Channel 4

Square Eyes #1983/84

It is August 9th and my journey back to the 1983/84 football season is due to begin with the Charity Shield match between reigning champions Liverpool and FA Cup winners Manchester United on 20th August.

In preparation for my time travels, I will be whetting your appetite for this nine-month theme by sharing samples of popular culture from this era. Today I have published a television round up from 1983 with thanks to Wikipedia. 





  • late February/early March – The BBC begins broadcasting a 30-minute Ceefax slot prior to the start of Breakfast Time. It is called Ceefax AM. It is first mentioned in the Radio Times on 21 March.[4]
  • 18 March –
    • Amid falling ratings and mounting pressure from investors, Peter Jay steps aside as TV-am’s Chief Executive allowing Jonathan Aitken to take on the role.[5][6][7]
    • Channel 4 broadcasts in-vision teletext pages for the first time. Two magazines are shown – 4-Tel on View and Oracle on View – and in fifteen minute bursts which are repeated several times each day prior to the start of each day’s transmissions. Teletext pages are only shown on weekdays.
  • 23 March – The BBC regrets that because of an industrial dispute at the printers in next week’s edition of Radio Times are in short supply, but copies will be available in the South WestWestNorth East, parts of South and North of England, and no S4C listings in the Wales edition.


  • 1 April – Roland Rat makes his first appearance on TV-am.[8] Created by David Claridge and launched by TV-am children’s editor Anne Wood to entertain younger viewers during the Easter holidays,[9][10] Roland is generally regarded as TV-am’s saviour, being described as “the only rat to join a sinking ship”.[11]
  • 2 and 9 April – Two issues of Radio Times fail to be published, due to industrial action.
  • 5 April – Debut of First Tuesday on ITV, the subject matter was mainly social issues and current affairs stories from around the world, with programmes being shown on the first Tuesday of the month.
  • 7 April – ITV airs an evening of programmes under the banner of ITV’s Channel Four Showcase. It includes both current and upcoming Channel 4 programmes.[1]
  • 12 April – Timothy Aitken succeeds his cousin Jonathan as chief executive of TV-am due to the IBA rules regarding MPs operating a television station.[12]
  • 19 April – Angela Rippon and Anna Ford are axed from TV-am.[13]
  • 29 April – Michael Parkinson is appointed to TV-am’s board of directors.[14]


  • 1 May – Debut of Alfresco on ITV, starring Robbie ColtraneBen EltonStephen FryHugh LaurieSiobhan Redmond and Emma Thompson. It was named after from the Italian word meaning “in the fresh air”, unusually for a comedy sketch show of the time.
  • 2 May – From today, Ceefax pages are broadcast during all daytime downtime although BBC2 continues to fully close down for four hours after Play School. Teletext transmissions also begin on Channel 4 at around this time.
  • 4 May – Jack Scott retires from the Met Office and presents his final national forecast for BBC Weather after 14 years, and joining Thames News remained as weatherman for five years.
  • 5 May –
    • London-based listings magazine Time Out is not allowed to publish full day’s television listings for BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programmes together, for some reasons that the Radio Times (BBC television/radio) and TVTimes (ITV/Channel 4) has brought the rights to publish other magazines such as newspapers, before the deregulation of television listings from 1 March 1991.
    • Top of the Pops celebrates its 1000th edition. The programme is also broadcast on BBC Radio 1 to allow viewers to listen to the programme in stereo.[15]
  • 11 May – Peter Adamson makes his last appearance as Len Fairclough on Coronation Street.
  • 17 May – Engineering Announcements is broadcast on ITV for the final time.[16]
  • 23 May – TV-am’s new look starts.[17] Daybreak is axed, with Good Morning Britain extending to start at 6:25 am. Commander David Philpott is moved to present the weather at the weekends only, with Wincey Willis becoming the new weekday weather presenter.[18]
  • 24 May – Engineering Announcements is shown on Channel 4 and S4C for the first time.


