Tonight’s HTV and Channel 4… in 1988 

13 September 2017

The TVTimes tells us what was on HTV and Channel 4 on Tuesday 13 September 1988. Things worth noting include:


  • Starting the day at 5.00am is ITN’s Morning News, which was first broadcast on 15 February 1988. This incarnation of the first bulletin of the day featured a repeat showing of ITN World News, as already seen by SuperChannel viewers. A news bulletin at the top of the daily schedule was retained by ITV until the end of 2012.
  • Regular regional news updates throughout the early part of the schedule are clearly in evidence; while there’s four bulletins on this particular day (a practice many other regions copied), including one at the start of HTV’s broadcasting hours, these days, there’s a solitary five-minute bulletin of local news within the same time period.
  • Just shy of three weeks before This Morning made its debut, there’s a daily dose of Richard Madeley – without his wife, Judy Finnigan – on ITV screens with Runway at 9.25am. This was the second series of the Granada-produced quiz show, which had been presented by Chris Serle in its debut season the previous year.
  • The early children’s programme – in today’s case, Rainbow – finds itself in the early slot of 10.00am. These shows were shunted around the morning hours in the preceding year, mainly due to the movement of ITV’s schools programmes to Channel 4 in September 1987. By October 1988, Rainbow et al would be shifted back to a post-This Morning showing at 12.10am, a slot retained until early children’s programmes were axed from the network schedules in 1993.
  • Similar toing-and-froing with the early afternoon ITN bulletin also prevailed during 1988: News at One became the News at 12.30 in July 1987, following the retirement of Leonard Parkin. The following March, there was a return to the 1.00pm slot, in direct competition with the BBC’s One O’Clock News, with a move back to 12.30pm in early 1991. The main anchors of News at One at the time of this schedule comprised Jon Snow and Julia Somerville.
  • Recently installed as the replacement to Gary Terzza and Debbie Shore, Mark Granger is at the helm of Children’s ITV presentation duties. Mark’s tenure was short-lived, as the contract for producing the children’s afternoon links passed from Central to Stonewall Productions for a two-year period in early 1989. Sitting alongside productions from Granada and Thames, Tube Mice was a rare foray into network’s children’s programming for TSW, who presented the 26-episode cartoon on behalf of Honeycomb Animation.
  • Moving to the evening, and with Emmerdale Farm briefly residing in a Wednesday-Thursday place in the ITV schedules, the drama quotient on Tuesday is added to by chopping up episodes of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet into twice-weekly 30 minute segments. This week, Episode 10 of the second series has been spliced – but viewers in the TVS and TSW regions aren’t given a chance to watch these episodes alongside their HTV colleagues. Meanwhile, we’re almost two months into the reformatting of The Bill as a twice-weekly 30 minute series.
  • Game show fans are catered for at 7.00pm with Love Me, Love Me Not from TVS, and at 8.30pm with Scottish Television’s Wheel of Fortune. In its first series of the UK version (which often turns up in repeat runs on Challenge to this day), the latter would prove more long-running than the former in the ITV schedules, getting through four different hosts, and the same number of hostesses, over a 13-year period.
  • With a Clint Eastwood film forming two parts of a News at Ten sandwich, we career into the night-time programmes, which as illustrated for viewers in the HTV region, are presented under the Night Club banner. Commenced on 22 August 1988, this heralded the launch of 24-hour broadcasting on ITV in Wales and the West, with programmes, viewers’ correspondence and competitions linked by an in-vision continuity-team, initially consisting of Russell Hurn, Elise Rayner and Anju Mishra. Night Club continued until 28 April 1991, when HTV sourced a night-time feed from Thames.
  • Indeed, the spread all-night ITV was essentially complete across the network by this stage – that’s except for viewers in Northern Ireland while Ulster Television irons out issues with the unions. As the regional variations box indicates, Granada serves up a mix of music, American imports and movies under the Night Time brand, which is simulcast on TSW (as well as Tyne Tees, Border and Grampian). Over on TVS (and Channel Television), Late Night Late – like Night Club, employing in-vision continuity and audience interaction – offers similar fare, as does Central’s More.

On Channel 4…

  • With the ITV Schools service still on a summer break, the day commences with entertainment for younger viewers, linked – or should that be spat? – together by Pob. Thames’ Dangermouse sees animation from Czechoslovakia (dubbed for a UK audience by one of 4’s early continuity announcers) and Germany as bedfellows. Another European-sourced animation fills for time following the Douglas Fairbanks afternoon double-bill.
  • One of two programmes making up this particular schedule which is still aired by 4 today airs at 4.30pm. In its original incarnation, Fifteen to One was a no-nonsense, half-hour affair with William G Stewart at the helm; while the present format, as hosted by Sandi Toksvig, stretches the premise over a 60-minute slot, but with enough of an air of the original to satisfy ardent quizzers.
  • A hallmark of 1980s and 1990s Channel 4, American sport figures in the early-evening and late-night slots. Cheerleader Productions were synonymous with 4’s American football coverage, and presently syndicate footage of British basketball teams around the world. These days, NFL broadcast rights in the UK are held by the BBC, while BT Sport ESPN is the current home for MLB coverage. Also featuring are three US-produced series, all with a strong association with Channel 4 of the time: Sesame Street, The Cosby Show and St Elsewhere.
  • Meanwhile, can you think of a recent time Channel 4 broadcast documentaries on the topics of architecture and astronomy, two programmes each exploring the intricacies of particular artistic disciplines, and two different magazine programmes about economics and finance, all on the same day? In the vein of After Dark and As It Happens, Running Late showcases another format lost in the midst of 4’s history: open-ended live broadcasts around the midnight hour, with an inevitable air of unpredictability abounding.

