Crown Court

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Simon36
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Crown Court

Post by Simon36 »

I've just watched a 1979 CC story entitled "Honour Thy Father And Thy Mother" by David Yallop, starring Frank Windsor, and my jaw was on the floor at some of the content. It made me wonder if this story was shown in a lunchtime slot or was it one of the stories I vaguely recall being given an evening screening (7.30pm on a Saturday night if I recall correctly?)

Does anyone know any more details of the experimental evening screenings of the series? I can't believe this could have been shown in prime time; daytime rules always seemed to be more lax in those days, presumably since nobody thought kids were watching.

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Simon Coward
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Simon Coward »

It was tried in a Saturday evening slot during the summer of 1975.

There were six stories in all. It didn't do especially well in the ratings - it was up against Seaside Special and either Cannon or Kojak on BBC 1, all of which gathered many more viewers. Would the evening run idea have been repeated had it been a roaring success? I don't know, but it certainly wasn't taken off because of a the lack of an audience, it was billed as running for just six editions from the start.

The beginning of its evening sojourn coincided with a later - and longer - outing for another afternoon staple, ATV's General Hospital which had gained an evening slot the day before. And while that continued there for the rest of its natural, Crown Court was back in its usual lunchtime home by October.

Hard to judge what counted against it. The standalone episodes were roughly 65 minutes in duration, and so given that two recaps and two sets of title sequences could be dropped from the lunchtime version it may well be that the scripts around this time could have been adapted for either format. The resulting and relatively unusual 75-minute slot (usually 20:15 to 21:30) had the awkward effect that it was always up against two BBC shows, and the BBC was very good at winning Saturday nights.
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Billy Smart
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Billy Smart »

There's an interesting one from 1973 (Volume 6 of the Network sets) that demonstrates what would have been adjudged unsuitable for transmission. Its a rape case, 'Traffic Warden's Daughter' by Nemone Lethbridge, produced by Jonathan Powell. Kaleidoscope has its first broadcast down as on Legal TV in 2006.

There was also this thread last year, about another (late) untransmitted case that didn't even seem to have got a Legal TV broadcast - viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2868&hilit=wilcox

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Re: Crown Court

Post by DMatthews »

Without letting spoilers slip....

There was at least one other CC story concerning this issue, from about 1973 - it's on one of Network's releases - so clearly it wasn't considered a post-watershed or taboo topic in the era and, I assume, did not contravene any contemporary broadcast content guidelines. Perhaps what makes the "Honour Thy Father" story more of a "jaw-dropper" is that the issue only appears as a twist in the tale, rather than that which the story initially sets out to examine.

In general while matters of taste have changed over the decades, if we're being honest with ourselves, it's not so much that we've become a more "enightened" or sensitive society - rather we've simply chosen to be "offended" by different things now. For example the Bill Grundy incident was front-page headlines in 1976, despite the programme being screened at 10:30pm, yet such language is now deemed largely acceptable at any time after 9pm these days... but woe betide anyone who tells a joke about Irish folk.

Anyway it's more, ahem, "evidence" that CC remains an unjustly forgotten series - some of the issues it covered were very "robust". Nowadays broadcasters would feel the need to mount a high-budget mini-series post-watershed drama with maximum pre-publicity, "evocative" slow-zoom close-ups, OTT incidental music and so-called "A-list stars". CC simply quietly gone on with it with no fuss - and was therefore all the more realistic.

Re "The Traffic Warden's Daughter", though - has it ever been made clear why its transmission was withheld?

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Dave

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David Boothroyd
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Re: Crown Court

Post by David Boothroyd »

The Bill Grundy incident occurred at the end of 'Today' which was in the 6 pm - 6:35 pm slot.

The Kal guide shows several episodes of Crown Court were made but not transmitted at the time originally intended.

Doctor's Neglect? (Pilot episode, some time in summer 1972)
A Genial Man / R v Bolton (scheduled for 29 November - 1 December 1972)
Traffic Warden's Daugher (scheduled for 13 - 15 February 1974)
The Messenger Boy (scheduled for 9 - 11 October 1974; postponed for only a week - possibly political issues as this included polling day?)
My Mother Said I Never Should... (last episode scheduled for 23 May 1975 was postponed due to an ITV strike and not shown until the other two were repeated in 1977)
Heart To Heart (scheduled for 17 - 19 April 1979; postpoled to 15 - 17 May, also possible political issues, but oddly made as part of series 5 in 1978, not the current series in 1979)
Soldier, Soldier (scheduled for 25 - 27 May 1982, transmitted 29 - 30 September, possible Falklands War issues?)
A Candidate For The Alliance (scheduled for 8 - 10 June 1982; postponed to 1 - 3 March 1983, possible political clash although it was actually moved closer to the general election)
Accepted Standards (not clear when this was originally made)

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Re: Crown Court

Post by ian b »

ACCEPTED STANDARDS was made in 1976 - going from decade-old notes, I've got it as following on production-wise from A WORKING GIRL.

