ITV in 1988: Yorkshire 

27 April 2023

Yorkshire print logo



The Television Centre, Leeds LS3 1JS
Tel: 0532 438283
Telex: 557232
Television House, 32 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4HE
Tel: 01-242 1666
Charter Square, Sheffield S1 4HS
Tel: 0742 23262
185 Ferensway, Hull HU1 3PH
Tel: 0482 24488
88 Bailgate, Lincoln LN1 3AR
Tel: 0522 30738
8 Bullring Lane, Grimsby, South Humberside DN31 1DY
Tel: 0472 57026
1 Queen Street, Ripon HG4 1EG
Tel: 0765 701551
8 Coppergate, York Y01 INR
Tel: 0904 610066

Directors Sir Derek Palmar (Chairman); Paul Fox, CBE (Managing Director); Paul McKee (Deputy Managing Director); John Fairley (Director of Programmes); Allan Hardy (Commercial Director); Clive Leach (Director of Marketing & Sales); Francis Baron; George Brotherton-Ratcliffe; Mrs Phoebe David, OBE; Stephen H. Hall; Mrs Juliet Jowitt, JP; Sir Gordon Linacre, CBE, AFC, DFM; Nicholas G.W. Playne; Victor H. Watson, CBE; Alan Whitaker; Edwin Wright (General Manager).

Executives David Cunliffe (Controller of Drama); Vernon Lawrence (Controller of Entertainment); John Willis (Controller of Documentaries and Current Affairs); Geoff Brownlee (Controller of Corporate Affairs); Bob Bairstow (Controller, Planning and Presentation); Ralph Coyle (Company Secretary); Brian Harris (General Manager, Business Affairs); Derek Stevenson (Controller, UK Regional Sales); Michael Thornhill (Controller, Personnel and Staff Relations); Kenneth Bellini (Head of Programme Purchasing); David Bould (Deputy Commercial Director); Duncan Dallas (Head of Science & Features); Chris Jelley (Head of Education, Children’s Programmes and Religion); Graham Ironside (Head of Local Programmes & Sport); John Q. Rogers (Chief Engineer); John Smith (Head of Programme Administration); Peter Smale (Head of Production Division); Peter Rogers (Head of Post Production Division); Michael Crossley (Head of Press & Public Relations).

Programmes Yorkshire Television consolidated its position during the past year on the business front with a Stock Exchange flotation which was 51 times over-subscribed, and as programme makers by winning several notable awards.

Perhaps the most significant achievement was the selection of Yorkshire Television to represent the ITV network in both documentary and drama at the prestigious Prix Italia television festival. A Gold Award went to the comedy series Room at the Bottom at the international festival in Banff, Canada. The Prix Italia documentary was “The Falklands War – The Untold Story’, the two-hour First Tuesday special transmitted on the fifth anniversary – April 1987 – of the outbreak of the conflict. It was later shown across the United States on the ‘Discovery’ channel and honoured with special screenings at New York’s Museum of Broadcasting. First Tuesday continued to produce consistently thought-provoking documentaries under its editor John Willis which included “The Leftover Children’. The cameras of this monthly documentary magazine ranged the world from Eastern Europe to South America. Among the most memorable images were the armies of homeless in ‘New York: The Quiet Catastrophe’ and the inmates of ‘Death Row’ at Virginia State Penitentiary.

Barry Cockcroft discovered more original characters for his Lone Furrow series, and there were some spectacular pictures from the South Pole as a British-based team followed In The Footsteps of Scott, 75 years later.

Olivia O’Leary, who took over as presenter of First Tuesday, conducted a transatlantic General Election debate and also interviewed the leaders of the three main parties in special pre-Election programmes.

Another documentary series was Peter Gordon’s four-part On the Manor, focusing on the realities of life on a sprawling housing estate in Sheffield. Realism was also the keynote of the twice-weekly Jimmy’s from the country’s biggest general hospital St. James’s in Leeds.

