December 11, 1976: The Day After Tomorrow

“Space Station Delta, the jump-off point for humanity’s first momentous journey to the stars. The light ship Altares, the first of its kind to harness the limitless power of the photon, particles of light which can boost the ship to 186,000 miles per second – the speed of light. This could create the effects predicted by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, effects that could shrink the very fabric of space, distort time, and perhaps alter the structure of the universe as we understand it – effects which no man has yet experienced. And you will share it!” []

The_Day_After_Tomorrow-1976The Day After Tomorrow (also known as Into Infinity in the United Kingdom) is a 1975 British science-fiction television drama produced by Gerry Anderson between the first and second series of Space: 1999. Written by Johnny Byrne and directed by Charles Crichton, it stars Brian Blessed, Joanna Dunham and Nick Tate and is narrated by Ed Bishop. The Day After Tomorrow first aired in December 1975 in the United States on NBC, as an episode of an occasional series of after school specials for children, Special Treat. In the UK, it was broadcast on BBC1 as a TV special in December 1976 and December 1977; 37 years later, in November 2014, a revised version was broadcast on BBC Four. The plot concerns the interstellar mission of Altares, a science vessel of the future that can travel at the speed of light. From its initial destination of Alpha Centauri, the ship pushes deeper into space; there, her crew of three adults and two children encounter such phenomena as a meteor shower, a red giant and, finally, a black hole, which pulls the ship into another universe.

Originally commissioned to create a child-friendly introduction to Albert Einstein’sTV-UK-05-04-1976 special relativity theory in the form of an exciting action-adventure, Anderson and Byrne conceived The Day After Tomorrow as a television pilot for a potential series and gave it an alternative episode title of “Into Infinity”. Ultimately, Anderson’s limited budget prevented additional episodes from being made.

Critical reception to The Day After Tomorrow remains mixed. The model effects and music have been praised; however, commentators have been both favourable and unfavourable in their comparisons of the special’s “psychedelic” images to the visual style employed by film director Stanley Kubrick. Although Byrne’s scriptwriting has been described as “lyrical”, and it has been suggested that The Day After Tomorrow contains homages to the 1960s TV series Lost in Space, the plot has been criticised for a lack of suspense, which critics have generally attributed to the fact that the special is primarily a science education programme. Further criticism has been directed at the acting, with Martin Lev’s performance attracting a particularly negative response. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Fanderson YouTube Channel.


July 26, 1969 on UK TV: Star Trek – “The City On The Edge Of Forever”

After taking an accidental overdose of cordrazine, Doctor Leonard McCoy goes back in time and changes history.

TOS-S021E28-City_On_The_Edge_Of_Forever-titleIn orbit around an unexplored planet, the USS Enterprise is on red alert as it passes through violent time distortions surrounding the planet. As the ship plots its orbit, Montgomery Scott warns that the control circuits are threatening to overload. No sooner does Captain Kirk acknowledge the report, the helm console on the bridge explodes and Lieutenant Sulu is injured. Scott takes the helm as Doctor McCoy is called to the bridge for emergency first aid. Scott questions if the ship should break orbit, but Spock advises against it – the ship is literally passing through ripples in time and it is of great scientific importance that they remain and investigate. Kirk agrees and orders Uhura to broadcast to Starfleet Command his past week’s log entries, detailing the unusual readings on the instruments that has diverted the Enterprise to this planet. McCoy arrives and diagnoses Sulu with a heart flutter. He prepares a hypo of cordrazine, warned by Kirk that it is “tricky stuff.” Fortunately, the two drops administered by McCoy successfully revives Sulu.

Scott reports that the Enterprise is nearly clear of the time ripples, which Spock confirms, with one heavy displacement directly ahead. The Enterprise shudders violently as it collides with it, causing Dr. McCoy to slip on the helm console and inject the loaded hypospray into his abdomen, emptying its contents into his bloodstream. Kirk and Spock rush to his aid, but McCoy darts up in a panic. Raving and screaming about “killers” and “assassins”, McCoy breaks free from the concerned bridge crew and flees the bridge via the turbolift. Kirk orders a security alert.

