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  Sixties Television - Pre 60s Classics  
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A number of programmes originally produced in the Fifties were still enjoying regular broadcasting in the Sixties, particularly imported westerns and action / adventure series but also a lot of domestic programmes.

Some which made a very personal impression on my own viewing memories of the 60s are included below.


  Other Fifties Programmes    Western 'Cowboy' Series

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African Patrol
ITV 1958
Grosse-Krasne Prodns
Kenya Prodns
 
39 x 30 minute episodes followed the adventures of a white policeman in Kenya.
Patrol Inspector Paul Derek was played by John Bentley. The show was filmed on location in the Kenya National Game Reserve with fabulous scenery and wildlife action backgrounds
 
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
ITV 1957
Shamley Productions / Revue
 
265 episodes of this mystery thriller anthology series were introduced and closed by the dry grave humour of Alfred Hitchcock. A further 93 one-hour shows were made under the title 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour'. All the shows were produced by Joan Harrison and 18 of them were directed by the master of the macabre himself
 
Armchair Theatre
ABC 1956 - later, THAMES
 
A long-running series of both live and recorded drama presentations, many by famous authors, some of which led to the birth of various other series and anthologies including 'Out of This World'. The show was also variously known as Armchair Summer Theatre and Armchair Mystery Theatre. The many productions over the years included included 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' ( 1962 ), 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz' ( 1961 ), 'Dumb Martian' ( 1962 ), 'Hot Summer Night' and 'The Last Tycoon' ( 1959 )
 
BBC Television News
BBC 1954
 
First presented by Richard Baker at 7:30 p.m. on 5th July 1954 as a news summary compilation of stills, newsreels and interviews. The actual newsreaders were not visible to the viewers until 1955
 
Billy Bunter
of Greyfriars School

BBC 1952
 
30 minute children's show based on the MAGNET comic character created by Frank Richards. The food-loving schoolboy was played by Gerald Campion withKynaston Reeves as his schoolmaster nemesis, Mister Quelch. Yarooh!
 
Blue Peter
BBC 1958
 
The long-running children's programme started as a 15 minute slot presented by Christopher Trace and Leila Williams under the general heading of Children's Television. This was later increased to 30 minutes under its own title and Trace was joined by show doyen Valerie Singleton when Williams departed in 1962. Also joining the show in 62 was Petra, the seriesfirst pet dog. John Noakes joined the crew in 1965 with 'Shep' and Peter Purves replaced Trace in 1967. The leading light behind the production and success of the show was Biddy Baxter
 
Original Presenters Pic
Bronco
BBC 1959
Warner Brothers
 
This was the 68 x 60 minute episode replacement Western 'drifter' series for 'Cheyenne' and starred Ty Hardin as the almost impossibly good-looking ex-Confederate soldier Bronco Layne. A hallmark of virtually all the American 'westerns' of the 50s and 60s were the memorable title songs, this one being no exception. Bronco, Bronco, tearin' across the Texas plain..........
 
Website Link
Cannonball
ITV 1959-?
CBC / Normandie / Robert Maxwell
  The rumble of the diesel, the shifting of the gears, name your destination and brother, he'll be there, Cannonbaaaaaaall!! Brilliant 39 x 30 minute Canadian series starring Paul Birch as Mike 'Cannonball' Malone and William Campbell as Jerry Austin, co-drivers of an eighteen wheel road hauler and their adventures along the highways of North America. Other main characters were played by Beth Lockerbie ( Beth Malone ), Howard Milsom ( dispatcher Harry Butler ), Beth Morris and Steve Barringer Ginny and Butch Malone ). The series was directed by Les Selander and Les Goodwins

 
Cheyenne
ITV 1958
Warner Brothers
 
This American western drama series set just after the American Civil War starred Clint Walker as the quick-draw drifter Cheyenne Bodie, notable for his long-fringed jacket. The 107 x 60 minute series ended when Walker walked out after a contractual dispute and it was replaced with a similar programme called 'Bronco'
 
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Crackerjack
BBC 1955
 
This long-running children's show, 439 x 40/50mins, originally compered by Eamonn Andrews assisted by Leslie Crowther, Peter Glaze, Pip Hinton and Jillian Comber featured Richard Hearne's character Mr. Pastry as a regular 'guest'. Highlights included the 'Double or Drop' quiz with losers getting a cabbage and the winner receiving, amongst other prizes, the legendary 'Crackerjack pencil'. Other hosts of the 50s and 60s included Jack Douglas, Ronnie Corbett and Michael Aspel
 
Different Pic
Criss Cross Quiz
Junior Criss Cross Quiz

GRANADA 1957-67


 
342 shows were made of this TV version of noughts and crosses, presented by Jeremy Hawke ( until 1962 ) and Barbara Kelly. It featured two contestants battling against each other to complete a three-in-a row line. Noughts or Crosses were 'won' by answering questions correctly to win games worth up to the princely sum of £100. There were also 391 shows made of a children's version called 'Junior Criss Cross quiz', for the 12 - 14 age group, which screened early on Wednesday evenings. These were presented at various times by Chris Kelly, Bob Holness, Mike Sarne, Chris Howland, Gordon Luck, Peter Wheeler, Bill Grundy and Danny Blanchflower
 
