Peter Snow will present a studio discussion talking to contemporaries of the former Prime Minister as they assess his reputation and political legacy.
The evening will also include a selection of archive programmes, including Wilson’s interview with Robin Day mere hours after becoming Labour Party leader, a Panorama on the 1964 Election campaign also featuring the Conservative leader Sir Alec Douglas Home and an extract from the 1975 European referendum of 1975, looking into whether to accept newly arranged terms with Brussels on Britain’s continuing membership.
For the first time since its original broadcast in 1971 a complete re-run of the highly controversial programme Yesterday’s Men will be shown. The programme looked at the response of the former Labour cabinet ministers to the previous year’s election defeat. At the time, critics including Wilson felt the programme was disrespectful to the politicians involved and the BBC undertook never to air the programme again in Harold Wilson’s lifetime.
It will be followed by The Making Of Yesterday’s Men, which features interviews with David Dimbleby and the producer Angela Pope, exploring and explaining the context around the original broadcast. The evening will conclude with Friday Night, Saturday Morning, Wilson’s turn as a chat show host after his retirement from politics, in which he interviews Question Time presenter Robin Day, impressionist Mike Yarwood and Winston Churchill, grandson of the war time Prime Minister.
Some of Harold’s social advances in his time in power include the legalisation of homosexuality, abolishing theatre censorship and the steps introduced to bring about racial equality and gender equality.
Harold Wilson Night, BBC Parliament, tomorrow night between 6pm and 11pm
[Reported by Mike Watkins: Pictured, Harold at the ATV Studios in Birmingham with actress Noele Gordon on the set of soap opera Crossroads]