It's A Knockout 1968
British Domestic Series

Presenters: David Vine, Katie Boyle (Heats 1,2,5 and Additional)
and Maggie Clews (Heats 3 and 4 only)
Referee: Eddie Waring
Scoregirls: Rita Morris and Pat Taylor
Producer: Barney Colehan / Director: Philip S. Gilbert
A BBC North West Production

GB

It's A Knockout 1968

Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 12th May 1968
Venue: Pittville Gardens, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucestershire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 12th May 1968, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Weather Conditions: Bright with Rain Showers

Teams: Cheltenham Spa v. Worthing

Team Members included:
Cheltenham Spa -
Bill Spragg (Team Manager) and Ian Rodger;
Worthing -
Michael Coates, John Monger and John Press.

Games included: Black or White, The Fireman's Hose, Pick A Letter and Waiter's Stretch.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 W • Worthing
 C Cheltenham Spa

10
8

Worthing qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Épinal, France,
due to be staged on Wednesday 19th June 1968.
By the time of this It's A Knockout heat, student riots in Paris had already caused the French international heat to be relocated from its original venue in Paris to Épinal. However, as the riots spread across the country, the Épinal event was subsequently cancelled.

Worthing ultimately participated in Schwäbisch-Hall, West Germany:
staged on Wednesday 4th September 1968.

The Host Town

Cheltenham Spa, Gloucestershire

Cheltenham Spa (more commonly known as Cheltenham) is a large spa town in Gloucestershire, located on the edge of the the Cotswold Hills, and is home to around 115,000 inhabitants.

 

If you fancy a nice sit down on Cheltenham's Promenade,
you might find your seat taken by a minotaur and a hare...

 

It is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase (National Hunt) horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival staged each year in March since 1902.

The Venue

Pittville Gardens

The games at this heat were staged in Pittville Gardens located in the small suburb of Pittville in the north-east corner of the town. Joseph Pitt (1759-1842), the developer of Pittville, wanted to create a 100-acre (0.40km²) estate, with its own Pump Room, with imposing houses for the rich and famous who came to live in Cheltenham. The estate would also include beautiful landscaped gardens and various walks and rides. He envisaged Pittville as a new spa town, one which would rival Cheltenham. Development began in 1824-25, with Pitt employing local architect John Forbes, who not only designed the basic layout of the estate but was also the creator of the magnificent Pump Room situated at the northern end of the park, which opened on 20 July 1830 at a cost of over £40,000. Pittville's spa water was recommended for treating skin complaints and patients would take the waters then promenade around the pleasure gardens.
 

The magnificent Grade I listed Regency Pump Room
located in Pittville Gardens

 

The Gardens were formally opened to the public four years after Cheltenham Borough Council had bought the Pittville Estate on 25th April 1894. In 1924, the Gardens were renamed Pittville Park, although locals refuse to recognise this and today still refer to them as Pittville Gardens. The park now provides 33 hectares of parkland, including an ornamental lake with elegant bridges dating from 1827 and a boating lake, formerly known as Capper's Fish Pond. It was named after Robert Capper (1768-1851), owner of Marle Hill House, the grounds of which now constitute the western part of the Pittville Park.

The lakes were created by damming a stream known as Wyman's Brook. Like most of Cheltenham's historic parks and gardens, Pittville Park was originally enclosed by railings and was private to the residents and subscribers to the spa. A refreshment kiosk, dating from 1903, with unusual terracotta dragons on its roof, is opened in the summer months in the Long Garden, a stretch of parkland to the south of Pittville Park facing Pittville Lawn. On its place originally stood a small spa called Essex Lodge, erected in the 1820s.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Cheltenham Spa team member Ian Rodger returned to participate in the programme again in 1971 as a member of the Tewkesbury team, and also in 1973 as a member of the Ely team - the most successful British team in the programme's history.

Looks Familiar?

The games entitled ‘The Fireman’s Hose’ and ‘Pick a Letter’ were both utilised again at the British International Heat of Jeux Sans Frontières staged at Harrogate later in the year.

