Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1970s Record Breakers

Record Breakers

1 9 7 2 – 2 0 0 1 (UK)

Record Breakers was a juvenile TV version of the Guinness Book of Records, whose founders, Norris and Ross McWhirter, appeared in the early episodes.

Most of the record-breaking antics took place in the studio, under the watchful eye of host and all-round entertainer Roy Castle – himself the holder of tap dancing and parascending records, and singer of the You Need Dedication theme song.


Largely studio-based for the first few series, from 1974 the series took its lead from Blue Peter‘s expeditions and annually travelled as far as New York, California, Canada, Hawaii and Australia to gather location reports.

Castle hosted the show for over 20 years until his death from lung cancer in 1994 – but the most intriguing presenter was arguably Ron Reagan Jr, son of the US President, who reported on the tallest, smallest, greatest etc for a season Stateside.

Alan Russell, who produced the show for many years, was responsible for many spectacular events including a (now famous) mass tap dance in the courtyard of BBC Television Centre.

Ross McWhirter was shot dead outside his North London home on 27 November 1975. He was hit at close range in the head and chest and taken to a local hospital but died soon after being admitted.

McWhirter had recently offered a reward of £50,000 for information leading to the arrest of IRA bombers.

Norris McWhirter continued to edit the Guinness Book of Records until 1985 and presented Record Breakers until 1994. He died in April 2004.

Roy Castle
Ross McWhirter
Norris McWhirter
Cheryl Baker
Ron Reagan Jr
Kriss Akabusi
Mark Curry