Hearts of Gold

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For other uses, see Heart of Gold.
Hearts of Gold
Created by Esther Rantzen[1]
Directed by Robin Bextor
Malcolm Smith
Phil Chilvers (1990 Christmas special)[1]
Presented by Esther Rantzen
Michael Groth[2]
Carol Smillie
Theme music composer Lynsey de Paul
Producer(s) Jane Elsdon-Dew (1990 Christmas special)[1]
Nick Vaughan-Barratt[3]
Bryher Scudamore
Richard Woolfe
Original network BBC One
Original release 29 October 1988 (1988-10-29)[4] – 1996[5]

Hearts of Gold was a BBC television programme devised and presented by Esther Rantzen, with Michael Groth and Carol Smillie as co-presenters. Running for six years in the 1980s and 1990s, the programme commended members of the public for their good deeds.[6][7]

Rantzen devised the show in 1988.[8] The premise of the show was to commend those who had done good deeds to others. They would usually be tricked into appearing on the show using a practical joke, a device which some critics (such as The Independent's Geraldine Bedell) compared to Beadle's About.[9] Journalist Bedell explains that participants "are inviegled into the studio under false pretences and presented with gold hearts on blue ribbons while they wonder where to put themselves. (There is also a sub-Beadle segment in which Esther and chums dress up as folk in distress and wait for passers-by to come to their aid)."[9]

The theme song was written by Lynsey de Paul[10] and released as a single by Gold in 1988.[11]For some of its life, the show was filmed at The Fountain Studios in Wembley.[12]


  1. ^ a b c "Sunday 23 December". Radio Times. BBC Magazines. 267 (3497): 76. 22 December 1990 – 4 January 1991. 
  2. ^ Jones, Ian (2004). Morning Glory: A History of British Breakfast Television. Kelly. p. 151. ISBN 190305320X. 
  3. ^ Dyja, Eddie (1998). BFI film and television handbook. British Film Institute. p. 373. ISBN 0851706371. 
  4. ^ BROWN, CRAIG (31 October 1988). "The deadly peril of the big gusher". The Times. in a fit of exasperation on Saturday night, I turned on the television ... In the first of a new series called Hearts of Gold... 
  5. ^ The international who's who, 1997-98 (61 ed.). Europa Publications. 1997. p. 1240. ISBN 1857430220. 
  6. ^ "Rantzen's years in the limelight". BBC News. 16 June 2006. 
  7. ^ Karen Ross, Deniz Derman, eds. (2003). Mapping the margins: identity, politics, and the media. Hampton Press. ISBN 1572734213. 
  8. ^ Wynter Bee, Peter. People of the Day 2. People of the Day Limited. p. 97. ISBN 0954811011. 
  9. ^ a b Bedell, Geraldine (29 August 1993). "The end of life as we know it; After 21 years, That's Life! is coming off the air. It made Esther Rantzen into the people's champion. It also made her a powerful woman within the BBC, where her image is not so sunny. Esther knows the people, but do the people know her?". The Independent. 
  10. ^ Webber, Richard (21 April 2012). "WHATEVER HAPPENED TO... Lynsey de Paul". The Express. p. SATURDAY MAGAZINE;FEATURES; Pg. 19. 
  11. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Gold-Hearts-Of-Gold/release/3655183
  12. ^ "Fountain: A Brief History". Fountain Studios. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 

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