Additional Information

This heat was affected by mixed weather which made the competition difficult. Directly prior to transmission, the arena was hit with a violent hailstorm.

The venue for this heat had been used for the final heat of It’s A Knockout 1967 when Cheltenham Spa had participated and won the heat. But it was not second time lucky for the team, losing out to Worthing in the domestic series this year. However, the team was involved in the ‘highest scoring loser’ match later in the series, and was then victorious. Ironically, the Worthing team had also participated in 1967 and was successful on that occasion too.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1968

Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 19th May 1968
Venue: Open Air Swimming Pool, New Brighton, Cheshire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 19th May 1968, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Weather Conditions: Warm and Sunny

Teams: New Brighton v. Blackpool

Games included: The Triplets.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 NB • New Brighton
 B Blackpool

11
5

New Brighton qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Zofingen, Switzerland:
staged on Wednesday 3rd July 1968

The Host Town

New Brighton, Cheshire

New Brighton is a seaside resort with a population of around 15,000 inhabitants. At the time of transmission it was a stand alone town but today it forms part of the town of Wallasey. Located at the north-eastern tip of the Wirral peninsula, it has very sandy beaches which line the Irish Sea coast. Up until the 19th century and with its prime location at the mouth of the Mersey estuary, the area had a reputation for smuggling and shipwrecking, and underground cellars and tunnels are rumoured to still exist.
 

Perch Rock Lighthouse at New Brighton

 

In 1832, a Liverpool merchant, James Atherton (1770-1838), purchased much of the land (170 acres) at Rock Point, which enjoyed views out to sea and across the Mersey and had a good beach. His aim was to develop it as a desirable residential and watering place for the gentry, in a similar way to Brighton, one of the most elegant seaside resorts of that Regency period from which it took its name. Substantial development began soon afterwards, and housing began to spread up the hillside overlooking the estuary. During the latter half of the 19th century, New Brighton developed as a very popular seaside resort serving Liverpool and the Lancashire industrial towns, and many of the large houses were converted to inexpensive hotels. A pier owned by The New Brighton Pier Company was opened in the 1860s (eventually bought by the local council in 1928), which ran adjacent and parallel to the public ferry pier which took passengers across the Mersey by steam paddle boats. The promenade from Seacombe to New Brighton was built in the 1890s which served both as a recreational amenity in its own right, and to link up the developments along the estuary, and was later extended westwards towards Leasowe.
 

A picture postcard view of the long-demolished New Brighton Tower

 

In July 1896, a new group, the New Brighton Tower and Recreation Company, with a share capital of £300,000, purchased the estate of the demolished Rock Point House. Their ambition was to create an observation tower in the grounds, designed to rival the Blackpool Tower, while using the remaining grounds to create a more "elegant" atmosphere. The company had more than 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land available to construct the tower, which enabled them to include more attractions than at Blackpool Tower. Designed by James Maxwell and Charles Tuke, construction of the 1000-ton (1,016,047kg) low-carbon steel lattice observation tower began in 1898 and was finally completed in 1900, 6 years after Blackpool’s tower. The tower stood 567ft (172.82m) high, compared to its 518ft 9ins (158.11m) neighbour, and had four elevators, each capable of reaching the top in 90 seconds, and it was the tallest building in Great Britain when it opened. The tower was set in large grounds, which included a boating lake, a funfair, gardens and a sports stadium. A single entrance fee of 1/- (5p) or a season ticket for 10s 6d (52½p) was charged for entrance into the grounds of the tower, which included the gardens, the athletic grounds, the ballroom and the theatre. An additional charge of 6d (2½p) was levied on those who wished to go to the top of the tower. However, the tower was sadly neglected during the First World War and requiring renovation which the owners could not afford, dismantling of the tower began in 1919 and completed in 1921, with all the metal being sold for scrap. The building at its base, housing the Tower Ballroom, continued in use until damaged by a fire in 1969. British pop group, The Beatles, played at the Tower Ballroom 27 times, more than at any other venue in the United Kingdom except the Cavern Club in nearby Liverpool.

