television 1970

What was on Television in 1970?

Following on from my look at 1970 in the movies, it’s now time to see what was on TV in 1970. I’ll take a look at popular TV series that started in 1970 in the next few days, but first, what were people watching on television today in 1970? Today as I’m writing this it is 6th August, so what was on TV on 6th August 1970? Apologies to people from other countries, but I’m looking at what people in the UK were watching, and specifically what was shown on the BBC (i.e. two of the three available channels, the other being ITV), as this is what I have information for.

television 1970It’s also worth bearing in mind that while in the UK colour TV had started being regularly broadcast the previous year, a majority of viewers would still have been watching on black & white television – at the start of 1970 only 200,000 colour TVs were in use, and it wouldn’t be until 1976 that colour TVs outnumbered black & white sets. Britain was at least a decade behind America in this, as any Back to the Future fans will know (Marty’s mum has an early colour TV in 1955).

So back to Thursday 6th August 1970. Here’s some of the highlights of the day from BBC1.

12.35 – National Eisteddfod of Wales, annual music event (also at 14.30)

13.30 – Watch with Mother The Herbs – good wholesome educational programme. I wonder how many kids would watch a programme about herbs with their mum today?
16.20 – Playschool – a programme for under 5’s.
16.40 – Jackanory
16.55 – Adventure Weekly, a kids show about five budding young journalists who set up a junior newspaper.
17.15 – Wild World – animals close up in action, with Tony Soper. This episode is about bees
19.15 – Top of the Pops, with Jimmy Saville
20.00 – The Expert – part two of a crime drama
22.30 – A daily look at the news, presented each day this week by David Dimbleby. Wow, he’s been going a long time, and still going strong today!
23.27 – The Expanding Classroom – presumably an educational programme, this is episode 1, Elizabethan Village. I’d like to watch this now!

The day’s programming only began at 12.35 and there were several ‘closedown’ periods throughout the day when there was nothing on – 13.53-14.30 and 15.00 to 16.20, unthinkable today!

BBC Two has far fewer programmes, with nothing before 7.30pm except 20 minutes of Playschool in the morning. There’s a word game, ‘Not a Word’, The Money Programme, and a recording of the play Edward II.

TV Listings courtesy of the BBC Genome project

More information about colour television in Britain from the science museum website