On the day you were born

Radio Times covers fromRadio Times covers from (l to r) 1963, 2001 and 1988. Photograph: BBC

You can search for any keyword you like, making it an invaluable tool for researching our evolving attitudes to a variety of issues, or tracking the careers of actors, writers and directors. But, judging by the response on Twitter, that will come later. For now, it’s about finding out what was on TV the night you made the move from foetus to baby.

— Jake Johnson (@jakepjohnson) 's programming on the day I was born was the 1115-1300 showing of Ceefex pages — John Burnett (@zobby)

Figure skating was on BBC 1 when I was getting born apparently. Fascinating.

— Richard Crossan (@crossan_richard)

BBC1 on the day I was born. Apologies to my mother for making her miss International Superstars with Rene Arnoux

— Owain Betts (@OwainBetts)

It’s good to see The Wombles was on television the day I was born. It all makes sense now.

— Stephen Leng (@steveleng)

DELIGHTED a documentary about Soviet television was on the day I was born.

The results can be fascinating. Looking at my own birthday, 9 July 1987, it’s clear at a glance that ridiculous contemporary programme titles such as Channel 4’s Scrotal Recall are nothing new; that night alone I had my pick of The Trouble With Sex or Boogie Outlaws: We’ve Kissed the Bums of Angels, the latter advertised with the enigmatic words: “The band don’t want to be heroes any more. They don’t want the money, they’ll give the tapes back. But how, and where, and will anyone let them?” I fear I’ll never know.

Radio Times covers from (l to r) 1923, 2012 and 1990. Photograph: BBC

In fact, it’s striking how little has changed. EastEnders is on, as always, teased in the listings with the quote: “Round here we fight dirty and have you got a fight on your hands.” There’s a documentary about ferries – Port Out, Starboard Home – which wouldn’t feel out of home in this week’s schedules, as well as a familiar magazine travel show, and a very male Newsnight helmed by Peter Snow. You could almost mistake the entire thing for this week’s timetable, if it weren’t for the lack of reality TV.

Still, there’s definitely no must-watch telly on the list. So I don’t feel too bad for making my mum miss out.


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