It's A Knockout 1966
British Domestic Series

Presenter: MacDonald Hobley
Master of Ceremonies (Lancashire Broadcasts + Final): Charlie Chester
Master of Ceremonies (Yorkshire Broadcasts + Final): Ted Ray
Referees: Eddie Waring and Stuart Hall (Grand Final only, with E.W.)
Producer: Robin Scott
Assistant Producer: Cecil Korer
Directors:
Barney Colehan, Philip S. Gilbert (Grand Final only, with B.C.)
A BBC North West Production

Key:
 
l = Qualified for Semi-Final
l = Qualified for Grand Final
l l = Grand Final Winner (Qualified for JSF 1967)
l
= Grand Final Runner-up

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1966

Lancashire Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 7th August 1966
Venue: Beach and Promenade, Morecambe, Lancashire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 7th August 1966, 4.40-5.30pm (Live)

Teams: Morecambe and Heysham v. Blackpool

Team Members included:
Blackpool -
Kay Abson;
Morecambe and Heysham - Kevin Armstead, Kathleen Clare, Dennis Crinnion, Don Earnshaw, Anthony Kiggins, Sandra Moores, Brian Murray, Sandra Orchard, Doreen Slater, Linda Spence, Christine Robinson, John Townsend, David Warrington, Brian Wilson.

Games included: Belter-Skelter, Brushing Up, Tug-o-War, Magnetised Boots, Three-Legged Football and The Tractor and the Egg (The Challenge);
Marathon: Strip 'Em Carboys.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

B • Blackpool l
MH Morecambe and Heysham

9
7

The Host Town

Morecambe, Lancashire

Morecambe is situated on the coast of Morecambe Bay and incorporates the three historic settlements of Poulton-le-Sands, Bare and Torrisholme.
 

Morecambe's seafront and clock tower

 

The town largely grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a seaside resort and by the middle of the latter it was the third most popular on the north-west coastline. Down the coast, Blackpool attracted much of its holiday makers from the mill towns of Lancashire whereas Morecambe attracted the Yorkshire holiday makers. This attraction was huge during the early to mid 20th century, with Morecambe becoming known as ‘Bradford by the Sea’ due to its direct rail link from the wool city of Bradford. Between 1956 and 1989 the town was the home of the Miss Great Britain beauty contest. Morecambe suffered from decline for a number of years after a series of incidents that affected its tourism and local economy.

The Venue

Beach and Promenade

The games were played adjacent to one of the town’s biggest attractions - the Moby Dick, a 140ft (43m) three-masted schooner weighing 108 tons (109,000kg) and the resort's Central pier.
 

The Moby Dick as it was located on the beach at Morecambe

 

The ship, originally named Ryelands, was built between 1885 and 1886 by Nicholson & Marsh at Glasson Dock near Morecambe. Launched on 11th January 1887, the ship was employed mainly in the China clay trade before being acquired by the film industry in 1949, when she appeared as the Hispaniola in Walt Disney’s Treasure Island in 1950. After this, she did a brief stint as a tourist attraction called the Hispanioquarium in Scarborough on England's north-east coast before being bought by Elstree Studios in 1954 to take centre stage portraying The Pequod in the 1956 film Moby Dick directed by John Huston (1906-1987) and starring Gregory Peck (1916-2003).

After this, the ship appeared in minor television films before being bought by local businessman, Peter Latham, and returned to Glasson Dock in 1960 for an overhaul. She was then painted pale blue, bright black and red, and in July of that year she made her debut as a tourist attraction on Morecambe’s sands where she remained for twelve years until she was sadly destroyed by fire in 1972. Since then, the town has lost both of its two piers: West End Pier was washed away in a storm in 1978 while Central Pier, though struck by fire in 1933, was closed to the public at Easter 1986 after decking collapsed at the seaward end. A fire followed on 4th February 1987 which damaged the amusement arcade at the shoreward end and, when the ballroom was destroyed by fire on Easter Sunday 1991, the pier’s fate was sealed and demolition began in March 1992.

The Games in Detail

Final Game - The Challenge

The final game in all the Domestic programmes this year was simply a win or lose scenario and was subtitled 'The Challenge'. The idea was that a dignitary from each of the teams had to decide whether to risk going for a 5pts game (which involved completing five elements of the game) or a 3pts game (which involved completing three elements). Obviously the choice was dependant on the current points total at the time, but the danger was that if the team went for a 5 pts game and did not complete it, the points would be given to the other side. The other team in turn were then given the choice of points game. However, if a team chose a 3pts game and did not complete it, the points were not given to the other side. Therefore it was very important for the dignitaries to choose carefully, and as was seen in some of heats, the dignitaries’ choice ultimately led to the team losing the competition. Both mayors chose the 3pts option in this heat and both teams succeeded in completing their challenges.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Along with 1966 presenters MacDonald Hobley and Charlie Chester, teams from Blackpool and Morecambe were invited to participate in the BBC's 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Domestic series in 1976. The programme's format had by then been altered to include three teams rather than two, so a team from Liverpool joined in the celebratory programme. Like the 1966 series premiere, the 1976 programme was played out at Morecambe. By that time, the production staff had ten years of experience under their belt and sensibly decided to locate all the games on the promenade, leaving the beach well alone - for reasons which will soon become apparent to readers...

