Early TV programs were almost never exchanged between countries. I never saw a foreign program on American television until PBS began running English shows in the mid-1960s. Likewise American shows were not shown overseas until they began to take Europe by storm in the 1960s. Television program in different countries vary widely. The American sitcom and adventure series format that have proven so successful in sindication around the world has not been so dominate in other countries. The small home domestiv market in many countries have limited the number of programs that can be produced with quality production standards. This is one reason that American programs so dominate the HBC listings. Another factor is of course that HBC is just not very familiar wkith television programing outside the United States and Britain. We this hope that readers from other countries will provide us information about favorite TV programs. We plan to list on the country pages just some of the best programs. We will, however, list all pertinent programs in the alphabetical section. Many foreign TV series show clothing and school uniforms worn in those countries during specific periods. We will also assess the nature of television programing and viewing in neach country, although the information we have gathered on this is still very limited at this time. There are also many differences as to how TV is organized around the globe. In some countries such as China and Cuba it is entirely controlled bybthe Government. In other countries such as America, television is operated by comercial enterprises. Other countries have varying mixes of state and commercial operaions. In recent years both the internet and satellite TV have complicated governmental operations around the world to control media.
HBC knows nothing about Argentine television at this time. We do not know to what extent the TV is owned or controlled by the government. An Argentine reader has decribed one very popular Argentine TV program--"Chiquitas". It began in 1992-93 about a group of girl orphansm buts boys were soon added. It has been made into a popular film--"Chiquitas" (1991).
HBC know little about Australian TV shows. Some Australian shows have been sindicated in other English-speaking countries, especially Britian. For some reason, however, they have not appeared in America. The best known Australian television proram is Neighbours, a film anout the daily goings on among the families on Ramsey St, a Melbourne suburb. Over the years since 1985, quite a number of boys have been featured on the program. One of the most well known Australian children's films is Skippy--sort of an Australian Flipper only about a kangaroo.
We have been able to find very little information about Austrian television. Austria is a very small country and German speaking. Presumably Austrian television relies very heavily on production from German television studios for its programming. A French reader tells us that he watches German programs on the Austrian network “3SAT”. Hopefully our Austrian readers will tell us more about their country's television industry.
HBC has not yet been able to obtain much information on Belgian television. Presumably there are both Waloom (French-language) and Flemish (Dutch-language) channels and programing in Belgium. Hopefully a Belgian reader will explain to us how that works. A reader has mentioned a television series called Kapitein Zeppos on Belgian (Flemish) television which aired sometime in the late-1960s. We do not know, however, much about the program yet. A Belgian reader remembers some Belgian National Broadcasting (BRT) television program thast he especially enjoyed in the 1970s. He remembers in particular Zeppos, Midas and Axel Nort. The BRT is the Belgian counterpart to the British BBC. Often goverments in Europe and other countries played a much more important rle in broadcasting than is the case in the United States where the broacasting industry is conducted by commercial corporations.
I am not positive how Canadian television is organized. I believe there is a Government-owned net work rather like the BBC in Britain. There is also CTV Inc. which bills itself as Canada's pre-eminent broadcast communications company with conventional television operations across Canada and a leading position in the specialty television
sector. Canada is not well known for its television. As in other media sectors, Canadian broadcasters faced difficult competition from the huge American media giants outh of the border. Canadian television not only has a relatively small national market, but that market is divided into two language groups, English and French. There are probably regulkations govrning language content as well as national content. An additional problem faced by Canadians is that quite a number of Canadian actors work in America (Mike Myers, John Candy and Jim Carrey). While we have realtively little information on Canadian television. We do know of a few programs which provide insights into children's clothing. One of the best known children's produced in Canada was the 1980s show, You can't do that on television. It proved popular on American cable networks. A Canadian reader suggests that Pit Pony an Wind At My Back provide useful glimpses of period Canadian clothes.
No information available.
English clothes at the turn of the century are shown in 1900 House (1999). Clothing in the inter-war era are shown in Up Stairs, Down Stairs (1970s?). Clothing styles in the 1970s and 80s are shown in East-Enders. The long running Coronation Street has also provie glimpses of contemporary clothes over an extended period. Individual productions of Dickens classics and other title such as Little Lord Fauntleroy have provided iseful glimses in period costuming. (The non-serial TV productions are included in the movies section.) Many children's classics have been made into popular childrens shows, such as the Famous Five. There was also a delightfull show set in a prep school, although the name eludes me at this time. A nother interesting series was Mr Majestik. One popular series was Up Stairs Down Stairs in which children were featured during the 1920s episodes. The series about period homes also contained a great deal of fascinating information.
