Television Club: The Brents

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started13th Jan 1964
ended30th Apr 1968
last rpt20th Jun 1969
6 school years
duration20 mins
age rangeAge 11-13
languageenIn English
Television ClubHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious unit: The WadesNext unit: The BarnardsHierarchyNext.gif

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

The Brents, "a working-class family with a reasonable income,"[1] were the focus of Television Club for the majority of the 1960s. They had three years of adventures, from 1964 to 1966, and two more years of repeats from 1968 to 1969.

The Brent Family

  • Mr Brent
  • Mrs Brent ("Peg")
  • Colin Brent, aged 15
  • Shirley Brent, aged 15
Marley New Town

The Brent family moved house in 1960, from East London to Marley New Town, 35 miles to the west, because their old house was going to be pulled down. They now live at 73 Halfacre Road, a three-bedroomed council house in the Hillcrest neighbourhood. They have a small front garden and a back garden which faces on to a small wood. "Marley" was based on the real new town of Hemel Hempstead[2].

Mr Brent is a sheet metal worker at Hamdens factory, and owns a car. Mrs Brent works part time in the school canteen, but at the start of the 1965 series she gets a new job working part time in Apply Monson's Bakery on the High Street. Their children are 15-year-old girl and boy twins who attend Hillcrest Secondary School. The children do not apparently age during the series, but they do change. The actress who played Shirley Brent in 1964 left the series and was replaced in the remaining programmes by another actress - teachers were advised to warn children about the change before the new term's programmes began[3]. The actor playing Colin Brent also changed between the 1965 and 1966 series.

Mr Brent, Mrs Brent, Colin and Shirley. Pictured from their 1965 series.

We see several views of Brent families from times past throughout the series - in 1588, 1864 and 1906, as well as the recollections of their Auntie May from 1924. This was a familiar concept for Television Club, as the Wade family of 1910 had also been seen. This earlier view of the past was criticised for being based on recollections rather than fully-fledged reconstruction[4], but the historical Brent families were fully dramatised stories. The children's names were changed for these adventures because Colin and Shirley were too modern[5]. The majority of the historical stories were written or researched by Norman Longmate.

Colin and Shirley in Sweden

A series of three programmes in the summer term of 1965 saw the Brent twins visiting their pen friends in Sweden and finding out all about the Scandinavian country. This unit was made with the assistance of Sveriges Radio Skol TV (Swedish Radio School Television Service) and was filmed in Sweden in 1964 by a Swedish film unit on behalf of Television Club.

When the programmes were repeated in 1968 there were a number of differences between the film shown on TV and the up-to-date situation that had to be taken in to account - in September 1967 Swedish drivers had changed from driving on the left of the road to driving on the right; following devaluation of the pound in November 1967 the exchange rate had changed significantly, and the costs of travel had increased; and the old-fashioned ships on which the children are seen travelling to Sweden had been replaced with a modern car ferry called M.S. Saga[6].


Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. Decorating the Living Room 13 Jan 1964
2. Dad's Job 20 Jan 1964
3. Chasing the Dustman 27 Jan 1964
4. The Guide Dog 3 Feb 1964
5. Making a Telescope 10 Feb 1964
6. Space Travel 17 Feb 1964
7. Colin's Budget 24 Feb 1964
8. One Hundred Years Old 2 Mar 1964
9. A Day Out in London Programme 1 9 Mar 1964
10. A Day Out in London Programme 2 16 Mar 1964
11. The Broken Window 27 Apr 1964
12. Auntie May Remembers 4 May 1964
13. The Transistor Set 11 May 1964
14. A Youth Hostel Weekend 25 May 1964
15. Safety in the Water 1 Jun 1964
16. Odd Man Out 8 Jun 1964
17. Norfolk Broads Programme 1 15 Jun 1964
18. Norfolk Broads Programme 2 22 Jun 1964
19. Many Happy Returns 18 Jan 1965
20. Mum's New Job 25 Jan 1965
21. The Burst Pipe 1 Feb 1965
22. The Racing Pigeon 8 Feb 1965
23. Our Uncle Morgan 15 Feb 1965
24. Uncle Morgan Goes To Market 1 Mar 1965
25. The Old House 8 Mar 1965
26. It's None of Your Business 15 Mar 1965
27. The Bazaar 22 Mar 1965
28. Colin's New Suit 29 Mar 1965
29. Ingrid From Sweden 3 May 1965
30. Colin and Shirley in Sweden 1: Going to Stockholm 10 May 1965
31. Colin and Shirley in Sweden 2: The Summer House 17 May 1965
32. Why Shouldn't I? 24 May 1965
33. Off to the Farm 31 May 1965
34. Working on the Farm 14 Jun 1965
35. Mum's Accident 21 Jun 1965
36. All's Well That Ends Well 28 Jun 1965
37. The Art Exhibition 17 Jan 1966
38. The Truth, The Whole Truth 24 Jan 1966
39. Mr Brent's Dream 31 Jan 1966
40. A Visit to Mr Jones 7 Feb 1966
41. Sixty Years Ago 14 Feb 1966
42. Lost, Stolen or... 28 Feb 1966
43. Vote for Colin 7 Mar 1966
44. Fishing with Geoffrey 14 Mar 1966
45. Mum Needs Advice 21 Mar 1966
46. Camping 28 Mar 1966
47. Throwing a Party 25 Apr 1966
48. Call the Doctor 2 May 1966
49. Finding Isn't Keeping 9 May 1966
50. The Real West 16 May 1966
51. Aunt Jessie's Budgies 23 May 1966
52. This is How It Was 6 Jun 1966
53. Minding the Baby 13 Jun 1966
54. An American in Marley 20 Jun 1966
Magazine Special 30 Apr 1968

A listing of all the Television Club episodes featuring the Brent family, with title, writer, producer, archive links, original broadcast dates, plot descriptions and guest cast. Episode numbering is restarted for each school year, there were 18 episodes each year for three years, making 54 episodes altogether.

The descriptions, where available, are based either on information from the Radio Times, or descriptions given in the teacher's notes suitably abridged. In some cases I have added extra details about the story from the pupil's pamphlets.

The guest cast lists are entirely based on the Radio Times. The regular cast is listed in the credits section.

The Archive column includes a link to BBC archive catalogue for every episode that is available there. Only 7 out of the 54 (55 if you count the Magazine Special) episodes listed here appear in the catalogue, it seems that recordings of the rest have not been kept by the BBC.

Spring 1964

Num Title Writer Producer Archive Broadcast
1. Decorating the Living Room Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 13 Jan 1964
2. Dad's Job Bill Scott BBC 20 Jan 1964
  Shows the kind of work Mr Brent does for a living.
  with Charles Rea as Jim the storeman
3. Chasing the Dustman Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 27 Jan 1964
  Mum loses a brooch. Can it have gone into the dustbin? Colin and Shirley set off in search of the dust-cart and meet some interesting people on the way.
  with Reginald Jessop, Arthur Pentelow, Mary Gibson
4. The Guide Dog Bill Scott 3 Feb 1964
  The Brent family are visited by a blind friend who comes with Sally.
  with David Blackhall as the vicitor, Sally as the guide dog. Introduced by Judith Chalmers.
5. Making a Telescope Bill Scott Bill Scott 10 Feb 1964
  A school visit to the London Planetarium gives Colin the idea of making a telescope.
6. Space Travel Bill Scott Bill Scott 17 Feb 1964
  Colin thinks he has glimpsed a Russian astronaut through his telescope and gets Shirley dreaming of space travel.
  introduced by Brian Blessed
7. Colin's Budget Jeffrey Segal Ronald Smedley 24 Feb 1964
  Colin and Shirley get some extra pocket money - but there are strings attached.
  with Beryl Nesbitt as Mrs Marshall
8. One Hundred Years Old Dora Saint Ronald Smedley BBC 2 Mar 1964
  What would life have been like for the Brents if they had lived in the last century?
  The Brents in 1864: Lane Meddick as Mr Brent, Ann Way as Mrs Brent, Hugh Jones as Tim, Daphne Foreman as Flo, Bay White as Mrs Purdy
9. A Day Out in London Programme 1 Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 9 Mar 1964
  The Brents visit the Tower of London.
10. A Day Out in London Programme 2 Ronald Smedley 16 Mar 1964
  While Mum and Shirley go shopping Dad and Colin visit the Transport Museum at Clapham. Dad has a surprise planned for the evening.