Additional Information

 

Blackpool cheerleaders at Morecambe were the epitome of Sixties chic

 

This edition, the first ever It's A Knockout, was plagued with problems from the outset. Not only  did a local fairground owner refuse to move one of his rides which was located right in the middle of the staging area, but the transmission ended in disarray with the tide coming in on Morecambe Beach to wash away the games. Eddie Waring, who had flown back from Australia where he had been commentating on a Rugby League tour, found himself refereeing up to his knees in water. He was not alone - the camera crew were splashing around, trying to rescue their sodden equipment!

In an article from the Morecambe Guardian dated Friday 12th April 1966 and headlined "The Roundabout Which Refused to Budge", fairground owner Eric Leyland explained why he refused to move his children’s ride from the beach location used by the BBC for It’s A Knockout. “It’s simply a case of twice bitten - third time shy”, he stated. The article continued by reporting that Mr Leyland claimed not to have known anything of the contest until the Friday before its staging. At the time, Mr Leyland said, “I won’t say anything now. I’ll think about it”. He was asked again on the Saturday morning and told the BBC would pay £5.00. “But then I said ‘no’, for it meant pulling it down and not getting it back again until Monday.” Referring to his twice bitten - third time shy statement, Mr Leyland said that he had co-operated with a television company before and was promised reimbursement. “I was told I would be compensated for loss of earnings, but I never received a penny. The BBC offered me £5.00, but that was ridiculous” he said. A later statement by BBC producer Barney Colehan refuted any such offer.
 

The ladies contest the game 'Brushing Up' on Morecambe Beach...
before the tide came in!

 

Another article in the same newspaper entitled "Tide Trouble for the BBC" stated that the afternoon tide which should have stopped well short of the television cameras and the staging, in fact rose ten yards further up the beach that it should have done. This led to accusations that the BBC had been misled over the height of the tide. It was in fact only 24 ft but heavy rain during the week meant that there was more water in Morecambe Bay than usual, and consequently the tide rose just that little bit higher. Along with this, national newspaper reports claimed that sand ‘imports’ from Blackpool had angered Geoff Thompson, Morecambe’s Publicity and Entertainment’s Manager. ”They have made a big song and dance about sand having been brought to Morecambe. One paper says 50 tons were brought, another quotes a figure of 40. Both are wrong,” he said. “Our own borough surveyor’s department have a contract to supply sand and they had 15 tons bought to sand the area where the programme was being staged. No-one can say where the sand came from, although one report made a big play on the fact that it came from Blackpool,” he continued.
 

The Tug-o-War in progress on the beach

 

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1966

Yorkshire Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 14th August 1966
Venue: Open Air Theatre, Northstead Manor Gardens, Scarborough, Yorkshire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 14th August 1966, 4.40-5.30pm (Live)

Teams: Scarborough v. Bridlington

Team Members included:
Bridlington -
Mr D Illingsworth (Team Manager), Mr L Appleby, Mrs B Dawson, Mr D Fisher, Mr J Forth, Mrs P Gray, Miss J Hobson, Miss J M Hobson, Mrs M Hodgson, Mrs J Hoggard, Mr A Horobin, Mr J Jackson, Mr R Lamplugh, Mrs J Lawn, Mr V Organ, Mr A Riby, Mrs G Thompson, Mr J Thompson, Mr J Turton, Mr A Walkington, Mr S Ward-Smith, Mr M Wilson, Mr W Wilson;
Scarborough - Ken Stockwell

Games: The Grand Piano Smash, Pillows-to-Billows, Female Tug-o-War, No Arm Done, Egg Chute and The Cricket Match (The Challenge);
Marathon: Bridge Building.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 B • Bridlington l
 S Scarborough

13
5

The Host Town

Scarborough, Yorkshire

Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast, with a population of around 50,000. The modern town lies between 10-230ft (3-70m) above sea level and rises steeply northward and westward from the harbour onto limestone cliffs.
 

Scarborough Castle, established in the 12th century,
looms over the town's popular seafront

 

To the south-west of the town is an ornamental lake known as Scarborough Mere. During the mid-20th century, the Mere was a popular park, with rowing boats, canoes and a miniature pirate ship - the Hispaniola - on which passengers were taken to ‘Treasure Island’ to dig for doubloons. (N.B. This should not be confused with the Moby Dick that portrayed the Hispaniola in Walt Disney’s 1950 film Treasure Island which did a brief stint at the resort). However, with the decrease in dredging and maintenance of the lake, which ulimately led to the increase in silt and weed, it meant that all waterborne activities (including the ‘Treasure Island’ trips) ceasing in the mid-1980s. These trips were to continue for another 30 years, but with the decrease in, and with But this was not to be the end of the Hispaniola, and it was moved to the harbour and now sails out of Scarborough during the summer season.

In the 1990s, the Mere was redesigned as a natural space for picnics, fishing and walkers, and the lake is now part of the Oliver's Mount Country Park. Inhabitants of the town are generally referred to as Scarborians, but natives of nearby Whitby call them Algerinos. The origin of this nickname comes from the sinking of a boat called The Algerino not far out from Scarborough. The lifeboat crews of several neighbouring towns, (Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay, etc.), responded while the Scarborough lifeboat did not, and so as a constant reminder they are referred to as 'Algerinos' and Scarborough as 'Algerinoland'!

The North Bay has traditionally been the more peaceful end of the resort and is home to Peasholm Park, the venue for this heat’s games, which in June 2007 was restored to its Japanese-themed glory, complete with its reconstructed pagoda. The park still features a mock maritime battle (based on the Battle of the River Plate) re-enacted on the boating lake with large model boats and fireworks throughout the summer holiday season.