The owners decided that there was a need to provide winter entertainment, and had built the stadium, the Tower Athletics Ground, with a capacity of 80,000 adjacent to the tower. This was opened in 1896 and comprised a football pitch, an athletics track and a motorcycle speedway track. They also formed a new football team, New Brighton Tower F.C., and applied for membership of the Lancashire League. The team joined at the start of the 1897-98 season and promptly won the league. The club then applied for election to the Football League. Although they were initially rejected, the league later decided to expand Division Two by four clubs and New Brighton Tower were accepted. They carried on playing until 1901 but were very poorly supported, often averaging gates of just 1,000, and after just four seasons, the company disbanded the team as it was no longer considered financially viable. In 1923, New Brighton A.F.C. was formed using the Tower Athletics Grounds stadium and played in league football until 1951.

Ferries from Liverpool to New Brighton ceased in 1971, after which the ferry pier and landing stage were dismantled. By 1977, the promenade pier had suffered the same fate, after dwindling visitors and rising costs made it unviable to maintain any longer.

The Venue

Open Air Swimming Pool

The games at this heat were staged at the New Brighton Bathing Pool which was opened on 13th June 1934 by Lord Leverhulme at a cost of £103,240, which at the time was the largest aquatic stadium the world, with over 12,000 people attended the opening ceremony. The pool was built on sand, covering an area of approximately 4.5 acres and was constructed of mass concrete, with the floor being reinforced with steel mesh. It was covered with a rendering of white Portland cement with a skirting of black tiles.

 

The New Brighton Bathing Pool in its heyday

 

The pool was designed to gain as much sunshine as possible, and was therefore built facing south which also allowed it to be sheltered from the north winds. The exterior walls were coated with Snowcrete, with special fine sand from Leighton Buzzard. Lights which lit up under water were at the deep end for night bathing. It was also designed to allow for Championship swimming events, with the south (the deep end) being 165ft by 60ft. The central part was for general swimming and was 330ft by 60ft, and the north side (the shallow end) was 330ft by 105ft. The pool could hold 4,000 bathers and some 20,000 spectators. The depth was of an average of 5ft, but at the diving end it was 15ft. With a maximum capacity of 1,376,000 gallons of pure sea water, the pool could be filled or emptied in just eight hours. Utilising the ornament cascade to fill the pool, the water was constantly changed and purified, filtered and chemically treated, at a rate of 172,000 gallons per hour. The plant included chemical tanks, aerator, ammoniator, chlorinator, air compressor, and electric motors for the pumps, etc. A regular supply of water was obtained from the adjoining Marine Lake, which acted as a huge storage and settlement tank.

The admission fees were 6d (2½p) for adults in the week and 1/- (5p) on Sundays and Bank Holidays, with children paying 4d and 6d (2p and 2½p), respectively. Non-bathers were also welcomed and were charged just 2d (1p). At the end of the opening week, over 100,000 people had paid to go in and on the Saturday, a record was set when some 35,000 people went through the turnstiles. During the first four weeks, 350,000 people had attended, of whom only 87,400 were bathers. The Miss New Brighton Bathing Girl Contest started in the pool’s surrounds in 1949, but the first heat attracted only nine entrants. The following year this had increased to 23 entrants. In front of a 15,000 audience, the first contest was won by Miss Edna McFarlane and, as the rain teamed down, she collected her cup and a cheque for £75.
 

The fate of the baths was sealed following the storm of 1990

 

After 55 years of loyal service, the pool’s fate was sealed, when storms in the Irish Sea battered the North Wales and England’s north-east coastline on the night of the 27th / 28th February 1990. With hurricane force winds of almost 100mph severe damage was sustained to the pool, when the wild seas forced a hole into the foundations of the north-west corner of the complex causing the upper structure to cave in. With a costing of about £4 million to repair the damage, it was decided by the authorities to demolish the building, and in the summer of 1990, the Merseyside Development Corporation bulldozers moved in and levelled the site. Today the site is just a barren wasteland and aerial views of the area clearly show its unique shape, located to the west of the Marine Lake and surrounded by King’s Parade.

