Documentaries on ITV in 1964


A look at Independent Television’s many documentary series that aired in 1964

Each week viewers are presented with some 7½ hours of talks, discussions and documentary programmes. Together with news, religion, and education they account for about a third of all programmes.

Current Affairs


From ITV 1965, published by the Independent Television Authority in January 1965

The network’s main current affairs programmes are This Week (Rediffusion), World in Action (Granada) and ITN’s Weekly Report, all of 30 minutes’ duration and transmitted weekly.

This Week seeks to interpret, by special film reports, studio interviews and discussions, current developments of political or sociological significance, both at home and abroad; each edition is devoted to one or two topics. Material during 1964 included reports on some major issues of the British General Election, full-length interviews with leaders of the three main political parties in Britain, accounts of the situation in East Africa, poverty in the USA, Rumania’s concept of national communism, and an examination of important sociological questions such as divorce, society and the psychopath, and fatherless families. In addition to its regular series, This Week from time to time presents special reports, examples during 1964 including programmes on cancer, the Greater London Council elections and the Christmas road deaths.

World in Action presents in depth a major story of current interest. Topics in 1964 included H.M. the Queen’s visit to Canada, Senator Goldwater’s nomination as Presidential candidate, the death of Lord Beaverbrook, and the Aberdeen typhoid outbreak.

ITN’s Weekly Report provides a close-up on the big news stories of the week.


Another current affairs series transmitted over a number of Independent Television areas is What the Papers Say (Granada), in which a well-known journalist reviews the treatment given by the Press to the week’s news. Regular contributors have included Michael Frayn, Bernard Levin and Brian Inglis.

A number of short series of current affairs programmes have included The Outsiders (ATV), which considered three minority groups in North America; and Press and Presidency (ATV), in which foreign journalists described their countries’ attitudes to the US Presidential Election.

Most of the programme companies produce regular current affairs series for transmission in their own areas. There is a wide range of subject matter and treatment, but the emphasis generally is on local participation or topics of particular interest to local viewers. Series of Party political broadcasts continue in accordance with the agreement between the broadcasting authorities and the Parliamentary parties. In addition, extensive coverage is given on Independent Television to the Party conferences, local and Parliamentary elections are reported fully by ITN and the programme companies.


On alternate Wednesdays Independent Television presents, in the form of a documentary feature programme, an extended study of a subject of world or national significance. Produced in turn by Rediffusion, ATV and Granada, they are intended to give a comprehensive account of a major area of politics or sociology. Recent examples have included programmes on tribalism in modern Africa, current social changes in Iran, economic pressures in Italy, studies of Lenin, George V, Baldwin and Hitler, and an examination of mixed marriages in Britain.

Most of the programme companies from time to time produce feature programmes for transmission in their own areas.


Science and Natural History

Series on science or natural history are an established feature of Independent Television’s output. They are usually presented as regular weekly programmes over a period of several months. Recent series have included The Enemies Within (ATV), which considered certain illnesses in the light of current medical research; Survival (Anglia) on wild life preservation; People Like Us (Granada), studies in animal behaviour; and Another World (Granada), on aspects of natural history. Southern Television provided live coverage of the British Association’s annual conference.


Practical and Outdoor

Nearly all the programme companies produce one or more regular weekly series of practical and outdoor magazine programmes. A major group is that of the farming magazines, which, while catering specifically for the interest and needs of the local farming community, often appeal to a wider public. There are a few general country series and some gardening programmes. Several series deal with various aspects of domestic science.



Each week during most of the year outstanding documentary films have again been presented by John Grierson in This Wonderful World (Scottish). Another regular weekly series All Our Yesterdays (Granada), considers events of twenty-five years ago and makes fascinating use of contemporary newsreel film. After Dinner (ATV), a series of late-evening conversations featuring distinguished women, was introduced in August 1964. A series of interviews with highly successful young people was presented in The Young Tigers (Rediffusion). Among other programmes available in many ITA areas were On the Braden Beat (ATV), a satirical commentary on the contemporary scene, and Fair Play (ATV), in which grievances of the individual are discussed. In addition, there have been a number of local documentary series and individual programmes.



Feature programmes are presented regularly on alternate Wednesdays by Associated Television, Rediffusion and Granada. Examples during 1964 were:

Abortion: a Question of PrioritiesAn up-to-date report on the law on abortionATV17 June
Africa - the Hidden FrontiersTribalism in modern AfricaREDIFFUSION19 February
Airport24 hours at London AirportREDIFFUSION23 September
Black marries WhiteA study of mixed marriage in BritainREDIFFUSION29 April
The DeliverersStudy of a V-Bomber crewATV22 January
The Dream MachineThe television itidustryATV11 November
Faith and the FlagReligious missionaries in AfricaATV4 March
Fans, Fans, FansA study of mass adulationATV29 July
Freedom HoadHistory through song of negro emancipationREDIFFUSION5 February
Goldwater - Man Out of the WestProfile of GoldwaterREDIFFUSION28 October
The GraftersAn examination of market-huckstersREDIFFUSION18 November
A King's RevolutionSocial change in IranREDIFFUSION1 January
Men of our TimeStudies of Lenin, King George V, Adolph Hitler, Stanley BaldwinGRANADAMay-June
Nehru - Man of Two WorldsAn obituary study of President NehruITN27 May
The New ItalianProsperity and poverty of ItalyREDIFFUSION8 July
Room Down UnderAn immigrant's view of AustraliaREDIFFUSION5 August
These Two PersonsThe techniques of marriage guidanceATV15 April
A Wedding on SaturdayMarriage in a mining villageGRANADA1 April
Women in PrisonAn examination of the problems and attitudes of women in prisonREDIFFUSION12 August
A World in AnguishDebate on today's moral problemsATV2 September

Many other feature programmes are produced from time to time by the various companies. A few examples are given below:

America’s CupSailing documentarySOUTHERN17 September 2018N.
Birth of the BeatHistory of beat musicSOUTHERN21 JulyP.
Brain and SuperbrainDevelopments in computersSOUTHERN23 JuneP.
CityAdministration of a modern cityULSTER10 Oct.-7 Nov.N.
From Spadeadam to SpaceThe Blue Streak RocketTYNE TEES24 AprilP.
The Guernsey ExperimentCancer ResearchCHANNEL17 FebruaryL.
Girl in a MillionMary Bignal-RandTWW19 MayL.
Gwyn Thomas in GermanyCommentary from BerlinTWW15 SeptemberP.
The Hidden WorldChildren at playTYNE TEES18 AugustP.
The High BridgeThe Forth Road Bridge projectSCOTTISH3 SeptemberP.
In Front of CameraInterview with Frank CousinsCHANNEL17 FebruaryL.
The MartyrsDiscussion on conditions in agricultureWESTWARD24 AugustP.
New NeighboursSocial documentaryTYNE TEES26 October 2018L.
Political ScotlandHistory of Scottish politicsSCOTTISH28 September 2018L.
Sink or SwimExamination of industrial relationsSCOTTISH7 SeptemberP.
’64 and AfterElection Year examination of Ulster, its people and problemsULSTER6 AugustL.
Spanner in the WorksBritain's need for engineersTYNE TEES3 JuneP.
That Extra SecondUse of drugs in sportWESTWARD21 SeptemberL.
Warren ReportReview and commentaryITN27 SeptemberP.
Where Are We GoingCareers discussionWESTWARD8 October 2018L.
X Marks the SpotA study of GovernmentBORDER2 OctoberL.
Young OffendersDocumentary on an Irish BorstalULSTER1 OctoberL.

Current Affairs

ProgrammeDescriptionCompanyMinsTime and dayArea
ArenaTopical discussionANGLIA156.45 Thu.L.
BackgroundReport and discussionSOUTHERN3010.30 Mon. to JuneL.
Behind the Front PageNews discussionULSTER4010.36 Tue. m’thly to MayL.
China Now3 part reportATV3010.30 Mon. Feb.-MarchN.
Enterprise ’04Scientific progress in ScotlandSCOTTISH308.86 Wed. Aug. Sept.P.
Front Page DebateTopical discussionTYNE TEES157.15 Wed. from AprilL.
Home on FridayM.P. s meet votersTYNE TEES3010.10 Fri. m’thlyL.
Leading QuestionsQuestion and answer programmeTYNE TEES156.45 Fri. July-Sept.L.
Look AroundCurrent Midland topicsATV306.15 Wed. (alt.) to Sept.L.
Look at East AngliaCurrent local topicsANGLIA306.30 Fri. to Sept.L.
The Outsiders3-part community studiesATV251 1.10 Sun. Jan.-Feb.P.
Parade SpecialDocumentary reportULSTER158.15 Mon. June-Sept.L.
Points NorthPolitical discussionGRAMPIAN3010.37 Fri. m'thlyL.
Press and PresidencyU.S. Presidential electionsATV3010.30 Mon. Sept.P.
Shades of OpinionDiscussionSCOTTISH3010.30 Mon. May-Sept.L.
SurveyExamination of current problemsANGLIA3010.30 Mon. to JuneL.
Talk of the TavernPeople's ParliamentTYNE TEES3010.30 Mon. from Oct.L.
This WeekStudy of current issuesREDIFFUSION309.10 Thu.N.
Three after SixDiscussion on newsREDIFFUSION226.08 Tue.-Thu. from JuneL.
Up the PollStudio debateSOUTHERN30
10.30 Mon. June-Sept.L.
What Say TheyPanel discussionBORDER258.00 Tue to AprilL.
What the Papers SayReview of the PressGRANADA1510.35 Thu.P.
World in ActionInvestigates, reports, interpretsGRANADA3010.05 Tue. from Sept.N,
Your Point of ViewDiscussionTWW3010.30 Mon. from Aug.L.
Your Questions PleasePanel discussionSOUTHERN3010.30 Sun. from Oct.L.