Different large picture
Dixon of Dock Green
BBC 1955-76



 
For 21 years and 429 episodes, originally154 x 30 minutes, later 275 x 40 - 45 minutes, Jack Warner starred as the famous P.C. ( promoted to Sergeant in 1964 ) whose character (created by Ted Willis) originated in the 1949 Ealing film 'The Blue Lamp'. Billie Whitelaw played his daughter in early episodes
 
Website link
Dotto
ATV 1958-60

 
50 dots concealed the portrait of a personality, which was slowly uncovered by the correct answering of contestants in this early quiz show. Presented initially by Robert Gladwell, later Jimmy Handley then Shaw Taylor, the prize money consisted of £5 for each dot not filled in, by the contestant guessing the personality first
 
Double Your Money
A-R 1955 - 68
Arlington Television and Radio Ltd

 
In tandem with 'Take Your Pick', this was one of ITVs first, and most successful quiz shows. Hughie Green presided over proceedings assisted, at various times, by Nancy Roberts, Jean Clarke, Valerie Drew, Julie deMarco, Sabrina, Alice Earrey and Monica Rose. The finale, a £1000 'treasure trail' saw the contestant answering questions in a soundproof booth
 
Dragnet
ITV 1955
Mark VII - MCA


 
30 minute episodes featured the activities of two Los Angeles detectives. Sgt Joe 'just the facts, ma'am' Friday was played by Jack Webb ( who also produced and directed the show ) with Officer Frank Smith played by Ben Alexander. This character was later replaced by Officer Bill Gannon ( Harry Morgan ). 'The story you have just seen is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent'
 
Jack Webb
Emergency - Ward 10
ATV 1957



 
This was the first, and extremely successful, twice weekly soap opera produced by ITV. It was set against the medical background of Oxbridge General Hospital, following the private and public lives of the doctors, nurses and patients. It enjoyed half-hour slots on Tuesdays and Fridays and ran for ten years, also producing a spin-off series in 1961 titled 'Call Oxbridge 2000'. The series was created by Tessa Diamond and regular early stars included Jill Browne, Richard Thorp, Glyn Owen, Ray Barrett and Charles Tingwell. John Alderton joined the cast in 1963 as Dr Richard Moone
 
Cast pic
Face To Face
BBC 1959


 
John Freeman was the hard-nosed presenter of this 15 minute ( later 30min ) interview programme produced by Hugh Burnett. Famous names to suffer his inquisition included Adam Faith, Gilbert Harding, Tony Hancock, Evelyn Waugh, Professor Carl Jung and Doctor Martin Luther King. The programme series lasted three years and is memorable for the opening and closing credits which frequently featured charcoal drawings of the week's victim by artist Feliks Topolski
 
Evelyn Waugh Interview
Frontiers of Science
BBC 1956 - 60, BBC2 1968 - 69



 
A 30 minute programme which examined many and various aspects of modern science, including the possibility of space travel. Originally produced by James McCloy

 
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Gardening Club
BBC 1955


 
Popular, long-running programme presented by Percy Thrower which began life from the roof-top garden of the Lime Grove studios. It later evolved into Gardener's World
( BBC2 1968 ) with guest appearances and location filming

 
Website link
Garry Halliday
BBC 1959


 
Silver City Airways of Lydd provided the real-life facilities for this series about the 'Biggles'-style adventures of Garry Halliday ( Terence Longdon ), a pilot for a commercial airline company. The other main characters were played by Terence Alexander and Ann Gudrun. Richard West produced
 
Grandstand
BBC 1958

 
This Saturday afternoon non-stop sports programme remains the longest-running of its type in the world. Based at Lime Grove studios, it was fronted in the 50s and 60s by Peter Dimmock (2 weeks), David Coleman ( until 1968 ) and Frank Bough. Football results were read by Leonard Martin. Horse racing commentators were Peter O'Sullevan and Clive Graham with results read by Tim Gudgin
 
Website link
Gun Law
ITV 1956
CBS


 

Later: Gunsmoke - 30 minute episodes later increased to 60 minutes.
One of the earliest and, next to Rawhide, most famous of the western shows to be shown on ITV. The series was set in the wild west 'frontier' town of Dodge City and starred the local hero, Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness. Other characters included Dillon's Deputy, Chester Goode ( Dennis Weaver ), Festus ( Ken Curtis ), Miss Kitty ( Amanda Blake ) who was keeper of the Long Branch Saloon with more than an affection ( apparently unfulfilled ) for the Marshal, and 'Doc' played by Milburn Stone

 
Hancock's Half Hour
BBC 1956, ATV-MacCONKEY 1963
ABC 1967

 
The classic Galton & Simpson 30-minute TV comedy series starring the tragic genius started life as a radio show in 1954. He was ably supported by other comedy giants including Bill Kerr, Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Williams and Warren Mitchell. The episode that everyone knows is 'The Blood Donor' ( a pint? that's nearly an armful! ). The show became 'Hancock' in 1961 and 'Hancock's' in 1967 where he played the owner of a night club in swingin' London
 