  • 9–10 June – BBC1 and ITV broadcast coverage of the 1983 general election.
  • 15 June – The first episode of The Black Adder, the first in the successful Blackadder series of sitcoms, debuts on BBC One.
  • 24 June – BBC Schools programmes are broadcast as For Schools, Colleges, and on BBC1, for the final time ahead of their move to BBC2 in the autumn.
  • 27 June – The shareholders of Satellite Television agree a £5 million offer to give News International 65% of the company.[19][20]


  • 16 July – Debut of The Mad Death on BBC1, the three-part series examined the effects of an outbreak of rabies in the United Kingdom and was noted for its occasionally chilling content.
  • 29 July – Hit US action-adventure series of the 1980s The A-Team is shown for the first time in the UK on ITV.


  • 5 August – After 14 years on air, the final edition of Nationwide broadcasts on BBC1 for the last time.
  • 16 August – ITV broadcasts Woodentop as part of its Storyboard series. It would later be turned into a series and re-titled The Bill, commencing on 16 October 1984 and lasting until 31 August 2010.
  • 27–28 August – BBC2 Rocks Around the Clock by broadcasting non-stop music programmes all day and also all night.[21]
  • 29 August – Blockbusters is launched on ITV, hosted by Bob Holness and features sixth-form students as contestants.


  • 5 September – Debuts of Filmation‘s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Reilly, Ace of Spies on ITV.
  • 6 September – ITV broadcasts Killer. It would later be turned into a series and re-titled Taggart.
  • 9 September – London Weekend Television launches a computerised version of its ident with the tagline “Your Weekend ITV”.[22]
  • 12 September – Animated series for children Henry’s Cat created by veteran British animators Stan Hayward and Bob Godfrey begins its screening on BBC1.
  • 16 September – BBC2 closes down during the day for the final time – all future daytime downtime is filled by Pages from Ceefax.
  • 19 September – Daytime on Two launches on BBC2. Broadcasting during term time from just after 9:00am until 3:00pm, the strand encompasses the BBC Schools programming previously shown on BBC1 and the BBC’s adult educational programmes which are shown at lunchtime. A special version of the BBC Two ‘Computer Generated 2’ ident is launched to introduce the programmes.
  • September – Central finally launches its East Midlands service. An industrial dispute had prevented Central from launching its East Midlands service when it first went on air at the start of 1982.


  • 2 October – ITV shows a live top flight football match for the first time since 1960. This marks the start of English football being shown on a national basis rather than on a regional basis, resulting in The Big Match becoming a fully national programme.
  • 3 October – Bananaman makes its debut on BBC1, based on the Nutty comic strip with the voices of Tim Brooke-TaylorGraeme Garden and Bill Oddie.
  • 4 October –
    • BBC1 broadcasts the Welsh children’s animated series SuperTed which was based on a series of stories written by Welsh writer, producer and animator Mike Young to help his son overcome his fear of the dark. The series had been so popular it was spawned into merchandising and was broadcast in many countries worldwide.
    • The Adventures of Portland Bill, a stop-motion animated series from FilmFair London debuts on ITV.
  • 9 October –
  • 12 October – Doris Speed makes her last appearance as Annie Walker on Coronation Street.
  • 16 October – Satellite Television begins officially broadcasting in the UK. The channel had launched the previous year on cable in various European countries but to view the channel in the UK, a satellite dish approximately 10 feet (3 meters) wide had been required due to the channel being broadcast via the Orbital Test Satellite.[23]
  • 24 October – Sixty Minutes launches on BBC1, replacing Nationwide but it ended less than a year later, and Reporting Scotland name was dropped, becoming Scotland Sixty Minutes.
  • 25 October – BBC1 airs the seventh season of the US drama series Dallas.[24]
  • 28 October – The famous “turkey” incident on Family Fortunes, in which one contestant (Bob Johnson) while playing the Big Money round, offered the answer to the first three questions, the answer scored zero for the first two questions and 21 points for the third question.




Whilst we are looking at television from 1983, I thought this would be a good opportunity to look at commercials from that era. These give away a lot about popular culture, as you can see through the following YouTube clip:

Countdown to 2019

During the festive period I have been rather short staffed, which is always detrimental to my ability to type freely. It is difficult to explain the frustration of a writer who cannot actually write due to his deteriorating body and poor dexterity.

