Death of Thatcher

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Bob Richardson
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Death of Thatcher

Post by Bob Richardson »

Tonight's 10 o'clock News on BBC One carried a report on Margaret Thatcher's influence on the way we live now. Stephanie Flanders stated that before Thatcher came to power the only way to find out what was on TV was to buy the "Radio Times" because newspapers "weren't allowed to print that information." Utter bull. As far back as I can remember the local and national press printed TV and radio schedules. Don't reporters do even basic research these days?
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Bernie
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Bernie »

It seems to get easier and easier to do research, but there are more and more errors. Or maybe it's just my age.

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Cole
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Cole »

Another one tonight where Suranne Jones is advertising her new play where she plays a mother "living in Thamesmead, in the East End of London".

Bearing in mind that the GF lived in Thamesmead, in South-East London, for twenty-years, she stared yelling at the telly, "why isn't anyone correcting her?" Seems even the actors can't be bothered...

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Simon Coward »

Bernie wrote:It seems to get easier and easier to do research, but there are more and more errors. Or maybe it's just my age.
You're right, and my quick bit of research quickly showed me that what Flanders actually said was "if you wanted to know what was on television tomorrow... the newspapers weren't allowed to tell you" and that much is generally true* - albeit with exceptions for situations where the papers weren't printed on particular days - bank holidays and, for some titles, Sundays.

What she didn't mention, of course, and neither did Ian McEwan in his Guardian piece, is that the Independent Television companies were under no such restriction and could, presumably, have licensed that information to anyone they chose. But they chose not to.

* I think papers were allowed to print 24 hours worth of programmes, so evening papers were allowed to print from tea-time one day to tea-time the next, but there was still a limitation.
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Clive
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Clive »

What were the limitations in regards to printing and distributing TV schedules ? Growing up the only paper our household received was the local Halifax Evening Courier which printed both Yorkshire and Granada schedules for the overlap in the area. They also had a short summary of the Irish RTE channels which I still do not understand why as Halifax is as far from Ireland as you can get, unless historically RTE on 405 lines could at one point be received in my hometown.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by deltavega »

The TV Times and Radio Times had the exclusive rights to show the advance listings for ITV and BBC alone which forced people to buy both .
In 1982 a magazine called TV Choice appeared which tried to break the monopoly but it failed .
It wasn't until 1991 that they lost the monopoly.
I know it seems strange but the days when you had buy both TV and Radio Times for the Xmas period was great . Neither are really a patch on what they were back then - more colour -that's it.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by GarethR »

deltavega wrote:the days when you had buy both TV and Radio Times for the Xmas period was great
That was the only time we ever had either of those magazines in our house. The rest of the year, we relied on the listings printed in the Evening Echo during the week (they covered the whole weekend on Fridays).

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Simon Coward
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Re: Death of Thatcher

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Clive wrote:What were the limitations in regards to printing and distributing TV schedules ? Growing up the only paper our household received was the local Halifax Evening Courier which printed both Yorkshire and Granada schedules for the overlap in the area. They also had a short summary of the Irish RTE channels which I still do not understand why as Halifax is as far from Ireland as you can get, unless historically RTE on 405 lines could at one point be received in my hometown.
I think the limitation, in terms of time, was that a newspaper could print the listings for which that edition of the paper was current - so for most daily papers that would be a single day which was also the cover date, though this would usually be expanded to two days for the Saturday edition, while for evening papers the "day" was shifted by 12 hours or so and still covered the period between issues.

In terms of channels, I don't know if there was a limitation, but it would be pretty pointless if a regional paper wasted space on listings which its readers couldn't receive.

I grew up near Reading, but I can't for the life of me remember which ITV stations the Reading Evening Post listed - the catchment area for the paper would have included parts of the London, midlands and southern regions.
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Simon Coward
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Simon Coward »

One paradox about the "deregulation" was that while it forced the BBC to allow - for a fee - others to carry their listings, it also forced the ITV companies to do the same. And thus, in that particular aspect, they became not less regulated but more so.
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Juswuh »

It also totally ruined TV and Radio Times as magazines.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Mike S »

deltavega wrote:The TV Times and Radio Times had the exclusive rights to show the advance listings for ITV and BBC.
This has always intrigued me, because surely TV listings are just facts/data and therefore uncopyrightable? If a paper had stuck to bare-bones titles and transmission times and nothing else, could anyone have touched them legally?

