The Accountants Move In

By Andrew Bowden

Rumour had it that the Leeds-based management was very keen on combining the two franchises into one super-franchise. Part of this plan was to create a new cross-border news programme, Network North, which would broadcast to the south of the Tyne Tees region and to the very north of the Yorkshire region. Yorkshire staff were seconded to the newly built Middlesborough studios, causing some bitter rivalries between some of the news staff.

Still from the Network North titles

Network North never was a cross-franchise programme, despite the rumours put about that it was - compounded by the complete lack of Tyne Tees branding in the early shows.

It was never seen in the Yorkshire region and many of the seconded Yorkshire staff headed back south after the programmes launched. Slowly but surely the programme began to reflect what it was - a news programme purely for the south of the Tyne Tees region.

From Investment to Cost-cutting

Whilst initially Tyne Tees received some serious investment, by 1996 most of Tyne Tees's operations had been scaled back with many staff cuts, and departments being merged with those of Yorkshire.

A previous cull of continuity announcers early after the Yorkshire takeover, was repeated, with the Tyne Tees continuity department being completely axed on 16 March 1996 when the last announcement was made by Alan Cartner. The day after, continuity moved a new combined team in Leeds, run by Yorkshire staff.

Regional programmes would generally be made by Yorkshire and broadcast on both channels, which leading to a complaint by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) on the issue.

In its defence, Yorkshire Tyne-Tees the crippling franchise payments that both stations had committed to - the expense of trying to keep the franchises in the first place was once again costing both dearly.

The ITC claimed that the franchise payments were no excuse for the poor behaviour of both companies, but it's notable that the ITC never actually took any action against them.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System in general.

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Article ©2006 Andrew Bowden

Compilation ©2006 Transdiffusion Broadcasting System

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