Magnificent trio

Meet the three ATV announcers who will be working over Christmas in 1974

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Leicester Chronicle
From the Leicester Chronicle for 20 December 1974

WILL JOAN PALMER bring her two-year-old son Adam to the television studios on Christmas Day?

According to Joan it all depends on whether the viewers would like to see him – and on what sort of mood he’s in.

“On some days, I wouldn’t let a soul see him – let alone millions of viewers” says Joan in typical motherly manner.

Joan is one of a team of three A.T.V. announcers who will be doing 17-hour shifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The others are Peter Tomlinson and Kevin Morrison.

Peter Tomlinson is working on Christmas Eve.

“I’ll be the first person to wish everyone a Happy Christmas Day” he says. “I’ll be giving my message immediately after the Pope’s broadcast. Imagine that – following the Pope.”

Peter will then drive home, arriving about 3 a.m. and will tiptoe into the house to kiss small daughter Belinda but only very softly because it would never do to wake her.

“My wife will be waiting up so that we can fill Belinda’s stocking and hang it at the end of her bed together.”

Peter lives in a Gloucestershire village, and as viewers there don’t receive ATV no one locally is really impressed by the fact that he’s an announcer.

“To them I’m Peter Tomlinson, husband and father – not a character who appears on the box. And I like that idea very much.”

He’s a bit nervous about how he’ll cope on Christmas Day. He’s given himself extra household tasks this year as his wife is expecting their second child in the Spring. “I shall be in charge of fetching and carrying and keeping the fire stoked. And I shall carve the turkey for dinner.”

This is the cause of his anxiety. His in-laws are staying over Christmas, and they are very particular about how the turkey is carved. “And I’ve never attacked one before” says Peter.

Three people smile into the camera
Working all out over Christmas – ATV announcers Kevin Morrison, Joan Palmer and Peter Tomlinson.

Joan Palmer became a television announcer in 1968. After a ‘pause’ while she produced Adam she returned to the screen again. Christmas has a special meaning for her. “It was while working a long day shift three years ago that I found myself unaccountably tired – and wanting to eat lumps of coal instead of Christmas pudd. That was when I first discovered I was about to be a Mum!”

(We’ll be watching to see if you yawn this year, too, Joan.)

So many viewers have written to ask if they can see her son that Joan wonders if it might be a good idea to bring him in to the studio for a few minutes on Christmas Day.

“There are several reasons why I’d like it. First because otherwise I shan’t see him at all on Christmas Day, and because children make Christmas and I would like viewers to share my delight in Adam. I expect all he’ll manage to do is wander round and poke his fingers into everything. But he just might be persuaded to wave at the screen and say, “Hello everybody.”

Kevin Morrison is a 23-year-old batchelor and the youngest announcer. When he wants to goad Joan Palmer he tells her that he remembers watching her on the screen when he was at school!

He’s glad he’s working over Christmas because otherwise he’d be fed up, even though he has a smashing new flat in Edgbaston. “Christmas to me seems like an endless Sunday – and it’s not much fun being on your own.

“I’ll have a special word for those who have only a television set for company at Christmas.

“I’m a compulsive worker and my life is completely bound up in television.”

He’ll start Boxing Day wearing an informal outfit – a sweater and trousers probably – and then a shirt and tie after lunch with the usual immaculate dinner jacket for evening programmes.

Joan Palmer will be making a colourful picture in a red crepe evening gown, and long white ostrich feather boa.

“I made the dress myself” she says, “and I have been known to bring my needlework to the studio on occasion. As for the lovely white feather boa – it belongs to my son’s godmother and I got her to lend it me specially for Christmas Day.

About the author

Valeen Marriott was a feature writer for the Leicester Chronicle

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