The Venue

Northstead Manor Gardens

The games in this heat were played at Northstead Manor Gardens, which is located on the other side of the A165 road.

 

The Open-Air Theatre and Pleasure Park in Peasholm Park

 

The Gardens are home to Peasholm Park and the Open Air Theatre built in 1932. Opened by the Lord Mayor of London, audiences flocked to see 'Merrie England', the first production to be staged at the outdoor venue. The theatre itself was built on the site of Hodgson's Slack, taking advantage of ground contours which created a natural amphitheatre. The stage was (and still is) set on an island in the middle of a lake with fixed seating for the audience opposite. It was set out in five blocks with 5,876 seats, and the balance was made up with deck chairs. Back in the 1930's when English seaside resorts were at their peak, the amphitheatre drew thousands each night, offering theatrical productions and lavish musicals on a scale that few of today's producers can even hope for. By 1952 the venue had attracted 1.5 million people, and the casts of performers alone could range up to 200. Musicals ceased in 1968 after West Side Story apart from a one-off YMCA production in 1982. In 1977 the dressing rooms and stage set building on the island were demolished and the seating removed. The last concert to be staged at the Open Air Theatre before it closed in 1986 was James Last and his Orchestra. In 2008, planning permission was received for a major renovation, and the £3.5 million scheme to transform the Open Air Theatre was completed in May 2010, when the new theatre was officially opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Games in Detail

Final Game - The Challenge

The final game in this heat involved cricketers from each of the towns bowling and attempting to knock down three stumps each. With the score at 5-5, the Mayor of Scarborough elected to play a 5pts game and this meant that the team’s player, Don Stockwell, would need to knock down an additional two stumps in the time limit to get the points. Unfortunately, he could only knock down the statutory three in the time and the 5pts were awarded to Bridlington, making the score 10-5. The Mayor of Bridlington therefore knew that electing to play a 3pts game would mean victory whatever the outcome, and ultimately won the game to produce the final score of 13-5. The Mayor of Scarborough’s decision ultimately lost the team the contest.

Additional Information

The tug-o-war game was played by female competitors only. The Bridlington tug-o-war team comprised Mrs B Dawson, Mrs P Gray, Miss J Hobson, Miss J M Hobson, Mrs M Hodgson, Mrs J Hoggard, Mrs J Lawn and Mrs G Thompson. All eight of them worked as employees of local shellfish processors A & W Robin’s Ltd!

The Marathon was played out by members of the 4/5 Battalion of the Green Howards Regiment (TA) units from each of the two towns.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1966

Lancashire Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 21st August 1966
Venue: Open-Air Sea Water Baths and South Promenade Car Park,
St. Anne's-on-the-Sea, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 21st August 1966, 4.40-5.30pm (Live)

Teams: Lytham St. Annes v. Fleetwood

Team Members included:
Fleetwood -
Ben Bee, Des Burrows, Karin Coplin, Brian Gerrard, Alex Keay, Ian Rankin, Hazel Thomason;
Lytham St. Annes - Catherine Rees

Games: Bail Out!, Pedalo Tug-o-War, The Mini Jelly Rally, How about a Quickie?, Hold Fast and Do We Have Eggs for Tee? (The Challenge);
Marathon: Cycle Rollers.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 L • Lytham St. Annes l
 F Fleetwood

9
8

The Host Town

St. Anne's-on-the-Sea, Lancashire

St. Anne's-on-the-Sea is a town and seaside resort situated on the Fylde coast (a 13 mile (20km) square-shaped penisula) of Lancashire overlooking the Irish Sea where the coastline turns east to form the estuary of the River Ribble leading inland to Preston.
 

The pier at St. Anne's-on-the-Sea at sunset

 

As was the norm with many of the seaside towns of the day, it was founded by the local wealthy families of the area. Colonel Clifton, the Squire of Lytham, wanted to develop the area known as 'West End' that would become St. Anne’s. All there was amongst the dunes in 1870 was a railway from Blackpool to Lytham, a lighthouse, and several farms and cottages that paid rent to the Clifton estate. They had seen what had happened to Lytham as a resort and considered the dunes along the coast as a blank canvas. Elijah Hargreaves (1831-1904) had made his fortune in the cotton industry. While on a visit to Blackpool he was walking through the dunes he saw what was happening and could see the great potential ahead. In 1874, he enrolled wealthy cotton and woollen industry businessmen, Henry Ashworth, Thomas Barrowclough, James Crabtree, William Greaves, James Taylor, John Warburton and Joseph Whitehead (1823-1879), and formed the St. Anne’s Land & Building Company and leased land from the Cliftons in what was to be the centre of the town. Woodcock and Sons of Haslingden were appointed solicitors and Maxwell and Tuke of Bury became the Architects and Surveyors. It was to be a public company with shares advertised on the stock exchange. They were to develop 600 acres of land (roughly 2.42km² or 1mi²), at a total rent of £3,127 per annum with 999 year leases. The company’s architects were to prepare plans for the layout of the new town with many wide streets. Separate portions of land would be let out to individuals who would pay a ground rent to the company. Other companies joined them to provide the services and organisation the new town needed. Plans were drawn, builder’s huts appeared and the building began, slowly at first. This moved on when another wealthy cotton merchant, William John Porritt (1828-1896) arrived and invested a huge £250,000 into developing the town and giving it much of the character it still has today. The town's growth raced ahead. St. Anne’s was considered an ideal location to send your child to school with its clean fresh sea air, private education, so the number of schools built also grew significantly.