Summer 1964

Num Title Writer Producer Archive Broadcast
11. The Broken Window Bill Scott Bill Scott 27 Apr 1964
  Colin breaks a window and learns about the manufacture of glass and its growing importance in the modern world.
12. Auntie May Remembers Jeffrey Segal Ronald Smedley 4 May 1964
  Dad's eldest sister recalls when she was a teenager - in 1924.
  with Jeffrey Segal as grandad, Joy Shelton as grandma, Anna Wing as Auntie May, Sharon Bysouth as Auntie May in 1924, Stephen Marriott as brother Jack
13. The Transistor Set Bill Scott Bill Scott 11 May 1964
  The air is full of unheard signals. Yet, using the simplest equipment, just one signal among many hundreds may be picked out and clearly heard.
14. A Youth Hostel Weekend Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley BBC 25 May 1964
  Colin and Shirley join the Youth Hostel Association and go hostelling in Surrey.
  with Youth Hostels Association singers, Alan Harlow and the North West Seven. Advisers David Palk and Malcolm Haskin
15. Safety in the Water Bill Scott Bill Scott 1 Jun 1964
  Colin, watching helplessly as Mr Brent saves a boy from drowning, resolves to learn all he can about life-saving and artificial respiration.
  with E. A. Gibb, MSTA
16. Odd Man Out Jeffrey Segal Ronald Smedley 8 Jun 1964
  Colin gets kept in at school and finds himself in hot water at home.
  with John Stirling as Ted, Peter Baio as Alan, Leslie Bonnyman as Bert, Norman Bason as Clarence
17. Norfolk Broads Programme 1 Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 15 Jun 1964
  The Brent family set off for a holiday on board Glistening Stream.
  with George Gibbs
18. Norfolk Broads Programme 2 Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley BBC 22 Jun 1964
  Colin and Shirley try their hand at sailing a dinghy.
  with George Gibbs

