Television Club

The Wades

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The Wades(from Television Club)
BBC Schools TV
First run:
16th January

25th June

(2 school years)
Episodes:36 episodes
Duration:20 minutes
Subject:Citizenship: Citizenship
Audience:Age 11-13
Language:In English
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The Wade Family

The Wades are a working-class family who live on the King's Hill council estate near the town of Stockford in the Midlands.

Map of Stockford
  • Mr Wade
  • Mrs Wade
  • Cliff Wade, aged 14
  • Janet Wade, aged 13

Mr Wade is a signalman on the railways who is transferred to Stockford Midland Station. Mrs Wade works part time in a local café. Their teenage children attend King's Hill Secondary Modern School.

Other characters appearing in the stories include the Russell family: Cliff's friend Derek Russell aged 13, his sister Peggy aged 12, and their mother who is a widow; and Mr Blakeley the owner of Stonebridge Farm, a dairy farm near to the town.

The town of Stockford, which is entirely fictional, lies on the River Stock (also fictional). It was established in medieval towns and is now a County Borough with over 100,000 inhabitants. A map of the town was published in the pupil's pamphlets and is reproduced to the right. The King's Hill Estate is in the bottom right, and Stonebridge Farm is in the very top right.

All of the towns and schools featured in the Television Club were fictitious but extremely realistic, aiming for familiarity with the viewing children. The language and activities were also up-to-date and carefully designed to appeal to children - the first episode in 1963 featured a "twisting party" in Sherwood Forest as part of a school play version of Robin Hood and apparently the Z Cars theme music was used as the theme music here as well. "Our school is situated in a town which could easily be the setting for the series and the language used is the language understood by our children," was a familiar comment from teachers watching the series.

The stories were simple and featured the same characters from week to week, and there were some serial elements as the plot continued from week to week. For instance, in February 1962 Janet Wade becomes interested in photography, in March she takes a photograph on the farm and submits it to a competition; she wins the competition and in May (during the summer term programmes) visits the set of the fictitious children's programme Camera Time as a prize. Each of these activities were of educational value to viewers - they found out about photography techniques, were encouraged to participate in competitions, and were shown some practicalities of television production.

Janet Wade in the television studio

The episode about photography also featured a demonstration of printing photographs from negatives, with instructions given in the teacher's notes. Children inspired by the programmes could develop their own photographs. The following programme was about a smash and grab raid, but children were not encouraged to carry out this activity and there were no instructions in the teacher's notes!


Descriptions of the episodes are available where I have been able to get them[1]. Guest cast lists are given for each episode, the regular cast for the series is listed in the Credits section.


  1. Meet the Wade Family
  2. Decorating
    • with William Victor as Derek Russell, Jennifer Moss as Peggy Russell
  3. The Railway Station
    • with Roy Mort as Bob Finlay
  4. Hire Purchase
    • The hire-purchase dealings of setting up a new home.
    • with Derek Smee as shop assistant
  5. Photography
    • After seeing a programme on children's television called Camera Time, the children find an old box camera in a suitcase upstairs and try their hand at photography.
    • with Michael Smee as presenter
  6. Smash and Grab!
    • with Raymond Mason as police sergeant, Joan Mane as policewoman, Michael Stainton as thief
  7. Pancake Party
    • with William Victor as Derek Russell, Jennifer Moss as Peggy Russell, Anthony Wilson as Mike, Lesley Venner as Eileen
  8. On The Farm
    • with Trevor Martin as Mr Roberts, Richard Butler as Mr Blakeley
  9. Making an Indoor Garden
    • with William Victor as Derek Russell, Jennifer Moss as Peggy Russell
  10. Day Trip to London
  11. Camping on the Farm
    • Cliff Wade and Derek Russell go camping for a weekend at Stonebridge Farm.
    • with William Victor as Derek Russell
  12. Janet Goes to the Studio
    • Janet wins a prize in a photographic competition run by the children's television programme Camera Time. The rest of the family watch on television as Janet goes to the studio to appear in the programme.
    • with Michael Smee as presenter, Graeme Harper as John Williams
  13. On the Canal
    • Cliff and Janet go fishing and meet a family on holiday on a canal cruiser.
    • with David Webster as Mr Simpson, Yvonne Gilan as Mrs Simpson
  14. The Hospital
    • Peggy Russell is taken to hospital with appendicitis.
    • with Katherine Parr as Mrs Russell, Geoffrey Matthews as Dr Bates, John Graham as Resident Surgical Officer, June Marlow & Anne Reid as nurses, other parts played by John Pike, Ann Mitton, Malcolm Patton
  15. The Road Safety Rally
    Cliff and Janet out bicycling
    • Cliff and Janet take part in a road safety rally at school.
    • with John Dunbar as headmaster
  16. Stockford Evening Post
    • We follow the production of the Stockford Evening Post newspaper, while the Wade family wait for the latest edition, containing an account of the road safety rally.
    • with Alan Browning as news editor, Barry Jackson as reporter
  17. The Caravan Camp
    • The Wade family go off for a fortnight's holiday at a caravan camp in Blackpool.
  18. Blackpool