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Re: Crown Court

Post by DMatthews »

David Boothroyd wrote:The Bill Grundy incident occurred at the end of 'Today' which was in the 6 pm - 6:35 pm slot.
Good grief - I don't know why I've thought for all these years that it was 10:30 !?! Thanks for the correction!

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Re: Crown Court

Post by Brian F »

Possibly you thought that due to it often being repeated in clips shows at that time - who knows.

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Re: Crown Court

Post by fatcat »

IIRC the show 'Couples' was rather liberated for afternoon telly.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399955/combined

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Simon36
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Simon36 »

Absolutely right, the excellent COUPLES was very frank indeed.

I don't agree that it was the fact that it was the fact that the taboo topic appeared as a twist in the tale that made "Honour Thy Father" so shocking. The same thing happens in another CC episode (no spoilers, but it's from the final series), and although obviously unpleasant is nothing like as harrowing as this. It's surely more because of the WAY it is dealt with here, the victims reactions and the repetition of the details.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Billy Smart »

IThe IBA Written Archives in Bournemouth hold the official files of complaints and responses about various ITV dramas of the 1970s. My favourite letter that I've come across has been this one, written by a retired man with the time on his hands to both watch daytime dramas and craft a droll critique of them:
23 March 1974 Letter from W. Lee, Peckham

“Dear Sirs,

Several weeks of watching Crown Court leave me with the impression that members of the Bar are recruited from the ranks of the K.G.B. after an intensive course in training methods for the Gestapo; H.M. Judges are senile and incapable of summing up 2 + 2 to a total of 4; juries are selected from the most inept patients of our mental hospitals; and witnesses are either drunks, drug takers, sex maniacs or rogues, often a combination of all four.

The County of London Sessions, Central Criminal Court and Surrey Assizes that I attended several times during my twenty eight years in the Metropolitan Police were far, far, different from the spectacles at Fulchester.

I was several times also in hospitals for illness and injuries and on at least two occasions my life was saved by the great efforts of the staff, both doctors and nurses.

By great good fortune I was never taken to General Hospital, otherwise I would not be alive to write this.

Yours, W. Lee”

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Simon36
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Simon36 »

That’s wonderful. I bet those files hold hours of joy.

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Ian Wegg
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Ian Wegg »

W. Lee wrote:juries are selected from the most inept patients of our mental hospitals
I'm not sure how he drew that conclusion given that the juries were just members of the public in non-speaking roles, they were little more than wallpaper.

An amusing letter but better directed to the "TV Times" than the IBA I would have thought?

~iw

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Re: Crown Court

Post by Brock »

Ian Wegg wrote: An amusing letter but better directed to the "TV Times" than the IBA I would have thought?
Did the TV Times actually publish correspondence about ITV programmes? There were always a couple of pages of letters about BBC programmes in the Radio Times, but the only letters page I remember in the TV Times was the problem page. It always struck me as something of an anomaly, particularly since ITV had no equivalent of Points of View either. I got the impression that ITV didn't care what viewers thought of their programmes.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Billy Smart »

Brock wrote:Did the TV Times actually publish correspondence about ITV programmes?
They did have a letters page ("Playback looks at the TV topics that set you talking") - for which ITV historians decades later are very thankful! - but there was less of it than the Radio Times equivalent.

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Re: Crown Court

Post by Brock »

Billy Smart wrote: They did have a letters page ("Playback looks at the TV topics that set you talking")
I don't remember that at all during the period that my family took the TV Times (late 70s to mid-80s). I read both listings magazines avidly and I was particularly interested in the letters in the Radio Times, so it's hard to imagine that I'd have missed it. Was it withdrawn at some stage before that?

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doubleM
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Re: Crown Court

Post by doubleM »

Brock wrote:
Billy Smart wrote: They did have a letters page ("Playback looks at the TV topics that set you talking")
I don't remember that at all during the period that my family took the TV Times (late 70s to mid-80s). I read both listings magazines avidly and I was particularly interested in the letters in the Radio Times, so it's hard to imagine that I'd have missed it. Was it withdrawn at some stage before that?
Later in the 70s it was renamed 'Your Letters' and then 'Viewers Voice' ...

As an example the July 7th-13th 1979 edition (with a 'Sapphire and Steel' Cover) had viewers letters regarding 'The Mallens', Saturday Wrestling and a new series 'Thundercloud'.

"Have you an opinion or question on ITV programmes or policy? Write to 'Viewers Voice' TV Times 247 Tottenham Court Road London W19 0AU" ... was the invite to write at the bottom of the letters page.

