625 - Andrew Wiseman's Television Room

On the web since 1996
Updated: Mo 1-Apr-19


Dial 999 and Ask for the Coastguard

For April, we revisit the public information film from 1968 that introduced us to dialling 999 for the coastguard. Holidaymakers Joe & Petunia are picnicking on a cliff when they eventually realise they are watching a sailor in distress and make the call to rescue him. It sounds serious, but the message is put across in a short, 90-second comedy masterpiece!

The film was modernised and re-released in 2006 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Central Office of Information, which commissioned the original. Joe's knotted hankie was gone from his head and he now made the call from his mobile rather than rushing to a phone box. But Petunia still licks her ice-cream like a noisy lizard.

Joe & Petunia sitting on a cliff (20K) Joe & Petunia still sitting on a cliff, but updated for the 21st century (30K)

Last year, 50 years after the film was made, clips were featured in a brand new public information film from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, who had found that half the population still didn't know that they should call 999 in a coastal emergency.

The transcript and links to more information are on the updated, mobile-friendly, Joe & Petunia: Coastguard page. (Although here I still spell his name as "Jo", following the convention in the listings of the VHS / DVD releases.)

The Carltonisation of ITV

The story of the disappearance of Central and Westcountry, swept away by the Carlton branding machine.

The Consolidation of ITV

The story of the disappearance of LWT, HTV and the regional announcers, despite assurances from the Government that ITV's regional identities were safe in their hands.

The Unification of ITV

The story of how Carlton and Grampian disappeared along with hours of regional programming.

Digital TV - Beyond the Hype

Digital TV - Beyond the Hype

A FAQ on digital TV from 1999 when it was a new thing! A time when you could plug a set-top box into your TV and get Sky One on subscription with no dish, no cable or internet required.

DOG Watch

DOG Watch!

From 2003, the annoyance of colourful, sometimes animated, permanent on-screen logos or "DOGs" that most channels have nowadays.

TV Logos

TV Logos Index
Revised  Fr 1-Mar-19

TV Station logos from yesteryear, featuring Dave Jeffery's Flash Files and Flash-free symbols, clocks and break bumpers. Plus a look back to November 2004, when ITV3 launched, prompting a rebrand for the ITV family of channels.

Public Information Films

Public Information Films Index Revised  Mo 1-Apr-19

Transcripts of public information films with some available to watch (if you have RealPlayer, VLC or something similar and can put up with the tiny video size, but at least the links should all be working now!). Now with a mobile-friendly update to the film that reminds us the Coastguard is only a 999-call away, starring holidaymakers, Joe & Petunia.

Channel 5

Channel 5

Channel 5, Britain's newest and last terrestrial analogue TV network, was launched on Easter Sunday 1997 by The Spice Girls. This is an FAQ on the station from 1999.

Programme Delivery Control Explained

Programme Delivery Control

Everything you always ever wanted to know about PDC, the amazing invention which enabled you to set a timer to record a programme and it would still work, even if the programme was delayed. An FAQ from 2003 when analogue TV was still a thing.

Celebrity Swears

Celebrity Swears

TV favourite Zippy from Rainbow lets rip with a 4-letter word in the name of entertainment. Yes it's really Zippy. Don't believe it? See for yourself!

TV Themes

TV Themes

Trying to get hold of an old TV theme? Here are the track listings from the TV Sets collection and This is the Return of Cult Fiction, which includes White Horses, judged to be the best tv theme ever!

Invasion of the Web Snatchers (4K)

Web Snatcher!

In 1996, Dave Van Staveren created a web site that turned out to consist almost entirely of other people's web pages. The other people weren't happy - especially when Dave accused them of copying from him! That December he visited the BBC and apologised for his actions. But that wasn't the end of the story...

Fifteen To One

Fifteen to One

Find out how you go about inventing a popular quiz show and what it's like to appear on one.


Full Contents

A full list of contents for the pages at this web site. New and Updated pages are indicated as are those featuring audio and video clips.

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