November 10 on TV

40 years ago today, Carla Lane’s Butterflies debuted on BBC 2

Butterflies (1978-1983)

Butterflies (1978-1983) is a British sitcom series written by Carla Lane that was broadcast on BBC2.

The situation is the day-to-day life of the Parkinson family in a bittersweet style. There are both traditional comedy sources (Ria’s cooking, family squabbles) and more unusual sources such as Ria’s unconsummated relationship with the outwardly-successful Leonard (Bruce Montague). Ria (Wendy Craig) is still in love with her husband, Ben (Geoffrey Palmer), and has raised two potentially fine sons (Nicholas Lyndhurst and Andrew Hall), yet finds herself dissatisfied and in need of something more. Throughout the series Ria searches for that “something more” and finds some solace in her unconventional friendship with Leonard.

In the first episode, an expository discussion between Ria and Leonard alludes to the significance of the series’ title: “We are all kids chasing butterflies. You see it, you want it, you grab it, and there it is, all squashed in your hand.” She adds, “I am one of the few lucky ones, I have a pleasant house, a pleasant man and two pleasant sons. My butterfly didn’t get squashed.” Ria’s husband Ben collects and studies butterflies.



November 15, 1922: 2ZY Manchester begins broadcasting

2ZY was the name of a radio station broadcast by the British Broadcasting Company from Manchester, England, between 1922 and 1927. The station aired its first test transmission on 450 metres on May 17, 1922 and began regular broadcasting on November 15, 1922, just a day after sister station 2LO began daily programmes in London. On the same day, 5IT began in Birmingham and eight other stations opened in subsequent months across Britain. The frequency chosen for 2ZY was then 375 metres medium wave. The programmes were made and broadcast at first from the Metropolitan-Vickers electricity works in Old Trafford. The ornate iron water tower at the works was the site of the transmitter.

After the opening of the BBC National Programme in 1927, the local material put out by 2ZY and the others was known as the BBC Regional Programme and the 2ZY name was dropped. Both the National and Regional services were combined in 1939 to form the Home Service.


November 15, 1922: 5IT Birmingham begins broadcasting

5IT was a BBC radio station which broadcast from Birmingham, England, between 1922 and 1927. It was the BBC’s second station, going live at 17.20 on November 15, 1922, the day after 2LO started daily BBC broadcasting from London and one hour forty minutes before 2ZY launched BBC broadcasting in Manchester. It was replaced from August 21, 1927 by the higher-powered 5GB broadcasting a Midlands regional programme from Daventry.