The title of this episode refers to both the dead city on the time planet and New YorkTOS-S021E28-City_On_The_Edge_Of_Forever2 itself, where the timeline will either be restored or disrupted. In Harlan Ellison’s original script, Kirk, upon first seeing the city sparkling like a jewel on a high mountaintop, reverently says it looks like “a city on the edge of forever”. In Ellison’s first treatment for this episode, the city they traveled back in time to was Chicago.

With regards to “The City on the Edge of Forever”, guest star Joan Collins has stated, “To this day, people still want to talk about that episode – some remember me for that more than anything else I’ve done. I am amazed at the enduring popularity of Star Trek and particularly of that episode.” Collins adds, “At the time none of us would have predicted the longevity of the show. I couldn’t be more pleased – or more honored – to be part of TOS-S01E28-City_On_The_Edge_Of_Forever1Star Trek history.” Ms. Collins’ memory of her Trek experience seems hazy, however. In her 1985 autobiography, Past Imperfect (p. 248) she makes a few errors regarding the episode: for example, in addition to the common mistake of referring to Mr. Spock as Dr. Spock, she identifies her character as Edith Cleaver instead of Edith Keeler, and she also claims that Spock, not Kirk, allowed her character to be killed – a plot point that was not in the version of the script that was actually shot. Most significantly, she claims Edith tried to “prove to the world that Hitler was a nice guy.”


Watch the trailer on the TrekCore YouTube Channel.

July 23, 1962: First public live broadcast from the US to the UK via Telstar

Telstar 1 relayed its first, and non-public, television pictures—a flag outside Andover Earth Station—to Pleumeur-Bodou on July 11, 1962. Almost two weeks later, on July 23, at 3:00 p.m. EDT, it relayed the first publicly available live transatlantic television signal. The broadcast was shown in Europe by Eurovision and in North America by NBC, CBS, ABC, and the CBC. The first public broadcast featured CBS’s Walter Cronkite and NBC’s Chet Huntley in New York, and the BBC‘s Richard Dimbleby in Brussels. The first pictures were the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The first broadcast was to have been remarks by President John F. Kennedy, but the signal was acquired before the president was ready, so engineers filled the lead-in time with a short segment of a televised game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The batter, Tony Taylor, was seen hitting a ball pitched by Cal Koonce to the right fielder George Altman. From there, the video switched first to Washington, DC; then to Cape Canaveral, Florida; to the Seattle World’s Fair; then to Quebec and finally to Stratford, Ontario. The Washington segment included remarks by President Kennedy, talking about the price of the American dollar, which was causing concern in Europe. When Kennedy denied that the United States would devalue the dollar it immediately strengthened on world markets; Cronkite later said that “we all glimpsed something of the true power of the instrument we had wrought.” [Wikipedia]

July 19, 1969 on UK TV: Star Trek – “The Naked Time”

TOS-S01E04-The_Naked_Time-TitleThe USS Enterprise orbits the planet Psi 2000, a world that was much like Earth in its distant past, tasked to observe the planet’s impending disintegration. Lieutenant Commander Spock and Lieutenant Junior Grade Joe Tormolen beam down in environmental suits to a frozen surface laboratory and investigate the horrific deaths of the lab’s scientists. Carelessly, Tormolen removes a glove of his suit to better scratch his nose, unknowingly exposing himself to a red, blood-like liquid substance leaping to his exposed hand from a frozen wall. Spock contacts the Enterprise and informs Captain Kirk that all of the station’s personnel are dead. Kirk asks what caused it and Spock replies, “Unknown, captain. It’s like nothing we’ve dealt with before.”

The Enterprise crew is intoxicated by an inhibition-stripping contagion that causes mayhem throughout the ship.

The episode’s writer, John D.F. Black, came up with Sulu’s “berserk” scenes withoutTOS-S01E04-The_Naked_Time specifying the weapon to be used. Unable to decide between a samurai sword or a fencing foil, he left the choice to George Takei, who picked the latter with the thought that by the 23rd century Humanity would have developed to a point where, in terms of culture, people have moved beyond simply adhering to ways of their ethnic background.

