Tonight’s Granada TV… in 1965 

30 November 2016 tbs.pm/10487

The TVTimes tells us what was on Granada TV on Tuesday 30 November 1965. Things worth noting include:

  • All the schools programmes are Rediffusion productions today. In the 1964-8 period, schools expenditure for networked series was 40% Rediffusion, 40% Granada and 20% ATV, reflecting the comparative profitability of each major company and what they could make from the extra evening minutes of advertising earned by showing the schools programmes advertising free. STV and TWW also produced schools items in their own areas, with some TWW items being in Welsh.
  • The closedown period from 11.55 to 2.05 closely mirrored the times of schools lunch breaks in the 1960s.
  • Television hours for weekday contractors were limited by the Postmaster General to 35 hours per week, not counting news, education, religion or presentation. Sports and general outside broadcasts had their own allowance of 300 hours per year. Before 1964, the companies sent a weekly return to the Independent Television Authority showing what hours they had used; this was forwarded to the General Post Office. After 1964, each ITV company’s schedule had to be agreed with the ITA in advance, allowing the ITA to forward the hours statement immediately.

  • The longtime Rediffusion schools presenter Gordon Luck (2.05pm), a specialist in mathematics and geometry, was also seen as an occasional co-presenter with Redvers Kyle on Tuesday Rendezvous.
  • Notre Ville at 2.30pm is unusual: a Rediffusion production in French. ATV had made something of a speciality of French courses in the 1960s for both children and adult learners. The titles and opening and closing captions were in French, a charming little novelty.
  • The 2.40pm to 4.50pm closedown again shows the power of the Postmaster General’s government department over broadcasting hours. It’s not until the early 1970s that the restrictions were first eased and then lifted altogether.

14554245629_9f538233b1_b

  • Evening programmes in the north begin at 4.50pm with the innovative and engaging special service Granada in the North. This was started experimentally in 1964 and expanded into a full daily service in early 1965. It was an attempt to spice up continuity announcing by inserting local news, short filmed features and musical spots by local groups into the gaps between programmes.

  • Advertised Granada in the North sessions of 10 and 30 minutes were listed at 4.50pm every day and 11.30pm where the schedule allowed, but unlisted spots occurred at 6.55pm just before peaktime programming began, 8.55pm before the main ITN news from London, and at 10.30pm before the last dramatic programme of the evening at the end of peak.

14381171305_90f83d6304_b

  • The “GiN” project aimed to make Granada’s evenings seamless, a constant flow of programming, adverts, news headlines, music, trailers and promotions with no gaps to turn over to BBC-1.
  • GiN was produced by a separate team int he same department as the main regional news programme Scene at 6.30, a favourite with both the local viewers and the ITA that, slightly frustratingly, always went out at 6.35pm.
  • Granada in the North was most likely an attempt to copy ABC Weekend’s successful features offerings ABC at Large and ABC Newsdesk, which had also mixed entertainment with local features, combining the format with an attempt at ABC’s lighter touch, more promotionally intensive continuity.
  • ABC used continuity announcers to read their local news; Granada turned this on its head by having the local news presenters doing continuity announcements.

14554431047_fc646ce5ce_b

  • GiN was renamed On Air in late 1967, contracting down to become a local documentary feature most nights at 6pm before being swallowed by Granada Reports as colour came along.

  • Five O’Clock Funfair was the third variant on Rediffusion’s Five O’Clock Club format as Rediffusion tried to find a format that was both popular (like the original) and inexpensive (unlike the original). The dropping of the ‘club’ element had reduced the programme’s running costs in badges and newsletters, but had also reduced viewer loyalty.
  • I remember nothing whatsoever about The Californians, which means either it made no impression on me at all, or my father was watching Look North over on BBC-1.

ftn4-deco

  • Scene at 6.30 was not networked, of course, but had a major effect on the entire industry, influencing the formats of local news programmes from both the BBC and the other ITV companies. It contained national as well as regional stories and was presented by journalists like Mike Scott and Michael Parkinson rather than by newsreaders. Writers, presenters and producers on the show regularly went on to become huge names television in the 1970s – Leslie Woodhead, John Hamp, Michael Apted and, of course, Scott and Parkinson themselves.
  • Granada had a tiny London facility to allow Denis Pitts to interview local politicians before pr after major votes in parliament and for the video to be inserted live into the programme – a terrific expense to go to, but amazing television for the time.
  • The flexibility of Scene at 6.30 can be seen in its two most famous – and polar opposite – moments: giving The Beatles their live television debut, and breaking the news of the assassination of President Kennedy.
  • The entire format, including live inserts from other regions, would be stolen by the BBC for Nationwide in 1969.

ftn1-deco

  • The ITV staples of Double Your Money and Emergency – Ward 10 fill their usual longtime slots at 7pm and 7.30pm, followed by a feature film at 8pm: the 1959 Rank adaptation of The 39 Steps. Feature films were rarely networked at this point. The practice of splitting the film for the main ITN news would continue even when the slot expanded to 30 minutes and moved to 10pm some 18 months later.
  • The World Tonight at 10.05pm was an extension of the World in Action brand. It met with mixed success, some weeks have top notch, compelling stories to tell, other weeks scrabbling around for bits of film to string a programme together. It was also expensive, having to rely on film being flown back from the listed international production centres in the days before geostationary satellite links.
  • The World Tonight‘s format was disliked by critics, but it was a game stab by Granada at beating the BBC at its own Panorama game, especially with the use of so many foreign correspondents. However, it was a victim of its own inescapable costs.