Subsequently, I have decided to set up this blog post which I will write in times of despair and creativity. It will be totally unstructured, contain random words relating to my mood, YouTube links, Tweets and ideas for future projects that I would like to work on after I have saved the Welsh Independent Living Grant.

So if you are sitting comfortably, I will begin:

This period will be updated at random intervals as we head towards 2019. Please note that there will almost certainly be lots of foul language used in this post as we focus on the frustration over life in a 21st Century Britain for a disabled person. 



On 30th May 2019 I have tickets to see John Cooper Clarke at Venue Cymru, Llandudno as part of his The Luckiest Guy Alive Tour.  His book, of the same name, was published in November 2018 and I have just downloaded a copy to my Kindle.

John Cooper Clarke_900x505

Following my poetic publications during 2017, it would be great to have the opportunity to meet this Poet; Movie Star: Rock Star; TV & Radio Presenter; Comedian; Social & Cultural Commentator.  I have just lost one hero, in the form of Pete Shelley, so it would be fitting to meet another.  I will look into ways of contacting JCC in the hope that he might offer me some tips advice and inspiration for my future poetic projects.

Here is the blurb for The Luckiest Guy Alive, which is available on Amazon or other outlets who actually pay their taxes.

The godfather of British performance poetry – Daily Telegraph

The Luckiest Guy Alive is the first new book of poetry from Dr John Cooper Clarke for several decades – and a brilliant, scabrous, hilarious collection from one of our most beloved and influential writers and performers. From the ‘Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman’ to a hymn to the seductive properties of the pie – by way of hand-grenade haikus, machine-gun ballads and a meditation on the loss of Bono’s leather pants – The Luckiest Guy Alive collects stunning set pieces, tried-and-tested audience favourites and brand new poems to show Cooper Clarke still effortlessly at the top of his game.

Cooper Clarke’s status as the ‘Emperor of Punk Poetry’ is certainly confirmed here, but so is his reputation as a brilliant versifier, a poet of vicious wit and a razor-sharp social satirist. Effortlessly immediate and contemporary, full of hard-won wisdom and expert blindsidings, it’s easy to see why the good Doctor has continued to inspire several new generations of performers from Alex Turner to Plan B: The Luckiest Guy Alive shows one of the most compelling poets of the age on truly exceptional form.

‘John Cooper Clarke is one of Britain’s outstanding poets. His anarchic punk poetry has thrilled people for decades … long may his slender frame and spiky top produce words and deeds that keep us on our toes and alive to the wonders of the world.’ Sir Paul McCartney

OBJECTIVE: Contact John Cooper Clarke through his agent and try to arrange to meet him in Llandudno.


It is hard to look forward to anything while I am still in the middle of my reassessment by WCBC for Independent Living.  A Panel of Council representatives will apparently decide how many hours of support I deserve per week.  I am prepared for negative news as I am sure the hours I am offered will not match the hours I require to fulfil my ambitions and subsequently protect my mental well-being.

It is annoying to be left in a state of indecision over the festive period.  I am unable to make any long-term plans aside from my determination to take this decision over my future out of the hands of cash strapped local authorities and make sure that the Welsh Independent Living Grant is reinstated.  There are already some key dates in my diary for 2019 and believe you me, the fight to #SaveWILG is far from over.











I am really wanting to finish my book on Wrexham AFC. I plan on restarting my Memory Match column in the New Year. All proceeds from the volume will go to the Wrexham DSA. It will be easier to get things such as this done once I have completed the reassessment programme that Wrexham Council started but failed to finish before this annoying period between Xmas and New Year when no one is working and everyone pretends that family is the most important thing in the world. It is like being trapped in an Eastenders Omnibus.

I wish I could get a good nights sleep. It is impossible to do this when I am sleeping alone in my bungalow and I wake up at least twice a night to struggle with one of a number of things. Whether it is trying to grab hold of my urinal, straighten my fingers out of the clenched fist that they naturally curl into or attempting to straighten my leg after it bends at the knee and my foot ends up in my groin.