This episode is considered a bottle show, as it contains no villain and only regular characters, and takes place almost entirely aboard the Enterprise. According to Black, at the time both Riley and Tormolen were under consideration to become regulars.

Find out more at

Watch the trailer on the TrekCore YouTube Channel.

July 13, 1973 on UK TV: Jack The Ripper

Jack the Ripper is a six-part BBC television drama, in which the case of the Jack the Ripper murders is reopened and analysed by Detective Chief Superintendents Barlow and Watt (Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor, respectively). These characters were hugely popular with UK TV viewers at the time from their appearances on the long-running police series Z-Cars and its sequels Softly, Softly and Barlow at Large. The programme was presented partly as a discussion between the two principals in the present day, interspersed with dramatised-documentary scenes set in the 19th century. The series discusses suspects and conspiracies, but concludes there is insufficient evidence to determine who was Jack the Ripper. The experiment was seen to be a success, and the formula was repeated in 1976 with Second Verdict, in which Barlow and Watt cast their gaze over miscarriages of justice and unsolved mysteries from the past.

Jack the Ripper was made available for syndication, and was televised in the United States in 1974 with additional footage of actor Sebastian Cabot providing introductions and episode recaps. This was done to provide additional running time to fill U.S. programming slots. [Wikipedia]

July 13, 1977 on UK TV: Top Gear launches nationally

Top Gear began life in April 1977, as a monthly television series produced by BBC Midlands, based at the Pebble Mill Studios, Birmingham and ran in its original format until the end of 2001. The thirty minute programmes had a magazine format, and were transmitted at first to viewers in the Midlands region only. Top Gear and its title were conceived by executive producer Derek Smith. The programme covered motoring related issues, such as new car road tests, fuel economy, safety, the police, speeding, insurance, second hand cars and holiday touring.

The first programme was broadcast on 22 April 1977, on BBC 1 Midlands at 10:15pm. It was presented by Angela Rippon and Tom Coyne, who was front man of the local evening news programme, Midlands Today. In the first edition, Angela Rippon drove from Shepherd’s Bush in London, to the Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham, reporting on driving conditions en route. Other items covered in the first programme were speed traps, fuel economy, strange new road signs and an interview with the transport minister. There were nine programmes in that initial series.

The BBC network took Top Gear and it became a weekly thirty minute BBC Two programme on 13 July 1978. Derek Smith remained as executive producer, as did Angela Rippon as presenter along with co presenter Barrie Gill. In the first network series, seven of the ten programmes were sub titled Rippon On The Road, featuring items such as holiday driving, police driver training, the MOT test and a search for a female rally driver. Other items in that series covered drink driving, traffic jams, rust and corrosion, tachographs in lorries, the Le Mans 24 Hour race and the Motor Show.

For the second network series, Rippon continued as main presenter. Subjects covered included child car safety, tyres, CB radio, weighing lorries and junior grass track racing. Each week Noel Edmonds tested new cars, while Alec Jones, chief instructor of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) set a driving problem. In one of the programmes, Noel Edmonds drove his Ford GT40 car round Silverstone. In 1980, Edmonds took over as presenter for two series.In 1981, William Woollard, formerly of BBC1’s science series Tomorrow’s World became the programme’s main presenter.

From 1986 to 1991, faced with repeated threats from various channel controllers from the BBC to cancel the programme, Top Gear embarked on subtle changes designed to raise its profile, increase its audience and cover a much wider range of motoring topics. In this period, many new presenters were added, including former Formula One driver Tiff Needell, Tom Boswell and rallying’s Tony Mason. Towards the end of 1988, Jeremy Clarkson, was introduced to the presenting list, coming from Performance Car Magazine.

Despite enduring criticism that it was overly macho, encouraged irresponsible driving behaviour and ignored the environment, the show pulled in huge audiences regularly becoming BBC Two’s most viewed programme with audiences over five million from 1988. New features introduced in these years were consumer issues, classic cars, motorbikes, and a wide range of motorsport.

It became hugely influential with motor manufacturers, since a critical word from the Top Gear team could have a severe negative effect on sales. One such example is the original Vauxhall Vectra, of which Clarkson said, “I know it’s the replacement for the Cavalier. I know. But I’m telling you it’s just a box on wheels.” However, even more critical statements never affected sales of the Toyota Corolla, and extreme praise did not help the Renault Alpine GTA/A610.

