Programmes that kept going for no real reason

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Richard Charles Skryngestone
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Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Richard Charles Skryngestone »

I was looking through old threads and someone suggested this.

A show that starts off well enough, and then just keeps going on, and on, long after any real creativity has left.

I believe 'Last of the Summer Wine' may be a good example of this. It seemed to exist simply because it did.

I have also seen the JNT Era of Who being accused of this, though I would personally disagree on this one...
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Mark »

I honestly don't think anything was kept going for no reason, "LOTSW" kept going because it was still popular and despite the format change from three men wandering around the countryside to an ensemble piece, the standard of the writing always remained very high.

The only example that might fit was "Eldorado" which still didn't last very long despite Powell's belief in it.
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Ian Wegg
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Ian Wegg »

The programme that immediately came to my mind was One Man and His Dog.

The BBC made multiple attempts to put it out of its misery over the decades but each time they were inundated with far more protests than the viewing figures would seem to justify. It was a programme that people wanted to exist even though they didn't actually watch it themselves. There may well be other examples.

Nigel Stapley
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Nigel Stapley »

I agree about LOTSW which - to my tastes, at least - stopped being funny in about 1984.

There's also the matter of institutional culture or just plain inertia to consider. I think it was the late Rob Buckman who said that if World War II had been under the control of one of the American networks it would have been taken off after six weeks, but if the BBC had been in charge of it it would still have been running in 1967.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Billy Smart »

Ian Wegg wrote:The programme that immediately came to my mind was One Man and His Dog.

The BBC made multiple attempts to put it out of its misery over the decades but each time they were inundated with far more protests than the viewing figures would seem to justify. It was a programme that people wanted to exist even though they didn't actually watch it themselves.
Which would be a real reason in itself - engendering goodwill towards BBC Television - to keep it going! There's an old newspaper phrase along the lines of "unread copy still has its value". I used to like coming across One Man & His Dog once in a blue moon out of sheer boredom when I was growing up, even though it was hardly appointment viewing. Like showjumping, it had a soothing, attractive, quality to watch.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by fatcat »

Normally TV is quite ruthless if a programme does not make an impact within a couple of weeks it gets slashed (or reformated) after about 6 weeks. However there did seem to be a batch of programmes that went on - and on - yet seemed to produce no impact at all in your circle of friends and colleagues and would spark up a conversation about something else when they were on.
Because I can vaguely remember what they were called, generally sitcoms from ATV and Granada (after the wonderful 'Nearest &Dearest and 'George & the Dragon era)..
I recall a sitcom with leslie Crowther which seemed to go on and on and another long running Granada one in the 80s or 90s which seemed to dote on it's young female star but the public didn't seem to.

Then every New Year you had the Andy Stewart Show.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Brock »

I think that when a programme has been running for long enough to be regarded as an "institution", it becomes almost impossible to cancel. For example, the BBC considered cancelling The Sky At Night in 2013 after Patrick Moore's death but moved it to BBC4 after receiving a 40,000-signature petition from viewers.

Can you imagine the public outcry if they tried to cancel Blue Peter, for instance?

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by wittoner »

Billy Smart wrote:
Ian Wegg wrote:The programme that immediately came to my mind was One Man and His Dog.

The BBC made multiple attempts to put it out of its misery over the decades but each time they were inundated with far more protests than the viewing figures would seem to justify. It was a programme that people wanted to exist even though they didn't actually watch it themselves.
Which would be a real reason in itself - engendering goodwill towards BBC Television - to keep it going! There's an old newspaper phrase along the lines of "unread copy still has its value". I used to like coming across One Man In His Dog once in a blue moon out of sheer boredom when I was growing up, even though it was hardly appointment viewing. Like showjumping, it had a soothing, attractive, quality to watch.
"One man in his dog" only lasted one episode before being taken off by the censors as I recall.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by brigham »

Ah yes...
Eric Gill's only foray into television.