Lytham and St. Anne’s each had their own town council who were responsible for everything; the roads, paving, public transport, all the public parks and their theatres, the open air baths on the front at St. Anne’s and the public baths at Lytham, electricity and gas supplies and the local fire brigade. It was considered more practical to combine the two and so on 1st May 1922 with some reluctance on both parts they became a single borough to create Lytham St. Annes.

The Venue

Open-Air Sea Water Baths
and South Promenade Car Park

The games in this heat were played in the open air swimming pool, known as the Roman Baths, located on the promenade just south of the town’s pier.

 

The Open-Air Seawater Bath and South Promenade Car Park,
seen from the air in the 1950s

 

It was a fine open-air filtered sea-water bath designed by Fred Harrison of Accrington. Often used as a venue for bathing beauty competitions in the 1950s, the pool was 80yds long x 40yds wide (73m x 36.5m). The depth of the pool was unusual in the fact that it varied along its width, rather than its length, as was common with most other pools. The 12yds (11m) furthest from the entrance facing the Irish Sea was 7ft (2.1m) deep throughout its entire length. The central section of 17yds (15.5m) varied in depth from 7ft down to 2ft 6ins (0.76m), and the remaining length of 11yds (10m) closest to the South Promenade sloped from 2ft 6ins down to nothing, and was roped off for the use of children. The pool eventually closed in the late 1980s and the land was used for the new Pleasure Island entertainment complex featuring a ten-pin bowling alley, 3-screen cinema, restaurant and amusement arcade. In September 2009, the complex was upgraded and had its name changed to The Island, and now includes an indoor swimming pool!

Looks Familiar?

One of the games in this heat was called ‘Hold Fast’ and involved a 16-year old girl having to answer twenty questions within a 2 minute 30 seconds time limit. However, this was not as easy as it sounds, because whilst the girl was answering the questions a team-mate dressed as an archer had to hold his bow and arrow extended and hold the position for as long as possible. If the archer submitted before the time limit, then the questions stopped! This was a game previously seen in the French Domestic series, Intervilles.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1966

Yorkshire Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 28th August 1966
Venue: Lido and Swimming Pool, Ilkley, Yorkshire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 28th August 1966, 4.40-5.30pm (Live)

Teams: Ilkley v. Otley

Team Members included:
Ilkley -
Charles Beevers (Team Trainer), Mick Alridge, Mary Ambler, Ian Arundel, Frank Baxter, Helen Bentley, George Brown, Mervyn Button, Alan Clay, Harold Cockcroft, Yvonne Dewdney, Llewellyn Dickinson, David Hanson, Laurie Hems, Stephen Lloyd, Heather Massey, Stephen Mellor, Paul Mortimer, Don Rastrick, John Smith, Robert Spetch, David Wildman, Mike Windsor, Olive Wright;
Otley - Lesley Aspinall, Bernard Bell, Carlton Bell, Alan Birkbeck, Hazel Charlesworth, Malcolm Davey, Alan Freeman, Derek Gill, Mick Kelly, Philip Lees, Anne Moore, Mavis Morton, Mary Payne, William Renwick, Eddie Robinson, Harry Robinson, Roland Scatchard, Ronnie Shackleton, Carol-Anne Shaw, Fred Simpson, Ronald Sweeney, Phillip Tindall, David Watson, Denis Waites.

Games: Stone Walling (started 1st but completed 5th), Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!, Go By Tube, China Obstacles, Pull or Swim, and Bang in the Swim (The Challenge);
Marathon: Ping-Pong-Pool.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 O • Otley l
 I Ilkley

15
3

The Host Town

Ilkley, Yorkshire

Ilkley is a spa town in the county of West Yorkshire (at the time of this transmission, Yorkshire comprised just one county).
 

Picturesque Ilkley, looking towards Brook Street,
pictured in the 1980s

 

Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Ilkley is within the metropolitan borough of Bradford. Located, approximately 19km (12 mi) north of the city of Bradford, the town lies mainly on the south bank of the River Wharfe in Wharfedale, one of the Yorkshire Dales. Ilkley's spa town heritage and surrounding countryside make tourism an important local industry. The town centre is characterised by Victorian architecture, wide streets and floral displays. Ilkley Moor, to the south of the town, is the subject of a folk song, often described as the unofficial anthem of Yorkshire, On Ilkla Moor Baht ’at. The song's words are written in the local dialect, with its title translated as "On Ilkley Moor without a hat".

The Venue

Lido and Swimming Pool

The games at this heat were staged at the Ilkley Lido and Swimming Pool which was constructed in 1935, and is one of only four public open-air swimming pools still in use in Yorkshire.
 

