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BBC TELEVISION from ALEXANDRA PALACE

by Arthur Dungate

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INTERLUDES

During the early post-war years of BBC Television, until the advent of Independent Television (ITV) in 1955, there was only one tv channel in the UK.

The Interludes were short films used to fill up gaps in the programme, during intervals in plays (yes there were actual intervals then!), or as a standby in case of a studio breakdown, and, since all programmes were live, this was not an infrequent occurrence.

They mainly consisted of tranquil scenes, such as Ploughing, in which several teams of horse-drawn ploughs would gradually work across a field; or a windmill, with sails slowly turning. The interlude most fondly remembered is the Potters Wheel, in which a potter's hands (the potter was not shown) would make various vase type objects on the wheel, but never actually finishing any..... The films were accompanied on the soundtrack by peaceful music or natural sounds.

The following list, unfortunately not complete, comes from a handwritten sheet I copied out in the early 1950s.

List of BBC Television Interludes

1.WINDMILL (5m30s)Pastoral Montage (Fagan)
(Shot at Packenham, Bury St Edmunds)- - Queens Hall Light Orch (Chappell C 324)
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2.CHURCH, MILL & STREAM (9m15s)1. Starlings (Charles Williams)
(Shot at Olney, Bucks)- - QHLO-Williams (Chappell C 261)
2. How beautiful is Night (Robert Farnon)
- - QHLO-Farnon (Chappell C 312)
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3.RIVER & BIRDS (10m00s)Natural sounds & effects
(Shot at Olney, Bucks)
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4.ANGEL FISH (8m45s)1. Ripling Waters (Donald Thorne)
(Shot at Regents Park Zoo)- - QHLO (Chappell C 359)
2. Cloud Drifts (Cecil Milne)
- - QHLO-Williams (Chappell C 213)
3. Picture in the Fire (Farnon)
- - QHLO-Farnon (Chappell C 335)
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5.UP THE RIVER (9m30s)Natural sounds
(Shot at Medmenham Abbey, Henley on Thames)
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6.ROCKS & SEAGULLS (4m00s)Natural sounds
(Shot at St Mary's Bay, Brixham, Devon)
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7.VESPERS (9m00s)Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels
(Shot at St Benedict's School, Ealing)
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8.SWISS INTERLUDE (1m45s)(musical box ?)
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9.POTTERS WHEEL (5m50s)1. The Young Ballerina (Charles Williams)
(The potter, who's hands we see, was George Aubertin)- - QHLO-Williams (Chappell C 400)
2. Sadlers Wells (Haydn Wood)
- - QHLO-Sidney Torch (Chappell C 345)
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10.PLOUGHING (8m05s)1. The Ploughman Homeward Plods
(Shot at Tillingham, Essex)- - ?
5 teams with horses plough a field, into the distance2. Passing Stormclouds (Louis Voss)
- - Grande Orch-Voss (Bosworth BC 1217)
3. Downlands (Cecil Milne)
- - QHLO (Chappell C 389)
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11.TREES
(Shot in Epping Forest)
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12.ROUGH SEA AND ROCKS (9m30s)Natural sounds
(Shot at Pulpit Bay, off Portland Bill)
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13.SEASCAPE (10m00s)Natural sounds
(Shot at Chesil Beach, off Portland Bill)
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14.SUNLIT SHORE ?
(Shot at Chesil Beach)
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15.RABBIT MUSICAL BOX ?
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16.CHURCH, MILL AND STREAM (8m45s)1. Cloudland (Bruce Campbell)
(Shot at River Ouse, Olney, Bucks)- - QHLO-David King (Chappell C 400)
2. Queen Mary's Garden (Haydn Wood)
- - QHLO-Torch (Chappell
C 345)
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17.BONFIRE (6m50s)Natural sounds
(Shot at Lighthorn near Leamington)
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18.SNOWSTORM
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19.MOONLIGHT SEASCAPE Natural sounds
(Shot at Chesil Beach)
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20.PALM BEACH (9m07s)Natural sounds
(Shot in Jamaica)
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21.KAIETEUR FALLS (7m11s)Natural sounds
(Shot in British Guiana)
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22.SPINNING WHEEL (6m35s)1. Table Talk (Dolf van der Linden)
- - Metropole Orch-Linden (Paxton PR 586)
2. Mews in Mayfair (Vivian Ellis)
- - QHLO-Torch (Chappell
C 346)
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23.SANDY SHORE (11m23s)Natural sounds
(Shot in Jamaica)
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24.HARP INTERLUDE Improvisation on the harp by Owen Mason
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25.TAPESTRY (6m30s)Harpsichord Concerto (Bach)
(Miss Thackwray, Royal SchoolIrgard Lechner & Stuttgart Chamber Orch
of Needlework)(BBC 19031-2)
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26.LOCH REFLECTIONS (7m00s)1. The Most Covered Mountain (trad) (BBC 19381)
(Shot at Loch Tay, by Monty Rednap)2. The Highland Cradle Song (trad) (BBC 19381)
3. March of the Cameron Men (trad) (BBC 19382)
4. Kenmure's On An' Gwa (trad) (BBC 19379)
5. March: Cabbi Freidh (trad) (BBC 19380)
6. Highlan Laddie (trad) (BBC 19379)
7. Cock of the North (trad) (BBC 19377)
- - John Burgess (piper)
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27.WATER WHEEL (9m02s)?
(Bucklebury, near Newbury, Berks)
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28.RIVER TAY (6m55s)?
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Not on the list -
THE WHITE KITTEN (Kitten & ball of wool) Prunella (Leslie Bridgewater)
- - LPromO-Collins (Paxton PR 423)
The kitten's name was Snowy and he was owned by Mr Martin of Barnet, Herts.
Supervising film editor: Bob Verrall
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HANDS AT THE PIANO
This was the first interlude film made and its two versions featured a three-minute piece by Chopin and a five-minute work by Liszt.

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