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Juswuh
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Juswuh »

I don't know if they still do it any more, but it was a sure sign that a programme had run out of ideas when the new series came from a different part of the country every week.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Mark »

Brock wrote: Can you imagine the public outcry if they tried to cancel Blue Peter, for instance?
I suppose there would be, but a lot of people are probably not aware it's still going.
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Brock »

They would be if the BBC tried to cancel it!

I remember the fuss when the BBC tried to get rid of 6 Music. There were people who were only alerted to the station's existence by the fact that the BBC was trying to get rid of it.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Brian F »

And some complained when it was moved from BBC1 to CBBC a few years ago.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Mark »

There has been some anger at the teatime "Newsround" being axed ( although it will still be seen in the mornings) so I suppose there would be a backlash if "BP" were threatened.

It's profile seems lower though, does it even have appeals any more?
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murphy1961
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by murphy1961 »

I was amazed, astounded even, by the longevity of Last Of The Summer Wine too, but it must have been rating well enough to keep going. I doubt the BBC (or any TV production organisation) would continue with a programme purely for sentimental reasons, but I could be wrong.

I did hear or read a story once about Gunsmoke in America was about to be cancelled by CBS around 1967 (it ran until 1975 clocking up 20 seasons which in itself is amazing) but apparently the wife of one of the network executives liked the show so much they decided to keep it going. Tall story or true story, I don't know.

I assume this thread could also apply to programmes that keep going as opposed to kept going. Coming from Australia, I must say Neighbours and Home & Away. Two soapies that are no better or worse than many other Aussie soaps over the years, but just got extremely lucky by being screened in the UK whilst they were still in production and gaining a devoted following.

But then, serials/soaps could in theory run forever, like Coronation Street, because surely all they have to do is change with the times, change the cast occasionally, bring back the odd old favourite or two, concentrate on viewer's favourites (eg. births, deaths, marriages, illicit affairs) and Bob's your uncle. Perhaps it's not as simple as that though.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Brock »

What about the Variety Club Awards, which the BBC started covering in 1956 and continued with until 2003? Or the Horse of the Year Show (1951-1992)? Was there any real audience for these programmes in their later years?

And why did the BBC continue to broadcast the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony on radio until 1994?

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Mark »

murphy1961 wrote: I did hear or read a story once about Gunsmoke in America was about to be cancelled by CBS around 1967 (it ran until 1975 clocking up 20 seasons which in itself is amazing) but apparently the wife of one of the network executives liked the show so much they decided to keep it going. Tall story or true story, I don't know.
.
Think that's about right, it was at the expense of "Gilligan's Island", which got the chop.
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by Juswuh »

Brock wrote: And why did the BBC continue to broadcast the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony on radio until 1994?
I suppose it was always possible that someone else might try to shoot the Queen.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by spflog1 »

Many classic, much loved comedies went on far longer than they should have. Cast changes over time can have seriously detrimental effects, ruining the original magic that made them work. I think it's always a case of it being hard to pull the plug on something which was so loved.

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by billo »

BBC's show 'Match of The Day' - which once was a football highlights show before it became a chat show with Gary Lineaker, Alan Shearer and that other bloke

JezR
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by JezR »

The annual coverage of The Lord Mayor's Show by the BBC. Not sure if it is a totally uninterrupted line, but it was first on TV in 1937 and radio in 1926. 2019 is still on the iPlayer until this year's is covered.

cdnbob
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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by cdnbob »

Yeah, it's even happenned here in Canada with the CBC who have had shows run for years and years and you wonder why they're still on the air. Case in point, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Royal Canadian Air Farce (which they finally ended cause the cast were just getting too old), David Suzuki's The Nature of Things, The Beachcombers (which ran for years well beyond it's peak popularity.)

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Re: Programmes that kept going for no real reason

Post by brigham »

... Not forgetting 'New Year's Eve with Guy Lombardo'.

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