ITV regions question

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Simon36
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ITV regions question

Post by Simon36 »

Hi everyone,

I wonder if some kind soul can help me with this. It’s to assist me in chasing up some newsreel for research. Can anyone tell me which ITV region would you have been served by in 1971 if you lived in Lewes, Sussex or Camberley, Surrey. While I think the answers are obvious, I’m unsure of where the boundaries were. I’m assuming it’s Southern and Thames respectively, but just checking....

Also, does anyone know where Southern’s news archive is held, and if, for future reference, there exists a handy map of ITV regions?

Any help much appreciated.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Simon Coward »

For 405 lines, Camberley fell just inside the primary London region area and was in the outer, fringe, area for Southern. By late 1971 Camberley was definitely in Southern's 625-line area but before that it may have been touch and go whether it had reasonable 625-line reception at all.

Lewes was in Southern's area for both 405 and 625 line broadcasts and should have had good 625 line reception by 1970.
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Re: ITV regions question

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Simon Coward wrote:For 405 lines, Camberley fell just inside the primary London region area and was in the outer, fringe, area for Southern. By late 1971 Camberley was definitely in Southern's 625-line area but before that it may have been touch and go whether it had reasonable 625-line reception at all.

Lewes was in Southern's area for both 405 and 625 line broadcasts and should have had good 625 line reception by 1970.
Thanks, Simon, I appreciate that. Quite surprised that it wasn’t Thames through and through, actually. Would that apply to Pirbright too? Out of curiosity, did Thames stretch further west, ie did it cover the whole of Bucks and Berks?

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Re: ITV regions question

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Simon36 wrote:
Simon Coward wrote:For 405 lines, Camberley fell just inside the primary London region area and was in the outer, fringe, area for Southern. By late 1971 Camberley was definitely in Southern's 625-line area but before that it may have been touch and go whether it had reasonable 625-line reception at all.

Lewes was in Southern's area for both 405 and 625 line broadcasts and should have had good 625 line reception by 1970.
Thanks, Simon, I appreciate that. Quite surprised that it wasn’t Thames through and through, actually. Would that apply to Pirbright too? Out of curiosity, did Thames stretch further west, ie did it cover the whole of Bucks and Berks?
I can answer about Berkshire without having to look anything up because that's where I used to live. The eastern part of the county was officially in London's primary transmission area for 405-lines and where we lived, not far from Reading - about midway from east to west in the county, we had perfectly good London reception too even though officially we were in the secondary area. If you carried on westwards you'd soon be able to get as good ATV midlands reception as you could London and I know a few people at my primary school were in midlands households rather than London households.

Different story with 625. Our 625-line reception was just about watchable but was pretty noisy. Once the Hannington transmitter was in operation our Southern reception was far, far better and so that became our primary service though we kept both aerials and could switch between the two. Further east and no doubt London reception would pick up, though Hannington might also be an option.

The south end of Buckinghamshire would have been London through-and-through I think, but by the time you got as far up as Aylesbury you'd be officially inside ATV midlands' area for both 405 and 625 lines, though I wouldn't be at all surprised if most houses could opt for London if they preferred. Much further north than that and you might just be midlands only.

As for Pirbright, I think it's close enough to Camberley that it would have followed the same route, though as with any place located on the edges, reception may be down to local geographical features.

One other thing: when asking about counties, do bear in mind that various boundaries were redrawn in 1974. Contemporary references from 1971 won't be referring to the counties as they are now. Berkshire in particular gained new ground at the eastern end from Buckinghamshire (e.g. Slough) but lost at its western end to Oxfordshire (e.g. Didcot). I've been doing my best to answer based on the boundaries as they are today.
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Re: ITV regions question

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Simon Coward wrote:
Simon36 wrote:
Simon Coward wrote:For 405 lines, Camberley fell just inside the primary London region area and was in the outer, fringe, area for Southern. By late 1971 Camberley was definitely in Southern's 625-line area but before that it may have been touch and go whether it had reasonable 625-line reception at all.

Lewes was in Southern's area for both 405 and 625 line broadcasts and should have had good 625 line reception by 1970.
Thanks, Simon, I appreciate that. Quite surprised that it wasn’t Thames through and through, actually. Would that apply to Pirbright too? Out of curiosity, did Thames stretch further west, ie did it cover the whole of Bucks and Berks?
I can answer about Berkshire without having to look anything up because that's where I used to live. The eastern part of the county was officially in London's primary transmission area for 405-lines and where where we lived, not far from Reading - about midway from east to west in the county, we had perfectly good London reception too even though officially we were in the secondary area. If you carried on westwards you'd soon be able to get as good ATV midlands reception as you could London and I know a few people at my primary school were in midlands households rather than London households.