Website Link
Hawaiian Eye
ITV 1959-63
Warner Brothers
  134 x 60 minute episodes were made of this detective / action series which starred ( at various times ) Robert Conrad as Tom Lopaka, Troy Donahue as Philip Barton, Anthony Eisley as Tracy Steele, Connie Stevens as Cricket Blake and Poncie Ponce as 'Kazuo Kim' Quisado. Similar in style to '77 Sunset Strip' ( not surprising as the two series were made at the same studios at the same time ) this Private Eye series was set in Hawaii where the team were house detectives at the Hawaiian Village Hotel

 
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Hawkeye and The Last
of The Mohicans

ITV 1957
Normandie Prodns ( Canada )

 
A Canadian western-type action series consisting of 39 x 30 minute episodes and 4 telefeatures based on stories by James Fenimore Cooper. Set in North America before the revolution it starred John Hart as the buckskin-clad Nat 'Hawkeye' Cutler and Lon Chaney Jr as Chingachgook, 'the last of the Mohicans'. The titles of the telefeatures were: 'Along The Mohawk Trail', 'The Pathfinder and The Mohican', 'The Redmen and The Renegades' and 'The Long Rifle and The Tomahawk'
 
Website link
Highway Patrol
ITV 1956
ZIV-UA
 
The classic American police action drama shot and chased its way through the 30 minute episodes which starred Broderick Crawford as Highway Patrol Chief Dan Matthews and ensured that the expression 'ten-four' would become, forever, a part of our language
 
I Love Lucy
ITV 1955
CBS, Desilu Prodns


 

The179-episode classic American sitcom which featured Lucille Ball and real life husband Desi Arnaz. ( They founded Desilu studios which was later to be the home of Star Trek ). Long-suffering neighbours Fred and Ethel Mertz were played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance. The show was resurrected twice in the sixties as The Lucy Show, minus the now-divorced Desi, and Here's Lucy, with Gale Gordon as her bank manager employer

 
Ivanhoe
ITV 1958
Sydney Box Prodns
Screen Gems / ITC

 
Based on Sir Walter Scott's historical character and set in the time of Robin Hood, 39 x 30 minute episodes of this action show saw Roger Moore play the title role in his debut on British television. Other characters were portrayed by Andrew Keir (Prince John), Robert Brown ( Gurth the squire) and John Pike (Bart, Gurth's son). Herbert Smith and Bernard Coote produced the series, filmed at Beaconsfield studios. Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe, to adventure, bold adventure, watch him go........

 
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Jim's Inn
A-R 1957




 
This was probably the best-known of a curious type of programme known as an 'Admag'. Essentially one long advert for various products in a contrived storyline framework, admags were banned in 1963. This particular programme centred around a local pub in 'Wembleham' which was run by Jimmy and Maggie Hanley who happily spent their time discussing the merits of various products over the bar with their customers. Other admags included 'About Homes and Gardens' (ATV 56), Elizabeth Allen Goes Shopping in London', 'Where Shall We Go?' (ABC 56), 'What's In Store?' (ABC 56), 'Shop In The South', 'Over The Hills' (AR 56/57), 'Slater's Bazaar' (ATV 57/59) and 'What's New?' (AR 57)
 
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Jungle Boy
ITV 1959


 
a.k.a. 'Adventures Of A Jungle Boy', this junior tarzan-like lad swang through the trees of East Africa for 39 half-hour episodes after being made an orphan when his parents failed to return from a jungle expedition. The friends sharing his bamboo tree-top house (or its surrounds) were Cheetah (no prizes here!), Simba (nor here!) and Quaggo the Zebra. Michael Carr Hartley played the title role
 
Knight Errant 59
GRANADA 1959


 
The action/drama stories of a team of mercenary adventurers starring John Turner as Adam Knight and his partners Peter Parker ( Richard Carpenter ) and Liz Parrish ( Kay Callard ). The series curiously changed its name with the times, becoming first 'Knight Errant 60' then 'Knight Errant Limited' for the 60/61 series. The lead characters changed, being taken over by Wendy Williams and Hugh David for the 61 shows with Kay Callard returning for the final series
 
Different large picture
Life With The Lyons
BBC 1955-6 A-R 1957

 
A fortnightly TV domestic comedy spin-off of a radio programme which featured a real-life family. Bebe Daniels, Barbara Lyon, Ben Lyon and Richard Lyon. The show switched channels in 1957, retaining the same format and 'guests' which included Molly Weir and Richard Bellaers as Robin
 
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Look
BBC 1955
 
A long-running series of wildfe programmes shot in exotic locations and introduced by Peter Scott. There was also a children's edition shown in an early time slot
 
Mark Saber
ITV 1957-62
Danzigers



 
This was essentially a series of stories derived from a US series called 'Mystery Theatre' in which a British police inspector was working for an American police department. During i's life it went through an extraordinary number of title changes which were: 'Inspector Mark Saber - Homicide Squad', 'The Vise', 'Mark Saber', 'Saber of London'. Characters were played by many different artists and the storyline basis also changed as it switched between being an American and a UK series. The first Saber was played by Tom Conway. Donald Gray took over the part for 'The Vise'
 
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Maverick
ITV 1959
Warner Brothers

 
Light-hearted 60min semi-comedy western series about a gambler, Bret Maverick, brilliantly played by James Garner. Curiously, alternate weeks featured Bret's brother Bart, played by Jack Kelly and later, even more of the Maverick clan as they were joined by another brother, Brent ( Robert Colbert of 'Time Tunnel' ) and an English cousin Beau played by Roger Moore
 
