Schedule:Autumn 1958

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BBC Radio

Home Service (England)

9:05 Service for Schools
9:35 Service for Schools
9:55 How Things Began 9:55 Stories from World History 9:55 Music and Movement I(Rachel Percival) (rpt) 9:55 Music and Movement II(Marjorie Eele) (rpt)
10:00 10:00 Early Stages in French
11:00 11:00 Singing Together(William Appleby) 11:00 Music and Movement I(Rachel Percival) 11:00 Music and Movement II(Marjorie Eele) 11:00 Rhythm and Melody(Gladys Whitred) 11:00 Time and Tune(Kay Foster)
11:20 The World of Work 11:20 General ScienceSound 11:20 Current Affairs II 11:20 GeographyCanada 11:20 Current Affairs I
11:40 Intermediate French 11:40 Religion and PhilosophyA Debate About Morals 11:40 French for Sixth Forms 11:40 Intermediate German 11:40 Talks for Sixth FormsRecent Russian History / The Eroica Symphony
13:40 People, Places and Things
14:00 14:00 The Music Box(Gordon Reynolds) 14:00 Stories and Rhymes 14:00 Let's Join In 14:00 Adventures in English Shadrach / The Garden / Avalanche, etc 14:00 Travel Talks
14:10 Orchestral Concerts
14:20 Senior English IIJane Eyre / Scenes from "The Tempest", etc 14:20 Adventures in Music 14:20 Science and the CommunityThe Fight Against Germs 14:20 The Bible and LifeSt Matthew's Gospel
14:30 14:30 The Jacksons
14:40 Modern History 14:40 Stories from British History 14:40 Senior English ISongberd's Grove / A Boy and Five Huskies / Johnny Tremain
14:45 14:45 Nature Study
14:50 Prose & Verse Readings

Scottish Home Service


as England except:

11:20-11:35 Round and About

14:30-14:50 Scottish Heritage


as England except:

11:20-11:40 Stories from Scottish History


as England plus:

13:40-14:00 Exploring Scotland


as England.


as England except:

9:05-9:25 Service for Schools (Scottish)

9:55-10:15 Physical Training

11:40-12:00 This Is My Country

Welsh Home Service


as England except:

13:40-14:00 Natur o'n Cwmpas


as England except:

9:55-10:15 Rhigwm a Chân

11:00-11:20 The Story of Wales


as England except:

9:10-9:35 Welsh Service for Schools

11:00-11:20 Early Stages in Welsh


as England except:

11:40-12:00 Second Stages in Welsh

13:40-14:00 Stori a Chwedl


as England except:

13:40-13:55 Materion y Dydd (interrupts The Brains Trust at approximately 13:39)

Notes & New Programmes

Most programmes ran from Monday 22nd September to Friday 5th December 1958, a total of 11 weeks of programmes. As usual the Service for Schools began a week earlier than all other programmes. The week beginning Monday 8th December was the Health Week for Schools, with a series of talks at 11:00-11:15am each day, given by Dr Harvey Flack. The Service for Schools and How Things Began also continued into that week. There were no schools programmes from 11:00-11:40 on Tuesday 28th October 1958 as all BBC Home Services were covering the State Opening of Parliament.

The only wholly new radio series this term was Stori a Chwedl (Stories and Legends) on the Welsh Home Service, replacing the series Hanes Cymru (Welsh History). The short Nature Calendar programme, which had followed Nature Study for several years, was dropped this term as it was "not providing the stimulus hoped for"[1]. The How Things Began programmes were, as usual, remounted from previous years, but otherwise all individual programmes were new this term as far as I know.

From 6th to 20th November Adventures in English featured a story called "The Garden" in three episodes - "The Door", "Hatty" and "The Clock". This was extracted from the classic children's book Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. The significance of this is that in autumn 1958 the book was not yet a classic, but an either not-yet released or newly published book[2] written by a BBC schools radio producer (Philippa Pearce was still a writer, and I believe the producer, of The Jacksons).

BBC Television

11:20 Science and Life (rpt)How Your Body Works 11:20 Mathematics (rpt)Shape Around Us / Counting and Drawing
14:05 MathematicsShape Around Us / Counting and Drawing 14:05 First Years at Work 14:05 Science and LifeHow Your Body Works 14:05 Spotlight 14:05 Using Our EyesLooking Around Us / The Artist at Work

Notes & New Programmes

The main term ran from Monday 22nd September to Friday 5th December 1958. The repeats of Science and Life continued until Tuesday 9th December. All programmes broadcast in the week beginning 20th October were repeated in the following week for half term, so there were 10 weeks of original programmes. The repeat of How Your Body Works on Tuesday 28th October was transmitted 5 minutes later than normal, following live coverage of the State Opening of Parliament.

This was the beginning of the second year of BBC schools television broadcasts. Five different series ("five live broadcasts" as the BBC put it[3]) were now offered - there had only been four at a time the previous year - and programmes were broadcast in the mornings for the first time, these were film recordings of the original afternoon broadcasts. This meant that the BBC, for the first time, had more schools television series than ITV (5 from the BBC, 4 from Associated-Rediffusion), but ITV still had more schools television broadcasts each week (7 broadcasts from the BBC, 10 from Associated-Rediffusion). But schools television departments were obviously beyond such petty one-upmanship!

