Schedules

Summer 1981

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Stop Look Listen
(ITV, Wednesdays 11:05am & Fridays 11:02am)
Music Time
(BBC 1, Mondays 10:15am & Thursdays 2:15pm)
Time and Tune
(BBC Radio 4 VHF, Thursdays 11:00; BBC Radio Cymru, Mondays 1:40pm)
Encounter: Spain
(BBC 1, Mondays 11:40am & Tuesdays 2:14pm)
Annual programme guide to BBC schools programmes for Wales
Annual timetable for ITV schools programmes, Grampian edition

BBC Radio

BBC schools radio programmes.

BBC Radio 4 VHF

MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
09:00
9:05 A Service for Schools
09:15
09:30 9:30 Voix de France
9:35 Country Dancing Stage II(John Tether)
09:45
9:50 Poetry Corner
9:55 Zdrastye Druz'ya! 9:55 Notice BoardSecondary
10:00 10:00 Music MakersPeregrine's Progress 10:00 Sounds, Words and Movement(Deborah Riley & Paul Bura) 10:00 Music WorkshopMrs Noah's Missing
10:05 Notice BoardPrimary
10:10 Time to Move(James Dodding)
10:15 10:15 Playtime(Judy Bennett)
10:20 Something To Think About 10:20 Stories and RhymesPoetry
10:30
10:45 10:45 Teachers' Information Programme 10:45 The Music Box(Michael Burnett & Sandra Kerr)
11:00 11:00 Singing Together(Stephen Varcoe) 11:00 Let's MoveThe Princess in the Mountain / The Little Red Computer 11:00 Dance Workshop(Lesley Judd) 11:00 Time and TuneThe Time and Tune Radio Show 11:00 Meet the French
11:15 11:15 Notice BoardSecondary (rpt)
11:20 Springboard 11:20 Man 11:20 Listening and WritingNoah's Ark / Summer's End, etc
11:30
11:40 Drama WorkshopFrom Play to Play / 11:40 Introducing Science 11:40 Advanced Studies: Geography
11:45
12:00
14:00 14:00 Exploration Earth 14:00 History Long Ago 14:00 Movement and Drama I(James Dodding) 14:00 Living LanguageThe Winchwood Ring / The Story of Troy, etc 14:00 Let's Join In
14:15
14:20 That'd Be Telling 14:20 From the Caribbean 14:20 Books, Plays, PoemsSet Poems / Predicaments 14:20 Capricorn Club(Douglas Coombes) 14:20 Religious Education
14:30 14:30 Speak
14:40 Movement and Drama IISmuggling in 18th Century Britain 14:40 Stories and RhymesStories 14:40 Living Through History
14:45 14:45 Nature
15:00

BBC Radio Ulster VHF

as England.

BBC Radio Scotland VHF

MONDAY

as England from 11:00, except:

11:20-11:40 Time to Move

TUESDAY

as England.

WEDNESDAY

as England.

THURSDAY

as England.

FRIDAY

as England.

BBC Radio Cymru

MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
10:45
10:50 Un, Dau, Tri!
11:00
11:05 Sain, Cerdd a Chân
11:10 Symud a Chân 11:10 Gair yn ei Le
11:15
11:30
13:30 13:30 Something To Think About 13:30 Dere Di 13:30 Cam Ymlaen 13:30 Dere Di
13:40 Time and Tune 13:40 Playtime
13:45 13:45 Movement and Drama 13:45 Poetry Corner 13:45 Dance Workshop
13:55 Living Language 13:55 Let's Join In
14:00 14:00 A Service for Schools
14:05 Wales and Beyond 14:05 Nature
14:15 14:15 Let's Move 14:15 The Music Box
14:20 Stories and Rhymes 14:20 Stories and Rhymes
14:25 Time to Move
14:30 14:30 Movement and Drama 14:30 Sounds, Words and Movement
14:35 Exploration Earth
14:40 History Long Ago
14:45 14:45 Country Dancing 14:45 Music Makers
14:50 Introducing Science
14:55 Singing Together
15:00
15:05 Quest
15:15
15:30

Notes & New Programmes

Schools radio programmes in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland ran from Tuesday 5th May (as Monday 4th was the May Day holiday) to Monday 6th July 1981. There were no programmes in the week beginning 25th May due to half term, so a total of 8 weeks of broadcasts.