There was wide variety in Yorkshire Television’s drama output. The play Scab, based on the miners’ strike, won prestige for the department by winning the Prix Futura in Berlin and selection as ITV’s drama entry at the Prix Italia. Award-winning writer Alan Plater again showed his invention in the comedy-thriller, The Beiderbecke Tapes, a sequel which again starred James Bolam and Barbara Flynn and was filmed in Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire Dales were shown to great effect in the beautifully filmed 1914 All Out, the poignant film of the tragic impact of the Great War on the life of a close-knit Dales community. Anna Massey and Simon Callow starred in the touching drama The Christmas Tree, while romantic escapism was to be found in Dreams Lost, Dreams Found, starring American film actress Kathleen Quinlan and David Robb in Scotland, and in Cloud Waltzer, featuring Kathleen Beller, François-Eric Gendron and a host of impressive hot-air balloons in the Dordogne. Audiences enjoyed the gentle style of the series Flying Lady, starring Frank Windsor with his up-market taxi service using a Rolls-Royce bought with his redundancy money. Anne Stallybrass was equally impressive as his wife.

The twice-weekly serial set in the Yorkshire Dales, Emmerdale Farm, maintained its special appeal, and celebrated its 15th anniversary.

Michael Parkinson presented his first interview series for Yorkshire Television with personalities such as Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Billy Connolly and Elton John. In comedy, Rik Mayall introduced a new character, the unscrupulous MP Alan B’Stard, in The New Statesman written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. Award-winning Eric Chappell wrote a third successful series of Home to Roost, featuring the polished partnership of John Thaw and Reece Dinsdale. Mollie Sugden launched a new series, My Husband and I, to be joined by her real-life partner William Moore, and Angela Thorne found more humour in the diplomatic manoeuvrings of Farrington, somewhere in South America.

A popular new show was Through the Keyhole in which David Frost chaired the panel striving to deduce the identities of the mystery celebrities around whose homes Loyd Grossman acted as guide. Anne Diamond led the celebrations in The Birthday Show, Jimmy Tarbuck launched his new words show, Tarby’s Frame Game, and 3-2-1, blending games and variety, celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The science department produced an innovative peak-time series, Fun and Games, showing that maths can be entertaining, and in the seventh series of Where There’s Life Dr Miriam Stoppard presented a sensitive treatment of difficult subjects.

On Channel 4, the words and numbers game Countdown maintained its popularity with regular top ten appearances. Yorkshire Television produced notable documentaries with Simon Callow’s study of Charles Laughton and the film on the controversial Zambian prelate Archbishop Milingo. An illuminating if painful documentary series was The Politics of Food. A new comedy for Channel 4 was The Refuge, a haven for male-dominated women created by writers Carole Hayman and Sue Townsend, of Adrian Mole fame. On 7 Days, which passed its 150th edition, Robert Kee continued to examine the moral and religious dimensions of current events, aided by guest interviewers Jan Leeming and Brenda Dean.

The output of the education department was wide-ranging and spanned Baby and Co; Farmhouse Kitchen; So We Bought a Computer; Write On; Why Couples Break Up; and How We Used to Live.

Children’s programmes continued to inform and entertain. Bellamy’s Bugle journeyed to the Middle East; Puddle Lane encouraged young readers, and tiny tots delighted in The Raggy Dolls and Ragdolly Anna.

Calendar in its lunchtime and early evening editions continued to provide a comprehensive news and information service throughout the region of six million viewers, especially during the General Election campaign with the touring ‘Roadshow’ and a succession of special programmes.

Local series which were particularly enjoyed by viewers included Enterprize, encouraging young entrepreneurs; Sounds Good, providing a showcase for young musicians; and Michael Clegg on his informative travels for Clegg’s People. Of particular community value were the continuing series of community service announcements; Help Yourself; and the Jobfinder service for the unemployed.


A woman looks at a man who is looking into the camera

James Bolam and Barbara Flynn star in Alan Plater’s comedy-thriller The Beiderbecke Tapes.


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