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Sunday 24th May 1987 - The halfway point in the late Queen Elizabeth II's reign

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  • beccabear67
    I was working full time then (since October of 1986)... I was 19. Also I was trying to start a book importing company on a small scale but didn't find enough customers as I had thought I would. I had a prospectus printed up from which people could order things and I got two orders from that and one more later and then folded it. It didn't lose money but I couldn't see how I grow it enough. In two years I became a (very) small publisher and again felt lucky to break even roughly, but did get my first job working for a U.S. publisher (long-distance with regular pick ups via UPS service). That paid but not enough to leave my regular 'day' job. I kept doing things off and on, writing, illustration, sometimes paying and sometimes not for small publishers for a few more years.

    That summer my aunt and uncle from Holland stayed for a few weeks. That and the books business try are the two main things in my memory for that time.

    In October 1987 the Queen and Prince Philip visited and I believe I saw them in passing (at a bit of a distance) once at least without particularly trying to ( I was pretty busy working after all).
    Last edited by beccabear67; 15-09-2023, 18:39.

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  • George 1978
    Forgot to mention above that it was also interesting to note that the late Queen's first Prime Minster, Winston Churchill was born in 1874; while her 15th and last PM, Liz Truss was born in 1975, ten years after Churchill's death and over 100 years after Churchill's birth. Her 8th Prime Minister out of 15, Margaret Thatcher (who was the incumbent during the halfway point of Queen Elizabeth II's reign), was the most-average regarding their birth year, just over the half-way point in 1925 - in fact, the halfway point between those dates of birth is Sunday 29th March 1925, and Thatcher was born in that same year, albeit some six and a half months later.. A gap of 36,762 days lies between the births of Churchill and Truss.

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  • Richard1978
    Thanks for putting the effort into this thread.

    I can't really remember what I did that day, which would have been 2 days after my brother's 11th birthday, I certainly would have watched some of the TV mentioned.

    At the time I had recently moved schools so things were still settling down.

    The 1987 General Election was the first I remember well, as I was on holiday during the 1983 one.

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  • Sunday 24th May 1987 - The halfway point in the late Queen Elizabeth II's reign

    I have always been interested in patterns between various dates and match them up to see if there are an coincidences in them, and usually there are not. However, I was looking on the Time and Date website which measures the duration between one date and another in days and weeks, (or even minutes and seconds if you like), just after starting the late Queen Elizabeth II's obituary thread (she did reign for 25,782 days, but she had passed away on the 25,783rd day of her reign, hence that number on that thread) - I worked that day out myself courtesy of that website before the media mentioned how many days that she reigned. I have also worked it, halving that total that the halfway point in her reign was actually on Sunday 24th May 1987, I kid you not. It was within DYR territory, and so I decided to take a closer look at that date. The 1980s was a decade of stability - the same Prime Minister serving throughout that decade, as well as monarch, unlike September 2022! Robert Runcie had a good go as well, occupying Lambeth Palace from 1980 for the remainder of the decade. Reagan was the White House incumbent from January 1981 to 1989.

    I have to say that I do not remember that date at all, and so I had a closer look at what was happening at that time - no doubt that I would have got bored like I used to do as a child on Sundays in the 1980s and wanted to go to the Arboretum, Colwick Park or stay in and play board (or was it bored?) games instead. I was in the second year (i.e. Year 5 in new money) at school at the time, although I wasn't actually at school on that same day, being a Sunday of course. In fact, I wasn't at school at all for the following week by virtue of the half-term break which was led on Monday by the Spring Bank Holiday.

    Margaret Thatcher was her 8th (of a possible 15th) and was her late Majesty's "halfway point" Prime Minister as well as being her longest serving and first female PM - she was busy enough as it was preparing for her third General Election in just over two weeks' time. It was the Sunday which was the day before that year's Spring Bank Holiday and so it was an extension to the final weekend in May in most "non-jubilee" years. Perhaps one could remember what the Sunday roast tasted like or even what the local vicar said in church that morning? Perhaps not. I decided to look at what probably would have happened on that day nevertheless. Knowing my luck I was probably interested in the Fun Day cartoon strips towards the back of the News of the World's Sunday magazine (remember The Lockhorns? or even Small Talk by Roger?), and for once, not having to think about school the following morning due to the Bank Holiday.

    Television for example: the dreary sluggish Sunday schedules dominate. BBC 1 started up with Open University programmes, but only two hours' worth unlike its younger counterpart. After, we had some OU for the under fives in the shape of Play School - it had been going strong for 23 years but it was due to be replaced by Playbus the following year. Various minority programmes take us through the morning; (my late father most likely had Dennis McCarthy's Sunday Show on BBC Radio Nottingham 103.8 instead while the Sunday dinner was cooking in the oven). Farming at lunchtime, and rather importantly due to the incoming General Election, an interview with Norman Tebbit for This Week, Next Week. Vivian White poses questions to the then Conservative Party chairman. Then at 2.00 pm, the programme that I have always dreaded on Sunday afternoons as a kid: the EastEnders omnibus - if it wasn't worth seeing on weekday evenings then I am damned to see it on a weekend afternoon (it was even the first thing that my family recorded when they got a VCR for the first time a couple of years later when we went out to a theme park for the day). The film The Heroes of Telemark (usually incognito via ITV regional variations) followed the East-End depression; Animals (not Antiques) Roadshow followed that. After the news, Thora Hird with the Songs of Praise substitute Praise Be! A repeat of the sub-Pointin's satire Hi-De-Hi turned up at 7.15 pm.