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Simon Coward
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Simon Coward »

Mike S wrote:
deltavega wrote:The TV Times and Radio Times had the exclusive rights to show the advance listings for ITV and BBC.
This has always intrigued me, because surely TV listings are just facts/data and therefore uncopyrightable? If a paper had stuck to bare-bones titles and transmission times and nothing else, could anyone have touched them legally?
I think the distinction is that they're only "facts" once they've actually occurred - it's much the same scenario as happens with lists of football matches. The Football League claims copyright in them (though that's been/being challenged) but once the match has taken place it's a matter of historical record and so is no longer copyrightable.

Now you may be right in that it could have been arguable before the deregulation that printing a straight list of titles and times was nothing more than providing a factual list, but of course there would be still the issue of actually obtaining that information. I don't know how far in advance the schedules were passed to the newspapers in order for them to be typeset.

Edit: In another instance where future events can't be considered facts, I don't know how well people recall Week Ending, but for part of its life it featured a short segment known as "Newslines" which were next week's (obviously fictional) news headlines. These were allowed to suggest pretty much anything and, as long as they didn't directly refer back to something in the past, could be almost as "libellous" as they wanted because they couldn't be sued for "guessing" at what might happen in the future.

Edit 2: Ooh, my 100th post.
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ChartUpdate
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by ChartUpdate »

It is all down to the legal area of "Database Rights" where the copyright doesn't so much rest in the list of information but the work that has been put in to create it in the first place.

As the previous poster says, it is similar to the copyright that exists in football fixtures and also as it happens in the music charts (which are essentially "just" a list of records in a particular order). If it can be shown that creative work has been undertaken to produce the list (ie a database has been created) then copyright can be enforced in that work until such time that the work passes into the realm of historical record.

Therefore a TV listing is a database work, it has been produced by people whose job it is to arrange a schedule of programming according to various criteria of availability, timing and suitability for the audience and therefore derives rights as a creative work. That work has a marketable value and the rights to its reproduction can be licensed accordingly and the copyright in them protected in law. Until of course the shows have been broadcast, then the database rights expire and the list of programmes becomes public domain.

Interestingly the Official Charts Company current asserts that their database rights do not expire at all and that even historic chart listings remain copyright despite being superseded each week by a brand new compilation, and they threaten copyright action on anyone daring to reproduce them without permission, even years after the fact.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

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ChartUpdate wrote:It is all down to the legal area of "Database Rights" where the copyright doesn't so much rest in the list of information but the work that has been put in to create it in the first place.

As the previous poster says, it is similar to the copyright that exists in football fixtures and also as it happens in the music charts (which are essentially "just" a list of records in a particular order). If it can be shown that creative work has been undertaken to produce the list (ie a database has been created) then copyright can be enforced in that work until such time that the work passes into the realm of historical record.

Therefore a TV listing is a database work, it has been produced by people whose job it is to arrange a schedule of programming according to various criteria of availability, timing and suitability for the audience and therefore derives rights as a creative work. That work has a marketable value and the rights to its reproduction can be licensed accordingly and the copyright in them protected in law. Until of course the shows have been broadcast, then the database rights expire and the list of programmes becomes public domain.

Interestingly the Official Charts Company current asserts that their database rights do not expire at all and that even historic chart listings remain copyright despite being superseded each week by a brand new compilation, and they threaten copyright action on anyone daring to reproduce them without permission, even years after the fact.
I guess there is a distinction between the two. The lists of fixtures and television schedules are a necessary bi-product of each of the industries from which they originate, but they're not the end product in themselves - those are the actual football matches and the television programmes.

In the case of The Official Charts Company, I suppose that is their business, though it's interesting that they seem to claim copyright over chart listings from the year dot rather than just those since they became the chart compilers.
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by ctraynor »

GarethR wrote:
deltavega wrote:the days when you had buy both TV and Radio Times for the Xmas period was great
That was the only time we ever had either of those magazines in our house. quote]


Same here. Ah the pleasure of scouring for stuff my parents probably wouldn't let me stay up to watch. Kind of gave it a bit of mystique. And the serrated edges of the pages in the Radio Times. Those Dr Who compilations at Crimbo starting with The Daemons with a b&w caption accompanying the listing.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Steve Williams »

Mike S wrote:This has always intrigued me, because surely TV listings are just facts/data and therefore uncopyrightable? If a paper had stuck to bare-bones titles and transmission times and nothing else, could anyone have touched them legally?
This is a strange direction for a thread on Thatcher's death to take but regardless of the legal implications, the fact was they couldn't do it anyway as the broadcasters wouldn't have sent them the schedules. TV Choice just guessed the programmes.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Simon Coward »