Colour Picture
No Hiding Place
A-R 1959




 
236 x 60 minute episodes of this police drama series were made, which evolved from two earlier series:' Murder Bag' ( 55 x 30 min episodes ) and 'Crime Sheet' ( 17 x 30 minute episodes ). The central character throughout was Chief Detective Superintendent Lockhart, played by Raymond Francis. The other main characters were DS Russell ( Johnny Briggs ), DS Perryman ( Michael McStay ), DS Gregg ( Sean Caffrey ) and DS Baxter ( Eric Lander ) whose character, promoted to Detective Inspector, appeared in a 10 x 30min spin-off series called 'Echo Four-Two' (A-R 61). Francis, as Lockhart, also appeared in a Rediffusion Christmas special called 'Deep and Crisp and Stolen' which was essentially a comedy
 
On Safari
BBC 1957-59 1961-65

 
Superb series of beautifully-filmed wildlife programmes made mainly in Kenya and Uganda by the husband and wife team of Armand and Michaela Denis. Previous series by them included 'Filming Wild Animals' (BBC 54/55), 'Filming In Africa' (BBC 55), 'Michaela and Armand Denis' (ATV 55/58)
 
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Opportunity Knocks
A-R 1956 ABC 1964-67
THAMES 1968

 
Hosted by the legendary Hughie 'I mean that most sincerely folks' Green this was a talent show which boosted many of its participants to stardom. The studio audience voted for their favourite by means of the 'clapometer' which registered the loudness of their applause and the home audience were invited to send in votes to decide the winner
 
Larger different picture
Panorama
BBC 1953
 
Originally a fortnightly magazine programme this grew into TVs oldest-established current affairs programme. Presenters included Richard Dimbleby, Chris Chataway, Michael Barratt, Leonard Parkin and Robin Day
 
Picture Parade
BBC 1956
 
Peter Haigh and Derek Bond ( later Robert Robinson - 1959 ) presented this weekly magazine programme featuring film previews, new cinema releases and the world of cinema in general, often with famous studio guests
 
Pinky And Perky
BBC 1957 THAMES 1968

 
Highly successful pig puppetry show based on popular music, created by Czech puppeteers Jan and Vlasta Dalibor. The extraordinary success of this format continued through various series right up until 1970. Many famous names appeared as guest stars on their shows, which always took on the appearance of a number of 'cabaret-style' scenes. By the way....Perky wore the hat
 
Pinky and Perky Website
Probation Officer
ATV 1959-62

 
A 55-minute series which was fictional, but almost a documentary drama about the probation service and problems faced during their operations in London's Notting Hill area. The original cast featured David Davies, John Paul and Honor Blackman, later joined by Jessica Spencer
 
Rawhide
ITV 1959
CBS



 
Head 'em up! Move 'em out! Rollin', rollin', rollin....is there anybody who does not know the title theme to this series, so superbly sung by Frankie Laine. Eric Fleming starred as trail boss Gil Favor and featured 217 x 60 minute stories about the drovers problems as they steered their longhorns along the Sedalia trail of the 1870s. Top hands assisting in fighting off everything from indians to outlaws to women of dubious virtue were Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood), Pete Nolan (Sheb Woolley) and the chuck-wagon masters Wishbone (Paul Brinegar) and Mushy (James Murdock). Still brilliant!
 
Cast picture - colour
Saturday Playhouse
BBC 1958-61
 
A long-running collection of plays derived from stage productions and recorded at various studios
 
Sea Hunt
ITV 1958
Ziv-UA
 
Highly popular and superbly filmed action / drama series starring Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson, who found himself involved in many underwater adventures as the result of being hired by treasure-hunters, sub-aqua expeditions and diverse, unscrupulous people for devious means. 30 minute episodes
 
Sea Hunt Website
Skyport
GRANADA 1959

 
A drama series surrounding the life, loves and innumerable problems of a large commercial airport. 52 x 30min shows were made starring George Moon, Gerald Harper, Barry Foster and Lisa Gastoni
 
Sportsview
BBC 1954


 
Originally introduced by Peter Dimmock, later Brian Johnston. Features included the first 4-minute mile and a studio boxing exhibition by world champion Floyd Patterson. A children's version, Junior Sportsview, was presented by Danny Blanchflower and Billy Wright from 1957
 
Spot The Tune
GRANADA 1956-62

 
209 x 30 minute shows featuredthis musical quiz show in which the contestants had to guess the song from only a few bars of the tune. Resident singer was Marion Ryan (pictured - mother of Paul and Barry) backed by the Peter Knight orchestra. The show's presenters included Ted Ray, Jackie Rae ( pictured ) and Ken Platt
 
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Spycatcher
BBC 1959-61

 
Bernard Archer starred in this wartime series based on the true life stories of spycatcher Lt Col Oreste Pinto. 19 x 30min episodes were made telling the tales of Britains attempts to prevent enemy infiltration by any means at its disposal. Written by Robert Barr and produced by Terence Cook
 