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You Say

14 responses to this article

Westy 13 September 2017 at 1:26 pm

What was Derrick?

Dont think we got it in Central land!

And whoever’s bright idea it was to split AWP in two ought to be sorted out by Oz in my humble opinion.

All the bad prewatershed editing as well!

Geoff Nash 13 September 2017 at 2:23 pm

Always puzzles me that the HTV edition of TV TIMES featured Southern/TVS in the regional variations whereas the Southern/TVS editions ignored HTV being that there would have been what I would have thought a substantial overlap in north Dorset.

Arthur Leslie Vasey 13 September 2017 at 4:34 pm

Derrick was a German detective drama, dubbed into English – never really saw much of it – the actual programme title was “Aus Der Reihe Derrick”, which translates as “From The Series Derrick” – if it’s any consolation to Westy, at least ATV (I refuse to call them Central) showed the complete series of Dangerous Women, an American version of Prisoner: Cell Block H – no other ITV region did – seen the first episode on YouTube!

One other presenter on HTV’s Night Club, who joined later on, was Australian actress Monette Lee, who had a role in Sons And Daughters!

Prisoner: Cell Block H was the first programme to be shown on HTV’s Night Club – it was difficult for me to watch it, as, throughout most of its run, it rarely appeared before 11:35 – it was usually quite close to midnight – I lived in shared accommodation, mostly ran by staff who tried to restrict television viewing – trying to dictate, getting us to turn it off after midnight – or use headphones – or turn it way down low, so it was inaudible – even that was too loud – with no subtitles, anything too low, might as well turn it off!

Night Club also reran The Fugitive, as well – but it mostly comprised of films later on!

Robert Michael Fearn 13 September 2017 at 4:56 pm

Why the Dickens aren’t S4C’s listings featured in this particular TV Times? Hard on the poor old Welsh.

Ray Oliver 13 September 2017 at 6:56 pm

Wasn’t there a copyright situation on S4C’s programme guides, because the Wales edition of Radio Times showed tbe BBC Welsh language
programmes (only) which were shown on S4C?

Victor Field 13 September 2017 at 7:59 pm

“Beyond 2000” was actually an Australian series (sort of an Antipodean equivalent of “Tomorrow’s World”).

Kevin B 14 September 2017 at 6:06 am

@Robert Michael Fern

Us Welsh viewers had a suppliment called “Sbec” which translated means “Peek” (I suppose we’re meant to peek at the programmes on S4C!)

I don’t know why the TVT never had a Wales only edition, but I suspect it was down to cost!

Arthur Nibble 14 September 2017 at 1:34 pm

“Rainbow” asks how many things we can think of that go up and down. How about “Rainbow” itself, going up and down the schedules?

I’d never heard of “Murun Buchstan-Sangur”. Having read the programme’s description – a cartoon about a morose grey blobby creature – I doubt I’ve missed much.

Three different descriptions of the film “The Legacy” there in the regional listings – chiller, creepy thriller and murder thriller. Shame TVS didn’t show it as I’d have liked to have seen a fourth variation.

Joanne Gray 21 September 2017 at 7:15 pm

In addition to the mention of 15 to 1, I have just heard that the original host -, the great William Gladstone Stewart – has passed away. May he rest in peace.

Paul Mason 24 September 2017 at 8:20 am

,15 to 1 only started in 1988. I can’t imagine the late William.G. Stewart as a warm up man on the Price Is Right but so he was. Sadly another long term TV name lost in 2017.

Paul Mason 24 September 2017 at 8:27 am

Ray Oliver before 1991 Radio Times only showed the Welsh language programmes with a less than helpful Rhaglenni Saesneg indicating when English language shows were on.

Paul Mason 24 September 2017 at 8:36 am

I forgot to mention that 15 to 1 ran alternate seasons with Countdown for a few years before the latter became all year around. 15 to 1 remained seasonal however with other quizzes (Backdate with Valerie Singleton being one) running during gaps.

George H 11 October 2017 at 6:13 pm

“By October 1988, Rainbow et al would be shifted back to a post-This Morning showing at 12.10am, a slot retained until early children’s programmes were axed from the network schedules in 1993.”

12.10 pm, not 12.10 am, unless you are referring to the version that was seen on TV Offal.

George H 11 October 2017 at 11:22 pm

I always thought that it was Steve Davis who was snooker’s ambassador to children’s television back in the mid 1980s rather than Dennis Taylor.

I don’t remember Taylor appearing on the Sooty Show, but I do remember Matthew doing the “bald head” thing that everyone did back then when Duncan Goodhew was a guest on there.

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