The programmes on Radio Cymru in Wales ran one week later than the rest of the country. Radio Cymru carried all of the primary school programmes from the main school radio service from England, but on their own totally different schedule in the afternoons. Many areas in the south and east of Wales could receive the Radio 4 VHF signal in addition to Radio Cymru, so they had a choice of which schedule to follow. In fact these schools could choose between two separate episodes of Let's Join In on Friday afternoons, being transmitted simultaneously by the two stations. Radio Cymru also broadcast Welsh-language programmes for learners of the language in the afternoons, and Welsh-language programmes for Welsh speakers in the mornings. They did not carry any secondary schools programmes at all, and so a special pre-recorded cassette service was offered by the School Broadcasting Council for Wales whereby schools could order up to 60 programmes on cassette free of charge during the year, and more at a rate of 80p each. This was not yet a general tape-recorded distribution system for radio programmes, which the BBC would set up later in the 1980s, but specifically a substitute for over-the-air reception of programmes, as the cassette service was only available to schools who could not receive Radio 4[1].

The second European Broadcasting Union Children's Storywriting Competition was launched this term. An unfinished story called The Secret of the Dark Forest by Lea Pennanen was broadcast several times on BBC radio, read by Martin Jarvis, and children were invited to write an ending for the story in not more than 600 words. The ten-minute programme was first broadcast within the series Playground on Radio 1 on Saturday 30th May 1981, and was then repeated during schools programmes on Radio 4 VHF - on Tuesdays 2nd, 9th & 16th June at 11:20am and on Monday 6th July at 11:40am.

Budgets for school broadcasting had been cut drastically for the year 1980-81 - by 10% for school radio in England, and 100% for school radio in Scotland! - and would be cut again in subsequent years as the battle between the entertainment-focussed BBC and its education-focussed Educational Broadcasting department, which had been fought with ever-increasing force over the preceding decade, finally turned in favour of the central BBC. The Head of School Television, Geoffrey Hall, had warned in September 1980 that gaps would begin to appear in his schedules in future years, but in school radio those gaps were already painfully visible by this summer term (see the Radio 4 grid above)[2]. In addition, several series did not last for the whole term - there were only 4 weeks of Drama Workshop programmes, and Religious Education and Living Through History were also replaced by "music interludes" before the full 8 weeks were up.

The Capricorn Club radio series, accompanying Capricorn Game on TV, was new this term. On Radio Cymru the series Cam Ymlaen had been introduced in autumn 1980 and continued this term, the second stage of programmes for young learners of Welsh continuing from Dere Di. Of course most of the individual episodes of the series broadcast this term were new.

BBC Television

BBC schools television programmes.

BBC1 England

MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
09:00 9:00 Twentieth Century History (rpt)
9:05 Télé-France 9:05 Descubra: España (rpt)
09:15
09:30
9:33 Out of the Past (rpt) 9:35 It's Maths! (rpt)
09:45 9:47 Science All Around (rpt) 9:47 Everyday Maths (rpt)
9:52 Today and Tomorrow (rpt) 9:52 Merry Go RoundSex Education (rpt)
10:00 9:58 Capricorn Game 10:00 Merry Go RoundIt's All Right (rpt)
10:12 Words and Pictures(Henry Woolf & Charlie) (rpt) 10:10 Merry Go Round (rpt)
10:15 10:15 Music TimeThe Evening Star 10:16 Merry Go RoundSex Education 10:15 Capricorn Game (rpt)
10:30 10:30 Brazil (rpt)
10:35 Scene 10:35 Going to Work (rpt)
10:38 Resource Units 11-13: Religious & Moral Education
10:45
10:50 Mind StretchersThe Problem (rpt)
11:00 11:00 Merry Go Round 11:00 WatchNorth American Inidans / Animals in Danger / The Zoo 11:02 Science All Around 11:02 Everyday Maths 11:02 Hyn o Fyd
11:05 Near and Far (rpt) 11:05 It's Maths!
11:15 11:17 Television ClubA Place Like Home
11:25 You and MeCrow & Alice, etc 11:25 You and MeCrow & Alice, etc 11:25 You and MeCrow & Alice, etc
11:30 11:30 SearchThe Coastline of Wales
11:40 Encounter: Spain 11:40 Resource Units 11-13: Religious & Moral Education 11:40 Today and Tomorrow
11:45
12:00 12:00 Mind StretchersThe Problem
12:05 Kontakte 12:05 Mind StretchersThe Solution
12:15
12:30
14:00 14:01 Words and Pictures(Henry Woolf & Charlie) 14:01 You and MeCrow & Alice, etc (rpt) 14:01 WatchNorth American Inidans / Animals in Danger / The Zoo (rpt) 14:00 You and MeCrow & Alice, etc (rpt) 14:02 Scene (rpt)
14:15 14:14 Encounter: Spain (rpt) 14:15 Music TimeThe Evening Star (rpt)
14:18 Out of the Past 14:18 Near and Far 14:18 Twentieth Century History
14:30 14:32 Merry Go RoundIt's All Right
14:40 Going to Work 14:40 Brazil 14:40 Television ClubA Place Like Home (rpt)
14:45 14:45 Descubra: España
15:00

BBC1 Northern Ireland

MONDAY

as England except:

10:35 Ulster in Focus (rpt) (fortnightly) (probably[3])

TUESDAY

as England.