Sunday Night At
The London Palladium

ATV 1955-67


 
Superb all-round entertainment show with world-class variety guests topping the bill and featuring the fabulous high-kicking Tiller girls. The shows were produced by Val Parnell and included a game segment called 'Beat The Clock' in which members of the audience had 60 seconds to perform a variety of inane tasks, usually including balloon popping. Top-line comedians acted as hosts and MCs. The first of these was Tommy Trinder, followed by Dickie Henderson, Bruce Forsyth, Norman 'swingin, dodgy' Vaughan and the irepressible Jimmy Tarbuck. Probably the most memorable feature was the revolving stage finale at the end in which famously, the Rolling Stones refused to take part
 
The Tiller Girls
Sword of Freedom
ITV 1958
Weinstein Prodns / Sapphire Films

 
One of Sapphire's classic historical action shows set in Florence during the Italian renaissance. Edmund Purdom swashbuckled his way through 39 x 30 minute episodes as freedom fighter Marco del Monte, pitting his wits against the evil Machiavelli and the de Medicis. The series also starred Adrienne Corri as Angelica and Rowland Bartrop as Sandro. Original series title was 'The Florentine'
 
Take Your Pick
A-R 1955-68



 
The highly entertaining quiz-show stablemate to Double Your Money which featured Michael Miles as the questionmaster and the voice of Bob Danvers-Walker announcing the prizes. The two sections of the show were a 60 second 'Yes / No' interlude with the famous gong, wielded by Alec Dane, following which the winner, if they answered a further three questions correctly, was tempted to 'take the money' offered by Michael or withstand his appeals and choose to 'open the box', the choice of one of ten, which possibly contained the Star Prize, a chance to open 'Box 13' or, in three cases, a Booby Prize. The organ riff between segments was played by Harold Smart
 
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The Adventures
of Champion

BBC 1956
Flying 'A' Prodns ( Gene Autry )
 
26 x 30 minute episodes featured Champion the Wonder Horse, Ricky ( Barry Curtis ) and Rebel the dog in this children's adventure programme originally intended to promote Gene Autry's horse. The ranch owner , Uncle Sandy, was played by Jim Bannon with another regular, Will Calhoun ( Francis McDonald ) providing a light-hearted element. The memorable title song was sung, yet again, by Frankie Laine
 
The Adventures
of Long John Silver

ITV 1957
Isola del'Oro Productions - Australia
 
26 x 30 minute colour episodes were made of this Australian series which featured Robert Newton as the one-legged swashbuckling hero immortalised in Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island'. Connie Gilchrist played Miss Purity Pinker and Kit Taylor played the young Jim Hawkins
 
The Adventures
of Robin Hood

ITP 1955
ABC / Sapphire Films
 
143 x 30 minute episodes and a spin-off film featured Richard Greene as Robin Hood, Bernadette O'Farrell ( later Patricia Driscoll ) as Maid Marian, Archie Duncan ( Little John ), Alexander Gauge ( Friar Tuck ), Paul Eddington ( Will Scarlett ) and Alan Wheatley as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Donald Pleasence made an occasional appearance as Prince John. Hugely successful in both the U.K. and U.S.A.
 
The Adventures
of Sir Lancelot

ITV 1956
Sapphire Films
 
30 x 30 minute episodes starred William Russell ( later to appear in Doctor Who ) as the gallant Arthurian knight of the round table along with King Arthur ( Bruce Seton, Ronald Leigh-Hunt ), Queen Guinevere ( Jane Hylton ) and Merlin ( Cyril Smith ). Made at the Nettlefold studios, Walton-on-Thames
 
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The Adventures
of William Tell

ITV 1958-59
ITC - NTA


 
Fabulous action / adventure series starring Conrad Phillips as the famous freedom fighter in 14th century Switzerland. 39 x 30 minute episodes were made at National Studios and on location in the Welsh mountains, telling the story of Tell's outlaw struggles against Austrian overseer Landburgher Gessler, played by the wonderful Willoughby Goddard. Jennifer Jayne played his wife Hedda and his son by Richard Rogers. Nigel Greene turned up periodically as Tell's friend and ally, 'The Bear'. Series producer was Ralph Smart. DAH da da DAH da Daaaaah........
 
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The Army Game
GRANADA 1957


 
153 x 30 minute episodes featured the motley British Army equivalent of Bilko based in hut 29 of the Nether Hopping Surplus Ordnance Depot. The mainstays of the series were Sgt Major Bullimore played by William Hartnell ( replaced by Bill Fraser as CSM Claude Snudge in 1958 ) and Private 'excused boots' Bisley played by Alfie Bass. Pte Popplewell was played by Bernard Bresslaw whose catchphrase 'I Only Arsked' became the title of the 1958 Hammer feature film. A 1960 spin-off series was entitled 'Bootsie and Snudge'
 
The Arthur Haynes Show
ATV 1956
 
A comedy mixture of sketches written by the great Johnny Speight, and music, starring Arthur Haynes and featuring Nicholas Parsons, Patricia Hayes, Graham Stark and Dermot Kelly. Probably most famous for its 'tramp' characters and sketches
 
The Benny Hill Show
BBC 1955-57, 61, BBC11964-66
ATV 1967, BBC1 1968, THAMES 1969
 
The king of innuendo and light-hearted smuttiness and slapstick started his television career a lot earlier than most people realise. Early shows contained, besides the ubiquitous gorgeous girls, parodies of current hit shows, later moving on to comedy playlets and the famous sketch sequences
 
