“Back To School” to enjoy a selection of themes and interludes used on the television from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.
This CD release actually marks the 40th anniversary year for me, it was in the Autumn Term of 1968, whilst at primary school, that I first saw schools television during a history lesson. The programme in question was Yorkshire TV’s How we used to Live which soon established itself as one of ITV's longest-running schools programmes. However it was the music heard before and after the show that intrigued me. Just what were those rather distinctive little instrumental gems that were played, I had no idea and why were they played at all?
The reason for the gap between the schools programmes was simple. At the time, it was rare for schools to have the luxury of an expensive video recording device, still in their infancy on the domestic market. So the TV companies would schedule a music break of at least two minutes between programmes, so that one class of pupils had time to leave the TV room if another teacher with their class were waiting “in the wings” to watch the next programme that followed. Schools would rarely have more than one television set on the premises.
In most cases, the music played during these intervals was not commercially available, even if the TV company replied to an enquiry sent to them giving details, it soon became apparent that the tunes originated from LPs recorded especially for Film, TV and radio usage only. Not available to the general public. At last though, the vaults have now been unlocked!
I hope now, in some cases - 40 years later, that this CD compilation will bring back many memories of the classic TV era. CD1 - “Break Time” features a varied selection of interlude tunes and a few programme themes as well. The last part of the CD features a complete, and very popular, music sequence used between the schools programmes on Independent Television in 1974.
On CD 2 - “Playtime” there's a selection of music sequences played on the Independent Television network between 1968 and 1985. Generally, a 10 minute compilation would be recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The last track would be edited, if ncessary, to between 55 and 59 seconds - because a countdown clock would appear in vision counting down the last 60 seconds before the commencement of the next programme for schools.
It was very rare, to ever hear the complete 10 minute music sequence as the gaps between the programmes were generally only 2 to 3 minutes long. So on CD 2 you’ll hear only the latter part of each sequence, the tunes heard and remembered the most. In batches of two, each sequence will play.
There are two bonus tracks at the end of CD2. Firstly, “Dragster” which was the opening theme to “Watch It”. I've included it because if you were watching the final schools programme of the morning and the TV set was not switched off immediately, quite often you would hear this tune as the announcer promoted the afternoon children's programmes. Finally a track used as incidental music during a Music Scene programme from 1976. It features after the opening credits and before the main feature of the show, an adaptation of the MR James story “Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance”.
Hopefully, this CD will bring back many childhood memories of the music heard during schools programming. I have also inserted within the track listing, in which school term those music sequences were first played. This has been researched and hopefully is completely accurate!! (There does not appear to be any official archive of information kept)
CD1 Break Time