The Time of Your Life

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started23rd Sep 1971
ended23rd Mar 1972
last rpt23rd Mar 1974
3 school years
duration15 mins
age rangeAge 16-19
languageenIn English

The Time of Your Life is an ITV schools TV series from the 1970s, covering Citizenship and PSHE for further education students.

A serialised drama about Tony Jackson, a 16 year-old apprentice at a motor vehicle garage, and his experiences starting out in the adult world.

The series deliberately tries to address Tony's situation from the point-of-view of a young technical apprentice or school leaver without imposing an adult "correct" approach to every situation[1], and topics are often left unresolved to be followed-up in classroom discussion. The dialogue (co-written by the celebrated screenwriter Andrew Davies, of Dark Towers no less!) is "direct and, as near as possible, realistic" in an attempt to capture the attention of viewers who had already left traditional education[2]. This was ITV's "first series specifically for further education colleges" (rather than Sixth Forms)[3].

Filming at the 'garage'

The series begins with Tony's first day working at the garage, meeting his boss Mr Griffin, workmates Dave and Mel and the garage receptionist Alma, and collecting his first £5 wage packet. As the series goes on Alma becomes Tony's girlfriend and we meet Tony's parents, his older sister Pauline and his brother Eddie who is married and has a baby daughter.

Workplace relations are also covered, not just involving Tony but also his father who is laid off during the autumn term as the result of a strike. In the spring term Mel gets into an argument with an influential customer, and when the customer has an accident caused by faulty workmanship Mel is fired from the garage.

Dave's girlfriend Marilyn becomes pregnant and he proposes to her, but ultimately decides not to marry her because he does not really love her. Tony also sees some of the problems in his brother Eddie's married life.

Tony goes out on an errand for Mr Griffin on his new motorbike, which has faulty brakes, and has an accident resulting in him being hospitalised. He has to deal with the police and witnesses who give different statements about what happened.

At the end of the series another new apprentice joins the garage, who seems to be much more confident and fashionable than Tony, and Tony is in the position that the other staff were in at the start of the series, deciding how to treat the newcomer.


The episodes were grouped into units of three or four episodes with a common theme, but the serial story ran throughout all 20 episodes.

# Title Broadcast
Working, Learning and Earning
1. Big Man Now 23 Sep 1971
2. Big Spender 30 Sep 1971
3. Get Yourself a Trade, Lad 7 Oct 1971
4. A Real Education 14 Oct 1971
Attitudes Towards Other People
5. I Don't Like Them Hippies 21 Oct 1971
6. We Have Got Feelings, You Know 4 Nov 1971
7. Laid Off 11 Nov 1971
Providing for Other People
8. A Little Breakthrough 18 Nov 1971
9. A Social Hero 25 Nov 1971
10. What Can You Do Here? 2 Dec 1971
Responsibilities & Relationships at Work
11. Mates 13 Jan 1972
12. Fired 20 Jan 1972
13. Private Property 27 Jan 1972
Love and Marriage
14. And She's Not in the Club 3 Feb 1972
15. Cosy Loving Warmth 10 Feb 1972
16. You Got to Work At It 17 Feb 1972
Morality: Human Responsibilities
17. Keep Death Off the Roads 2 Mar 1972
18. I Put It To You 9 Mar 1972
19. But We Are Animals, Aren't We? 16 Mar 1972
20. Tata Then, I'll See You Tomorrow 23 Mar 1972


Starring Charles Bolton as Tony

Anthony Allen as Dave
Jane Carr as Alma
Frank Jarvis as Mel
Mary Chester as Mrs Jackson
Arthur Whybrow as Mr Jackson
Helen Worth as Pauline Jackson
Anthony Heaton as Eddie Jackson
Bruce Beeby as Mr Griffin

With Leslie Dunn as narrator (episode 1) / announcer (episode 4)

Sandra Freeman as Linda (episodes 15 & 16)
Oliver Ford Davies as lecturer (episode 4)
Marie de Winter as barmaid (episode 4)
Meadows White as old man (episode 8)
Lockwood West as Mr Rathbone (episode 11)
Nina Thomas as girlfriend (episode 14)
Kenneth Watson as policeman (episode 18)
Martin Skinner as Martin (episode 20)

Script by Andrew Davies

George Moore

Adviser Graham Smith
Designer Jill Oxley
Produced by Philip Grosset
Director Dorothy Denham


Notes for 1972-3

The year's broadcasts were accompanied by a booklet of teachers' notes, including a description of the content of each episode, suggestions for further work and discussion, and an introduction by the series adviser Graham Smith.

In the first year the notes were combined with the summer term series And the Living of It to make one single booklet on The Time of Your Life and the Living of It.


  • 1971-72: Thursdays 11:00am, repeated Fridays 12:00noon
  • 1972-73: Thursdays 9:42am (1:52pm in Border, Grampian & Ulster regions), repeated Fridays 11:45am
    Due to an industrial dispute the first 5 episodes were not transmitted on Thursday mornings, although they did go out on Thursday afternoons in those regions broadcasting the series at 1:52pm, and throughout the country on Fridays. Those first five episodes were shown at the end of the summer term for the benefit of schools which missed them in the autumn.
  • 1973-74: Mondays 11:50am, repeated Wednesdays 10:22am

Sources & References

  • ATV (1971) Independent Television for Schools and Colleges Annual Programme 1971/72. Birmingham: ATV Ltd. p.32
  • Grampian (1973) Independent Television for Schools and Colleges Annual Programme 1973/74 age 11-18. Aberdeen: Grampian Television Ltd. p.21
  • Lewis, Peter 'Educational Broadcasting: ITA' in Visual Education November 1971 p.12
  • Smith, Graham The Time of Your Life teachers' notes, 1973-74. Birmingham: ATV Limited.
  • TV Times television listings (1971-74)
  • Yorkshire (1972) Independent Television for Schools and Colleges Annual Programme 1972/72 age 11-18. Leeds: Yorkshire Television Ltd. p.23
  1. Smith (1971) says "the programmes do not attempt to provide factual, 'correct' answers and information; they use dramatised situations to raise and focus situations and problems in the mind of the student audience. Often the programmes attempt to see the world as it appears to ordinary, average young men or women rather than give either an establishment view or a more eccentric one."
  2. Lewis (1971) says "it is not surprising that the dialogue is direct and, as near as possible, realistic. If it were not so, the audience would not be held." And later, "'The Time of Your Life' is a bold attempt to present educational material in a form which is acceptable to an audience who have largely rejected 'education' except where it is leading to trade qualifications."
  3. Lewis (1971) described The Time of Your Life as "Independent Television's first series specifically for further education colleges".

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