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More from the You & Yours archive

Tuesday 12 October 2010, 18:15

Clare Walker Clare Walker

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A memo from Radio 4 Controller Tony Whitby proposing a 'possible daily magazine programme', 27 May 1970

Editor's note: more quite haunting glimpses of our former selves from the You & Yours archive. We've now published all of the five episodes of the programme from the 1970s found in the archive. If you have a recording of an episode of You & Yours from that decade, please leave a comment to let us know - SB.

"Very often you'd groan and think 'I'm not going to do school uniforms again'" Nancy Wise revealed when we discussed working for You and Yours in the 1970s. It must have been a regular topic, as only five complete programmes survive from that decade, and in one of them John Edmunds asks Betty Jerman rather despairingly whether any of the latest school uniform trends will finally enable girls "to look more feminine?"

Although the territory of some of these programmes is the same, it is the odd word or phrase that jumps out and makes you realise how much things have changed. My favourite example of this has to come from the "What's On Your Mind?" section of the programme which dealt with listeners' comments and queries. "The incessant flow of this boy's sales patter was a complete brainwash" complains Mrs Nina Gillings about a doorstep salesman in May 1972. It is only when he has left and she is "perspiring freely" that she realises that she has been "fooled by a confidence trickster"!

I'm jealous of the reporters of some of these pieces too. "Turkey breast cooked with almonds or herb lemon and cream sauce, sole and mushrooms and mussels, strawberry peach salad and orange rum gateaux" are just some of the meals sampled by Tim Matthews at a country house in Gloucestershire in a feature about holidays on a £20 budget. While he interviews the proprietor - the very plummy Captain Barker - you can hear him lighting and sucking his pipe!

Each of these remaining four programmes from the 1970s contains similar gems but then you suddenly come across a comment with contemporary resonance. In a report on care homes for older people, for instance, it is shocking to hear one resident confide that she finds it hard sharing a bedroom with five other people. But then comes some timeless wisdom and advice to those going into a care: "They must realise that they are going into a new life... they mustn't keep thinking about the life they've left and regretting it... but try and take as much possible interest in their surroundings and regard it as an experience from which they can learn something of interest."

We published the first of the five 1970s editions of You & Yours last week. Here are four more quite vivid slivers of social history for you to listen to:

7th June 1971: Nancy Wise presents a programme which includes an interview about family budgets, Tim Matthews reporting on the kinds of holidays you can get for £20 and there's also an item on rheumatism.

3rd February 1972: John Edmunds presents and Joan Yorke is sent to Walthamstow to look into revolutionary health centres, where doctors are grouped together with nurses all on one site! School uniforms are discussed at length and Derek Cooper goes to Battersea Dogs Home to find out if it is possible to keep dogs in today's big cities!

15th February 1972: Joan Yorke presents advice about the fuel crisis including tips on doing housework during blackouts! There's an interview with the NUT about teacher's pay, Tim Matthews gets to shadow the fire brigade, and there are letters about "slow learners", British rail fares and "new pence".

25th May 1972 Derek Cooper presents this edition which starts with an interview with Dr Lyall Watson about his new book 'Omnivores', Lucille Hall reports on care homes for older people There's also an item about how to bring up genius children - is it best to be 'totally permissive' or is it all in the genes?

And here's the earliest episode of You & Yours we could find in the archive, from 7 May 1971, introduced by Jeanine McMullen.

Clare Walker is a producer on You & Yours

  • Listen to last week's fascinating look at forty years of You & Yours here.
  • The picture shows a memo from Controller Tony Whitby concerning a 'possible daily magazine programme'. There are more pictures from the You & Yours archive on Flickr.

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    Comment number 1.

    Surprised that no one has commented thus far.

    How quaint it is to hear R4 content as it used to be (and some might argue, should be), before the age of political correctness, who would dare to use the term "Housewife" or "Slow learner" these days for example, and in a quite non-sensationalist tones to boot, never mind the prime examples of "BBC English"...


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Find out about this year's panel and theme