By 1970, Children’s TV had grown steadily in scope and impact for about 25 years. From the very first kids show Children’s Hour in 1946, through Andy Pandy, Bill & Ben and Sooty in the 50s, and Blue Peter, Play School and Jackanory in the 60s – it became clear that Children’s programming played a vital role in viewers’ formative years.
Two categories were introduced for Children’s TV this year under the banner of the Rediffusion Star Awards. The Flame of Knowledge rewarded a Schools Programme (for up to 16-years-old) whilst the Harlequin was given for Entertainment Programme. These two new categories coincided with very first Society of Film and Television Arts (SFTA) Awards – which now combined Film and TV in the same ceremony.
The inaugural Rediffusion winners were the charming, often witty documentary I Want To Be A Showjumper, and an episode of the BBC Schools series Scene called Terry – a teleplay by Alan Plater, starring Dennis Waterman as a young man who couldn’t keep a job.
It would be another 25 years before Children’s TV output had grown enough to warrant its own ceremony, with the first one taking place in 1996.
Image, l-r: Sweep, Sooty and Sue of The Sooty Show which ran on ITV from 1968-1992 (FremantleMedia Ltd/REX/Shutterstock).