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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > History > Archive Films > Let Me Tell You: Swindon

Let Me Tell You: Swindon opening titles

Let Me Tell You: Swindon opening titles

Let Me Tell You: Swindon

Watch a BBC West programme from 1967, whose presenters went out onto the streets to ask locals what they thought of life in Swindon, and look at the pressing issues of the town.

Let Me Tell You was a BBC West TV series which aired in the mid 1960s. Each week, presenters Meryl O'Keeffe and Frank Hennig would visit a different town in the South West, meet local people and find out what issues concerned them about the area in which they lived.

Swindon train station in 1967

Swindon train station in 1967

Broadcast on 12th January 1967 was an edition of the show which looked at life in Swindon.

Set to jaunty big band music, the title sequence shows a quick succession of places in and around the town such as the train station (looking remarkably different to how it does now), the Town Hall and the bustling, pre-pedestrianised Regent Street.

The early part of the programme focuses on retired railway workers who were angry that a gratuity they were paid before the National Pension Scheme came in, was now subject to a mandatory weekly deduction.

The newly built Nythe estate

The newly built Nythe estate

Presenter Frank Hennig is later seen meeting a female Swindon traffic warden who is asked if she feels ostracised doing such a job. He also rather quaintly comments that it's 'rather a strange job for a lady'!

Later on it's suggested that loneliness and depression are some of the emerging problems developing on some of the newly-built outlying housing estates in the town.

Hennig pays a visit to Nythe and doorsteps some housewives to find out if this is something they feel has affected them.

The controversial water feature on The Parade

The controversial water feature on The Parade

The most amusing part of the programme comes about halfway through when presenter Meryl O'Keeffe visits The Parade in the town shopping centre and asks locals what they think of the newly installed, unusual concrete water feature.

Comments range from "it's a monstrosity!" to "what an eyesore", and "the best thing they could do is stick a bomb under it and blow it up".

In fairness, one doubts if anyone who remembers the sculpture - which stood outside British Home Stores until the late 1970s - would look back fondly to it.

Presenter Meryl O'Keeffe

Presenter Meryl O'Keeffe

The programme rounds up with Frank Hennig visiting Park Grammar School which had recently been chosen to participate in a national applied science scheme.

Pupils are shown building their own model hovercraft as part of the scheme which was designed to encourage children to apply scientific theory to such projects.

'Let Me Tell You: Swindon' is a fascinating snapshot of life in the town in the Swinging Sixties - and will appeal to anyone who remembers the town of the time - or is interested in its history.

last updated: 05/03/2010 at 11:49
created: 05/06/2008

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Gerry stimpson
born and bred all my64 years it is a great place to live

Ray Hennig
Well, I'd forgotten that!The presenter was my dad and he wasn't really posh. If you go back to the old Alexandra Palace (pronounced Elexandra Pelace!) broadcasts, you'll here the difference.Anyway, toodle pip, don't you know, what!RayH

I lived in Swindon in the 60's. Greatest time of my life. Loved it so much I took my American wife and son back to show them where my boyhood dreams all came true. I remember the sculpture, and yes, we thought it was ugly. I was in the first year of Park North Junior School, helped raise funds for the swimming pool. The old cinema for Saturday Morning pictures, minors of the ABC. Old Town museum, Coate Water, Liddington Hill, the fossils in the brickworks in Day House Lane, all fond memories.

charlie and danielle knights
we was born in swindon in the year 2000(charlie) and 2001(danielle).we think swindon is Great!

Dawn Walpole
Born and bred here best place to live

swindon is the best place on earth

anthony wilson
I was born in swindon in 1964. graet to see a few rimindrs such as the square block fountain, nythe and park school, made me laugh. when the reporter was approaching the lady traffic wardens from behind, I half expected Dick emery to turn around (ooh you are awful!) it reminded me of the 60s sketch. lol :-)

chris mckinlay
I grew up in Swindon in the 60's so it was lovely to see. I even saw a glimpse at the beginning of the programme a neighbour of my mother's. The presenters were very posh.

James Harrison
What a great programme! They don't make them like that any more... and weren't the presenters posh... They were like a couple of aliens visiting some far flung planet. Good to see that the BBC held back on travel expenses in those days... perhaps they should ferry a few more of their highly-paid presenters around on the backs of tractors! Anyway, a lovely piece of old film which reminds us how much both TV and Swindon have moved on since 1967.

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