WEDNESDAY

as England.

THURSDAY

as England except:

11:30 Ulster in Focus (fortnightly)

FRIDAY

as England, but probably excluding Hyn o Fyd

BBC1 Scotland

MONDAY

as England.

TUESDAY

as England.

WEDNESDAY

as England.

THURSDAY

as England.

FRIDAY

as England, but excluding Hyn o Fyd.

BBC1 Wales

DYDD LLUN

as England.

DYDD MAWRTH

as England.

DYDD MERCHER

as England except:

14:18-14:38 Hyn o Fyd

DYDD IAU

as England.

DYDD GWENER

as England (Hyn o Fyd is a repeat).

Notes & New Programmes

BBC schools TV programmes ran from Tuesday 5th May to Friday 3rd July 1981. Most programmes took a week off in the week beginning 25th May due to half term, including You and Me which usually continued broadcasting throughout half term for the benefit of young children at home, but strangely not including Télé-France which went out as normal that week. On Monday 4th May You and Me was broadcast, but at the earlier time of 10:45am. This was just before the regular broadcast of Play School on BBC2 - normally on Mondays this term You and Me was shown at 11:25am, immediately following Play School.

Most of the programmes had very short runs this term and finished after a few weeks - for instance Encounter: Spain and Descubra: España, which would normally be shown fortnightly to stretch them over a complete autumn or spring term, could be shown on a weekly basis and when they ran out of episodes they simply left the schedule. From 22nd June onwards all of the afternoon programmes, and many late morning programmes, were disrupted by coverage of Test Cricket and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Many programmes had finished by then, but the afternoon broadcasts of Words and Pictures, You and Me, Watch and Music Time were moved to BBC2 for the final weeks of term. The Thursday broadcast of Television Club was moved to 9:25am, as by the time of its usual broadcast at 2:40pm the BBC needed to be broadcasting Wimbledon coverage on both BBC1 and BBC2 simultaneously, so there was no space left! On 4th and 18th June the Wales-produced series Search was broadcast as usual on BBC1 Wales, but everywhere else in the country it was replaced with Cricket coverage. There was also horse racing coverage on the BBC during May, but this was kept to BBC2 out of the way of the schools programmes.

Today and Tomorrow was a fortnightly series and in the weeks when it wasn't on BBC1 simply didn't broadcast any programmes. Ulster in Focus was also fortnightly, and as BBC1 Northern Ireland did not broadcast Search their schedules were similarly vacant in the weeks when Ulster in Focus was not shown.


Capricorn Game was new this term, a series for children with learning difficulties featuring an adventure serial and puzzles, linked to Capricorn Club on the radio. Mind Stretchers, a series of five-minute programmes encouraging thinking skills in a variety of school subjects, was also new this term, as was the geography series Brazil and the technology series Today and Tomorrow. Finally Encounter: Spain and its Spanish-language equivalent Descubra: España were both new this term, continuing a tradition of such programmes in the summer term which began with Encounter: Germany in summer 1977, Encounter: Italy in summer 1978, and Encounter: France in summer 1979.

There were also new episodes of Watch, Music Time, Merry Go Round, Scene, Search and Hyn o Fyd amongst others.

Independent Television

ITV schools programmes.

Thames Television

ITV schools programmes in London.

MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
09:30 9:30 My World(Elisabeth Sladen) (rpt) 9:30 1.. 2.. 3.. Go! 9:30 Seeing and Doing 9:30 Facts for Life 9:30 Politics: What's It All About? 9:30 The German Programme
09:45 9:47 Finding Out(Sally James) (rpt) 9:47 A Place to Live
9:50 My World(Elisabeth Sladen) 9:52 Over to You
10:00 9:58 Alive and Kicking (rpt)
10:05 Over to You (rpt) 10:04 Writers' Workshop 10:04 Music Round
10:10 Alive and Kicking 10:09 Making a LivingMaking a Living 2
10:15 10:15 The French Programme
10:23 1.. 2.. 3.. Go! (rpt)
10:30 10:30 The English Programme 10:31 Living and Growing(Stanley Mitchell)
10:35 Writers' Workshop (rpt) 10:35 Music Round (rpt)
10:40 The French Programme (rpt) 10:38 History Around You
10:45
10:53 ExperimentPhysics
11:00 11:02 Stop Look Listen(Chris Tarrant) (rpt)
11:05 Insight(Derek Griffiths) (rpt) 11:05 Leapfrog 11:05 Stop Look Listen(Chris Tarrant)
11:10 Good Health (rpt) 11:10 Starting Science (rpt)
11:15 11:17 Finding Out(Sally James) 11:14 Reading with Lenny
11:22 Picture Box(Alan Rothwell) (rpt) 11:25 Good Health 11:25 Starting Science
11:27 Seeing and Doing (rpt) 11:26 Leapfrog (rpt)
11:30
11:34 The English Programme (rpt)
11:39 History Around You (rpt) 11:40 Making a LivingMaking a Living 1
11:45 11:44 Picture Box(Alan Rothwell) 11:43 Insight(Derek Griffiths)
12:00

Grampian Television

ITV schools programmes in north east Scotland.

