1960s 1970s BBC Billy Smart Hereward the Wake Radio Times Radio Times covers

BBC drama productions on the cover of the Radio Times 4: Series and serials, 1965-74

To help clarify my thinking about what sort of television drama gets remembered and forgotten in Britain, I’ve been looking at how the Radio Times publicised BBC drama over 1946-82, the period covered by the ‘Forgotten Television Drama in the UK’ project.

I’ve put together lists of all of the covers of the Radio Times that promoted original BBC drama productions during these years. As this information hasn’t previously been collated or put online before I’m posting these lists up here in six parts, where a general readership of magazine collectors and fans of particular programmes may find them useful.

The choice of drama series promoted on the cover of the Radio Times in the late 1960s and early 70s shows a strong concentration on familiarity, with long-running favourite programmes – Z Cars (BBC Television/ BBC1 1962-78), Dr Finlay’s Casebook (BBC Television/ BBC1 1962-71), Doctor Who (BBC Television/ BBC1 1963-89), The Troubleshooters (BBC1 1966-72) and Softly, Softly (BBC1 1966-76) – reappearing time and time again. I have marked when a series appeared on the cover more than once by numbering each successive edition in brackets.

1965-09-11 RT Midlands and East Anglia page 0001-1

One problem in tracking the types of drama promoted in the Radio Times is variations across different regional editions, with programmes of particular regional interest sometimes appearing on the cover of local editions only (for example, Stewart Love’s play ‘The Big Donkey’ in the Northern Ireland edition for 30 March 1963). When I find out about regional variations, I’m adding them to the list. The cover above (11 September 1965), promoting Hereward the Wake (a new BBC1 Sunday family adventure serial) is a case in point, with London’s Radio Times readers getting a different cover, publicising a BBC2 documentary (1940) at a time when many regions of the UK could not yet receive BBC2.

