Talk of the North

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Talk of the North was a weekly half-hour regional magazine programme from Aberdeen which was broadcast to BBC 1 Scotland viewers in the north-east, Caithness, Orkney, and Shetland from 26 March 1964 to 29 March 1968. With an average running time of ten minutes, it replaced the Friday evening edition of Six-Ten and, later, A Quick Look Round which was shown in the rest of Scotland.

It was presented by Church of Scotland field worker, Jim Bowes, who was already an experienced broadcaster and interviewer for the BBC.[1] The programme's producer was James Wilson.

Debut programme

A review of the first programme appeared in the Press and Journal:

After a slightly formal moment in which the programme gathered its breath and explained through the BBC representative in Aberdeen, Mr Harry Hoggan, what it hoped to do and where it would be seen it plunged into the business in hand with an excellent film of the Boys' Ploughing Match in Orkney. There was some lyricism in the commentary of a film to mark the last passenger run on the Lossiemouth line and that film was good too. What a pity there wasn't a steam locomotive on hand to add to the romance of the occasion![2]


In 1964 or 1965, the famous Scottish singer Isla St Clair made her first television singing appearance on Talk of the North. She recalled the Aberdeen football manager Jock Stein being on the same show.[3]

The edition broadcast on 15 October 1965 was curtailed by about a minute due to a member of the studio staff taking ill during the programme. The incident made front page news in the following morning's Press and Journal in which viewers described "a terrible clatter and moaning sounds". Luckily, the senior administrative medical officer for the North-Eastern Regional Hospital Board, Dr F D Beddard, had been interviewed earlier on the programme and was therefore able to assist. The member of staff quickly recovered but was taken to hospital as a precaution.[4]


  1. 'He'll Be 'Talk of the North'', Press and Journal, 30 March 1964, 4.
  2. Angus McIntryre, 'Teleview', Press and Journal, 8 April 1964, 6.
  3. 'A Musical Youth', Mail on Sunday, 4 July 1999.
  4. 'Moans Startle North-East Viewers, Press and Journal, 16 October 1965, 1.