The slow, golden transformation of our seasons into autumn isn't the only way in which life changed on this week back through the decades. Instead, our September 15-22 of yesteryear, were filled with exciting changes that overhauled our telly watching habits, soaring achievements that saw Brits very literally hit new heights and swinging sounds that have echoed out of our radios ever since.
September 22, 1955- the first independent TV channel launches
For 18 years the BBC dominated the telly waves until this week in 1955 when a new independent channel, ITA, suddenly fuzzed into focus on our screens. This innovation ushered in with it TV advertisements, the very first of which was for Gibbs SR toothpaste, followed later by ads for products from Cadbury's to Esso petrol. The first ITA show featured a real bumper evening of variety, including a round of boxing, an hour of drama excerpts, a news bulletin, a cabaret and a five-minute religious programme.
September 23, 1952- Charlie Chaplin returns to UK after 21 year absence
The son of the London music hall scene returned to cheering crowds on this week after a 21-year stay in America. Along with his wife Oona and their four children, Charlie Chaplin stepped off the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner ready to promote his latest film, Limelight, which told the story he knew all too well of life in the music hall in 1917. He said he was shocked to see the rebuilding of Waterloo Bridge but marvelled at the continuing beauty of the city where his incredible talent all began.
September 24, 1975- First Brits reach Everest
Britain officially reached new heights this week as Dougal Haston and Doug Scott became the first Brits to climb to the top of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest. The team of climbers reached the 29,028ft summit in record time and way ahead of schedule, persevering through numerous setbacks that had put a halt to their attempts previously. The climbers became recognised by the world and were even sent a letter of congratulations by Her Majesty the Queen.
September 27, 1968- 'Hair' opens in London
Anyone who'd ever had the impression that musicals were a quaint art form virtuously preserved by the 1950s was proved wrong by ‘Hair', the musical rocked by scandal. Previously kept under wraps by theatre censors, this ‘racy' musical, billed as an American tribal love-rock show, burst onto the West End this week just one day after theatre censorship was abolished. This ‘naughty', society-defying show, which divided audience and critical opinion, ran in London until 1972 following 1,742 performances.
September 26, 1964- Roy Orbison hits number 1 with 'Oh, Pretty Woman'
It might have been the track that helped immortalise our love of Julia Roberts and Richard Curtis in the film of the same name, but ‘Oh Pretty Woman' was an unforgettable tune that helped put Roy Orbisons' name on everyone's lips and had us all growling ‘Mercy' at every passer-by. This song was the last big hit for the ever sunglass-wearing star, but his talent and the toe-tapping beat of this, one of his biggest hits, lasted unquestionably for generations.