The 1974 10.30pm closedown

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Simon Coward
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Simon Coward »

rosalyn wrote:I recall my mother watching afternoon repeats of Public Eye (circa 1973 around 2.25 in the afternoon) and it being a mixture of colour and black and white episodes. Would I be right here?
I think they were mostly 3.25 in the afternoon (though it might depend on the region) but yes, there were afternoon repeats of series five in April, May and June 1973. The series had been partly hit by the colour strike in 1970/71 hence both colour and b/w - it wasn't a mixture of different seasons.

At the time, this would have been the most recent PE series, aside from the one which had finished its first (evening) run a month or so before the repeats started.
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by doubleM »

As to Timeslip

It was episodes 1-4 of 'The Day of the Clone' that were only produced in black and white (and have the 'An ATV Production' rather than 'An ATV Colour Production' end board).

All the others were made in colour - but many were transmitted in black and white during the debut broadcasts as broadcast dates fell within the period of the colour strike. These would have been shown in colour (apart from the episode listed above) for the repeat run a couple of years later, irrespective on errors listed in TV Times or the newspapers.
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Bernie »

Television Centre used to be on the same separate power feed as Hammersmith Hospital, and as the hospital was exempt from rota cuts, so was TC.

I worked as a cameraman on the opera Falstaff, with Sir Geraint Evans. The lighting man, Bob Wright, was pioneering the use of big soft lights (for the BBC which was a bit behind the film world). Instead of the multiple hard lighting style inherited from the theatre, he put up a full size white cyc down one side of the studio - 100ft by 50ft. Big! He lit that with a large number of 5k lights which he could fade up and down as a group, thus creating the most amazing sunrise.

When the lights were full up, all three phase meters were at maximum - a quarter of a megawatt. After the show was over, we opened the big doors that you used to be able to see from Wood Lane - and Shepherd's Bush was in absolute darkness.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by rosalyn »

doubleM wrote:As to Timeslip

It was episodes 1-4 of 'The Day of the Clone' that were only produced in black and white (and have the 'An ATV Production' rather than 'An ATV Colour Production' end board).

All the others were made in colour - but many were transmitted in black and white during the debut broadcasts as broadcast dates fell within the period of the colour strike. These would have been shown in colour (apart from the episode listed above) for the repeat run a couple of years later, irrespective on errors listed in TV Times or the newspapers.
Wasn't a small segment of one of the episodes of 'The Day of the Clone' recorded in colour, but the rest had to be recorded in black and white because of the strike? I am sure I've read that somewhere? And then the whole thing had to be transmitted in black and white as a result? I think it might be mentioned in the excellent 'Behind the Barrier' documentary?

I watched the repeats on Thames TV in 1974. They were on Fridays at 4.25pm and 'The Day of the Clone' episodes 1-5 were transmitted in black and white in London, and only episode 6 was transmitted in colour. I believe you can confirm this by looking at the DVD if you have it, that only episode 6 has the 'An ATV Colour Production' end board.

We could also get long distance, fuzzy black and white reception of Anglia back then on our small portable television, and they showed the same episode of Timeslip as Thames, but nearly an hour later at 5.15pm. So I'd sit and watch it twice most weeks. Fun days. :-)

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by rosalyn »

Simon Coward wrote: I think they were mostly 3.25 in the afternoon
Thanks Simon. That sounds more like it as I used to rush home from school to sit and watch Public Eye with my mum.
School ended at 3.30, and I would often miss the start of it and she would tell me what I had missed. I wouldn't have seen it at all if it had been on at 2.25.

A year later and I was at the big secondary school which was further away and it was a train or bus ride home which took longer. My frustration then was missing whole episodes of The Saint, The Champions, and Linda Thorson Avengers. I believe there was also an afternoon run of Callan in 1974? I managed to catch some of them in school holidays, or during the inevitable day or two off while being ill with flu or some such ailment. I recall there was considerably more black and white content on back then, and even some of the commercials were transmitted in black and white alongside colour ones when we first had our colour TV set.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Focus II »

doubleM wrote:As to Timeslip

It was episodes 1-4 of 'The Day of the Clone' that were only produced in black and white (and have the 'An ATV Production' rather than 'An ATV Colour Production' end board).