'Viewers Voice' was still there on 14-20 Feb 1981 edition .... letters featured on coverage of the US space shuttle launch, 'Walcott' and coverage of Israel policitian Menachem Begin.
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Simon36 »

It was less obvious than the RT letters page because it tended to float around the issue, and was quite low key; the letters were brief, headlines small, and often of the “never mind Peter Wyngarde, it’s Oliver Tobias who I have to take the phone off the hook for...” type.

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stearn
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Re: Crown Court

Post by stearn »

After the rejig of radio in 1967 TVTimes more regional than the Radio Times as Local Radio took over from the 7 Home Services. Yes, the BBC had regions and programme variations but, in general, everyone saw/heard pretty much everything. This was reflected in the letters pages where everyone got the same, with regionals without local radio (Wales and the South West) having additional pages available for letters. The Wales editions had its own letters editor to cater for the Welsh language.

From the mid 70s (IIRC) when Family Scene - the magazine within a magazine - was introduced, TVTimes was produced in parts. The main, usually outer, part containing the cover, cover features and Family Scene, which was the same for all editions (with some variation in cover photos where different images were sent to the local printers) and the middle section that had the listings, local advertising and, presumably, more relevant programme features. It was under the general Inside Television heading in the middle section that Viewers Choice appeared (not regionally different in the few editions I am able to compare) with the Dear Katie... 'my husband picks his ears, what can I do?' type ones in the Family Scene section.

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Re: Crown Court

Post by Brock »

Simon36 wrote:It was less obvious than the RT letters page because it tended to float around the issue, and was quite low key; the letters were brief, headlines small, and often of the “never mind Peter Wyngarde, it’s Oliver Tobias who I have to take the phone off the hook for...” type.
Oh yes, I think I do remember "Viewers' Voice" now you come to mention it. As you say, it was quite low-key; you'd get extended criticisms in the Radio Times, quite often followed by detailed replies from the relevant member of BBC staff. I don't ever remember seeing anything like that in the TV Times. I suppose the BBC had an obligation of accountability to the licence-payers that ITV didn't. Or was it just an aspect of the more "downmarket" style of the TV Times?

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stearn
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Re: Crown Court

Post by stearn »

Accountability would be with the ITA/IBA/ITC and there would be all the producing companies to contact about programmes. I suspect it just wasn't worth the hassle, especially when you can fit another glossy full page add for fags in instead.

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Re: Crown Court

Post by doubleM »

The 14-20 Mar 1981 TV Times 'Viewers Voice' featured 6 full letters, all bearing large headlines, and received two replies from Granada TV - one on 'Brideshead Revisited' (locations used other than Castle Howard) and the other on the 'Ballyskillen Opera House', and another from Thames TV concerning the use of radio mics by Fred Housegow as seen on 'Afternoon Plus'. Library music used for the documentary 'City' was also detailed as a reply to a letter.

The early-mid 70s version 'Playback' was invariably a full page, usually at the end of the magazine, featuring some 8-10 letters on pretty diverse subjects. One enquiry was about obtaining the circuit diagram to some video equipment to which TV Times directed the enquirer to the Hitachi Corporation of Japan.
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Billy Smart
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Re: Crown Court

Post by Billy Smart »

Ivan Kirby's splendid Fulchester Crown Court blog provides a report for each case in the series, and is now up to it's 34th trial - https://fulchestercrowncourt.wordpress.com/

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Re: Crown Court

Post by MoviesmaN »

I no you can see these on YouTube but Id love to see these on Talking Pictures tv.There should be 2 Talking Pictures on Sky q 1 for films only and the other for older tv stuff like this golden oldie jem.

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Re: Crown Court

Post by brigham »

Talking Pictures TV is having enough trouble keeping afloat, without expanding to two channels.
It's a shame that some form of financial grant can't be made available for such channels. Perhaps a future review of the BBC's Charter could include something?

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Re: Crown Court

Post by Left Field »

Billy Smart wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 1:16 pm
Ivan Kirby's splendid Fulchester Crown Court blog provides a report for each case in the series, and is now up to it's 34th trial - https://fulchestercrowncourt.wordpress.com/
Thanks for flagging-up that excellent blog Billy - great to see an in-depth exploration of the stories. Crown Court is one of those shows which almost universally attracts brief positive comments but rarely any extended coverage. I suppose this is partly down to it being a daytime show with a large number of people who saw it from time to time but without the prime-time exposure to build a more sustained audience. I guess it's also the case that there are many other blogs or small websites devoted to archive shows or productions which get overlooked - not because of any lack of quality but simply because they struggle to get high placings on internet searches with searchers generally directed to the likes of IMDB and Wikipedia.

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