TV Cream

Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… August 1977

Wednesday, 17th August 1977


Especially in the 1970s, August was pretty much always repeats month on telly, but in 1977 BBC2 cooked up a decent way to disguise this with its Festival 77 season, marking the Queen’s Silver Jubilee by showing a “significant” programme from every year of her reign – or one that hadn’t been wiped, anyway. Rather brilliantly, 1976’s most “significant” programme was considered to be Swap Shop and an edited version with the cartoons chopped out filled over an hour of primetime telly, which is a brilliant concept. But tonight it had reached 1968 and Tony Palmer’s seminal film on rock, pretty much the first time anyone had considered the genre worthy of academic study and, thanks to Palmer’s friendship with John Lennon, stuffed with the major players of the time like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend talking seriously about why they did what they did and why it has to be so terribly loud. And this was doubtless a very fortuitously timed repeat, not only as punk was now causing the same kind of parental concern as the music featured here did a decade before, but it was less than 24 hours after one of music’s most influential figures had died.


4.45pm ASK ASPEL, BBC1
We’re sure one of the reasons why Morecambe and Wise never seemed as good when they were on Thames was because they weren’t able to run amuck through the entire channel’s output as they were at the Beeb. We certainly love hearing about Eric popping into the Play School studio to say hello to Big Ted and the rest of the toys, which gave across the impression of TV Centre as one big fun factory with Eric and Ern right at the centre of it. It was always great when they popped up on kids’ telly, and here they are joining Asp for some amiable chat. And maybe, just maybe, after it had all finished the boys asked Asp if he remembered a scene from South Pacific.

Eric and Ern would dominate this slot for the next few years, because Wednesday at 8PM was always variety time and usually home to a suitably lavish Thames production. This was one of a number of seemingly identical series, all fronted by Tom O’Connor, which also numbered London Night Out and the prosaically-titled Wednesday At 8. We’re not sure if this one had Name That Tune in it, but tonight we were promised Bernie Clifton and surely one of the last appearances of Eric and Ern’s nemeses, Mike and Bernie Winters.



  1. THX 1139

    August 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I remember being surprised to learn Bernie Winters had had a showbiz partner in a double act when I was a kid, other than Schnorbitz that was, and Mike and Bernie clips were never shown when I was growing up. I wonder if Mike consciously dissuaded them from being revived? Might be the memory playing tricks.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    August 15, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Mike and Bernie Winters fell out over money in 1978, and had been overtaken by more talented double acts like Morecambe and Wise and The Two Ronnies. They were never that amusing, but must have rubbed off on Little and Large, where one brother tries to play the clarinet and the other keeps interrupting him all the time, same as Syd Little’s attempts at playing the guitar were always interrupted by Eddie Large doing impersonations.

  3. Droogie

    August 16, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I remember the Festival 77 season on BBC2 because our dad made me and my brother watch a screening of Tony Hancock in The Blood Donor. It was probably the first time I saw Hancock. Most of the humour went over my head, but I vividly recall my dad laughing his head off.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    August 16, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Tom O Connor was the face of Thames light entertainment in the late seventies, he seemed to pop up everywhere and was the king of variety shows. While some of the acts on Wednesday At 8 and its spin off shows could be variable, it was likeable enough, Tom O Connor’s observational humour was worth listening to, and millions loved Name That Tune. Also Name That Tune was parodied by Thames other LE giant, Benny Hill, around the same time.

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