At the time of transmission, New Brighton - situated on the Wirral peninsula - was in the county of Cheshire. On 1st April 1974, following the complete redistribution of county boundaries under the Local Government Act 1972, it became part of the new county of Merseyside.

Additional Information

During the game - ‘The Triplets’ - BBC stagehands were seen crouched down in front of the game with a double-size mattress. As the competitors moved along the game, it was to be used should any of them have been unfortunate and fallen from the equipment.

Home Movie Footage:

Made in B/W • This programme exists in the BBC Archives as a B/W film recording

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1968

Heat 3

Event Staged: Sunday 26th May 1968
Venue: The Hoe, Plymouth, Devon, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 26th May 1968, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Weather Conditions: Cold and Rainy

Teams: Plymouth v. Torbay

Team Members included:
Plymouth -
Lesley Copp, Frederick Gill.

Games included: Beach Ball Handicap, Motorcycle Barrels and Bin Basketball.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 P • Plymouth
 T Torbay

10
8

Plymouth qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Verviers, Belgium:
staged on Wednesday 17th July 1968

The Host Town

Plymouth, Devon

Plymouth is a city of around 250,000 inhabitants, located on the south coast of the county of Devon, about 190 miles (310km) south-west of London. It lies between the mouths of two rivers, the Plym (to the east) and the Tamar (to the west), where they both join the Plymouth Sound.
 

The colourful and vibrant Barbican Waterfront area in Plymouth

 

During the 16th century locally produced wool was the major export commodity. Plymouth was the home port for successful maritime traders, among them was shipbuilder, merchant and naval commander, Sir John Hawkins (1532-1595), who led England's first foray into the Atlantic slave trade, as well as Sir Francis Drake (c.1540-1596). In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World from Plymouth in The Mayflower, establishing Plymouth Colony - the second English colony in what is now the United States of America.

Throughout the 17th century, Plymouth had gradually lost its pre-eminence as a trading port and by the middle of the century, commodities manufactured elsewhere in England cost too much to transport to Plymouth and the city had no means of processing sugar or tobacco imports. In nearby Stoke Damerel (which became the town of Devonport) the first dockyard, HMNB Devonport, opened on the banks of the River Tamar in 1690. Further docks were built in 1727, 1762 and 1793. In the 18th century new houses were built near the dock, called Plymouth Dock at the time, and a new town grew up. In 1712, there were 318 men employed there and by 1733 it had grown to a population of 3,000 people.

Prior to the latter half of the 18th century grain, timber and then coal were Plymouth's main imports. During this time the real source of wealth was from the neighbouring town of Devonport - with the dockyard being the major employer in the entire region. Throughout the Industrial Revolution (1760-c.1840), Plymouth grew as a commercial shipping port handling imports and passengers from the Americas, whilst the neighbouring town of Devonport grew as an important Royal Navy shipbuilding and dockyard.

The Three Towns conurbation of Devonport, Plymouth and Stonehouse enjoyed some prosperity during the late 18th and early 19th century and were enriched by a series of urban developments designed by London architect, John Foulston (1772-1841). In 1914, the boroughs of Devonport and Plymouth and the urban district of East Stonehouse were merged to create a single county borough. The new town took the name of Plymouth, which in 1928 achieved city status.

During World War II, the dockyard and city were targeted by German warfare and partially demolished, an act which became known as the Plymouth Blitz. After the war, the city centre was completely rebuilt following Sir Patrick Abercrombie’s Plan for Plymouth was published in April 1944. In it, town planner and architect, Leslie Patrick Abercrombie (1879-1957), called for the demolition of the few remaining pre-War buildings in the city centre and replacing them with wide, modern boulevards aligned from east to west. These would linked by a north to south avenue (known today as Armada Way) connecting the railway station and Plymouth Hoe. Prefabs, specialist dwellings manufactured off-site in advance, had started to be built by 1946, and over 1,000 permanent council houses were built each year from 1951-57. By 1964, over 20,000 new homes had been built, more than 13,500 of them permanent council homes and 853 built by the Admiralty.