The simple solution to these problems would be to have a PA available overnight. This is not really what I want, but it is what I NEED. I haven’t had a proper nights sleep for many years and it definitely affects my mental health and well-being. I should be wearing hand-splints at night as well as using a T-bar underneath my knees to keep my legs straight. I can’t do either of these things without the support I need.

Whether or not Wrexham Council help me to find an agreeable solution to these problems remains to be seen, but I am not holding my breath and continuing my efforts to #SaveWILG.


OK, so I’m tired of sleeping in a half-empty bed, but a conventional relationship is the last thing I want. At £80 for a six-month subscription, is it really worth the hassle?

Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be this time around? Do I really need an outside distraction with the #SaveWILG Campaign is at a crucial juncture? Maybe I should be careful what I wish for after getting my hands burnt in the past?

According to Wikipedia,[1] is a UK online dating site which claimed, in July 2013, to have over 200,000 users.[2] One of the original founders is Sarah Beeny, a TV presenter on Channel 4.

The site describes itself as having “a no-nonsense approach to dating”,[3] as all of the dating profiles on the site are written by friends of single people, instead of the single person themselves. The single person can approve what has been written before it goes live, and their friend can also get involved by recommending other users on MySingleFriend to them.

The site aims to match make singles through their friend’s descriptions of them, building an online community and taking away the hassle and stigma of writing your own dating profile.


RIP Micky Metcalf.  The following article has been taken from the official Wrexham AFC website and was written by Peter Jones/Geraint Parry

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of former Wrexham striker Mickey Metcalf, who spent almost six years at the Racecourse with a remarkable goalscoring average of a goal every other game, having scored 73 goals in 145 league and cup appearances for the then ‘Robins’.

Liverpool born (24 May 1939), upon leaving school Mickey joined Everton as a junior, and it was following Wrexham manager Cliff Lloyd’s visit to watch the Everton Youth side that he enquired about the possibility of signing Mike, and to his surprise Everton agreed to release him.

That was in May 1956, and Mike went on to make steady progress with the Wrexham reserve side in the competitive Cheshire County League.

He was eventually given his first team opportunity in October 1957, when he made his Football League debut at home to Hartlepool United in a 3-1 win and remained in the side the following match at Bradford, which Wrexham lost 2-0.

However, he then had to wait almost two years before appearing in the senior side again. His chance came in a 3-2 home defeat by Chesterfield in October 1959, and he made his mark by scoring both Wrexham goals. Mike played in the next three matches before being replaced.

Mickey Metcalf

It was the 1960/61 season that saw Mike make the inside-left position his own, as he helped Wrexham to reach the Quarter-Finals of the newly-formed Football League Cup competition, scoring a hat-trick against First Division Blackburn Rovers on the way.

His goals helped the ‘Robins’ to gain promotion in the following season, though he missed out on a Welsh Cup winners’ medal as Wrexham crashed to Bangor City in the Final. ‘A Clever ball player’, Mike’s impressive record for Wrexham averaged a goal every other game, but he was surprisingly allowed to leave the Racecourse in December 1963 to join rivals Chester.

At Sealand Road, Mike went on to make over 250 appearances for the ‘Cestrians’, scoring 86 goals in League and Cup competitions, collecting another Welsh Cup runners’-up medal in 1966, whilst forming part of Chester’s ‘Famous Five’ strike force in the mid-1960s.

That also included Gary Talbot, Jimmy Humes, Hugh Ryden and another former Wrexham player Elfed Morris, who all netted at least 20 goals each in the 1964/65 season, which included playing at Old Trafford in a FA Cup Third Round match that saw Chester come close to a shock in their 2-1 defeat.

It was following the signing of Derek Draper, that Mike decided to leave Sealand Road having scored 68 goals in 221 league appearances. In December 1968 he joined Cheshire County League side Altrincham, where he remained until the end of the season.

He then signed for Bangor City, where he spent a little under two years before being appointed player/manager of his local side, Connah’s Quay Nomads, in March 1971. However, he was on the move again at the end of the season, when he joined Welsh League side, Bethesda Athletic.

