Radio Times: 1976 Christmas edition

THE FESTIVE season is upon us. Getting a rundown on the entertainment that will be broadcast on TV is fun and exciting: what films will be shown and which Christmas specials will have us on the edge of our seats?

It’s about this time of the year when the mighty, iconic, Christmas Radio Times edition is on sale. The front cover alone usually gets the pot of excitement swirling, and once you delve inside, the swirling intensifies whilst the programmes gradually warm-up in preparation for the big day, Christmas Day.

I have a copy of the 1976 Radio Times. Some key things to remember about television in 1976:

  • There were only three TV channels available – BBC1, BBC2, and ITV.
  • Don’t expect anything be shown on BBC2 until about 12pm. This channel could be described as the lazy teenager of television channels.
  • If you wanted to see advance listings for ITV, you’d have to buy a copy of the TVTimes – Radio Times was only for BBC television and radio listings.

So, what did the warm up to 25th, the big day, and the wind down look like in 1976? Your wish is my command…

Thursday 23rd December. BBC1: Pebble Mill Christmas – Play School – Jackanory – Blue Peter – John Craven’s Newsround – Gemini Man – Top of the Pops – Sykes – Happy Ever After – Starsky and Hutch – Omnibus. BBC2: Play School – When Santa Rode the Prairie – See it My Way – Top Crown – The Book Programme – Leaving Lily

Friday 24th December. BBC1: Teddy Edward – Bugs Bunny – Flash Gordon – Hans Christian Anderson – The All Star Record Breakers – Are Yo Being Served – Porridge – Kojak – Mastermind – Christmas Midnight Communion. BBC2: Mr Shepard and Mr Milne – A Night at the Opera – Princely Toys – Don Quixote – The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Christmas Day. BBC1: Ragtime – Hong Kong Phooey – Christmas Morning Service – Rod Hull and Emu – Four Clowns – Holiday on Ice – Top of the Pops – The Queen – Oliver – Bruce Forsyth and The Generation Game – Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show – The Parkinson Show. BBC2: Horizon – Play Away – Carols from King’s – The Snow Queen – Christmas with Cagney: Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Boxing day. BBC1: Playboard – the Little Mermaid – Tarzan and the Huntress – The Waltons – The Wizard of Oz – It’s a Christmas Knockout – Songs of Praise Special – Dad’s Army – The Val Doonican Show – A Man for All Seasons. BBC2: Animation 76 – The Epic that Never Was – Tales of Beatrix Potter – The Barry Humphries Show – Summoned by Bells

The noticeable inclusion in my 1976 edition, that’s missing from the Christmas 2021 edition, is the advertising of booze. The Radio Times Christmas edition 1976 loved lashings of alcohol, knew how to kick back, relax, and enjoy the festivities.

The modern Radio Times is more colourful and more glossy, but the retro 1976 copy is packed with nostalgic memories that will make your eyes bulge and your jaw drop. Merry Retro Christmas… see you at the MFI half price sale on Boxing Day!

Further essential retro reading: Quality Street: the retro comparison

Section N Underpass: the nostalgic hardback with enough clout to send you flying back through the 80s and 70s. Advertising from the 70s and 80s – nostalgic imagery – fun stories – packed with nostalgic entertainment. Click image below to get your copy:

6 thoughts on “Radio Times: 1976 Christmas edition”

    1. The ads were great. I really enjoyed seeing them again whilst writing the post. Tarzan was very popular at that time – I remember the boys at primary school used to copy the Tarzan roarπŸ˜€

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