Last-minute replacements

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stearn
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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by stearn »

Brock wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:52 pm
What was LWT's involvement with the programme? (It was made by Open Media, an independent production company.)
I'd guess it was standard duty arrangements for any broadcaster to take calls from the local area rather than anything specific about the programme.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by Brock »

But why would an ITV company take calls about a programme on Channel 4?

It occurred to me that the incident took place before 1993, when Channel 4 started selling its own advertising, so I suppose the regional ITV companies would have had to stay on air to play out the commercial breaks. I can't think of any other reason.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by stearn »

Sorry, forgot it went out on C4. Did C4 have it's own duty office back then or did the ITV franchises deal with it all, including playout, for their broadcast areas to save costs?
The 1985 edition of TVTimes I have to hand only gives addresses for complaints, but lists the separate companies as well as the IBA, and suggest you get a leaflet from any of them. I'll see if I can find a later edition.

[edit] By 1990 there is a short line on the letters page about addressing complaints to production companies (but not giving any addresses) and a couple of addresses for C4, mainly to send money in for things. No phone numbers or details of duty offices.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by Brock »

The letter I quoted doesn't mention the C4 or LWT duty office. Someone got hold of the phone number of After Dark's commissioning editor at C4 and phoned him up pretending to be the (presumably non-existent) "duty officer" of the IBA. That person appears to have been Victor Lewis-Smith - a broadcasting insider with a history of practical joking. It seems quite a plausible story to me.

I was simply asking yellowhammer[*] about why LWT was involved in all this, since it was a programme made by an independent production company. Perhaps they were providing the studio facilities?

[*]Sorry, yellowtriumph! (Left the error in because it's quite funny.)

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by Brian F »

Brock wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:17 pm
The letter I quoted doesn't mention the C4 or LWT duty office. Someone got hold of the phone number of After Dark's commissioning editor at C4 and phoned him up pretending to be the (presumably non-existent) "duty officer" of the IBA. That person appears to have been Victor Lewis-Smith - a broadcasting insider with a history of practical joking. It seems quite a plausible story to me.

I was simply asking yellowhammer[*] about why LWT was involved in all this, since it was a programme made by an independent production company. Perhaps they were providing the studio facilities?

[*]Sorry, yellowtriumph! (Left the error in because it's quite funny.)
Using were later (?) The London Studios would be my best bet as to why LWT were involved, too.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by stearn »

I was suggesting that the ITV franchise holders were responsible for playout of all IBA controlled channels in their area, although LWT could easily be the London playout to the network feed (assuming I understand how it worked) and the ITV franchise holders then had duty offices to monitor the playout, answer the phones and possibly even do the presentation, although I am sure that was a separate thing. If playout had stopped for the evening, it would be natural to assume that you could bugger off early, if it was your responsibility.

I mentioned TVTimes to highlight you definitely needed the insider info to call up the relevant people, as there wasn't even a general switchboard number to call. I was surprised that there wasn't even full addresses for LWT or Thames in the TVTimes. Back then, I suppose just addressing post to LWT, London would have got there.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by Brock »

Why not just wait for yellowtriumph to respond?

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by yellowtriumph »

The programme was being produced by an independent production company using the technical facilities at LWT. I think it was in Studio 3.

So, the facilities were being manned by LWT staff. Whether LWT’s television production facility had ‘morphed’ from ‘LWT Production Facilities’ to ‘The London Studios’ I cannot now remember, but until quite late in the day LWT staff working for either company were still employed directly by LWT - hence my reference to LWT.

Employment contracts were to later change but had little practical effect as both companies were wholly owned subsidiaries of LWT itself. I hope this answers your question.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by yellowtriumph »

stearn wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:41 pm
I was suggesting that the ITV franchise holders were responsible for playout of all IBA controlled channels in their area, although LWT could easily be the London playout to the network feed (assuming I understand how it worked) and the ITV franchise holders then had duty offices to monitor the playout, answer the phones and possibly even do the presentation, although I am sure that was a separate thing. If playout had stopped for the evening, it would be natural to assume that you could bugger off early, if it was your responsibility.

