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Ask Aspel

1 9 7 0 – 1 9 8 1 (UK)

Before the VCR revolution of the late 1970s, if you wanted to see a particular moment from your favourite BBC programme again you did one of two things: You waited for a repeat or you wrote to Michael Aspel.

Ask Aspel was a children’s programme in which viewers could watch specially requested clips.

Most – predictably – were from children’s shows, though adult material crept in from time to time, such as Monty Python’s Flying Circus – minus the naughty bits, naturally.

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Each edition had a special studio guest, amongst them John Cleese, Michael Palin, Kate Bush, Peter Cushing and Roger Moore.

Aspel himself made an affable host – His interviews were sensibly conducted, and not once did he attempt to poke fun at the guests. The show proved popular enough to run throughout the 70s, finally ending in 1981.

With VCR’s negating the need for such programmes, its time had come.

The BBC modified the format a year or so later, re-launching it as Take Two, hosted initially by Lucie Skeaping and then Josephine Buchan and Philip Schofield. In addition to the clips, Take Two asked schoolchildren for their views on programmes.

Aspel himself got his own chat show for LWT (Aspel and Company) and later hosted This Is Your Life and Antiques Roadshow.