Spring 1965

Num Title Writer Producer Archive Broadcast
1. Many Happy Returns Jeffrey Segal Ronald Smedley 18 Jan 1965
  Mum's birthday is soon, but the twins cannot think what to buy for her. Dad suggests they make something, and they decide on an indoor garden made in a decorated tin.
2. Mum's New Job Bill Scott Bill Scott 25 Jan 1965
  The family help Mrs Brent look through the Situations Vacant in the local paper in search of a new part-time job. She decides on a job serving behind the counter at the local baker's shop, and she learns about dealing with customers, giving change and working the till, as well as the baking of bread, cakes and pastries. Colin and Shirley try their hand at baking at home.
3. The Burst Pipe Bill Scott Bill Scott 1 Feb 1965
  The Brents go away for a long weekend and Dad doesn't bother to drain off the water system. There is a cold spell and then a thaw, and the Brents return on Sunday evening to find the copper pipe leading to the tank in the loft has burst. When the plumber calls on Monday afternoon, he tells the twins all about the water supply in the town.
  with Denzil Ellis as the plumber, Richard Smethurst as the apprentice
4. The Racing Pigeon Bill Scott Bill Scott 8 Feb 1965
  Mr White the plumber asks Colin and Shirley to look after his racing pigeons while he is away. On his return he presents one of the pigeons to Shirley as a gift. Shirley names the pigeon Puff, and while it stays in Mr White's loft, the twins help with its care and training.
  with Denzil Ellis as Mr White
5. Our Uncle Morgan Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 15 Feb 1965
  The twins set off to spend their half-term holiday with 'Uncle' Morgan and 'Auntie' Bess in a village in Cardiganshire, West Wales, where Mum spent the first two years of the war as an evacuee. They travel by train from Paddington to Swansea and then to Carmarthen, where Uncle Morgan accompanies them by bus to the old-fashioned cottage where they will stay. The next day they go out on the River Tefi in a coracle.
  with D. L. Davies as Uncle Morgan
6. Uncle Morgan Goes To Market Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 1 Mar 1965
  The twins go to chapel where Uncle Morgan is an elder - although the service is in Welsh they enjoy listening to the fine singing. Shirley helps drive in Uncle Morgan's three cows from the field and watches Auntie Bess hand-milking them, while Colin finds out about up-to-date milking techniques across the valley. Colin, Shirley and Uncle Morgan take a two-week-old heifer calf to market and sell it for £3, but Shirley is distressed to find out that it has been bought by a butcher.
  with D. L. Davies as Uncle Morgan
7. The Old House M. St. Clare Byrne Ronald Smedley 8 Mar 1965
  The Brents visit an Elizabethan stately home, against Colin's wishes and he sulks and misbehaves. Shirley sees the portrait of an Elizabethan girl which she thinks looks like herself. She daydreams and creates a noble Brent family in her mind.
In 1588 Susan (Shirley) dresses while Robin (Colin) comes home from university on horseback and Sir Harry (Mr Brent) returns from London with news that the Queen is to visit the house. Over the midday meal waited on by four servants, Lady Margaret (Mrs Brent) makes hurried plans for catering for and accommodating the Queen and her entourage. Robin discusses his future marriage and Susan gets a new white dress - the one seen in the portrait. Throughout, the children are very polite to their parents.
  with Winifred Hall as Kate, Richard Morton as the guide
8. It's None of Your Business Jeffrey Segal Ronald Smedley 15 Mar 1965
  The twins see an Mrs Bostock, an unpopular old lady well known for her bad temper, having an argument with a policeman and another man on her doorstep. They try to find out what is going on but are sharply rebuked by the old lady for noseyness. Later the twins and Mum discuss what might have been going on, but Dad tells them "it's none of your business."
Next day the old lady's milk bottle has not been taken in by late afternoon, and after a long argument they decide to investigate. Mrs Bostock had fallen and broken her ankle, Colin and Shirley call an ambulance and finally make friends with her.
This was presented as "a programme designed to provoke discussion."[7] It was not repeated with the rest of the series in 1968.
  with Varley Thomas as Mrs Bostock, Rex Robinson as Sid
9. The Bazaar Bill Scott Bill Scott 22 Mar 1965
  The twins help to organise a bazaar and a dance at school to raise funds for old age pensioners. Shirley makes coconut ice and Colin makes some raffia lampshades.
10. Colin's New Suit Bill Scott Bill Scott 29 Mar 1965
  With the bazaar a success, everybody at the school is looking forward to the dance. Colin decides that he needs a new suit. Mrs Brent takes him to the tailors where he is measured and, after conflicting with his mother about suitable styles, picks one that he is pleased with.

