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It's World TV Day - Sharing our top TV moments

PUBLISHED: 11:00 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 20:41 21 November 2019

Watching TV. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Watching TV. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Today is World Television Day, celebrating the power of the small screen to inspire, entertain and inform. Our readers and staff have been sharing their TV memories.

The London Olympic Games 2012 are a top TV memory for John Nice. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA WireThe London Olympic Games 2012 are a top TV memory for John Nice. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Here are some of our most memorable TV moments, from historic events to the favourite shows we will never forget.

Royal events that millions watched

Many people in Britain bought their first TV set in order to watch the Coronation in 1953. The number of TV licences went up from around 760,000 in 1951 to more than three million in 1954. The BBC has estimated that nearly 18 million people watched the big event at either their own homes or a friend or neighbour's, while another 1.5million watched in pubs, halls and cinemas. From then on, the nation was hooked on royal TV events.

Judy Rimmer writes: "I wasn't born when the Coronation took place, but I do remember watching the next best thing, Prince Charles' Investiture in 1969.

"I was eight, and it was probably one of the first news stories that I remember - especially the moment when he knelt to the Queen and promised to "become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship," To hear that archaic language made a strong impression.

"Although Charles was actually 20, I remember children's TV during the build-up emphasised his youth and made it almost seem as if it was a children's coronation. And I'm still firmly convinced that it all happened in black-and-white!

"Royal weddings are of course the most memorable TV moments for many people, with Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding in 1981 having been watched by more than 28million people in the UK (and their sons' weddings more recently attracting similar figures). I remember watching it together with my family, marvelling at Diana's dress, but finding time to laugh at some TV subtitles which were full of spelling mistakes. I don't know why we had the subtitles switched on - maybe they were a new thing!

"In 1997, even more people watched Princess Diana's funeral than had tuned into her wedding, only 16 years earlier. I remember being worried that my then young children would make too much noise and disturb the neighbours during the heartbreaking service, but in fact they were very good and quiet."

Watching Churchill's funeral on TV decided Bob Ames on his future career plans Picture: PAWatching Churchill's funeral on TV decided Bob Ames on his future career plans Picture: PA

Churchill's funeral inspired me to join BBC

Bob Ames, a member of the Norwich Remembers Facebook group, chose Churchill's state funeral in 1965 as the TV event which made the strongest impression on him - and decided him on his own future career.

He writes: "It was emotional, the loss of a great man, coupled with all the pomp of a ceremonial funeral.

"As a youngster, who hadn't even been beyond the borders of Norfolk, I determined to work in London, for the BBC, who carried the full event (Richard Dimbleby, of course) so professionally and sympathetically .

"I succeeded at my third application and spent 10 years with Auntie." He worked in radio engineering for BBC World Service, broadcasting in "49 languages, round the world, round the clock."

Those early black-and-white days

Watching TV could sometimes be quite a performance in the early days, as members of Norwich Remembers have been recalling. Diana Jackson remembers: "waiting for the set to warm up, and banging it to get the picture to settle down."

And Aaron White recalls: "Putting a coat hanger in the back because the aerial had bust, and constantly twisting and tuning the aerial."

This July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA shows Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface.  The moon landing is a top TV memory for many people. Picture: AP Photo/NASA/Buzz Aldrin, FileThis July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA shows Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. The moon landing is a top TV memory for many people. Picture: AP Photo/NASA/Buzz Aldrin, File

Delma Gray said: "I remember having only BBC to watch, it was great receiving ITV and watching Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Anglia TV was a godsend."

Veronica Storey recalled: "My friend Janet had a TV before us; so I went to her house on Saturday afternoon/evening to watch their telly. We were both armed with our sweet rations." She remembers watching Eamonn Andrews and the Billy Cotton Band Show.

"Watching Percy Thrower on a big screen at an exhibition," is the first TV memory of Lynn Preston, who thinks the event was in St Andrew's Hall in Norwich. She added: "My second memory is my aunt taking me to her friend's house in Horsford, and watching Muffin the Mule in a darkened room."

In the Ipswich Remembers group, Lesley Fayers writes: "We didn't have a telly until British Relay came along and wired up all the houses in our road. In the meantime, I was allowed to go and watch Children's Hour on our more affluent neighbour's TV.

"Programmes weren't always joined up in the 50s and there was often a theatre curtain shown with the word "Interlude" written on the screen. The first programme I saw on our own TV was Life with the Lyons."