    Then we had Mastermind - still going strong under new ownership with Clive Myrie, but this was the original with the late Magnus Magnusson; the famous sub-Ikea black swivel chair and his "I've started, so I'll finish" catchphrase. One brainbox even decided on the works of CS Forster for his specialised subject. After the news, the "most exciting" Sunday programme, (perhaps?) That's Life! starring Esther Rantzen of course (who had recently founded children's charity Childline), and the incumbent "Nancies" were former actor and long-standing co-presenter Gavin Campbell; along with Adrian Mills; a usually bow-tied Grant Baynham, and Doc Cox doing the Cyril Fletcher segments of sub-Private Eye misprints, and had replaced Mollie Sugden who was unavailable due to filming an ITV series at the time. Cartoons at the end was by Rod Jordan as always. This was also around the time that the programme launched the campaign against concrete floors in children's playgrounds and was in favour of softer surfaces such as mats or woodchips like my local playground later had as a result. Cue Rantzen dropping a plate on a special rubber playground surface and the plate remains intact, while doing the same to a concrete surface and the plate smashes - a memory that has always been with me and it is something that I have always associated with 1980s That's Life! So, was it Heart of the Matter or Everyman that followed That's Life? Neither: we had Joanna Lumley had a guest on a special programme, telling us on what she thinks on whether there is life after death.

    BBC 2 had Open University all morning right up to 3.00 pm when Sunday Grandstand took over. Taking us up to the evening, Peter Seabrook and Alan Titchmarsh reflecting on that year's Chelsea Flower Show. That was followed by Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw; The Brighton Festival, and the film It Only Hurts When I Laugh, not to be confused with that early 1980s Yorkshire TV sitcom set in a hospital ward. That takes us to midnight.

    ITV starts with children's TV from TV-am along with David Frost on Sunday. Mainstream Children's ITV programmes commenced at 9.25 am with some regions such as Central showing Max the 2,000 Year Old Mouse, a cartoon about history in which my late father said it was all true and that it had all happened in the past. Over to the network for Disney's Gummi Bears. There was also a Sunday edition of Get Fresh has the Thompson Twins as guests which I had a single from them on my birthday that year - one can actually see at least part of that episode on YouTube as it was downloaded by someone a few weeks ago. Black Beauty gets a repeat, and then it's a chance to see a lesser-spotted Ulster TV programme on the network for Morning Worship when they had visited St Mark's Parish Church in Newtownards, Co Down.

    The afternoon was mostly gymnastics and athletics. Bullseye had finished for the summer, and in in its place, Joe Brown's one-series game show Show Me was in that slot, although Central didn't seem to show it, ironically enough (they were showing a football show with Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough). Highway was in the same place with Sir Harry Secombe doing a Rochester-upon-Medway visit for TVS. And then after Highway, a new series based on an obvious concept; finding the missing words in Tarby's Frame Game. Jimmy Tarbuck left Winner Takes All to host this new game show where couples had to guest the link between, for example, DOWNING and PARTY where the missing word would be STREET. It was a fact that "NATONAL HEALTH SERVICE" turned up on there once. Dreams Lost, Dreams Found co-starred future "Colonel Mustard in Cluedo" actor David Robb. And then after some ITN with Nicholas Owen (I didn't know he was around as early as this), a South Bank Show special on Laurence Olivier. Central was treated to an early pre-Joan Ferguson episode of Prisoner: Cell Block H, a la the repeats in the same slot in 1993 and 1994.

    Channel 4 had no breakfast television service just yet, but they had The World This Week; Superchamps; The Owl Service; Network 7 (made by Border, methinks with Janet Street-Porter?). The Pocket Money Programme which I vaguely remember and I assume that it was a sub-pun on BBC 2's The Money Programme, although "Pocket" wasn't on nearly as much as its BBC counterpart. Laurence Oliver also gets around on Channel 4 as well as around the South Bank, for he starred in the 1963 matinee Uncle Vanya. A Woody Woodpecker cartoon follows Vanya; a documentary about musical instruments. Some swimming (did Mr Goodhew take part, I wonder?); a repeat of The World at War; Dance on 4: "Waterproof" (so not Swan Lake, methinks). Rounding off the evening with the 1943 film version of The Phantom of the Opera.

    So although we didn't know it until September 2022, we now know that was the the day which marked the halfway point in HM Queen Elizabeth II's reign - Sunday 24th May 1987. Who would have thought at the time, or even as late as August 2022?