The Lido and Open-Air Swimming Pool in Ilkley

 

It still retains some of the Art Deco charm of the era and is a fantastic place to spend a sunny day with the family, with its location close to the Bluebell Woods. The pool is unusual in the fact that it is still to this day unheated with a fountain and toddler paddling end, but with plenty of space to swim seriously. The brave can swim on the cooler days with wetsuits being permitted, and many use it to practise for outdoor events such as the Windermere races. An indoor pool was erected quickly in 1974 by Ilkley Urban District Council to use its reserves prior to amalgamation into West Yorkshire, but this destroyed the symmetry of the original site by cutting into the north-west corner.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - Stone Walling

The first game in this heat - 'Stone Walling' - was actually the fifth game to be completed. Two bricklayers were brought in to build the highest brick wall over a given length. The game continued throughout the first twenty-five minutes of the heat. The Marathon was competed in a similar manner with it beginning after the second game that was completed. The game involved female competitors having to swim across the pool to a large rubber ring, pick up a ping-pong ball with a spoon and then swim back to the pool’s edge with the ball balancing on the spoon carried in their mouths. This game continued for the remainder of the programme until the result was announced before the Challenge game began. Incredibly, the Marathon ended in a draw with both teams of females successfully carrying seventy-nine ping-pong balls each! With this being the second game in this heat to be drawn, both teams scored 1pt each.


Final Game - The Challenge

The Mayor of Ilkley had no option but to take a chance on risking a 5pts game at the end of the competition - 'The Challenge' - as the score was standing at 7-3 in Otley’s favour. A win would have given the team a one point advantage over Otley forcing them to win their challenge (3pts or 5pts) to secure victory. The game involved sliding down a rope to the pool from the diving board holding a spear and whilst in motion throwing it towards balloons in the pool and trying to burst three of them. However, lady luck was not on Ilkley’s side and the team failed in their goal. The Otley team were awarded the 5pts and victory was theirs. Another three points from their challenge boosted their score to 15, the highest of the series.

Additional Information

Despite rehearsals for this heat being held on the previous afternoon as well as the morning of the actually contest, the local council still permitted the open-air pool to be open to the public but with limited access. It was not closed for public use until 1.00pm on both days and was re-opened soon after rehearsals and the actual recording!

 

Master of Ceremonies Ted Ray, referee Eddie Waring
and scoregirl Pat Taylor at the Ilkley venue

 

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

Teams Qualifying for Semi Finals

 County  Team Qualifying Heat Position Points
 Lancashire  Blackpool Lancashire 1 1 9
 Lytham St. Annes Lancashire 2 1 9
 Yorkshire  Bridlington Yorkshire 1 1 13
 Otley Yorkshire 2 1 15
 

GB

It's A Knockout 1966

Lancashire Semi-Final

Event Staged: Sunday 4th September 1966
Venue: South Promenade Bathing Pool, Blackpool, Lancashire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 4th September 1966, 4.05-4.55pm (Live)

Teams: Blackpool v. Lytham St. Annes

Team Members included:
Blackpool -
Cllr. Robert Brierley JP (Team Captain), Kay Abson;
Lytham St. Annes - Cllr. P.A. Nicoll MBE (Team Captain), Catherine Rees.

Games included: Water Obstacle Race (The Challenge)

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 MAR 6A 6B
Points Scored
B 0 2 2 0 0 0 +0

0

L 2 0 0 2 2 2 0

+5

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
B 0 2 4 4 4 4 4

4

L 2 2 2 4 6 8 8

13

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 L • Lytham St. Annes l
 B Blackpool

13
4

The Host Town

Blackpool, Lancashire

Blackpool is a Lancashire seaside town, situated on the Irish Sea. It is located 43km (27mi) north of Liverpool and 64km (40mi) north-west of Manchester, along the north-west coast between the Ribble and Wyre river estuaries. It was a coastal hamlet until the mid-18th century, when it became fashionable in England to travel to the coast during the summer to bathe in sea water to improve well-being.
 

The Blackpool Tower, opened in May 1894,
is Great Britain's most identifiable seafront construction

 

In 1781, visitors attracted to Blackpool's 11km (7mi) sandy beach were able to use a newly built private road, built by Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Houghton. Blackpool rose to prominence as a major centre of tourism in England when a railway was built in the 1840s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. The railway made it much easier and cheaper for visitors to reach Blackpool, triggering an influx of settlers, such that in 1876 Blackpool was governed by its own town council and aldermen. In 1881 Blackpool was a booming resort with a population of 14,000 and a promenade complete with three piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, fish-and-chip shops and theatres. In addition to its sandy beaches, Blackpool's major attractions and landmarks include the Blackpool Tower, the annual Blackpool illuminations, the Pleasure Beach theme park and the UK’s only surbviving first generation tramway dating back to 1885, which stretches 18km (11mi) from the airport at Squires Gate all the way to the fishing port of Fleetwood.

The Venue

South Promenade Bathing Pool

The games at this heat were staged in the South Promenade Bathing Pool which was built in 1923. It was affectionately referred to as Blackpool’s ‘jewel in the crown’ and was frequented by the rich and famous in its early years. The cost of building the classical-style Coliseum with its Roman pillars around the pool alone was in the region of £75,000. .
 

The majestic South Promenade Bathing Pool on Blackpool's seafront

 

Many stars of the cinema including Sir Harry Lauder (in 1932) and Hollywood blonde-bombshell Jayne Mansfield (1959) even took time out to bathe in its beautiful surroundings, and in 1934 Associated Talking Pictures used the pool for scenes in the Gracie Fields musical Sing As We Go. Within a year of opening the pool had attracted over 94,000 bathers and by the end of the decade the number of visitors had totalled over nine million! Said to have been the largest pool in the world, it was set amongst the large promenades, nestling on the edge of golden sands within the bracing air. The stadium received the world’s press, television and cinema, as a result of being the venue for the Miss Blackpool and Miss World Contests. The pool had an unusually shaped oval perimeter, the pool itself being D-shaped, and having a concaved pageant platform. There was a "cut out" for the diving boards at one end, where the depth of the water was 15ft (4.5m).

