At the Birmingham studios, I found myself working with an Australian producer called Reg Watson. Reg had arrived in this country a year or so earlier, joined ATV and soon became one of our busiest and best producers.
Shortly after the Midlands service began I was asked to produce an informal tea time programme presenting the stars appearing in the Midland theatres in a chatty setting. As one critic described it ‘A lively brew of theatrical anecdotes, chatter and tittle-tattle is Tea with Noele Gordon.‘
Yes, Tea with Noele Gordon soon became the rendezvous of the stars. Not only did they come from Midland theatres but many came from London to appear in the show. It began in the Midlands but soon spread across the ITV network.
Unfortunately, due to various time limitations [the TV regulator allocated only so many hours per week that ITV could transmit, these hours were relocated to the later evening where advertising could be more lucrative], afternoon programmes had to be dropped.
In September 1956, while Tea with Noele Gordon was still running, we began Lunch Box.
Again we were networked for a time, but now the programme is enjoyed by viewers in the Midlands only. [ITV regions began making their own version of the show rather than taking ATV’s so each region could add ‘local content’].
The success of Lunch Box still continues to stagger me. Philip Dorté, ATV Midlands’ Controller, is as proud of Lunch Box as if it were a live, lusty young son – and, I suppose in many ways it is. He never fails to ring up after watching some new presentation or gimmick, and, when we did the usual show from the studios on Christmas Day, he was there joining us.
We are a happy team; Jerry Allen and his Trio, David Galbraith, Eula Parker – and the other girl singers who appear in Lunch Box – Reg Watson and myself. Day in, day out, week in, week out, we prepare for only 45 minutes of casual entertainment. Sometimes I leave the programme for a day or two for other duties, such as my recent trip to Cyprus, but I’m always glad to be back in ‘Studio A’ and once again become ‘Auntie Nollie’ for viewers.
From TV World, ATV Listings Magazine, January 13th, 1958.