ITV in 1988: Border 

19 January 2023

Border print logo



Television Centre, Carlisle CA1 3NT
Tel: 0228 25101
18 Clerkenwell Close, London EC1R 0AA
Tel: 01-253 3737

Directors The Earl of Lonsdale (Chairman); Melvyn Bragg (Deputy Chairman); James Graham (Managing Director); John Brewis; Robin L. E Burgess; Mary E. Burkett; John C. Clucas; Raul Corley (Director of Programmes); Timothy M. Glover (Sales Director); Dr June Paterson Brown; J. I. M. Smail; Muir Sutherland; David W. Trimble; John R. Wills; Peter Brownlow (Secretary and Financial Director).

Officers Eric Hadwin (Assistant Programme Controller (Planning)); Douglas Merrall (Regional Sales Manager); Cliff Walker (Controller of Operations); Ron Dale (Chief Engineer); Eddie Brenan (Personnel and Industrial Relations)

Script Requirements Most scripts are provided by the company’s staff. Occasionally, scripts are commissioned for special programmes from outside sources. Writers should not submit written work apart from notes before their ideas have been fully discussed. Suggestions should he addressed to the Director of Programmes in Carlisle.

Programme Journal A special Border edition of TVTimes gives full details of all the programmes.

Studios The Studio Centre, situated in Carlisle, includes two colour studios of 94 sq.m., and 58 sq.m., a colour presentation studio of 20 sq.m., with remotely controlled camera and a film interview studio of 16 sq.m. The complement of studio cameras includes two light-weight cameras which can be adapted to operate from normal studio pedestals or shoulder mounts. Modern character generating and electronic prompting equipment are included. A lighting control system and barrel lighting grid are installed.

The central technical area has been completely updated in order to cater for Channel 4 requirements. The telecine suite houses two multiplexed photoconductive, two flying spot machines with comprehensive magnetic sound follower systems, and two betacam transmission/recording machines. The new videotape area is equipped with two quadruplex videocassette machines which can handle commercials for both channels and three, 1in. VT machines.

Film and Video Facilities The company is self-sufficient in the film and video fields. Two staff crews cover all the company’s film feature commitments, one crew working on features with the other operating as a video unit, a further video unit being provided from studio staff. The extensive coverage of the Border area by the video units are supplemented by the use of six freelance film cameramen around the region. Processing laboratories for 16mm film will continue to be provided until the freelance film units are re-equipped with video in the near future. Single and double system film shooting is undertaken, full crystal lock facilities being incorporated in camera and sound recorders. Film editing is carried out using modern multiplate dual picture head editing machines, while video is edited on the latest Sony Beta equipment.

O.B. Border Television hits a three camera outside broadcast unit with 1in. VTR facilities

Programmes Border Television’s presence on the ITV network and Channel 4 has continued to show a marked increase in a wide variety of strands, including a new departure – the company’s entry into children’s drama. During the year, Border produced its first output for the Dramarama series, ‘Badger on the Barge’, filmed on a canal on the edge of the Lake District.

The introduction to drama was followed by another play for children, The Alien, about a child’s encounter with a visitor from outer space. This departure brought Border into contact with northern writers and is a further development of the company’s policy in encouraging creative talent and making use of the locations available in tie of the most attractive television regions in Britain.

Last year the company moved into the field of orchestral music with a specially commissioned work, the Lakeland Overture by Howard Goodall, again intermixing creative talent and the beauty of the region.

Border’s development of its links with Channel 4 and the ITV network have permitted the development of a growing centre of television production at the of the country’s smallest stations. It has resulted in attracting to Border the skills of freelance producers to work with Border’s established staff in following the industry trend towards harmonising independent production with ITV company output.

The Everest Wars – a documentary made for Channel 4 with its roots firmly in the Lake District but its theme the challenge of climbing the world’s highest mountain, examines the motivation and personal commitment of Britain’s best known mountaineer, Chris Bonington, who has for many years lived in Cumbria.

Other documentaries include Burns Boots in which writer and broadcaster David Bean follows the footsteps of Robert Burns on his journey through the Borders 200 years ago; and The Drove which recreates the epic journeys made by cattle drovers from Galloway in Border’s South-West Scotland area to London’s Smithfield Market in the 18th century.

Border Television has played a major role in ITV’s top-rated childrens outside broadcast series Get Fresh. In addition to prcxlucing several of the two-hour, live Saturday morning shows, Border produced all ten of the Get Fresh Sunday shows screened during the early summer.

The third series of Joke Machine has become a firm favourite. Presenter Andrew O’Connor – a young comedian/impressionist/magician – had the difficult task of following the previous, established hosts The Krankies and Basil Brush. Stu Francis hosted the slapstick sit-com Krazy Kitchen which is being followed by a completely new programme entitled Crush A Grape. Border has provided exclusive coverage of bicycle freestyle with BMX Beat. The latest of these’ programmes is based on the sport’s world championships held in Carlisle and featuring the top 130 riders from eleven countries.

Border was the only ITV company to contribute to Channel 4’s two-hour current affairs programme Network 7. Border produced 22 inserts for the series This Is Me, profile’s of teenagers throughout Britain, which proved a fascinating social documentary aimed at teenagers.

Religious output has continued with a third series of Revelations in which a wide variety of people from public-life talk to Eric Robson about moments of spiritual awareness which somehow changed their lives. Contributors included the Bishop of Durham, former Ulster terrorist Billy McCurrie, Lord Soper and Mary Kenny. The company provided two editions of Highway, with Sir Harry Secombe, from the Isle of Man and West Cumbria, which included the Sellafield nuclear plant and its Lake District background.

Local programming continues to be dominated by the news magazine programme Lookaround which has proved so popular with viewers that it has even topped EastEnders and Coronation Street in the audience ratings, Lookaround has benefited this year by the introduction of the latest lightweight electronic cameras, Sony CCD’s with their sharper picture quality. The Lookaround team, under editor Lis Howell, lost Fiona Armstrong to ITN earlier this year. Penny Smith has now joined the team. Lis Howell is also one of the presenters of Border’s live Friday night magazine Borderlive.

Melvyn Bragg, whose fifth documentary in the Land of… series- Land of Man – has been completed for transmission, chaired a studio series Border Question Time. The series drew questions from a regional audience for such national figures as Lord Whitelaw, Tony Bonn, David Steel, Denis Healy, Nicholas Fairbairn and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

Daytime television has created opportunities for a variety of programmes. Hindsight, presented by Christian Dymond is a studio based current affairs series in which public figures look back on past news events and the lessons to be learned for the present clay with the benefit of hindsight. Those taking part have included Michael Grade, Paul Fox and Clive James in a programme dealing with years of television; and Denis Law, Jimmy Hill and Ian Wooldridge on the changing face of football.

Derek Batay’s Mr & Mrs, the longest-running television quiz show in Britain has gained a new lease of life with a 9.30 a.m. transmission time.

Border Television’s major religious docuumentary for Channel 4, Gnostics, led Border camera crews around the world. This series of four one-hour films traces the history of this elusive movement and its alternative view of Christ’s teachings. Filming was completed during the year and led to a further commission from Channel 4 for a major docuumentary on the life and work of the psychologist, Carl Jung.


Two women stand in front of a canal barge

The principal players in Badger on the Barge. Rosalie Crutchley and 12-year-old Rachel Griffiths.


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