Television Club: The Barnards

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started10th Jan 1967
ended16th Jun 1970
last rpt17th Jun 1970
4 school years
duration20 mins
age rangeAge 11-13
languageenIn English
Television ClubHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious unit: The BrentsNext unit: Mill Street Youth ClubHierarchyNext.gif

The Barnards is a unit of the BBC schools TV series Television Club from the 1960s, covering Citizenship for secondary school pupils.

The last of the original Television Club families was its least traditional. There is a son, but his father has died and he lives with his mother and grandfather above a small village shop, and instead of a sister, he has a girlfriend.

The Barnard Family

  • Sam Barnard, elderly
  • Mary Barnard
  • Peter Barnard, aged 13
The Barnard family outside their country cottage

Mary Barnard is a widow who lives with her son Peter in the West Country village of Castle Cross, near the busy market town Avonstone. Mary looks after the village shop and Post Office, while Peter goes to Avonstone Secondary School. Peter's paternal grandfather Sam Barnard comes to stay with the family and works as a freelance feature-writer for the Avonstone Gazette. Sam's investigations for the newspaper provide the subjects for many of the programmes, and it is Sam who tells the story.

Peter's school friend Ann Mortimer completed the main cast of characters. Her father Mr Mortimer, a widower, manages the local stone quarries. Peter is dependable and can look after the shop if necessary, while Ann likes organising things, and her tendency to bossiness sometimes causes friction between them.

The fictional locations were actually filmed at Nunnery and Frome in Somerset[1], as for the first time Television Club left the urban settings of previous series to give viewers a taste of country life.


Information about all the episodes of Television Club featuring the Barnard family.

The descriptions are based either on episode synopses in the teacher's notes suitably abridged. In some cases I have added extra details about the story from the pupil's pamphlets.

The Archive column includes a link to BBC archive catalogue for every episode that is available there. Only 2 out of the 18 episodes appear in the catalogue, it seems that recordings of the rest have not been kept by the BBC.

Spring 1967

Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. Sam's New Home 10 Jan 1967
2. The Street Where You Live 17 Jan 1967
3. A Job To Do 24 Jan 1967
4. Danger - Blasting 31 Jan 1967
5. Penny Black, Two Penny Blue 7 Feb 1967
6. A Home For Jane 14 Feb 1967
7. The Dinner Date 21 Feb 1967
8. The End of the Game 28 Feb 1967
9. The Road Ahead 7 Mar 1967
10. What Got Into Sam 14 Mar 1967
11. Think Twice 25 Apr 1967
12. False Alarm 2 May 1967
13. Heap of Trouble 9 May 1967
14. The Ghost of Castle Cross 16 May 1967
15. The Tunnel 23 May 1967
16. What to do with Jimmy 6 Jun 1967
17. You Want to be an Actor? 13 Jun 1967
18. The White Lady 20 Jun 1967
All Your Own Work 16 Jun 1970