I mentioned TVTimes to highlight you definitely needed the insider info to call up the relevant people, as there wasn't even a general switchboard number to call. I was surprised that there wasn't even full addresses for LWT or Thames in the TVTimes. Back then, I suppose just addressing post to LWT, London would have got there.
Hmm. C4’s centralised transmission playout came from their premises in Charlotte Street. From their it went to each ITV company for the insertion of commercials and then directly on to the local transmitter network. Some ITV companies had simple facilities to just insert local commercials and others had somewhat grander facilities to produce local continuity but this was very very limited as C4 in Charlotte Street always had overall editorial control and the opportunities to insert local continuity were few and far between.

PS. I would suggest if you posted a letter simply addressed to LWT, London it would still get there today but there would be no-one to receive it!

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by Brock »

yellowtriumph wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:53 am
The programme was being produced by an independent production company using the technical facilities at LWT. I think it was in Studio 3.
Ah, thanks for that - as I suspected.
Some ITV companies had simple facilities to just insert local commercials and others had somewhat grander facilities to produce local continuity but this was very very limited as C4 in Charlotte Street always had overall editorial control and the opportunities to insert local continuity were few and far between.
Was there ever any local continuity on C4? My recollection is that the continuity was all fully networked along with the rest of the output, and that the only thing that differed between regions was the commercials. I remember in particular that they had difficulties with things like SNP party political broadcasts because there was no opportunity for Scotland to opt out.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by yellowtriumph »

Brock wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:42 pm
yellowtriumph wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:53 am
The programme was being produced by an independent production company using the technical facilities at LWT. I think it was in Studio 3.
Ah, thanks for that - as I suspected.
Some ITV companies had simple facilities to just insert local commercials and others had somewhat grander facilities to produce local continuity but this was very very limited as C4 in Charlotte Street always had overall editorial control and the opportunities to insert local continuity were few and far between.
Was there ever any local continuity on C4? My recollection is that the continuity was all fully networked along with the rest of the output, and that the only thing that differed between regions was the commercials. I remember in particular that they had difficulties with things like SNP party political broadcasts because there was no opportunity for Scotland to opt out.
My bold. Yes, there was local continuity - certainly in London at the weekends. But the opportunity to do it was obviously determined by the C4 presentation facility at each individual ITV company, and crucially, the slots made available in the C4 schedule to do it. It was very limited, and those companies that didn’t want to do it could just stay with the incoming feed from C4 which likely was just another C4 promo for one of their programmes. So depending on where you lived in the UK would determine whether your local ITV company did it and whether you saw any of it.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by paul.austin »

I think that the people pining for the "return" of Granada, Thames, LWT et al are relying on their own sadness and nostalgia... which makes for bad business practices.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by Brock »

yellowtriumph wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:57 pm
Yes, there was local continuity - certainly in London at the weekends. But the opportunity to do it was obviously determined by the C4 presentation facility at each individual ITV company, and crucially, the slots made available in the C4 schedule to do it. It was very limited, and those companies that didn’t want to do it could just stay with the incoming feed from C4 which likely was just another C4 promo for one of their programmes. So depending on where you lived in the UK would determine whether your local ITV company did it and whether you saw any of it.
Well that's interesting. I lived in London (on and off) from C4's launch until 1987 and I don't recall any continuity announcements apart from the standard C4 voice-over ones - why would LWT have wanted to do its own?

It did occur to me that ITV and C4 promoted each other's programmes in those days, and that it would have been impossible for C4 to promote any ITV programmes that weren't networked, so perhaps some of the regional ITV companies used the opportunity to promote their own local programmes.

(Were there any BBC-style "except for viewers in..." announcements when ITV programmes were promoted on C4? I don't recall any.)

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by yellowtriumph »

Brock wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:20 am
yellowtriumph wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:57 pm
Yes, there was local continuity - certainly in London at the weekends. But the opportunity to do it was obviously determined by the C4 presentation facility at each individual ITV company, and crucially, the slots made available in the C4 schedule to do it. It was very limited, and those companies that didn’t want to do it could just stay with the incoming feed from C4 which likely was just another C4 promo for one of their programmes. So depending on where you lived in the UK would determine whether your local ITV company did it and whether you saw any of it.
Well that's interesting. I lived in London (on and off) from C4's launch until 1987 and I don't recall any continuity announcements apart from the standard C4 voice-over ones - why would LWT have wanted to do its own?

