Border TV nails its colour to the mast 

1 August 2023


The Journal masthead

From The (Newcastle) Journal for 1 September 1970

MORE than half a million viewers of Border Television are today taking part in a triple celebration, for September 1 not only marks the 10th birthday of the station and the 2,000th edition of its news feature programme, but it is the day colour television comes to the area.

It is estimated that 250,000 people live within the area to be served by the new UHF colour transmitter on the fells at Caldbeck in Cumberland, an area which stretches from Dumfries in the north to Appleby in the south.

The conversion of the Carlisle studios for colour transmission has been completed in record time by the company’s own engineers, under Mr. H. J. C. Gower, the chief engineer.

The adaptation has cost £90,000 [£1.2m in today’s money, allowing for inflation – Ed] and will enable Border to relay practically every programme in colour.

At a later stage, complete reorganisation costing almost £250,000 [£3.2m] will enable the studios to produce their own colour programmes.

In the meantime, the only programmes which will remain in black and white will be those produced locally and certain documentaries.

A Border Television spokesman said yesterday: “All other programmes, like the popular serials and most of the national news service, will be in colour.

“Those who cannot receive colour will find that their black and white reception is much improved, even on non-colour sets.”


Mr. James Bredin, the managing director of the company, said he was sure in this modern age of colour photography, most people would want colour television as soon as they could get it. “The recent Budget makes it rather less expensive than it would have been a few months ago.” he said.

Today’s switch-on is the forerunner of similar schemes Selkirk early next year and at Whitehaven later in the year.

The spokesman added: “It is our intention to build small transmitters in areas where there is proved to be poor UHF reception, eventually bringing in the Isle of Man.”

The Carlisle station is ahead of all other colour stations with its new tele-cine machine, which is the first of its kind to be put into full operation in Britain.


Mr. Gower and his engineers designed and fitted their own control and monitoring panels – in frames made by local contractors.

“Existing equipment was adapted where possible, and the whole operation has meant many long nights of extra work for Mr. Gower, and his team to meet the September deadline.” said the spokesman.

An informal reception will take place at the Harraby television station in Carlisle today, while Mr. John L. Burgess, the chairman of Border Television Ltd., is holding another reception on Friday at his home, The Old Hall, Rockcliffe, near Carlisle.


You Say

2 responses to this article

Paul Wheeler 4 September 2023 at 8:03 am

Surely if it’s ten years it should be 1st September 1971?

Russ J Graham 4 September 2023 at 3:06 pm

Yeah, we noticed that. Piecing together the original press release the story was based on, Border appear to have said “as we enter our tenth year”. This is mathematically correct but always confuses journalists – there’s another example of this elsewhere on our site where a 1960 article about ABC and Granada, with Howard Thomas and Sidney Bernstein talking about “as we enter our fifth year” and the journalist headlining it as “five years of ITV in the North”. Ho hum!

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