Further details

Num Title Archive Broadcast
1. Sam's New Home 10 Jan 1967
  When Sam Barnard comes to live with Peter and Mary at Castle Cross, Peter at first resents him, but after he has failed miserably at helping Mary in the shop and in despair is packing to leave, Peter feels sorry for him and wants him to stay. Sam decides to write an article on road safety for the local newspaper, and Peter offers to help him.
2. The Street Where You Live 17 Jan 1967
  Sam and Peter are researching their road safety article. With great difficulty they drive through the crowded Avonstone streets to the Town Hall, where they meet the local Road Safety Officer. He gives them some information and advises them to talk to Ann Mortimer, a keen member of the Junior Accident Prevention Committee. Together the three plot the Avonstone danger points and compile a road safety display for the shop.
3. A Job To Do 24 Jan 1967
  A young couple called John and Sally are customers of the Barnards. One day Sally runs in with a telegram which John, a photographer, has left her to send to an important client. She remembers that she has left the dinner burning and rushes away before addressing the message. By the time Sam has tracked her down it is too late to send the telegram and John is angry. Ultimately both learn the importance of doing their jobs properly.
4. Danger - Blasting 31 Jan 1967
  Ann's father arranges for Sam, Peter and Ann to visit his quarry to see the work done there. Ann teases Peter for feeling dizzy watching the workmen from the quarry top. Later they all come down to see the cliff-face blasted, but Peter cannot be found. Blasting is halted while a search is made. He is found, very frightened near the cliff-top, and confesses he climbed there to show he could do it. A lot of time has been wasted, but the blasting finally goes ahead.
5. Penny Black, Two Penny Blue 7 Feb 1967
  How the Barnards might have lived in 1840 when the first postage stamps were issued. Sam and Mary keep the shop while Peter works in the quarry. One day Peter comes home as Mary is serving a customer with her first stamp, to say the new owner has laid them all off work. But when the new owner, Mr Mortimer, comes into the shop with his daughter Ann to collect a letter, Peter makes a good impression because he can read and write. The letter contains news which will give the men their jobs back, and Peter is to be given a better job in the office.
6. A Home For Jane 14 Feb 1967
  Sam meets Jane, an orphaned five-year-old who cannot settle down in the local children's home. She keeps saying that Jane, her doll, wants a home of her own. Sam, Peter and Ann get together and make a doll's house, and Jane feels that at last she has a real home for her doll, and herself.
7. The Dinner Date BBC 21 Feb 1967
  Ann writes to invite Mary, Peter and Sam to dinner with the Mortimers on Friday evening, and Mary formally accepts. Peter and Mr Mortimer cannot understand why there is so much ceremony, however many points of etiquette are clarified during the evening. After a series of culinary disasters the dinner develops into a friendly eggs-and-bacon party.
8. The End of the Game 28 Feb 1967
  Peter discovers two older boys from his school called Tiger and Roy in an old cellar on some waste ground, apparently plotting a theft. They say they are playing a game, and he promises not to tell on them.
Later the Barnadrs hear news of a robbery and assault at a neighbouring sub-post office, and Peter disappears in the direction of the waste ground.
9. The Road Ahead 7 Mar 1967
  Ann hears a talk by an architect on how Avonstone could look in 50 years time, and the Barnards are fired by enthusiasm for planning the new Avonstone. They think what improvements could be made around the town and draw these over the old map of the town. Their suggestions include a Civic Centre, shopping precincts, re-housing for slum-dwellers and an improved traffic system.
10. What Got Into Sam 14 Mar 1967
  Sam and eight other people become ill with salmonella infection. The Barnards' shop is scrupulously checked by the Health Inspector and searching questions asked about their personal hygiene. The germs are traced to a neighbour's lemon meringue pies, sold in Mary's shop. The neighbour wonders how she and her husband can have eaten them for years with no ill effects, and the Health Inspector explains all.
  with Elsie Arnold as Mrs Applegate, Emrys Jones as Dr Enderby, Clifford Cox as Health Inspector