Steve Williams wrote:This is a strange direction for a thread on Thatcher's death to take
But it isn't really that though, is it? Bob's original post was primarily about research (or lack of it) on television. It's pretty much coincidental that what he saw as a blunder occurred during a piece on Thatcher.
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Bob Richardson
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Bob Richardson »

My gripe was that it was factually incorrect. Prior to Thatcher I COULD find out about tomorrow's (Sunday, Bank Holiday Monday etc) programmes from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle because they printed the details of BBC and ITV schedules, although they couldn't show a whole week's worth of listings. The truth is, without the technology of the video recorder tomorrow's programmes didn't matter as much as tonight's. We largely planned our viewing after a cursory glance at the TV page of that day's Evening Chronicle - we weren't sufficiently well organised to mark up the RT a week in advance.

We only bought the RT (and TVT) occasionally, usually at Christmas and Easter and now and again throughout the year. We primarily relied upon the local newspaper for TV information from the earliest days of my childhood.

There does seem to be a lot of duff information on TV which is trotted out as fact. This forum has often picked up on these inaccuracies, which wouldn't happen as often as they do if only somebody did a bit of basic Googling, read a book or asked an expert.
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Brock »

Bob Richardson wrote:My gripe was that it was factually incorrect. Prior to Thatcher I COULD find out about tomorrow's (Sunday, Bank Holiday Monday etc) programmes from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle because they printed the details of BBC and ITV schedules, although they couldn't show a whole
week's worth of listings.
Only if you took what she said absolutely literally. If you bought a newspaper on a Monday there was no way of finding out what would be broadcast on Tuesday evening.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by marsey »

Amazing how you can forget about those things. We always got TV and Radio Times at Christmas too.
Yes it was fun, sprawling through all the goodies available at this time of year and trying to fit them all into a watchable schedule.


It's amazing to trhink that back then we lived having no idea what was on TV next week for the other 50 weeks of year. Just as amazing as thinking how on earth we got by with cash machines or the internet. Imagine now wanting to know the answer to a question, and only having no way other than visiting a library for an answer - and not always even then.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

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Steve Williams wrote:This is a strange direction for a thread on Thatcher's death to take but regardless of the legal implications, the fact was they couldn't do it anyway as the broadcasters wouldn't have sent them the schedules.
You mean the ones published four days in advnace in the Radio and TV Times?!
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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by fatcat »

There was ITV's TVTimes, all colour,glossy, trendy fonts
... and there was the BBC's Radio Times, utilitarian,grey, pages made of bog paper (looked like)

Summed up their programme budgets maybe?

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Jezza »

Gonna pop to my local library tomorrow, because for a time in the mid 70's my local paper were printing TV listings for the weekend, then it suddenly stopped!

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by deltavega »

Mike S wrote:
deltavega wrote:The TV Times and Radio Times had the exclusive rights to show the advance listings for ITV and BBC.
This has always intrigued me, because surely TV listings are just facts/data and therefore uncopyrightable? If a paper had stuck to bare-bones titles and transmission times and nothing else, could anyone have touched them legally?
Probably not but back then other publications simply couldn't get them and the ITV/BBC were allowed to withhold the information.
The TV Choice mag I mentioned tried to compete but as they couldn't get the listings their timetable was even worse than some of the timetables we see near Xmas when the papers try to be the first to show the schedules but instead of TBA they just concentrated on the main network programmes that everybody already knew about .

In 1983 VIdeo Viewer also printed details of the month ahead movies but only on C4 with a few on ITV . It would seem that C4 gave this info out freely but it was purely films which didn't really amount to much as C4 had only been on air a few months so there would have been perhaps a dozen per month .

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by stearn »

fatcat wrote:There was ITV's TVTimes, all colour,glossy, trendy fonts
... and there was the BBC's Radio Times, utilitarian,grey, pages made of bog paper (looked like)

Summed up their programme budgets maybe?
I'll give you the better paper, colour (not full though), but draw the line at the trendy fonts:

Image

The RT was printed on bog paper for a reason - the presses were at full capacity so drying was essential so the paper needed to absorb the ink quickly. It did also had full colour pages, usually reserved for editorial and advertising. The examples above are from 1976.

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Re: Death of Thatcher

Post by Mike S »

'I've been wearing the same clothes for the past eight years' - that looks like it's Shaw Taylor's thought bubble.

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