The pool area was of huge scale, approximately 376ft long x 170ft wide (114m x 51m). The shape necessitated a swimming events area which was partitioned when necessary. There were of course refreshment areas and restaurants. The diving board area was the order of the day, having 2 x 3m (9ft 10¼in) springboards, 2 x 7.5m (24ft 8in) firm boards and a 10m (32ft 9in) high-board (which on windy days was claimed to have swayed!). Sadly the pool and its buildings no longer exist. Due to its very expensive running and maintenance costs and the trend for holidays on the continent, its viability could no longer be sustained, and was closed to the public in 1981. The new leisure complex The Sandcastle Water Park has occupied the site since 1986.

The Games in Detail

Final Game (6A & 6B) - Water Obstacle Race (The Challenge)

The final game in this semi-final was the regular challenge game. In this event, the challenge took the form of a water obstacle race played out by female team members, and the victors would be decided by how the teams fared on this game.

At the outset, Lytham St. Annes led their Blackpool rivals by 8pts to 4pts and played the challenge first. So as to protect their lead, their captain opted for the 3pts challenge (as opposed to the 5pts one) but failed and scored no points. However, this did not damage their lead as Blackpool were not entitled to any bonus as a result of Lytham St. Annes' failure. This was because while failure at the 5pts challenge automatically credited those 5pts to the opposing team, the 3pts challenge carried no such penalty.

With Blackpool still 4pts behind at this stage, their captain opted for the 5pts challenge, this being his only choice if his team were to overhaul their rivals in the standings. Unfortunately, they too failed in the challenge, but Lytham St. Annes were entitled to a 5pts bonus for Blackpool's failure.

With the 5pts now added to Lytham St. Anne's score, the competition ended with Blackpool losing by 13pts to 4pts.

Additional Information

In an article published in the West Lancashire Evening Gazette dated Monday 5th September 1966, there appears to have been a discrepancy over one of the game results. Entitled Mayors meet over result of Knock-Out TV contest, it stated that the contest, which had been watched by six million viewers, may have had to be partly restaged. The mayors of the two towns, who were captains of the teams, were meeting the BBC at the Mayor’s parlour in Blackpool that afternoon to decide if the result should stand. In the programme, Lytham St. Annes had beaten Blackpool, but producer Robin Scott had called a special meeting because of doubt about the result of the final vital game. Referee Eddie Waring had announced that Blackpool had won the girls’ water obstacle race, which featured water being weighed in opposing bins. The viewers however, saw the weighing scales sway the verdict to Lytham St. Annes. Mr Waring was overruled by the producer and Lytham St. Annes went on to win the contest.

Mr Scott was quoted as having said that “After careful examination by the organisers, we (the BBC) feel the result should be re-examined. This is largely to a doubt in our minds, as to the result of the obstacle race because of the inaccuracy of the scales. They gave a different result visually from the one given verbally.”

A second article appeared in the same newspaper two days later on Wednesday 7th September 1966 entitled Knock-Out TV dispute settled. It stated that the dispute over the result of the previous Sunday’s contest had been settled by the Mayor of Blackpool (Cllr. Robert Brierley, JP). He told the BBC that Blackpool was withdrawing from the contest and allowing Lytham St. Annes to participate in the ‘Battle of the Roses’ final with either Bridlington or Otley. He continued, “The BBC have acknowledged that an announcement concerning one contest was incorrect, being contrary to the referee’s decision and decided that the challenge should be replayed. The Blackpool team readily accepted this decision, but the Lytham St. Annes team has not been prepared to do so.” The Mayor of Lytham St. Annes (Cllr. P.A. Nicoll MBE) responded by saying that he appreciated that Blackpool were not happy with the result declared and wanted to congratulate the Blackpool mayor on his sportsmanship as evidenced by the decision he had taken.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1966

Yorkshire Semi-Final

Event Staged: Sunday 11th September 1966
Venue: The Spa Boating Lake, Promenade and Beach, Bridlington, Yorkshire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 11th September 1966, 5.05-5.55pm (Live)

Teams: Bridlington v. Otley

Team Members included:
Bridlington -
Mr D Illingsworth (Team Manager), Mr F Barker, Mr T Berwick, Mr R Cammish, Miss S Cammish, Mr R Carter, David Clarke, Mr J Clayton, Mr D Fisher, Mr B Harper, Miss S Johnson, Mr M Jordan, Mrs J Lawn, Shirley Lyons, Miss J Milner, Mr J Mortlock, Mr B O’Connor, Mr G Price, Mr A Riby, Miss R Robinson, Mr K Rounding, Mr L Shaw, Mr H Smart, Miss M Sullivan, Mr R Symons, Mr C Thompson, Mrs G Thompson, Mr W Train, Miss S Wardell, Mr B West, Mr J Wilkie, Mark Wilson, Morris Wilson, Mr W Wilson;
Otley - Lesley Aspinall, Bernard Bell, Carlton Bell, Alan Birkbeck, Hazel Charlesworth, Malcolm Davey,Alan Freeman, Derek Gill, Mick Kelly, Philip Lees, Anne Moore, Mavis Morton, Mary Payne, William Renwick, Eddie Robinson, Harry Robinson, Roland Scatchard, Ronnie Shackleton, Carol-Anne Shaw, Fred Simpson, Ronald Sweeney, Phillip Tindall, David Watson, Denis Waites.