A regular international ferry service is provided by Brittany Ferries which operates from Millbay taking cars and foot passengers directly to Roscoff in France and Santander in Spain. There is also a passenger ferry between Stonehouse and the Cornish hamlet of Cremyll, which is believed to have operated continuously since 1204. As an alternative to using the Tamar Bridge to cross the river, a pedestrian ferry operates between the Mayflower Steps and Mount Batten.

The Venue

The Hoe

The games in this heat were staged on Plymouth Hoe, a sloping ridge shaped like an inverted foot and heel. Taking its name from the Anglo-Saxon word Hoe, it is the natural heart of Plymouth with breathtaking views across Plymouth Sound, one of the most perfect natural harbours in the world.

 

The Hoe with Smeaton’s Tower on the central lawns

 

The Hoe is perhaps best known for the probably apocryphal story that Sir Francis Drake played his famous game of bowls there in 1588, whilst waiting for the tide to change before sailing out with the English fleet to engage combat with the Spanish Armada. From 1880, there was a popular bandstand on the Hoe. It was removed for scrap metal during the Second World War and never rebuilt. A three tier belvedere built in 1891 survives; it was built on the site of a camera obscura, probably built in the 1830s, which showed views of the harbour. Below this site was the Bull Ring (now a memorial garden), and a grand pleasure pier, started in 1880, which provided a dance hall, refreshment, promenading and a landing place for boat trips. The pier was destroyed by German bombing in World War II.

The most prominent landmark on the Hoe is Smeaton’s Tower. This is the upper portion of John Smeaton’s Eddystone Lighthouse, which was originally built on the Eddystone Rocks (22.5 km south) in 1759. It was dismantled in 1877 and moved, stone by stone, to the Hoe where it was re-erected by the people of Plymouth, in memory of John Smeaton, and for the number of lives that the lighthouse had saved in its 118-year history.

Presenters, Officials and Production Team

Due to illness, regular presenter Katie Boyle was unable to attend this heat or the subsequent event held at Wimbledon. Her role in both programmes was covered by television personality Maggie Clews, who had appeared as a panellist on the popular Juke Box Jury and also presented Scene South East, a regional news programme made by Southern Television. She had embarked upon her career as a journalist on the Northampton Chronicle and Echo before relocating to London where she found work as a fashion and photographic model. This led to acting work, which included roles in feature films such as The Captain's Table and The Naked Touch, as well as a 1958 turn in the television situation comedy Life with the Lyons as Richard Lyon’s girlfriend. Her career has moved into voice work, beginning in radio, on which she was to be the last female presenter of Two Way Family Favourites, a BBC World Service radio programme with a global listenership. Maggie has lived in Great Britain, the United States of America and Argentina, and today she is a much sought after voice artiste, with many audio books, commercials and corporate voiceovers to her name.

Looks Familiar?

A game similar to ‘Bin Basketball’, but with competitors wearing long wooden shoes, featured in the 1967 series of Spiel Ohne Grenzen when the programme visited Villingen.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in the BBC Archives as a B/W film recording

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1968

Heat 4

Event Staged: Sunday 2nd June 1968
Venue: Wimbledon Park, Wimbledon, Greater London, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 2nd June 1968, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Teams: Merton v. Richmond-on-Thames

Team Members included:
Merton -
Tom Baptie (Team Manager), Peter Allan, Jean Bleakley, Gary Collins, Peter Dunckley, Robert Dunckley, Terence Dunseath, Clive Goldsmith, John Hayward, Janet Hillyer, Gillian Hornby, Robin Howard, Carol Jordan, David Malkin, Daniel O’Connor, Rodney Perry, Susan Poulter, Kenneth Roberts, Anita Roll, David Roll, Susan Roll, Tony Roll, Susan Taylor, Roberta Trotman, David Watts and Kathie Williams.

