In the 1930s the Radio Times split up their programmes into the following categories: Brass and Military Bands; Outside Events and Sports; Ballad Concerts and Light Music; Concerts, Recitals and Opera; Chamber Music; Plays and Features; Talks and Readings and Variety and Musical Shows.
Each of these categories are very descriptive of the sort of fare that you would get on the BBC at the time, and that was just the Radio offerings. Television was only broadcast for two hours a day between 3pm and 4pm and 9pm and 10pm from one studio in London, so it was not surprising that the content was as limited as it was at that point.
Today, February 19th 1938 saw a demonstration of modern fire fighting methods, a cartoon film. and a 30 minute cabaret show featuring dancers, acrobats and others, the sort of show that you could see well into the nineteen eighties.
In the evening there was a television production of Clive of India, which was a version of the 1935 feature film adapted for television by one of the writers of the feature film.
On the wireless we had commentary on the second half of the amateur international Association football match England v Ireland (perhaps the first half was a bit boring), Clay Pigeon Shooting (in the North) and commentary on a Ice Hockey game at the Ice Hockey World Championship from Prague.
There was also s comedy play The School for Husbands (on the Midland service), Facet (a thirty minute show containing parts of different plays on the West service), and the final episode of the serial play Mystery at Milford Haven (on the Welsh service).
There was also a discussion from both sides on Astrology; variety shows Radio Pie (which had been broadcast the previous Thursday) and Palace of Varieties featuring Paulo the singing Clown and Tommy Handley as well as the Children’s Hour and plenty of music from The BBC Northern Orchestra, The BBC Scottish Orchestra, Bobby Howell and his Band, Brian Lawrance and his Orchestra, the BBC theatre orchestra, The BBC singers, Ambrose and his Orchestra, The BBC Military Band, gosh they had a lot of orchestras back in the day didn’t they .
A year later in 1939 today we had a radio version of the Frank Capra film Mr Deeds Goes To Town; Henry Ainley (father of Master actor Anthony) in episode 7 of Les Miserables also on radio; on television they gave us a program on autogiros, a couple of cartoon films and a ballet to round out the evening (which were very popular in the early days of broadcasting).
In 1940 with the second world war in its first full year there was two channels to listen to The Home Service and The Forces Programme. The Children’s Hour was still present but only 40 minutes today in 1940 with the usual mix of musical programmes to take peoples minds of the war itself.
On the forces programme were in 1942 were Ack-Ack, Beer-Beer (an entertainment programme for Anti-Aircraft and Barrage Balloon workers), The Plums with Wylie Watson and Beatrice Varley (a weekly serial about the Plum family and their maid), and Desert Island Discs .
In 1943 there was a musical retelling of the adventures of Robin Hood. On the forces programme was an episode of The Jack Benny Programme.
In 1944 a radio adaptation of a play by Roland Pertwee “Pink String and Sealing Wax”. On the forces programme was ITMA, The Brains Trust, Palace of Varieties.
In 1945 on the forces programme there was All Join in with Tommy Handley (where people joined in with stuff), alongside all the orchestras and other musical features
In 1946 there was the final episode of John Galsworthy’s The Man of Property, and Merry Go Round with Eric Barker, Pearl Hackney and Jon Pertwee as well as The Brains Trust.
On The Light Programme in today 1946 we had Just William and Taxi! dubbed the strange adventures of a London taxi driver featuring Jerry Varno.