I defy anybody who was a child of the 80s to deny that they loved this programme.
OK, ok, so you girls out there can be excused as this was perhaps boys’ stuff, but what stuff?!
Along with TOTP and A Question of Sport, Tomorrow’s World was one of the holy trinity of Thursday night programmes that were essential viewing in our house. There were us two boys and our sister, and significantly it was Dad’s night in. Mum was not really into the show; I doubt that she ever really watched it – she was usually out at Ladies’ Club on a Thursday. It was her loss then, the technological dreamworld that us boys so loved.
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But who were the presenters? Well, first and foremost there can be no greater stalwart of the show than Judith Hann. Having started on the show in the mid 70s, our Judith was regular, dependable and a downright safe pair of hands. Of course she offered a glorious opportunity for parody to Pamela Stephenson, but then how many women who were on telly at the time didn’t offer the same? There ‘s one to ponder.
Then of course we had (my favourite) Kieran Prendiville. Now we all know that KP (as I’m going to call him) went on to pen such classics as Ballykissangel, but he was a relatively short lived presenter on TW (as I’m going to call it from now on). KP was the one who famously smeared jam all over a copy of the Bee Gee’s CD Living Eyes. I was upset when we found out that he had decided that this ‘science lark’ (my phrase) wasn’t for him and he went off to write about that priest and the landlady.
Coming on to TW at the time that KP left in 1983 was Peter Macann. Now I don’t suppose that this was a coincidence. However, Macann didn’t seem to have quite the same gravitas as KP – I don’t know why and it might just be my opinion but I just can’t remember him. Joining the fray (surely, team) in 1985 was Preston lad Howard Stableford. Howard was much more to my liking.
A thin slice of Thursday evening from January 1984. Includes TW plus a trailer for Saturday Superstore followed by the start of TOTP.
He joined a team which also contained Maggie Philbin. Now, I’ve a confession; I was then and I am now a big fan of Ms Philbin (sorry, can’t call her Maggie, for the obvious reason). She was, to borrow another phrase from the Young Ones, ‘sweetly pretty’. When Multi-Coloured Swap Shop finished in 1982 she had managed to escape to join TW in 1983. She was at the time married to Keith Chegwin, another escapee from M-CSS. As his career (and, one supposes, his life) started to nose dive, her star was in motion in the opposite direction.
And finally, perhaps the last old-school presenter of TW in the Baxter / Woollard mode was Michael Rodd. He was a presenter between 1972 and 1982 so although he wasn’t around for much of the eighties I think that he encapsulates what TW was more than any other presenter during my time watching the show.