Games: See-Saw Bucketeers, Tote That Moke, Water Jousters, The Sandbaggers, Swing-and-Belt and The Archers (The Challenge);
Marathon: Beach Ball to Beach Wall.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 B • Bridlington l
 O Otley

14
4

The Host Town

Bridlington, Yorkshire

Bridlington is a seaside resort and minor fishing port on the Holderness Coast of the North Sea. It is an area which is said to have the highest coastal erosion rate in Europe. Southward, the coast becomes low, but northward it is steep and very fine, with the great spur of Flamborough Head projecting eastward.
 

Bridlington's north beach replete with amusements

 

The sea front is protected by a sea wall and a wide beach encouraged by wooden groynes which trap the sand. The beaches are part of a large sandbank known as Smithic Sands which stretches out into the bay and which are an important habitat for many marine species.

The Venue

The Spa Boating Lake

The games at this heat were staged on the chalybeate (ferruginous [iron rich]) spring-filled boating lake adjacent to The Spa which, together with the adjoining sea wall, was built in 1896 by Whitaker Brothers of Horsforth in Leeds. Initially called the New Spa and Gardens, locals and tourists paid (until the 1950s when the charge was removed) to go through a turnstile and enter the 20,000m² (5 acres) of flower beds, walks and grassed areas, have meals in the refreshment rooms, go to the theatre or a concert, or simply sit and listen to the band playing in the glass domed bandstand. Lit at night by multi-coloured electric lights, the Spa had 80,000 visitors in one month alone!
 

The Spa Boating Lake on Bridlington's seafront

 

The theatre burnt down in October 1906, but was renovated and reopened in 1907 as the New Spa Opera House designed by W. S. Walker, and was used to show a new invention, the cinematograph. The complex was bought by the local Corporation in 1919 when it was decided to replace the old buildings in 1925, and the Spa Royal Hall was built at a cost of £50,000. This became a popular place along the East Yorkshire coast to go to concerts and dancing, with Russian-born British composer Herman Darewski (1883-1947) and his Radio Band playing there from 1926 until 1937.

Another fire in January 1932 destroyed the hall, but it was rebuilt once more, and in a record time of just 52 days. It was reopened on 29th July 1932, with the new building boasting two cafes, a Palm Court, a solarium and a dance hall. The Spa closed in 2005 for extensive renovation and reopened in the middle of 2008. Since then, The Spa has been presenting a mix of received entertainment, dances, co-produced shows and in-house productions. The Spa has also become a venues for conferences and banquets; catering for up to 700 diners.

At the time of transmission, the town was part of the county of Yorkshire, but following local government re-organisation in 1974 it was included in the new county of Humberside, which caused much local resentment among residents who objected to being excluded from Yorkshire. The town became the administrative centre of a local government district, initially called the Borough of North Wolds but this was later changed to the Borough of East Yorkshire. The district disappeared when the county of Humberside was abolished in the 1990s, when the new unitary authority of East Riding of Yorkshire was formed.

The Games in Detail

Final Game - The Challenge

The final game in this heat was decided by two female archers who had to fire arrows from the promenade to targets 90ft away down on the beach. The Mayor of Otley decided to take the chance and opted for the 5pts game as the team were lagging behind 6-4. Unfortunately, the team’s archer Hazel Charlesworth was unable to live up to the mayor’s expectations and handed the points to Bridlington who were now in an unassailable lead of 11-4. The Bridlington mayor therefore took the easy option and archer Shirley Lyons, who had been national champion in the early part of the decade, did not disappoint and gave the team another 3pts.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

Teams Qualifying for Grand Final

 County  Team Qualifying Heat Position Points
 Lancashire  Lytham St. Annes Lancashire SF 1 13
 Yorkshire  Bridlington Yorkshire SF 1 14
 

GB

It's A Knockout 1966

Grand Final

Event Staged: Sunday 18th September 1966
Venues: The Spa Boating Lake, Promenade and Beach, Bridlington, Yorkshire, England
and Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 18th September 1966, 5.05-5.55pm (Live)

Teams: Lytham St. Annes v. Bridlington

Team Members included:
Bridlington -
Mr D Illingsworth (Team Manager), Mr T Berwick, Miss S Cammish, David Clarke, Mr D Fisher, Mr B Harper, Mr A Horobin, Miss S Johnson, Miss J Milner, Miss H Norgate, Mr G Price, Miss R Robinson, Mr D Simpson, Mr K Sims, Mr P Slater, Mr A Stevenson, Miss M Sullivan, Miss S Wardell, Mr W Wilson, Mr P Wright;
Lytham St. Annes -
Catherine Rees.

Games: Scrambled Eggs (in Bridlington), Magnetised Boots (at both locations), Pillows-to-Billows (in Bridlington), Belter-Skelter (in Lytham St. Annes) and The Goalkeepers (The Challenge - at both locations);
Marathon: Bridge Building (in Lytham St. Annes).

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 B • Bridlington l l
 L Lytham St. Annes
l

9
7

Bridlington qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Paris, France:
staged on Wednesday 14th June 1967

The Host Towns and Venues

Bridlington, Yorkshire

Previously visited in Yorkshire Semi-Final.

