Christmas TV 1969

BBC1

9.00 On Christmas Day in the Morning - Carols
9.30 A Spoonful of Sugar - from Stoke Mandeville Hospital
10.00 News and Weather
10.05 Tom and Jerry
10.15 The Doctors
10.35 Christmas Morning Service - from St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
11.45 Rolf Harris - outside broadcast from Queen Mary's Hospital for Children
12.30 Royal Family - documentary film
2.15 Top of the Pops '69 part 1
3.00 The Queen (Christmas Message)
3.00 Billy Smart's Circus Spectacular
4.10 Disney Time - with Julie Andrews
5.00 Cinderella - pantomime
6.30 News, Weather
6.40 Save the Children - Christmas appeal with Barbara Mullen
6.45 Christmas Night with the Stars - a gala programme featuring stars of BBC light entertainment in 1969
8.15 The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show
9.15 McLintock - film
11.15 Tony Bennet and the Count Basie Orchestra
12.05 And was Made Black - a look at a modern "incarnation"

BBC2

(All programmes in colour except at 11.16pm) 10.15 Play School - The Little Drummer Boy
10.35 Christmas Morning Service (As BBC 1(!))
11.45 Kyoto - An interpretation of the indestructable nature of Japanese culture
12.30 The Royal Family
2.15 Chronicle - the fate of the Armada
3.00 The Royal Ballet
5.25 News summary
5.30 Call My Bluff - Christmas edition
6.00 The Price of Fame
6.45 The Paladins of Palermo - from the Sicilian Teatro der Puri Puppet Theatre
7.10 Children Talking - that Christmas feeling
7.20 Jesus - the story of his life through the eyes of a young generation
8.05 News and Weather
8.15 Birds-eye View - Beside the Seaside by Sir John Betjeman - an aerial tour of the English seaside
9.05 This Colourful Year of Sport - Henry Longhurst looks back on sport in 1969
10.25 Barbra Streisand - entertains and causes a Happening in Central Park
11.15 News, Headlines
11.16 The Day They Robbed the Bank of England - film

London ITV

8.15 Carols for Everyone
9.05 Superman
9.30 Cinama Special
10.15 Christmas Morning United Free Church Service from St James Road Methodist Church, Shirley, Southampton
11.00 A Very Merry Morning - Leslie Crowther joins the children in Seacroft Hospital Leeds, at their party
11.30 Moonfleet - film
1.00 Kelvin Hall Circus
2.00 This is ... Tom Jones - with Tom Jones, Judy Collins, David Frye, Millicent Martin and the Treorchy Male Choir
3.00 The Pettycoat Pirates - film
4.35 Aladdin - pantomime
5.50 News
6.00 All Star Comedy Carnival
6.35 Thunderbirds
8.30 The Benny Hill Show
8.25 The Arthur Haynes Show
9.30 Robin and the Seven Hoods - film
10.30 News
10.40 Robin and the Seven Hoods (continued)
11.45 Whicker in Europe
12.15 What Was He Like? - The Very Rev Martin Sullivan, Dean of St Paul's says what he thinks Jesus was like

Midland ITV

As London except: 9.05 Cinama's Music Special
11.30 The Long, Long Trailer - film
3.00 With a Little Help from My Friends -
4.00 Popeye - The Billionaire
4.05 Crossroads
9.30 Term of Trial - film
10.40 Term of Trial - continued
12.05 Whicker in Europe; Weather

It's 1969 and the end of the sixties. Fittingly, there's a programme featuring Rolf Harris - his "Two Little Boys" was number one at the time. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the Morecambe and Wise Show (BBC1 8.15pm). ITV's response was the Benny Hill Show (8.30pm). Eric and Ernie's guests were Susan Hampshire, Frankie Vaughan and Kenny Ball and his Jazz Band. Benny Hill celebrated Christmas by getting into trouble with and all-in wrestler.

Both the major channels are much the same. It must be said that in the early days, it was the BBC that copied the ITV format. Then, as now, they competed head-to-head with very similar programmes. There is a heathy dose of relgion on both sides. Both have stars visiting children's hospitals - this type of programme continued into the 70s. Both channels feature circuses - at least they do not clash exactly - so circus fans could see both and circus haters could miss both! There are also the usual all-star pantomimes. This year, Cinderella on BBC1 featured Jimmy Tarbuck, as Buttons, Anita Harris as Cinderella and Beryl Reid and Jack Tripps as the Ugly Sisters. ITV's offering was "Aladdin" starring Maggie Vickers as Aladdin, and featuring Mike and Bernie Winters, Jack Douglas and Jimmy Loan. They overlapped, so you could not see both!

Indeed, there are some programmes that the BBC must have felt all viewers must see, as they screened them at the same time on BBC1 and BBC2 - "Christmas Morning Service" and "The Royal Family" - not the one starring Ricky Tomlinson! That is a little unfair, since they may have wanted to give some viewers a chance to see these programmes in colour.

Musically, the channels competed with "Top of the Pops" on BBC and "Tom Jones" on ITV. Films are also a regular feature of Christmas on both sides. "McLintock" is a Western starring John Wayne. BBC 2's feature "The Day they Robbed the Bank of England" starred Peter O'Toole. "Robin and the Seven Hoods" is a gangster spoof with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Midland ITV showed "The Long, Long Trailer" - no it's not a long drawn-out advertisement for something on in two weeks time, but a film starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz - a honeymoon with a difference in a giant caravan called the Whale!

 
 

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