September 17, 1928: English broadcaster, Brian Matthew, born

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Brian Matthew (1928-2017) [bbc.co.uk]
Brian Matthew (17 September 17. 1928 – 8 April 8, 2017) was an English broadcaster who worked for the BBC for 63 years from 1954 until 2017. He was the host of Saturday Club, among other programmes, and began presenting Sounds of the 60s in 1990, often employing the same vocabulary and the same measured delivery he had used in previous decades.

In January 2017, after a short break from the programme owing to a minor illness, the BBC announced, against Matthew’s wishes, that he would not be returning to the programme and that he would be replaced. He was succeeded by Tony Blackburn. Matthew died on 8 April 2017.

Find out more at Wikipedia*, IMDb*, Radio Rewind*.

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September 14, 1998: The Royle Family first airs on BBC2

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The Royle Family (1998-2000)

The Royle Family was a British television sitcom produced by ITV Studios for the BBC, which ran for three series from 1998–2000, and specials from 2006–12. It centres on the lives of a scruffy television-fixated Manchester family, the Royles, comprising family patriarch Jim, his wife Barbara, their daughter Denise, their son Antony and Denise’s fiancé (later husband) David.

The series features simple production values and a stereotypical portrayal of working-class family life at the turn of the millennium. It therefore has something in common with kitchen sink drama. Almost all of the episodes take place in the Royles’ home, largely in the telly-centric living room, with the humour derived from the conversations held therein. A sixth special episode was set to be written, but Caroline Aherne died on July 2, 2016, effectively ending the programme.

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The Royle Family principal cast

Notable Cast & Crew

  • Ricky Tomlinson, “Jim Royle”
  • Sue Johnston, “Barbara Royle”
  • Caroline Aherne, “Denise Best”
  • Ralf Little, “Antony James Royle”
  • Craig Cash, “Dave Best”
  • Liz Smith, “Nana”
  • Jessica Hynes, “Cheryl Carroll”
  • Geoffrey Hughes, “Twiggy”
  • Sheridan Smith, “Emma Kavanagh”

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September 14, 1958: The Invisible Man appears on ITV

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The Invisible Man (1958-1959)

The Invisible Man (later known as H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man) is a British black-and-white science fiction/adventure/espionage television series that aired on ITV from September 1958 to July 1959. The series was nominally based on the novel by H. G. Wells, one of four such television series. In this version, the deviation from the novel went as far as changing the main character’s name from Dr. Griffin to Dr. Peter Brady who remained a sane man, not a power-hungry lunatic as in the book or the 1933 film adaptation. None of the other characters from the novel appeared in the series.

The series follows the adventures of Dr. Peter Brady, a scientist who is attempting to achieve invisibility with light refraction. However, the experiment goes wrong and turns him permanently invisible. He is initially declared a state secret and locked up, but eventually convinces the UK government, represented by Sir Charles Anderson, to allow him to return to his laboratory and search for an antidote. Almost immediately, British Intelligence recruits him for an assignment, but soon security is breached and he becomes a celebrity, consequently also using his invisibility to help people in trouble, as well as solve crimes and defeat spies for his country.

Notable Cast & Crew

  • “The Invisible Man”, uncredited (Tim Turner, series; Robert Beatty, unaired pilot)
  • “Sally Wilson”, Deborah Watling

Guest stars included Peter Sallis, Leslie Phillips, Irene Handl, Honor Blackman, Patrick Troughton, Dennis Price, and Ian Hendry.

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September 13, 1968: Oh, Brother! first broadcast on BBC1

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Derek Nimmo as Brother Dominic

Oh, Brother! is a British situation comedy show on BBC television, which was broadcast between 1968 and 1970.

The series was set in a monastery, about the well-meaning but inept novice Brother Dominic. It was basically a successor to All Gas and Gaiters, where Derek Nimmo had played a very similar role, the main difference being that Brother Dominic was working-class, whereas the previous character, Rev. Mervyn Noote, had been upper-class.

Oh, Brother! was not quite as successful or as affectionately remembered as the earlier programme, although it did last three series of 19 episodes. It was followed by a series called Oh, Father!, which lasted for one series in 1973.

Notable Cast & Crew

  • Derek Nimmo, “Brother Dominic”
  • Felix Aylmer, “Father Anselm”, the Prior
  • Mollie Sugden, unnamed, two episodes
  • Wilfred Brambell, unnamed, one episode
  • Joan Hickson, “Mother John”, one episode

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September 12, 1988: Stoppit and Tidyup clean up on BBC1

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Stoppit and Tidyup (1988)

Stoppit and Tidyup was a British children’s animated cartoon series originally broadcast by the BBC in 1988. The stories feature two protagonists, Stoppit and Tidyup, interacting with various other characters in the mythical land of Do As You’re Told. Each episode was five minutes in length and narrated by Terry Wogan. The series was partly funded by The Tidy Britain Group.

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September 12, 1968: Sportsnight first broadcast on BBC TV

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Sportsnight (1968-1997)

Sportsnight was a midweek BBC television sports programme that ran from 1968 until 1997. Shown on Tuesday nights until it moved to Wednesdays in 1973, the programme was not broadcast during the summer months and was generally on air from September until the following April. Its theme tune was composed by Tony Hatch.

Sportsnight was a successor to Sportsview which started in 1954. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year award evolved as a spin-off from Sportsview, when the last show of its inception year featured the Sports Review of 1954. Frank Bough took over as main host in 1964 and Sportsview was cancelled/replaced by Sportsnight with Coleman from 1968.

The show broadcast many sports and acted as a midweek version of Grandstand, although almost all of its coverage was in highlights form, often featuring midweek football action, particularly international matches and FA Cup replays. In the final few years the Sportsnight brand was used when the BBC was showing live European football.

Hosts

  • David Coleman (1968-1972)
  • Tony Gubba (1972-1975)
  • Harry Carpenter (1975-1985)
  • Steve Rider (1985-1991)
  • Des Lynam (1991-1997)

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September 9, 1968: Hector’s House first broadcast on BBC1

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Hector’s House (1965-1970)

Hector’s House is a children’s television series using hand puppets. Like the better-known The Magic Roundabout it was a French production revoiced for a British audience. A gentle series, it was first broadcast in 1965. Its French title was La Maison de Toutou written by Georges Croses. La Maison de Toutou translates as “The House of the Doggie” and in the French version, Hector is known as Toutou and Zsazsa is known as ZouZou. In the United Kingdom, it was first shown on the September 9, 1968 and the series of 78 episodes continued as a repeat cycle until September 12, 1975 for its 5-minute-long screenings on BBC 1 at 5:40 p.m. before the News.

The main characters, affable Hector the Dog (voiced by Paul Bacon) and cute Zsazsa the Cat (Lucie Dolène), live in a house and beautiful garden. Kiki the Frog (Denise Bryer), dressed in a pink smock, is a constant and at times an intrusive visitor, through her hole in the wall. Despite Hector’s willingness to endlessly help them out, Kiki and Zsazsa often played tricks on him to teach him a lesson, leading him to say his catchphrase at the end of the episode, “I’m a Great Big [whatever he was] Old Hector.”

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