ABC Weekday TV 

27 October 2023

BERNSTEIN REVEALS HIS TV PROGRAMMES: INDEPENDENT television's first programmes from its northern transmitter at Winter Hill, near Bolton, will be transmitted next Thursday. The programmes on the first night and on all weekdays will be provided by ABC Television. Giving Granada's weekend programme details, Mr. Sidney Bernstein said that the opening of the northern station would provide an opportunity for networking programmes between three regions.

From the Kinematograph Weekly for Thursday 26 April 1956


More than any other area of study, broadcasting history relies on people’s memories. What was seen where and when is written down in advance; by the next day, nobody cares that Panorama was extended and The Tin Pan Alley Show was accordingly shortened last night. Nobody is printing a correction to yesterday’s printed schedule. That schedule, with the paper it was written on, is now wrapping fish and chips.

That means we rely more heavily on memories, which are fallible. It also means we rely more heavily on what journalists said than what actually happened. Journalists too are fallible.

For a recent example, take The Guardian. When Dickie Davies died, their obituary said “The World of Sport programme, initially called World Wide Sports, began in 1965. Davies anchored the show from 1968 to 1985, when it was cancelled.” The part about the name is nonsense. When challenged, they refused to change it, citing The Daily Mail as their source. The Daily Mail, a paragon of factual rectitude, was quoting (out of context – do they know how to quote in context?) producer John Bromley, whose memory was fallible – as proved by every single other piece of printed material including every single scrap of ABC Weekend TV’s publicity for the new show in the weeks before it began.

Here, the trade publication for cinema exhibitioners and distributors has sent a journalist to a press conference about the new ITV, starting in Manchester next week. The journalist has only half listened, or their memory by the time they filed the story was extremely fallible, or something else went terribly wrong. Whatever, there in black and white, waiting to trip up a future journalist, or an ex-staff member seeking to jog their memory, is a bald statement: Granada had northern weekends, ABC had northern weekdays. The opposite, I don’t have to tell you, was the truth.

BBC News used to have a rule that every story needed two sources. That rule has long had so many caveats and exceptions as to no longer be a rule at all. Modern life – Wikipedia springs to mind especially, but any Tom, Dick or Harriet can make a Facebook post or TikTok about anything they believe to be true – doesn’t even require a single source for a story. But if you want to write a story about Granada’s first Saturday in 1956, or what ABC showed on Wednesdays in 1957, here’s a source to provide that smack of verisimilitude it’ll need.


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