Into the fifth year 

5 March 2021 tbs.pm/72307

 

Next week sees the beginning of Year Five… another milestone in the exciting, onward march of Independent Television in the North. The first programmes started going out in May 1956. Today, programmes from Granada and ABC can be received in 2,665,000 homes in the region – a total viewership of over 9,000,000 people. What pleased television directors and producers most is that this is far from a passive audience. Week after week letters pour into the TV TIMES offices and the Manchester Studios. They prove that the programmes are not only lively and entertaining but also encourage viewers to take a more active interest in things around them. The growing torrent of correspondence, of praise, criticism and suggestions, is the most healthy sign there is of the key role ITV is playing in the cultural development of the North.

 

 

 

Granada's symbol

 

GRANADA’S VITAL ROLE

 

TVTimes cover

From the TVTimes for 1-7 May 1960

THE 960 people who make up the staff of Granada Television look back with pride on their fourth year’s operation as one of achievement in many different fields. It has been a year of considerable expansion to keep pace with the demands of an ever-growing Northern audience.

There has been the vast steel-and-concrete expansion as the shell of Granada’s new administrative headquarters has risen storey by storey. Soon, it will be one of Manchester’s most prominent landmarks — a giant symbol of the vital role the company is playing in the life of the North.

And there has been the continual expansion of forward-looking programming, with a rich stream of new ideas in entertainment and information, created and produced in the North.

Cameras have ranged from coast to coast mirroring all facets of Northern activities. The magazine programme People and Places is now dipping three times a week into the wealth of material that exists throughout the region and, along with the home-grown Sports Outlook, has become part of the pattern of Northern life.

One of the most outstanding achievements on a purely regional basis was the coverage of the General Election campaign. The fact that this became known as the TV Election was due in no small measure to Granada’s pioneering efforts at Rochdale in the previous year. And they also pioneered the way in the form of Marathon — in which every Parliamentary candidate in the North was offered air-time to talk directly to the electors.

 

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh in Granada’s production of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth

 

Scaffolding around a building

Granada – growing rapidly. The building rising in Manchester

During the year, with the active cooperation of leaders in many different branches of science, like Sir John Cockcroft and Sir Edward Appleton, the company started a series of schools programmes for science sixth formers. With the cream of their programmes also being seen outside the region — in millions of ITV homes in all parts of the country – Granada have played a leading role in “exporting” Northern talents and Northern culture.

Drama offerings have included work by such North Country playwrights as Stanley Houghton, Harold Brighouse and Gertrude Allaway. Others are in course of preparation, In addition, much is being done to encourage and develop new Northern writers like Harry Kershaw, Keith Dewhurst and Robert Morrow.

Many noteworthy productions to come from the Manchester Studios have ranged from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible to the recent mammoth ballet presentation of Cinderella with Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes.

The year’s feature programmes have demonstrated the vital part “electronic journalism” can play in stimulating discussion in matters of public interest.

Granada set up a studio in a Blackpool sea-front hotel for The Voice of Millions – programmes covering development at the Trades Union Congress. They sent a team of independent observers to South Africa.

The regular Searchlight programme, by seeking to right wrongs and point out some of the failings of the community, as well as its achievements, has won praise.

Now the company are looking overseas – not only to find programmes for Northern biewers, but to interest television stations in America, Russia and Asutralia in the diversity of home-produced programmes.

– Derek Meakin

 

Studio interior

Four hundred people in the studio for Granada’s coverage of the General Election

 


 

A map of ITV's North region

The north region – Granada Monday to Friday, ABC Saturday and Sunday

 


 

ABC's symbol

 

The second half

by HOWARD THOMAS

Managing Director of ABC Television

 

ABC’s four years in the North means that we are half way through our contract with the Independent Television Authority to provide a public programme service. It is half-time, but there is no respite. The task becomes harder, the competition more fierce, for in television especially time marches on.

