Sunday, July 03, 2011

Rings On their Fingers - And Anthony Hayward - Not An Overwhelming Hit...

Diane Keen as Sandy and Martin Jarvis as Oliver in "Rings On Their Fingers". Were there special circumstances surrounding its success?

Roz writes:

I've just read this by TV writer Anthony Hayward, regarding the sitcom "Rings On Their Fingers", starring Diane Keen and Martin Jarvis:

Feminists criticised the programme, written by Richard Waring, but failed to stop it becoming an overwhelming hit with viewers, attracting as many as 21 million during its three series.

Twenty-one million was a HUGE audience, even back then and I don't recall "Rings" being that big a deal. What goes on?

Anthony Hayward - silly-billy! First thing to do when writing about TV ratings covering 1979 is to check if the ITV Strike was on at that point! ITV was the only popular opposition to BBC 1 in those days, and with less than 5% of UK households having a video recorder, pretty much the only game in town.

So, when ITV disappeared during that long and torturous strike, most of us didn't switch to "posh", minority interest BBC 2, but good old Beeb 1 - and the results were spectacular. Even quite naff shows and repeats received mind boggling ratings, which is what happened with "Rings On Their Fingers", which suddenly sprouted an outrageous 21 million viewers in October 1979, the month the ITV Strike fortunately ended. "Rings" began in October 1978, but sadly didn't make the top twenty monthly ratings at all then.

Having said that, "Rings" was a success, scoring 15.6 million viewers in November 1980, probably helped by viewers who had become acquainted with the show during the ITV Strike.

Do check on the dates in future, Anthony Hayward, old bean - and BBC, take that advice too - see here.

Sheesh, and here's me, no training, no paid position in on-line or other journalism, running rings around some of those who have!

Thanks for querying this, Roz!

And stay tuned to The REAL 1970s for the facts as they actually happened!

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