A Town Like New Orleans? BBC2 by W Stephen Gilbert Broadcast 31 Aug 1981
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.
Television by 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.
Leeds it appears, is crawling with jazz and pop musicians who have managed to convince themselves that they are contributing to the biggest explosion in their respective art forms since King Oliver met Louis Armstrong or Phil Spector invented the wall of sound.
A Town Like New Orleans? BBC2 by Dennis Hackett The Times, 15 Aug 1981
This was the last of an occasional series under the generic title City, “occasional” being a word often applied to something someone is not quite sure about. The town we were invited to compare with New Orleans was Leeds, as unlikely a parallel as one could imagine except that we were concerned with a particular aspect of it: music.
“Leeds is going to expand musically”, a voice told us. “It is going to be like New Orleans.” If that perhaps is not quite the way it is, there is evidence – with more than 200 live groups in the town – that something stirs in what might be thought of infertile ground.
BBC2 21.45 CITY A Town Like New Orleans? Radio Times, 14 August 1981,
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.
A Town Like New Orleans? BBC2 The Mary Kenny Saturday TV Review Daily Mail , 15 Aug 1981
They talk about books, plays, films, television programmes which ‘change your life,’ such is the dramatic impact. Life changes come from inside the human soul, though, not from outside.
But last night’s programme A Town Like New Orleans? (BBC-2 – and the title refers to Leeds, of all places) 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 , 14 Aug 1981
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. There’s even a couple swaying to flute and recorder among the daffodils of their back-garden.
The sounds of music are familiar enough to my ears, ranging from the innovatively interesting to the derivatively awful. What is special about Ian McNulty’s film is what the players have to say.
21.25 BBC2 BRASS TACKS The Blight Radio Times, 14 July 1980, BBC2
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?
by Stafford Hildred Birmingham Evening Mail 14 August 1979
“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.
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.
TELEVISION Nancy Banks-Smith The Guardian, 9 May 1979
GILBERT HARDING was not only the first TV man, he was the first two-way TV man. A friend remembers him “watching and arguing with the television.” He would carry on these one-way discussions with whomever it was he happened to be watching and get quite violent about it.
I remember him having a set-to like that with Cliff Michelmore and then, when the programme was finished, he phoned up Michelmore and continued the argument in person. People have always talked to television; it is just that television has not always listened.
Following Peter Fiddick’s programme on Two Way Television, Brass Tacks (BBC-2) was something like three-sided television. Brass Tacks is transmitted live. Then all the BBC’s local radio stations run phone-ins – most the same night, some less enthusiastically the next morning. Finally on Monday, Return Call will report the audience reaction in a 10-minute programme just before midnight. To me that suggests a disappointing dwindle with the Brass Tacks bellow tailing away to a whisper.