Television Club: Mill Street Youth Club

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companyBBC
started12th Jan 1971
ended23rd Mar 1971
last rpt12th Jun 1975
5 school years
episodes10
duration20 mins
age rangeAge 11-13
languageenIn English


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Mill Street Youth Club is a unit of the BBC Schools TV series Television Club from the 1970s, covering Citizenship,Miscellany for Secondary pupils.

A fully dramatised unit showing the adventures of the young people who attend a youth club in the north of England.

The Mill Street Youth Club is a place for young people in Cambury to come and play sports and other activities including building a boat. It is looked after by the Youth Leader Steve Brooks, and a highlight is the coffee bar run by Mrs Smithers.

Plan of the Youth Centre

As new teenagers pay to join the Club and make friends, they get to know each other and find out about each other's lives. The regular members of the Club include Meg, Harvey, Eddie, Dave, Brian, Lofty and Shani, with Angela and Garry joining in the first episode.

Siblings and other family of some Club members feature throughout the series, and full details of their adventures can be found in the episode guide below.

Location

The dramas are set in the fictional town of Cambury, which was based on Preston in Lancashire, and the film sequences were shot on location at St Joseph's Youth Club Violet-marker.png , which was knocked down and replaced with a housing estate in the 2010s.

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Episode List

# Title Broadcast
1. (drama) A New Start #1971-01-12-00-00-0012 Jan 1971
2. (drama) The Suspect #1971-01-19-00-00-0019 Jan 1971
3. (drama) Who is Brave? #1971-01-26-00-00-0026 Jan 1971
4. (drama) Harvey's Campaign #1971-02-02-00-00-002 Feb 1971
5. (drama) Fly Away Peter #1971-02-09-00-00-009 Feb 1971
6. (drama) Lost Underground #1971-02-16-00-00-0016 Feb 1971
7. (drama) Come Back, Mrs Smithers #1971-03-02-00-00-002 Mar 1971
8. (drama) The Visitor #1971-03-09-00-00-009 Mar 1971
9. (drama) A Place for Roy #1971-03-16-00-00-0016 Mar 1971
10. (drama) What Kind of Life? #1971-03-23-00-00-0023 Mar 1971


Episode Guide

Very little of this series survives in the BBC archives, and little about it was published in the Radio Times or the educational press apart from cast lists. The plot descriptions in this episode guide are based on the 1973 and 1975 teacher's notes and pupil's pamphlets. I have made educated guesses about the characters being played by the guest performers, based on the characters appearing in each episode's plot and the relative ages of the performers. I am fairly confident in the identifications but don't have any actual sources to back them up.


1. A New Start

Friends Angela and Garry decide to join the Mill Street Youth Club, promising that they will stay friends with each other too. On the first day Angela fits in with the girls but Garry is shy and doesn't get on with the boys, feeling Angela has abandoned him.

Angela dresses up for a dance at the Club but her swanky outfit is out of place and the other members make fun of her, especially Dave. Garry punches Dave and though the fight is quickly broken up the other boys start talking to him and he makes friends. Angela now feels abandoned and seeks advice from Mrs Smithers.

With Sally Lahee as Mrs West.

First broadcast: Tuesday 12th January 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 23rd January 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

2. The Suspect

Dave causes more trouble in the Club, waving a walking stick around and arguing with Meg. Steve takes the stick from him and leaves it in his office. Meg has lent her record player to the Club and Steve needs to get it repaired before he can return it to her.

That night Dave hides in the Club when it closes, and Steve has to dash out leaving his office unlocked. When Steve gets back the record player and the walking stick are both gone.

Dave immediately comes under suspicion, especially when the walking stick is found at his home. He is about to be arrested by the police when Mrs Smithers discovers a note in Steve's messy office reporting that his friend Jack has picked up the record player to fix it.

With Arnold Peters & Kenton Moore as Mr Crabtree & a policeman, but I don't know who was who

First broadcast: Tuesday 19th January 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 30th January 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

3. Who is Brave?

Two Club members are invited on a camping and climbing weekend by the Army Youth Team. Harvey eagerly signs on and eventually overweight Eddie is teased into signing up too.

Eddie struggles hard with pitching his tent and completing the hike, but perseveres. He is terrified of abseiling and freezes halfway down the cliff. Harvey climbs on but slips and gets his foot wedged. Eddie, as the only person who can help Harvey, bravely goes to rescue his friend.

With 61st Army Youth Team, 1st King's Own Border Regiment.

First broadcast: Tuesday 26th January 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 6th March 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

4. Harvey's Campaign

The Club's committee reject an idea from Harvey to invite the local Youth Brass Band to play a concert at the Club, so Harvey and Garry launch a publicity campaign.

Garry puts up eye-catching posters, recruits Angela as the 'pretty face' of a petition and persuades dozens of members to sign the petition if they "want the band to play".

The petition a success, the committee meets again and the deciding vote comes down to Harvey himself, but he has second thoughts about his campaigning techniques and whether it is such a good idea after all to do something that Club members don't necessarily want.

With Preston Youth Band conducted by T. Mitchell as Cambury Youth Band.

First broadcast: Tuesday 2nd February 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 13th February 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

5. Fly Away Peter

Harvey's 7 year-old cousin Peter comes to live with him after the death of Peter's mother. Peter knows that Harvey is not happy about sharing his room with a younger boy, and that Harvey's mother Mrs Briggs doesn't like mess in her house.

Harvey tries taking Peter to a football match but Peter is bored and Meg takes him for a walk. Peter falls in the river so Meg takes him back to her bustling, messy house to get changed.

