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Cultural highlights of 1956

Television: UK
New shows
Armchair Theatre (ABC Television for the ITV network, from 16 September after a trial with two pilots in July). Weekly Sunday-night drama, often high quality, sometimes experimental and strikingly original. Introduces a number of major dramatists.
Listen to the introductory announcement
Hancock's Half Hour (BBC, from 6 July). Most popular comedy of its time, transferred from radio.
Opportunity Knocks (Associated-Rediffusion for the ITV network). Talent show, hosted by Hughie Green, the audience's response being registered on the 'clapometer' but the verdict was based on viewers' postal votes. It runs until 1977. [An early winner was a bodybuilder who could ripple his muscles in time to the pop instrumental Wheels. Yes, it was that good!]
This Week (Associated-Rediffusion for the ITV network, from 5 November). Weekly current affairs series that runs until 1992 (renamed TV Eye between 1978 and 1986).

What the Papers Say (Granada Television for the ITV network, from 5 November). First of the long-running weekly review of the British press. The introductory music is English Dance no 5 by Malcolm Arnold.

Radio shows: UK
Single productions
Mathry Beacon by Giles Cooper (BBC Third Programme, 18 June). Eerie drama about an isolated and forgotten wartime monitoring station in Wales.

Television: US
New shows
As the World Turns (from 2 April). Soap.
Edge of Night (from 2 April). Soap.
The Huntley-Brinkley Report (NBC, from 29 October). Current affairs.

Television: Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland
New single events
Eurovision Song Contest. (European Broadcasting Union, 24 May). Held in Lugano, Switzerland with two songs from each of seven participating countries. Won by Switzerland.
Chronomedia 1956

Page updated 14 October 2008
David Fisher