The Good Old Days

The Good Old Days
Genre Old Time Variety, Family
Starring Leonard Sachs
Country of origin UK
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 30
Producer(s) Barney Colehan
Location(s) Leeds City Varieties Music Hall
Original network BBC1
First shown in 1953
Original release 1953 – 1983

The Good Old Days was a popular BBC television light entertainment programme directed by Barney Colehan which ran from 1953 to 1983.

It was performed at the Leeds City Varieties and recreated an authentic atmosphere of the VictorianEdwardian music hall with songs and sketches of the era performed by present-day performers in the style of the original artistes.

The audience dressed in period costume and joined in the singing, especially "Down at the Old Bull and Bush" which closed the show. The show was compered by Leonard Sachs, who sat in a pulpit-like structure at the side of the stage. In the course of its run it featured about 2,000 performers. Each show was an hour long. All acts were in the style of late Victorian/Edwardian stage acts.[1]


The show was first broadcast on 20 July 1953 and the early shows were compered by Don Gemmel.

The Good Old Days was inspired by the success of the "Ridgeway's Late Joys" at the Players' Theatre Club in London: a private members' club that ran fortnightly programmes of variety acts in London's West End.

Typical line-ups were :

The 1950s

BBC Wednesday 29 December 1954
Cast: Rex Jameson, Tod Slaughter, Bertha Wilmot, Harry Bailey with host Leonard Sachs
BBC Wednesday 19 September 1956
Cast: Barry Anthony, The Hindley-Taylor Olde Tyme Singers, Jack Daly, The Three Bolandos, Jill Summers, Gilbert and Partner, The Ballet Montmartre, Albert Burdon and Company with host Leonard Sachs
BBC Saturday 26 December 1959
Cast: Morecambe and Wise, Betty Jumel, Cardew Robinson, Norberti, Smoothey and Layton, Manton Brothers, Patricia Bredin with host Leonard Sachs

The 1960s

BBC Sunday 17 April 1960
Cast The Gaunt Brothers, the Falcons, June Merlin and her doves, Jimmy Gay, Harry Bailey and Nancy and Molly Munks with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Sunday 15 January 1964
Cast Ray Martine (Compere), Kathy Kirby, Debbie Lee, Tommy Bruce, Al Saxon, Lynne Perrie, Arthur Casey Byron, the Alan Braden Band and Quartet.[2]
BBC1 Sunday 27 November 1966
Cast Ted Ray, Reg Varney, Barbara Law, George Chisholm, Eithne Milne, Michael Allport and Company, Ivane and Andre Astor and Les Aguanitos with host Leonard Sachs

The 1970s

BBC1 Sunday 16 April 1972 at 7.25 pm
Cast Eartha Kitt, Arthur Askey, Eira Heath, Neville King, Larry Parker, Barrie Brothers, Terry Lightfoot and His Band, Macardis with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Sunday 13 August 1972 at 7.25 pm
Cast Rod Hull, Joe Castor, Pat Mooney, Doreen Hermitage, Jan Hunt, Jimmy Webster, Tessie O'Shea, Robert Young, Patsy MacLean with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Sunday 30 March 1973 at 7.25 pm
Cast Bruce Forsyth, Georgia Brown, Charlie Williams, Julius Nehring, Gerry Atkins, Pigalle Girls with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Friday 8 February 1974 at 8.15 pm
Cast Roy Castle, Beryl Reid, Jean Bayliss, Gil Dova, Peter Wallis, Les Aguanitos with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Thursday 26 December 1974 at 8.15 pm
Cast Edward Woodward, the King's Singers, Sheila Bernette, Wilma Reading, Ted Durante & Hilda, and Pierre Brahma.
BBC1 Friday 17 January 1975 at 8.15 pm
Cast Ken Dodd, Barry Kent, Lyn Kennington, John Bouchier and Saxburger.
BBC1 Thursday 25 March 1976 at 9.25 pm
Cast Larry Grayson, Frank Carson, Margaret Savage, Sheila Mathews, Ted Durante, Peter Gale, Edward Woodward with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Sunday 31 December 1978 at 11.05 pm
Cast Roy Castle, Dolores Gray, Eira Heath, Michel Arene, Lido Can-Can Girls, Perkano and Christina with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Friday 20 April 1979 at 8.10 pm
Cast Eleanor McCready, Les Dawson, Sweet Substitute, Peter Hudson, Joan Merrigan, Paul Rhodes, Julia Sutton, Ralph Heid, Eve n Alan with host Leonard Sachs