14554225770_74c4507228_b

  • The news headlines at 11.30pm have come from ITN in London via telex to Quay Street in Manchester to be read out locally by GiN presenters. The following Granada in the North round-up featured first night reviews of new plays in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool – the latter having a large and thriving theatre scene – plus the usual run of local news, short filmed features and musical spots by local groups, either redone live or repeated from earlier in the day as the audiences at 4.50pm and 11.30pm were quite different.

ftn2-deco


External links

You Say

10 responses to this article

Paul Z. Temperton 30 November 2016 at 12:46 pm

Was not Gay Byrne another who cut his teeth on Scene at 6.30 before becoming famous back home in Ireland? Or am I misremembering?

Mark Jeffries 30 November 2016 at 6:47 pm

“The Californians” was an American Western that ran for two seasons from 1957 to 1959 on NBC, so it was already relatively ancient when Granada was running it in 1965. No relation to the “Saturday Night Live” soap opera parody of the same title.

Kif Bowden-Smith 30 November 2016 at 7:35 pm

Gay Byrne was mainly partnered with Bill Grundy, introducing “People & Places”, the predecessor to “Scene at 6.30″….but I don’t preclude Byrne appearing on early editions of “Scene” when it took over..

Arthur Nibble 30 November 2016 at 9:13 pm

Hmmm, no regional variations listed?

I used to get “TV Comic” amongst others, and I remember Beetle Bailey, but I don’t remember him on telly, although it appears King Features Syndicate made 50 six-minute episodes of the character. Were they ever shown in the UK?

“Amos Burke: Secret Agent” was a short-lived reboot of “Burke’s Law”, whose murder mystery context was changed to international espionage for the spin-off, for which only Gene Barry was kept on -everyone else from “Burke’s Law” was binned.

Jim Nugent 30 November 2016 at 9:40 pm

Gay Byrne did work for Granada, certainly on the news magazine programme “People And Places”. He replaced Chris Howland and worked alongside Bill Grundy.

“Scene At 6:30” started some way into 1963 (it took straight over from P&P) and I can’t remember whether Gay Byrne moved from the earlier programme onto the replacement. It was during the S@6:30 era that Mike Scott, Michael Parkinson, Peter Eckersley and others made their first appearances, though established Granada people like Brian Trueman also appeared from time to time. I can still remember Mike Scott’s onscreen reaction to the telephoned news that JFK had been shot.

Arthur Nibble 30 November 2016 at 10:56 pm

Paul, I’m trusting Wikipedia here, but it says Gay Byrne was host of a different Granada show in the 1960’s, called “Let’s Dance”. Still, he was on Granada, so well remembered.

Kif Bowden-Smith 1 December 2016 at 11:22 am

Oh there’s no doubt that Gay Byrne was joint presenter of “People & Places” with Bill Grundy, the predecessor of “Scene at 6.30” – I just couldn’t remember whether he was still there when it changed it’s name to “Scene at 6.30”, as it was largely the same show but with a harder news edge and more short ‘inserts’ from their London studio, ‘Nationwide style’…
I think he probably did not transfer.

Paul Mason 2 December 2016 at 4:53 am

Don’t forget Gay Byrne eventually gravitated towards Radio/Telefis Eireann with the Late Late Show which he hosted from 1962 until 1999, one of the few Irish people to make his fortune in Ireland. He is still alive at 82 but now retired.
The 39 Steps is the 1959 remake which starred a young Susan Stranks, later from Magpie.
Oddly enough ITV in 2016 is currently broadcasting a programme identical in format to The World Tonight, but I forget the title but I will come back on that.

Paul Mason 12 December 2016 at 6:59 am

Scene at 6.30 later became just Scene. This was replaced on Granada by Six-O-One, later Newsday. These two early 70s regional news shows had as their theme Milestones” by Miles Davis. Presenters included Brian Trueman, Bob Greaves, Jim Walker and Paul Barnes. The previously unseen Don’ Murray-Henderson read the news on a few occasions before his fatal car crash. Bob Greaves had a slot called Put It In Writing for viewer comments. Bill Tidy was a Friday regular with a topical cartoon slot There were musical items.as well.
In 1973 Granada Reports started and is still going even though Granada is no more (except in Spain!)

Paul Mason 12 December 2016 at 7:07 am

I must point out on my Gay Byrne comment I should have made clear that his fortune was made mostly in Irish broadcasting on RTE. This was not to suggest other Irish people haven’t made their fortunes in Ireland, even in media. Apologies.

Your comment

Enter it below