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27 November 2014
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Summer in the Sixties
Dennis Potter - The Nigel Barton Plays

Summer in the Sixties

Snapshot of the era - Television

The Sixties were an era of memorable events, fads and fashions. To jog your memory, we have highlights for art, social/political moments, sport, music, TV, films, style and toys along with information about related programming in the BBC FOUR season.

TV in the BBC FOUR season:

The Truth About Sixties TV

A Night in the Sixties (archive programming)

Time Shift: Fantasy Sixties

Time Shift: Black and White Minstrel Show - Revisited

Dennis Potter – The Nigel Barton Plays (to be confirmed)

TV went colour, Britain's first ever soap was launched and Dr Who was born…

• Originally an American show, Jukebox Jury landed in the UK in 1959 but didn't really make it big until 1960.

Involving different celebrities deciding whether new music releases would be a 'hit' or a 'miss' it often featured big name guests including The Beatles.

• In 1961 The Avengers hit the small screen. Featuring English Gent Patrick McNee in his bowler hat and Honor Blackman oozing sex appeal this show was must-watch TV.

• Now the oldest soap opera in the world, people first tuned into Coronation Street in 1961.

• With the aim of injecting some gritty realism into police drama on TV, Z Cars first started in 1962.

The show was named after the then new Ford Zephyr cars used as patrol vehicles in the series.

Z Cars Z Cars

• One of the best loved TV characters of all time, Dr Who, first appeared in 1963 with his Tardis and the infamous Daleks that scared generations of school children.

Steptoe and Son – Father and son team Albert and Harold were TV's first (and probably favourite) rag and bone men. This pair of scoundrels, first on screen in 1963, had the nation gripped and made the show one of the most popular British sitcoms of all time.

• Originally transmitted from a converted church in Manchester in 1964, Top of the Pops was initially commissioned for six shows but is still going strong today.

The very first episode featured Dusty Springfield, The Beatles and Cliff Richard and The Shadows.

Thunderbirds – This group of puppets first set out in 1965 to save the world and ended up captivating the nation.

The Magic Roundabout was created by the French author Serge Danot in 1965. Each five minute episode of this weird and wonderful series featured the delights of Dougal the dog, pink cow Ermintrude and their other groovy friends!

Til Death Us Do Part - Warren Mitchell played arch bigot Alf Garnett who from 1966 onwards found fault with everyone and everything except his beloved West Ham United, in this popular British comedy.

• From 1967 onwards a former secret agent called Number 6 was kidnapped and kept against his will in a mysterious village in cult TV show The Prisoner.

Every week he endeavoured to escape but was always recaptured.

• A cheeky red fox called Basil Brush first hit screens in 1968.

Dad's Army the series started in 1968 and produced around 80 episodes in the nine years that it ran.

The term Dad's Army was given to the British Home Guard during World War II, as it was predominately made up of men who didn't qualify for active service.

• In 1969 school children and their parents alike fell in love with The Clangers - a family of cute little pink knitted aliens living and whistling on a blue, cratered moon somewhere in space.

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