes were combined and transmitted as telefeatures in America in 1962: 'The Flame and The Sword', 'Marauders of The Sea', 'Mission of The Seahawk' and 'Raiders of The Spanish Main'. Other main characters were played by: Patrick McLoughlin as Richard Trevelyan, Richard Warner as Walsingham, Ewan Roberts as Morton, Earl of Lenox, Michael Crawford as John Drake, Milton Reid as Diego, Howard Lang as Grenville and Peter Diamond as Drake's Bosun Songs of Praise
BBC 1961-




A long-running series featuring televised sermons and congregational singing from various churches and places of worship around the country. Shown during the 'God slot' early on Sunday evenings, the presence of TV cameras unsurprisingly has never failed to attract a packed house to whichever establishment is featured. Over the years the programme has had many presenters, including Cliff Richard, Jimmy Saville and Eddie Waring. The first ever show came from the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cardiff, Wales

Supercar
ATV 1961-62
ITC / AP Films Production


Another great sci-fi puppet adventure series from the master, Gerry Anderson. 39 x 30 minute episodes featured test pilot Mike Mercury flying through air, sea and space in Supercar, a futuristic vehicle invented by Professor Rudolf Popkiss and Doctor Horatio Beaker. Operating from a secret laboratory in Black Rock, Nevada, Mercury's missions often involved thwarting the plans of the evil 'Masterspy' and his accomplice Zarin. Other main characters were young orphan Jimmy Gibson and his pet, Mitch the monkey
also see Gerry Anderson Production pages
Survival
ANGLIA 1961-


Exceptionally successful and long-running wildlife series featuring superb photography and commentary on animal species and environments from all over the world. Originally a co-production with A-R, the series was first produced and presented by Aubrey Buxton. Script writer and co-producer of the programme was Colin Willcock


Tales of Mystery
A-R 1961-63


An anthology drama series of 29 x 30 minute stories based on the work of Algernon Blackwood dealing with spooky suspense and the supernatural. The shows were introduced by dour 'We're All Doomed' scot John Laurie. The series producer was Peter Graham Scott



Tempo
ABC 1961-67


'A fortnightly magazine programme which measures art in terms of enjoyment' was the official description of this rather highbrow arts programme. It featured the best of current film, music, art, drama, literature, sculpture and ballet, starting as a 50 minute show later reduced to 25 minutes. The original presenter was Lord Harewood and later, Leonard Maguire (among others). Five 'special' shows in 1962 concentrated purely on Irish Arts. Seies editors were Kenneth Tynan and Clive Goodwin
The Avengers
ABC 1961 - 69


Emma Peel
John Steed
Evolved from the earlier series 'Police Surgeon', 26 x 60 minute episodes were made of this fantasy espionage series where Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry) from the original series was joined by bowler-hatted secret agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee) to form a crimebusting duo in what was more or less a straight crime drama. This era was produced by Leonard White. The character of John Steed remained while Keel was replaced in 1962 by leather-clad Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman, for 52 x 60 minute episodes (produced by Leonard White and John Bryce) with occasional assistance from nightclub singer Venus Smith played by Julie Stevens. Cathy Gale Tara King Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) became his new partner for- 50 x 60 minute episodes in 1965, the early series being produced by Julian Wintle. Steed's final partner in the Sixties was Tara King (Linda Thorson - 1968) for 33 x 60 minute episodes in ever more fantastic, action-packed, tongue in cheek secret service type adventures pitted against diabolical villains. In the later series, Patrick Newell played their boss, code-named 'Mother' and his secretary by Rhonda Parker. The later 'Peel' series and the 'King' series were produced by Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens.
Also see: Bill Harry's Sixties - The Avengers
The Morecambe
and Wise Show

ATV 1961-64, 1966-68, BBC 1968-76
Not enough space to provide details of the long-running series starring Britain's best-loved comedy duo. Their career spanned four decades and many TV channels. The early Sixties saw Eric and Ernie mainly performing comedy routines written by Sid Green and Dick Hills, often with guest artists who both performed in their own right (with musical backing from Jack Parnell and his Orchestra) and also took part in the comedy sketches. The pair's first appearance on TV had been back in 1951 in a BBC show called 'The Youth Parade' and they also starred in a fortnightly 1954 show called 'Running Wild' with Alma Cogan The Pursuers
ATV 1961-62
Crestview Productions
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39 x 30 minute episodes were made of this uninspired Scotland Yard police series which starred Louis Hayward as Det Insp Steve Bollinger who, together with his dog, Ivan, 'walks the lonely streets of London' seeking out and battling against crime, injustice and low ratings
The Rag Trade
BBC 1961-63
Comedy writers Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney's first television series comprised 35 x 30 minute episodes of this popular sitcom which revolved around the goings-on at Fenner Fashions, mainly featuring the long-running battle between the unfortunate owner (Peter Jones) and shop steward Paddy (Miriam Karlin). Other main characters were played by Reg Varney, Sheila Hancock, Esma Cannon, Barbara Windsor, Judy Carne, Rita Smythe, Toni Palmer and Ann Beach. Series producer Dennis Main Wilson recorded the programmes on a Sunday in order to be able to feature top West End actors who would not normally have been available for work during weekdays The Seven Faces of Jim
BBC 1961


