ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

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Focus II
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ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Focus II »

Seems many programmes made during the colour strike remain on their original transmission tapes. I know they re-made the first episode of, "Upstairs Downstairs" in colour so uncertain if the original B&W version was wiped or not.

With ATV it appears to be a different matter. Certainly B&W export film recordings of some programmes survive from the period but do any original transmission tapes of any of their programmes? Any ideas?

In 1974 I remember an afternoon repeat of, "General Hospital" in black and white. As that was reportedly made in 1972 surely it would have originated in colour. Not impossible to have been made in 1971 then shown in 1972 of course.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Billy Smart »

Focus II wrote:In 1974 I remember an afternoon repeat of, "General Hospital" in black and white. As that was reportedly made in 1972 surely it would have originated in colour. Not impossible to have been made in 1971 then shown in 1972 of course.
Perhaps ATV had only kept a b&w telecine print?

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by SgtPepper »

Not adding much here, but mention of the colour strike gives me the opportunity to mention Timeslip. :-)

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by brigham »

TIMESLIP is a good example to illustrate the situation mentioned in this thread.
Apart from (I think) one episode, the whole of TIMESLIP exists only as a B&W 16mm telerecording, despite being a colour production.
This was the usual way of making British television available for overseas sales.
BUT...A number of episodes were made in B&W because of the Colour Strike. They were B&W from new, and not because of the telerecorcing system.

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Focus II
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Focus II »

Billy Smart wrote:
Focus II wrote:In 1974 I remember an afternoon repeat of, "General Hospital" in black and white. As that was reportedly made in 1972 surely it would have originated in colour. Not impossible to have been made in 1971 then shown in 1972 of course.
Perhaps ATV had only kept a b&w telecine print?
It was definitely transmitted from VT I recall. The original transmission tapes would probably still be in existence at the time anyway.

Indeed programmes whether in colour or B&W only survive as b&w film recordings. The "An ATV Production" end caption obviously confirms episodes made in B&W. Original ATV start idents were usually replaced by ITC ones, ironically when ITC video started around 1990 all ATV idents and captions were hidden by modern ITC ones whether from t/r film or original VT.

It appears that, unlike the other major ITV companies no original transmission VT tapes of their colour strike era programmes survive in their original form sadly.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Simon Coward »

Focus II wrote:In 1974 I remember an afternoon repeat of, "General Hospital" in black and white. As that was reportedly made in 1972 surely it would have originated in colour. Not impossible to have been made in 1971 then shown in 1972 of course.
I think that would have been 1975 or 1976, not 1974 - new episodes of the series were on twice a week throughout 1974 - but I appreciate that the principle holds true. That said, there's no possibility of it being hit by the colour strike, production didn't begin until September 1972 and in any case, the re-runs didn't start from episode one, so I think the earliest repeats had been first shown in the autumn of 1973.
Focus II wrote:With ATV it appears to be a different matter. Certainly B&W export film recordings of some programmes survive from the period but do any original transmission tapes of any of their programmes? Any ideas?
Nothing that I can think of, but if it does I imagine it'll be something donated at the time to the BFI.
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Billy Smart »

I got a prestige ATV drama made during the colour strike screened at the BFI last year - https://forgottentelevisiondrama.wordpr ... bbc4-2004/

It is a pity that they didn't get to make it in colour, as the lavish set is significant and is generally a wash of murk in b & w.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Simon Coward »

You're quite right, Billy. I must confess I was so convinced that ATV would have never preserved the tapes themselves that I was only looking at material which is held at the NFTVA.

I can add two more: Love Story: "The Vast Horizons of the Mind" and Playhouse: "Two World Wars and a Gold Clock".
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by doubleM »

Focus II wrote:The "An ATV Production" end caption obviously confirms episodes made in B&W.
Seems that was not always the case. The 'General Hospital' episode 32 Tx 2/2/1973 e.g was most certainly made in colour as it is on the Network DVD release of the series. However the end cap - in full colour but not describing a 'colour production'

An ATV Production

So any b/w relerecording of this would indicate to the casual viewer that the original was made in b/w, when it certainly wasn't! Looking at the b/w ITC film recordings of ATV programmes just saying 'ATV Production' won't necessarily indicate an originally black and white programme - though it might be.

On a separate matter, no 'General Hospital' episodes would have been taped as early as 1971. Elstree Studio B was not equipped for colour recording until 1972 (also allowing colour taping in studio A). I see Simon Coward has confirmed the start of production on the series as Sep '72 upthread.

The first episode of GH (as per the DVD) is most definitely in colour and the series was made in studios A or B at Elstree, at least in its daytime 30 min format, exclusively.