Different story with 625. Our 625-line reception was just about watchable but was pretty noisy. Once the Hannington transmitter was in operation our Southern reception was far, far better and so that became our primary service though we kept both aerials and could switch between the two. Further east and no doubt London reception would pick up, though Hannington might also be an option.

The south end of Buckinghamshire would have been London through-and-through I think, but by the time you got as far up as Aylesbury you'd be officially inside ATV midlands' area for both 405 and 625 lines, though I wouldn't be at all surprised if most houses could opt for London if they preferred. Much further north than that and you might just be midlands only.

As for Pirbright, I think it's close enough to Camberley that it would have followed the same route, though as with any place located on the edges, reception may be down to local geographical features.

One other thing: when asking about counties, do bear in mind that various boundaries were redrawn in 1974. Contemporary references from 1971 won't be referring to the counties as they are now. Berkshire in particular gained new ground at the eastern end from Buckinghamshire (e.g. Slough) but lost at its western end to Oxfordshire (e.g. Didcot). I've been doing my best to answer based on the boundaries as they are today.
Excellent, thank you so much. Every question answered! And yes, excellent point about county boundaries!

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Ian Wegg »

Simon36 wrote: ... for future reference, there exists a handy map of ITV regions?
The annual ITV Handbooks are a mine of technical information. Below are the transmitter maps from the 1971 edition.

~iw

Image

Image

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Focus II »

ATV transmitted on ch12H from Membury. The area was served by Southern Tv from Hannngton on UHF.

On VHF in South Wales viewers had the option of either Welsh or English programmes of the BBC and HTV, the latter giving a general service of English language Wales and West programmes.

Only the Welsh service was available on UHF.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Simon36 »

Excellent. Does anyone know where the Southern news archive is held by the way?

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by TonyCurrie »

Focus II wrote:ATV transmitted on ch12H from Membury. The area was served by Southern Tv from Hannngton on UHF.

On VHF in South Wales viewers had the option of either Welsh or English programmes of the BBC and HTV, the latter giving a general service of English language Wales and West programmes.

Only the Welsh service was available on UHF.
The 'General Service' was transmitted on UHF from Mendip

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Focus II »

Simon36 wrote:Excellent. Does anyone know where the Southern news archive is held by the way?
No idea sadly. You Tube has some, "Southern News Extra" recordings after, "News at Ten" complete with the catchy theme tune. There's the start of "Scene South East" as well. I was surprised they used the same theme as "Report West" from HTV West for that.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Focus II »

TonyCurrie wrote:
The 'General Service' was transmitted on UHF from Mendip
From what I remember the opening of the Mendip UHF transmitter in 1970 allowed for a West of England service exclusively on UHF. The "General Service" on ch10 and 8 (Bath relay) was primarily HTV West programmes and continuity with a few exceptions. A good example is they would show only Part 1 of, "Report West" with Part 2 occupied by the English language, "Report Wales" programme. The VHF General Service transmitters often showed Welsh language Schools programmes while HTV Mendip showed English ones.

The TVTimes listed what programmes would be shown on General, West and Wales, "E.g. HTV General Service and HTV West".

As late as 1972 some Welsh language programmes were transmitted exclusively on the Welsh VHF transmitters (including St.Hilary on ch7) with General, West and Cymru Wales UHF showing a different programme!

Unlike St.Hilary which transmitted the General Service on ch10 and Cymru/Wales on ch7 there was only the Cymru/Wales service available to viewers on UHF. Ditto with the BBC where Wenvoe ch5 transmitted BBC West on ch5 and Cymru on ch13.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Brock »

Focus II wrote: From what I remember the opening of the Mendip UHF transmitter in 1970 allowed for a West of England service exclusively on UHF. The "General Service" on ch10 and 8 (Bath relay) was primarily HTV West programmes and continuity with a few exceptions. A good example is they would show only Part 1 of, "Report West" with Part 2 occupied by the English language, "Report Wales" programme. The VHF General Service transmitters often showed Welsh language Schools programmes while HTV Mendip showed English ones.
There's more about this here: http://www.hhg.org.uk/tech.html

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Focus II »

Many thanks for the link Brock. I've seen the site before but could no longer find it.