All the others were made in colour - but many were transmitted in black and white during the debut broadcasts as broadcast dates fell within the period of the colour strike. These would have been shown in colour (apart from the episode listed above) for the repeat run a couple of years later, irrespective on errors listed in TV Times or the newspapers.
Yes indeed. From the original transmission dates it would seem, "The Year of the Burn Up" was originally transmitted in B&W. I remember seeing it in colour in 1974.

The last episode of "Day of a Clone" was definitely shown in colour in 1974.

As to why an episode of "General Hospital" was repeated in B&W I can only guess it must have used less power to transmit in B&W. I also remember an edition of "Blue Peter" being shown in B&W.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Mark »

Focus II wrote: I also remember an edition of "Blue Peter" being shown in B&W.
That would be the one that was done at Lime Grove, when there wasn't a studio available at Television Centre, and they just made it to the end before it went Kaputt!
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Al Dupres
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Al Dupres »

Mark wrote:
Focus II wrote: I also remember an edition of "Blue Peter" being shown in B&W.
That would be the one that was done at Lime Grove, when there wasn't a studio available at Television Centre, and they just made it to the end before it went Kaputt!
The Blue Peter of 13-6-74 was shown in black & white on BBC-2 due to World Cup football on BBC-1. An explanation is given at the start that they're in a studio that, as Peter says: "which can only transmit in black and white", to which John adds: "so, don't start adjusting your set, 'cos there's nothing wrong with it".They then explain that the film inserts in this programme will be transmitted in colour.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Focus II »

That's fascinating Al. I only saw the programme towards the end so didn't see any film footage.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Bernie »

Presumably from studio G which was never planned for colourization. I would have thought the other two would have been done by then.

G just sat there for some years till they built Breakfast Time's dubbing suite in one end. And when Pres A was about to be rebuilt - pic right - it was first set up in G at the far end, exactly as it would be a TC but without the walls. It meant we could go in and sit at the mixer and say "could we have the monitor stack six inches higher please".

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Brock »

Bernie wrote:Presumably from studio G which was never planned for colourization. I would have thought the other two would have been done by then.

G just sat there for some years till they built Breakfast Time's dubbing suite in one end.
BBC television went all-colour in late 1969, and Breakfast Time started in early 1983 - so the BBC had a studio that sat virtually empty for over thirteen years? Were there any plans for it before Breakfast Time came along?

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Bernie »

It took a good while to colourise all the studios, nobody threw a big colour switch.

Martin Kempton has done the most research on all this - see
http://www.tvstudiohistory.co.uk/old%20 ... s.htm#lime

As he says, studio G just sat there for some years till they built the dubbing theatre on the floor at the narrow end near the front of the building. There were enough studios, so it was redundant just like studio F next door, which the BBC had always used as a scenery store.

In fact, at that time the BBC bosses were madly building studios all over the country for political reasons. They had to put shows in them, so the highly efficient London operation was gradually more and more diluted to show how "regional" the BBC was.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Brock »

Thanks for that link, Bernie. Here's Martin's version of the story:
Martin Kempton wrote:Studio G was used to cover for studios E and D respectively during 1970 when they were being colourised. After that, for a few years it didn't actually close - it just gently faded away. For a while it was used occasionally as a training studio. It was then officially closed around 1972 although the equipment remained installed.

However, due to some industrial action at TVC affecting setting and striking scenery in that building it was coaxed back into action once again in 1974 for a Blue Peter. (This date has been confirmed by a sound assistant and cameraman who both worked on the show.) Apparently, towards the end of transmission a puff of smoke was seen in the apparatus room and the pictures went to black. The show ended with sound only and the studio was never used again. I remember exploring the deserted floor and the old control rooms in 1976 soon after first joining the Beeb and rather spooky it was too.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by JezR »

One oddity was that on 23 January 1974 ITV was down for the 10:20pm closedown, but to accommodate a Labour Party Political Broadcast News at Ten would have to be reduced to a 10 minute bulletin. Journalists voted to strike in protest over this decision. In the end Harold Wilson waived his right for the PPB to go out on ITV restoring the already truncated 20 minute NAT to go ahead as previously scheduled.

