"You know the Tonight programme that comes on after the news?"

Tonight was a BBC news magazine progamme, launched in February 1957, that quickly established itself as a nightly regular after the news and before the main entertainment programmes of the evening. The programme, presented by Cliff Michelmore, served up a mix of topical issues and current affairs, with some light-hearted items including a regular topical calypso by the Guyanese singer Cy Grant, the first black person to appear regularly on British television, and Robin Hall & Jimmy McGregor, a Scottish folk duo.Michelmore was frequently interrupted during the live programme by a telephone on his desk warning him of technical problems such as an item he was about to introduce being unavailable, but he took it all in his stride, helping to establish the relaxed and informal atmosphere that was the hallmark of the programme. It was this that made it so popular in the generally stiff atmosphere of BBC television at that time. Michelmore typically signed off the programme each evening with the words, "That's all for tonight. The next Tonight will be tomorrow night. Until then, good night."

Cliff Michelmore
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumCliff Michelmore - Credit: Terry Guntrip
Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumRobin Hall and Jimmy McGregor - Credit: Terry Guntrip


Here's a typical edition from 1959, including a report from Fyfe Robertson, the principal Tonight reporter mentioned in this story.