I suppose ATV could have used the faciities of a colour OB scanner to record material on the floor of A/B earlier than '72, but the colour uprgrade for 'B' was sanctioned specifically in advance of the increased afternoon ITV programme output that only happened in Autumn '72 - which included 'General Hospital' and 'Pipkins'
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Duncan »

It would be interesting to know if any B/W telerecording of these shows have chroma dots and hence could theoretically be candidates for colour recovery.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Spiny Norman »

Duncan wrote:It would be interesting to know if any B/W telerecording of these shows have chroma dots and hence could theoretically be candidates for colour recovery.
Has that ever been done for a none-BBC show?
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Duncan »

Probably not because, I suspect, of a lack of knowledge that it exists and/or unwillingness to spend any money.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Spiny Norman »

Duncan wrote:Probably not because, I suspect, of a lack of knowledge that it exists and/or unwillingness to spend any money.
Wasn't there also some reason that made them (non-BBC shows) much more unlikely to have the dots at all?

Apart from some Doctor Who, 1 Dad's Army, and 1 AYBS? nothing else has been done with the technology as far as I know.
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Focus II »

Simon Coward wrote:You're quite right, Billy. I must confess I was so convinced that ATV would have never preserved the tapes themselves that I was only looking at material which is held at the NFTVA.

I can add two more: Love Story: "The Vast Horizons of the Mind" and Playhouse: "Two World Wars and a Gold Clock".
Anyone know if these have been issued by Network on DVD?

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by ian b »

Spiny Norman wrote:
Duncan wrote:Apart from some Doctor Who, 1 Dad's Army, and 1 AYBS? nothing else has been done with the technology as far as I know.
The opening reel of STEPTOE AND SON: A WINTER’S TALE has been done too, and a TOP OF THE POPS was used as a tester wasn’t it?

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by ian b »

Focus II wrote:
Simon Coward wrote:You're quite right, Billy. I must confess I was so convinced that ATV would have never preserved the tapes themselves that I was only looking at material which is held at the NFTVA.

I can add two more: Love Story: "The Vast Horizons of the Mind" and Playhouse: "Two World Wars and a Gold Clock".
Anyone know if these have been issued by Network on DVD?
Not as yet.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Ronco »

ian b wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Duncan wrote:Apart from some Doctor Who, 1 Dad's Army, and 1 AYBS? nothing else has been done with the technology as far as I know.
The opening reel of STEPTOE AND SON: A WINTER’S TALE has been done too, and a TOP OF THE POPS was used as a tester wasn’t it?
Thats right:

http://www.techmind.org/colrec/

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by JezR »

Also some coverage of the August 1967 Wimbledon Pro tournament has gone through colour restoration, including the preceding presentation. Was shown at some BFI event.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Brian F »

Spiny Norman wrote:
Duncan wrote:Probably not because, I suspect, of a lack of knowledge that it exists and/or unwillingness to spend any money.
Wasn't there also some reason that made them (non-BBC shows) much more unlikely to have the dots at all?
I think it may have been that ITV were considered more active in using the filter that cut out the chroma sub-carrier when making film recordings than the BBC was. However I'm sure that on the DVD of the colour series of "Hark at Barker" the one episode there from a B&W film print shows clear "colour dots".

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by ian b »

Brian F wrote:I think it may have been that ITV were considered more active in using the filter that cut out the chroma sub-carrier when making film recordings than the BBC was. However I'm sure that on the DVD of the colour series of "Hark at Barker" the one episode there from a B&W film print shows clear "colour dots".
Wasn't it reported that ATV's film recordings were more likely to be without the colour information? Though how many of the other regions' prints have been looked out is something I don't know...

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Simon Coward »

ian b wrote:Wasn't it reported that ATV's film recordings were more likely to be without the colour information? Though how many of the other regions' prints have been looked out is something I don't know...
There won't be very many though. None of the other regions habitually junked their colour VT but retained monochrome telerecordings.
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Spiny Norman »

Simon Coward wrote:
ian b wrote:Wasn't it reported that ATV's film recordings were more likely to be without the colour information? Though how many of the other regions' prints have been looked out is something I don't know...
There won't be very many though. None of the other regions habitually junked their colour VT but retained monochrome telerecordings.
It's still surprising that Cook & Moore's "Goodbye again" was junked as late as after 1981. :(
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

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Focus II wrote:In 1974 I remember an afternoon repeat of, "General Hospital" in black and white. As that was reportedly made in 1972 surely it would have originated in colour. Not impossible to have been made in 1971 then shown in 1972 of course.
The twenty-five minute run of GENERAL HOSPITAL ran from October 1972 to May 1975 (ep 270) without a break, (well, apart from a week off for Christmas 1974 that is).

The first fifty-minute series ran between July and October 1975, and the gap between that and the next series was filled with repeats of the latter shorter episodes - everything from 103-270, with the exception of eps 221-6.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Focus II »

Simon Coward wrote:
ian b wrote:Wasn't it reported that ATV's film recordings were more likely to be without the colour information? Though how many of the other regions' prints have been looked out is something I don't know...
There won't be very many though. None of the other regions habitually junked their colour VT but retained monochrome telerecordings.
I suppose we should be grateful they've survived at all though it's still a shame ATV didn't look after their VT archive as well as the other big four ITV companies.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Mark »

I'm certainly grateful for "Timeslip", amongst many others, there is apparently no chroma dots present on the prints though.

