Christmas Day TV (UK) 1980

Here is a little reminder of what was on the TV 33 years ago. The only difference between then and now is that we only had three channels of shite to choose from in those days.

Christmas Day 1980 – Thursday 25th December 1980
BBC-1 Television

8:55am Watch: The story of the Nativity, with James Earl Adair, Louise Hall-Taylor (repeat)
9:25am Mr Benn
9:40am Pink Panther Show (cartoons)
10:00am Morning Worship: from the Clifton Cathedral
11:15am The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962 film) starring Laurence Harvey, Karl Boehm, Claire Bloom
1:10pm Carols from Warwick Castle, with Vince Hill, Iris Williams, introduced by Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
2:00pm Top of the Pops ’80 (part 1)
Featured singers include: Abba, Blondie, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Dexy’s Midnight Runners
3:00pm The Queen speaks to the Commonwealth
3:10pm 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954 Disney film) starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Peter Lorre
5:15pm The Paul Daniels Magic Christmas Show
6:05pm News, with Angela Rippon
6:10pm Larry Grayson’s Generation Game, with Isla St Clair
7:15pm Dallas: An extortionist threatens to blow up the Ewing 23 oil well, and JR out manoeuvres Bobby
8:45pm Airport 1975 (1974 film) starring Charlton Heston, Karen Black, George Kennedy, Sid Caesar
10:30pm News, with Angela Rippon
10:40pm Parkinson at Christmas: guests, Penelope Keith, James Galway, Ben Vereen
11:40pm Christmas Comedy Classic: Fawlty Towers (repeat)
12:10am Weather

BBC-2 Television
11:00-11:25am Play School:
3:10pm A Year in the Life of an Exmoor Man: Film about Tom Rook, auctioneer and estate agent.
4:10pm Blue Skies (1946 film) starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astarie, Joan Caulfield
5:50pm Little Swallow (Shanghai cartoon)
6:05pm The Band Wagon (1953 MGM musical) starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse
7:55pm News
8:05pm Tosca (Italian film of Puccini’s opera)
10:10pm The Queen speaks to the Commonwealth
10:20pm One Hundred Great Paintings: Seurat’sLa Grand Jatte, with Milton Brown
hung at the Art Institute in Chicago
10:30-12:15pm The Front Page (1974 film) starring Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon

ITV – Thames Television (London)
9:00am A Merry Morning; Leeds area children’s party,
host: Don McLean, with Guys and Dolls, and the Chuckle Brothers
9:45am Christmas Eucharist: Live from Canterbury Cathedral
10:45am A Christmas Star (cartoon)
11:10am Christmas Runaround: Quiz with the contestants on ice-skates, with Mike Reid
11:40am Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973 film) starring Jim Dale, Spike Milligan, Angela Douglas
1:15pm Christmas Crossroads
1:45pm Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus
3:00pm The Queen speaks to the Commonwealth
3:10pm George and Mildred (1980 film) starring Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce
4:55pm News
5:05pm 3-2-1 Pantomime:
host Ted Rogers, guests Nicholas Parsons, Derek Batey, Sheila Steafel, Bill Maynard, Mike Reid
6:00pm The Man with the Golden Gun (1974 James Bond film)
starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Bernard Lee
8:30pm Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show:
guests: Peter Barkworth, Hannah Gordon, Glenda Jackson, Alec Guinness, Jill Gascoine, Gemma Craven, Peter Vaughan
9:30pm This is Your Life
10:00pm Janet and Company: Janet Brown with Roy Kinnear, Frank Windsor
10:30pm News
10:40pm A Touch of Class (1972 film) starring George Segal, Glenda Jackson
12:30am It’s Christmas: Children of St. Richards with St. Andrews School, Ham, Surrey – sing carols

Info courtesy of:


A Brief History of Teletext

This is a re-posting, from an old blog site, about the birth, life and demise of a truly innovative communication medium – Teletext. If you try to tell the kids of today that this was the way we did things before the internet was invented, they wouldn’t believe you!
(Click each image to enlarge)

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Computer Space and early Arcade Video Game recollections

Recently, whilst doing research for something completely different, I dusted off my old copy of ‘An Index of Possibilities: Energy and Power’- an irreverently brilliant counter-culture book about our (then) understanding of things such as the birth of the Universe, relativity, quantum theory, gravity etc, written from both a scientific and philosophical perspective.


Inside, I rediscovered the above picture of an amazing looking arcade machine. Bearing in mind that the Index of Possibilities was published in 1974, around the start of the Video Arcade revolution, I was intrigued as to what this machine was. So I fired up my old desktop and did an internet search. The futuristic looking Video Game cabinet in the picture belongs to a Computer Space machine which was first manufactured by Nutting Associates in the USA in 1971.

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Computer Space was the first Coin-Op arcade machine produced for the general public. The game involved controlling a rocket ship using a pair of rotation buttons, a thruster button and a fire button in order to shoot down flying saucers on screen. The object of the game was to obtain a higher score than the saucers, which gained you an extra 90 seconds of play per round. However, the game was not very successful due to the complexity of play and so, when other more user friendly arcade games started to appear, the general public lost interest in these beautiful looking machines.

