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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… July 1980

Friday, 18th July 1980


6.55pm DALLAS, BBC2
It’s 1980, so that means it must be Dallas. If it wasn’t Terry Wogan gossiping about the Poison Dwarf every morning on Radio 2, it was The Wurzels harmonising their hatred of JR (a grudge that ran so deep, it emerged, they were “hanging a sign on their back of their car”). And when the Southfork saga wasn’t unspooling on BBC1, there were nightly reruns of past seasons on BBC2, prompting Clive James to diagnose a dose of Dallasitis in this week’s Observer – incorrectly, as it turned out (“Apparently the correct term is Dallasosis, meaning a condition brought about by excess Dallas. Dallasitis merely means that one’s Dallas has become inflamed. But one’s Dallas has become inflamed”). In this instalment, Pamela is accused of bigamy.


If there’s one thing we love about chat shows, it’s bizarre transatlantic juxtapositions of guests, like the time Richard Pryor came face-to-beak with Rod Hull and Emu on the Johnny Carson show. The one we’d really love to see, though, is this edition of Des’s star-encrusted soirée, which featured a sophomore David Letterman, yet to annexe the NBC late-night desk, alongside eminent dog handler, jazz drummer and professional “choochie face” Bernie Winters. We can’t help imagining what the small talk in the green room must have been like.

The timeless Harry Worth stars as widower Harry Matthews (bonus sitcom points for the lead character sharing the same first name as the actor) in this generation-gap comedy from the “pens” of Pam Valentine and Michael Ashton (cf You’re Only Young Twice and That’s My Boy, if you’re feeling reckless). Debby Cumming and Giles Watling are the teenage sitcom offspring colonising the bathroom and playing their records too loud. No arseing around in a shop window this time, alas, as the opening titles consisted entirely of a drawing of Harry Worth in a hat.



  1. Richard16378

    July 21, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Graham Norton’s show seemed to like mismatching Transatlantic guests, with Taylor Swift Appearing together, & the bizarre paring of Lady Gaga & June Brown!

  2. THX 1139

    July 22, 2017 at 12:20 am

    According to popular clickbait, I won’t believe what Victoria Principal looks like now. The only way that would happen would be if she’d gone back to her Earthquake afro.

  3. Glenn A

    July 22, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Dallas featured the interestingly named Punk Anderson, drinking buddy of Jock Ewing at the Cattlemen’s Club. It’s probable the Ewings before oil was discovered on their land and made them extremely rich that they were cattle ranchers. Somehow, though, JR selling a hundred worthless steers doesn’t seem as riveting as him conning someone out of $ 100 million of oil.

  4. Chris Hughes

    July 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Richard16378, that reminds me of Frank Skinner reminiscing on his radio show recently about an appearance on The Graham Norton Show where he attempted to describe “flying ants day” to Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and James McAvoy.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    July 2, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    If the eighties will be remembered for anything on the television, it was the way imported soap operas caught the public’s imagination. Back in 1980, Dallas was so big that half the population tuned in to find out who shot JR and the shooting even made the Nine O Clock News in a semi serious fashion. Next came Dynasty, which while never as big as Dallas, revived the career of Joan Collins and later in the decade Neighbours and Home And Away would pull in 15-18 million viewers.

  6. Richardpd

    July 2, 2022 at 10:26 pm

    I remember my Mum was a big fan of Dallas, & many a bedtime story was quickly ended while the sound of the theme was audible from the lounge. She gave up when Bobby came back from the dead & it became too silly. I don’t remember her being into Dynasty at all.

    I can remember Neighbours being a must see programme for a few years, & almost always the talk of the school after a good episode.

    Quite a contrast from when Australian soaps were just daytime filler programmes.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    July 3, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    @ Richardpd, Neighbours was only intended as daytime filler and probably would have died a lot earlier had it not become a must see programme for teens, students and families. Some Aussie soaps never made it out of the ITV regional afternoon slots, though, due to the lack of photogenic young actors. I can remember A Country Practice being a regular on Border for over 10 years in the afternoon.

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