Public Access TV

Off Air, Broadcast, W Stephen Gilbert

Broadcast, 31 Aug 1981
W Stephen Gilbert
Off Air
BBC2

The BBC Manchester series City was a more random collection of reports on where we’re at. I caught four editions, particularly enjoying Ian McNulty’s well thought-through film on musical life in Leeds. Apart from the diversity of musical styles, the fragmentation of socio-political attitudes also came over.

Clive James, The Observer

Clive James
The Observer
23 Aug 1981

An unintentionally wonderful programme called A Town Like New Orleans (BBC2) showed what happens when people whose proper concerns should be some form of fruitful labour start mucking about with art. Few real artistes despise business – in fact the more original they are, the more they tend to respect the workaday world – but it is a hallmark of the dabbler that he prides himself in being set apart, and so it proved here.

Something stirring up North

The Times, 15 Aug 1981
Dennis Hackett
A Town Like New Orleans?
BBC2

All in all, very good television, may be occasional but delightful, beautifully photographed and edited and with no obtrusive interviewer. It was produced by Ian McNulty who doubtless knew, as I did, that Leeds is nothing like New Orleans but has its own stubborn brand of individualism and is worth keeping an eye on for just that reason.

A Town Like New Orleans? City, BBC2 (1981)

Radio Times
BBC2, 21:45
CITY
A Town Like New Orleans

In every town there are thousands of musicians – ignored by both television and the music industry alike – playing live music for fun and very little money. Watch and enjoy the Jack Bennett All-Stars, Another Colour, Howard Sarna, the Roskoe Players, the Zero Slingsby Quintet and The Commies from Mars.

The making and breaking of street music

Daily Mail , 15 Aug 1981
Mary Kenny

They talk about books, plays, films, television programmes which ‘change your life,’ … But last night’s programme A Town Like New Orleans? had a direct influence on my behaviour. Having seen it, I deliberately went out and put money in every buskers collecting hat that I could see.

Today’s Television, Peter Davalle, The Times

Today’s Television
The Times , 14 Aug 1981
Peter Davalle

A TOWN LIKE NEW ORLEANS? (BBC2, 9.45 pm) is about a musical explosion, or rather a series of pops, because this is a film about Leeds’ two hundred or so jazz, rock and folk groups that pack the pubs, the pavements and the front rooms of unlovely semi-detached houses.

The Blight, Brass Tacks, BBC2 (1980)

BBC2
21:25
Brass Tacks
The Blight

In many Durham mining villages residents are suffering from planning blight, whilst in Macclesfield, architect Rod Hackney refurbishes old houses and communities. As Langley Park’s Railway Street faces the bulldozers, we ask should local authorities demolish old housing or renovate instead?

We’re riveted by Brass Tacks

Birmingham Evening Mail
by Stafford Hildred

“BRASS TACKS” (BBC 2, 8.5), the current affairs show that has pioneered viewer participation, would like to announce a modest success. The Monday evening chance for feedback from the show – “Return Call to Brass Tacks” – has been extended until the end of the series. And calls following the weekly Tuesday evening documentary to local radio stations across the country are building up to a regular avalanche. “This week we are focusing on some kids in Sunderland,”

The BBC should be thoroughly ashamed

Financial Times
Chris Dunkley

Brass Tacks has returned with an interesting innovation in public access which combines national television and local radio, but offers as raw material only the same irresponsibly sensational nonsense which we grew to distrust in its previous series. The BBC should be thoroughly ashamed of the journalism on this programme and we shall have to keep a very close eye on it