11 Shows That Defined Early Days Of Television
Since it was introduced in Ghana 58 years ago, television has been graced by many shows still cast in the minds of Ghanaians who had the pleasure of seeing them.
Through current affairs, discovery, lifestyle, cooking shows, sports, and children’s programmes, television has encouraged cultural curiosity beyond people’s homes.
Ghanaian audiences, just like others worldwide, have cherished television over the years, even when the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Ghana Television (GTV) was the monopoly.
But Ghana has come a long way from analogue black-and-white screens to the coloured digital television experience.
With about 156 tv stations licensed to operate in the country currently, viewers are spoilt for choice.
Now, viewers spend hours glued to their screens watching shows like Di Asa, Ghana’s Most Beautiful, and Date Rush.
Some are still stuck on the memories of using car battery-powered television sets to watch their favorite Cantatas, Inspector Bediakos and By the Fire Sides.
But before these shows became the talk of the town, some shows ruled the screens in the 1970s and 1980s.
As part of the Ghana Month Diary, The Ghana Report takes you down memory lane and brings to you some of the television programs that held viewers spellbound in the early days of television in Ghana.
- Talking Point
‘Talking Point’, which still airs on GTV, is the longest-running talk show on Ghanaian television.
Since it started in the early 1970s, the show has been hosted by big names such as Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Egbert Faibille Jnr, Nana Ohene Ntow, Yaw Buaben Asamoah, Ernest Thompson, Selasi Adjorlolo, Ebenezar Amaabeng, and JOT Agyemang among others.
The show has, over the years, been the driving force for discussing policy and shaping public opinion.
With the influx and proliferation of television and chat shows, ‘Talking Point’ seemed to have lost steam, especially with the youth.
- Osofo Dadzie
This was a top-rated television drama series aired on GTV in the 1970s and 1980s, especially between 1985 and 1989.
It was performed by the Osofo Dadzie group, a drama and concert group that was very popular in Ghana at the time of the series.
The broader objective of Osofo Dadzie was to “expose the evils of Ghanaian society, ” including political corruption, greed, nepotism, and bribery.
They also selected the most appropriate songs to incorporate into the story, often changing the lyrics to suit the context.
Osofo Dadzie drama was performed in the Akan language. The actors mainly spoke Twi, Fante, and Akuapem.
Some notable characters were Osofo Dadzie (Nathaniel Frimpong Manso), Super OD (Asonaba Kwaku Darko), Kwadwo Kwakye, Fred Addae, Bee Kissi, Mercy Ofei, and SK Oppong.
The theme song for the program was “Woyaya” (Wɔyaya in Ga meaning “We are going”), which was written by Teddy Osei and Sol Amarfio of Osibisa, a popular Ghanaian Afro-rock band. This tune became synonymous with the Osofo Dadzie programme in Ghana.
- Obra Drama
Obra, which translates to life in Akan, was a Ghanaian television drama series very popular in the country in the 1980s.
It dominated the primetime Sunday evening entertainment period for years on GTV.
The theme tune for the series, also titled Obra, was composed and performed by late Ghanaian legend Nana Kwame Ampadu.
The original cast included David Dontoh (Ghanaman), Grace Omaboe (Maame Dokono), and Joe Eyison (Station Master).
Other cast members include Oklu, Charles Adu Armah, Emily Brown, Band .K. Afandoh, Esi Kom, and Amankwaa Ampofo, who worked in the languages department of GBC at the time. The creation of Obra was inspired by Jerry John Rawlings who wanted an alternative to the Osofo Dadzie group.
- Villa Kakalika
Villa Kakalika was one of the most sought-after TV soaps on GTV in the 1970s. It starred actors such as Rama Brew, who thrilled the audience with her talent.
This show blended Ghanaian drama and horror that kept children awake at night.
- Weekend Music Rendezvous
This was a weekend music show that rocked the screens of Ghana’s first television station in the 1980s.
The show was hosted by the late Charlie Sam, who skillfully kept viewers on the edge of their seats while he introduced one music after the other.
Some popular music bands of the day thrilled the audience with electrifying music week after week on the show.
- Embassy Double Do
The Embassy Pleasure Double Do, which was a fusion of beauty pageant and dance competition, aired on GTV in the 1980s and 1990s, brought tremendous entertainment to Ghanaians.
Dancers who participated in the competition thrilled television viewers with dazzling moves and sparkly unconventional outfits.
Embassy pleasure also featured musical performances from K.K. Kabobo to Slim Buster. The host of the event was usually Kwasi Kyei Darkwah, popularly called KKD, then a radio disc jockey at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.
Some of the show’s winners were Adjetey Sowah, and Alex Ofori, who won the national dance championships in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Subsequently, Terry Bright and Slim Buster also won the title.
Adjetey Sowah later proceeded to the world dance championship in London in 1986 and became the world dance champion.
Augustina Henaku, Afua Amoah Bonsu, and Dzidzo Abra Amoa were some of the beauties that took the crown on the show.
Many still remember Brigitte Dzogbenuku, who was Miss Ghana in 1990 and later became the presidential candidate for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).
- Music Miscellany
This show was a delight for music lovers. Music Miscellany was a choral music show that graced the GTV screens in the early days of Ghanaian television.
The eloquent Pikus Laryea, who presented the show, detailed every music piece to his audience after exhilarating performances by the invited choirs.
- Children’s Own
The children were never left behind in the early days of Ghanaian television as Children’s Own kept them entertained and educated.
It featured children from different schools who performed beautiful choral music, recited poems, choreographed dance routines, and other Ghanaian cultural activities.
Children’s Own became a tv ritual for parents and school-going children, especially those whose schools were invited to the show.
Tina Moses proudly and artfully steered the wheels of the show.
- Thursday Theatre
This drama show served as an avenue for students from the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) and the School of Performing Arts to showcase their acting prowess and entertain Ghanaian television lovers.
Unlike the Osofo Dadzies, which targeted the Ghanaian languages, the Thursday Theatre show was an English-speaking drama series on GTV.
The show featured some stellar performers who later became household names in the Ghanaian movie industry.
Some of these names are Albert Jackson Davis, Naana Gyamerah Addo, Edinam Atatsi, Mawuli Semevo, Brew Riverson Jnr, William Addo, Dzifa Glikpoe, and Sam Adjetefio.
Thursday Theatre, which later became TV Theatre was also known for its catchy montage, the Ghanaian patriotic song ‘We are All involved’.
- Jagger Pee Series
The show that got its name from the protagonist actor, Jagger Pee, actually called Abeiku Greener, was a drama series centered on the everyday life and tricks of the Ghanaian student in the 1980s.
The Jagger Pee series was set in a school and classroom environment.
This caught the fancy of a lot of GTV’s viewers since they could relate to the realistic, funny, and sometimes frustrating relationships between students, teachers, and head teachers in most schools.
It also featured the popular screen goddess Akofa Edjeani Asiedu, the late Abbey Okine who was the headteacher in the series, Mawuli Semevo, and Sydney Bugri.
- Hobby Time
Hobby Time was another children’s show that nurtured some of Ghana’s artists today.
The show featured a host of children guided in ways to make craftwork out of paper and cardboard.
Mr. Mike Amon Kwafo was the host of the show.