A scoop for TVS news 

13 May 2024 tbs.pm/81030


Reading Evening Post masthead

From the Reading Evening Post for 1 December 1986

READING truly entered the age of visual news transmission on October 29 when the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire officially opened the new Television South studio in the town’s Civic Offices.

At the opening ceremony, the Hon Gordon Palmer said that the new operation would be of groat benefit to the county, and after travelling down to Southampton to talk to some of the network’s top brass, I can confidently assure you that the outlook for the future is very exciting indeed.

Clive Jones, Deputy Director of Programmes and the Controller of News, Current Affairs and Sport for TVS, said: “We have always looked on the Thames Valley as being one of our prime areas and the centre at Reading will give us the opportunity to take full advantage of the local news-gathering potential.”

A man in uniform unveils a plaque

The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, the Hon Gordon Palmer, officially opening the new TVS studios.

He added: “I’m sure there is no need for me to tell you that Reading is one of the country’s top growth areas and as such, of course, it has always been very important to us at TVS.

“Now, with the facilities available at the new centre, plus the increase in on-the-spot locally-based staff, we shall be able to ensure that an important nows story from the Thames Valley area is relayed throughout the region almost as soon as it breaks ”

The studio, which will use the transmitter at Hannington, near Basingstoke, in a two-hop stage to relay transmissions to Southampton, hopes to install a microwave link early in 1987 and this will be the final step in a system that will put local nows onto screens in thousands of homes, almost at the touch of a button.

Talking generally about television news bulletins, Clive Jones said: “After working for several newspapers, Yorkshire Television and as Editor of TV-am, I joined Television South two years ago — about the time that Coast to Coast was undergoing a revamp.”

He added: “Under Chief Executive James Gatward, TVS boasts a very young, go-ahead senior management team, and using a completely new format for the programmes, plus new presenter in Fern Britton and Fred Dineage, we achieved a 20 per cent jump in viewing ratings.”

Clive went on to say that TVS was one of only two companies in Britain with completely separate programme centres — Southampton and Maidstone — and predicted the day would come when the Thames Valley would have its own bulletins.

“Even though Coast to Coast is a very successful programme indeed, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. I’m sure it will not be long before the two main regional stories of the day will be followed by a high percentage of local news items, more of interest to the people of Reading than those concerning, say, Brighton or Southampton,” said Clive.

He explained that this was why it was important for the Reading-based reporters to live locally.

“A journalist who lives in the area, who drinks in local pubs and visits local clubs… will become involved in the town and hear of news stories of special interest to his locality.”


Realising the importance of more frequent news programmes, Television South hope to operate a rolling news service before the end of the next year.

This will result in more transmissions — possibly five or six each day — with others, such as the 10.25 bulletin, being extended in length.

Initially, these will be made up of items from the whole of the TVS region, but the day will almost certainly come when these, too, will contain news drawn almost exclusively from the Thames Valley area.

Hexagon question time tonight

The very popular “Questions” programme, hosted by David Jacobs, will be recorded at Reading’s Hexagon Theatre tonight and tickets are available from the box office or direct from TVS.

An excellent panel comprising Ken Livingstone. Ann Leslie, Shirley Williams and Michael Heseltine has been assembled and the actual recording begins at 7.30pm. Anyone wanting to put a question to the panel must be at the Hexagon by 7.15pm.

Regrettably the time had come when Clive Jones could no longer ignore the steady stream of people contacting him for advice, but as I left his office to talk to technicians and presenters in the studios and cutting rooms, I couldn’t help but reflect on the enthusiasm that was so apparent throughout the whole TVS complex.

Now, Reading is to become an important part of that very successful and highly professional operation — and there is little doubt in my mind that the Thames Valley will benefit greatly from the experience.


Keeping you in touch


SIMON THEOBALDS, Public Relations Manager (South): Born in Fulmer, Bucks, the son of a regular serving British Army Officer, Simon Theobalds later moved to live in Fleet, Hants.

Educated in Somerset, he attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and was commissioned in 1961, serving in Borneo, Melaya, Germany and the Persian Gulf before leaving the Army in 1971 with the ambition to become a journalist.

After writing to all the television companies in the country, he was eventually offered a job with Southern TV as a reporter and occasional news reader at Southampton and Maidstone.

In 1974, he was called into the managing director’s office end invited to join the Public Relations side of the business, continuing in this role after the transfer of the franchise to TVS and eventually moving to Reading to promote the very important new studio complex planned for the Themes Valley.

Graeme Bowd

GRAEME BOWD, Reporter: A Londoner by birth, Greeme was educated at a public school in Hertfordshire and originally planned to study for a science degree.

Turning instead to journalism, he joined the Herts Advertiser to do a three-and-a-half-year indenture course in 1968 and at the end of his training, worked for 18 months with the Fleet Street News Agency, before joining the Daily Mail in 1973.

While with the Mail, Graeme covered the Turkish invasion of Cyprus snd the military coup in Portugal, and then in 1977 he joined the Daily Express on its change to a tabloid format.

Working under six editors in eight years, he travelled to Iran at the time of the revolution and also represented his newspaper during the American hostage crisis.

He then worked for IRN, freelancing at the same time for television before joining TVS.

Graeme’s hobby is flying and he holds a private pilot’s licence.

Mike Rowbottom

MIKE ROWBOTTOM, Reporter: Born in 1950. Mike Rowbottom obtained a degree in sociology at Teesside Polytechnic after working for a short time in a bank.

Finally settling on journalism as a career, he did a two-and-a-half-year indenture period and then joined the staff at the Aldershot News Group, covering principally the Camberley and Aldershot areas.

In 1978, he moved to the Evening Post in Reading and after another year moved on to Radio 210 as a reporter and bulletin editor, before joining IRN as a reporter in 1981, then becoming their lobby correspondent at Westminster.

Mike joined Television South this year, and his vast local knowledge is proving invaluable at the new Reading studio complex.

Now living at Stoke Row with his wife, Daphne, his hobbies are folk music and keeping fit by playing squash and road running.


You Say

1 response to this article

Eddie Hutchinson 13 May 2024 at 4:54 pm

The Hon Gordon Palmer said…. “the outlook for the future is very exciting indeed.”

Six years later… Ah.

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