HBC has little information on French television. The language must be the major factor here as HBC had assumed that there must have been a lot of interesting French TV shows. A French reader, however, provides some information aboy television in that country. "I am afraid to say that I can't contribute much to the TV section. I don't watch a great deal of television and my favorite TV programs are on the musical side or regular magasines discussing social and cultural and environmental problems. I have on occasion checked French TV programs for yougsters on non-school days. Would you believe that nearly all these are imported from the States, many being already listed in your pages although it is sometimes difficult to make the link due to French translation of titles. The TV culture in Europe is quite different from the United States and varies quite a bit from country to country. In Europe the child protection rules prevent in some way kids working as actors in TV shows. Also there is less money available in small nations for big shows, money
is used for TV programs with the largest possible audience. In France a typical non-school day TV program would include: some comics Walt Disney type shows for younger kids, mainly U.S imported series for teenagers, and some TV magazines about sport, science (vulgarisation) and the horrible music yougsters enjoy nowadays!"
We know very little about German television. Presumably like in Britain and America there was some preliminary work done in the 1930s, but we have no information. After World War II, television developed along very different lines in East and West Germany, but we have no information on early German programming. In today's unified Germany, Das Erste (ARD) is the German National TV-network. There is also the German RTL TV-network. Another German national tv-network Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen (ZDF). HBC has little information on these German television networks or on German TV programming. We do remember an epic TV series called Heimat, which covered town life over several decades and accurately depicted children's and adult clothing. A German reader tells us about " Schwarzwaldhof 1902 ". It is about a German family travels from Berlin which travels to the South of the Black Forest (village of Münstertal) on a special kind of holiday.
A Hungarian living in Britain and nostalgic for the Communist era writes, "Culture was regarded as extremely important by the government. The communists did not want to restrict the finer things of life to the upper and middle classes - the very best of music, literature and dance were for all to enjoy.
This meant lavish subsidies were given to institutions including orchestras, opera houses, theatres and cinemas. Ticket prices were subsidised by the State, making visits to the opera and theatre affordable.
'Cultural houses' were opened in every town and village, so provincial, working-class people such as my parents could have easy access to the performing arts, and to the best performers.
Programming on Hungarian television reflected the regime's priority to bring culture to the masses, with no dumbing down.
When I was a teenager, Saturday night primetime viewing typically meant a Jules Verne adventure, a poetry recital, a variety show, a live theatre performance, or an easy Bud Spencer film.
Much of Hungarian television was home-produced, but quality programmes were imported, not just from other Eastern Bloc countries but from the West, too.
Hungarians in the early Seventies followed the trials and tribulations of Soames Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga just as avidly as British viewers had done a few years earlier. The Onedin Line was another popular BBC series I enjoyed watching, along with David Attenborough documentaries.
However, the government was alive to the danger of us turning into a nation of four-eyed couch potatoes.
Every Monday was 'family night', when State television was taken off the air to encourage families to do other things together. Others called it 'family planning night', and I am sure the figures showing the proportion of children conceived on Monday nights under communism would make interesting reading.
Although we lived well under 'goulash communism' and there was always enough food for us to eat, we were not bombarded with advertising for products we didn't need." [Clark] This sounds rather like American PBS, but without the alternatives that forces PBC to compete. And with the same limitations on expressing a full range of political and economic ideas.
HBC has virtually no information on Italian television programing. Whn we were in Italy in 1989 we noticed a lot of game and variety programming on Italian TV. Some shows appear to be a kind of hibrid game-variety show. There were also a lot of santily clad dancing women. We have no information, however, on sitcoms or dramas. We understand that media mogol Sylvia Berlusconi made a great deal of money by running inexpensive old American programming mixed with a lot of Italian programing with provative dancing women. As far as we can tell, Italian commercial TV is a virtual wasteland compared to an inovative film industry. What makes Italian TV interesting is that Berlusconi has used his media empire to become primeminister and create a political party--Forza Italia. He has used his position to prevent a public discussion of his legal problems on both commercial and public television. Berlusconi understands that unless a politician or issue is on tlevision that he or it does not exist.
Television is hugely popular in Japan, much as it is in the United States. The television situation varies regionally. Japan's largest and most important city is Tokyo. Viewers in Tokyo can receivev five local commercial channels and two national ??? (NHK) channels. Viewers in some parts of Japan receive viewer channels. I do not yet have details on satellite and cable television, but they are reportedly becoming increasingly popular. Some of the most popular shows in Japan are dramas, movies, news, sport programs, quizes, and contests. I don't know if sitcoms are popular. Japanese television used to run a lot of American programs, but I'm not sure if this is still true. and shows are the most popular program types. One observer reports that there is an educational component to many programs. Well know TV personalities are known to appear during prime time on programs dealing with science. One feature of Japanese television is "Wide Shows" which dominate morming and early afternoon television before the kids come home from school. They offer a wide range of entertainment and informative programing for stay-at-home mothers. Movies are popular, but are mostly available on pay channels. Many foreign films can be viewed and the system is set up so the viewre can watch with sound tracks in either Japanese or the original language. Japanese televisions come with a bilingual mode. The Japanese entertaiment industry is becomoing increasingly sophisticatedcand attracting attention in other countries. Japanese animation in recent years has become a major force in the animation industry. We have begin to collect some information about individual TV programs. One such program is "German Navy Boys Detective Team" (1988).
