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VMPhil9,777 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
Well, I was assuming it was just a normal BBC closedown but making a joke out of it Smile

The advertised "Closedown" was said to have Georgine Anderson read from "The Cat about Town" - so I wonder what was the programme, an adult version of Jackanory?

A short story or poem read out-of-vision, accompanied by some still images. This type of closedown on BBC2 ran from 1974 until 1979. Here is an example, from 17/03/1977:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kI1IZaJlA0

I like the appropriateness of the user Closedown giving this post kudos Smile
james-20015,066 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
It was right around this time, yes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91INexy73YQ


Wasn't the local closedowns often being a few minutes later than the network closedowns the reason why there was such a long period of black & tone on BBC1, so the regions had something to opt back into? I seem to remember reading that somewhere before. Though the black & tone being longer on BBC1 than BBC2 stuck even after regional continuity ended.
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Closedown gave kudos
Steve in Pudsey10,167 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
It was more to do with me making sure that transmitters in regions which had finished didn't go into RBS mode.

Although I think I read that everywhere more northerly than Birmingham were treated to the tail end of a lengthy David Stevens closedown from Pebble Mill on one occasion.
Write that down in your copybook now.
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Closedown gave kudos
Ne1L C1,055 posts since 11 Sep 2011
It was more to do with me making sure that transmitters in regions which had finished didn't go into RBS mode.

Although I think I read that everywhere more northerly than Birmingham were treated to the tail end of a lengthy David Stevens closedown from Pebble Mill on one occasion.



RBS mode?
james-20015,066 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
It was more to do with me making sure that transmitters in regions which had finished didn't go into RBS mode.

Although I think I read that everywhere more northerly than Birmingham were treated to the tail end of a lengthy David Stevens closedown from Pebble Mill on one occasion.



RBS mode?


You're on TV forum and you don't know what RBS is?

The RBS test night was always the height of the TV forum year before DSO as it was pretty much the only time the test card was shown after 1998.
Araminta Kane92 posts since 8 Dec 2015
Few things to note:

BBC1 regional continuity (other than before regional programmes, obviously) and closedowns ceased in September 1980, a full year after the strike.

Looking on the British Newspaper Archive (a major source for the Twitter account) the 'Newcastle Journal' article cited on Twitter reports that there were threats of a strike at Metro Radio and rumours that it could take the whole of ILR off the air, which thankfully never happened. There was a K-Tel album called 'Hot Tracks' which couldn't be advertised on TV and could only have radio advertising, so naturally did much less well than their albums usually did. Indeed an oft-ignored aspect of the strike, as I say in my comment on the Then Play Long blog entry for Boney M's 'Oceans of Fantasy', is that it slowed down the album chart considerably - a huge wave of telemarketed albums swept into it once the strike ended. The Shadows' dirgelike travesty album 'String of Hits' was released in the autumn of 1979 and did quite well but was always planned as a telemarketed album and was finally sold on ITV in early 1980, at which point it went to number one, much to the chagrin of that blog's writer. Similarly Manfred Mann's 'Semi-Detached Suburban' best-of was released in the autumn of 1979 but did not peak until the beginning of 1980 when it was advertised.

But the single most important thing to remember about this strike, and amazingly (or not) nobody has mentioned it once in fourteen pages, is that it disproportionately upset *the very people the unions claimed to represent and speak for*, i.e. the working class, disproportionately concentrated in franchise areas like Granada, Yorkshire and Tyne Tees, while the people who didn't mind or care either way were the people the union leaders had, in many cases, never denied hating and who had recently gone through a period of exceptional paranoia and fear apropos the unions (and indeed that didn't really end until the Falklands), disproportionately concentrated in regions like Southern and Anglia. They were enraging and angering the very people whose wishes and desires they thought they incarnated, while the middle class - on the whole - was much less bothered. Actual union members resented it far more than the leaders of the anti-union protest groups called things like the "Middle Class Association" did. It was a central moment in the disconnection between the working class, much of which was about to be lured away by Thatcherism (and there is a strong case for saying that Thatcherism's final triumph over traditional conservatism was Judith Keppel & Will Young), and the people who claimed to speak for them but who they were increasingly rejecting. It was a massive stretch for old ideas of solidarity - the point at which the working class, about to buy their own council houses, decisively rejected those who wanted to manage and organise their lives. Similarly, a Guardian article cited by the Twitter account mentioned the unions' preference for working on high-cultural programmes over the likes of Crossroads, and the mass of the working class was moving further and further away from those old ideas of betterment (even Corbyn's cultural policy, such as there is one, is far closer to Blair than Attlee). Meanwhile, the way middle-class, union-hating BBC loyalists looked at the strike can be compared to Michael Wharton (Peter Simple)'s response to the collapse of European Communism, surprisingly cool because he hated pop culture, if anything, even more than Communism and knew that it was pop's greatest international political triumph up to then.

Yes, it was an event of immense importance in contemporary British history. Quite apart from anything else, it began the process where the Thatcher government would become increasingly sympathetic to alternative providers and methods of transmission.
Araminta Kane92 posts since 8 Dec 2015
In terms of sports coverage, I've always regretted that we never get to see the 1979 Ebor Handicap - when Jonjo O'Neill dropped his hands on Sea Pigeon and only just won - because of the strike; I remember watching Channel 4 Racing in 1993 when they had to apologise that they had no footage for that reason. Indeed the strike prevented coverage of far more big horse racing events than would have been the case had it happened during the winter, because ITV showed fewer big events in National Hunt racing (which is itself a sign of the old wariness of commercialism among tweedy shire types) and, the previous winter with its many strikes, there had been no televised racing from 30th December to 24th February because of the hard weather anyway. There used to be YouTube racing clips from the last World of Sport before the strike and the first after it but I think they've both gone now.

Radio 2, when it was the sport network as well, ended up covering two blacked-out events on the same day (12th September) - an England match scheduled for ITV coverage and racing from Doncaster.
Araminta Kane92 posts since 8 Dec 2015
Also worth noting that Penelope Keith's two most famous roles were both massively boosted by ITV stoppages (To the Manor Born obviously began during the massive ITV strike as the nights were drawing in, but The Good Life was struggling in its first series until an ITV strike in May 1975). That feels like a classic example of the haute bourgeoisie welcoming the unions for stopping commercial vulgarity, despite itself and against its will.

Similarly, the end of Southern's 'Famous Five' series was just before the strike went all-out, after Southern had initially gone off the air but then came back to provide a reduced service, and after Thames, HTV & Ulster already had disappeared for the duration. Enid Blyton, you suspect, would have been paranoid about the unions destroying democracy had she lived into her 70s / the 70s.
Last edited by Araminta Kane on 31 August 2019 2:15am