Click for larger image After Ten With Tarbuck
1988
Click for larger image This music and chat show was hosted by the famous Liverpudlian comic and LWT stalwart Jimmy Tarbuck. It seems to have enjoyed just one series in 1988, in a six-episode run from 16th April to 21st May. Each show typically featured two guests, one of whom would perform a big musical number. The opening show featured Tom Jones & Barry McGuigan, while later editions included Bruce Forsyth, Shirley Bassey, John Denver and Richard Digance. The star quality of the guests seemed to fade with each passing edition.

Aspel and Company
1985
Aspel and Company was a very successful series that ran for nine years on Sunday evenings, hosted by Michael Aspel with three guests. Then as now, Aspel was the much-loved host of many a BBC and ITV production, his light journalistic style proving popular with viewers and celebrities alike. In this early edition from 1985, Robin Houston's voice-over identifies Michael's guests as Jim Davidson, Charlton Heston and Pat Phoenix. The theme is played by a live orchestra, and the series logo is a simple static caption. It's all very intimate.

Click for larger image Aspel and Company
1987
Click for larger image Series five was the first to use a complex new title sequence and a logo set in chrome-style lettering. The animation was to become more elaborate over the following years - many images here are just still frames. Meanwhile the title tune was no longer played live by an orchestra on set; this particular arrangement is not perhaps the most authoritative of the Aspel theme tunes. The clip was recorded in the Tyne Tees region.

Click for larger image Aspel and Company
1988
An edition from series six, dating from 24/09/1988, with smart new graphics provided by the Moving Picture Company, and a jazzy new theme arrangement courtesy of Ray Monk. Michael's trio of guests comprises British movie legend Julie Christie, comedy actor-director Terry Jones and journalist Barry Norman. Christie was there to discuss a powerful film documentary she had just made, but she revealed a good deal about her childhood in India, her years in a Sussex convent school and how she came to be thrown out for telling dirty jokes.
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Click for larger image Aspel and Company
1989
Click for larger image Another edition from series six; this clip was recorded in the Granada region of ITV, and includes an in-vision announcement by Andrew Brittain.

Click for larger image Aspel and Company
1990
For series seven the following year, Ray Monk's stirring theme arrangement was retained, but the titles were refined and the studio set tweaked. This edition dates from 28/04/1990 and is renowned among chat show aficionados for the acerbic banter between Sir Robin Day and fellow guest Ben Elton. Day was there to plug his latest venture on fledgling satellite channel BSB (pre-Sky take-over) and feared he wouldn't get a word in edgeways, finally telling Elton to shut up! It's almost toe-curling, but everyone seems to have a twinkle in their eyes.
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Click for larger image Aspel and Company
1993
Click for larger image The 16/05/1993 edition was constructed around the launch of Planet Hollywood restaurant in London, with guests Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzzenegger and Bruce Willis. Their self-promoting antics proved so unsubtle that Aspel resigned, vowing never again to host a chat show. The ITC wasn't too happy about all the "undue prominence" either...

Click for larger image The Dame Edna Experience
1987
Following two hit 'Audiences with Dame Edna', LWT persuaded Australia's housewife megastar to front this hilarious chat show. Aided by her downtrodden bridesmaid Madge Allsopp, Edna took great delight in teasing and even humiliating her guests, who included Jeffrey Archer, Larry Hagman, Charlton Heston and Jason Donovan. There were two series, one in 1987 and another two years later. This is the opening of the first show (12/09/87) which guested Mary Whitehouse, Cliff Richard and Sean Connery. Edna's theme, The Niceness Song was performed by Laurie Holloway and his band, while Robin Houston was on voice-over duty again.
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Click for larger image Frost on Saturday
1968
Click for larger image Watching Sir David Frost now, in his raddled anecdotage, one might find it hard to believe that he was once a dynamic, important and ubiquitous TV personality who was also one of the founding fathers of London Weekend. He hosted the station's launch night and was on constantly thereafter. For the first few years, his show was on LWT every one of its three nights! This 1968 edition features John Betjeman & Nicol Williamson.

Frost on Saturday
1969
An early colour edition, dating from 22/11/1969. David Frost's guests are Frankie Howerd, George Best and Dusty Springfield. The rather fabulous, jazzy theme tune is called "By George, It's the David Frost Theme", composed by George Martin no less. It had been created for the host's chat show on Rediffusion London, The Frost Programme, and followed him to LWT.