One thing I do remember is HTV Wales and West had the same opening sequence ending with the animated "aerial" ident without the West or Cymru Wales addition. They showed several, "Transmitters in Service" slides with a full slide for the VHF transmitters.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Brock »

This collection of 1969 ITA coverage maps may also be of interest:

http://tx.retropia.co.uk/

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Focus II »

Thanks again Brock.
Bilsdale was originally allocated to YTV but given to TTT at the last minute.
YTV of course gained Belmont from Anglia tv in 1974.

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Re: ITV regions question

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Focus II wrote: Bilsdale was originally allocated to YTV but given to TTT at the last minute.
YTV of course gained Belmont from Anglia tv in 1974.
Didn't Bilsdale change regions at the same time as Belmont? Wikipedia says that it broadcast YTV from 1971-74 and Tyne Tees thereafter.

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Post by Brock »

Focus II wrote:There's the start of "Scene South East" as well. I was surprised they used the same theme as "Report West" from HTV West for that.
I've just watched the final edition of "Scene South East" from 1981, out of curiosity. You're quite right that the theme at the beginning is the same as the old theme for "Report West" (with good old Bruce Hockin!). But then, just before the commercial break, the presenter says "One thing that hasn't changed in sixteen years is the theme tune", and introduces the composer, who plays a completely different tune live in the studio - a jaunty little electric guitar number called "Zonk". This then reappears at the start of part two and at the end.

As I'm unfamiliar with regional TV in the south-east I'm rather confused. Did Scene South East have two theme tunes?

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Simon Coward »

Brock wrote:Didn't Bilsdale change regions at the same time as Belmont? Wikipedia says that it broadcast YTV from 1971-74 and Tyne Tees thereafter.
The 1971 ITV handbook lists Bilsdale as a Tyne Tees transmitter, coming on air later that year.
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Post by Brock »

Oh well, Wikipedia must be wrong then. Wouldn't be the first time!

I had somehow gained the impression that YTV was given Belmont as compensation for the loss of Bilsdale.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Focus II »

Quite often people assume Bilsdale was originally a YTV transmitter. Certainly info on the station always stated this was the case.

I lived in an area served from Bilsdale from 1973. It most certainly carried the programmes of TTT and BBC1 for the NE and Cumbria, Mike Neville presenting the "Look North" programme on BBC 1.

This led me to ask if Bilsdale ever transmitted YTV even if briefly. The answer was no. The ITV 1972 book published in 1971 seems to confirm that. I can only assume TTT was allocated at the last minute.

Certainly Bilsdale gives a remarkably good signal as far north North as South East Northumberland. Many aerials obstructed by the built up Newcastle City Centre to the South West look South to Bilsdale.

For a 500KW transmitter it gives the best coverage of any UHF transmitter from South Northumberland to Doncaster and probably beyond.

Understandably this caused great upset with YTV and could be instrumental in Trident TV being formed. As we know in 1974 Belmont was reallocated from Anglia to YTV which would have compensated somewhat.

Rumour has it they were talks of plans for Bilsdale to transmit both YTV and TTT but this never materialised.

In 1982 both TTT and YTV were granted franchises by the IBA on the condition they ran independently from Trident which is another story.

Certainly during the Trident era YTV and TTT were very independent of each other, an exception being during a strike at YTV around 1975 Emley Moor took the programmes of TTT including the, "Today at Six" news programme.

A rare occasion an adjacent ITV region gave programmes from another region.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Simon Coward »

Focus II wrote:Certainly during the Trident era YTV and TTT were very independent of each other, an exception being during a strike at YTV around 1975 Emley Moor took the programmes of TTT including the, "Today at Six" news programme.

A rare occasion an adjacent ITV region gave programmes from another region.
Interestingly, before Trident a few of Yorkshire's programmes seem to have been made at Tyne Tees' studios.

One example is Jokers Wild, where some editions of the first series have Tyne Tees VT clocks at the start (which are preserved on Network's release).
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Re: ITV regions question

Post by doubleM »

Simon Coward wrote: Interestingly, before Trident a few of Yorkshire's programmes seem to have been made at Tyne Tees' studios.
... and well after Trident, some editions of 'Countdown' in the late Richard Whiteley era were also recorded at Tyne Tees in Newcastle.

