Strikes!

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Mark
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Strikes!

Post by Mark »

Some of the highlights ( or lowlights) of strikes in the TV industry affecting both production and transmission of programmes

There is a mention in the book: 'Granada: First Generation' about the series "Mess Mates", when the Equity strike was on, only the main characters remained, so the storylines concerned twin cousins, ghosts, everything centred on the three stars.

The same strike led to the famous "Palladium" show with Bruce Forsyth and Norman Wisdom as the only performers, as they were both with the Variety Artists Federation.

In 68, The first strike hit edition of "Frost On Sunday" is wonderfully chaotic and still fascinating to watch.

There was the scene-shifters strike at the BBC, that meant Jon Pertwee's first "Doctor Who" serial, "Spearhead From Space" was made entirely on 16mm film.

The 70/71 colour strike, that resulted in many B/W recorded programmes.

When the IBA banned the "World In Action" programme on Poulson in 1973, Granada presented a blank screen in protest.

As mentioned on another thread, a BBC strike in 73 led to the "Dad's Army" episode "We Know Our Onions" being made almost entirely on location with one studio scene recorded with a later episode.

In 74, an electricians strike led to the loss of an edition of "Clunk Click", and later the same night an edition of "Cilla".

Another Scene-Shifters strike, the same year, meant a step ladder remained in view on the set of the "Doctor Who" serial, "Robot", and "Blue Peter" having to be presented on the "Robot" set.

Industrial action blanked out BBC screens on 19/11/77, "The Two Ronnies" edition was repeated the following week, resulting in many guides listing that series as 9 editions instead of the usual 8.

The BBC strike in December 78, blanked out screens and an all network radio service was broadcast, an edition of "Crackerjack" recorded with strike breakers and never screened.

Yorkshire TV goes off the air throughout Christmas 78.

The massive strike in 79 led to the cancellation of shows such as "Thomas And Sarah" and "The Tomorrow People".

Seems extraordinary to look back on, now!
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Simon Coward
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Re: Strikes!

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The Equity strike in 1961/62 is quite fascinating. By early 1962 only 28 actors were still working on ITV productions. As well as Mess Mates, Bootsie and Snudge and Coronation Street were still in production at Granada with just a core cast. ABC's Our House was the only other series with actors that remained in production.

One strike that tends to get forgotten is the one that took ITV programmes off the air from start of play on 1 July 1964 through to the afternoon of 7 July. This was the result of a strike by ACTT members whose agreement with the ITV companies had lapsed on 30 June.

One result of this was that no broadcast slot could subsequently be found for one of Granada's The Villains plays, which remained untransmitted.

A one-day strike at STV on 19 October 1967 resulted, amongst other things, in the postponement of an episode of The Prisoner. STV decided to continue with the episodes as billed and slotted in the lost episode, "A. B. and C." (normally shown third) in seventh place between "Many Happy Returns" and "Dance of the Dead". Despite this unplanned delay, STV still managed to beat the other ITV companies and were the first (by a day) to air the series' finale "Fall Out".
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Re: Strikes!

Post by fatcat »

Simon Coward wrote:The Equity strike in 1961/62 is quite fascinating. By early 1962 only 28 actors were still working on ITV productions. As well as Mess Mates, Bootsie and Snudge and Coronation Street were still in production at Granada with just a core cast. ABC's Our House was the only other series with actors that remained in production.

.

Did this lead to Man of the World and Ghost Squad not being completed as presumably they were aiming for a 26 episode season?
Also did this cause Rank to withdraw from financing TV and leave ITC holding the baby (Ghost Squad ?

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fatcat wrote:Did this lead to Man of the World and Ghost Squad not being completed as presumably they were aiming for a 26 episode season?
Also did this cause Rank to withdraw from financing TV and leave ITC holding the baby (Ghost Squad ?
Man of the World's production was certainly curtailed, they were definitely talking about a twenty-six episode season during pre-production in 1961, but it arguably had a bigger effect on two other ITC projects - The Amazing Dr. Thorndyke and Collector's Item which were a little behind Man of the World in the pre-production cycle when the strike hit and were never revived afterwards.

Ghost Squad's episode count was halved by early October 1961 and reported in the press certainly no later than 11 October, when it was mentioned in Variety. By pruning back to 13 episodes, apparently $850,000 was saved and allowed the programme to be marketed as a summer replacement. Apparently, ITC saw no possibility of second-run sales and hence believed it uneconomic to make 26. Certainly it would have been affected by the Equity strike if production had continued, so it may well have been a factor, or perhaps it just pushed them into taking a decision that needed taking anyway.
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Re: Strikes!

Post by stearn »

The radio all network service was on 22 Dec. A section of it is archived, under the title Radio 10, but there is no evidence that it was announced as such (1+2+3+4=10). IIRC (I can't find my notes) it was only for a few hours.