Click for larger image Russell Harty Plus
1974/1976
Educated at Oxford and with a first class degree in English Literature, Russell Harty was a teacher before breaking into TV in 1970. Aged 36, he joined LWT's arts magazine Aquarius and grew famous for his quirky reports. Later he was given his own chat show, which ran from 1973-1981. Russell Harty Plus was notable during its first few years for incorporating LWT's ident into its opening titles, as can be seen in the first clip. These excerpts date from 1974 and 1976: Gordon Jackson and Angela Baddeley, stars of the hit drama Upstairs Downstairs.
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Click for larger image Russell Harty Goes Upstairs Downstairs
1975
Upstairs Downstairs reached its final end on 21/12/1975. As a treat for fans who were suffering withdrawal symptoms, Russell Harty visited the set to pre-record a one-off special with the cast. Regulars such as Jean Marsh, Simon Williams, Gordon Jackson, David Langton and Lesley Anne Down took part along with principal guest stars like Raymond Huntley. Both Harty and the cast walk a fine line between fiction and reality, switching from characters in an Edwardian drawing room to 1970s actors sitting in a studio set, giving the programme a cheesy, post-modern feel. But it made perfect nostalgic entertainment for Boxing Day 1975.
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Click for larger image Sunday Sunday
1984
If Michael Aspel was LWT's King of Chat, Gloria Hunniford was its queen. Her lightweight talk show was piloted on air in 1982, with Dame Edna Everage and Michael Parkinson as the first guests. It ran on Sunday afternoons throughout the 80s. This edition, from 23/09/1984, features Julia McKenzie, Arthur Marshall, Robert White and Rod Steiger, while Sandra Dickinson and Garth Crooks drop by with their own review of the week's cinema releases.
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Click for larger image Blind Date
1985/86
After a comeback on the BBC's Wogan show in 1982, Cilla made a Christmas special at LWT the following year and launched Surprise Surprise and Blind Date soon afterwards. She had seen the original version, The Dating Game, whilst on holiday in America and mentioned the idea to her Surprise Surprise producer Alan Boyd. However, he had already bought the format and made a pilot with a male entertainer. Cilla eventually won over as the ideal host, because Boyd was able to use her "sex-less" demeanour to bypass IBA objections to sexual connotations. These excerpts show the first ever episode of Blind Date from 1985 (left) and the first episode of series two in 1986, hosted by Cilla in arguably the ugliest 80s frocks imaginable.
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Blind Date
1992
In the Blind Date format, a singleton picks a date from three potential candidates of the opposite sex, who are seated behind a screen. The singleton asks each suitor three questions and makes a choice based on their replies. For this 1992 Christmas special, the contestants were children. The show was recorded in the studio as usual, but Cilla recorded her opening link beside a roaring fireplace in Sussex for added festive value...

Click for larger image Blind Date
2001
Click for larger image Sexed-up widescreen titles for the start of Blind Date series 17 (10/11/2001). A year later the format was altered in a bid to boost falling ratings, but Cilla had already decided to leave. The final episode aired on 24/05/2003.

Child's Play
1986
A series in which two teams, each comprising a celebrity and a member of the public, have to guess an object, place or person, as described on film by children under the age of eight. Michael Aspel is the host here, followed later by Ronnie Corbett. Kenneth Williams is a panellist in this edition from 1986, just a year away from his death and described by Aspel as "ubiquitous".

Click for larger image Play Your Cards Right
1980
Play Your Cards Right was the British version of a US format called Card Sharks, and has been a big hit for Bruce Forsyth over the years. He has hosted three different versions and this is the original LWT series, with a pleasingly jazzy theme tune composed by Alyn Ainsworth and a memorable title sequence design by Martin Lambie Nairn: the logo appears along with Forsyth's name over revolving kaleidoscopic images of a jester, king and queen. As it made good sense to record several shows in front of the same audience, Bruce would often begin with the gag, "What a lovely audience! You're so much better than last week's." His other catchphrases included: "Points Make Prizes," "You get nothing for a pair in this game," and "It could still be a good night if you play your cards right!"
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The Pyramid Game
1981-1984
Another game based on an American format: The $10,000 Pyramid, created by Bob Stewart. It first appeared on ITV in 1978 as an element within Bruce Forsyth's Big Night. A year later, it became part of The Steve Jones Show. A standalone series ran from 1981-84 with Jones as host, with a final series made by TVS in 1989. This early 80s title sequence has a catchy tune but it is splattered with colourful shapes that may send you in search of a sick bag...

We Love TV
1984
G-Hun hosted this TV trivia quiz a year before the BBC launched Telly Addicts. The two teams were each made up of a viewer and a celebrity guest. No prizes, just glory for the winners! It lasted for two series. Robin Houston lends his vocal talents to the teaser questions in the title sequence, while the set design seems inspired by LWT's river ident stripes. The second clip is audio only; the answers to Houston's questions are: Russell Harty (the clip in those titles showed him being thumped by Grace Jones) and The Sugdens, who lived on Emmerdale Farm.
 


Click for larger image We Love TV
30/08/1985
Click for larger image These clips hail from the opening edition of series two. Gloria explains a change to the format, that has occurred since series one. Here the two celebrities are split up and paired with a TV-addicted viewer. The guests in this edition are "Terry and June" alias Terry Scott and June Whitfield, who must endure the pleasure of being impersonated by Dustin Gee and Les Dennis in the closing moments.

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