ProgrammeDescriptionCompanyMins.Time and dayArea
Faces of PowerJawaharlal Nehru, Walter Reuther, Cecil KingATV1511.10 Sun. Jan.N.
Godfrey Winn tells a StoryPersonal reminiscencesTWW153.20 Sun. to AprilL.
Looking BackUlster personalitiesULSTER3010.37 Tue. to Aug.L,
Midland ProfileMidland personalitiesATV156.15 Tue. to Sept.L,
Portrait of the ManGrimond, Wilson, Douglas-HomeATV305.35 Sun. Apr.-MayN.
Robinson ReportsPersonal commentaryANGLIA156.45 Fri. to JuneL,
Something to SayEminent people interviewedREDIFFUSION3010.30 Mon. from Oct.P.
View FinderPersonal viewpointGRAMPIAN3010.50 Tue. to Sept.L.
The World of...Personal historiesWESTWARD2010.35 Thu. from Oct.L,
The Young TigersInterviews with successful young peopleREDIFFUSION3010.30 Mon. June-JulyN.

Practical and Outdoor

ProgrammeDescriptionCompanyMins.Time and dayArea
About the HomeHome magazineBORDER157.30 Thu.L.
Country FocusCountry magazineGRAMPIAN306.30 Tue. (alt.)L.
Farm in the SouthFarm itig magazineSOUTHERN252.43 Sun.L.
Farming CommentFarming magazineABC10/52.00 Sun.P.
Farming DiaryFarming magazineANGLIA301.55 Sun.L.
Farming OutlookFarming magazineTYNE TEES152.00 Sun.L.
Home at 4.30Women's magazineSOUTHERN154.30 Tue.-Thu. from JuneL.
In Your GardenGardeningSCOTTISH306.30 Thu. Feb.-MayL.
Island FarmerFarming magazineCHANNEL156.45 Mon.L.
Keeping Your ManCookery instructionSCOTTISH307.00 Wed. to Sept.L,
Leisure TimeHobbiesGRAMPIAN306.30 Mon. to Sept.L.
Midland FarmingFarming magazineATV156.45 Wed. to Sept.L.
Out of TownMagazineSOUTHERN206.40 Fri.L.
Pop and LeslieHome magazineWESTWARD156.45 Fri.L.
Summer GardenGardening magazineBORDER306.30 Thu. July-Sept.L.
Techniques of MarketingScience of retail marketingGRAMPIAN3011.12 Wed. from Sept.L.
Time Out of DoorsMagazine of the open airBORDER307.00 Wed.L.


Some of the many other documentary programmes produced during 1964 are listed below:

ProgrammeDescriptionCompanyMins.Time and dayArea
After DinnerDiscussionATV3010.30 Mon. Aug. Sept.N.
All Our YesterdaysEvents of years agoGRANADA307.00 Mon..V.
Approach to ...Occupations examinedTWW3010.30 Mon. to JuneP.
Cambridge Union DebateRecorded transmissionANGLIA3010.30 Mon. Oct.-Dec.L.
Citizens AllStudy of power in BritainSOUTHERN3010.30 Mon. from Oct.L.
The Enemies WithinReports on modern medical treatmentATV2511.10 Sun. Apr.-JuneP.
Fair PlayIndividual grievancesATV3011.12 Wed.P.
Friday MagazineIncl. sport and religionULSTER3010.35 Fri. June-Aug.L.
From Child to ManPsychology series on man's developmentULSTER3010.37 Tue.L.
Having Died, They SaidConfrontations between historical figuresGRAMPIAN308.25 Fri. from Oct.L.
Here and NowMagazine programmeREDIFFUSION / ANGLIA / SOUTHERN156.45 Mon.-Wed. to JuneP.
History of IrelandHistorical seriesULSTER2011.15 Wed. Fri. July-Aug.L.
Look Back to TomorrowHistory of the regionTYNE TEES3010.05 Fri. (m’thly) to MayL.
Mind Behind WarWar leaders' commentsTWW3010.30 Mon. July Aug.P.
Monday MagazineMagazine programmeULSTER3011.00 approx. Mon. June-Aug.L.
On the Braden BeatSatirical commentaryATV2511.06 Sat. to July & from Oct.P.
People Like UsAnimal behaviourGRANADA3010.05 Tue. Aug.-Sept.N.
Personal ColumnComment on the weekABC511.45 Sat. to June & from Oct.L.
Science ’64Meeting of B.A.A.S.SOUTHERN15010.00 a.m. daily 27 Aug.-2 Sept.P
This Wonderful WorldFilm anthologySCOTTISH307.00 Tue. to Sept.P
The Wandering ScotTravel filmSCOTTISH3010.05 Tue. July-Sept.L

L. Local
P. Part Network
N. Network

About the author

Eric Croston was the editor of the Independent Television Authority and Independent Broadcasting Authority yearbooks from 1963 until 1985

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