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BBC Children's Television Caravan

The BBC Children's Television Caravan

I have just been looking at your webpage about the above and wondered if you knew that the demise of this very popular children's programme was brought about by the audience in Plymouth.

The show was transmitted live from the Hoe on Wednesday September 23rd 1959. One of my school friends, John Crimp, was appearing in the show so I went up to the Caravan the day before and saw the rehearsals and was there again, after school, for the transmission.

It was murder!! Television was such a novelty for Plymothians that every child in the City wanted to be there and be seen in the audience.

Hundreds turned up and when I arrived, just ahead of transmission, the marquee was packed to bursting and they were still trying to get in, children and adults. The noise was terrific. I am afraid that Plymouth children did not know how to behave in this unprecedented situation and despite pleas from the producer, and Mr Jeremy Geidt, the transmission was drowned out on several occasions and eventually the show had to be stopped. The BBC said that they had never had such an unruly audience.

My lasting vision is of a lone policeman almost buried in children, struggling to get to the front of the audience in a futile effort to maintain order. An Army regiment would have been severely challenged!

That was the last show in the 1959 season and I do not think it is a surprise that the show was never broadcast again. Not a very nice way for Plymouth to gain fame.

I had just added something about the show to the BBC webpage of my Plymouth Data Website www.plymouthdata.info/Broadcasting-BBC.htm, when I found your reference to the show.

Best wishes,

Brian Moseley
Plymouth Data Website
Plymouth UK

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