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Re: Strikes!

Post by Brock »

stearn wrote:The radio all network service was on 22 Dec. A section of it is archived, under the title Radio 10, but there is no evidence that it was announced as such (1+2+3+4=10). IIRC (I can't find my notes) it was only for a few hours.
Thread about it here.

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Re: Strikes!

Post by Mark »

I had heard those clips before, Classical music following Kid Jensen!

Of the 13 episodes of the first series of "Ghost Squad", one of them was the pilot with Donald Wolfit , William Sylvester, and Hazel court, but framed with new material featuring Michael Quinn and Angela Browne.

Possibly connected with the strike, not sure of the production dates, ( unless they just didn't want to waste the episode).
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Re: Strikes!

Post by SgtPepper »

Timeslip was a victim of the 70/71 colour strike. Not that it mattered much as little care was taken of the rest of it.

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SgtPepper wrote:Timeslip was a victim of the 70/71 colour strike. Not that it mattered much as little care was taken of the rest of it.
It didn't matter to me at the time, anyway.
I have been trying to find out when I was first affected by the Colour Strike. It was one of the Pertwee Dr. Who DVD releases, I think. Was one released in colour and partial B&W?

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Re: Strikes!

Post by Duncan »

brigham wrote:
SgtPepper wrote:Timeslip was a victim of the 70/71 colour strike. Not that it mattered much as little care was taken of the rest of it.
It didn't matter to me at the time, anyway.
I have been trying to find out when I was first affected by the Colour Strike. It was one of the Pertwee Dr. Who DVD releases, I think. Was one released in colour and partial B&W?
That would have had NOTHING to do with the colour strike...

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Re: Strikes!

Post by Mark »

The colour strike was ITV only, from November 70 to March 71.

There was also the P.A, strike that knocked "Top Of The Pops" off the air for nearly two months in mid 74.

"Eurovision Song Contest" was pushed back a month after a technicians strike and "Song for Europe" in 79 didn't go ahead after a Sound Engineers strike.

Have to mention the infamous "TV-AM" dispute in 87.
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Re: Strikes!

Post by Scary »

This twitter account is tweeting articles about the 1979 ITV strike 40 years to the day they were pubished:
https://twitter.com/ITVonstrike

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Post by brigham »

The Colour Strike was BBC-only? I hadn't realised that.
In which case, I'm still at a loss to know WHEN the colour strike first affected me. It would have been on the release of the Timeslip DVD set, had that set been in colour. But, of course, it wasn't, for reasons OTHER than the strike.
What about Upstairs Downstairs? Does the DVD set of that contain odd, strike-derived B&W episodes?

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Re: Strikes!

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brigham wrote:The Colour Strike was BBC-only? I hadn't realised that.
In which case, I'm still at a loss to know WHEN the colour strike first affected me. It would have been on the release of the Timeslip DVD set, had that set been in colour. But, of course, it wasn't, for reasons OTHER than the strike.
What about Upstairs Downstairs? Does the DVD set of that contain odd, strike-derived B&W episodes?
Episodes 2-6, are in B/W, the first episode is the colour remake ( the B/W episode 1 doesn't exist) two endings were done, one with Pauline Collins leaving, so the B/W ones could be left out, and one with her staying, so as to include the offending B/W ones, ( as shown in the UK).
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Post by Brock »

Scary wrote:This twitter account is tweeting articles about the 1979 ITV strike 40 years to the day they were published:
https://twitter.com/ITVonstrike
You might also be interested in this thread from the old forum marking the 30th anniversary of the strike.

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Post by Brock »

brigham wrote:The Colour Strike was BBC-only? I hadn't realised that.
I assume you meant to write "ITV only" there...

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Brock wrote:
brigham wrote:The Colour Strike was BBC-only? I hadn't realised that.
I assume you meant to write "ITV only" there...
Correct.
It's getting worse.
Looks like the Upstairs Downstairs DVD set, then. I'll have to dig it out.
In 'as broadcast' terms, then, this series has a missing episode?

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brigham wrote: Looks like the Upstairs Downstairs DVD set, then. I'll have to dig it out.
In 'as broadcast' terms, then, this series has a missing episode?
No, the b/w episode one was never broadcast. Bear in mind that the series wasn't aired during the strike, in fact the first episode wasn't shown until October 1971, some eight months after the strike had ended.
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Simon Coward wrote:
brigham wrote: Looks like the Upstairs Downstairs DVD set, then. I'll have to dig it out.
In 'as broadcast' terms, then, this series has a missing episode?
No, the b/w episode one was never broadcast. Bear in mind that the series wasn't aired during the strike, in fact the first episode wasn't shown until October 1971, some eight months after the strike had ended.
I think the cast was also glad to re-take it as apparently the first one was not very good (pilot show finding it's feet, actors setting up their characters etc) hence a possible reason it does not exist now?
I also read that LWT's Cyril Bennett thought he had a complete dud on his hands so left it in the can for several months and then quietly put it out on late Sunday evenings.