Summer 1967

Num Title Archive Broadcast
11. Think Twice BBC 25 Apr 1967
  Peter is feeling jealous of Ann's friendship with his mother, and he misconstrues some remarks that he overhears between them. Several misunderstandings follow as Mary deliberately lets Peter go on thinking that she and Ann are plotting against him.
12. False Alarm 2 May 1967
  Sam writes an article about the fire brigade just as a series of false alarms has been giving Avonstone Fire Station a good deal of trouble. When a real fire, endangering people, breaks out just as applicances are answering a false call, the youth responsible makes a second call from the same phone box to warn the brigade. He is traced by the telephone exchange and arrested.
13. Heap of Trouble 9 May 1967
  Peter finds a large sheepdog with no collar lying by the side of the road, which he names Heap. He first consults the local policeman and then smuggles Heap through the shop up to his bedroom. Mary has refused to have a dog in the shop for reasons of hygiene, but Peter hopes she will relent when the alternative might mean the dog having to be put down. Peter has great difficulties keeping the oversized dog unseen, put luckily the rightful owner arrives just in time.
When the series was repeat in 1970, this was the first episode shown in the summer term.
14. The Ghost of Castle Cross 16 May 1967
  Sam and Peter are woken one night by frightening howls and a rattle of chains - Peter thinks the noise is made by a ghost in the castle. Sam decides to investigate the ghost story and write an article about the castle. With Ann as their guide they visit the castle, museum, library and church and piece together a story about the people who first lived in the castle in the 14th Century and the 'White Lady'.
15. The Tunnel 23 May 1967
A narrow escape
Sam and Peter go off in the van to explore a railway tunnel in Avonstone. Sam thinks the railway line is closed and the tunnel could be used for road traffic. They start walking through the tunnel to see how long it is, but Sam falls across the line and puts his knee out. He tells Peter to leave him and go for a doctor, but they hear a train coming in the distance. Peter cannot lift his grandfather, but he helps Sam slide along a rail, pushing with his good leg, until they reach an arch just as the train passes.
16. What to do with Jimmy 6 Jun 1967
  Mary and Ann catch 8-year-old Jimmy Lowther trying to steal a meat pie from the shop. The Barnards find out that Jimmy is badly treated at ome and call in the Children's Department. Ann takes Jimmy to play with some local boys, with whom he becomes friends, and the Child Care Officer decides that Jimmy must be taken into care. Jimmy resents going to the Children's Home at first, but is happy when he finds that the boys he played with all live at the Home.
17. You Want to be an Actor? 13 Jun 1967
  I don't know the plot of this episode. It was not repeated with the rest of the programmes in 1970.
18. The White Lady 20 Jun 1967
  A historical story featuring the regular Barnard family actors. In 1399 Sir Thomas Grieve (Sam) lives in the castle with his grandson Edward (Peter) and his ward Elizabeth (Ann). Mary appears as Lady Katherine.
One night a stranger called Simon comes to the castle, a follower of Henry Bolingbroke who was then at war with King Richard. Sir Thomas supports the king and is about to have Simon killed, when Elizabeth reveals that Simon is her father and an old friend of Sir Thomas's son.
Simon gives Sir Thomas a letter from his son, which states that Henry has won the fight against Richard as is to be made king. It seems that the Grieve family will be the prisoners of Simon and evicted or worse, but Simon promises to seek pardon for them as they sheltered his daughter for so long. Simon and Elizabeth ride off from the castle for Henry's coronation.
This episode resolves the story of the 'White Lady' from The Ghost of Castle Cross.
  with John Tully as Simon Reynolds, Chris Hodge as Silas, Peter Braham as Alfred

All Your Own Work

In 1970, during repeats of episodes featuring the Barnard family, Television Club ran a play-writing competition for its audience. Classes were invited to invent their own Television Club family, with a Mum, a Dad, a son, a daughter and up to two additional characters. The action had to be confined to the living room, kitchen/dining room and hall of an ordinary family house.

Schools could submit typed and finished plays (to be adapted by the BBC to meet the requirements of television production), outlines of a good story, or even tape recordings of children's prepared dialogue. Plays had to be submitted by 1 May 1970 in time for the BBC to select the best three plays and mount them with a professional cast in a programme called All Your Own Work, transmitted on 16 June 1970. The new programme was presented by James Lloyd, and produced by the then series editor, Jill Sheppard.

Some possible scenarios were suggested in the teacher's notes:

  • A visit from grandma about the problems of putting up relatives and preparing for guests.
  • The burglar about what to do in the aftermath of a real burglary, or a comic treatment where there was no real burglary after all.
  • The powercut about people's helplessness when the necessities of modern living break down, or a practical demonstration of how to replace a fuse[2].

However I do not know anything about the plays that were actually chosen and produced. If you have any information or recollections, please get in touch by email.


Introduced by James Lloyd

Philip Ray as Sam Barnard
Anne Ridler as Mary Barnard
Paul Guess as Peter Barnard
Anabel Littledale as Ann Mortimer

Written by John Tully
Produced by Dorothea Brooking


As for previous years with the Brents there was a set of teacher's notes and a pupil's pamphlet story book published for each term.

The pupil's pamphlet for the spring term stories (pictured above) had an orange cover showing the Barnards and Ann Mortimer standing together in Castle Cross. The summer term pamphlet had a blue cover showing the group outside the historic castle. Both were told from the point of view of Sam Barnard.

Sources & References

  • BBC (1966) Television Club Notes for the Teacher, Spring 1967
  • BBC (1970) Television Club Notes for the Teacher, Summer 1970
  1. Location filming in Nunnery and Frome according to BBC (1966) p.3
  2. All information about the planned content of All Your Own Work from BBC (1970) pp.1-2 & 18. Basic credits from the Radio Times


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