The Land is an ITV schools TV series from the 1970s and 1980s, covering geography for secondary school and further education students.
A geography series for GCE O-level and CSE students looking at specific areas of the physical landscape of Britain and man's interaction with it.
The series was influenced by the "new geography" teaching of the 1970s, about "the relationships between one region and another" and their shared characteristics, and human interaction with them, informed by the development of infrastructure and links to urban hubs - rather than isolated studies of a single region as if it was the only place that, for example, dairy farming ever took place.
For this reason the broadcast order of the episodes into units is arranged thematically around four types of area - sea coast, mountains, uplands and river valleys. Teachers seeking a more geographically-aligned study were encouraged to record the programmes and show them to their class in the order that suited them.
Widespread areas of the UK are covered - by no means only local to the Granada Television area - and there are six programmes looking at areas in Scotland and four looking at Wales.
The series' major innovation as a schools' resource in 1975 is that it features extensive location footage, and in particular aerial photography taken by helicopter. But this was at first its undoing. Originally planned to be broadcast in 1974, the national fuel crisis in 1973-74 made it impossible to complete the planned aerial photography, and so the entire series was postponed by a year.
Once they were completed, the full set of 20 films had a long life and much repeat-ability, broadcast consistently for almost a decade and taking them well into the 1980s. From 1981 the series continued to be repeated but reduced to one term per year, with a set of 10 episodes selected from across all four units.
The series was shown first locally in the Granada region, as detailed in the Broadcasts section below, and then across the ITV network two days later. These dates are for the initial, local broadcasts by Granada.
|The Sea Coast|
|1.||The Lizard and Land's End||22 Sep 1975|
|2.||South Pembrokeshire||29 Sep 1975|
|3.||Aldeburgh and Orford Ness||6 Oct 1975|
|4.||The South Lancashire Coast||13 Oct 1975|
|5.||The Culbin Sands||20 Oct 1975|
|6.||The Cairngorns||3 Nov 1975|
|7.||The North-West Highlands||10 Nov 1975|
|8.||Snowdonia||17 Nov 1975|
|9.||The Cumbrian Lake District||24 Nov 1975|
|10.||The Northern Pennines||1 Dec 1975|
|11.||The Peak District and Sheffield||12 Jan 1976|
|12.||Dartmoor||19 Jan 1976|
|13.||The Brecon Beacons||26 Jan 1976|
|14.||The South Downs||2 Feb 1976*|
|15.||The Isle of Skye||9 Feb 1976|
|16.||The River Dee in Scotland||23 Feb 1976|
|17.||The Tweed Valley||1 Mar 1976|
|18.||The Middle Trent||8 Mar 1976|
|19.||The Tyne Valley||15 Mar 1976|
|20.||The River Dee in Wales||22 Mar 1976|
* - The South Downs was previewed in an Out of School programme at around 10:10am on Wednesday 31st December 1975.
|1975-76||Autumn 1975 & Spring 1976||Monday, 10:35am||Wednesday, 11:39am||Friday, 9:48am||ITV||Mon Granada only|
|1976-77||Autumn 1976 & Spring 1977||Monday, 10:40am||Wednesday, 11:39am||Friday, 10:30am||ITV||Mon Granada only|
|1977-78||Autumn 1977 & Spring 1978||Monday, 10:09am||Wednesday, 10:31am||Friday, 10:30am||ITV||Wed Granada only|
|1978-79||Autumn 1978 & Spring 1979||Monday, 10:30am||Tuesday, 11:39am||ITV||Mon Granada only|
|1979-80||Autumn 1979 & Spring 1980||Tuesday, 11:39am||Wednesday, 10:33am||ITV||Wed Granada only.*|
|1980-81||Autumn 1980 & Spring 1981||Monday, 10:40am||Tuesday, 10:26am||ITV||Mon Granada only|
|1981-82||Autumn 1981||Thursday, 10:26am||Friday, 11:34am||ITV||Fri Granada only|
|1982-83||Autumn 1982||Tuesday, 10:21am||ITV|
|Summer 1983||Friday, 9:30am||ITV|
|1983-84||Autumn 1983||Friday, 11:39am||ITV|
|1984-85||Summer 1985||Wednesday, 10:48am||ITV|
* - Due to the long ITV strike the first unit, on The Sea Coast, was not shown. Granada Television locally showed extra episodes of The Land on Thursdays at 10:45am in December after the end of the school term.
