July 29, 1945: The Light Programme is launched

The Light Programme was a BBC radio station which broadcast chiefly mainstream light entertainment and music from 1945 until 1967, when it was rebranded as BBC Radio 2. It opened on July 29, 1945, taking over the long wave frequency which had earlier been used – prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 – by the BBC National Programme.

The service was intended as a domestic replacement for the wartime BBC Forces Programme (later, the General Forces Programme) which had proved popular with civilian audiences in Britain as well as members of the armed forces.

The Light Programme closed down for the last time at 2:02 am on Saturday September 30, 1967. At 5:30 am on the same day it was replaced by Radio 1 on its medium wave frequencies, and by Radio 2 (the renamed Light Programme) on its long wave frequency.

The long-running soap opera The Archers was first heard nationally on the Light Programme, on January 1, 1951, although a week-long pilot version had been broadcast in the Midlands Home Service in 1950.

Notable Programmes

  • The Archers
  • Beyond Our Ken
  • The Billy Cotton Band Show
  • The Clitheroe Kid
  • Dick Barton – Special Agent
  • Does the Team Think?
  • Educating Archie
  • Family Favourites
  • Friday Night is Music Night
  • The Goon Show (repeats from the Home Service)
  • Hancock’s Half Hour
  • Housewive’s Choice
  • ITMA (repeats from the Home Service)
  • Journey Into Space
  • Children’s Favourites
  • Life with the Lyons
  • Listen with Mother
  • Much Binding in the Marsh
  • The Navy Lark
  • Pick of the Pops
  • Round the Horne
  • Sing Something Simple
  • Take it from Here
  • Woman’s Hour

Notable Presenters

  • Desmond Carrington
  • Robert Dougall
  • John Dunn
  • Alan Freeman
  • David Jacobs
  • Brian Matthew
  • Pete Murray



July 21 in Doctor Who

The Underwater Menace was published 30 years ago today

Doctor Who – The Underwater Menace by Nigel Robinson (Target Books)
The Underwater Menace was a novelisation based on the 1967 television serial The Underwater Menace.

When the TARDIS lands on a deserted volcanic island the Doctor and his companions find themselves kidnapped by primitive sea-people. Taken into the bowels of the earth they discover they are in the lost kingdom of Atlantis.

Offered as sacrifices to the fish-goddess, Amdo, the Doctor and his companions are rescued from the jaws of death by the famous scientist, Zaroff.

But they are still not safe and nor are the people of Atlantis. For Zaroff has a plan, a plan that will make him the greatest scientist of all time – he will raise Atlantis above the waves – even if it means destroying the world…


July 20 in Doctor Who

Death to the Daleks was published 40 years ago today

Doctor Who – Death to the Daleks by Terrance Dicks (Target Books)
Death to the Daleks was a novelisation based on the 1974 television serial Death to the Daleks. It was reissued in 1991 with a different cover.

A mysterious power-loss strands the TARDIS on Exxilon, a sinister fog-shrouded alien planet. Forced to brave the dangers of the planet, the Doctor meets the survivors of a beleaguered expedition from Earth searching for a precious mineral that can save the galaxy from a terrible space-plague. Sarah finds a mysterious super-City and becomes a captive of the savage Exxilons, and, worst of all, the Doctor’s greatest enemies, the dreaded Daleks, arrive on a secret mission of their own.
What terrifying power makes captives of all who come to the planet? What is the secret of the mysterious deserted City with its great flashing beacon? And what sinister plan has brought the Daleks to Exxilon? The Doctor and Sarah must risk their lives time and again in a desperate attempt to foil the Daleks and save millions of humans from the horrific plague.


There’s Something About Mary (1998)

There’s Something About Mary (1998), theatrical poster

There’s Something About Mary is an American romantic comedy film starring Cameron Diaz as the titular character with Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans and Chris Elliott all playing men who are in love with Mary and vying for her affections.

Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

Released July 15, 1998 (US); September 25, 1998 (UK)

Ted was a geek in high school, who was going to go to the prom with one of the most popular girls in school, Mary. The prom date never happened, because Ted had a very unusual accident. Thirteen years later he realizes he is still in love with Mary, so he hires a private investigator to track her down. That investigator discovers he too may be in love with Mary, so he gives Ted some false information to keep him away from her. But soon Ted finds himself back into Mary’s life, as we watch one funny scene after another. [IMDb*]

Notable Cast

  • Cameron Diaz, “Mary Jensen”
  • Ben Stiller, “Ted Stroehmann”
  • Matt Dillon, “Pat Healy”
  • Lee Evans, “Tucker” and “Norm Phipps”
  • Jeffrey Tambor, “Sully”
  • Keith David, “Charlie”, Mary’s stepfather


Spotify* playlist

Find out more at Wikipedia*, and IMDb*.

Sources: Wikipedia* (information, pictures etc), IMDb* (movie release dates), and YouTube* (videos) unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & the20thcentury.today are not responsible for external links

July 13 on TV

40 years ago today, Top Gear shifted to BBC 1 Midlands to BBC 2 nationwide

Top Gear (1977-2001), title card (1977-1983)

The original Top Gear started as a monthly television series produced by BBC Midlands and presented by Angela Rippon and Tom Coyne. The 30 minute programmes had a magazine format, and were transmitted at first to viewers in the Midlands region only.  The programme covered motoring related issues, such as new car road tests, fuel economy, safety, the police, speeding, insurance, second hand cars and holiday touring.

Top Gear (1978-2001), title (1986-1987)

The BBC network took Top Gear and it became a weekly 30 minute BBC Two programme on July 13, 1978. Angela Rippon continued as presenter with new co-presenter, racing commentator, Barrie Gill. Noel Edmonds joined the team in the second networked series, eventually taking over from Rippon in 1980. Edmonds was replaced by Tomorrow’s World‘s William Woollard in 1981 who would front the programme for 10 years.

Top Gear (1978-2001), title (1994-2001)

Jeremy Clarkson joined the team in 1988, until 1998.  Ex-car salesman Quentin Willson was added in 1991, and James May appeared in the final two seasons, when the original format ended in 2001.  Clarkson and May would return in a revamped version in 2002, joined by Richard Hammond and the Stig.


July 12, 1939: It’s That Man Again first first broadcast

It’s That Man Again (or, commonly, ITMA) was a BBC radio comedy programme which ran from 1939 to 1949. It starred Tommy Handley in comic situations often related to current war news. It featured popular characters such as Colonel Chinstrap and Mrs. Mopp, and generated certain catchphrases that long outlived the series. ITMA was credited with sustaining wartime morale.

The title ITMA refers to a contemporary phrase concerning the ever more frequent news-stories about Hitler in the lead-up to the Second World War, and specifically a headline in the Daily Express.

ITMA was first broadcast on July 12, 1939, and followed the adventures of Tommy Handley as he undertook a series of (fictional) bizarre jobs that involved working with strange characters. The first series began with Handley working on a private radio station, but he later moved on to work as Minister of Aggravation and Mysteries at the Office of Twerps; the Mayor of seedy seaside resort Foaming at the Mouth; and Governor of the South Sea island Tomtopia.

Other performers in the show included:

  • Deryck Guyler
  • Hattie Jacques
  • Maurice Denham
  • Molly Weir

In 1943, a film adaptation was made of the series, also titled It’s That Man Again.


Delilah by Tom Jones

Delilah (1968) by Tom Jones

Delilah is the first number one album in the UK for Welsh singer Tom Jones. It spent a total of two weeks at the top of the chart in 1968.

  • Released July 12, 1968
  • UK #1 August 10, 1968 (1 week)
  • UK #1 September 21, 1968 (1 week)

The single, “Delilah” reached UK #2 in March 1968.

Find out more at Wikipedia*, and Official Charts*.

Sources: Wikipedia* (information, pictures etc), IMDb* (movie release and original TV broadcast dates), and YouTube* (videos) unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & the20thcentury.today are not responsible for external links