By the end of the spring season of 1991, Woollard, left the show. The autumn season of 1991 saw former used car dealer Quentin Willson join the team.

Other presenters of the era included racing driver Vicki Butler-Henderson, who made a one off appearance in 1994, and started presenting the show full time from 1997. In 1999, journalist James May was introduced, and presented the show for its last two years, before transitioning to the new format for its second series in 2003. [Wikipedia]

July 13, 1960 in UK TV: The Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting consider “the possibility of television for public showing”

The Pilkington Committee was set up on 13 July 1960 under the chairmanship of British industrialist Sir Harry Pilkington to consider the future of broadcasting, cable and “the possibility of television for public showing”. One of the Pilkington Report’s main conclusions was that the British public did not want commercial radio broadcasting, and it offered criticism of the existing commercial television licensees.

The committee included ex-footballer Billy Wright, actress Joyce Grenfell, and theatre director Peter Hall.

Their report, published on 27 June 1962, recommended the introduction of colour television licences and that Britain’s third national television channel (after the BBC Television Service and ITV) should be awarded to the BBC. BBC2 was launched two years later. It also criticised the populism of ITV by attacking its American originated acquired programming such as Westerns and crime series.  It also recommended that the BBC should extend its activities to the creation of local radio stations in order to prevent the introduction of commercial radio. In deciding that the British public did not want commercial radio, it rejected requests for licences that were being sought by over 100 British registered commercial radio companies. Its immediate result was historic in nature because it inspired both the creation of a trade lobby group for commercial radio, and the establishment of ship-based pirate radio stations operating in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the British government. The best known of these was Radio Caroline whose transmissions began in 1964.

July 13, 1985: Live Aid

Live Aid was a dual-venue benefit concert held on 13 July 1985, and an ongoing music-based fundraising initiative. The original event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. Billed as the “global jukebox”, the event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (attended by about 100,000 people).

On the same day, concerts inspired by the initiative happened in other countries, such as the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Yugoslavia, Austria, Australia and West Germany. It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time; an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast.

The 1985 Live Aid concert was conceived as a follow-on to the successful charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which was also the brainchild of Geldof and Ure. In October 1984, images of millions of people starving to death in Ethiopia were shown in the UK in Michael Buerk‘s BBC News reports on the 1984 famine. Bob Geldof saw the report, and called Midge Ure from Ultravox, and together they quickly co-wrote the song, in the hope of raising money for famine relief. Geldof then contacted colleagues in the music industry and persuaded them to record the single under the title ‘Band Aid’ for free. It stayed at number-one for five weeks in the UK, was Christmas number one, and became the fastest-selling single ever in Britain and raised £8 million, rather than the £70,000 Geldof and Ure had initially expected. Geldof then set his sights on staging a huge concert to raise further funds.

The idea to stage a charity concert to raise more funds for Ethiopia originally came from Boy George, the lead singer of Culture Club. George and Culture Club drummer Jon Moss had taken part in the recording of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and in December 1984 Culture Club were undertaking a tour of the UK, which culminated in six nights at Wembley Arena. On the final night at Wembley, Saturday 22 December 1984, an impromptu gathering of some of the other artists from Band Aid joined Culture Club on stage at the end of the concert for an encore of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. George was so overcome by the occasion he told Geldof that they should consider organising a benefit concert. Speaking to the UK music magazine Melody Maker at the beginning of January 1985, Geldof revealed his enthusiasm for George’s idea, saying, “If George is organising it, you can tell him he can call me at any time and I’ll do it. It’s a logical progression from the record, but the point is you don’t just talk about it, you go ahead and do it!”

It was clear from the interview that Geldof had already had the idea to hold a dual venue concert and how the concerts should be structured:

“The show should be as big as is humanly possible. There’s no point just 5,000 fans turning up at Wembley; we need to have Wembley linked with Madison Square Gardens and the whole show to be televised worldwide. It would be great for Duran to play three or four numbers at Wembley and then flick to Madison Square where Springsteen would be playing. While he’s on, the Wembley stage could be made ready for the next British act like the Thompsons or whoever. In that way lots of acts could be featured and the television rights, tickets and so on could raise a phenomenal amount of money. It’s not an impossible idea, and certainly one worth exploiting.”