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The Billy Cotton
Band Show

BBC 1956

 
50 minute shows featuring non-stop dancing, music and comedy fronted by the all-round entertainer. This show evolved from the earlier 'Wakey, Wakey', ( Billy's catchphrase ) and was to become Billy Cotton's Music Hall in 1965. Resident entertainers included Russ Conway and Kathie Kay. Billy Cotton Jr produced the show
 
The Buccaneers
ITV 1956
Sapphire Films
 
39 x 30 minute episodes told the swashbuckling tales of a band of pirates set in the Bahamas in 1722. Robert Shaw made his TV debut in the show as Captain Dan Tempest, battling against Blackbeard and other undesirable cutthroats in a bid to earn their pardon from Governor Woodes Rogers, played by Alec Clunes. Produced by Sidney Cole
 
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The Count
of Monte Cristo

ITV 1956
Vision Prodns - TPA
 
Edmund Dantes, the nineteenth century Alexandre Dumas hero flashed his sword through 39 x 30 minute episodes, played by George Dolenz and accompanied by a bearded mute and Fortunio Bonanova. The series recounted episodes of his life following his acquisition of the Monte Cristo fortune. First shown in America a year earlier
 
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The Gay Cavalier
A - R 1957
George King Prodns
 
Hardly a title which would be considered for an action series these days! 13 x 30 minute episodes were made of this historical action drama which starred Christian Marquand as Captain Claude Duval, swashbuckling his way through the English civil war, directed by Terence Fisher and Lance Comfort
 
The Good Old Days
BBC 1953
 
Old-time Edwardian music-hall format show originally chaired by Don Gemmell, later Leonard Sachs. The show was transmitted from the Leeds City Varieties Theatre and produced by Barney Colehan
 
The Invisible Man
ITV 1958
Official Films



 
26 x 30 minute episodes saw scientist Peter Brady, ( anonymous in the credits but voiced by Tim Turner ) rendering assistance by virtue of his unique talents to the police and the government. This was in exchange for being allowed to conduct experiments to try and return himself to normal after a laboratory accident experimenting with the refraction of light had left him completely invisible. Superb special effects, rather than strong storylines, were responsible for the success of this Ralph Smart produced series based on the story by H.G.Wells. Lisa Daniely starred as Brady's sister and Deborah Watling as his young niece
 
The Ken Dodd Show
BBC 1959-63 1966

 
The first of various series of shows starring the genius of the buck-toothed, shock-haired Liverpudlian who made Knotty Ash world famous and introduced us to the delights of the Diddy Men. Despite his manic appearance, comedy and trademark feather duster he actually had an excellent singing voice, evidenced by his success with various songs in the British charts of the Sixties
 
The Kilt Is My Delight
BBC 1957-63

The White Heather Club
BBC 1957-68
 
'Kilt' was a traditional offering of Scottish dancing and song , produced in tandem with the possibly more famous and slightly more 'commercial' White Heather Club. Both productions emanated from the BBC's Glasgow studios. These types of show were almost compulsory viewing every New Year's Eve and regularly featured the talents of Moira Anderson, Duncan Macrae, Andy Steweart, Jimmy Shand, Jimmy Logan and Roddy McMillan. The Clan Hay dancers and the Royal Scottish Country Dance Orchestra were also frequently featured. 'Kilt' was produced by Alan Rees and 'Heather' mainly by Iain MacFadyen
 
The Larkins
ATV 1958-60 1963-64




 
The original 'Eastenders' - featured the comedy and farce surrounding the lives of this Cockney family headed by the long-suffering Alf, played by David Kossoff. His nemesis, henpecking battleaxe wife was played by the wonderful Peggy Mount. The series was created and written by Fred Robinson and produced by Alan Tarrant. Other series regulars included son-in-law ex-GI Jeff Roger ( Ronan O'Casey ), his wife Joyce ( Ruth Trouncer ) and Shaun O'Riordan as son Eddie. Their neighbours were the Prouts, Myrtle ( Hilary Bamberger - the pretty one ) and Hetty ( Barbara Mitchell - the nosy one ). A film spin-off called 'Inn For Trouble' was made in 1959
 
The Lenny the Lion Show
BBC 1957-58

 
A Johnny Downes-produced show which started out as part of Children's Television but which gradually saw host ventriloquist Terry Hall and his mickey-taking lion-shaped doppelganger Lenny evolve into a general entertainment show, often featuring top ten chart acts. These series were followed in 1959 by 'Lenny's Den' which was a series of 10min shows and another popular family entertainment show from 1962-63 called 'Pops and Lenny'
 
The Lone Ranger
BBC 1957-
Apex / Jack Chertok / Clayton Moore
Jack Wrather Corporation




 
If you know nothing about this American series you shouldn't be here. The classic 'Batman' of the wild west, the Lone Ranger, had been championing justice on American TV since 1949. The masked man, accompanied by his horse Silver and faithful indian companion Tonto galloped through a huge number of 30 minute episodes. Although armed with silver bullets, he hardly ever shot anyone, preferring to capture 'em alive, leaving behind a trademark bullet. Clayton Moore ( and briefly John Hart ) played the masked lawman, and the role of Tonto by Jay Silverheels. The series was based on radio stories written by Fran Striker which were developed with George Trendle for television. Two spin-off films were made - 'The Lone Ranger' (Warner Bros 55 ) and 'The Lone Ranger and The Lost City of Gold' ( United Artists 58 ). Hi-Ho Silver.....awaaaaaay and another great theme tune. Who was that masked man?
 