It did occur to me that ITV and C4 promoted each other's programmes in those days, and that it would have been impossible for C4 to promote any ITV programmes that weren't networked, so perhaps some of the regional ITV companies used the opportunity to promote their own local programmes.

(Were there any BBC-style "except for viewers in..." announcements when ITV programmes were promoted on C4? I don't recall any.)
The answer to you first question is surely self evident - self promotion. I can’t quite see where we’re going with this. I used to be closely involved with the C4 presentation suite at LWT and I’m telling you that we did very occasional local promotions. ‘Meanwhile over on ITV’ sort of things etc. You’d have to ask someone who worked at C4 about your last question as those would obviously originate at C4 in Charlotte Street not LWT.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by yellowtriumph »

yellowtriumph wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:17 am
Brock wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:20 am
yellowtriumph wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:57 pm
Yes, there was local continuity - certainly in London at the weekends. But the opportunity to do it was obviously determined by the C4 presentation facility at each individual ITV company, and crucially, the slots made available in the C4 schedule to do it. It was very limited, and those companies that didn’t want to do it could just stay with the incoming feed from C4 which likely was just another C4 promo for one of their programmes. So depending on where you lived in the UK would determine whether your local ITV company did it and whether you saw any of it.
Well that's interesting. I lived in London (on and off) from C4's launch until 1987 and I don't recall any continuity announcements apart from the standard C4 voice-over ones - why would LWT have wanted to do its own?

It did occur to me that ITV and C4 promoted each other's programmes in those days, and that it would have been impossible for C4 to promote any ITV programmes that weren't networked, so perhaps some of the regional ITV companies used the opportunity to promote their own local programmes.

(Were there any BBC-style "except for viewers in..." announcements when ITV programmes were promoted on C4? I don't recall any.)
The answer to your first question is surely self evident - self promotion. I can’t quite see where we’re going with this. I used to be closely involved with the C4 presentation suite at LWT and I’m telling you that we did very occasional local promotions. ‘Meanwhile over on ITV’ sort of things etc. You’d have to ask someone who worked at C4 about your last question as those would obviously originate at C4 in Charlotte Street not LWT.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by Brock »

yellowtriumph wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:17 am
The answer to you first question is surely self evident - self promotion. I can’t quite see where we’re going with this. I used to be closely involved with the C4 presentation suite at LWT and I’m telling you that we did very occasional local promotions. ‘Meanwhile over on ITV’ sort of things etc.
Oh thanks, that makes sense now. I initially thought you meant that LWT employed an announcer to introduce the programmes on C4 (rather like those seemingly pointless "BBC1 West" globes that used to precede networked programmes on BBC1 during the 70s - where I lived, anyway).

Presumably this would have all stopped in 1993 when C4 became independent of ITV.

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Re: Last-minute replacements

Post by yellowtriumph »

Brock wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:46 pm
yellowtriumph wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:17 am
The answer to you first question is surely self evident - self promotion. I can’t quite see where we’re going with this. I used to be closely involved with the C4 presentation suite at LWT and I’m telling you that we did very occasional local promotions. ‘Meanwhile over on ITV’ sort of things etc.
Oh thanks, that makes sense now. I initially thought you meant that LWT employed an announcer to introduce the programmes on C4 (rather like those seemingly pointless "BBC1 West" globes that used to precede networked programmes on BBC1 during the 70s - where I lived, anyway).

Presumably this would have all stopped in 1993 when C4 became independent of ITV.
Yes, from a legal perspective it all stopped post the new ITV licences. In practice, at LWT, it stopped quite some time before that because the main LWT (ITV) channel took over the C4 presentation area as the existing ITV control room areas were being scrapped and rebuilt to house the new incoming LNN transmission areas for Carlton,LWT and GMTV. The LWT/C4 operation was considerably scaled back to a very basic comms inject arrangement only - with no local continuity.

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