It's hard to believe in this day and age, but in 1970, long before the video revolution, DVDs and streaming programmes of box sets, the only way to see your favourite clips from the previous week's television was to write to Michael Aspel at the BBC. The genial presenter had become one of the country's most familiar faces of 1960s and 1970s television, where he regularly presented the evening news, before moving on to a wide variety of light entertainment roles including the long-running BBC children's TV series, Crackerjack and, following Ask Aspel, his own chatshow, Aspel & Company, as well as hosting over 400 editions of This Is Your Life.
Each week Michael's postbag would be full of requests to rerun favourite BBC clips-mainly from children's shows but with a few adult programmes slipping in from time to time including Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Goodies, Top Of The Pops and The Morecambe & Wise Show-to name but a few. Aspel also got to interview the likes of John Cleese, Peter Cushing, Roger Moore and Leonard Nimoy, sports stars such as Gordon Banks and Jackie Stewart and the top pop stars of the day such as Toya Wilcox, Rick Wakeman and Kate Bush.
The series proved popular with young viewers and enjoyed two runs, finally finishing in 1981 by which time VCR's were becoming more commonplace in British homes and viewers could keep their own favourite clips to watch whenever they wanted...which is more than the BBC did with much of their archive material!
Published on November 28th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.