Lone Ranger

Website Link
The Phil Silvers Show
BBC 1957
CBS



 
One of the all-time classic 30min sit-coms, created and produced by Nat Hiken, still being networked today.The series, more popularly known as 'Sgt Bilko' featured the layabout, scheming, money-grabbing members of the motor pool platoon based at Fort Baxter, Kansas ( later Fort Fremont, California ). Silvers played the part of Master Sergeant Ernie Bilko, whose get-rich-quick schemes were always to the detriment of his men and long-suffering Camp Commander, Colonel Hall ( Paul Ford ). Platoon regulars were Cpl Barbella ( Harvey Lembeck ), Private Duane Doberman ( Maurice Gosfield ) and Cpl Henshaw ( Allan Melvin ). The series was originally named 'You'll Never Get Rich'
 
Different large picture
The Sky At Night
BBC 1957-

 
Unbelievably long-running monthly astronomy and space-related informational series which began in April 1957, originally and every episode since presented by the ebullient Patrick Moore. It began life six months before the launch of Sputnick and has been a feature of late night viewing ever since. A junior version called 'Seeing Stars' ran for 8 x 4 minute episodes during children's television in 1970
 
This Is Your Life
BBC1955-64 THAMES 1969


 
A British version of the successful NBC TV show which was presented by Eamonn Andrews where celebrities were treated to a 'surprise' at his appearance with 'The Red Book' and an invite to the studio to have revealed publicly the story of their life. Things didn't always go according to plan. Danny Blanchflower famously refused to appear on the show, leaving
Andrews, his guests and a large studio audience in the lurch
 
This Week
A-R 1956-68 THAMES 1968
 
This show - 'A window on the world behind the headlines'- was a weekly public affairs programme whose presenters included Rene Cutforth, Michael Westmore, Ludovic Kennedy and Daniel Farson
 
Tonight
BBC 1957-65



 
A current events programme which occupied an early evening spot on weekdays, highlighting both the important and less important, but always controversial, news items of the day. Early reporters supporting main presenter Cliff Michelmore included Alan Whicker, Julian Pettifer, Kenneth Allsop, Magnus Magnusson, Derek Hart, Macdonald Hastings, Brian Redhead and Geoffrey Johnson Smith. The show often ended with a musical finale featuring the talents of Jimmie MacGregor and Robin Hall. In 1965 the programme was superseded by Twenty-Four Hours (1965-72) which was a 10:30 late night programme but which still featured virtually the same presentation team
 
Wagon Train
ITV 1958 BBC 1962
Revue / MCA





 
Another entry from the seemingly endless supply of American classic western series. This one featured Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams, a wagon-master in charge of a pioneer wagon train travelling from Missouri to California in the wild west 1860s. Story lines included all the usual elements such as outlaws and indian attacks, but there was also a strong human element involved, examining the nature of the various main characters. Co-star was Robert Horton as trail scout Flint McCullough. Assistant wagon master Bill Hawks was played by Terry Wilson and Charlie Wooster the cook by Frank McGrath. John Wayne appeared as a guest star in the episode 'The Colter Craven Story'. Most, but not all episodes were called 'The........Story'. After Bond's early death, John McIntire took over the role of wagon master as Chris Hale
 
Link to super web site
Whack-O!
BBC 1956
 
A sitcom which featured the great Jimmy Edwards in his most famous comedy role as headmaster of Chiselbury public school, assisted by the less-than-competent Mr. Pettigrew, played by Arthur Howard. Frank Muir and Denis Norden were the main scriptwriters and a spin-off feature film 'Bottoms Up' was produced in 1960
 
What The Papers Say
GRANADA 1956
 
A topical current events programme which analysed the press's handling of news stories during the previous week. Introduced by Kingsley Martin and Brian Inglis, the programme became 'What the Weeklies Say' in 1968 before being succeeded by 'The Papers'
 
What's My Line?
BBC 1951


 
One of the first British TV panel games, based on an American idea. A panel of players tried to guess the occupation of various guests with strange, and unlikely, jobs by watching a short mime of their vocational activity and then asking questions, to which the guest could only answer 'yes' or 'no'. Originally chaired by Eamonn Andrews, the panel consisted of David Nixon, Lady Isobel Barnett, Barbara Kelly and Gilbert Harding
 
Whicker's World
BBC 1959-



 
The general title for many series of worldwide exploration and culture sampling by the globetrotting reporter Alan Whicker. The programme began life as a revisit to the slots that Whicker had made for the Tonight programme, but soon blossomed into even more exotic travels. Other ( sixties ) Whicker series include 'Whicker Down Under' (BBC 61), 'Whicker On Top Of The World' (BBC 62), 'Whicker Down Mexico Way' (BBC 63), Alan Whicker Report Series: The Solitary Billionaire (J. Paul Getty)( 1964), Whicker's World (1965-67), General Stroessner of Paraguay (1968), Count von Rosen (1968), Papa Doc--The Black Sheep (1968), 'Whicker's New World' (Yorkshire TV 69 ) and 'Whicker In Europe' (Yorkshire TV 69-70)
 