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Mark »

JezR wrote:One oddity was that on 23 January 1974 ITV was down for the 10:20pm closedown, but to accommodate a Labour Party Political Broadcast News at Ten would have to be reduced to a 10 minute bulletin. Journalists voted to strike in protest over this decision. In the end Harold Wilson waived his right for the PPB to go out on ITV restoring the already truncated 20 minute NAT to go ahead as previously scheduled.
The "NAT" was probably equally as good as the "PPB" for them, if not better!
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

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Brock wrote:Thanks for that link, Bernie. Here's Martin's version of the story:
Martin Kempton wrote:Studio G was used to cover for studios E and D respectively during 1970 when they were being colourised. After that, for a few years it didn't actually close - it just gently faded away. For a while it was used occasionally as a training studio. It was then officially closed around 1972 although the equipment remained installed.

However, due to some industrial action at TVC affecting setting and striking scenery in that building it was coaxed back into action once again in 1974 for a Blue Peter. (This date has been confirmed by a sound assistant and cameraman who both worked on the show.) Apparently, towards the end of transmission a puff of smoke was seen in the apparatus room and the pictures went to black. The show ended with sound only and the studio was never used again. I remember exploring the deserted floor and the old control rooms in 1976 soon after first joining the Beeb and rather spooky it was too.
Mmm...slightly confusing!

There were actually two editions of "Blue Peter" TX'd in B/W, 13/6/74 and 24/6/74, ( according to the "BP" archives Book) the first was knocked off by the World Cup, but the second was back on BBC 1 and had the apology for B/W.

The only "BP" that was affected by the scenery strike was on 22/5/74, when it TX'd in colour from TC3 on the "Doctor Who" set ( for "Robot").

There's a reference in the "BP" book, (TC5?) but it was definitely Lime Grove, TC5 had been done by then, the previous year wasn't it?
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Brock »

JezR wrote:One oddity was that on 23 January 1974 ITV was down for the 10:20pm closedown, but to accommodate a Labour Party Political Broadcast News at Ten would have to be reduced to a 10 minute bulletin. Journalists voted to strike in protest over this decision. In the end Harold Wilson waived his right for the PPB to go out on ITV restoring the already truncated 20 minute NAT to go ahead as previously scheduled.
I'm surprised that the Labour Party agreed to this - after all, it was the Conservative government's decision to impose the early closedown, so it could have been seen as an act of political censorship. Couldn't News at Ten have been moved to an earlier slot that evening?

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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Mark »

I was looking at a very interesting news clipping recently from the Telegraph (15/2/72) on the subject of both BBC and ITV being worried that if episodes are missed due to the power cuts, serials may never recover their present audiences.

There is mention of using a resume', before shows like "Doctor Who", "Crossroads" and "Coronation Street", (I remember those) but the last episode of "The Moonstone" would not be repeated, despite being hit.

Interestingly, it mentions Granada were likely to be asked to repeat the final episode of "A Family At War", due to be screened the following night, which obviously suggests it was due to be hit, but if it was repeated, fairly quickly, it would be too late for the TV Times to list it ( I don't recall seeing it listed) but it would perhaps have been in the papers listings?
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

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Mark wrote:I was looking at a very interesting news clipping recently from the Telegraph (15/2/72) on the subject of both BBC and ITV being worried that if episodes are missed due to the power cuts, serials may never recover their present audiences.

There is mention of using a resume', before shows like "Doctor Who", "Crossroads" and "Coronation Street", (I remember those) but the last episode of "The Moonstone" would not be repeated, despite being hit.

Interestingly, it mentions Granada were likely to be asked to repeat the final episode of "A Family At War", due to be screened the following night, which obviously suggests it was due to be hit, but if it was repeated, fairly quickly, it would be too late for the TV Times to list it ( I don't recall seeing it listed) but it would perhaps have been in the papers listings?
There's an edition of A Family at War listed at 8pm on Wednesday, 8 March 1972 and it's identified in the Daily Express as "Yielding Place to New". It's not entirely clear whether this was fully networked - the TV listings in the Financial Times make it appear as though it was but, in majority of the papers I can consult, Channel and Southern (and Ulster according to The Times) are listed as showing Cade's County in that slot. According to the Financial Times and the Daily Mirror (but not according to The Times and the Daily Express) Southern had an edition of AFAW scheduled at 11pm on Monday, 6 March.

Some of the confusion might be down to regional listings only showing the differences between their schedule and Thames's and I guess it's possible that these may not have been updated correctly if the repeat changed whether or not the region was following London.

I remember the power cuts: one caused me to miss the last episode of Tightrope.
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Re: The 1974 10.30pm closedown

Post by Mark »

Thanks for that, so it was run again fairly soon after, must have caused a few scheduling headaches sorting it all out.
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