Tonight’s ATV London… in 1968


A look at what was on ATV in London on Sunday 28 July 1968

  • Apart from the ITN news bulletins, everything today is an ATV production or an ATV presentation of something they have bought for themselves. No other company gets a look in. Low summer viewing figures and the upheavals in ITV itself make it that, not counting religious material, there’s only 2 hours and 45 minutes of non-repeated programming today.
  • Sunday was the most regulated day of the week on British television. The daily service was mandated; there was a ‘closed period’ with no advertising and restricted to religious and morally improving programmes in the early evening; and no programmes that might distract children from going to Sunday school before 3pm.
  • 2.10pm sees part ten of a documentary series about religion; whilst programmes at this point in the day didn’t need to be about religion itself, it was always good for brownie points with the great and the good to try to get some in anyway.
  • At 2.45pm we’ve got one of the very few programmes to make the jump from ATV London to the new London Weekend Television: Shaw Taylor’s Police Five. A version also ran on ATV in the Midlands, whilst the format was so popular that other companies ripped it off – Granada’s offering was called Police File.
  • General entertainment programmes being banned until after 3pm, Among My Souvenirs is classed as adult education. It’s certainly not something children would choose to watch, but it was popular enough to appear on most ITV stations, albeit at varying times.
  • The entertainment starts at 3.25pm with the 1955 film Where There’s a Will, starring ATV’s Mrs Thursday, Kathleen Harrison, and George Cole. Very much a B-picture, it’s typical undemanding Sunday afternoon fare, notable only for being the first film to feature Edward Woodward in the cast.
  • The huge print run and the myriad of different editions of the TVTimes (Southern, London, North (Granada and Yorkshire from this week), Border, Anglia, Scottish and Grampian) mean that it has very tight deadlines and goes to press much earlier than you may expect. So they admit that The Golden Shot‘s jackpot is not known, the issue having been put to bed before the previous week’s programme went out.
  • The final religious ‘closed period’ of ITV 1.0 is kicked off at 6.15pm with the Tree House Family. This is the same programme as the Tinga and Tucker Club but with Christianity hammered into it. For viewers in the Midlands, Tinga and Tucker was a six-days-a-week programme for kids with Jean Morton. For viewers everywhere else, including London, the Tree House Family was a once-a-week religious programme for kids with Jean Morton. The result is confusion whenever Midlanders and outsiders talk about the programme.
  • A scoop for ATV at 6.35pm as Brian Connell gets to interview Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in amongst the 500 bishops, archbishops and metropolitans at the Lambeth Conference.
  • 8.25pm has us visit the summertime replacement for the Palladium Show. A classic ATV London variety bill here: a presenter who is big in the States but almost unknown in the UK introduces a cast of second-string and past-prime European stars singing and dancing on stage for an hour.

Northern TVTimes listing for Braden
  • Braden… on the Box at 11.10pm functions as ATV London’s last programme, a goodbye to weekends in the region that ATV have provided since 24 September 1955 and thus an analysis of the disappearance of ITV 1.0 and the beginning of ITV 2.0. Interestingly, in the northern editions of the TVTimes it’s billed merely as a return to TV for Braden that happens to be discussing television, with the only clue that it’s focussed on the changeover being the last sentence, left over in the editing from the London description.
  • We come to the end of the day at about 12.10pm, with David Frost popping up to do a promo for London Weekend (mentioning TVTimes ‘astrologer to the stars’ Maurice Woodruff) before Trevor Lucas makes the station’s final farewells. For viewers in London, ATV wasn’t quite disappearing, of course, as its programmes would continue coming from the midlands. Only the presentation was changing. Still, this did end the situation that had made ATV the biggest ITV company – and the only major of company of the original ITV set-up to be a 7-day operation.
  • For TWW, ABC and Rediffusion is was a solid goodbye. They were gone. For Granada, it was a half goodbye, with them remaining in one half of their region. And for ATV… well, it wasn’t really goodbye at all.

About the author

Kif Bowden-Smith is the founder of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System

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