Tonight’s Yorkshire TV… in 1985 

9 July 2017

The TVTimes tells us what was on Yorkshire on Tuesday 9 July 1985. Things worth noting include:

  • TV-am’s early wobbles are behind it – the move downmarket has paid off. This week’s BARB report will show it achieving an audience peak of 1.9 million against the BBC’s 1.3 million. The breakfast franchise is still not using its full allocation of airtime, however – choosing to go on the air at 6.15, rather than 6 a.m. Hypochondriacs are superserved, with not only the Doc Spot, but also Alternative Medicine. Noisy Midland chef Rustie Lee makes her first appearance of the day.
  • 9.25 sees the handover to Kirkstall Road. No genuflecting to the IBA – just the opening ident, a weather forecast from the duty announcer, then a videprinter-style rundown of the day’s offerings, accompanied by Chris Gunning’s theme. It’s a start-up of sorts, but the magic has gone.
  • Sesame Street is stripped across the week. Much of the rest of daytime isn’t. Stripping all but certain peak-hour programmes across the week was standard practice from the early days in the U.S. and Australia, but was more than a decade away for the major British networks.
  • It’s likely the first commercials of the day didn’t air until the break in Vintage Quiz – the magic of averaging meaning YTV could squeeze a little more revenue from evening airtime.
  • About Britain continues to offer a networked repeat for features from the minor ITV regions – here, it’s TSW’s turn.
  • Calendar Lunchtime Live had been introduced in April as a Tuesday-Thursday spinoff of the long-running evening magazine. With IBA targets for regional interest programmes at their most demanding in the eighties, filling an extra ninety minutes with a reasonably low-cost daytime miscellany is a sound business move. Lunchtime Live will doubtless capture virtually all the audience, too, with BBC-1 off the air, and BBC-2 showing an OU programme about marketing.
  • At 1.30, evidence that the single play is still just about viable on ITV, though perhaps ‘single play’ is a misnomer here. Love and Marriage is one of a range of umbrella series the channel specialised in from the late sixties to the mid eighties. Writer James Andrew Hall has a long list of IMdB credits, largely working on adaptations – his five-part version of My Brother Jonathan aired the following month on BBC-1, starring a young Daniel Day-Lewis, and then-flavour-of-the-month, Benedict Taylor.
  • Wynford Vaughan-Thomas was Director of Programmes for Harlech at its launch in 1968. Here, he features as Mary Parkinson’s guest at the HTV studios.
  • Noisy Midland cook Rustie Lee makes her second appearance of the day at 3pm. Definitions reunites her with her erstwhile Game for a Laugh co-host, Jeremy Beadle. Back to back HTV productions must be a rarity outside Wales and the West …
  • … and there’s another at 4.20, if you’re counting.
  • Connections was the poor man’s Blockbusters, but with beautiful ex-Granada announcer Sue Robbie.
  • Tonight’s edition of Crossroads will pull in 11.1 million viewers. Two and a half years later, the programme will be axed.
  • Emmerdale Farm will pull in 10.5 million viewers. The modern-day Emmerdale really bears no resemblance, but is still a hit show – albeit with ratings just over half that figure. The definition of success has changed.
  • Much like Heart to Heart and Quincy, Never the Twain seemed always to be on ITV in the early and mid 80s. I rather like both Sinden and Davies, but never warmed to it.
  • Taggart, of course, lived on as a series after the death of its titular character. But the Mark MacManus episodes are the strongest. A decent period for STV drama with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Charles Endell Esquire, A Sense of Freedom, and The House on the Hill; culminating in this series – well received critically and commercially.
  • The post-News at Ten documentary reflects growing anxiety about the spread of heroin use. This was around the time the ‘heroin really screws you up’ campaign kicked off.
  • Back to Glasgow at 11.30, as a session of country music wraps up the evening for Yorkshire viewers. Pete Sayers had a couple of short series with the BBC in the first half of the eighties.

