Nationwide

A Brief History of Nationwide

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"Ready, studio!"
September 1969 – June 1970

COMING UP

A startled, lonely-looking Michael Barratt Esq. single-handedly “co-ordinates” rickety volleys betwixt fledgling Beeb regional outposts in the choppy wake of starch-shirted national and local news bulletins, armed only with wieldy standard issue Corporation telephone and chunky formica desk. Tuesday-Thursdays only. Incessant technical breakdowns. Strictly monochrome.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION… (AKA How to recognise said incarnation of NW)

…A three-way discussion on equal pay, cut short for pictures of a bridge in Arnhem. Update on overheated British Rail axle boxes.

MANDALA QUOTA

Non-existent. Chirpy, cod-jazz brew of a title theme does almost as well, blessed with instructional yet entertaining here’s-where-the-regions-are “map” palaver.

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…But from little acorns…
Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

July 1970 – August 1972

A potted plant - does The One Show have that?COMING UP

An assured Mike B. reigns in front of noticeably larger desk-business plus specially installed bank of eight shimmering telly screens. First proper ‘Wide reporting “team” assembled, including Messrs. Robert of Langley, Philip “Phil” Tibenham, and Joan Shenton. Sir Bob Wellings promoted from London anchor to NW co-host in October ’71. Launches of prototype “appeals” (for everyday “characters”) and “competitions”, esp. Cook Of The Realm, compered by Stuart Hall, judged by Ronnie Corbett, Hattie Jacques, Katie Boyle and, er, Ernest Marples MP.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION…

…Crosscountry round-up of clergymen refereeing ladies wrestling. Ergonomics of kitchen equipment. Bob L. meets some gypsies. Late news on rise in the price of Polaroid film.

MANDALA QUOTA

Still AWOL, but learn-about-your-country titles dropped for exciting multiple split-screen frenzy and, crucially, the proper logo. Stubborn oom-pah, oom-pah…pah pah! brass sting heralds promise of better things to come.

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…Woman spotted taking pet duck for swim in Kensington Gardens
Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala! Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

A look a *round* the studio

September 1972 – September 1973

COMING UP

In glorious colour (well, in most regions) the ‘Wide goes a full five nights a week, with Frank Bough conscripted for joint “co-ordinating” duties and the “team” bolstered by Miss Sue Lawley, James Hogg and Lord Bernard Falk.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION…

…Deputy Chairman of the Metrication Board answers viewers’ questions. Fanny Cradock compares food prices in London and Venice. First of epic deluge of features with presenters’ names shoehorned into titles (e.g. Tibenham’s Travels, Falk About Britain).

MANDALA QUOTA

Yes! Yes! NW’s promotion to full-time teatime status secures welcome overhaul in graphics (with debut of multi-purpose spinning “NW” stencil action) and music via the sublime Johnny Scott classic ‘The Good Word’…

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…Studio set now includes desk and “conversation area”.

Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

Stranks for the memories

October 1973 – August 1975

Sir Bob Wellings consults notes to remember he's interviewing architect Peter MurrayCOMING UP

Imperial-era Nationwide: Mike, Frank, Bob W. and Sue L. up front; Consumer Unit open for business with Val Singleton and Senor R. Stilgoe detailing the cost of living through plethora of shopping basket displays/keyboard stylings; Jimmy Hill of a Friday with sporting gossip; Susan Stranks and Brian Widlake saunter Down Memory Lane.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION…

…National Nursing Awards heats in Coventry. It’s A Knockout Scoregirl competition. Prince Phillip turning up. Letters from people with six fingers on one hand. Hooray!

MANDALA QUOTA

By the bucketful. Plus ‘Wide faces busy out and about; a hospital bed; bloke with “The End Is At Hand” sandwichboard, etc.

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…”The price of a first class stamp has gone up (caption: ‘STAMPS UP’) from 4p to 7p.” “Now somebody may no longer afford to send a letter to a loved one.”

Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

*Weigh* to go, Donnie!