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Post by Mark »

Yes, he certainly underestimated the audience reaction to it, for sure!.

There was a survivor from the original first episode, the colour film inserts ( done before the strike) re-used in the colour remake.

At the end of the dispute, two colour episodes of "Coronation Street" had B/W location inserts ( pre-strike end filmed).
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Mark wrote:Yes, he certainly underestimated the audience reaction to it, for sure!.

There was a survivor from the original first episode, the colour film inserts ( done before the strike) re-used in the colour remake.

At the end of the dispute, two colour episodes of "Coronation Street" had B/W location inserts ( pre-strike end filmed).
IIRC now. a couple of the problems was that Mrs Bridges sounded too posh and Hudson was not Scottish enough LOL..glad they sorted that one out.
..and Coronation St..I think there is another one which is B/W inside and colour outside.

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The titles of both "Doctor At Large" and "Public Eye" were B/W, which continued to be used even when they went back to colour, "DAL" dropped them fairly quickly and "PE" tinted it's titles.
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Didn't Mrs. Bridges originally have a drink problem?

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brigham wrote:Didn't Mrs. Bridges originally have a drink problem?
Could well have, don't know .
I think Mrs Bridges had to be fattened up and the lighting was far too dark and depressing on the pilot etc.

LWT were not having much luck with period dramas and the controller was starting to think that they should be left to the BBC, so when he saw the pilot he was have thought to have said something like "oh god no! not another one, and it's crap as well"

Previously a big production of The Beggar's Banquet (shown late) had failed and they had also done the lavishly lit and in colour costume drama Wicked Women series, which also having the popular subject of murder was well up for showing in prime time..but that too was shunted away into the late Saturday spot and having no regular characters it died.

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Post by Focus II »

Of course during the colour strike, programmes made in colour would have been transmitted in B&W, Timeslip's 'Burn Up' story for example.

It would have received its full colour debut during the 1974 repeat run when the original transmission tapes still existed. It looked great in colour I recall.

I've probably mentioned elsewhere an episode of 'General Hospital' going out in B&W one afternoon at the time. It wouldn't have been made earlier than 1972 so as to why it went out in B&W remains a mystery! I knew of the SOS campaign at the time, perhaps that was significant as perhaps a B&W transmission consumed less power?

Around 1975 YTV and TTT were on strike. TTT returned on air after a couple of days with YTV staying off. After another couple of days YTV took the programmes of Tyne Tees Television, including the 'Today at Six' news programme. This persisted for around a fortnight until the strike at YTV was resolved.

Probably unheard of with most regions, but there was the Trident connection between YTV and TTT of course.

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Re: Strikes!

Post by rosalyn »

Focus II wrote:Of course during the colour strike, programmes made in colour would have been transmitted in B&W, Timeslip's 'Burn Up' story for example.

It would have received its full colour debut during the 1974 repeat run when the original transmission tapes still existed. It looked great in colour I recall.
I thought the black and white Timeslip episodes were actually shot in black and white? I watched the repeat run too in 1973-74 as well, and I recall most, if not all of 'The Burn Up' being in black and white. And all of 'Day of the Clone' was in black and white apart from the very final episode. This is evidenced by the prod cap at the end which says 'An ATV Colour Production'. All the preceding ones just say 'An ATV Production'.

For further reference, the fan documentary 'Behind the Barrier' has information about how the strike affected Timeslip, and I can certainly recommend viewing it if you are a fan and haven't seen it yet. :-)

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Re: Strikes!

Post by Mark »

rosalyn wrote:
Focus II wrote:Of course during the colour strike, programmes made in colour would have been transmitted in B&W, Timeslip's 'Burn Up' story for example.

It would have received its full colour debut during the 1974 repeat run when the original transmission tapes still existed. It looked great in colour I recall.
I thought the black and white Timeslip episodes were actually shot in black and white? I watched the repeat run too in 1973-74 as well, and I recall most, if not all of 'The Burn Up' being in black and white. And all of 'Day of the Clone' was in black and white apart from the very final episode. This is evidenced by the prod cap at the end which says 'An ATV Colour Production'. All the preceding ones just say 'An ATV Production'.

For further reference, the fan documentary 'Behind the Barrier' has information about how the strike affected Timeslip, and I can certainly recommend viewing it if you are a fan and haven't seen it yet. :-)
Only episodes of "Clone" were recorded in B/W, so colour episodes of "Ice Box" and "Burn Up" were TX'd in B/W.

Didn't make much difference to me on the first run, we didn't get a Colour TV till November 71.!
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