Birmingham & Black Country

Midlands Today 50th anniversary: Five great archive stories

BBC Midlands Today, one of Britain's oldest regional television news programmes, is celebrating 50 years of broadcasting.

Here's five great archive stories from across five decades.

How Bill charmed Brum

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Media captionOn a visit to Birmingham during the G8 summit, US President Bill Clinton wowed the locals with an impromptu lunch in the pub

In May 1998, then US president Bill Clinton flew to Birmingham for the G8 summit.

But while officials and dignitaries enjoyed fine dining at the official dinner, he opted for a pint and plate of chips in a Birmingham pub with June and Bill Scott, from Hall Green.

And you can always rely on the good people of Birmingham for honesty. One woman told the reporter: "He looks better on the TV really."


Rumble round the reservoir

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Media captionIn 1984, Muhammad Ali visited Birmingham and was mobbed by fans

Muhammad Ali has visited Birmingham several times, including in May 1984 when he came to pick up a tracksuit before a peace run round Edgbaston Reservoir.

Hundreds gathered and cars stopped for the three-time world heavyweight champion.

The visit came just months before the boxer was diagnosed with Parkinson's.


The men who chased birds

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Media captionA group of young lads from Birmingham were employed as scarecrows

These men were paid £50 a week to be human scarecrows in 1985. Midlands Today met them in Cannon Hill Park as they practised chasing off birds.

Asked why he had taken the job, one said: "It just sounded interesting and funny.

"But really it's a bit embarrassing."


Monaco in the Midlands

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Media captionIn August 1986 Birmingham held its first Formula 3000 Super Prix race

Birmingham held its first Formula 3000 Super Prix in August 1986. Thousands gathered to watch the drivers along the 2.6-mile city centre circuit.

Wet weather meant it didn't quite go to plan - the first race was ruined by torrential rain, causing spins, crashes and delays. But who crossed the line first? No-one - the cars were red flagged.

Four years later the last race took place and the event was abandoned altogether.


Midlands Today train

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Media captionBBC Midlands Today is British Rails first class 90 locomotive

To celebrate its 25th birthday, Midlands Today got its own train.

The new class 90 locomotive was launched by presenters David Davies and Kay Alexander on the intercity route between Birmingham and London.

Do you have a favourite Midlands Today moment? Maybe you've appeared in the programme yourself? Email us and share your thoughts.

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