From fantasy to football - and Daisy Duke

John Nice, of Nice PR Ltd, writes: "Other than cartoons and lunchtime favourites like Jamie and the Magic Torch, a programme called Monkey was the first show that really resonated with me. Quite what was going on was a mystery to all - it was like Salvador Dali meets Vic and Bob.

"I recall watching Dallas and Dynasty with the family - and it felt like a naughty treat being able to feast on the fun of The Young Ones and Blackadder.

A 1972 photo of the Blue Peter team. The show has inspired generations to take up crafts. Picture: PAA 1972 photo of the Blue Peter team. The show has inspired generations to take up crafts. Picture: PA

"Occasionally babysitters would let us watch programmes that we shouldn't. Therefore I still have nightmares about The Omen and struggle to watch horror films to this day.

"Lots of programmes stay with you, of course - The Fall Guy, The Dukes of Hazzard (particularly Daisy Duke) and The A-Team - and I remember falling in love with football during the 1982 World Cup.

"In recent years I've obsessed over thoroughly thought-out shows like The Wire, Six Feet Under and Fargo - where you can transport yourself into another world.

"Sadly, the invention of the spoiler means you need to go off the radar, like an undercover detective from Line of Duty, to avoid finding out what happens in Line of Duty and the like.

"I guess that is why I like watching sport so much on the TV. You get to sit back and absorb the unscripted dramas as it unfolds.

"This year we had the British Grand Prix, followed by Federer versus Djokovic, as Stokes was dragging England towards a Champagne super-over in the Cricket World Cup Final.

"The first ever programme I liked (Monkey) was set in a fantasy world full of magic - however the magic of watching that sporting weekend - and indeed many other sporting events like the London 2012 Olympics - help reinforce the joy of this wonderful life that we have."

Looking back at the moon landing

Dominic Monaghan as Charlie Pace, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Mr Eko and Terry O'Quinn as John Locke in Lost. Did it start the trend for binge watching? Picture: PA Photo/Sky One/Bob DAmicoDominic Monaghan as Charlie Pace, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Mr Eko and Terry O'Quinn as John Locke in Lost. Did it start the trend for binge watching? Picture: PA Photo/Sky One/Bob DAmico

There have been many commemorations of the 1969 moon landing to mark its 50th anniversary this year. It's a vivid memory even for those who were only just old enough to watch.

Reader Sarah Jane Mogford, of Thorpe St Andrew, writes: "I was four years old. My father woke me up, brought me in front of an old cabinet-style black-and-white TV, which I think they'd borrowed as we didn't have one permanently until a few years later, and made me stay awake to watch grainy moon landing

"I remember he kept telling me to watch it as when I was his age (I'm over double that now!) I would look back at this historic moment. He was right!"

Malcolm Read also said his most memorable TV moments "have to be the excitement of the Apollo programme, the first foot on the moon and especially the relief at the safe return of Apollo 13. I followed the Apollo programme in Look In (the junior TV Times) as well as on the telly."

Blue Peter badges inspired life-long love of craft

As the longest-running children's show in the world, Blue Peter has inspired countless children over more than 60 years.

Nicola Currie, apprenticeship ambassador at Easton and Otley College, writes: " My memorable TV experiences start with watching Blue Peter as a child and then watching it with my own children who both earned their Blue Peter badges for making model sheep using wool from our own flock.

"As a result of Blue Peter, they also entered a number of craft competitions, which inspired our daughter to be creative. Now she makes toys and clothes for her daughter - continuing the creative interest down the generations.

"Today one of my favourite programmes is BBC 1's The Repair Shop, where professionals use a wide range of 'craft' skills to restore treasured family items."

Also from Easton and Otley College, apprenticeship officer Sarah Perry writes: "There are so many TV memories that I have growing up. I remember watching the pre-school cartoon called Mr Benn, and used to love seeing him emerge from a dressing room dressed in one of his costumes ready for a new adventure.

"I also remember regrouping as a family on a Saturday to watch Chips and Dallas. My sister and I were talking of the World Speedway Champion Bruce Penhall quite recently. He had a guest appearance on Chips. We still find the hysteria surrounding his visit to Ipswich Speedway quite amusing and, through TV, he probably gave Ipswich Witches a few extra fans for a night."

"They were such happy memories, watching TV as a family in the 70s and 80s. Has there ever been a question as big as 'Who shot JR?'

