Nationwide (TV series)

Nationwide (TV series)

infobox television
show_name = Nationwide

caption =
format = Current Affairs
runtime = 50mins
creator = Derrick Amoore
starring = Presenters included:
Michael Barratt
Bob Wellings
Sue Lawley
Frank Bough
Sue Cook
David Dimbleby
John Stapleton
Suzanne Hall
Valerie Singleton
Hugh Scully
Richard Kershaw
Laurie Mayer
country = UK
network = BBC One
first_aired = 1969
last_aired = 1983
num_episodes =3131 |

"Nationwide" was a BBC current affairs television series broadcast on BBC One each weekday following the early evening news. It followed a magazine format, combining political analysis and discussion with consumer affairs, light entertainment and sports reporting (on Fridays). It ran from 9 September 1969 to 5 August 1983, [Jeff Evans, (1995) "The Guinness Television Encyclopedia". Middlesex: Guinness. ISBN 0-85112-744-4] when it was replaced by "Sixty Minutes". The long-running "Watchdog" programme began as a "Nationwide" feature.

The light entertainment was quite similar in tone to "That's Life!". Eccentric stories featured skateboarding ducks and men who claimed that they could walk on egg shells. (In fact, the show's tendency to sidestep serious issues in favour of light pieces was famously spoofed in an episode of "Monty Python's Flying Circus", where the show, instead of reporting on the opening of the Third World War, chose to feature a story about a "theory" that sitting down in a comfortable chair rests one's legs). Richard Stilgoe performed topical songs.

The programme's famous brass and strings theme music "The Good Word" was composed by Johnny Scott. [ [ OFF THE TELLY: Factual/The Good Word ] ]

After the introduction and round-up, the BBC regions opted out for a twenty minute section for local news round ups ("Midlands Today", "Points West", "Wales Today" etc.). Once they had handed back to Lime Grove Studios in London, the regions remained on standby to participate in feedback and two-way interviews to be transmitted across the whole BBC network.

The show was used in an influential cultural/media studies project at the University of Birmingham, known as The Nationwide Project. The name also provided inspiration to the former Co-operative Permanent Building Society who, in 1971 renamed themselves the Nationwide Building Society.

Thatcher "On the Spot"

wikiquote|Diana GouldPerhaps the most famous interview occurred in May 1983 during a general election special of its "On the Spot" feature. Mrs Diana Gould, a geography teacher from Cirencester, persistently challenged Margaret Thatcher about her ordering of the sinking of the "General Belgrano" when it was sailing away from the Falklands. Mrs Thatcher denied that the Belgrano had been sailing away, but Mrs. Gould quoted map references and continued to push her point across, encouraged - so the Conservative party claimed - by presenter Sue Lawley. When Mrs Thatcher asked her whether she accepted that the Belgrano had been a danger to British shipping when it was sunk, Mrs Gould told her that she did not. Thatcher then proclaimed that "I think it could only be in Britain that a British Prime Minister could be asked why she took action to protect "our" ships against an enemy ship that was a danger to our shipping", and was extremely angry about the BBC for allowing the question. [Michael Cockerell, (1988) "Live from Number 10: The Inside Story of Prime Ministers and Television." page 238, London: Faber & Faber. ISBN 0-571-14757-7] Thatcher's husband Denis lashed out at Roger Bolton, the editor of the programme, in the entertainment suite, saying that his wife had been "stitched up by bloody BBC poofs and Trots". [ [ BBC News | UK | TV's top 10 tantrums ] ] As a result, Thatcher became increasingly hostile to the BBC and never again set foot on BBC premisesFact|date=October 2008. She often gave access to rival networks first and only would meet the BBC at Downing Street.

Archive status

As a contemporary programme "Nationwide" was only recorded on broadcast videotape in the event of possible complaint or litigation; after a period of time tapes would be wiped and re-used although filmed reports were archived. Consequently only a few complete editions exist in their original form.

However, in his book "The Television Heritage" (1989), author Steve Bryant claimed that "a virtually complete collection of the BBC magazine programme "Nationwide" from 1971 to 1980" existed as domestic recordings. [When domestic video recorders had become available in the early 1970s, the BBC started making Programme as broadcast (PasB) recordings of most news and current affairs programmes - until then only audio recordings had been made for future editorial review purposes.] He wrote:

"Already virtually doomed is material held on early domestic tape formats manufactured by Sony, Shibaden and Philips. The pictures from these tapes are very poor - indeed, the Sony and Shibaden reel-to-reel tapes are monochrome only - but some unique collections exist on these formats. Most significant is a virtually complete collection of the BBC magazine programme "Nationwide" from 1971 to 1980, mostly on Sony and Shibaden, but on Philips for the programmes after 1977. This collection is held by the NFA (National Film Archive) and represents the only copies of the complete programmes in existence.

The BBC has all the film reports and a small selection of pre-recorded video inserts, but the programmes themselves were live and were not recorded off-air. Neither the machinery nor the funds are currently available to save the contents of these tapes, so a valuable daily record of British life in the 70s, including a large number of live interviews with leading politicians and celebrities of the time, looks like being lost."cite book
last = Bryant
first = Steve
title= The Television Heritage
edition =
year = 1989
publisher =
location =
id =
pages =

But the British Film Institute website has stated more recently that "so far we have successfully dubbed 500 [Philips] N-1500 [tapes] as part of an HLF-Funded Nationwide preservation project" [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Obsolete Technology
work =
publisher =British Film Institute
date =2003-07
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-10-19


External links


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