On a similar note I think one or more 'It'll Be Alight on the Night' (still with Denis Norden) were taped at the Northam studios of Meridian in Southampton (the old Southern TV centre) rather than at LWT. I have a memory of it being mentioned onscreen.
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Post by Brock »

doubleM wrote:'It'll Be Alight on the Night'
That well-known show for arsonists?

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Simon36 »

Brock wrote:
doubleM wrote:'It'll Be Alight on the Night'
That well-known show for arsonists?

It’s a cracker!

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by rosalyn »

Simon36 wrote:Excellent. Does anyone know where the Southern news archive is held by the way?
Officially, it wasn't sold to TVS when Southern's franchise ended, and then seemed to mysteriously disappear into a black hole.

However, some of it (mostly 16mm pix and track) turned up at the Northam studios (the most likely place for it to turn up) shortly before Meridian vacated a few years ago.

This has made available images of a few historical events/interview clips to be broadcast again on 'Meridian Tonight' or 'ITV News Meridian' as and when they've needed them.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Simon36 »

rosalyn wrote:
Simon36 wrote:Excellent. Does anyone know where the Southern news archive is held by the way?
Officially, it wasn't sold to TVS when Southern's franchise ended, and then seemed to mysteriously disappear into a black hole.

However, some of it (mostly 16mm pix and track) turned up at the Northam studios (the most likely place for it to turn up) shortly before Meridian vacated a few years ago.

This has made available images of a few historical events/interview clips to be broadcast again on 'Meridian Tonight' or 'ITV News Meridian' as and when they've needed them.
The name “northern studios” doesn’t ring any bells with me.. where would you suggest I address a query about some 70s newsreel footage from the Southern archive? Any thoughts hugely appreciated!

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Post by Brock »

Simon36 wrote:
rosalyn wrote: However, some of it (mostly 16mm pix and track) turned up at the Northam studios (the most likely place for it to turn up) shortly before Meridian vacated a few years ago.
The name “northern studios” doesn’t ring any bells with me
I think you misread "Northam studios". They were home to Southern, TVS and Meridian but have now been demolished:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Televisio ... outhampton

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by Focus II »

I understand something similar happened at HTV when they found film reels featuring John Betchamin made by TWW. They were broadcast as, "The Lost Betchamins" as a HTV production.

Wonder how they got around that?

I also remember film footage from TWW Reports featuring a young Bruce Hockin shown on CH4's "1001 Nights of Television".

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by JezR »

Bilsdale was originally allocated to YTV. However, TTT was in poor financial health in 1970 and the chairman informed the ITA that he couldn't see Tyne-Tees escaping bankruptcy if most of the viewers in Teeside and South Durham were to be captured by YTV. There were various discussion that proceeded through 1970 involving the ITA, YTV, TTT and Anglia, eventually resulting in Trident, which really neither TTT or the ITA were that happy about. It was in essence an advance rescue of TTT at the cost of becoming a very minor partner in a greater whole. So Bilsdale launched carrying TTT.

There was consideration in the 1974 review of using an available frequency to split the transmissions of Bilsdale to be TTT to the north and YTV to the south, but it would have involved a change of aerial for one side or the other and so didn't proceed.

Belmont of course posed similar problems, but the lobbying of local MPs there was unsuccessful in preventing it moving. What they did get were some local relays in Norfolk using in part the extra frequency not used at Bilsdale. Incidentally Belmont had always carried BBC from Leeds.

In the end over 30% of the viewers of YTV were located outside Yorkshire ... and a smaller percentage of viewers in Yorkshire were in another region.

After Trident was dissolved, there was quite a campaign mounted by YTV in North Yorkshire to get people to switch to Emley Moor where technically possible, along the lines of 'Real Yorkshire people watch Yorkshire Television'.

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Re: ITV regions question

Post by JezR »

Regarding the 405-line situation in Berks and Oxon, there are still to be seen in the likes of the older parts of Didcot and Oxford hefty Band III aerials pointed at Croydon, probably because they are too difficult to get down. The alternative in the first days of ITV was Lichfield, but that was fairly weak in Oxford (Sutton Coldfield for the BBC was better).

Abingdon stuck in the middle of this had a popular local cable operation that carried London, Midlands and Southern ITV.

Membury eventually provided good signals for nearly all, but the Abingdon cable company was finally killed off by the Oxford 625-line service.

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