In 1989, it was the 21st anniversary of the launch of LWT, and there was a long season taking a look back at some of the most successful shows that they had produced. The only other time that LWT really put some effort in to celebrate their anniversary was when they turned 30 in 1998. Again there were some great programmes including one looking back at LWT’s sport coverage over the years which featured contributions from Dickie Davies, Brian Moore and Ian St John among others. Continuity announcer Peter Lewis also returned having left LWT the year before to record some special introductions in-vision for the anniversary.
One of the best programmes in this season was LWT’s Most Memorable Moments, an hour-long programme hosted by Brian Conley who reminisced along with other people about their favourite programmes that were produced by LWT. The show even began with the vintage 1978 version of the classic LWT ident. Brian began by taking a look in the TV Times which featured the first day of LWT’s programmes in August 1968.
He never knew there was so much in it! Then Brian went so far as to tell the story of LWT’s disastrous first night on air, when their very first programme, the live comedy We Have Ways Of Making You Laugh, was taken off-air after just 15 seconds due to an industrial dispute. They did get going eventually though and produced many classics.
Then we have some happy anniversary messages from various personalities including Chris Tarrant and Cilla Black, before Brian asks people about their favourite LWT memories in various programme genres. We start though with some memories of some of the most famous opening sequences and themes, including Poirot and The South Bank Show. Then there are some memories of the best children’s shows, including Just William, Catweazle, A Little Princess, Terrahawks and Metal Mickey. All of these shows are a little before my time but they were all popular.
Then it’s the most memorable game shows, beginning with Blind Date. It seems that in the days before Big Brother, if you wanted to become an overnight celebrity you just had to act crazy on Blind Date, that’s the kind of impact that show had. There is also You Bet!, Game For A Laugh, Gladiators, and good old Play Your Cards Right with Bruce. There’s also a quick look at Beadle’s About and Aspel and Co. before the end of part one.
Part two starts with the most memorable sitcoms, featuring On The Buses (still frequently repeated on ITV3), Please Sir!, The Fosters, A Fine Romance, Faith In The Future, and the Doctor series, which mostly seemed to consist of a young Tony Robinson making people endlessly fall over. The most memorable current affairs programmes features Ken Livingstone talking about Weekend World, The 6 O’Clock Show (which was hosted by the likes of Michael Aspel and Danny Baker), The London Programme, The Brian Walden Interview and Jonathan Dimbleby.
The most memorable dramas features Upstairs Downstairs, Wish Me Luck, A Bouquet Of Barbed Wire, The Charmer, Lillie, and London’s Burning. Part two ends with a few It’ll Be Alright On The Night-style mishaps, including Brian Conley making a wally of himself on Live At The Palladium, and he is really thrilled to see that again. There are also some awkward chat show moments for Michael Aspel, Gloria Hunniford on Sunday Sunday and David Frost.
Part three features some more comedy moments including Cannon and Ball, Michael Barrymore, Hale and Pace, Stanley Baxter, Bruce Forsyth, Russ Abbot, and Brian Conley. And remember, it’s a puppet. Melvyn Bragg then takes a look back at the most memorable arts programmes including Aquarius and his time on The South Bank Show.
There are then some memories of cops and robbers programmes including The Professionals, Poirot, Within These Walls, and Dempsey and Makepeace. The show ends with a look back at some of the best An Audience With… moments, including Bob Monkhouse, Kenneth Williams and Billy Connolly making them laugh. This was a great programme which featured lots of nostalgia, just how I like it, and I am farily sure that it was only shown in the LWT region. Of course, barely four years later the LWT name would all but disappear from the screen which was a shame because it was one of the biggest success in the 60 year history of ITV.