White Hunter
ITP 1958
Beaconsfield Prodns
 
Filmed in East Africa, this 39 x 30 minute episode action drama series was based on the life of big game hunter John A. Hunter. The storylines were fairly predictable, but none the less interesting for that, and the various ill-behaved wild animals and jungle villains were kept in their place by Rhodes Reason in the title role
 
Your Life In Their Hands
BBC 1958-64

 
A series of programmes which took television cameras into hospitals and, controversially, operating theatres to give the viewing public a 'behind-the-scenes' look at the health service. The first presenter was consultant physician Dr. Charles Fletcher. Mobile units were used to record the operations on videotape, using up to six cameras to catch the 'action' from all angles
 
Zoo Quest
BBC 1954-64
 
30 minute reports based on zoological expeditions jointly sponsored by the Television Service and London Zoo. The first show featured David Attenborough in the West African forests
 
Zoo Time
GRANADA 1956
 
331 x half hour shows by the Granada TV film unit based at London ( later Chester ) Zoo were introduced by Desmond Morris ( later Harry Watt and Chris Kelly ) and examined animal behaviour. Very much aimed at the younger viewer, Morris was no less popular with the adult audience
 





Some Other 50s Television Shows Which You May Have Seen In The 60s ....


Roving Report
- ITN 1957-64

Educating Archie
- AR 1958/59

Land Of Song
- TWW 1958-64

Monitor - BBC 1958-65

This Wonderful World - ScottishTV 1958-65

The Four Just Men
- Sapphire Films 39 x 30 mins 1959/60

Interpol Calling
- ATV / Rank-Wrather 39 x 30mins 1959-60

Para Handy - Master Mariner - BBC 1959/60

Redgauntlet
- BBC 6 x 30mins Oct/Nov 1959

Tell It To The Marines
- AR/Jack Hylton Prodns 1959/60

The Third Man
- Third Man Corpn / BBC / British Lion - 1959/60

World Theatre - BBC 1959

The Dickie Henderson Half Hour
- AR / Jack Hylton - 1958/60

The Men From Room 13
- BBC - 1959-61

Twenty One
- Granada - 1958-? - Quiz show hosted by Chris Howland

Concentration - ITV - 1959-73 - Quiz show originally hosted by Barry McQueen

Lucky Dip - AR 1958-61 - Forerunner of Tuesday Rendezvous and Five O'Clock Club

Lassie - US CBS - 1954 - 451 x 30 minutes - Drama series about a clever Collie and its various owners

Whirlybirds - US helicopter action / adventure series - 111 x 30 minute episodes


Imported U.S. Western Series Made In The Fifties

I can remember seeing episodes from most of these at one time or another, but I am not certain whether the entire series was bought / transmitted on U.K. television
in all cases. There are certainly lots more U.S. 'westerns' but I have not been able to confirm by other means whether they have ever been transmitted in the U.K.


The Cisco Kid
Ziv / UA
1950-55
156 x 30 mins
Duncan Reynaldo
Circus Boy
Screen Gems
1956-58
49 x 30 mins
Mickey Dolenz
The Range Rider
Flying 'A'
1951-53
78 x 30 mins
Jock Mahoney
Davy Crockett
Walt Disney
1954-55
5 x 60 mins
Fess Parker
The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin
Columbia/Screen Gems
1954-59
164 x 30 mins
Lee Aaker
website
Tales Of Wells Fargo
MCA/Revue/Overland
1957-62
164 x 30 mins
Dale Robertson
Have Gun Will Travel
Julian Claman for CBS
1957-63
225 x 30 mins
Richard Boone
website
Zorro
Walt Disney/ABC
1957-59
78 x 30 mins
Guy Williams
website
Boots And Saddles
California National Prodns
1957-59
37 x 30 mins
John Pickard
Tenderfoot ( Sugarfoot ) BBC1
Warner Brothers
1957-61
69 x 60 mins
Will Hutchins
website
Man Without A Gun
TCF-Republic
1957-59
33 x 30 mins
Rex Reason
Wanted Dead Or Alive
Four Star / Malcolm
1958-61
94 x 30 mins
Steve McQueen
website
Cimarron City
MCA/Revue/Mont
1958-59
26 x 60 mins
George Montgomery
website
NorthWest Passage
MGM
1958-59
26 x 30 mins
Keith Larsen
video
Casey Jones
Columbia/Screen Gems
1958-59
32 x 30 mins
Alan Hale Jr
website
The Texan
Desilu
1958-60
80 x 30 mins
Rory Calhoun
The Rifleman
Four Star/Sussex
1958-63
168 x 30 mins
Chuck Connors
website
Rough Riders
Ziv/UA
1958-59
39 x 30 mins
Kent Taylor
Union Pacific
California National Prodns
1958-59
39 x 30 mins
Jeff Morrow
Laramie
MCA/Revue
1959-63
124 x 60 mins
Robert Fuller
website
Riverboat
MCA/Revue/Meladare
1959-61
44 x 60 mins
Burt Reynolds
The Deputy
MCA/Revue/Top Gun
1959-61
76 x 30 mins
Henry Fonda
Alaskans
Warner Brothers
1959-60
36 x 60 mins
Roger Moore

Click here to see FiftiesWeb - a Fifties site which has some superb pages featuring Western TV shows

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