In four years we have changed and developed. So have you! Television sharpens public taste, makes the seeker after entertainment more discriminating, more exacting, more demanding. The decline of the music hall, the cinema, the football stadium is not only due to the television habit of staying at home.

It is because the public, having seen so much of the best (as well as the worst) on television, will only go out to see the best in entertainment. So it is that the cinemas can still be filled by a great film and the football grounds packed to see the finest teams.

 

Three men studio a studio plan

Howard Thomas (centre) with Sidney Newman (right) and Brian Tesler

 

Programme standards in 1960 are much higher than they were on both channels four years ago. The struggle for your approval has brought out new ideas, new skills. But they are never new enough. In television, yesterday’s programmes are dead and all is for tomorrow.

A priest and a man in a suit

David Southwood hands over a film for dedication to the Dean of Liverpool Cathedral

At ABC out effort is split into two halves – to provide first-class programmes for this year and, simultaneously, to develop as many replacement programmes as we can for 1961. In fact, we have 10 projects in hand for next year.

Towards this end, our creative production team has been strengthened and will add still greater talents. Drama is headed by Sydney Newman, who has reached the top of the ladder, rung by ring, over the last two years; Light Entertainment and Features are controlled by Brian Tesler, probably Britain’s best producer in his field; and David Southwood, the big name in Outside Broadcasts who has been with ABC since we started. In turn, they are gathering around them a remarkable team of directors and technicians. It is generally accepted that ABC’s Armchair Theatre has the best drama directors in television, and now we want “the best” to apply to our other departments.

And just as ABC’s ambition is to provide you with the finest of its kind in entertainment, so we want to provide outstanding public service broadcasting. We have several new ideas but the one we most cherish is to provide what British television has not yet offered — adult education.

These are our hopes as we troop on to the field for the Second Half, refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face the challenge of your ever-changing tastes and needs.

 


 

TOPS IN DRAMA

by SYDNEY NEWMAN

Drama Supervisor, ABC

 

Sidney Newman

 

IN 30 weeks of its fourth year, Armchair Theatre has shown its popularity by being in the National Top Ten not fewer than 25 times. How does this come about? The best scripts that money can buy, written especially for television. Our team of writers and directors is made up mainly of young men brimming with ideas.

Our staff directors — William Kotcheff (voted Director of the Year by his colleagues in TV), Philip Saville, John Moxey, Charles Jarrott and Guy Vemey — have set a new standard in camera work and production style.

 

William T Kotcheff

William “Ted” Kotcheff at work on a episode of ABC Armchair Theatre

 


 

EXCITING PLANS

by BRIAN TESLER

Features and Light Entertainment Supervisor, ABC

 

Brian Tesler

 

THIS department makes new plans and sets its sights on new objectives. Some of the most illustrious names in show business are appearing exclusively for us. The best comedy-writer and the best comedy-director in the country are combining with an all-star cast to bring you a new kind of situation-comedy.

For our other new comedy shows and features, ABC cameras will be roving the streets, pubs, clubs and homes, to look at life from a new angle.

For the children, there will be a world of new live and cartoon characters.

 

 


 

ON TO THE MOON!

by DAVID SOUTHWOOD

Chief of Outside Broadcasts, ABC

 

David Southwood

 

IF, one day, a pale blue object is seen moving swiftly into space it might well be an ABC Outside Broadcast Unit speeding off to cover the first landing of man on the Moon — for we in the Outside Broadcast Division have been aiming at the Moon ever since we started operations.

With the grand team who work with me, I am confident that no star is too bright, or too high, for us to reach in the future.

But the immediate future will again include moving services from our great cathedrals — like Liverpool, Ripon, Hereford and Chester.

 

Staff sit behind cameras on an open platform

Yorkshire v Lancashire cricket match at Leeds

 

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Derek Meakin, Howard Thomas, Sydney Newman, Brian Tesler and David Southwood Contact More by me

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Liverpool, Wednesday 22 September 2021