Through the day 

1 December 1999

In some ways the needs of television presentation have not changed that much, although the art of the start-up and closedown is rarely called upon. However, there are still programmes to trail, the news to introduce and the station itself to assert its identity.

Indeed the aim here is to show that the best companies for presenting themselves in the 1960s would need to learn very little to adapt to today – whereas the worst of the 1970s would have a long way to go.

After the start-up

We are going to step over the subject of the formal start-up itself, if only because this has been dealt with extensively elsewhere on Trandiffusion already.

The first programme of the day was rarely anything spectacular in the 1960s: schools programmes in the week; adult education on Saturdays and the Morning Service on Sundays would be typical and these would exist almost as islands away from the regular programmes. Nevertheless the station identity would be out from the start.

From 1968 Keith Martin says the standard phrase “ABC – Your Weekend Television in the North” for the first of many times on a shift, after the authority announcement of John Benson. The long ABC ident is included here with a break – a transmission fault. Note the particularly friendly and personal style which permeated ABC North.

On to 1970 and a rather more staid introduction on a later Sunday from Betty Henwood for Channel. But yes, she does call it the ‘Moving Service’. And maybe it was.

Two from 1968. Sometimes the first announcement was happy…

… and sometimes sad.

Let’s take a break

No sooner had broadcasting started than it sometimes had to come to a (temporary) end.

Betty Henwood with a very busy junction including a change to the advertised programme in 1970. Don’t you dare not come back precisely at 2:48pm.

Whereas it is make sure you have a good Sunday lunch with Uncle Keith in 1968. Note that the transmitter is turned off almost immediately after the long ABC ident.

And back in the afternoon

It’s 1968 and Brian Trueman opens up Granada in the North after that phrase is spoken by Don Murray Henderson. ‘GIN’ was quite an innovative approach with news and presentation from London and Manchester in co-operation with ITN, here in the shape of Gordon Honeycombe. It really was billed in listings to last the whole length of transmissions.

Children’s programmes

No special continuity in the 1960s as the regular announcers were expected to be qualified for everything.

It’s the 6 August 1968 and Sheila Kennedy might be excused not knowing that Tingha and Tucker were really koalas although she like Keith Martin should know them from the Sunday broadcast. However, they would be unfamiliar to many around the country seeing them on the 1968 national emergency service. Robert Harbin as The Sooty Show guest fixes the date.

Again from 1968 and I’m not sure whether the children dutifully waiting for the religious version of The Tingha and Tucker Club would be too interested in the programme at 7pm, but Keith Martin was.

The start of a week on ATV Midlands in 1967. We’ve got the entertainment for you rather than those stuffy ABC people at the weekend. To prove it – Tingha and Tucker. Again.

Introduction of an early YTV children’s programme from Sheila Kennedy in 1968. Play-out of “The Golden Shot” had been abandoned as the strike began to take hold – apparently at an exciting moment.

To the news

Once more the principle remains the same today. Station ident, maybe a quick trail of the programme after the news, and then ITN. The tone varies so much though and the build-up used to be much less dramatic than today.

1968 and Linda Lee sounds almost apologetic that you are watching Teledu Cymru.

Again in 1968 and no matter how many times I listen to this I cannot work out how Keith Martin doesn’t dissolve into giggles. What was the wibbledy wobbledy way? And was it abbreviated to the WWW?

Did things change much over the next 20 years? Judge for yourself. (The Atlantic was an antic for Richard Branson.) Still music; station & location; time; News at Ten. It’s now 1987.

Back to 1968 and David Hamilton. Yet again this follows a style still heard today and starts with a trailer for Cooper King Size, to be seen only in part on the first day of Thames before being blacked out.

But I’m telling you the plot, Michael

Announcers don’t generally give away what is going to happen in the following programme. However, on a specialist channel this can work very well, particularly with material with a cult audience which is likely to know everything about it anyway. Used to some extent on such channels in the US as Nick-at-Nite, it surprisingly hasn’t been exploited much in the UK. An exception is the short period of on-screen announcements on UK Gold.

These two examples both feature Glen Allen leading us into Doctor Who…

Programme voiceovers

Announcers often turned into barkers, introducing programmes or their hosts over the theme music. Done either to sneak their local voices onto the network, or to take advantage of them being on the staff and therefore not entitled to a special fee.

Possibly the most famous of these – Anglia, John Benson and Sale of the Century. The picture is of John some 10 years earlier than this clip, which is from 1965.

Around 1958 and note the somewhat unfamiliar version of the ABC chimes as we enter the Armchair Theatre – before they could afford the timpani. The play was estimated to be suitable for adults only.

1969 and an atypical upbeat role for Redvers Kyle shouting the introduction to Sez Les. Redvers appeared on-screen in the first edition – the only B&W edition of this series known to exist.

The simple

This is…

You’re watching…

Identifying the station. What could be more standard than this. And more timeless – unless there is a time-check of course.

Something fairly recent from 1999.

Something really not that different – a sign of the times? David Hamilton’s the man, from 1968.

And in this case an ident and announcement from Iris Jones for a company that didn’t really exist – also in 1968.

Same year, some months earlier. There’s one difference here from the modern day – the very rounded diction of Ivor Roberts.

This example shows the real variety possible in the same “This is…” announcement. There are three words to differ in emphasis and voice quality varies. Listen to Norman Summers, Don Murray Henderson, Bill Croasdale and Colin Weston all say: “This is Granada”. All from the 1960s.

The bizarre

David Hamilton creates a surreal image to sell the TV Times in 1968. Very precise lead up to a Rediffusion ident, itself a rarity on ABC.

1999 and what on earth is this Channel 5 junction about? Answers on a postcard please.

1997 and UK Gold, in their wisdom, decide to show Love Thy Neighbour. Yet they don’t seem too proud of the fact in this Glen Allen introduction.

Weather, the epilogue and goodbye for tonight

Quite a standard way of bringing a station to a close, although some such as Granada never went in for a religious or patriotic version.

Simple introduction by Betty Henwood of the epilogue on Channel in 1970.

Unlikely to see this kind of piracy these days. Note the trailer before the weather which was for Yorkshire’s first drama. The year is 1968 and your announcers are David Hamilton and Keith Martin.

No epilogue in this Channel piece from 1970, although Arlene Watkins could cut glass at 50 metres with her accent. Notable also for a temperature and time check, what would have been a poor version of national anthem without problems with this recording, and the reminder to switch off at the end. Plus a mention of those awfully nice people at the ITA transmitter without whom, etc…

1968 and another two-hander from ABC North duo of Hamilton and Martin. ABC seemed to specialise in jokey weather forecasts. Note that as above temperature is in Centigrade first – after over 30 years conversion is still considered necessary on forecasts. And what is a ‘sun’ weather forecast anyway – read in the style of The Sun perhaps?

1964 and the quirky informal nature of early BBC 2 is clear from this closedown from the ‘real’ first day. Anyone miss the lack of National anthem here?

You Say

4 responses to this article

keith martin 20 February 2014 at 8:52 pm

I was flabbbbergasted when i heard meself (as so many seem to say nowadays)

keith martin 22 March 2014 at 12:06 pm


keith martin 4 February 2015 at 11:27 am

David, David!! Have you, yes, YOU, heard these blasts from the past, mmm?

Colin Berry 11 February 2017 at 4:17 pm

I have no recordings of my weeks announcing at HTV during the summer of 1971. Anybody got ’em by some slim chance !?

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