Games: Trampoline Netball, See-Saw Rowing, Crocodile Jaws, Rubber Dinghy Bounce, Three Men in the Boat and Celtic Chivalry;
Marathon: Carpet Rolling Relay.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 M • Merton
 R • Richmond-on-Thames

9
6

Merton qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Vigevano, Italy:
staged on Wednesday 31st July 1968

The Host Town

Wimbledon, Greater London

Wimbledon is a district of south-west London in the borough of Merton with a population of around 57,000 inhabitants. Locked between Wandsworth to the south, Kingston-upon-Thames to the east, Mitcham to the west and Sutton to the north, the area is most notably known worldwide for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, which have been staged at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 1877. The residential area is split into two distinct sections known as the ‘village’ and the ‘town’, with the High Street being part of the original medieval village, and the ‘town’ being part of the modern development since the building of the railway in 1838.
 

The world famous All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon

 

The area has been inhabited since the Iron Age, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1087 when the area was part of the manor of Mortlake and owned by wealthy families. The village developed with a stable rural population co-existing alongside nobility and wealthy merchants from the city. In the 18th century, The Dog and Fox public house became a stop on the stagecoach run from London to Portsmouth. The stagecoach horses would be stabled at the rear of the pub in the now named Wimbledon Village Stables. In 1838, the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) opened a station to the south-east of the village at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill and its location shifted the focus of the town's subsequent growth away from the original village centre.

Electric trams in London operated in London between 1860 and 1952, after which they were abolished completely. Shortages of steel and electrical machinery and the unviable cost of running the services were cited as the main reasons for their demise and this was coupled with the tram system being considered inflexible and out-dated. Around 1935, the phasing-out began in earnest with their replacement by diesel powered buses and trolleybuses, after a large proportion of the carriages and tracks were nearing the end of their useful life. The last electric trams received a rousing reception when they ‘ran in’ on the morning of Sunday 6th July 1952 at New Cross Depot. In 1990, Croydon Council with London Regional Transport put a project to Parliament to re-introduce trams to London. This was passed as The Croydon Tramlink Act, 1994 and on Monday 2nd June 1997, the West Croydon to Wimbledon Line was closed for conversion to operation as part of the new Tramlink tram operations. Part of platform 10 was utilised for the single track terminus of Route 3 and rail tracks and infrastructure were replaced with those for the tram system. The new service opened on Tuesday 30th May 2000.

Wimbledon Station was also the haunt of a 'Railway Collection Dog'. Airedale Terrier "Laddie" was born in September 1948 and started work on Wimbledon Station in 1949, collecting donations on behalf of the Southern Railwaymen's Homes at Woking, via a box strapped to his back. He retired in 1956 having collected over £5,000 and spent the rest of his days with the residents at the Home. On his death in 1960, he was stuffed and returned to Wimbledon Station. He continued to collect for the Homes, in a glass case situated on Platform 5, until 1990 when he retired once more and became part of the National Railway collection.

The Venue

Wimbledon Park

The games in this heat were staged in Wimbledon Park, the second largest public open-space in the London Borough of Merton, measuring 67 acres (0.27km²) in total area. The park is located immediately to the east of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, home to the Wimbledon Championships each June, and its lake is one of the largest in south London. Wimbledon Park is often confused with the much larger and better known Wimbledon Common, further to the west up the hill.

 

Wimbledon Park in south-east London covers an area of around 67 acres

 

The original park comprised the grounds of Wimbledon Park House, the seat manor of Wimbledon, situated on the hill to the south, near to St. Mary’s Church, the old parish church of Wimbledon. A series of owners enlarged the park northwards and eastwards. By the 19th century it was at its largest extent, and one of the homes of the Earls Spencer. The park was landscaped in the 18th century by Capability Brown when the lake was formed by constructing a dam across a brook that flows from the springline near Wimbledon Common down to the River Wandle in Earlsfield.

The modern park was purchased by the Borough of Wimbledon just before the first World War and is, with its ornamental lake, the grounds of the Wimbledon Club and Wimbledon Golf Course, the only remnant of the former, larger park. Late in the 20th century the London Borough of Merton sold on the Golf Course to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, leaving just the public park and the lake in its ownership. This beautiful valley was transformed in the 18th century by the most famous of all English landscape architects, Capability Brown when the lake was formed as a focal point for the house located to the south of the present park. An interesting point to note is that although the park is listed as being in Merton, its northern section is actually located in the London Borough of Wandsworth!