Radio Times covers: Series and serials 1965-74

02 Jan 1965 Dr Finlay’s Casebook (3)

13 Feb 1965 Doctor Who (3)

20 Feb 1965 Sherlock Holmes (1)

03 Apr 1965 The Wars of the Roses

10 Apr 1965 A Tale of Two Cities

29 May 1965 The World of Wooster

03 Jul 1965 Mogul

31 Jul 1965 199 Park Lane

11 Sep 1965 Hereward the Wake (some regions only – Not London)

23 Oct 1965 The Mask of Janus

01 Jan 1966 Softly, Softly (1)

08 Jan 1966 The Idiot

15 Jan 1966 David Copperfield

30 Apr 1966 The Troubleshooters (1)

07 May 1966 Quick Before They Catch Us

18 Jun 1966 Adam Adamant Lives!

02 Jul 1966 King of the River

30 Jul 1966 Mr John Jorrocks

29 Oct 1966 Vendetta

05 Nov 1966 Doctor Who (4)

03 Dec 1966 The Three Musketeers

07 Jan 1967 The Forsyte Saga (1)

28 Jan 1967 The Troubleshooters (2)

18 Feb 1967 Blandings Castle

04 Mar 1967 Z Cars (5)

18 Mar 1967 Dr Finlay’s Casebook (4)

06 May 1967 Mickey Dunne

27 May 1967 Champion House

26 Aug 1967 The Newcomers (1)

02 Sep 1967 Doctor Who (5)

09 Sep 1967 Pride and Prejudice

16 Sep 1967 The White Rabbit

04 Nov 1967 Dr Finlay’s Casebook (5)

02 Dec 1967 Vanity Fair

06 Jan 1968 The Portrait of a Lady

13 Jan 1968 The Troubleshooters (3)

20 Jan 1968 Doctor Who (6)

10 Feb 1968 Nicholas Nickleby

24 Feb 1968 Softly, Softly (2)

04 May 1968 The First Lady (1)

11 May 1968 The Newcomers (2)

01 Jun 1968 What Maisie Knew

29 Jun 1968 The Expert

24 Aug 1968 Z Cars (6)

07 Sep 1968 The Forsyte Saga (2)

21 Sep 1968 Sherlock Holmes (2)

28 Sep 1968 Softly, Softly (3)

16 Nov 1968 Resurrection

11 Jan 1969 The Borderers (1)

18 Jan 1969 The Troubleshooters (4)

08 Mar 1969 Dr Finlay’s Casebook (6)

15 Mar 1969 The First Lady (2)

19 Apr 1969 The Elusive Pimpernel

31 May 1969 Dr Finlay’s Casebook (7)

16 Aug 1969 Christ Recrucified

06 Sep 1969 Dixon of Dock Green (5)/ Softly, Softly (4)/ Z Cars (7)

27 Sep 1969 The First Churchills

18 Oct 1969 The Canterbury Tales

13 Dec 1969 Paul Temple

03 Jan 1970 Doctor Who (7)

10 Jan 1970 Ivanhoe

31 Jan 1970 The Borderers (2)

07 Feb 1970 Doomwatch (1)

04 Apr 1970 Codename

16 May 1970 The Troubleshooters (5)

26 Sep 1970 Softly, Softly (5)

03 Oct 1970 The Roads to Freedom

24 Oct 1970 Little Women

28 Nov 1970 Waugh on Crime

12 Dec 1970 Doomwatch (2)

02 Jan 1971 Doctor Who (8)

09 Jan 1971 The Six Wives of Henry VIII

16 Jan 1971 The Last of the Mohicans

13 Feb 1971 Elizabeth R

13 Mar 1971 Z Cars (8)

20 Mar 1971 Take Three Girls

24 Apr 1971 Brett

21 Aug 1971 Trial

11 Sep 1971 The Troubleshooters (6)

02 Oct 1971 Softly, Softly (6)

13 Nov 1971 Casanova

20 Nov 1971 Dixon of Dock Green (6)

01 Jan 1972 Doctor Who (9)

22 Apr 1972 The Lotus Eaters

29 Apr 1972 The Golden Bowl

03 Jun 1972 Doomwatch (3)

16 Sep 1972 The Onedin Line (1)

23 Sep 1972 War and Peace

14 Oct 1972 Colditz

30 Dec 1972 Doctor Who (10)

27 Jan 1973 Lord Peter Wimsey

17 Feb 1973 The Regiment

28 Apr 1973 A Picture of Katherine Mansfield

07 Jul 1973 Jack the Ripper

21 Jul 1973 A Pin to See the Peepshow

22 Sep 1973 Jane Eyre

20 Oct 1973 The Onedin Line (2)

17 Nov 1973 Hawkeye: The Pathfinder

15 Dec 1973 Doctor Who (11)

05 Jan 1974 Colditz

19 Jan 1974 The Pallisers

09 Mar 1974 Fall of Eagles

30 Mar 1974 Shoulder to Shoulder

02 Nov 1974 Notorious Woman

30 Nov 1974 David Copperfield

(Thanks to Simon Coward for his assistance in double-checking the lists)

3 replies on “BBC drama productions on the cover of the Radio Times 4: Series and serials, 1965-74”

I have been trying to research a TV Drama that I remember from the 1960’s/70’s. It made such an impact on me that I have never forgotten it, yet I can find no record of it on any of the web pages related to said subject.

I just wondered if one of your researches might help. I believe the play was called “The March” and it predicted a mass exodus of people from Africa into Europe. The play was based on the idea of famine, rather than an escape from violence and war, but its outcome was the same – thousands of people marching from Africa and camping along the south coast of the Mediterranean Sea trying to get across to Europe by boat, and the impact that such a shift of populations by mass migration might have on the people of the European countries.

I remember one of the lines was a letter from a would be immigrant who was prepared to come and lay by the fire and be obedient, because the life of a dog in Europe was better than starving in Africa, it has always stayed with me.

I think the end of the play will also always haunt me – it was scenes of Military vehicles and troops arriving on the north coast of the Med – and one was left to wonder the possible outcomes of this action…………

Every time I see images in the media of the vast numbers of refugees/migrants, arriving bedraggled or dying in Greece, this drama comes to mind. I’ve spoken to so many people about it, and I seem to be the only person who has any recollection of it. Yet I am positive I did not imagine it. It was in black and white, and would have probably been on BBC as I didn’t have a TV that received ITV for a long time after it started.

I realise this makes me appear to be some ancient old bat who doesn’t remember what day it is, but I don’t know who else might be able to help, and It would be fascinating to see a rerun of the play, and how poignant it has become in the current history of Europe and beyond.

Yours sincerely, Jax Horswill

I’ve been looking around, and I’m sure that it isn’t any of the handful of TV plays with ‘March’ in the title. I’ll carry on looking…

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