Monday January 7th The first day back at school and the beginning of a tremendous run of creativity in my English books, starting with a recap of the holiday just gone in Christmas 1979. The most notable event of the day, however (for me at least), is the return of sci-fi classic Blake’s 7 to BBC 1. This show means a lot to me - it’s just like Doctor Who but a little bit more grown up, with its later time slot and more colourful moral palette. Even better, my parents like it, so I don’t have to put up with my Dad slagging it off every five minutes. In this third season, the show’s primary hero Roj Blake has disappeared after an intergalactic battle, leaving the amoral embezzler Kerr Avon in charge of the crew and rendering the show’s title slightly less descriptive of its contents. “There’s no Blake and there aren’t seven of them” suddenly becomes a mantra for hilarious breakfast DJs everywhere. The show also threatens to attract the tagline “Dallas in Space” with its fancy clothes and snoggy backstabbing. In tonight’s episode, Aftermath, our anti-hero Avon finally gets to kiss his arch-enemy Servalan - before throttling her and pushing her to the floor. (She also shoots a blind man in cold blood so she probably deserves it.) This episode is also notable for introducing a black female character (Dayna Mellanby, played by Josette Simon) to the principal cast - rare on British TV at the time, even rarer in sci-fi. She spends most of the rest of the series with nothing to do, but that’s British sci-fi for you. Blake’s 7 is immediately preceded on BBC 2 by the first ever episode of Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way. Barbara Woodhouse becomes a household name pretty much overnight, launching a million playground competitions to see who can say “Walkies!” in the bossiest voice. Meanwhile in India, Indira Gandhi wins a general election, beginning her second stint in office (her first lasted from 1967 to 1974). She will remain India’s prime minister until her assassination in 1984. Tuesday January 8th Series 3 of Grange Hill begins at teatime on BBC 1, introducing a new batch of first-year students which include Duane Orpington and Pogo Patterson - the first sweeping cast changes since the show’s inception in 1978. Original characters Tucker Jenkins, Alan Humphries and Trisha Yates remain a core part of the show, but Benny Green only ever seems to appear on location. Thursday January 10th English: Great Space Battles Doctor Who Weekly No 14: the letters page is overbrimming with praise for the comic. I agree. At this point in time, it still excites me and I buy it eagerly every week. My engagement isn’t total, however. I always write an entry for the Crazy Caption Competition but never actually send one in. When I look at this one, I can see why:
Monday January 7th - Sunday January 13th, 1980
TERM 2: Week 1
TERM 2 (Jan - Apr 1980) New Year (Jan 1 - Jan 6, 1980) Week 1 (Jan 7 - Jan 13, 1980) Week 2 (Jan 14 - Jan 20, 1980) Week 3 (Jan 21 - Jan 27, 1980) Week 4 (Jan 28 - Feb 3, 1980) Week 5 (Feb 4 - Feb 10, 1980) Week 6 (Feb 11 - Feb 17, 1980) Half Term (Feb 18 - Feb 24, 1980) Week 7 (Feb 25 - Mar 2, 1980) Week 8 (Mar 3 - Mar 9, 1980) Week 9 (Mar 10 - Mar 16, 1980) Week 10 (Mar 17 - Mar 23, 1980) Week 11 (Mar 24 - Mar 30, 1980) Easter 1 (Mar 31 - Apr 6, 1980) Easter 2 (Apr 7 - Apr 13, 1980)
TERM 2 IN LINK FORM
TERM 1 (Sep - Dec 1979)
Top of the Pops - presented by Kid Jensen, with music from these guys: Young Blood UFO It’s Different for Girls Joe Jackson Working for the Yankee Dollar Skids I’m in the Mood for Dancing The Nolans Friday January 11th Nigel Short, 14, becomes the youngest ever chess player to be awarded International Master status. I remember a brief period when my parents (Dad especially) encouraged me to take up chess on the back of this - probably a case of “You’re brainy and you’ve got blonde hair, you could be the next Nigel Short if you want.” I did at least attempt to learn the rules. But like all these difficult things, I played it twice, then got bored and went back to my Star Wars figures. Afternoon Plus: Victorians - with Mavis Nicholson, and four people who were born when Queen Victoria was still alive. BBC 1, 5.15 pm: Grange Hill: Series 3 Episode 2 - featuring some pretty useless child safeguarding. The teachers see Duane with a black eye, find out his Dad gave it to him and proceed to treat him like he obviously must have deserved it. Welcome to 1980, kids. BBC 2, 6.25 pm: Monkey - Even Monsters Can Be People Saturday January 12th 2000 AD Prog 148 sports a classic cover illustration of Judge Dredd saying, “You’re next, punk!” - How thrilling! He’s just killed someone else and now he’s going to kill ME!! Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon - Part Four - the final episode of Season 17, and the end of my childhood love affair with Doctor Who. Let me be absolutely clear about this. For most of my childhood until this point, Doctor Who had been my favourite thing. Ever since I’d first laid eyes on it way back in 1974, I’d been madly in love with it. It’s difficult to define exactly what it was about the show that made it so exciting, but the emotions I felt while watching it were so heightened - there was such a rush of adrenaline whenever that theme tune played. The costumes, the sets, the lighting, the sounds it made, the ideas it played with - it just wasn’t like anything else. I bought the books, I listened to the records, and now I read the comics. Lately though (I’m talking 1978-79), my enthusiasm had been waning. Partly because Star Wars had proven other things could be just as exciting. Partly because the show just hadn’t been quite as emotionally arresting since Mary Whitehouse had persuaded the BBC to chop its balls off. But mainly - as my Dad was fond of telling me - because I was eight now, and Doctor Who was for tiny little kids. The other kids at school weren’t really into it. Everybody liked Blake’s 7 - that was proper sci-fi for grown-ups - but Doctor Who wasn’t that interesting to anyone else around me. Occasionally, I’d still love it. It was good to see the Daleks back, even if they weren’t as cool as I remembered. City of Death was great. And even though the Mandrels were rubbish, some of the ideas in Nightmare of Eden had been secretly very exciting. But more often than not, it was just a bit dull. I wasn’t enjoying the latest one much. But that was OK - it was only January. I knew how long these seasons lasted. This was the fifth story of the latest series, and ever since I’d been paying attention, there had always been six. Five stories of four parts each, followed by a final, season-busting six-parter that might very well be the best of the lot. You see, I still had hope. Hope that the next one would switch it all around. The latest one was only bad because they were saving all their best ideas for last. So it felt like a kick in the throat when the announcer - a little too enthusiastically for my liking - told us that this was the last in the series and the show would return in the autumn. I don’t remember saying or doing anything about it. Just a second or two of genuine surprise, then a quiet acceptance as a little piece of my childhood died. I felt betrayed - I didn’t understand why they’d done it this way - but I had to accept it wasn’t coming back. The announcer had said so. And besides, it was rubbish anyway, wasn’t it? It was rubbish. It took at least a year before I learned there was supposed to have been another story at the end - a six-parter written by Douglas Adams called Shada, set partly in Cambridge and partly on an ancient Time Lord prison planet. It would have been right up my street. They’d even filmed half of it, but a strike at the BBC meant the studios had to be reallocated to other programmes and it just wasn’t economically viable to finish it. Of course, now (I’m talking 2021, while writing this), they have actually finished it, with the aid of animation, and you can buy it in a massive blu-ray set with all the others from Season 17, to watch whenever you like. Or maybe you could just watch it here, along with almost every other episode of Doctor Who ever made. But none of that helps the eight-year-old me, stuck on the slow path in 1980. I’ve no idea what difference it would have made if they’d actually shown it back then. Probably none. Maybe I’d have written about Doctor Who in my English books instead of Blake’s 7 and 2000 AD. But I doubt it. I was already well on the road to growing up, and leaving silly, childish Doctor Who behind. I carried on buying the comic for a few more weeks, but before long even that bit the dust. Doctor Who was just a daft, cheap-looking children’s show. Blake’s 7 now took its place as my official favourite TV programme. Sunday January 13th HGV driver Peter Sutcliffe is interviewed by police at his home in Bradford, in connection with the Yorkshire Ripper murders. It’s the seventh time he’s been questioned in just over two years - mainly because of a £5 note that had been left at the scene of one of the crimes, the serial number of which has been traced to the pay packets of the company he works for. His car has been spotted recurrently in red light areas. He looks exactly like the guy in the photofits provided by the victims who survived his attacks. He can’t provide an albi for the night of Barbara Leach’s murder last September. But thanks to an archaic filing system, the officers in charge of the investigation are unaware of all these bits of evidence. Despite searching his house and examining his boots, they are unable to piece everything together and, for the time being, they let him go. Sutcliffe will be interviewed again on January 30 and February 7. BBC 1, 4.30pm: Heat 1 of the Young Scientists of the Year competition, 1980. I was a nerd - I wonder if I thought that might be me one day? Not likely if this is anything to go by. Worzel Gummidge: Worzel’s Nephew UK SINGLES CHART No 1: Brass in Pocket Pretenders No 44: I Wanna Be Your Lover Prince No 52: Living By Numbers New Musik No 53: Strange Little Girl Sad Cafe No 60: Dance Stance Dexy’s Midnight Runners UK ALBUMS CHART No 1: Pretenders Pretenders No 50: End of the Century The Ramones No 75: Joe’s Garage, Acts 2 & 3 Frank Zappa
Hi-de-Hi! Jan 1, 1980
Steelworkers Strike Jan 2, 1980
St Paul’s Riots Apr 2, 1980
State of the Union Jan 23, 1980
My Girl Madness
Blake’s 7 Returns Jan 7, 1980
Barbara Woodhouse Jan 7, 1980