September 1975 – July 1977

All the beige! The NW gang!COMING UP

Mike and Frank continue to rule, though Sue is poached for relaunched Tonight programme so Val gets promoted. New intake includes Dilys Morgan, Julian Pettifer, John Stapleton. Weekly decamps en mass to regional studios (“For the third time this week, welcome to Norwich…”). Xmas Carol Competition, Slim And Trim, Good Neighbour contests launched. Stilgoe lands singalonga-correspondence slot Pigeonhole (with titular Walter) plus “Odd Job” segment on DIY tips. Golden years reach suitable climax as Mike bids farewell via regal “tour” of the nation on own ‘Wide customised train.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION…

…James Hogg marooned on remote Scottish island for 14 days. More news on the Nationwide boat/horse/allotment/greyhound.

MANDALA QUOTA

All present and correct. Mike getting out of car, the Severn Bridge, swooping shot of power station…

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…Plus Frank pioneers timeless “I dunno” presentational technique; to wit: Frank: “I dunno what a folly is. Bob, what do you think a folly is?”/Bob: “Well Frank, we asked an architectural expert what a folly is, and he told us what a folly is.”
Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

Silly billies

August 1977 – August 1980

And... cue Frank!COMING UP

Return of Sue to join Frank, Bob, Val and John S. at helm. Sportswide shared out amongst Peter Walker, Ron Pickering and Des Lynam. First ‘Wide pantomime. The contests keep a-coming: Children’s Champion, Schoolboy Footballer Of The Year, Glamorous Grandmothers, The British Rock And Pop Awards (replete with special NW Golden Award for group with most “all-round family appeal”). After week “In Europe” live from Brussels Stilgoe leaves – cue arrival of Glyn Worsnip in said Pigeonhole. Val departs for Tonight and The Money Programme. Hugh Scully gets the call.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION…

…A day in the life of a seaside doctor. Eddie Braben with a sideways look at how the ’70s have changed British cities. Reginald Bosanquet on gossip and tennis. Sue Peacock wins chance to become NW presenter for a day on “The Big Time”. Frank cracks up: “You think I’m in complete control of this crisis, don’t you? Well, I’m not. We’ve nothing left and there’s two minutes to go. What would you do given two minutes of peak hour television time?”

MANDALA QUOTA

Holding on, just.

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…Gradual break-up of seminal “team” offset by Bob Wellings walking up the highest peaks “in each of your regions.”
Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

Older and Scully (not in the order)

September 1980 – December 1981

From Sue and Hugh, it's over to you!COMING UP

First round of unnecessary messing with format by thick-headed BBC bosses sees boring gardening and pets sections introduced, Bob W. leave to be succeeded by dull Richard Kershaw, and Pigeonhole replaced with “Dear Nationwide”. Hugh fronts new consumer segment “Watchdog”, Tony Wilkinson spends a month living rough for acclaimed “Down And Out” slot.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION…

…Bill Kerr Elliot with the twenty-fifth part in his journey round Celtic Britain. Glyn Worsnip live from the biggest helicopter base in Europe. Prince Charles turning up. A Newcastle housewife and a London aristocrat change places.

MANDALA QUOTA

Aaaahh! Ditched completely for horrible meaningless “hi-tech” montage of presenter-less stills and instantly forgettable military march misery with no tune. The bastards.

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…Though full-works Royal Wedding coverage something of a return to former glories (Frank of roof of tall building for no reason; tips on how to hold own wedding “party”)
Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

Breaking The Budget

January 1982 – August 1983

Sue Cook of the realm!COMING UP

Second, and final, cack-handed meddling from The Suits installs hopeless David Dimbleby as front-man (billed above Frank in Radio Times!) while exiling the whole team behind horrible desks and ditching all “traditional” features for crappy foreign stories (so what’s the show called again?). Dimbleby lasts just four months, but damage is done. Frank quits for Breakfast Time, while Anne Diamond joins reporting team. Last minute rally via revived letters spot “Speak For Yourself” and memorable Thatcher/ Falklands phone-in spat, but it’s all too late. The old gang re-unite for last week on air before the tearful final curtain.

AND AFTER NEWS FROM YOUR OWN REGION…

…The Pope flies out of Cardiff Airport. Michael Heseltine answers questions on domestic rates.

MANDALA QUOTA

Yet another new title sequence sees all traces of former glories banished for a truly hideous crappy synth-heavy concoction plus graphics that hark back to first ever NW here’s-your-region instructions, only minus charm or imagination.

TV CREAM CONSUMER UNIT SAYS…

…Didn’t have to be the end, either.
Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!Mandala!

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