Broadcaster Richard Skinner opened the Live Aid concert with the words: “It’s twelve noon in London, seven AM in Philadelphia, and around the world it’s time for Live Aid.”

The Coldstream Guards opened the show in London playing “God Save The Queen”.  Status Quo were the first band to perform. Other artists and groups on the Wembley bill were The Style Council, The Boomtown Rats, Ultravox, Spandau Ballet, Sade, Sting & Phil Collins, Bryan Ferry, U2, Queen, and David Bowie. In Philadelphia, an unknown Bernard Watson (who had persuaded concert promoter Bill Graham to let him perform in the spirit of charity, after sleeping outside the stadium for a week) opened proceedings. He was followed by Joan Baez and the rest of the bill included The Four Tops, Billy Ocean, Black Sabbath, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Judas Priest, Bryan Adams, The Beach Boys, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins (who travelled by Concorde to be able to play at both venues) Duran Duran, and Bob Dylan.

Celebrity presenters on both sides included DJ Tommy Vance, Noel Edmonds, Jack Nicholson, John Hurt, Chevy Chase, George Segal, Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick. [Wikipedia]

July 12, 1969 on UK TV: Star Trek – “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

“Captain’s log, stardate 1312.4. The impossible has happened. From directly ahead, we’re picking up a recorded distress signal, the call letters of a vessel which has been missing for over two centuries. Did another Earth ship probe out of the galaxy as we intend to do? What happened to it out there? Is this some warning they’ve left behind?”

TOS-S01E03-Where_No_Man-TitlesAn encounter at the limits of our galaxy begins to change Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell and threatens the future of the Enterprise and the Human race itself.

This was the second Star Trek pilot. However, it aired as the third regular series episode, after “The Man Trap” and “Charlie X“. In their book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, Robert H. Justman and Herbert F. Solow explain that because this segment was “too expository” in nature – a common fault with pilots – it would not have made a good premiere episode for the series. [Perhaps the BBC knew this, as “Where No Man…” was the first episode aired in the UK. – Prof Nostalgia]

This episode features a different version of the first season opening credits, which does not have William Shatner‘s opening narration, and uses a different orchestration of the TOS-S01E03-Where_No_Manmain and end title themes. These orchestrations were used until mid-season during the original run and the initial syndication showings. However, in the 1980s, Paramount withdrew the prints from syndication and redistributed remastered and pre-cut episodes with standardized opening and closing credit music for the first season (using the Fred Steiner arrangement created for the back half of the season). These remastered prints were also used, in their uncut form, for the video and laserdisc releases. Only this episode was permitted to keep the original Alexander Courage arrangement. The 1999 DVD volumes, and later season sets, however, restored the opening credits to their original form, while leaving the end credits in their altered state (again, except for this episode which remains as originally aired).

After NBC saw this episode, they were pleased with the results and decided that Star Trek would be a weekly television series. Gene Roddenberry said that, like [the first pilot] “The Cage“, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” still had a lot of science fiction elements in it, but that it was the bare knuckle fist fight between Kirk and the god-like Gary Mitchell that sold NBC on Star Trek.


Watch the trailer on the TrekCore YouTube Channel.

July 12, 1969 on UK TV: Doctor In The House

Doctor in the House is a British television comedy series based on a set of books and a film of the same name by Richard Gordon about the misadventures of a group of medical students. It was produced by London Weekend Television from 1969 to 1970.

Writers for the Doctor in the House episodes were Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Bernard McKenna. The series was directed by David Askey and Maurice Murphy among others and the producer was Humphrey Barclay. The external establishing shots were of Wanstead Hospital, London (now Clock Court).

The show starred Barry Evans, Robin Nedwell, Geoffrey Davies and George Layton and was followed by several “Doctor” series: …At Large, …In Charge, …At Sea, …On The Go, …Down Under, and …At The Top.