Grange Hill Roof Death Feb 25, 1980
Atomic Blondie
Echo Beach Martha and the Muffins
Games Without Frontiers Peter Gabriel
Underpass John Foxx
Judge Death Jan 19, 1980
TERM 2: Week 1
Monday January 7th - Sunday January 13th, 1980
Top of the Pops - presented by Kid Jensen, with music from these guys: Young Blood UFO It’s Different for Girls Joe Jackson Working for the Yankee Dollar Skids I’m in the Mood for Dancing The Nolans Friday January 11th Nigel Short, 14, becomes the youngest ever chess player to be awarded International Master status. I remember a brief period when my parents (Dad especially) encouraged me to take up chess on the back of this - probably a case of “You’re brainy and you’ve got blonde hair, you could be the next Nigel Short if you want.” I did at least attempt to learn the rules. But like all these difficult things, I played it about three times, then got bored and went back to my Star Wars figures. Afternoon Plus: Victorians - with Mavis Nicholson, and four people who were born when Queen Victoria was still alive. Grange Hill: Series 3 Episode 2 - featuring some pretty useless child safeguarding. The teachers see Duane with a black eye, find out his Dad gave it to him and proceed to treat him like he obviously must have deserved it. Welcome to 1980, kids.
Sunday January 13th HGV driver Peter Sutcliffe is interviewed by police at his home in Bradford, in connection with the Yorkshire Ripper murders. It’s the seventh time he’s been questioned in just over two years - mainly because of a £5 note that had been left at the scene of one of the crimes, the serial number of which has been traced to the pay packets of the company he works for. His car has been spotted recurrently in red light areas. He looks exactly like the guy in the photofits provided by the victims who survived his attacks. He can’t provide an albi for the night of Barbara Leach’s murder last September. But thanks to an archaic filing system, the officers in charge of the investigation are unaware of all these bits of evidence. Despite searching his house and examining his boots, they are unable to piece everything together and, for the time being, they let him go. Sutcliffe will be interviewed again on January 30 and February 7. BBC 1, 4.30pm: Heat 1 of the Young Scientists of the Year competition, 1980. I was a nerd - I wonder if I thought that might be me one day? Not likely if this is anything to go by. Worzel Gummidge: Worzel’s Nephew UK SINGLES CHART No 1: Brass in Pocket Pretenders No 44: I Wanna Be Your Lover Prince No 52: Living By Numbers New Musik No 53: Strange Little Girl Sad Cafe No 60: Dance Stance Dexy’s Midnight Runners UK ALBUMS CHART No 1: Pretenders Pretenders No 50: End of the Century The Ramones No 75: Joe’s Garage, Acts 2 & 3 Frank Zappa
Of course, now (I’m talking 2021, while writing this), they have actually finished it, with the aid of animation, and you can buy it in a massive blu-ray set with all the others from Season 17, to watch whenever you like. Or maybe you could just watch it here, along with almost every other episode of Doctor Who ever made. But none of that helps the eight-year-old me, stuck on the slow path in 1980. I’ve no idea what difference it would have made if they’d actually shown it back then. Probably none. Maybe I’d have written about Doctor Who in my English books instead of Blake’s 7 and 2000 AD. But I doubt it. I was already well on the road to growing up, and leaving silly, childish Doctor Who behind. I carried on buying the comic for a few more weeks, but before long even that bit the dust. Doctor Who was just a daft, cheap-looking children’s show. Blake’s 7 now took its place as my official favourite TV programme.
Saturday January 12th 2000 AD Prog 148 sports a classic cover illustration of Judge Dredd saying, “You’re next, punk!” - How thrilling! He’s just killed someone else and now he’s going to kill ME!! Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon - Part Four - the final episode of Season 17, and the end of my childhood love affair with Doctor Who. Let me be absolutely clear about this. For most of my childhood until this point, Doctor Who had been my favourite thing. Ever since I’d first laid eyes on it way back in 1974, I’d been madly in love with it. It’s difficult to define exactly what it was about the show that made it so exciting, but the emotions I felt while watching it were so heightened - there was such a rush of adrenaline whenever that theme tune played. The costumes, the sets, the lighting, the sounds it made, the ideas it played with - it just wasn’t like anything else. I bought the books, I listened to the records, and now I read the comics. Lately though (I’m talking 1978-79), my enthusiasm had been waning. Partly because Star Wars had proven other things could be just as exciting. Partly because the show just hadn’t been quite as emotionally arresting since Mary Whitehouse had persuaded the BBC to chop its balls off. But mainly - as my Dad was fond of telling me - because I was eight now, and Doctor Who was for tiny little kids. The other kids at school weren’t really into it. Everybody liked Blake’s 7 - that was proper sci-fi for grown-ups - but Doctor Who wasn’t that interesting to anyone else around me.
