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started11th Jan 1978
ended15th Mar 1978
last rpt5th Dec 1980
4 school years
duration15 mins
age rangeAge 13-16
languageenIn English

Work is an ITV schools TV series from the 1970s and 1980s, covering geography and careers for secondary school pupils.

A series of light-hearted documentaries, case studies and dramatisations about opportunities for pupils about to start work, presented by Sylveste McCoy.

The series was a response to a Schools Council project called 'Geography for the Young School Leaver', specifically the section on 'People, Place and Work'. The project was an early attempt to frame a school curriculum at national level, though it was a suggestion rather than the prescription of the National Curriculum which would come a decade later.

The programmes were constructed to still be useful for social and environmental studies, and general careers work for school leavers, even if teachers were not following the Schools Council project.

Episode List

# Title Broadcast
1. Why Work? #1978-01-11-00-00-0011 Jan 1978
2. The Changing Nature of Work #1978-01-18-00-00-0018 Jan 1978
3. Why Is It There? #1978-01-25-00-00-0025 Jan 1978
4. Journey to Work #1978-02-01-00-00-001 Feb 1978
5. Unemployed #1978-02-08-00-00-008 Feb 1978
6. Equal Opportunities #1978-02-15-00-00-0015 Feb 1978
7. The Changing Village #1978-02-22-00-00-0022 Feb 1978
8. Work and the Environment #1978-03-01-00-00-001 Mar 1978
9. Industrial Relations #1978-03-08-00-00-008 Mar 1978
10. Work and the Future #1978-03-15-00-00-0015 Mar 1978

Episode Guide


1. Why Work?

Different attitudes to work and what makes people choose one job or another.

First broadcast: Wednesday 11th January 1978, 11:20am

2. The Changing Nature of Work

How working conditions have changed in the Forest of Dean Violet-marker.png following mine closures in the 1950s and 60s.

First broadcast: Wednesday 18th January 1978, 11:20am

3. Why Is It There?

Looking at the location of jobs by considering activities that developed around the docks in Bristol Violet-marker.png , and what changed with the opening of new docks in Avonmouth Violet-marker.png . The episode title is meant to be read alongside the series title: Work - Why Is It There?, and was sometimes listed that way.

First broadcast: Wednesday 25th January 1978, 11:20am

4. Journey to Work

Why are people prepared to make the commute to work every day when it makes them very frustrated - the programme asks the question and presents some unlikely alternatives.

First broadcast: Wednesday 1st February 1978, 11:20am

5. Unemployed

Setting out reasons for the loss of jobs in different locations around Birmingham Violet-marker.png , and the types of employment that are vulnerable.

  • This episode is sometimes billed as Unemployment.

First broadcast: Wednesday 8th February 1978, 11:20am

6. Equal Opportunities

Considering changes in attitudes towards "capabilities and opportunities" for women in the 1970s, and the continuing effects of prejudice and tradition.

  • This episode was repeated as a Next Year at School preview for parents and teachers on 7th December 1978.
  • In publicity prior to the first submission an alternative episode called New Jobs was mooted in this slot, looking at the factors which lead to new employment opportunities being created in new areas, and the consequences of such growth.

First broadcast: Wednesday 15th February 1978, 11:20am

7. The Changing Village

Changes in farming since the second world war and what this has meant for village life, based near Stratford Violet-marker.png .

First broadcast: Wednesday 22nd February 1978, 11:20am

8. Work and the Environment

A record of a canal journey from central Birmingham Violet-marker.png to the countryside near Cannock Violet-marker.png , looking at the effect that man has had on the landscape.

  • This episode was known as Industrial Landscapes in descriptions sent to schools in later years.

First broadcast: Wednesday 1st March 1978, 11:20am

9. Industrial Relations

Sylveste goes on strike at an imaginary engineering works in Wolverhampton Violet-marker.png , and goes to see the management and the trades union representatives to negotiate a better deal for himself.

First broadcast: Wednesday 8th March 1978, 11:20am

10. Work and the Future

The programme looks at automation, alternative methods of industrial organisation such as co-operatives, and leisure.

  • This episode was known as Work in the Future in descriptions sent to schools, but Work and the Future in the TV Times.

First broadcast: Wednesday 15th March 1978, 11:20am


I only know the locations of Work episodes to the town or region in which they were filmed, so there is no need to zoom in this map too much as the pins are just towards the middle of the relevant area.

Loading map...


Sylveste McCoy Sylveste McCoy
Writer George Moore
Researcher Pamela Edwards
Adviser Rex Beddis
Film editor Andrew Denny & John McCarthy
Director Sam Fairhall & Glyn Edwards
Producer Paul Martin


A booklet of teachers' notes was published to accompany the series, but there were no other specific resources. The notes cost 40p in 1978, increasing to 50p and then 55p for subsequent transmissions.


  • Spring 1978: Wednesdays 11:20am, repeated Fridays 9:50am
    • Not shown in Ulster on Wednesdays, where Hop, Skip and Jump was shown instead.
    • Not shown on HTV Wales on Fridays, where abc was shown instead.
  • Spring 1979: Wednesdays 11:20am, repeated Fridays 9:47am
    • Not shown in Ulster on Wednesdays, where Hop, Skip and Jump was shown instead.
    • Not shown on HTV Wales on Fridays, where Am Gymru was shown instead.
  • Spring 1980: Tuesdays 10:16am, repeated Fridays 10:10am
  • Autumn 1980: Fridays 9:58am
    • These broadcasts were not fully networked according to the IBA annual report, but I'm not sure which region or regions did not show it.

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