Mike took up another managerial appointment in 1972, as player/manager of Cheshire County League side Witton Albion. However, by October 1972 he had joined Hawarden, which was followed by playing for a number of local sides in the Chester district until well into his fifties.

After retiring from professional football Mike became a qualified chemist, later running his own highly successful laboratory supplies firm based on Deeside, where he was to live in retirement until passing away on Boxing Day aged 79.

He is survived by his widow Denise and sons Ian, Barry and David. A grandfather of seven, he died following a long illness.

Everyone at Wrexham Football Club would like to pass on their condolences to Mickey’s family.

Mickey’s impressive Wrexham record:

Season       League      FA Cup    Welsh Cup   League Cup   Total

                  apps gls      apps gls      apps gls      apps gls     apps  gls

1957/58       2    0             –   –              –   –                –   –              2    0

1959/60       4    2            1   0             –   –                –   –              5    2

1960/61      40   16         1   0           3   0              5   6            49   22

1961/62      28   17         3   3           1   0              1   0            33   20

1962/63      29   13         –   –             1   0              1   0            31   13

1963/64      18   10         3   2            –   –               4   4            25   16

                    121   58         8   5           5   0          11   10         145   73




Taken from the Disabled People Against Cuts website with thanks:

Sick of rising rail fares and chaotic commuting?Tired of the endless tinkering with our broken privatised railway system?

It’s time for a #RailRevolution.

Bring Back British Rail

Join our New Year Protests

On Wednesday 2 January 2019, as our rail fares rise again by 3.1%, we’re joining forces with our friends at We Own It, the Association of British Commutersand NOR4NOR to organise the Rail Revolution: National Day of Action calling for radical reform.

Coinciding with the public consultation for the government’s new ‘root and branch’ review of our railways: the Williams Rail Review, we’re calling on passengers all over the country to respond in favour of a re-unified national rail network run for people not profit.

On Wednesday 2 January 2019, protests will take place at stations across the country (see list below), with a central one at London King’s Cross from 7:30-9:00am. See the Facebook event page for details, print a Bring Back British Rail placard and come join us!

Then on Friday 18 January 2019, to mark the deadline of the Williams Rail Review public consultation, we’ll be delivering our Care2 Petition to Re-nationalise our Railways signed by 118,039 people to the Department for Transport to demonstrate the sheer weight of public support for public ownership. Make sure you add your name before then:

Join Protests at Stations across the Country

Wednesday 2 January 2019:

06:45-09:00 Kings Lynn Station

07:00-10:00 Levenshulme Railway Station

07:30-09:30 London King’s Cross Station

07:30-09:00 Cardiff Central Station

07:30-09:00 Liverpool Lime Street

07:30-09:00 Birmingham New Street

07:30-09:00 Manchester Piccadilly

07:30-09:00 Lewisham Railway Station

07:30-09:30 Whitehaven Railway Station

07:30-09:00 Warrington Central Station

08:00-09:00 Bristol Temple Meads

08:00-10:00 Leeds Railway Station

08:00-09:00 Watford Junction

08:00-10:00 Doncaster Railway Station

08:00-09:00 Newcastle Central Station

09:30-11:30 Sheffield Meadowhall Interchange

10:00-12:00 Norwich Railway Station

10:00-12:00 Stratford Railway Station

16:00-18:00 Millom Railway Station

16:00-18:00 Birmingham Snow Hill

16:30-18:30 Hastings Railway Station

16:30-18:00 Clapham Junction

Thursday 3 January 2019:

09:00-11:00 Edinburgh Waverley (Market Street)

For your Entertainment

According to Wikipedia, Tanka (短歌, “short poem”?) is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature.  Below you can read the 19th of my 2017 poems. 

The aim is to write as many of these poems as possible to build a comprehensive picture of life with a disability in 21st century Britain. 

I am undateable

According to Channel Four

Look at the cute crips

Patronise at your leisure

While society stands still

The Undateables is a British reality documentary show that has aired on Channel 4 since 3 April 2012 and is narrated by Sally Phillips. The series follows people who have disabilities or learning difficulties on dates.