From Captain Pugwash to the Rugby World Cup

Early children's shows made a strong impression on Digby Chacksfield of Rural Enterprise East. He writes: "Growing up, I used to enjoy Bod. I remember the fantastic story of Bod's apple. He used to throw the apple up into the air and it would never come down - but whenever anyone else tried it - the apple came crashing down to earth - it was very spiritual.

"I also remember Captain Pugwash and The Magic Roundabout - I loved those shows and remember fondly watching those growing up.

"Aside from kids' TV, one of my favourite memories was England winning the rugby World Cup back in 2003. I remember watching the game with a friend in Colchester. During the match, I jumped up so fast during a tense moment that my watch flew off and was smashed. We thought that Australia were going to win, but the elation when Jonny Wilkinson dropkicked the goal for England was magic.

"Now, I quite like The Last Kingdom - you can't beat a big epic binge watching box set series."

When the Carnival was over

Musical events like Live Aid are among TV's top moments for many, but Paul Geater chose a more unusual TV musical memory. He writes: "I have a particular childhood memory of a one-off programme in 1968 which I was allowed to stay up to watch. As a child my favourite group was the Australian folk/pop quartet The Seekers and the BBC broadcast their "last-ever" concert in a programme called "Farewell to The Seekers" before they returned Down Under to split up and pursue other careers.

"I remember being heartbroken that the Carnival WAS Over and that there'd be no more Morningtown Rides (except on my seven-inch singles).

"Of course The Seekers did make sporadic returns in the late 80s, the early noughties and I did actually see their main singer Judith Durham play the Regent.

"But 46 years after going to bed with a tear in my eye after that BBC show, we went to The Royal Albert Hall to see what probably will turn out to be the real Farewell to the Seekers. The original line-up were still there. Over the years I've seen Deep Purple. I've seen Dire Straits. I've seen REM. And I've even seen Take That. But nothing, but nothing, will ever compare with seeing and hearing The Seekers live. I'm welling up all over again!"

TV footballing memories

David Vincent writes: "A fantastic event for anyone who loves football happened in 2007. Sir Bobby Robson appeared on the Sports Personality of the Year programme on the BBC and took over, with his off-the-cuff tribute to all the people in football that he loved. It went on and on, and was the best part of the programme.

"He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award and overshadowed the actual winner that year of Sports Personality of the Year, boxer Joe Calzaghe."

Debbie Bullard, of the Ipswich Remembers Facebook group, also has a special football TV memory. She says: "My greatest moment was getting a colour TV. My grandad hired it so we could watch Ipswich Town play Arsenal in the FA Cup final in colour. It was absolutely brilliant to see the Town win, and in colour. I will never ever forget the joy of that day."

And Norwich Remembers member Karl Edwards said his special memory was: "Watching Norwich win the Milk Cup on TV, with my dad."

Another group member, Maggie Wicks, said: "My happiest moment was England winning the World Cup, and seeing my dad crying with pure joy."

A Christmas special that really was

"As the nation eagerly awaits the return of Pam, Mick, Nessa and the gang in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special, I already know it won't top the Office Christmas Special - in my eyes anyway," writes Suzanne Day.

"The Office Christmas special, which aired back in December 2003, was the perfect finale to two beautifully sarcastic and simple series of the BBC comedy hit based on a Slough Trading estate.

"Amongst other things The Office followed the story of Tim and Dawn and their unrequited love story and of course Christmas is the perfect time for a bit of romance!

As the cheesy disco played Yazoo's Only You Tim and Dawn finally shared their first kiss, even as a cold-hearted teenager, I cried. Surely a few embarrassed tears define a seminal TV moment? "

Did Lost start binge-watching culture?

"The ripples of impact left on television by Lost are still being felt to this day," writes Rory Mellon. "Thanks to both the passage of time, and a rather controversial finale, the American science-fiction drama series doesn't always get due credited for being the forefather to our current binge-watching culture.

"Premiering in 2004, when Girls Aloud were topping the charts and you needed to be attending an Ivy League school to sign up to Facebook, Lost was the embodiment of water-cooler television. Each episode ended with a dramatic twist that left you desperate to watch the next instalment - unfortunately, as it aired in the days of traditional broadcasting, a tortuous week's wait would follow each cliffhanger.

"Internet forums were ablaze with theories, the show creators would tease upcoming reveals in every interview and for a time it seemed everyone with a television was asking themselves the same question - just how did a polar bear get on that tropical island?

"Yes, the final season may have stumbled - and the two before were mixed bags - but the first three series of Lost are vintage television and remain just as addictive to this day.

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