When looking up "Val Parnell's Saturday Spectacular", there's a mention of Polygram disposing of a "Cliff Richard Show" print in the 90's ( there is a VHS copy, it seems).

I'm sure there has been mention of what Polygram got up to, before somewhere.
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by doubleM »

Focus II wrote: it's still a shame ATV didn't look after their VT archive as well as the other big four ITV companies.
They did if the programme was a big 'international' seller ... 'The Strauss Family', 'Father Brown', 'Thriller', 'Clayhanger,' 'Edward the Seventh' etc.

If the drama was basically for UK consumption, film recordings were made and then the tapes were reused ... 'General Hospital', 'Hine', 'Spyders Web', 'Hunters Walk' etc., same for many of the sitcoms and other 'domestic' material for which there was little repeat value at the time and home video was still some years off being exploitable to a mass market.
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Simon Coward »

doubleM wrote:
Focus II wrote: it's still a shame ATV didn't look after their VT archive as well as the other big four ITV companies.
They did if the programme was a big 'international' seller ... 'The Strauss Family', 'Father Brown', 'Thriller', 'Clayhanger,' 'Edward the Seventh' etc.

If the drama was basically for UK consumption, film recordings were made and then the tapes were reused ... 'General Hospital', 'Hine', 'Spyders Web', 'Hunters Walk' etc., same for many of the sitcoms and other 'domestic' material for which there was little repeat value at the time and home video was still some years off being exploitable to a mass market.
I'm not sure that makes complete sense. The only point of saving anything on film was where there was a chance of selling the programme internationally (albeit not to the USA). The partial b/w repeats in the UK of General Hospital were extraordinarily unusual by that time.

I think the truth is simpler. They just started keeping stuff. July 1973 seems to be the key point - perhaps because the opening-up of the afternoon schedules finally provided an opportunity for VT repeats, or perhaps because the market for monochrome material was dwindling.

As far as drama is concerned, I can only find two single ATV productions first shown after July 1973 which only survive as b/w telerecordings. If you exclude Crossroads and General Hospital the only drama series to be properly junked from that time or later is Hunters Walk. There are a number of plays missing as well but in terms of series, aside from odd episodes which are either lost altogether or survive on an inferior format (suggesting more error than intention: why would anyone deliberately junk just one edition of The Law Centre, for instance), pretty much all their other drama post July 1973 survives, and survives in colour too.
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Billy Smart »

Excluding Crossroads, what are the latest ATV drama episodes to be missing? I am always intrigued that the whole run of the later (evening 50 minute) General Hospital survives apart from the final episode from January 1979 (the promisingly-titled Killer at Large).

There are two single plays from 1979 (The Purple Twilight and All the Fun of the Fair and one from 1980 (Where Are the Lads of our Village Tonight?) that appear to be lost.

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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Simon Coward »

Billy Smart wrote:Excluding Crossroads, what are the latest ATV drama episodes to be missing? I am always intrigued that the whole run of the later (evening 50 minute) General Hospital survives apart from the final episode from January 1979 (the promisingly-titled Killer at Large).

There are two single plays from 1979 (The Purple Twilight and All the Fun of the Fair and one from 1980 (Where Are the Lads of our Village Tonight?) that appear to be lost.
From 1981, the three plays from the series Job Hunt are missing, but I'm not totally sure that these were made by the drama department as they were illustrating the problems young people can face when searching for jobs. Similarly, the plays from two religious series - Parables from 1978 and Children of the Bible from 1976 - are among the latest to be missing.

From 1979, the play The Quiz Kid only survives from a slightly incomplete U-Matic recording, while two plays from 1978 - "The One and Only Buster Barnes" and "Partisans" - also just survive on this format.

To your actual question, I hadn't realised it when I mentioned it earlier but "Winning Friends, Losing Lovers" from The Law Centre, originally shown 15/07/1978 looks to be the last absent production from proper episodic drama aside from Crossroads and the one General Hospital you listed.

The absence of "Where are the Lads of the Village Tonight?" is particularly troublesome, as it seems to have been made on film.

Crossroads aside, 1977 seems pretty intact,

Three one-off plays from 1976 are missing: "Chicken", "Barney's Last Battle" and "Afternoon Dancing" and there's a single General Hospital missing from the same year (tx 28/05/1976). Plenty of Hunters Walk gone from this year too, of course.
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Re: ATV and the 1970-71 Colour Strike.

Post by Billy Smart »

Simon Coward wrote: there's a single General Hospital missing from the same year (tx 28/05/1976).
I can't find any record of General Hospital being broadcast on this date. The TV Times for that day does have a picture of Tony Adams with a caption telling us that he'll be back on our screens in a new series of General Hospital on this day next week, though!

I will be quite disproprtionately excited if Network ever manage to release the evening series of General Hospital.

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