The Games in Detail

Game 6 - Celtic Chivalry

With the score at 7-6, there was everything to play for on the last game - ‘Celtic Chivalry’. Merton competitor Robert Dunckley was plagued with horse trouble throughout the game. At the start, four of his team-mates had to break down the castle drawbridge with a large battering ram to allow the knight into the castle to rescue his damsel. However, his horse refused to go through the arch, no matter what Robert tried. It was not until one of his team-mates gave the horse a heavy slap on its hind-quarters it decided to move. The Richmond-upon-Thames competitor was well ahead at this point and it looked like the Merton horse had blown the home team’s chances of winning the heat. In the meantime, the opposing knight was having trouble climbing the ladder to rescue his quarry and this allowed Robert to catch up and overtake him, and after descending the ladder he mounted the horse with his damsel for the return leg. After exiting the castle and dropping off the damsel, the knight then had to return back into the castle and plant a flag to end the game. But the same fate befell him as before, the horse refused to go through the arch once again. With the Richmond-upon-Thames player now on his tail, Robert took things into his own hands and turned round, leaned right back and slapped the horse’s rear himself which again done the trick. He finished the game just ahead of his opponent to a roar of cheers and applause (and few stopped hearts for his team-mates) to give the team the victory and a place in Jeux Sans Frontières eight weeks later.

Looks Familiar?

The final game - ‘Celtic Chivalry’ - was an exact copy of a game with the same title from Domestic Heat 3 in 1967. On that occasion, one of the ‘knights’ had inadvertently forgotten to tether his horse securely and it broke loose and ended up at the opposite end of the course. Although the same did not occur at this heat, it was hardly straightforward as seen above.

Additional Information

This heat attracted a crowd of some 4,500 people, which in itself created some problems for the organisers. The match between Merton and Richmond-upon-Thames had generated so much excitement between the neighbouring boroughs that police had to be called in to control spectators who had broken through the boundary ropes to get closer to the action. Ten minutes before the programme was due to be transmitted live, a "You may be hurt" warning was put out over the loudspeaker tannoy system telling the crowd to stay back. But the police presence and warnings did not prevent scores of youngsters from climbing the park pavilion to get a rooftop view of the show.

The Merton team took the lead from Game 1 and never looked back, despite the team losing their Joker game. The Richmond-upon-Thames team failed to take advantage of this and could only manage to draw on their Joker game.

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

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1968

Heat 5

Event Staged: Sunday 9th June 1968
Venue: North Inch, Perth, Perthshire, Scotland

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 9th June 1968, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Teams: Perth v. Dundee

Team Members included:
Dundee -
Stewart Allen, Joseph Brady, Joyce Carberry, Ross Elder, Angus Hartley, Muriel Hutchinson, Evelyn Keyes, Hazel Mason, Alistair Nicholl, Derek Tomlinson.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 D • Dundee
 P • Perth

11
3

Dundee qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Harrogate, Great Britain:
staged on Wednesday 14th August 1968

The Host Town

Perth, Perthshire

Perth is a city in central Scotland located on the banks of the River Tay with a population of around 50,000 inhabitants. The name Perth comes from a Pictish word for wood or copse. There has been a settlement at Perth since prehistoric times, on a natural mound raised slightly above the flood plain of the Tay, where the river could be crossed at low tide. Due to its location, the city is often referred to as the "Gateway to the Highlands".
 

A view of Perth from the River Tay at dusk

 

It has been known as "The Fair City" since the publication of The Fair Maid of Perth, a novel inspired by the Battle of the North Inch and penned by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) in 1828. During the later medieval period the town was also called St John's Toun or Saint Johnstoun by its inhabitants in reference to the main church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. This name is preserved by the town's football team, St. Johnstone F.C.

The presence of Scone Abbey, home of the Stone of Destiny where the King of Scotland was crowned, enhanced the early importance of the town. Perth became known as a 'capital' of Scotland, due to the frequent residence of the royal court.

