Tonight’s Associated-Rediffusion… in 1956 

8 February 2017

The TVTimes tells us what was on Associated-Rediffusion Television on Wednesday 8 February 1956. Things worth noting include:

  • ITV is a little over 5 months old and is in financial dire straits
  • In a week or so, things will get a bit easier for Associated-Rediffusion, which has assumed the financial burden of the system in order to keep it afloat, with the opening of ATV (on weekdays) and ABC (on weekends) in the Midlands
  • This will supply A-R with more programmes, letting it ease of running its studios at full pelt for little return; things would get even easier in May when Granada and ABC opened in the North, mainly because Granada was treated more like a subsidiary of A-R, its programmes guaranteed network exposure and A-R taking the profits
  • Television at this time is still very expensive for the viewer, so remains the preserve of the middle classes. This is clearly shown on both channels by a stultifying choice of programming
  • A-R had begun in 1955 with an ambitious schedule of morning and afternoon programmes. They have long since been jettisoned, with the only survivor, the soap Sixpenny Corner, moving from afternoons to peak – at the curiously specific time of 7.06pm
  • 7.20pm sees Singing For You from the Incorporated Television Programme Company. They had applied for an ITV franchise in 1955 and not been selected, but were invited to pitch programmes to the network – they built a stockpile of programming on film during 1954-5 ready for ITV’s launch. Then ATV got into financial trouble and ITPC swept in to invest in the company. This basically killed the Independent Television Authority’s putative idea of having contractors with geographic regions, plus other non-geographical contractors having network access. Singing For You is a tiny slice of what might have been
  • The main peak schedule shows how A-R is trying to stick to its promises of providing quality programmes for the middle classes whilst also trying to induce the working classes to buy a set. Double Your Money, Douglas Fairbanks Presents, Chance of a Lifetime and Gun Law are all there to attract new viewers
  • Dance to the Music, Inner Sanctum and Points of View are all there for the existing middle class audience
  • The closedown sequence, starting at 10.57pm, features singer-comedian Bob Harvey, who has been doing “spots” for Associated-Rediffusion since it opened but now seems to be doing continuity announcing

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5 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 8 February 2017 at 1:47 pm

Five time signals indicated, translated as five opportunities for very brief adverts to be read out over the company clock.

Was the animated toy inventor for “Toybox” the same Eric Spear who composed the theme to “Coronation Street”?

“Round at the Redways” spawned an idea which developed into “Handy Round The Home”, whereby Howard (Harry?) Greene became British television’s first DIY handyman.

I love the fact “You’ve Never Seen This” is actually a repeat, so you may have already seen it!

steve brown 9 February 2017 at 11:11 pm

another year,and ITV will be on the air all night,as feb 1957 saw the end of the toddler’s truce

Bruce McCready 10 February 2017 at 8:53 pm

Is the Kenneth MacLeod introducing “Teatime Magazine” the same one who presented Westward Diary?

Victor Field 19 February 2017 at 7:10 pm

“Gun Law” (here when it was a half-hour show) is what “Gunsmoke” was called on UK TV back then, for some reason.

Alan Keeling 24 March 2017 at 4:08 pm

I may be interesting to know that Douglas Fairbanks presents….. was still being shown on Granada, very late at night as late as 1975. This anthology series ran from 1953 until 1957, Christopher Lee made appearances in a number of episodes.

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