Opportunity Knocks: Goodbye to Didsbury 

30 July 2016 tbs.pm/9155

Transdiffusion has launch a new website as part of our Televault: ABC at Large. The new site’s main item is this exclusive page – a full audio recording of Opportunity Knocks saying ‘Goodbye to Didsbury’ on ABC’s last Saturday – a complete show, minus adverts, that looks back at 12 years of ABC in the North.

Opening shot of the programme

Opening shot of the programme


You Say

9 responses to this article

garry 10 August 2016 at 4:07 pm

I was born in 1964. So I am just too young to remember what is so Euphemistically called the start of The Second phase of I.T.V. But I can just remember the 1968 National Strike after Major Industrial Action at newcomers Thames and London Weekend Television. I seem to remember both David Hamilton and the late [and much missed] Shelia Tracy starting up at 4.45pm with Programmes For Children and no Independent Television News until I.T.N. announced the end of the strike two and a half years later. One question. Did David Hamilton announce for both Rediffusion London Weekdays and A.B.C. North Weekend? Before the start of London Weekend Television? Thanks.

Russ J Graham 10 August 2016 at 4:19 pm

Sheila Kennedy, not Sheila Tracy.

Two and a half weeks, not two and a half years.

David Hamilton worked at ABC North at weekends and did weekday shifts at various regional companies before he went to Thames; he never worked for Rediffusion nor London Weekend Television.

garry 10 August 2016 at 5:11 pm

Thanks Russ Sorry did I type two and a half years? Of course I meant two and a half weeks. Sadly these are my last days before myself and my brother have to go in to Disabled Assisted Living. So two final questions. Firstly what was the I.T.V. Emergency Music start up music in 1968? Wad it send in the Band? Secondly Why could I.T.V. Broadcast an Emergency Networked Service in 1968. But just a blue themed caption with white lettering [Minus Channel Television of course] in 1979. Off to the Dumping Ground of Assisted living I go. and I”m only 51. Nice typing with you Russ. As Bing Crosby sang. Thanks for the Memories! In memory of my late Mother GOD BLESS!

Russ J Graham 10 August 2016 at 5:25 pm

Yes, it was “Strike up the Band” (aka “Toronto”) by Robert Farnon.

The reasons behind having a management (or, in the terms used then, “scab”) service in 1968 and none in 1979 is because 1968 wasn’t a strike! It was a “lock out”. The unions had taken wildcat action starting from halfway through Tommy Cooper on Thames’s first Tuesday; this spread slowly but surely through the entire network, culminating in knocking LWT off air at 7.01pm on their first Friday evening. As well as strikes, the unions also called meetings during popular programmes, so all staff would walk off for an hour, have a meeting, and come back once the programme’s slot was over (the company would have to return advertisers’ money, but the staff still got paid). They also banned overtime and unsociable hours working and all the other bits that kept TV on the air.

So management locked them out, preventing the staff from doing work and depriving them of wages. That meant they could use management and non-union staff to run a service. The TV-am ‘strike’ in the 1980s was also a lock out, not a strike.

In 1979, it was a strike by staff, not a lock out, so there was nobody to run a service and management couldn’t do it as it would drag other unions into the action – the transmitter engineers would likely walk out if ITV bosses tried to work around the strike; the electricity board staff might refuse to send power to the companies; it could all go to hell very quickly if they defied the strike. Such “secondary action” is now illegal, by the way.

garry 10 August 2016 at 5:40 pm

Thanks to the late Lady Thatcher of course. Not including Channel Television of course. They could not afford any Strike”s National or Regional. Here in the South Southern Television went off the air[Strike] on their own in 1977. For seven weeks. Is there any information as to why that happened? Or same as above? I would have been 12 and a half at the time. The first programme back after the 1977 Southern only strike. Day By Day with Sarah Kennedy and a feature on the musical Strike Happy. I kid you not. Happy Days. Also did the 1979 I.T.V. Network Strike have music? Plus a police message on the hunt for The Yorkshire Ripper? I am sure it did.

Anthony Teague 16 August 2016 at 12:04 pm

Wow! How wonderful to hear, if not see, this again after almost fifty years. I have written in this blog post about the effect on my ten year old self of seeing Freddie Davies come out of character at the end of his turn:
And many years later I worked with Freddie on his autobiography Funny Bones. Hughie’s reference to the Bachelors is because Freddie regularly toured with the group.

Anthony Teague 16 August 2016 at 12:15 pm

PS And the clip bears out what Freddie says in Funny Bones, namely that Hughie was always willing to plug the artists who’d appeared on Opportunity Knocks!

Arthur Nibble 18 August 2016 at 6:04 pm

Freddie Davies also briefly ran his own record label, and signed up and funded the first single for Black Lace.

Bill Brown 23 May 2017 at 11:25 pm

One of A.B.C.s Mobile Control Rooms ended up with Grampian tv in Aberdeen for a few years and is now with the Science Museum at Wroughton , nr Wooton Basset.
Picture attached taken late 1960s in Aberdeen with its tender pre colour days. ( Grampian started Colour broadcasts in Sept. 71)

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