The classic definition of Perth has been as a city, and traditional documentation confirms that this has been true since time immemorial. In the late 1990s, the British Government re-examined the definition of a city and produced a list of approved cities, from which Perth was omitted. It was therefore considered to be a "former city", like Brechin and Elgin. Despite this, road-signs around the borders used the term the City of Perth, and directional signs within indicated "City Centre". In June 2007, Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, backed a campaign to confer city status on Perth, saying it should be granted "at the next commemorative opportunity". The local authority, Perth and Kinross, stated that the 800th anniversary of the city in 2009 should create "a foundation for Perth to bid for formal city status”.

Perth was one of the 26 bidders for city status to mark the H.M. Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. On Wednesday 14th March 2012, Perth's city status was successfully reinstated and it became Scotland's seventh city. The Queen visited Perth on 6th July, for what was the culmination of the Scottish leg of her Diamond Jubilee tour. Today, Perth serves as a retail centre for the surrounding area. Following the decline of the whisky industry locally, the city's economy has now diversified to include insurance and banking.

The Venue

North Inch

The games in this heat were staged on North Inch, a 133 acre (0.54km²) area of parkland to the north of Perth city centre.

 

A 1950s view of North Inch, a 133 acre area of parkland on the outskirts of Perth

 

Situated on the west bank of the River Tay, the area has always been prone to flooding. The park is most famous as the scene of the Battle of the North Inch. In 1396, thirty representatives of the Clan Chattan and thirty from the Clan Kay fought in an attempt to settle a feud. The Chattans killed all but one of their opponents at a cost of 19 deaths on their own side, and were awarded the victory. This was one of the last judicial combats, or trials by combat, to be fought in Scotland. Since 1999, flood prevention measures have been put in place, with the construction of defensive bunds or embankments along the riverside.

At the time of transmission of the 1968 It's A Knockout heat, the town of Perth was located in the county of Perthshire. In 1975, following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, the Tayside Region was formed from the counties of Angus, Dundee, Kinross-shire and Perthshire, with the new Perth and Kinross becoming one of its districts.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in the BBC Archives as a B/W film recording

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1968

Additional Heat

Event Staged: Sunday 16th June 1968
Venue: Wimbledon Park, Wimbledon, Greater London, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 21st June 1968, 8.20-8.50pm

Teams: Cheltenham Spa v. Torbay
(the two highest-scoring losing teams from the 1968 series)

Team Members included: Cheltenham Spa - Bill Spragg (Team Manager), Ian Rodger.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 C • Cheltenham Spa
 T • Torbay

8
6

Cheltenham Spa qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Siegen, West Germany:
staged on Wednesday 28th August 1968

The Host Town and Venue

Wimbledon, Greater London

Previously visited in Heat 4.

As was the case in Heat 4, the games in this hastily-arranged tie-breaker heat were played in Wimbledon Park.

Additional Information

This heat was added to the recording schedule out of necessity as both Cheltenham Spa and Torbay had scored 8 points in their respective heats and were the joint highest-scoring losing teams of the 1968 series. As the team with the best losing score was to progress to the International Heat at Siegen, West Germany, and there was no clause in the rules that might separate Cheltenham Spa and Torbay, it was decided to stage a contest between them. Since this had been unexpected and no slot was available in the schedules for Sunday 16th June, this programme had to be recorded for later transmission. However, due to the escalating student riot disturbances in Paris, and the cancellation of the French International Heat of Jeux Sans Frontières, which was due to have been transmitted on Friday 21st June, the BBC was very fortunate and was able to show this recorded Domestic programme in its place. Incidentally, as this heat had not been expected to be held, there had not been a venue chosen to hold it, and therefore no advance publicity had been given out for it. Wimbledon Park was chosen as the venue for this heat because as a crowd was needed to attend to give the impression of that fact, the BBC (knowing that the Wimbledon Championships were being held adjacent to the park) simply invited people from the crowds which normally flock to the area during ‘Wimbledon fortnight’ to get autographs and early places in the queue for the next day (tennis matches were never held on Sundays until the 1980s), to attend the event free of charge!

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

 

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