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"English By Television"

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:45 pm
by Mark
This long running series of serials, made for the BBC ( 60's-80's) to teach basic English, is something of a rarity, in that it almost entirely exists ( made mostly on film) but has never been shown in the UK.

The most interesting one is arguably "Slim John", as it's a 26 part Sci-Fi story about Robots, with Simon Williams, Juliet Harmer and Valentine Dyall as Dr Brain, what's not to like!...and where else are you going to find two consecutive episodes called "Copies Of Robot Five" and "The Football Match".

There were BBC LP's to accompany the various series, including this one.

Well remembered overseas, but probably unlikely to make it to DVD sadly, it remains a curio, although I fondly recall the various Learn French series the Beeb made ( usually with Andre' Maranne).

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:01 am
by jno
Rings no bells with me unfortunately. Without wanting to go too off topic I only remember "Follow Me" with Francis Matthews at the helm.

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:43 pm
by Brock
Although I don't recall "English by Television", I definitely remember the "English by Radio" broadcasts that were transmitted on 648 kHz (the former BBC World Service frequency) around that time[*]. One of my favourites was "Pedagogical Pop", where the words of a pop song were analysed to give training in English grammar, e.g.:

"...but I feel like you're mine".

"This is American slang. Here at the BBC, we would say 'but I feel as if you were mine'."

[*] 1978 onwards in fact - I never heard transmissions on the old 275 kHz frequency.

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:46 am
by Mark
jno wrote:Rings no bells with me unfortunately. Without wanting to go too off topic I only remember "Follow Me" with Francis Matthews at the helm.
Yes, that's a good one, another good cast.

Have seen a few episodes of "Slim John", and it's quite entertaining, there's a short clip on YT.

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:48 am
by Mark
Brock wrote:Although I don't recall "English by Television", I definitely remember the "English by Radio" broadcasts that were transmitted on 648 kHz (the former BBC World Service frequency) around that time[*]. One of my favourites was "Pedagogical Pop", where the words of a pop song were analysed to give training in English grammar, e.g.:

"...but I feel like you're mine".

"This is American slang. Here at the BBC, we would say 'but I feel as if you were mine'."

[*] 1978 onwards in fact - I never heard transmissions on the old 275 kHz frequency.
A radio version, interesting, makes sense I suppose.

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:22 am
by Brock
Mark wrote: A radio version, interesting, makes sense I suppose.
I'm pretty certain that "English by Radio" is older. This article dates it to 1943:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learn ... icle.shtml

How were the "English by Television" broadcasts transmitted? Were they sold to overseas television stations?

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:58 am
by stearn
Trying to track anything down in the overseas schedules is a nightmare, but I stumbled across this in issue 206 of London Calling:

Image

although I can't find any listings though.

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:05 pm
by TK-JaKe
Mark wrote:This long running series of serials, made for the BBC ( 60's-80's) to teach basic English, is something of a rarity, in that it almost entirely exists ( made mostly on film) but has never been shown in the UK.
.....

There were BBC LP's to accompany the various series, including this one.
I'm not at all sure about the "made mostly on film" bit.

They were, to my recollection, short items made in electronic multi-camera production studios done as live, (no VT-editing),
recorded on 16mm for distribution worldwide in that common format, but running at 25 fps not the universal 24 fps.

I recorded a great many of them in the 1970s and always believed that reproduction abroad was not restricted to broadcast stations,
education establishments simply had to use a projector, screen and loudspeaker - they films were by default comopt;
whether mag tracks were provided as well I don't now remember.

They were made by regular production and technical people for and on behalf of Television Enterprises.

Television Enterprises was to the Television Service as Transcription Services was to Radio;
the later distributed on disc and later, presumably, on ¼" tape.

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:38 pm
by Mark
Brock wrote:
Mark wrote: A radio version, interesting, makes sense I suppose.
I'm pretty certain that "English by Radio" is older. This article dates it to 1943:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learn ... icle.shtml

How were the "English by Television" broadcasts transmitted? Were they sold to overseas television stations?
They were, and never seen in the UK.

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:42 pm
by Mark
stearn wrote:Trying to track anything down in the overseas schedules is a nightmare, but I stumbled across this in issue 206 of London Calling:

Image

although I can't find any listings though.
Nice read, it seems there was also Radio versions of the TV episodes, including "Slim John", as well as books and LP's

Re: "English By Television"

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:50 pm
by Mark
TK-JaKe wrote:
Mark wrote:This long running series of serials, made for the BBC ( 60's-80's) to teach basic English, is something of a rarity, in that it almost entirely exists ( made mostly on film) but has never been shown in the UK.
.....

There were BBC LP's to accompany the various series, including this one.
I'm not at all sure about the "made mostly on film" bit.

They were, to my recollection, short items made in electronic multi-camera production studios done as live, (no VT-editing),
recorded on 16mm for distribution worldwide in that common format, but running at 25 fps not the universal 24 fps.

I recorded a great many of them in the 1970s and always believed that reproduction abroad was not restricted to broadcast stations,
education establishments simply had to use a projector, screen and loudspeaker - they films were by default comopt;
whether mag tracks were provided as well I don't now remember.

They were made by regular production and technical people for and on behalf of Television Enterprises.

Television Enterprises was to the Television Service as Transcription Services was to Radio;
the later distributed on disc and later, presumably, on ¼" tape.
Yes, 14 minute episodes, had a check in the KAL guide, and the 60's ones are down as 35mm originally held on 16mm, with the 67 series "Slim John" down as 16mm for both source and holding, the 70's ones are down as colour 16mm for both, with the 80's ones on 2" originally but with only film inserts held.