Summer 1965

Num Title Writer Producer Archive Broadcast
11. Ingrid From Sweden Jeffrey Segal Ronald Smedley 3 May 1965
  Shirley meets Ingrid Sahlstrom, an 18-year-old Swedish girl, in a coffee bar in Marley when she knocks coffee all over her. Mrs Brent invites Ingrid to tea and she soon becomes a friend of the family. She persuades Colin and Shirley to become pre friends of her younger brother and sister, Per and Eva, in Stockholm. Eventually this results in an invitation to the twins to visit Sweden. Ingrid finds out from a travel agent that the fare need not be a dear as the Brents imagine. Mr Brent decides that the twins can go, and in great excitement they make their preparations. They set off from Tilbury on the Swedith Lloyd vessel Britannia to Gotherburg, where they board the train for Stockholm.
  with Susan Tracey as Ingrid, David Webb as travel agent
12. Colin and Shirley in Sweden 1: Going to Stockholm Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 10 May 1965
  Mrs Sahlstrom, Per and Eva meet Colin and Shirley and take them to their home in the suburbs. Mr Sahlstrom, a foreman plumber who owns a car and two homes, comes home from work and joins them for a meal of herrings, meat balls with potatoes and rose-hip juice with cream.
Next day they visit Per's school and go round Stockholm. In the evening they go to a party at Eva's friend's house, where The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are favourites with the local children.
  with Susan Tracey as Ingrid Sahlstrom
13. Colin and Shirley in Sweden 2: The Summer House Ronald Smedley Ronald Smedley 17 May 1965
  The whole family is planning to go for a weekend at Mr Sahlstrom's summer house in Uppsala in the north of Sweden. Colin explains about the long and dark Swedish winters in a letter home. They drive through farmlands and forests to the old red-painted wooden farmhouse in the quiet countryside. On Saturday Per and Colin go fishing on a lake while Shirley and Eva pick mushrooms in the forest. Eva tells Shirley about the foresters who come in winter to cut down trees and send them rushing down the spring-time floods. Later the boys go fishing at night, and the Sahlstroms give the twins a crayfish party.
  with Susan Tracey as Ingrid Sahlstrom
14. Why Shouldn't I? Jeffrey Segal Ronald Smedley 24 May 1965
  Can teenagers do as they like? What are the rules?
When the series was repeated in 1968, this episode was shown in the spring term instead of the summer.
  with Peter Craze as Mick, Derek Smee as a policeman
15. Off to the Farm Bill Scott Bill Scott 31 May 1965
  Colin and Shirley are invited to spend a holiday on a local farm owned by the father of Colin's classmate Johnny. Shirley is reluctant to go to a muddy farmyard, until Mr Brent mentions that it is lambing time.
The twins are surprised to find that the farm is run as a modern business and the farmer Mr Douglas specialises in two 'products', lambs and pigs. Colin drives the tractor and helps with the ploughing, and Shirley prepares the pig food and watches as the lambs are ringer for tail removal. They meet Sarah the goat and Debbie the donkey.
16. Working on the Farm Bill Scott Bill Scott 14 Jun 1965
  Colin learns how to handle a combine-drill and Shirley learns about pigs, and about foxes which prowl around farmland in the South of England. The twins help prepare a batch of eggs for market.
17. Mum's Accident Bill Scott Bill Scott 21 Jun 1965
  The iron has a worn flex near to the handle. Mum gives herself an electric shock and a burn, she stumbles backwards, falls, and is concussed. Colin runs their neighbour Mrs Walker, who knows about first aid, while Dad and Shirley keep Mum warm. The doctor sends Mum to hospital in an ambulance, and gives Dad a stern telling off for having a faulty electrical applicance in his house.
  with Joan Harsant as Mrs Walker
18. All's Well That Ends Well Bill Scott Bill Scott 28 Jun 1965
  Mum comes back after a day in hospital, none the worse for her accident, but with orders to rest quietly in bed for a few days. Dad, Colin and Shirley set about cleaning the house, shopping and cooking, not always with satisfactory results. There is nearly another serious accident when Mr Brent slips on a mat on the well polished floor.
  with Joan Harsant as Mrs Walker