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Check out for more info on Computer Space and also a brief history of the computer game. Fascinating stuff!

didn’t catch sight of a video arcade game until around winter 1979 when Space Invaders machines started to appear in the UK. By spring 1980 they were everywhere; in arcades (obviously), pubs, cafes, Taxi Offices, shopping precincts and anywhere else where people wanted to earn a tidy income with minimal effort. Games such as Pacman, Asteroids, Galaxians and Missile Command joined the ranks of the classic Space Invaders machines and began consuming the nations coins at an alarming rate – so much so that questions were asked in Parliament with a view to having the machines banned.

One of the first machines I ever played on was a Space Invaders game located in one of the roughest pubs on the planet, the infamous ‘Straw Hat’ pub located in Runcorn Shopping City in Runcorn New Town. The pub was nicknamed ‘The Star Wars bar’ because it really was ‘a wretched hive of scum and villainy’. It was certainly not a place where a nerd like myself should ever venture into, but the lure of the technology made me throw caution to the wind. I mean, this was the future, man! By an amazing stroke of luck I was so rubbish at the game that I was in and out of the pub in mere minutes before I ever attracted the attention of the pubs more ‘unhinged’ patrons.

Here is a clipping from a local newspaper in 1978 announcing its arrival at the pub. Hardly a newsworthy story nowadays, but back then it was a big thing! Such was the impact of Video games on the public’s consciousness in the Golden Age of gaming.

Luckily for me a less violent watering hole in the town later acquired a tabletop Galaxians machine, which I fell instantly in love with. I spent many a happy hour in there saving the Galaxy from being annihilated by swarms of 8-Bit baddies. Thus was my youth, and my money, well and truly misspent.  Hey ho.


DSCN0993In recent years, compact cassettes have become iconic images, especially to members of the ‘MP3 generation’ – people who are far too young to remember such retro technology. Sadly, I am old enough to remember the good old days (?) of using cassettes, and also the universal ‘Law of Sod’ that governed all tape use:  The probability of your cassette player chewing up your tape is directly proportional to how precious that particular tape is to you’.

Other joys (?) of cassette usage were:

Playing a particular track on your cassette so much that you eventually cause drop outs on the best bits;

finding a pencil thick enough to poke into the cassettes spools to allow you to rewind your cassettes in order to save battery power on your tape player; and

listening to your favourite artist sound like Pinky & Perky by only half depressing the play button.

As previously stated, cassette icons can now be found everywhere, from cassette shaped iPhone covers to designs on tee shirts, pencils, note books, earrings, mugs and a few dozen other examples too numerous to list here.

Joining their ranks is a fairly new item – the Mustard (TM) Drinkman – a cassette player shaped hip flask. Now you can quite literally get drunk on nostalgia. This bad boy allows you to carry around up to 150 ml of your favourite tipple, so now you will never be without liquid sustenance wherever you travel.

However, please drink responsibly, and avoid C120 length drink-a-thons.


Axxess Flexidisc


This translucent blue flexidisc was given away free in 1984 with an issue of (now defunct) UK Synth mag ‘Electronic Soundmaker & Computer Music’. It was recorded by the band Axxess, and was a preview track from their forthcoming album ‘Novels for the Moons’.

The track on the flexidisc is a short sequencer driven ditty called ‘Traditional Moon Dance’, which is very representative of the content to be found on the album. Here is a link to the track on You Tube:

Axxess was the brainchild of (the then) co-director of Lamborghini Motors, Patrick Mimran, who had a real passion for electronic music, especially the work of German synth pioneers Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream.

Mimran commissioned audio engineer Andreas Bahrdt to construct a powerful 16 voice analogue synthesiser, christened ‘Le Bart’, which he used exclusively to create the album. The whole album is a delight for lovers of sequencer driven electronic music, where complex interweaving sequence lines and pulsing electronic percussion compete with sampled sound effects and tight melodies to combine in what can arguably be described as the best electronic driving album ever created. It’s a pity that not many of us are fortunate enough to own a Lamborghini in which to enjoy the album to its fullest potential.

For many years it was believed that Minran’s collaborator on this album, the enigmatic Howard Bedman, was a pseudonym for Tangerine Dream’s Peter Baumann, but in fact it turned out to be another member of Tangerine Dream who had collaborated with Patrick: sequencer genius Christopher Franke, although it is unsure of the extent of Franke’s role or creative input into the album.

For many years the album was only available on Vinyl, but in recent years it has been made available as a limited edition CD, reissued on the Medical Records label.

Patrick is now a multimedia artist. To check out his work, both musical and non-musical, check out his fascinating website:


RetroScoop is a place for storing memories, ideas, things that I used to have that are now lost in the mists of time, things that I have found again, pictures, places, people and experiences.

I hope there is something here for everyone to relate to, be it a discovery, a reminiscence or something that puts a smile on your face. There is no theme, no connecting thread or stream of (meaningful) consciousness – Who knows what will find its way on here next?