Growing up in the 50's and 60's

What we watched on TV in the 1960's

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1960's - The Television

TV in the 1960's reflected the changing world

For the first two years of the decade nothing much changed on the TV. Then I guess it was the music revolution which changed everything.
Programmes like 6-5-Special phased out and in came 'Ready Steady Go' and 'Top of the Pops', 
Programmes such as the Perry Como Show and Andy Williams were evergreen and survived everything which was thrown at them (bit like Gardeners World!!),

This seemed to spread to Drama and more 'real life' stories would be transferred to screen. Dixon of Dock Green kept going, but became too personal for the era, so in came 'Z Cars'. Medicine was not far behind and 'Emergancy Ward Ten' along with 'Coronation Street' became two of the most popular soaps.

On the medical side, 'Dr. Finlays Casebook kept the more senior viewer happy and later in the 60's, America exported the handsome and dashing 'Dr. Kildaire'.

One programme which made a sudden impact and changed Children's TV forever was without a doubt 'Dr.Who', which came to our screens in 1963.
The think tank for the series stretched back to 1961, the concept of time travel read only in Jules Verne and H.G.Wells books was wrapped in amongst 'Time Lords' and stationary space crafts, a new Davy Crockett and Lone Ranger!
Technology was backdrops and sound effects, it was live TV going further than it had done before.
The other marvellous catch was that the Adults enjoyed it as well - and do, to this day no matter how old they are and who was their particular Dr. Who actor. People in my age bracket know them all!.

But this kicked off a need for sci-fi and ITV cleverly came up with Thunderbirds, where futuristic technology could be replaced by puppets. Yet again, TV which made a come back in the 90's - why? most people will ever know - but we did at the time!

With fashion, music and a rebelious nature coming forth, this reflected in series where, if the young lady wasn't a 'dolly' and had a mini skirt, it wasn't worth watching!
'The Avengers' actually began in 1960 as 'Police Surgeon', but slowly changed to a programme of wit, ridiculous story lines leading to Honor Blackman joining the Show in 1963 as a street cred beautiful woman.

'I am not a Number, I am a Free Man'

Now a cult TV series and still selling hoards of DVD's, 'The Prisoner' came to our screens in 1967.
Filmed in the Italian copy Village of Port Merian in Wales, it was based on a 'Spy' kidnapped by some organization which never came to light.
The odd thing is that the whole series is really based on everyone's understanding of it. It was such a plot that no one really knew what it was all about. Some have claimed to and symbolise things like the bicycle and giant balloon on the beach with deep meaning, but I see that as just an 'arty clever nonsense'.
It was simply compulsive viewing because you always thought you'd find out what it was about, but never did!
The final episode set to the background of 'All you need is love' is television magic and the only shame is that many didn't have a colour TV to watch it on!

The series launched rumours of Patrick McGoohan making the film version and also becoming the next James Bond, but he had principles of never firing a gun in any film and so continued his career on screen and stage.

New Page - See my Video of Portmeirion filmed in 2011 here.

Comedy was bridging between the old school and paving the way for future programmes such as Monty Python. Much of this wit was born on Radio with the Goons setting it all off.
But there was one programme which bridged the gap and lasted for years to come ' 'Dad's Army'.
For our parents it was true of people they had known in the Home Guard during WW2 and for my age group it had rings of Scouting and Village Halls in the 50's!.
Surprisingly it didn't start until 1968 and the first series was filmed live.

 

 

Many saw and do now,  see Dad's Army as a comedy based on silly situations, yet that is far from the truth. Almost all the Heath Robinson type machines which appeared in the programme were actually true!
Something else which rang true was the clever way that writer Croft wrote the class system and status into it. Very prominant for years after the War, you had a place in life and didn't cross the line. But this added to ridicle and the banter between Captain Mainwaring, Sgt. Wilson with the likes of the Butcher, the Baker and the Undertaker.
It was England of old, laughing at ourselves and our strange ways. Long may it live!

 

               









Roger Moore styling himself
for the next James Bond

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Growing up in
50s and 60s
The 1960s
1960's Year by Year

More from the 50s / 60s Now you know how nice it feels,
Scatter good seed in the fields.
Life's ours for the making,
Eternity's waiting, waiting,
For you and me.

Now you know that you are real,
Show your friends that you and me
Belong to the same world,
Turned on to the same word,
Have you heard?

The Moody Blues On the threshold of a dream


The longest running regular TV programme in the UK is 'The Sky at Night' (1957)