Tonight’s TV… in 1956 

3 May 2015

19560503 The TimesFrom The Times for Thursday 3 May 1956 comes this run down of what you could be watching and listening to. Things worth noting:

  • Today is Granada’s first day on air. It’s in the northwest only, a plan to use the BBC’s pan-north Holme Moss transmitter having failed. Emley Moor, serving the eastern half of Granadaland, would open in November
  • This allows Granada to run a variety programme, Salute to Lancashire, at 8pm without offending anybody
  • At 10.10pm is Tribute to the BBC. This was Sidney Bernstein’s idea: he felt television wouldn’t’ve got anywhere in the UK without the BBC’s hard work establishing it and refining the standards; he also admired the BBC’s public service ethos on radio. It was his way of thanking the BBC for what they had done and establishing Granada as taking the BBC’s baton forward
  • BBCtv intrudes into the 6-7pm “toddlers’ truce”, a period set by statute requiring no television, with the cricket – live sport being virtually the only exception to the ban
  • The highbrow nature of the ITV service, seen on their launch and second days in London, has largely boiled away under the huge amount of money the system was losing
  • Also gone are the unprofitable daytime programmes, with the only survivor on Associated-Rediffusion, Sixpenny Corner, now moved to 7.06pm
  • ATV in the midlands would try again with daytime programming with Lunch Box
  • The “retreat from culture” at cash-strapped ITV had reduced the amount of ITN news and pushed it out of peaktime, with 5 minutes at 5.55pm, 5 minutes at 7pm and 15 minutes at 10.45pm


With thanks to Andrew Hesford.

You Say

10 responses to this article

Victor Field 3 May 2015 at 12:42 pm

Sport uber alles even then, I see.

Dave Rhodes 3 May 2015 at 1:05 pm

Great insights, Jessica. A few years ago, BBC4 showed the ‘Animal Vegetable Mineral’ episode from this date; one of the panel talked about the start of ‘ITA Granada’.

David Heathcote 3 May 2015 at 2:20 pm

So A-R and ATV “network” between 2000 and 2230, and then Granada joins them for ITN at 2245. It really was a different world, wasn’t it?

Arthur Nibble 4 May 2015 at 1:08 am

Differing descriptions and timings shown for “Flickwiz”, apparently the generic name for the strand of children’s programmes shown specifically on a Thursday on ITA. A-R just shows the 55 minute time slot, whereas ATV appears to give the strand’s programmes and timings in detail.

BBC’s “Double Cross” was a six part spy comedy thriller written by Sid Green and Dick Hills. It starred Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss, who improvised an old music hall routine of theirs when singer / actress Jill Day fainted during a live transmission.

Alan Keeling 25 September 2015 at 10:16 am

ATVs Midland afternoon schedule began with “Douglas Fairbanks Presents” at 4pm, this series was still rerun on Granada, as late as 1975. “Superman” flew at 7.5, then Liberace played some wonderful tunes on the piano at 7.30. What nostalgia.

n hewit 20 February 2016 at 1:23 pm

Is the Times just providing the variation on Granada from The Main Network printed in full under both the AR and ATV heading. According to information I have read in other sources the start time for Granada was late afternoon and the first programme to air was Dewch Y Maen, presented from Quay St by Dorothy Williams, later presenter of HTV Cymru’s Hamdden on Mondays at 2Pm in the 1970’s.
If the edition of the Times was for the South, then only the very Northern Midlands part of its circulation area would be able to receive Granada via the Overlap, places such as North Shropshire and Staffordshire, alternatively was North Wales part of the Times Southern edition?

Russ J Graham 20 February 2016 at 4:16 pm

With a 5-minute test pattern at 7.25pm? Seems odd.

Ben Rigsby 21 February 2016 at 12:15 am

Did AR show the same Flickwiz programmes (and other Children’s strands throughout the week) as ATV?

Ben Rigsby 23 February 2016 at 1:21 am

Don’t worry answered my own question!

Alan Keeling 16 March 2016 at 8:44 pm

Regarding Russ. J. Graham’s question, the so-called test pattern on Granada TV may have been their station tuning signal card. Hope I have been of help.

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