Mathemathics and Using Our Eyes were both new this term. They were the first BBC schools TV series on the subjects of mathematics and art respectively, although Associated-Rediffusion had beaten the BBC on both counts and offered series on both subjects the previous year (World of Figures and Shape in Your Hands, both from autumn 1957, as well as Looking and Seeing in summer 1957). First Years at Work was also new this term, replacing Young People at Work from 1957. First Years at Work included a programme, repeated for half term, offering "Light Factory Work for Girls".

Spotlight, nominally BBC schools TV's current affairs series, had been criticised in its first year for "fluctuating" over a wide range of topics and exceeding the academic grasp of most pupils, and so shifted its focus deliberately towards actual news items and current events from this term[4].

Independent Television

Schools programmes produced by Associated-Rediffusion London, also shown by ATV Midlands, Television Wales & West, Southern Television, Scottish Television... in fact all the existing regional ITV channels except Granada Television.

14:45 14:43 Matter in Use 14:43 The Story of a River 14:43 Process of Law 14:43 The Story of a River (rpt) 14:43 Black and White
15:23 Matter in Use (rpt) 15:23 The Story of a River (rpt) 15:23 Process of Law (rpt) 15:23 The Story of a River (rpt) 15:23 Black and White (rpt)

Notes & New Programmes

Schools broadcasts on ITV started on Monday 29th September and finished on Friday 12th December 1958. There were no transmissions in the weeks beginning 27th October (probably because of half term) or 3rd November (probably because ITV was relaying Racing From Birmingham at the times normally used for schools broadcasts on Monday to Wednesday that week). Altogether there were 9 weeks of schools broadcasts, and 9 episodes in each of the series broadcast this term. All schools programmes on ITV were shown first at 14:43, and then repeated later in the same afternoon at 15:23. Additionally the series The Story of a River was shown first on Tuesdays and then repeated on Thursdays.

All of the schools series shown on ITV this term were produced by Associated-Rediffusion, the London comapny (although The Story of a River, a documentary about La Dordogne, was filmed in France by Paris Television). Apparently one of the episodes in the series Black and White was produced by Scottish Television, although I don't know which one as all episodes were credited to Associated-Rediffusion in the London and Midland editions of the TV Times. This was the first time a schools programme made by Scottish had been shown nationwide. Additionally, the series Process of Law covered only English law, and "a special booklet commenting on the differences found in Scottish law" was available to schools in Scotland.

Schools programmes from ITV reached the south of England for the first time this term as Southern Television began broadcasting at the end of August and immediately took the schools service provided by Associated-Rediffusion. An article in the TV Times proudly proclaimed that this term would see a number of other innovations:

"For the first time, too, there will be an opportunity for everybody to take part in a competition with prizes. For the first time - in the Friday series - a boy and girl will be in the studio each week. And, for the first time, the schools broadcasts organisers have included geography in the curriculum."

The reference to geography applies to the ITV service only, as the BBC's very first schools television broadcast a year earlier had been a programme on geography, and the topic had been a part of BBC schools radio broadcasts since 1924.

Sources & References

  • A-R (1962) School Report - the first four years. London: Associated-Rediffusion.
  • BBC (1958) BBC Broadcasts to Schools annual programme 1958-1959. London: BBC.
  • Carnell, Dorothy 'Schools TV brings Geography to Life' in TV Times Midlands Edition, September 28 - October 4 1958, pp.6-7.
  • Radio Times TV & radio listings, 1958.
  • RT (1958) 'Schools Television Plans for the Autumn Term' in Radio Times 19 September 1958 p.6
  • SBC (1959) BBC School Television Broadcasting: A report on the first two years and a statement of future policy by the School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom. London: SBC.
  • SBC (1962) After Five Years: A report on BBC School Television Broadcasting by the School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom. London: SBC.
  • The Times television listings, 1958, via The Times Digital Archive
  • TV Times (Midlands Edition) television listings, 1958
  • TV Times (London Edition) television listings 1958, via TV Times Project database
  1. BBC (1958) p.5 explains that Nature Calendar was dropped "because its placing next to the main Nature Study programme was found to be unsatisfactory, and it was not providing the stimulus hoped for."
  2. Tom's Midnight Garden was first published in 1958 - this is confirmed by a notice in The Times on 6th April 1959 p.12 col.c that it won "the Library Association's Carnegie Medal for an outstanding book for children published during 1958" - but I don't know exactly when. It was reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement on 21st November 1958 p.X
  3. RT (1958) said that "the autumn term opens on Monday with five live broadcasts each week". The word "live" meant a studio programme as opposed to a film recording, probably but not necessarily broadcast live as they were being made.
  4. The changes to Spotlight and that the series was "criticised as fluctuating in its intellectual standards and uncertain in its aims" from SBC (1959) pp.30-31.