LEVIATHAN OF post-lunch shoestring scheduling and sanctuary for many a sneaky school skive. Long before ITV discovered the debatable merits of attention-seeking fat freaks, this sedate daytimer was a more serious-minded answer to the mighty PEBBLE MILL AT ONE. MAVIS NICHOLSON was the mainstay, aided by the likes of JUDITH CHALMERS, BETTY FOSTER, ELAINE GRAND, SIMON REED, MARY PARKINSON and TREVOR HYETT. Like the ‘Mill, it had its own complex lineage, to wit:
1971 – TEA BREAK: 3.45pm weekday thirty-minuter (“the programme for women with the work done and minds of their own”) from Thames presented by – and this can’t have been good – MICHAEL PARKINSON, aided by RENNY LISTER. “Michael Parkinson introduces the first programme in a twice-weekly series aimed mainly at women, and at those at home in the afternoon who could do with a break about now. Whatever the topic, there are women with a view about it. This is their programme. So put down that duster, put up your feet and prepare to relax.” Cheers.
1972 – GOOD AFTERNOON!: Moved to 2.30, but continuity was maintained with presenter Sylvia Duncan. JILL TWEEDIE and MARY PARKINSON also signed up. There was a sort of weekly rota, here – Mavis looked at education, RITA DANDO health, and Jill – but of course – women’s rights. Clocked up well over a thousand editions by its termination in ’78.
1979 – AFTERNOON PLUS: as above.
1982 – A PLUS: An abbreviation of the name, an extension of the time to 45 minutes, but otherwise business as usual. Trevor Hyett handled the first season, with Nicholson, Grand et al. appearing more frequently as time ground on. PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE and ANNE ROBINSON contributed to a Review of the Year in early ’83. That extra quarter-hour was later rescinded, and the format trundled on until mid-’84.
1984 – A PLUS 4: As the name suggests, a translation of the old warhorse to Channel Four, with MAVIS NICHOLSON, GILL NEVILL and PAUL JONES in the comfy chairs. “Discussion, music and interviews, with an original view on all that’s new in politics, entertainment and health.” Rambled on endlessly until Michael Grade passed the death sentence.