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Past Times

On This Day 1970: Andy Stewart was being un-PC at His Majesty’s, whisky prices were cut, but not really; the sun was out and the Royals were smiling at Crathie

Join me for a look back at our front pages on this day in 1970, neatly illustrating how half a century can completely change the way society thinks about certain things. reports.
Susy Macaulay
Monday August 24 1970 in the P&J.
Monday August 24 1970 in the P&J.

Monday August 24 1970 saw disappointing news for whisky-drinking readers of the Evening Express; the Royal Family looked radiant on their way to Crathie Kirk; Andy Stewart’s new show at His Majesty’s prompted embarrassment in the P&J reviewer; and there was potential for massive parental embarrassment with an inappropriate story placed right below the children’s corner.

Andy Stewart was in the middle of his summer season at His Majesty’s in Aberdeen, changing his act fortnightly.

The P&J reviewer, known only by the initials LG, found the new show hilarious, but felt he/she had to tippy-toe around one of the new sketches which had found its way into it.

They wrote: “I hope no-one was offended by the sketch ‘Silent Worship’… Certainly Andy Stewart and John Mulvaney were treading on dangerous ground with their take-off of the old couple at church — but they did it with such consummate brilliance that all one could do was laugh.”

A cheeky Andy Stewart in the 1970s. Image: ITV/Shutterstock

It turned out the new sketch featured Andy and John as an old couple attending church, dozing off, dropping peppermints and so on, which the concerned reviewer said ‘had the audience almost rolling down the aisles themselves.’

LG, if still with us, might weep these days at how political correctness hampers the artistic and comedic freedom of entertainers like the late lamented Andy.

Whisky prices to be cut!

The front page of the Evening Express boasted a very exciting headline designed to grab the attention of dram-drinkers, but within the article it was not quite such good news for locals.

Whisky prices to be cut! it trumpeted, no doubt persuading a good few folk to buy the paper off the stands to cheer themselves up that evening.

Alas no. The let-down came immediately. “Although three major independent distilling companies are cutting their Scotch whisky prices for a month, a nip of their brands is likely to cost the same in Aberdeen and North-east pubs and hotels.”

Oh. That’s the shine off that night, then.

The Royals attended Crathie Kirk

There’s been quite a change in how the Royal family react to being photographed when emerging from Crathie Kirk over half a century.

Whereas nowadays they often avoid facing the photographers and can look sad, distant or simply careworn, in 1970 everyone looked radiant.

Our reporter on the spot treated readers to a description of their clothing, the Queen in powder blue, the Queen Mother in aquamarine, the Duke of Edinburgh kilted, as were all the boys; Princess Anne in a lime-green coat and white safari-type hat.

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon photographed a few weeks earlier in June 1970 heading off on a tour of the former Yugoslavia. It was the first official visit by a member of the Royal family to a communist country.  Image: Bridgdon/Daily Mail/Shutterstock.

And reflective of the time before divorce hit the family on several fronts, there was Princess Margaret in gold brocade and her husband the Earl of Snowdon.

They were deeply tanned from a Mediterranean holiday, the reporter noted.

It was the first day of sunshine in a week (some things never change) and around 5,000 people turned out to watch the Royal cars go by on their way to attend Crathie church for the first time on that year’s Deeside holiday.

Whose bright idea was this?

Falling into the ‘What on earth were they thinking of?’ category, right below the Junior Corner Club, the bold headline SEX STRIKE.

The juniors had a delightful story to enjoy and a sweet educational strip about hedgehogs, as well as a Happy Birthday column and a camera contest to enter, which they would have no doubt been scrutinising most carefully.

I wonder how many parents had to field queries about the story immediately below about women in the US abstaining from sex that Wednesday to enforce a ‘women’s strike for equality’, and others who were doing ‘just the opposite’ during a ‘celebration of womanhood day’.

Mother of eight Helen Andelin was organising the celebration, and said: “If these liberationists aren’t careful, they’ll ruin men’s great respect for femininity.”

So much to drill into there, but fortunately not the place of this column.

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