Mrs Briggs is angry when Peter returns and sends Meg away. That night Peter goes missing. The Briggs family and friends are very worried, until Meg goes home and discovers where Peter is hiding.

With Beth Boyd as Mrs Briggs & Clifford Cox as Mr Briggs & Andrew Ashby as Peter.

First broadcast: Tuesday 9th February 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 13th March 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

6. Lost Underground

Brian and another boy (whom the teacher's notes call Norman, but if there was a Norman at the Club he isn't mentioned elsewhere and I don't know who played him. Unless it's Lofty's real name...) go to explore an old Roman mine, and Brian is frustrated by Norman's meticulous mapping.

That night there is an argument at the Club because Brian hasn't returned Norman's compass. In the morning Brian can't find the compass and goes back to the mine to see if he has dropped it.

Brian doesn't come to the Club and his friends guess something must have happened. It is Norman's map that helps them locate Brian behind a rock fall.

First broadcast: Tuesday 16th February 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 1st May 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

7. Come Back, Mrs Smithers

Mrs Smithers starts being snappy with the Club members, and some of the boys ask Steve to replace her. Mrs Smithers is actually worried about looking after her elderly mother, and when Shari and Angela take a meal round to the mother and find her unconscious, Mrs Smithers leaves the Club to provide full time care.

A young woman called Stella takes over the coffee bar and is very popular at first. Stella's inefficiency soon has the Club members longing for Mrs Smithers to return, but she won't come back unless the Club members can work out a way to help look after her mother.

With Kathleen St John as Mrs Smithers' mother & Sheila Whitmill as Stella.

First broadcast: Tuesday 2nd March 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 8th May 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

8. The Visitor

Steve has to dash out of the Club to help one of the members who is in trouble. In his absence the members have a bit of fun, and things get out of hand.

At this moment the Chairman of the Governing Committee arrives to visit the Club and is so appalled at the state of the Club that he asks the Committee to sack Steve. The Club members realise what has happened and rally round to support Steve.

With Charles Leno as the chairman.

First broadcast: Tuesday 9th March 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 15th March 1973, 10:25am on BBC1

9. A Place for Roy

Garry's little brother Roy ventures onto a building site with his friends, in pursuit of somewhere exciting to play. They cause a lot of damage and get into trouble.

Jim, son of the building contractor, sees an opportunity to help the children by building an advanture playground. Jim sets things up with Garry's help and tries to persuade his father to let him use a piece of the land.

With Campbell Singer as Mr Hamilton & John Scholes as Jim Hamilton & Leonard Veall as Roy Fuller.

First broadcast: Tuesday 16th March 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 22nd May 1975, 10:25am on BBC1

10. What Kind of Life?

A local pop group visits the Club, played by real life band The Gift, and Brian is persuaded to sing some songs with them.

The group, dedicated to music but not yet commercially successful, are impressed and offer Brian a full time job as a vocalist. Brian is torn between changing his life with the exciting but uncertain prospect of joining the band, or the security of an apprenticeship at the local works. He talks things through with his family and friends.

With Julie May as Mrs Latham & Will Stampe as Mr Latham & The Gift as the band.

First broadcast: Tuesday 23rd March 1971, 2:05pm on BBC1 Last broadcast: Thursday 12th June 1975, 10:25am on BBC1 BBC programme number: ESB7162B


In the Archive

The BBC Archive has a listing for the final episode of this unit, What Kind of Life?. According to The Kaleidoscope BBC Television Drama Research Guide 1936-2011 p.2491 this is a film 'telerecording' on 16mm film of the original black & white videotape. It was not available from the BBC's digitised archive when I requested it in 2023, so must be retained in an analogue format only.

No other recordings of episodes from this unit are known to survive.


Broadcasts

Year Term Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Channel Details
1970-71 Spring 1971 Tuesday, 2:05pm Friday, 10:00am BBC1
1972-73 Spring 1973 Tuesday, 2:05pm Thursday, 10:25am BBC1
1974-75 Spring & Summer 1975 Tuesday, 2:25pm Thursday, 10:25am BBC1


In 1971 and 1973 the episodes were shown sequentially throughout the spring term.

In 1975 the Mill Street Youth Club dramas were shown fortnightly spread across the spring and summer terms, with documentary programmes presented by Anne Gale and David Freeland shown in the alternate weeks. Each documentary was related to the drama episode repeated in the previous week.

In 1975 the order of the episodes was changed slightly so that Harvey's Campaign, in which the viewer comes to respect and understand Harvey's approach to life, was shown before Who Is Brave?, in which Harvey is quite brash with Eddie until Eddie saves him.


Credits

Starring Victoria Maddern as Meg Grainger
Hugo Keith-Johnston as Harvey Briggs
Ian Ellis as Eddie Smith
Arthur Wild as Dave Crabtree
Charles Bolton as Brian Latham
Gregory Munroe as 'Lofty' Tripp
Anna Sookermany as Shani
Jane Anthony as Angela West
Robin Davies as Garry Fuller
John Baldwin as Steve Brookes
Incidental music Jonathan Cohen
Writer John Tully
Producer Dorothea Brooking
Morris Barry (episodes 2, 4 & 7)


Resources

Teacher's Notes

Teacher's Notes

Notes including a detailed description of each episode, with background information and classroom follow-up sugestions.


Pupils' pamphlet

Pupils' pamphlet

An illustrated reading book for pupils, telling the story of each episode in simple language.

Written by John Tully and illustrated by Robert Geary



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