No information available.
We believe that New Zealand has a small, but acytive TV industry. Unfortunately our New Zealand readeers have so far provided very limited information. Dame Edna ince said that in New Zealand, turn the Auckland telephone directory passes for entertainment. We believe that is rather unfait, but do wish our New Zealand readers would tell us a bit about the local TV programing. Worzel Gummage was first aired in Britain during 1978, but a new series was produced in New Zealand during the mid-1980s. A more recent program is Shortland Street a drama series from New Zealand. We have few details, but some of the boys on the show are costumed in school uniforms.
A Dutch reader living in California tells us, "When I am visiting in the Netherlands I do watch some tv of course. One thing that is different from other European countries is the fact that all foreign programs are brought in the original language. The stations supply sub-titles in Dutch, however, because there are Dutchmen who do not understand English, German or French, usually older people. But especially English is a second language in Holland. Most people have no trouble understanding English or German. French is a more
difficult language for the Dutch. I find that the use of language has deteriorated a lot. Swearing and dirty words are being used everyday on tv. So is nudity. They show the viewers
everything. American situation comedies are plentyful and the taped laughter is just as
annoying as here. Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Springer are regulars. However, there are sometimes interesting shows and documentaries of a higher level. The news is still being read from a sheet of paper and the reporter is not facing the viewers. The speed is slower, but there are less phony smiles. The weather forcast comes only twice a day and they don't waste time to mention the temperature of every city that is only 2 miles apart. I don't know of any Dutch-language series, whether it is a soap opera or a film in episodes. I am
sure that they are being shown too, but I don't live there anymore, so I really don't know."
We know virtualy nothing about Polish tekevision. It was developed after World War II and completely controlled by the Communist Givernment. We know of only one program, "Do przerwy 0:1" (0:1 Before Break) (1969). It was a seven part children's TV series.
The Soviet Government and Communist Party totally dominated Russian television from its inception after World War II. As a resuly it was deathly dull. This changed somewhat with Glanost and even more after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. The Russian television industry, as a result, has undegone many remarkable changes. Russian television as it transitioned from the Soviet era was owned and operated by federal and regional government agencies. All domestic programming was produced by state-owned government production companies or film studios. The television industry was funded entirely from government budgets. There was no commercial advertising. Only two Russian channels were broadcasted nationlly. Most Russian viewers had acces to two-five diffrent channels, depending on where they lived. There was some small-scale private operations which operated without government licenses. There was no market research into viewer preferences. TV stations wer privatized in the early 1990s. The Russian Government under President Putin, however, has restablished state control over Russian television. We have only limited information on Russian programing, but Russian readers have provided some informtion.
Our information on Scottish tlevision is limited at this time. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and thus television developed as part of the stat owned British Broacsting Company (BBC). The BBC developed a policy of promoting regional broadcasting, although we have few details here. Commercial stations were eventully allowed to broadcast. We know of only a few British programs set in Scotland.
HBC has still limited information on South Aafrican television. We do know that because of the influence of the conservative Afrikanner movement, the country did not begin television broadcasting until the mid-1970s. Although this was years after TV began in other countries, the TV industry once established was one of the most modern in the wold. We do not know, for example, how the Afrikanns/English language split was dealt with. Until the fall of Apartaid, TV was mostly for and about white people. Since 1992 blacks have begun appearing on television. Presumbly more English programing is now on television. There are many tribal languages, but so many that quality programs can not be in each language. Thus English is a kind of lengua franca. At this time we have information on only one program, Die Swart Kat (mid-1980s).
No information available.
Swedish television was for many years dominated by Sveriges Television (SVT), the state-owned Swedish National Television Company. There is also TV4, a Swedish TV broadcasting company which is the only significant competitor to the state-owned SVT-net. We have no information on Swedish programming. Hopefully a Swedish reader will provide some information.
Television was ready to be lauched in the early 1940s, but was delayed by World War II. Significant programing did not begin until the late 1940s and large numbers of Americans did not buy TV sets until the early 50s. Our first one had a magnifying glass over the picture tibe to inbcrease the picture size. Early TV shows in the late 1940s and early 50s oftem had boys dressed in short pants. By the mid-1950s, however, the main characters on series virtually never appeared in short pants. Blue jeans were the order of the day. At first boys appearing on TV shows like quiz shows or in the audience on mainstays like Howdy Doody dressed very formally. An excellent view of post-war boys clothing in America is available in: Dennis the Menace (1950s), Lassie (1950s-60s), Leave it to Beaver (1950s), My Three Sons (1960s), the Andy Grifith Show (1960s), Silver Spoon (1970s), the Brady Brunch (1970s), "Dave's World" (1980s), Home Improvements (1990s), Malcomn in the Middle (2000s). We stress that we are only listing some of the best programs here, but all pertinent programs are listed in the alphabetical section.
Clark, Zsuzsanna. "Oppressive and grey? No, growing up under communism was the happiest time of my life," Mail Online (October 17, 2009).
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