Friday Magazine

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Friday Magazine
BBC Schools TV
First run:
13th May

- 8th July 1960

(1 school year)
Episodes:7 episodes
Duration:20 minutes
Subject:Citizenship: Citizenship, PSHE
Audience:Age 11-13
Language:In English
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In the summer term of 1960, the first schools television programme for slow learning children in the early years of secondary school went out on Friday afternoons on BBC1, with the title Friday Magazine. This short series was a compilation of features, including documentary films on subjects of interest to children, things to do, and a drama serial called The Corner Shop featuring the day to day problems of the Anderson family.

The family drama aspect was very similar to the schools radio programme The Jacksons, which had been running since the mid-1950s aimed at a similar audience. After its one experimental term of broadcasts, Friday Magazine was continued as the series Television Club, which would run for another 20 years.

I believe the title was inspired by the BBC's Wednesday Magazine programme, shown under the Mainly For Women banner since the late 1950s, and presented as a programme in its own right in 1960[1]. Women could have their magazine on Wednesdays and schoolchildren could have theirs on Fridays!


There were four regular features in the programmes, and apart from The Corner Shop which ran every week, episodes of each feature were scattered throughout the run. The episode list below gives details of all the features in each episode.

Brian Starkey presented instructions on Making a Simple String Puppet in four parts, concluding with The Play in the final episode.

There was footage from Hill Top Farm, a stock farm in Kent.

Film of journeys to Birmingham by various means of transport - rides in a long-distance lorry, on a canal boat and by goods train.

And the drama serial The Corner Shop written by Norman Longmate and set in the local grocery shop run by the Anderson family. Their adventures were low-profile and simple, but recognisable to the teenage audience. For instance, according to the description of episode 7 in the free online version of the BBC Programme Catalogue, the drama in this episode showed Bob Anderson planning for a holiday, "explaining what a sleeping bag is and reassuring (Susie) that the boys will chase the cows away while the girls do the cooking".

The Anderson family in their Corner Shop


The series was shown just once, in the summer term of 1960 on Friday afternoons at 2:05pm. There were two interruptions to the weekly transmissions - the week ending 10th June was Whit week and there were no schools programmes on at all, and Friday 1st July saw the Men's Singles Final tennis match at Wimbledon all afternoon.

Num Making a Simple
String Puppet
A Journey
to Birmingham
Hill Top Farm The Corner Shop Broadcast
1. - - Our first visit 1: Susie's Lucky Day 13 May 1960
2. Part 1 - Another visit 2: Bob and the Bicycle 20 May 1960
3. - in a long-distance lorry - 3: Mrs Green's Hat 27 May 1960
4. Part 2 - Another visit 4: Jean and the Birdcage 3 Jun 1960
5. Part 3 on a canal boat - 5: Alan's Bar of Chocolate 17 Jun 1960
6. - by goods train Another visit 6: The Andersons' Night Out 24 Jun 1960
7. Part 4: The Play - A farm walk 7: Bob Plans a Holiday 8 Jul 1960


Introduced by Peter Hawkins
With Brian Starkey (Making a Simple String Puppet)

Victor Platt as Mr Anderson
Barbara Lott as Mrs Anderson
Clive Marshall as Bob
Kika Markham as Susie

Guest cast

Grace Arnold as customer (episode 1)
Doreen Keogh as Mrs Green (episode 3)
June Archer as Jean (episode 4)
Jonathan Collins as Harry Fielding (episode 5)
Michael Prater as Alan Hanford (episode 5)
Meriel Hunn as customer (episode 6)

Written by Norman Longmate (The Corner Shop)
Directed by Paul Mitchell
Bill Scott
Produced by Ronald Smedley


Friday Magazine was valued by teachers who used it, who provided extensive feedback to the BBC, and who apparently cried "disgraceful"[2] when the series was not immediately continued in the next school year.

In fact the School Broadcasting Council requested that the programme continue and be expanded to run for two terms a year (the spring as well as the summer). The BBC did bring the series back in the spring of 1962, suitably expanded and concentrating on the adventures of a whole new family. This new series was titled Television Club, and there is a lot more information about it on this site.

In The Archive

According to the free online version of the BBC Programme Catalogue, just a single episode from this series - episode 6 - still exists in full in the BBC archive. The Corner Shop drama sequence from episode 7 also survives.

Sources & References

  • Fawdry, Kenneth (1974) Everything But Alf Garnett: A Personal View of BBC School Broadcasting, London: BBC. ISBN 0 563 12763 5 - passing acknowledgement on page 94
  • Radio Times for episode information and credits
  • 'Schools Television in the United Kingdom: A Symposium contributed by the BBC, Associated Rediffusion, ATV and Granada TV Network' in Visual Education July 1961, pp.2-9.
  1. Information about Wednesday Magazine simply based on me occasionally noticing it in the Radio Times. If you have better information, please get in touch by email or on the forum.
  2. reaction quotes from Visual Education July 1961 p.3 and mentioned in Fawdry (1974) p.94.

More Programmes

Some random programmes for age 11-13 from the 1960s

Materion y Dydd
BBC Schools Radio
Mathematics (radio)
BBC Schools Radio
Drama (ITV)
ITV Schools
Gwyddoniaeth a Bywyd
BBC Schools TV
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