As was the case for the Yorkshire Semi-Final, the games at the Bridlington venue in this Grand Final were played on the Spa Boating Lake.


Lytham St. Anne's, Lancashire
 

Originally built in 1805, Lytham's impressive windmill
has recently been restored and opened to the public

 

Lytham St. Annes is classed as a conurbation in the Fylde district of Lancashire. The neighbouring towns of Lytham and St-Anne's-on-the-Sea (nearly always abbreviated to St. Annes) are located south of their more-famous neighbour, Blackpool, at the point where the coastline turns east to form the estuary of the River Ribble leading inland to Preston, and have grown together to form a seaside resort. St. Annes is situated on the northern side of the turning and overlooks the Irish Sea, whereas Lytham is on the eastern side and overlooks the Ribble estuary.

 

Fairhaven Lake, seen from the air in the 1960s

 

This heat was staged on Fairhaven Lake, located on the banks of the River Ribble in Lancashire in north-west England. The original development of the area known as Fairhaven was started in 1892 by Thomas Riley who intended building a new resort on the salt marsh and sand dunes on the north bank of the Ribble estuary. In 1895 however, the Fairhaven Estate Company took over this development, and by the following year, 43 residences, shops and a hotel had been established. Boats began to appear on the lake and a golf course complete with clubhouse was opened on the north side of the lake.

The original intention was to extend the sea wall and the gardens as far as St. Anne’s, however this was abandoned after heavy seas flooded the lake in 1896. Over the next two decades, the sea wall was reinforced with sandstone rocks and the lake became more popular as Fairhaven itself began to develop. A landing stage and pagoda-shaped boathouse were constructed, the former as an area where boats could be built, the latter doubling as living-quarters for the manager. During this period, a portion of the lake was utilised as an open-air swimming baths complete with diving boards, slide and changing huts. After the end of World War I, a private tennis club, bowling green and public tennis courts were created to the north of the lake and flowerbeds were nurtured.

A plan for the redesign of the park, which covers an area of 19.5 hectares (including the lake), was submitted in 1923 by Thomas Hayton Mawson & Sons, but only a few elements of this design were adopted. In 1926, at a cost of £34,000, the lake and surrounding park were bought from the Fairhaven Estates Company and presented to the Corporation of Lytham St Annes by linoleum magnate Lord Ashton of Lancaster, and was named Ashton Marine Park in his honour. The name reverted back to Fairhaven Lake in 1963.

Measuring 3937ft x 1312ft (1200m x 400m) and just 4ft (1.2m) at its deepest point, the lake is well-maintained and is predominantly used for leisure. It had proved to be very popular with regatta, water skiing displays and hydroplane racing, attracting crowds of up to fifteen thousand in the 1950s and 60s, with the last of the regattas being staged in 1972 when the Borough of Lytham St. Annes was formed. Along with the pleasure and rowing boats, the lake is also home to ducks and swans, and is also a haven for wildlife and somewhere for the migrant birds to take shelter from any rough prevailing weather. Despite recent activity on the lake declining, a new pleasure craft Jubilee was launched in 2002 to provide lake cruises during the summer months. On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings from April through to October, the north-west end of the lake is used by the Blackpool & Fylde Boat Club, and the café, which was originally built as the clubhouse for the Fairhaven Golf Club (they retreated inland after the huge flood in 1896!) predates all the other buildings in the area. In 2008 the former pagoda-shaped boathouse and manager's living quarters has been converted into the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre.

The Games in Detail

Final Game - The Challenge

The competition ended up depending on the final game. With the scores at 6-4 in Bridlington’s favour, the town’s mayor opted to play the 3pts game and bank clerk, David Clarke, secured the points by knocking down the required number of dummy goalkeepers. With the score now standing at 9-4, the Lytham St. Annes team could still force a draw if the mayor opted for a 5pts game. However, as he was in the studio in Manchester, he inadvertently ignored the crowd in Lytham crying out “5 points! 5 points!”, and opted for the 3pts option. With this decision, Lytham St. Annes could not win the Tip-Top-Town Trophy, and the honours went to Bridlington.

Presenters, Officials and Production Team

MacDonald Hobley presented this Grand Final from the BBC Studios in Manchester, where he was joined by the mayors of the two competing towns. All the games took place on location, captured for TV by the BBC's Outside Broadcast unit.

Future presenter Stuart Hall stood in as guest referee in Lytham St. Annes, whilst regular referee Eddie Waring oversaw events in Bridlington.

Looks Familiar?

The fourth game in this Final had already been played before earlier in the series at Morecambe. The game involved three male competitors running up a moving conveyor belt to the top of a 14ft rostrum, carrying plates of custard pies. On reaching the top, they then had to place them on a twisting slide and then slide down a pole and attempt to catch the pies before they hit the ground. When one of the pies got stuck halfway down, guest referee Stuart Hall stopped the clock until it could be cleared and then the game was restarted.

Additional Information

The Final was contested over just five games and a Marathon. With the programme being held in two locations, link-ups and transmission times only permitted time for this. Games 1 and 3 were held solely in Bridlington and Game 4 and the Marathon in Lytham St. Annes. The other two were played in both locations using identical equipment.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

Although Jeux Sans Frontières had been running in Europe since 1965, Great Britain did not participate until 1967.

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Alan Hayes, David Hamilton, Neil Storer, Christos Moustakas, Philippe Minet,
Sébastien Dias, Ischa Bijl, Paul Leaver and JSFnet Websites