A wonderful 7 x 30 minute comedy series written by Frank Muir and Denis Norden, produced by James Gilbert, which featured the talents of Jimmy Edwards in distinctly different situations and rather odd characters. This was followed by two sequel series in 1962 'Six More Faces Of Jim' and 1963 'More Faces Of Jim'. The 1962 series introduced the classic 'Glums' family to television

The Valiant Years
BBC 1961


Documentary series based on Sir Winston Churchill's Second World War memoirs. The 26 x 25 minute episodes were produced by American company ABC TV from newsreel film archives drawn from virtually every source imaginable. Narration was by Gary Merrill with selected Churchill quotes and speeches read by Richard Burton. The musical score accompanying the series was composed by Richard Rodgers

Tuesday Rendezvous
A-R 1961 - 63
Muriel Young
Childrens entertainment show transmitted on Tuesdays and Fridays, presented by Howard Williams, guitarist Bert Weedon and Muriel Young ably assisted by glove puppets Pussy Cat Willum and Fred Barker. The shows had many segments in a 'Blue Peter' style and also included a pop spot featuring many chart-topping groups - not bad for an 'under 12' show. The programme had evolved from Small Time in 1955 and Lucky Dip in 1958 which had a similar line-up and was to become The Five O'Clock Club in 1963 by which time another puppet character, a Liverpudlian owl called Ollie Beak, had joined the show along with ex-Viper Wally Whyton. From 1965 the show was known as Ollie and Fred's Five O'Clock Club
Top Secret
Associated Rediffusion 1961
top secret
A British spy series of 26 x 60 minute black-and-white episodes that was produced by Associated-Rediffusion and broadcast in two seasons on ITV in 1961 -1962. It starred William Franklyn as the suave secret agent Peter Dallas and also featured Patrick Cargill as wealthy businessman Miguel Garetta, with Alan Rothwell as Dallas's nephew Mike. The directors were Adrian Brown and Raymond Menmuir, and the main writer was Cedric Wells. The series was set in South America, and was filmed partly in Argentina, with the interior sets in London studios.
The theme music - 'Sucu Sucu' - was composed by Tarateņo Rojas and became a chart hit for Laurie Johnson and his orchestra.
     



Some other 1961 television shows that you may have forgotten...

Anna Karenina - BBC - Tolstoy drama - 105mins Jacks and Knaves - BBC - Police drama which inspired 'Z Cars' - 4 x 45mins Journey Of A Lifetime - ABC - Religious travelogue/drama - 39 x 15mins
Rashomon - BBC - 12th Century Japanese drama - 90mins Storyboard - BBC - Individual dramas - 6 x 30mins The Somerset Maugham Hour - AR - Drama Series - 1961-62
Pathfinders To Venus - ABC - SciFi Series - 8 x 30 mins Where The Difference Begins - BBC - Part 1 of a social drama trilogy - 95mins Call Oxbridge 2000 - ATV - Soap Drama series - 1961-62
The Arthur Askey Show - ATV - Sitcom - 6 x 30mins Plateau Of Fear - ABC - Scifi Series - 6 x 30 mins Hancock - BBC - Comedy series - 1961
Ask Mr Pastry - BBC - Children's TV - 8 x 25mins Three Live Wires - AR - Sitcom - 26 x 30mins Family Solicitor - Granada - Drama series - 30min episodes
Ben Casey - ABC - Medical drama series - 1961-66 Home Tonight - ITV - Drama with David Hemmings and Patricia Brake - 40 x 30mins Whicker Down Under - BBC - Travel Documentary
First World War - ATV - Series of lectures by A.J.P.Taylor 35 Cranley Drive - Granada - Documentary on spies Peter & Helen Kroger The Charlie Chester Music Hall - BBC - 1961-62 - Variety Show
The Quiet War - AR - Vietnam documentary Echo Four-Two - ATV - Crime drama series (from 'No Hiding Place') The Treasure Seekers - BBC - 8 x 30 min series based on E. Nesbit's book
Dateline - ITN - 8 to 10 minute news and current affairs bulletin 1961-67 Abracadabra - AR - 1961-62 - Quiz show hosted by Roy Ward Dixon and wife Shirley
Dr Kildare - ITV (NBC) - Medical drama series - 1961-66 - 142 x 60mins 58 x 30mins



  1961 Television Ratings ( millions of homes )


1
Royal Variety Show
ITV
8.48
11
Armchair Theatre
ITV
6.85
2
No Hiding Place
ITV
7.73
12
Emergency Ward 10
ITV
6.79
3
Sunday Night at The London Palladium
ITV
7.68
13
Echo Four-Two
ITV
6.77
4
Coronation Street
ITV
7.49
14
The British Song Contest
ITV
6.69
5
The Army Game
ITV
7.34
15
The Arthur Haynes Show
ITV
6.61
6
Probation Officer
ITV
7.18
16
Harpers West One
ITV
6.57
7
The Russ Conway Show
ITV
6.93
17
The Circus Comes To Town
ITV
6.56
8
The Dickie Henderson Show
ITV
6.93
18
Knight Errant Ltd
ITV
6.55
9
Take Your Pick
ITV
6.90
19
Somerset Maugham
ITV
6.54
10
Double Your Money
ITV
6.90
20
Bootsie and Snudge
ITV
6.51



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