  1. The School Pantomime
    • Cliff and Janet take minor parts in the school production of Robin Hood.
    • with the pupils of Brandwood School, Birmingham
  2. Working in a Cafe
    • Showing Mrs Wade at work in a cafe in Stockford.
    • with Marjorie Sommerville as Mrs Wilson, Elizabeth Valentine as Doreen, Honora Burke as Mrs Harris, and Jane Comfort, Reginald Green, Carmen Hill, Pamela Sholto, Neil Seiler, Fraser Kerr as customers
  3. Stockford Underground 1: The Sewers
    • This episode was also shown as part of "Out of School" previews for parents and teachers to sample the programmes shown to schools, on 16 April 1963
  4. Stockford Underground 2: The Coal Mine
    • A visit to the local coal mine through the eyes of an apprentice miner.
  5. The Rainy Day
    • Cliff and Janet clean out the attic on a Saturday afternoon. They find old clothes and photographs, and Mr and Mrs Wade recall life in their grandparent's day, 1910.
    • with Michael Smee as television announcer, Clifford Cox as Mr Wade of 1910, Katherine Parr as Mrs Wade of 1910, John Pike as Arthur Wade, Christina Martin as Lilian Wade
  6. The Doctor
    • with Hector Ross as Dr Johnson, Jeanne Mockford as Mrs Johnson, Ken Tyllesen as Michael Willison, Kitty Attwood as Mrs Smedley, Reginald Green as Mr Slater
  7. Making a Diesel Hydraulic Locomotive
  8. Saturday Night
    • with Larry Dann as Terry Baines, Peter Thornton as P.C. Evans
  9. Monday Morning
    • Cliff and Janet appear as witnesses at the Magistrates' Court.
    • with Larry Dann as Terry Baines, Peter Thornton as P.C. Evans, John Langden as clerk of the court, Andrew Laurence as chairman, Patrick Godfrey as Mr Webster, David Webster as Mr Davenport, Bryan Wolfe as policeman
  10. Stonebridge Gertrude's Rose
    • The life story of a cow.
  11. Keeping Pets
  12. The Story of a Letter
    • with Robin Ford as postman, Pamela Sholto as woman
  13. A Visit to Grandmother
    • with Margaret Boyd as Mrs Hopkins, Pamela Sholto as Mrs Fraser, Martin Mathews as Dr Baker, Haydn Jones as Mr Edwards
  14. Keeping House
  15. How a Record is Made
    • with Tony Bart as pop singer. Music by Steve Race, who also appears in the programme.
  16. Canoeing
    • Cliff Wade goes on a trip down the River Wye.
    • Introduced by Windsor Davies and Colin Spaull (presumably this means Cliff Wade appeared in the Club Room for this episode) with the boys from Gordano School, Portishead, Somerset
  17. A Day Trip to France 1: Channel Crossing
    • with Rudolph Offenback as passport official, Robert Aldous as assistant, Robin Ford as steward
  18. A Day Trip to France 2: Le Havre
    • with Peter Zander as clerk, Michele Leighton as waitress, Brigid Panet as shop assistant


Introduced by Windsor Davies

Bernard Kay as Mr Wade (1962)
James Beck as Mr Wade (1963)
Jean Alexander as Mrs Wade
Colin Spaull as Cliff Wade
Linda Grange as Janet Wade

Written by Alan Hancock
Roger Smith ('Working in a Cafe')
Gavin Miller ('The Rainy Day', with Alan Hancock)
Designers Stuart Walker (1962)
Gordon Roland (1963)
Directors Michael Simpson
Richard Thomas
Producer Alan Hancock
Film cameramen James Court
Eric Deeming
John A.S. Turner
Ken Willicombe
Geoff Mulligan
Film editors Michael Johns
David Painter
Sound recordists Bob Peck
Bill Searle


Pupil's pamphlet
Teacher's notes

Programmes were shown during the spring and summer terms of 1962 and 1963, and for each term there was a set of teacher's notes published, and a pupil's pamphlet.

The pamphlets were simple readers for children intended to offer them something interesting to read after they had seen each episode. There was a mix of straightforward narrative versions of the story seen on TV, informative articles about points raised in the programmes, such as the work of a television studio following Janet Wade's visit in summer 1962, and practical chapters such as information about bicycles and riding safety to accompany the Road Safety Rally programme. The vocabulary of the pamphlets was graded to a reading age of eight-years.

Sources & References

  • BBC (1961) BBC Sound and Television Broadcasts to Schools 1961-2
  • BBC (1962) Television Club Notes for the Teacher
  • Patricroft C.E. School (1962) 'School Television Reviews - Television Club (B.B.C.)' in Visual Education, April 1962, p.28
  • Radio Times television listings
  • SBC (1962) Telerecordings of BBC School Television Broadcasts Available for Loan to Teaching Colleges: Supplement No. 1 to list issued in October 1961 School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom, May 1962 pp.4-5 - includes a description of episode 5 of Television Club and an overview of the series.
  • Thomas, W. Spencer (1962) 'School Television Reviews - Television Club (B.B.C.)' in Visual Education, March 1963, p.27
  1. Episode descriptions are mostly based on BBC (1962), supplemented from Radio Times, SBC (1962), Patricroft C.E. School (1962) and Thomas (1963)

More Programmes

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

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Meeting Our Needs
ITV Schools
Prose and Verse Readings
BBC Schools Radio
Great Moments in Science
BBC Schools Radio
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