Wednesday, 11 March 2015
First watched : no later than 30 December 1972
I almost certainly caught bits of news programmes before the date above but I am rock solid certain I saw the following programme that Saturday and it's overwhelmingly likely that I saw The Basil Brush Show before it so the 15 minute bulletin in between would have been on even if I wasn't paying much attention.
A little research reveals that the headline that day would have been Tricky Dicky Nixon's calling a halt to his Christmas bombing offensive in North Vietnam as a result of the North Vietnamese agreeing to return to peace talks which would lead to the US's withdrawal. The big football results that day were reigning champions Derby County's 1-1 draw away at Chelsea, eventual champions Liverpool's 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace and Newcastle's 4-1 thumping of Sheffield United.
Do I actually recall any of that ? No. I think the first "news" that actually sank in was the volcanic eruption in Iceland a few weeks later though I associate it more with John Cravens's Newsround than the adult bulletins of the time. I think I started watching the news more regularly in the late seventies particularly after becoming interested in politics around the beginning of 1976.
I remember the first line up of Nine O Clock News presenters Richard Baker, Kenneth Kendall, Robert Dougall , baggy-eyed Peter Woods and Richard Whitmore joined in 1975 by Angela Rippon who proved to be their nemesis by leading the way on to The Morecambe and Wise Show. The suits decided they didn't like the idea of celebrity newsreaders and swept them all ( save for Dougall who'd already retired ) away in a Stalinist purge in June 1981 replacing them with the dour , dry as a bone duo ( though both are good eggs ) John Simpson and John Humphrys. After a year or so they retreated from this and we got the likes of Moira Stuart and Julia Somerville humanising the presentation again.
Despite the regular carping of politicians it's still the best news service in the world.