Spring 1966

Num Title Writer Producer Archive Broadcast
1. The Art Exhibition Peter Scroggs Peter Scroggs 17 Jan 1966
  The family visit a local art exhibition, and on their return home the children decide they are bored with the pictures which have been on the sitting-room wall for years. They create their own art exhibition, using a variety of materials and mountings. Mum and Dad are impressed, but find it difficult to shed their traditionalist views of what a picture ought to be.
2. The Truth, The Whole Truth Dorothea Brooking Dorothea Brooking 24 Jan 1966
  Shirley lies to her father about dyeing her hair, and Mr Brent is most annoyed, convinced that the truth is best in all circumstances. He is astonished to hear Mrs Brent telling several "white lies" to her mother-in-law about a broken vase which had been a gift from Grandma, but it turns out these lies were totally unnecessary as Grandma already knew the vase was broken.
3. Mr Brent's Dream John Tully Peter Scroggs BBC 31 Jan 1966
  Mr Brent is infuriated to learn that the council rates are going up again. As he dozes in his armchair, the Rate Collector appears and offers to release Mr Brent from paying his rates if he gives up all calls on the services provided by the council. Rubbish piles up in the garden, the twins are refused admission to their school, the park, the library and the swimming pool, and the police order the car to be removed from the public highway. Mr Brent sets fire to the shed while burning rubbish in the garden and is rebuffed by the fire brigade - he finally wakes up quite willing to pay his rates.
4. A Visit to Mr Jones Dorothea Brooking Dorothea Brooking 7 Feb 1966
  Shirley has foolishly hidden for several months the fact that she has not been able to see the blackboard clearly, because she is afraid of having to wear glasses. She is finally found to be suffering from short-sight, and the local optician tells her that she must wear glasses for school work, watching television and riding her bicycle.
This episode was billed as A Visit to the Optician for its repeat in 1969.
5. Sixty Years Ago Norman Longmate Peter Scroggs BBC 14 Feb 1966
  We see daily life of a Brent family in 1906. Dad works in a furniture factory, his working hours are long and he uses laborious hand processes for jobs which would be done by machines today. Mum's day is fully occupied by tasks which the modern housewife would make light of with washing machines, vacuum cleaners and detergents. Young Harry works as a stable-boy and dreams of a job as a mechanic with one of the new motor-bus companies. Sarah is a domestic servant.
The family entertain themselves at home playing games and singing popular songs around the piano. As an occasional treat they visit one of the new bioscope theatres to watch a programme of news items and one-reel comedies.
6. Lost, Stolen or... Dorothea Brooking Dorothea Brooking 28 Feb 1966
  Colin leaves his bicycle outside a firend's house, and when he comes out it has gone. His parents tell him to go to the police station but Colin is not eager to do this as he knows the bicycle is not in roadworthy condition. After considerable questioning the officer on duty, Sergeant Jackson, tells him that 'lost' bicycles are often taken by someone in a hurry for a specific reason. Colin finally discovers that his bicycle was taken by a young man who had just heard that his wide had been involved in an accident, and retrieves it from the hospital.
7. Vote for Colin John Tully Peter Scroggs 7 Mar 1966
  The youth club committee decide to suspend the weekly dance because of rowdiness. As a joke some of the rowdies propose Colin as a committee member. Colin refuses but Shirley plays on his pride and eventually he agrees to let his name go forward. Once elected he takes the job seriously, manages to get one of the worst-behaved boys evicted, and helps to keep order when the dances are resumed.
8. Fishing with Geoffrey James Lloyd Dorothea Brooking 14 Mar 1966
  Sergeant Jackson meets Colin and Shirley in the library and tells them that he is going to visit a friend who likes fishing, a physically handicapped boy. The twins agree to go and see Geoffrey, but they are worried about how to treat him as he is in a wheelchair. They discover that Geoffrey is a "perfectly ordinary boy," and find out about his special school.
9. Mum Needs Advice John Tully Jill Sheppard 21 Mar 1966
  Mrs Brent buys a bargain-priced vacuum cleaner from a salesman who calls at the house. Later on the same day in breaks down. The salesman points out that the guarantee binds his firm to replace a broken part, but the customer must meet the labour charge which is nearly the equivalent of the original cost of the machine. Mum turns to the Citizens Advice Bureau, who inform her that she has rights under the Sale of Goods Act, and a word on the telephone from the Bureau persuades the firm to exchange the faulty cleaner without cost.
10. Camping Jeffrey Segal Dorothea Brooking BBC 28 Mar 1966
  The twins plan to spend a night camping in the country with their friends Derek and Susan. They settle for the night on a farm to find that Derek, an alleged camping expert, has brought an empty cylinder for the stove, so they are forced to build a fire. A prowler pushing through the hedge makes them retreat to the barn for the rest of the night, but in the morning they discover their fears were caused by sheep in the next field.

Summer 1966

Num Title Writer Producer Archive Broadcast
11. Throwing a Party Margaret J. Miller Dorothea Brooking 25 Apr 1966
12. Call the Doctor Jeffrey Segal Peter Scroggs 2 May 1966
13. Finding Isn't Keeping John Tully Dorothea Brooking 9 May 1966
14. The Real West Peter Scroggs Peter Scroggs 16 May 1966
  Colin finds that the real West was very different from the screen West.
15. Aunt Jessie's Budgies John Tully Dorothea Brooking 23 May 1966
16. This is How It Was Peter Scroggs Peter Scroggs 6 Jun 1966
  Colin and Shirley use their cameras to record a picture of Marley for posterity.
17. Minding the Baby Margaret J. Miller Dorothea Brooking 13 Jun 1966
18. An American in Marley John Tully Peter Scroggs 20 Jun 1966
  with Stewart Guidotti as Glenn, Lorain Bertorelli as Eileen

Magazine Special

Listings for Television Club in summer 1968, including the Magazine Special.

