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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… August 1979

Friday, 24th August 1979


It’s prime Carol Drinkwater and pre-Calum Buchanan – basically it’s imperial era All Creatures Grunt and Smell, albeit a Friday night repeat of an episode first shown the previous year. ‘Breath of Life’ was one of those series finales back when telly didn’t really do that, save for being slightly more elegiac than usual.  Here we have another turn for that whole ‘circle of life’-type parable beloved of programmes where animals die.  Additional note: isn’t the drumming on the title music deceptively funky?


Ostensibly the survivor referred to in the show’s title is the creature featured in that week’s episode. However to our impressionable young eyes, it felt like the real survivor was the ropey old film the show was shot on. This week’s episode features man’s greatest fear… it’s sharks!

The weekend is here – it’s the late 1970s, so what do you know?  It’s a high concept chat show from the BBC. The innovation here is that each week “seven people from all walks of life have a chance to meet and exchange views with a personality of their choice.”  On this edition the person of choice is James Burke.  With seven interviewers at hand, surely one of them has to ask “what’s it like living with your stupid surname?”



  1. Glenn A

    August 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    ITV would have been on strike in August 1979, so I assume had they returned to work, Survival would have been shown.
    I do remember the strike well and for all ITV going off air for ten weeks wouldn’t mean much now, it meant you had to rely on the BBC, which in the summer meant three things, repeats, more repeats and Test Match cricket. Also many viewers who mostly watched ITV were irate as their favourite channel had gone and I can remember one old woman on a radio phone in going ballistic as Crossroads had been stopped and the BBC was for posh people. How times change as few people would shed any tears if ITV was off air for ten weeks these days.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    August 8, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    A chat show with James Burke, now this I would have loved to have seen in later years instead of racing around on my bike in the countryside, as you do at 11 years old. Good evening, or is it, that is the concept I will be discussing tonight. Now did you realise this chat show is distantly related to a speech given by Henry VIII in 1540 and the camera next to me is really a Roman relic brought into the modern era.
    Dear old James Burke, he really was the boffin of boffins, the kind of man who loved the abstract and who hasn’t been seen on British television since 1985. Love him or hate him, Burke was unique and Seven Of One would have been a surreal experience.

  3. Richardpd

    August 8, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    When I lived on my own I hardly watched any of the ITV channels, so I wouldn’t have missed much.

    It’s a shame James Burke didn’t do much TV by the 1980s so I missed his science shows like connections.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    August 10, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    @ Richardpd, Burke was unique, but his shows were very much an acquired taste and expensive for the BBC to make. However, no one can doubt the man’s enthusiasm and knowledge and his love of what he did. Also who wouldn’t refuse round the world trips to do something we loved.
    As regards the ITV vs BBC thing that was still very much alive in 1979, I’d say we were half and half and weren’t into ITV working class, BBC middle class arguments many viewers had then. We watched ITV for drama, local programmes, horse racing, films and the blockbuster mini series they showed in summer, and the BBC for children’s programmes, comedy, news, entertainment and sports ITV didn’t show. However, things like opera, dons talking and classical music on BBC Two were never our scene.

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