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7 responses to this article

Arthur Vasey 9 July 2017 at 12:59 pm

Interesting to note that the actress credited as “Makeup girl” in Love And Marriage is one Beverley Sowden – she also was briefly in Emmerdallas Farm as a love interest for Jackie Merrick – these days, she is in Coronation Street, playing Liz McDonald – now calling herself Beverley Callard – there’s also a Liz McDonald in Emmerdallas Farm as well!

Until the 1987 shake-up of the ITV schedules created a uniform standard of the morning schedules, it was not uncommon to see different programmes – sometimes even old films – on telly during holiday time – more so in the summer – bizarrely, for ITV, no commercials – if a programme was screened that had a natural break in it, they would just run a couple of public information films, rather than a two minute blank screen or END OF PART ONE (fade to black) PART TWO or try to edit it out and make it all disjointed.

Paul Mason 10 July 2017 at 8:17 am

Daytime TV, sport and other major events excepted was not to return fully to BBC1 until autumn 1986, when Neighbours (pah!) was first screened, twice.a day (double pah!). BBC had breakfast TV by this time (1985) but no daytime shows.

I remember Channel 4 doing Scrabble in the Countdown slot but it didn’t catch on and the tiles were too small to read. We have to thank Dave Clark (of the Five) for buying up all, or most of the recordings of Ready Steady Go from Rediffusion before destruction or wiping, converting to video and shown on Channel 4. My favourite one was Rufus Thomas performing Jump Back, pure energy and sweat from a man who was FIFTY at the time.

The midnight closedown is a surprise as I thought ITV went on till 1 am by 1985, but no. We were three years away from round the clock ITV.

Paul Mason 10 July 2017 at 8:22 am

TAGGART was a favourite in the Mason abode, but I could never understand the continued use of the name after the death of Mark McManus. Jardine and Reid would have been a better title.

Arthur Nibble 10 July 2017 at 11:44 am

Some intriguing regional options here, at least to me.

Anglia continues its “Weavers Green” protest by sticking “Emmerdale” on at a different time to the rest of the network and also shows TSW’s “Gardens For All” (complete with excellent theme tune and intro graphics), whereas Central show “Gardening Time”, which reminds me of an episode of “Rutland Weekend Television” where Henry Woolf announces a programme of the same name (and looks down to the monitor in a brilliant copy of LWT mannerisms), only for the next show to be “Come Dancing”.

Some ‘two for ones’ of a sort going on here – Central and Granada keep it fresh and new with “Fireball XL5”, Tyne Tees and Granada go with “Glenroe”, and Anglia and Granada give air time to “Freetime”.

By the way, does anyone know what “Koinonia” (10.55 on Tyne Tees) was?

Dave Rhodes 10 July 2017 at 2:35 pm

Koinonia is apparently a religious term and also a jazz-fusion group active in the seventies and eighties. That Tyne Tees programme is the only one using the title I can find in The Times archive, so we’re still guessing!

In other ambiguous title news, Ulster were showing the ‘Border Pool Classic’ at 3.30. Whether that’s the Irish border or Derek Batey-land, I’m not sure…

Mark Jeffries 13 July 2017 at 5:55 pm

What I find interesting is that while C4 was not succeeding with a straight TV adaptation of Scrabble, in the U.S. a version that basically used the name and game board design for another game built around cryptic and punny definitions had been running for a year in daytime on NBC and would run for five more years in the U.S. Although produced by Reg Grundy, it didn’t get the worldwide distribution of his version of “Sale of the Century” or “Going for Gold” (or “Neighbours”), I presume because of the fact that the Scrabble trademark is owned by different companies in different parts of the world (and to this day, although it’s now Hasbro in North America and Mattel everywhere else) and those companies didn’t agree to the massive changes in format from the board game.

George H 11 October 2017 at 11:13 pm

I did notice from the regional variations that Tyne Tees did not show Definition at 3.00 pm, opting for Border’s Look Who’s Talking – perhaps they thought that it was too similar to their own Cross Wits series? Particularly, it was due to start in September that year. Even Tyne Tees themselves was just two years from hiring Beadle himself as the host of Chain Letters.

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