The 1980s

BBC1 Wednesday 2 January 1980 at 9.25 pm
Cast John Inman, Gemma Craven, David Kernan, Bernard Spear, Gino Donati, Michel Arene, Lido Can-Can Girls with host Leonard Sachs
BBC1 Sunday 9 May 1982 at 9.45 pm
Cast Sally Ann Howes, Roy Hudd, Robert White, Bernadette Greevy, Jimmy Cricket, Jenny Hill, the Trulupins with host Leonard Sachs[3]
BBC1 Sunday 16 May 1982 at 9.05 pm
Cast Bernard Cribbins, Lorna Dallas, Barry Cryer, Anna Dawson, Josephine Gordon, Bill Drysdale, Christine Cartwright, Inga-Lise with host Leonard Sachs[4]
BBC1 Sunday 23 May 1982 at 9.05 pm
Cast The Krankies, Mary O'Hara, Alan Randall, Nuts and Bolts, Jack Douglas with host Leonard Sachs[5]
BBC1 Sunday 30 May 1982 at 9.25 pm
Cast Roy Castle, Valerie Masterson, Richard Stilgoe, Vince Hill, Sheila Bernette, Larry Parker, Stella Moray, Doreen Hermitage with host Leonard Sachs[6]
BBC1 Sunday 6 June 1982 at 9.40 pm
Cast John Inman, Su Pollard, Cantabile, Colin, Norma Dunbar with host Leonard Sachs[7]
BBC1 Sunday 13 June 1982 at 9.15 pm
Cast The Kings Singers, Teresa Cahill, Pat Mooney, Bernie Clifton, Tel Smit with host Leonard Sachs[8]
BBC1 Sunday 4 September 1983 at 9.00 pm
Cast Les Dawson, Bernie Clifton, Lorna Dallas, Peter Skellern with host Leonard Sachs[9]
BBC1 Sunday 11 September 1983 at 8.50 pm
Cast Roy Castle, Valerie Masterson, Keith Harris, the Simmons Brothers, James Casey, Ell Woods, Eleanor McCready with host Leonard Sachs[10]
BBC1 Sunday 18 September 1983 at 9.05 pm
Cast Roy Hudd, Sally Ann Howes, the Krankies, Jimmy Cricket, Benjamin Luxon, Davy Kaye with host Leonard Sachs[11]
BBC1 Sunday 25 September 1983 at 8.55 pm
Cast Larry Grayson, Anita Harris, Billy Dainty, Anna Dawson, Robert White with host Leonard Sachs[12]
BBC1 Sunday 2 October 1983 at 8.55 pm
Cast John Inman, Mary O'Hara, Neville King, Jacquie Toye, Ted Durante & HIlda, the Turlupons, Doreen Hermitage, Vince Hill with host Leonard Sachs[13]
BBC1 Sunday 16 October 1983 at 8.40 pm
Cast Danny La Rue, Moira Anderson, Barry Cryer, Sheila Steafel, the Kings Singers with host Leonard Sachs[14]
BBC1 Sunday 23 October 1983 at 8.40 pm
Cast Duggie Brown, Marti Webb, Pat Mooney, the Tornados with host Leonard Sachs[15]
BBC1 Saturday 24 December 1983 at 10.45pm (Final Episode)
Cast Danny La Rue, Bernard Cribbins, Valerie Masterson, Robert White, Barry Cryer, the Clark Brothers, Gaëtan Bloom, Doreen Hermitage, Deryk Parkin with host Leonard Sachs[16]
BBC1 Friday 30 December 1983 at 3.50 pm
Goodbye to the Good Old Days
Documentary celebrating the longest running TV variety show in the UK, which ended its 30-year run that year. With Roy Hudd, Frankie Vaughan, Les Dawson, Larry Grayson and narrated by Barry Cryer


  1. 1001 TV Series You Must See Before You Die, Paul Conron, ISBN 978-1-84403-887-9
  2. Archived 24 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. "The Times" (London), 8 May 1982, p.23.
  4. "The Times" (London), 15 May 1982, p.21.
  5. "The Times" (London), 22 May 1982, p.23.
  6. "The Times" (London), 29 May 1982, p.23.
  7. "The Times" (London), 5 June 1982, p.23.
  8. "The Times" (London), 12 June 1982, p.23.
  9. "The Times" (London), 3 September 1983, p.19.
  10. "The Times" (London), 10 September 1983, p.19.
  11. "The Times" (London), 17 September 1983, p.21.
  12. "The Times" (London), 24 September 1983, p.21.
  13. "The Times" (London), 1 October 1983, p.21.
  14. "The Times" (London), 15 October 1983, p.21.
  15. "The Times" (London), 22 October 1983, p.21.
  16. "The Times" (London), 24 December 1983, p.18.
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