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Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… July 1976

Wednesday, 14th July 1976


There may have been a drought in full swing, but make sure you’re back from the standpipe in time for Tom O’Connor to take your mind off things with the aid of Georgie Fame, Tammy Jones, The Ladybirds, Roger De Courcey and Nookie Bear, and of course The Lionel Blair Dancers; whether Lionel actually appeared with them is sadly not specified. Given the time slot, the jury is out on whether audiences got the ‘regular’ or ‘blue’ (i.e. saying, “Whaay she’s got big tits” to women who didn’t) Nookie. Mind you, in summer – and especially one that hot and dry – a ‘night out’ can be arranged as easily as just walking to the park and back, so you may have been better advised making your own arrangements.


7.00pm GAMES PEOPLE PLAY, Radio 1
A sports quiz that apparently tested entertainers on sport and sportsmen on entertainment, this week with cheeky chappie Jimmy Tarbuck and Crossroads bloke Stan Stennett facing off against boxer John Conteh and rugby player John Dawes for a couple of rounds of Coleman-nodding Water Rattage crossover fun. You’ll never guess what the theme music was.

Slightly more highbrow quizzery – apparently spun off from Woman’s Hour – as Ned Sherrin grills Antonia Fraser, Humphrey Lyttleton, Michael Frayn and Gillian Reynolds about ‘who said what, where, when and about whom’. So everyone laughing at that ‘the boy stood on the burning deck’ thing for half an hour, then.



  1. THX 1139

    July 11, 2018 at 10:47 am

    More Nookie Bare than Nookie Bear, then?

  2. Richard16378

    July 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve never really clicked Roger De Courcey and Nookie Bear.

    Roger is OK when speaking on his own, but Nookie never seemed to add anything much humourwise, not helped by Roger’s less than brilliant voice throwing.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    July 12, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Nothing more seventies than Roger De Courcey and Tom O Connor. I’m sure this variety show would have been followed in the autumn by Wednesday At 8, another Tom O Connor variety show with a similar line up of guests, and the long running Name That Tune game. People nowadays might laugh at these shows, but Summer Night Out would probably have attracted 17 million viewers.

    • THX 1139

      July 14, 2018 at 12:37 am

      I think Tom O’Connor would be disappointed if they didn’t laugh at them back then…

  4. Richard16378

    July 14, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    There seemed to be a real glut of variety shows in the 1970s, with the usual chintzy sets, a Parkinson light chat segment & a current female singer doing a number in a tafita ball gown accompanied by a house band that seemed to take up half the studio.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    July 14, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    @ Richard 16378, the biggest one in summer in the seventies was Seaside Special on BBC1. Very un PC with its beauty contests and dancing girls, but 18 million people didn’t seem to mind and I can remember the whole family watching. When the budget allowed, it was sometimes shown from France.
    Tom O Connor’s show was probably an ITV rival( most likely made by Thames) for weekday nights. O Connor must have impressed Thames as this morphed into the hugely successful Wednesday At 8 and London Night Out that ran for five years. Again rather painful to watch these days, as Norman Collier’s broken microphone routine and Bernie Clifton’s ostrich riding appeared a lot, but a ratings topper for more innnocent times.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    August 1, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    With the recent sad passing of Tom O Connor, these Thames variety shows that lasted from 1976 to 1982 really made him a household name. Yes some of the acts were end of the pier stuff( Harry Worth), but the Name That Tune game, Tom’s observational humour and some of his guests were well worth watching. Then the former teacher from Bootle moved into game shows and chat shows and had a comfortable living into the nineties.
    My parents met him in Keswick ten years ago and said Tom was a complete gentleman and keen to talk to people in the theatre where he was doing a one man show.

    • THX 1139

      August 1, 2021 at 4:13 pm

      I was surprised to see in his obit that Tom basically ruined his career by having an affair with an 18-year-old researcher in the late 80s. I have no memory of this whatsoever! But that’s why he took to making a living doing corporate dos instead, which apparently pay very well. At least Countdown would have him on.

      • Glenn Aylett

        August 1, 2021 at 7:12 pm

        @ THX 1139, he wouldn’t have been the first and the last, and I think his wife forgave him. Anyway a minor blot on his character that was soon forgotten and the Mr Clean of comedy still kept his diary full with engagements.
        OK Tom was never going to be Bill Connolly, but his stand up during his variety shows was the best part and always kept people entertained. I do remember at junior school copying his monologue about a fourth division football club( could have been the perennial joke Halifax Town) and the class laughing.

  7. Sidney Balmoral James

    August 2, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    How many people’s careers were ruined, or at least severely set back, by the prurient interest of tabloids in what was their own private business? Tom O’Connor was lucky to escape relatively unscathed, unlike, say, Frank Bough or Nino Ferretto, and don’t get me started on their hounding of anyone who might be gay. Even Angus Deayton lost his job as late as 2002 – not 1982 – for what I seem to recall were fairly tepid revelations (did involve drug use however). And nothing has changed even now – Mail Online still seems to consist of an endless succession of stories of celebrity affairs (jostling for space with the Meghan is evil stories and pictures of women in their foundation garments).

  8. Applemask

    June 16, 2024 at 12:49 pm

    They Just Can’t Stop It The (Games People Play)

  9. Glenn Aylett

    June 20, 2024 at 3:27 pm

    1976 was the first really hot summer I can remember, though I have vague memories of 1975 being hot at times. My family and I were living in a one bedroomed flat in the summer of 1976 and I can remember the flat being baking hot all the time. Luckily there was a park with a fountain five minutes walk away and a bit of a beach ten minutes walk away that always filled up. Also I discovered a new game that summer where a group of kids would have races down a bank on flattened cardboard boxes.

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