Tonight’s Tyne Tees TV… in 1984 

29 March 2017

The TVTimes tells us what was on TTT on Thursday 29 March 1984. Things worth noting include:

  • TV-am’s dire financial state is on-going and they’re unable to afford to come on air at 6am. However, the breezy style of presentation, the short “spots”, the pop video and cartoon offerings to the kids and the evident chemistry between presenters Anne Diamond and Nick Owen are working. Coming on 5 minutes before the BBC’s Breakfast Time is also working to capture early viewers. It won’t be long before TV-am starts to dominate the the ratings at this time.
  • Yorkshire and Tyne Tees were divorced just over 2 years ago and their schedules, which had slowly consolidated over their time as Trident Television, have rapidly drifted apart.
  • ITV has discovered the joys of cheap Australian soap operas. These cost far less to import than ITV’s many 1970s attempts at daytime soaps and serials and often drew more viewers, partially due to the fact that students liked to watch the wobbly walls of the worst of them. The Sullivans at 12.30 was actually very good, although the series had started to falter in about 1981 and departures of cast members caused its cancellation in Australia in 1983 after 1114 episodes. As ever, British TV is running behind.
  • Sons and Daughters is less good, but much, much more campy and fun. Plus it had every Australian actor ever in it.

  • Happy Days at 5.15pm would later be a staple for Channel 4 when it got into its babyboomer-pleasing phase in the late 1980s. Here is rounds off Children’s ITV, which is being presented by TV-am alumnus Roland Rat from Central’s studios on Broad Street in Birmingham.
  • Tyne Tees decides to drift from its neighbouring regions (if Grampian can be called a neighbouring region with any degree of certitude) by showing Crossroads at 6.02pm, after some local headlines. Everywhere else puts it on at 6.25pm.
  • But whether they put the local news on at 6pm or 6.25pm, it’s still crucifying the opposition: BBC-1’s dire Sixty Minutes, which is dying a death and would be gone in July.
  • Emmerdale Farm at 6.50pm is up against the ailing Doctor Who over on BBC-1. The Who episode is part three of “The Twin Dilemma”, Colin Baker’s first adventure as the Doctor, but the change in style of the show – it got very dark and violent for an early-evening serial aimed at a family audience – sent viewers off looking for something else.
  • If the timings tonight look a bit weird, that’s because they are. Everything between 6pm and 7.20pm has been displaced or shortened to fit in 1971’s Diamonds are Forever.
  • The Bond movie is not a premiere, but it’s still somewhat wasted by being thrown away at 7.20pm on a Thursday evening in March. There’s nothing huge against it on the other side, except for episode 11 (of 12) of David Attenborough’s The Living Planet. That was very popular, so may have savaged ITV’s viewing figures over the past two months, leading them to pull out the big guns in response.
  • The likelihood of theory being correct seems confirmed by the movie being fitted in before TV Eye (This Week as it was known earlier and later). It’d usually go on at 7.50pm and run until the News at Ten. That would save the messing with the schedules around 6pm. But if we’re wanting to take the away the strong lead into The Living PlanetTop of the Pops with its announcement of the new chart – we need to crush that as well. What a web we weave!
  • A digression into political history: the recession of 1981-1983 plus Mrs Thatcher’s conscious decision to prolong it outside of southern England to produce mass unemployment, producing a second, advertising, recession, not only sees TV-am coming on air 25 minutes later than it might, it also sees Channel 4 coming on air a whole hour later than it had done in 1983 and would do again in 1985.

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4 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 29 March 2017 at 1:55 pm

BBC staple Basil Brush, on a schools programme, on ITV? The reason being a temporary defection following his show’s cancellation, when Basil’s ‘controller’ Ivan Owen had wanted a mid-evening slot for Basil and the BBC disagreed.

I don’t think you could get away with the title of that edition of “Crown Court” these days.

Gordon Giltrap provides the music to new children’s programme “Benny”, but it didn’t provide him with the same cachet as “Holiday”.

Nice easy viewing at 11.00 on Tyne Tees and 10.25 on Channel 4 to settle us for bedtime.

Arthur Nibble 29 March 2017 at 4:50 pm

Hmmm, just noticed a couple of blips in the listings.

For Yorkshire, there’s mention of “Calendar News” and (if it’s a Thursday then it’s) “Calendar Thursday”, but no mention of “Calendar” which I assume was on at 6.00. The listings imply Yorkshire showed “North East News” followed by two consecutive episodes of “Crossroads, two in a row too many for a lot of people.

Grampian’s listings suggest they got the same as Yorkshire, except the first “Crossroads” is cut short by five minutes for “Police News”. I take it the “Mr. Smith” offered to Grampian viewers was the awful ‘comedy’ about a talking orangutan.

I need to get out more.

Joanne Gray 29 March 2017 at 9:18 pm

I notice that Channel 4 was showing the seemingly never-ending drama serial Barriers. I remember this being shown on Tyne Tees at teamtime on Sundays for what seemed like forever and a day. I don’t remember Channel 4 showing this eternally dragging serial, but it might explain why it seemed like the show’s episode count exceeded an unedited version of War And Peace or a serialisation of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z.

Alan Keeling 30 March 2017 at 8:29 pm

The second item for children is a 5 minute Batfink cartoon, one of many produced in 1967 by Hal Seeger productions. “Arthur, Arthur” is episode 8 in the final season of Happy Days (1983/84), which is now set during the late 60s.

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