I don’t remember saying or doing anything about it. Just a second or two of genuine surprise, then a quiet acceptance as a little piece of my childhood died. I felt betrayed - I didn’t understand why they’d done it this way - but I had to accept it wasn’t coming back. The announcer had said so. And besides, it was rubbish anyway, wasn’t it? It was rubbish. It took at least a year before I learned there was supposed to have been another story at the end - a six-parter written by Douglas Adams called Shada, set partly in Cambridge and partly on an ancient Time Lord prison planet. It would have been right up my street. They’d even filmed half of it, but a strike at the BBC meant the studios had to be reallocated to other programmes and it just wasn’t economically viable to finish it.
Monday January 7th The first day back at school and the beginning of a tremendous run of creativity in my English books, starting with a recap of the holiday just gone in Christmas 1979. The most notable event of the day, however (for me at least), is the return of sci-fi classic Blake’s 7 to BBC 1. This show means a lot to me - it’s just like Doctor Who but a little bit more grown up, with its later time slot and more colourful moral palette. Even better, my parents like it, so I don’t have to put up with my Dad slagging it off every five minutes. In this third season, the show’s primary hero Roj Blake has disappeared after an intergalactic battle, leaving the amoral embezzler Kerr Avon in charge of the crew and rendering the show’s title slightly less descriptive of its contents. “There’s no Blake and there aren’t seven of them” suddenly becomes a mantra for hilarious breakfast DJs everywhere. The show also threatens to attract the tagline “Dallas in Space” with its fancy clothes and snoggy backstabbing. In tonight’s episode, Aftermath, our anti-hero Avon finally gets to kiss his arch-enemy Servalan - before throttling her and pushing her to the floor. (She also shoots a blind man in cold blood so she probably deserves it.) This episode is also notable for introducing a black female character (Dayna Mellanby, played by Josette Simon) to the principal cast - rare on British TV at the time, even rarer in sci-fi. She spends most of the rest of the series with nothing to do, but that’s sci-fi for you.
Blake’s 7 is immediately preceded on BBC 2 by the first ever episode of Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way. Barbara Woodhouse becomes a household name pretty much overnight, launching a million playground competitions to see who can say “Sit!” in the bossiest way. Meanwhile in India, Indira Gandhi wins a general election, beginning her second stint in office (her first lasted from 1967 to 1974). She will remain India’s prime minister until her assassination in 1984. Tuesday January 8th Series 3 of Grange Hill begins at teatime on BBC 1, introducing a new batch of first-year students which include Duane Orpington and Pogo Patterson - the first sweeping cast changes since the show’s inception in 1978. Original characters Tucker Jenkins, Alan Humphries and Trisha Yates remain a core part of the show, but Benny Green only ever seems to appear on location. Thursday January 10th English: Great Space Battles Doctor Who Weekly No 14: the letters page is overbrimming with praise for the comic. I agree. At this point in time, it still excites me and I buy it eagerly every week. My engagement isn’t total, however. I always write an entry for the Crazy Caption Competition but never actually send one in. When I look at this one, I can see why:
Occasionally, I’d still love it. It was good to see the Daleks back, even if they weren’t as cool as I remembered. City of Death was great. And even though the Mandrels were rubbish, some of the ideas in Nightmare of Eden had been secretly very exciting. But more often than not, it was just a bit dull. I wasn’t enjoying the latest one much. But that was OK - it was only January. I knew how long these seasons lasted. This was the fifth story of the latest series, and ever since I’d been paying attention, there had always been six. Five stories of four parts each, followed by a final, season-busting six-parter that might very well be the best of the lot. You see, I still had hope. Hope that the next one would switch it all around. The latest one was only bad because they were saving all their best ideas for last. So it felt like a kick in the throat when the announcer - a little too enthusiastically for my liking - told us that this was the last in the series and the show would return in the autumn.
Hi-de-Hi! Jan 1, 1980
Steel Strike Jan 2, 1980
St Paul’s Riots Apr 2, 1980
Judge Death Jan 19, 1980
My Girl Madness
Blake’s 7 Returns Jan 7, 1980
Barbara Woodhouse Jan 7, 1980
Grange Hill Roof Death Feb 25, 1980
Underpass John Foxx
Mugabe Elected Mar 4, 1980
Atomic Blondie
Games Without Frontiers Peter Gabriel
Echo Beach Martha and the Muffins
TERM 2 IN LINK FORM
State of the Union Jan 23, 1980