When the 1965 series of Television Club was repeated in 1968, the episodes were shown in a slightly different order and one of them, It's None of Your Business was not repeated at all. Instead, a new Magazine Special episode was shown at the beginning of the summer term, on 30 April 1968 (programmes were first shown on Tuesdays but the wallchart listing pictured to the left is for the Wednesday repeats, which is why the date given is 1 May 1968).

This episode did not feature the Brent family in the usual way, instead it showed film of work being done in schools based on the spring term programmes, and in the studio models, drawings and other work by children inspired on the programmes. There were also short extracts from some of the spring term episodes[8].

The Magazine Special was introduced by the usual Club host, James Lloyd, but had a new producer, Laurence Wade.


Introduced by James Lloyd
Judith Chalmers ('The Guide Dog' only)
Brian Blessed ('Space Travel' only)

Ian Gardiner as Mr Brent
Brenda Cowling as Mrs Brent
Alexander Riley as Colin Brent (1964-1965)
Jonathan Collins as Colin Brent (1966)
Judith Geeson as Shirley Brent (1964)
Nadine Hanwell as Shirley Brent (1965-1966)

Written by Ronald Smedley
Bill Scott
Jeffrey Segal
John Tully
and others, see episode listings
Designer Charles Lawrence
Producers Ronald Smedley
Bill Scott
Peter Scroggs
Dorothea Brooking
Jill Sheppard
Film cameraman John A. S. Turner
Geoff Mulligan
Eric Deeming
Eddie Best
Stanely Speel
Alan Featherstone
Michael Shepherd
Film editor Michael Rabiger
Peter Horrey
The Brent family investigating their new vacuum cleaner


Pupil's pamphlet, spring 1965

For each term that the series was shown a set of teacher's notes were provided, giving descriptions of each episode, extensive background information on the topics covered, and suggestions for follow-up work and discussion.

There were also colourfully illustrated pupil's pamphlets, and unlike the pamphlets for the Wade family which presented an almost magazine-like collection of stories, facts and craft suggestions, the Brent family pamphlets were simply story books, recounting the family's adventures in each episode.

A review of the material praised the teacher's notes as meeting "the usual high standard we have come to expect from the B.B.C.," and the pupil's pamphlet as "well prepared and useful."[9]

Sources & References

  • BBC (1964) Television Club Notes for the Teacher, Spring 1965
  • BBC (1965) Television Club Notes for the Teacher, Spring 1966
  • BBC (1968) Television Club Notes for the Teacher, Summer 1968
  • Radio Times
  • Swinton Headteachers' Group (1966) 'School Television Reviews - Television Club, B.B.C. TV' in Visual Education, June 1966, p.45
  • Thomas, W. Spencer (1962) 'School Television Reviews - Television Club (B.B.C.)' in Visual Education, March 1963, p.27
  1. "Working-class family" quote from BBC (1964) p.1
  2. Marley was "loosely based" on Hemel Hempstead according to BBC (1965) p.15. Some of the location filming took place there according to BBC (1964) p.1
  3. Re the actress playing Shirley Brent leaving, BBC (1964) p.1: "Judith Geeson has, however, left the series and the part of Shirley will be played by Nadine Hanwell. Before the first transmission teachers, at their discretion, might like to mention this fact to children who watched last year's programmes."
  4. Some criticism of the nature of the Wade family episode The Rainy Day in Thomas (1963)
  5. "Colin is too modern a name" per BBC (1965) p.11
  6. Information about filming in Sweden and changes between 1964 and 1968 from BBC (1968) pp.2-3. Sveriges Radio Skol TV named in Radio Times listings.
  7. "A programme designed to provoke discussion" from BBC (1964) p.15
  8. Description of the (likely) contents of the Magazine Special from BBC (1968) p.2. Credits from the Radio Times.
  9. Review quotes about the notes & pamphlets from Swinton Headteachers' Group (1966)