Tonight’s ATV London… in 1956 

20 May 2015

K 19560520 ATV London

ATV Stripes ATV PresentsFrom the TVTimes for Sunday 20 May 1956 comes this run down of what you could be watching on ATV London. Things worth noting:

  • ITV isn’t yet 9 months old and isn’t yet turning a profit. In fact, both ATVs, Associated-Rediffusion and ABC are all heavily losing money. A-R’s parents have deep pockets and are keeping themselves and ATV London going. ABPC, owner of ABC, has told the managing director Howard Thomas that once loses hit £1m (£23m in today’s money), they will simply shut the company. Bouncing baby Granada, launched earlier this month, seems immune to this. It would also be immune to the mega-profits ITV would start making in 1958, having done a deal with A-R where A-R took the risk at the start in return for the profits later
  • The earlier experiment with three “blocks” of programming, morning, afternoon and evening, has been abandoned in favour of coming on at 4pm and making a run through to 11pm, with the exception of the government-mandated break from 6.15 to 7pm – designed to allow viewers to attend Evensong at their local church
  • The Anglo-American feeling of ITV, and nature of ATV London, is very clear here. Even when ATV is making the programme, it often has a very American flavour

You Say

4 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 20 May 2015 at 4:35 pm

Loads of detail for “Yakity-Yak”, a show I’ve never heard of, but no mention of any of the Palladium show’s acts – and not for the first time in this website’s wonderful library of TV listings.

I’m being a bit lazy here, but didn’t The Jack Jackson Show open ATV’s schedule (or come very close to it) in another recent listing? Wonder why the change was made from one end of the day’s scheduling to the other?

Russ J Graham 20 May 2015 at 7:17 pm

Two reasons, I believe (Jess may contradict me): First, the absolute financial disaster of ITV’s first 18 months meant that the schedules were all over the place as successful programmes were rushed into the slots where there were more viewers in order to charge advertisers more, while less successful shows were hurriedly pushed out of the way into the dead slots to burn them off (sunk costs).

Two, the people in charge of scheduling at ATV and A-R were necessarily amateurs – there was nowhere to gain experience. The BBC of the time threw programmes on to the air where it was convenient for them – a practice that wouldn’t fully die away until the mid-1980s – so didn’t have scheduling as we know it. Experience was purchasable from CBS and the like, but the environment in the UK was very different, so the ITV schedulers were essentially guessing, leading to some very weird scheduling choices and some programmes moving pillar to post.

Alan Keeling 15 August 2016 at 3:51 pm

“Liberace” played some very popular & classical tunes on his favourite grand piano in a 1954 US series that ran for one season only, in the early 70s he had a videotaped series produced by ITC in a 50 minute format in colour shown on Sunday nights.

Flack Cannon 18 January 2018 at 10:49 am

Can anyone help me, I remember (vaguely) a programme of which was on before “The Small Propeller. Vaguely, well because I was very young & could only view it at my friends house because they received Thames tv signal. It was a station wagon driving up the side of a mountain passed a receiving array- opening sequence.

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