The Land was also broadcast as a Summer School programme for a general audience during the 1977 school summer holidays, on Tuesday mornings at 9:30am.
Some episodes were due to be shown again as part of a similar Summer Break line-up in summer 1979, taking over from It's More Life on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:45am from 29th August (curiously in a 15 minute timeslot although The Land films are 20 minutes long). However the long ITV strike which started on 10th August and lasted until October meant that these broadcasts never took place.
|Dubbing Mixer||John Whitworth|
|Graphic Designer||Ian Scaife|
|Rostrum Camera||Howard Phillips|
|Helicopter Pilot||Terry Dixon|
|Film Editor||David Rees|
A booklet of teacher's notes was available to accompany the broadcasts.
Originally in 1975 a pair of booklets was sold, one for each term costing 22p each. From 1976 onwards the notes were combined into a single publication covering the whole year. In 1976 this was sold for 50p.
The notes contained descriptions of the programmes, suggestions for follow-up work and maps and diagrams including the locations of the filming, although one geography teacher reviewing the series raised a complaint that many geography students must have shared during their years at school - that the locations "were sometimes difficult to find without [Ordnance Survey] maps"!
Sources & References
- Independent Television Authority Annual Reports and Accounts, 1975-1983
- ITV Schools Annual Programme catalogues, 1975-83
- Jones, Christopher (1975a) 'Educational Broadcasting: IBA' in Visual Education August/September 1975. p.10.
- Jones, Christopher (1975b) 'Educational Broadcasting: IBA' in Visual Education December 1975. p.10.
- Littler, Margaret & Huggins, Graham (1978) 'The Granada TV series 'The Land' - Two Viewpoints' in Teaching Geography vol. 4 no. 1, July 1978, p.45. Geographical Association. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23750085
- Thomas, P.R. (1970) 'Education and the New Geography' in Geography vol. 55 no. 3, July 1970. pp.274-280. Geographical Association. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40567272
- TV Times television listings, 1975-83, including London editions via TV Times Project database
- Weltman, Joseph (1978) 21 Years of Independent Television for Schools, 1957 to 1978 as published with Independent Broadcasting no 16, May 1978, London: IBA
- Williams, Michael (1978) 'Schools' Television: Viewing 'The Land'' in Teaching Geography vol. 3 no. 3, January 1978, pp.130-131. Geographical Association https://www.jstor.org/stable/23750218
With thanks to Simon Collins.
- Thomas (1970) p.275 talks about the "new geography" as "the key to understanding in geography no longer lies in the appreciation of the unique region, but in the study of the relationships between one region and another," and goes on to focus on quantitative methods. Jones (1975a) p.10 quotes the series adviser Michael Williams defining "new geography" by reflecting that "geographical problems ought to start from the reality of interpreting the environment. This requires careful observation and consideration of the processes which could have produced it, an apparently simple exercise which gives considerable scope for hypothesis testing."
- The ITV Schools Annual Programme guide for 1979-80 (Thames edition, p.31) advised of the series that "Schools which have a video recorder may choose to record and regroup the programmes into regional units."
- Jones (1975a) explains that "The last new series to be mentioned was postponed from 1974. Filming of The Land (for the age-range 14-17) was threatened last year by the fuel crisis. This term viewers of the series will be able to realise just how much territory the film unit covered within the comparatively narrow confines of the British Isles."
- Weltman (1978) p.20 said of The Land, "these quite outstanding location studies making skilful use of aerial photography in a wide variety of different regions have justified numerous repeat showings."
- The precise episode of The Land included in Out of School on 31st December 1975 was not specified in the TV Times listings, but details were confirmed in Jones (1975b) p.10 - although he described The South Downs as "the last programme of Unit Three on Uplands" when it was actually broadcast as the penultimate episode..
- The IBA Annual Report 1977-78 p.91 lists additional broadcasts during autumn 1977 on Tuesdays, at 9:29am nationally and 10:43am locally. In spring 1978 it (ibid p.92) lists additional local broadcasts on Tuesdays at 10:43am. I can find no trace of any Tuesday broadcasts in the London, Granada, Yorkshire, Anglia or Southern region TV Times listings, so they may have taken place in a particular region, but not those.
- Margaret Littler's review of the series in 1978 mentioned that "Filming locations which were given in the text were sometimes difficult to find without O.S. maps."
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