MONDAY

as London except:

10:40-10:55 A Place to Live

11:39-11:59 Scottish History

TUESDAY

as London except:

10:48-11:03 Naturally Scottish

(The English Programme was not shown, and A Place to Live was a repeat)

WEDNESDAY

as London, but excluding Writer's Workshop and Music Round, and The English Programme was not a repeat

THURSDAY

as London except:

9:52-10:07 Naturally Scottish (rpt)

and excluding Living and Growing

FRIDAY

as London except:

9:35-9:55 Scottish History (rpt)

Other regions

In addition to the programmes shown above, Am Gymru, About Wales, Cymru a'r Môr and Mwy Neu Lai were all apparently shown on HTV in Wales. I am not certain whether there were any other programmes shown elsewhere[4]. The series Naturally Scottish and Scottish History shown by Grampian are likely to have been shown at the same times by Scottish Television and Border Television.

Notes & New Programmes

Programmes ran from Tuesday 5th May to Monday 6th July 1981, with no programmes in the week beginning 25th May.

The German Programme only ran until 12th June, when it was replaced by a series of nature documentaries - I'm not sure that these were specifically schools programmes.

This was the last term for Leapfrog, which would be replaced by Basic Maths in the autumn term, and for Writers' Workshop & its occasional spin-off series About Books, which would be replaced by Middle English.

The second series of the infant maths series Mwy Neu Lai was apparently[4] new this term, the first series had been shown in autumn 1980.

Sources & References

  • BBC (1980) BBC Annual Programme 1980-81 Radio and Television for Schools in Wales / 1980-81 Rhaglen Flynyddol y BBC Radio a Theledu i Ysgolion Cymru. Cardiff: BBC
  • BBC Motion Gallery archive programme catalogue
  • IBA (1982) Independent Broadcasting Authority Annual Report and Accounts 1981-82. London: IBA
  • Grampian (1980) Independent Television for Schools and Colleges Annual Programme 1980-81 Age 4-18 (Grampian edition). Aberdeen: Grampian Television Ltd
  • Radio Times (London & national editions) radio & television listings, 1981 - issued on microfiche
  • The Times television listings, 1981, via The Times Digital Archive
  • TV Times (London edition) television listings, 1981, via TV Times Project database
  1. Details of the BBC Radio Cymru arrangements, and of the cassette service, from BBC (1980) p.3. Luckily there was some sort of industrial dispute involving the Radio Times this term, and so the edition beginning Saturday 27th June 1981 was a national edition and included listings for all BBC national radio stations, including Radio Cymru.
  2. The budget cuts to school broadcasting are discussed in a letter from the Chairmen of all four School Broadcasting Councils (UK, Scotland, Wales and NI) published in The Times on 13th March 1980, "Cut in BBC schools services". Geoffrey Hall's comments were reported in The Times on 17th September 1980 in an article by Kenneth Gosling, "BBC economies may mean gaps in schools schedules". They were also acknowledged in the BBC Handbook the following year. The SBC letter established that "in Scotland, it is proposed that the budget for educational broadcasting should be abruptly removed and funds sought elsewhere if the service is to continue". Also thanks to Charles Armour, then Head of School Radio, for further background information.
  3. I know from listings in The Times that BBC1 Northern Ireland showed a local schools programme on Mondays at 10:35, but The Times doesn't say what that programme was, and the editions of the Radio Times that I have seen don't say either. I am guessing that it was a repeat of Ulster in Focus, which was definitely broadcast on Fridays at 11:30.
  4. 4.0 4.1 IBA (1982) includes a list of all schools programmes shown this term, but they seem to have got the list slightly confused with the spring term 1981 (not covered in IBA (1982), but covered by the preceeding year's annual report) - for instance they list Scottish Television's Time to Think as having been broadcast by multiple regions this term, although the Grampian schedule included at the top of this page shows that this was a spring term series (so presumably 10 weeks long, and unable to fit into the summer term even if it wanted to!). It also lists Thames's Craft, Design and Technology as having been shown locally, presumably by Thames, when it certainly wasn't, and Granada's Evolution as having been shown nationally, which it also certainly wasn't. The list of Welsh series in the Other Regions section is based on the same source, so that may well be wrong as well.
    Incorrect list of ITV schools programmes from the IBA Annual Report.