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james-20014,961 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
Was Astra used because it was a service on the Astra platform that was not part of the Sky package?


Even that doesn't make sense for TCM, because it was part of the Sky package on analogue. Cartoon Network/TNT Classic Movies was free to air, but it encrypted around the same time TNT Classic Movies became TCM on digital and the short lived general entertainment version of TNT launched on analogue (then got replaced with TCM after around 6 months). I think that was the same time the channel changed from technically being pan-European (albeit with UK adverts) to UK only. I remember pressing the audio button on my aunt's analogue Sky box and being able to cycle through all the language tracks.

And regardless, the analogue Cartoon Network/TCM channel had shut down on anlogue about 9 months before those listings anyway, so had every UK-aimed channel by that point. And as I said, British Eurosport was never on analogue, only the pan-European version.
Last edited by james-2001 on 31 July 2019 10:29pm - 3 times in total
Neil Jones5,342 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
There are still occasional shows that evolve(d) while they're on air, the two most obvious examples I can think of are Pointless (its first round initially was a five pod affair which was later reduced to four and the third round was completely different to what they have now) and Bullseye (which started off as a 'seemed like a good idea at the time' format and was later tweaked and moulded into what became "classic" Bullseye). There are probably other examples.

But yes of course it looks far better to have nailed a format from the get go, even if the set takes a while to get right (early Chase episodes have pillar posts across the back of the set for no apparent reason which were later removed). And the font was changed on the board. But apart from those tweaks the format was nailed (the pushback rule in the final chase was later changed to push the contestants on by one if their score was zero and they got the Chaser's question correct - initially it had no effect).
Steve Williams2,747 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Episode 3 is a classic, with the so-called maths "expert" happily declaring that both of the sums are "probably impossible". They really aren't.


Richard Whiteley used to mention that, he said when she said that they promptly got hundreds of letters from the viewers telling them they weren't.

One show I remember being tweaked throughout its run was Dick and Dom's ill-fated revival of Ask The Family, which they seemed to be filming very close to transmission, and I remember there were two occasions during the run where they'd clearly started a new "batch" of recordings because they'd fiddled with the format a bit and introduced some new rules - and indeed more or less introduced a format as the first few shows were a bit too anarchic for their own good and a bit of a mess. So by the end it was all quite different.

Actually for all the ire it received, I quite enjoyed Ask The Family, the biggest mistake they made was the same one ITV did with Harry Hill's Stars In Their Eyes, by promoting it as a straight revival (with Ask The Family they did a documentary about the old series and even showed some episodes) and so nostalgic viewers tuned in expecting it to be something it wasn't. It wasn't especially brilliant and I wasn't particularly broken-hearted when it was axed, but it was an enjoyable enough show. I've just been reminded on UK Game Shows that Dave Chapman's announcer was called "Mr Ha Ha Rubbish" which really made me chuckle.
nbafan89150 posts since 12 Apr 2014
March 2002, must have been one of the last racing days with the old look and in 4:3, before it (briefly) became attheraces. They managed to screw up the closing of the programme too!


with a rare arrangement of the channel 4 racing theme I have never heard before
Steve Williams2,747 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Here's a top upload from the great Gary Rodger, ITV's delayed coverage of Italy vs England from October 1997.



This was quite an interesting programme at the time, Sky had the live rights but for a while it was suggested it might be live on ITV as well because it was of major national importance, as was the case with England vs Scotland in 1999. In the end, they didn't show it live, but they did show the entire match as live at 10pm, not long after the final whistle. And as you can see, it really is as live, including a full half-time sequence, and you may want to study Bob Wilson, Terry Venables and John Barnes carefully to see if they give away the fact they already know the result. Oddly it's got a scoreline, which would have been very unusual for highlights in those days, but not a clock, which would perhaps have been more useful.

One of the other highlights is the plug at "half-time" for the one and only mounting of the ITV Barclaycard Champions of Sport Awards. Bob also promotes the F1, which reminds me that ITV always used to have mad weekends of sport every other October around that time, with the final race of the F1 season, a big England match albeit usually highlights only and every four years, the Rugby World Cup. The one I most remember was in October 2003 when over 24 hours they had the Japanese Grand Prix, all the home nations in the Rugby World Cup and highlights of Turkey vs England in the Euro qualifiers.

You'd have to say that was the high water mark of F1 in the UK, during the first few years of ITV's coverage, if only because they used to promote it so relentlessly, so even if you didn't much care for the sport (as I didn't) you got to know the calendar pretty well, not least as it would mean SMTV finishing early - a bit like how the Beeb Saturday morning programmes used to finish at 10.52 every other week for the test match. Actually I remember Giles Smith reviewing the aforementioned Champions of Sport Awards and pointing out that F1, unsurprisingly, featured rather heavily in their review of the sporting year.
nbafan89150 posts since 12 Apr 2014
Here's a top upload from the great Gary Rodger, ITV's delayed coverage of Italy vs England from October 1997.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P10PUD5Ze1s

This was quite an interesting programme at the time, Sky had the live rights but for a while it was suggested it might be live on ITV as well because it was of major national importance, as was the case with England vs Scotland in 1999. In the end, they didn't show it live, but they did show the entire match as live at 10pm, not long after the final whistle. And as you can see, it really is as live, including a full half-time sequence, and you may want to study Bob Wilson, Terry Venables and John Barnes carefully to see if they give away the fact they already know the result. Oddly it's got a scoreline, which would have been very unusual for highlights in those days, but not a clock, which would perhaps have been more useful.

One of the other highlights is the plug at "half-time" for the one and only mounting of the ITV Barclaycard Champions of Sport Awards. Bob also promotes the F1, which reminds me that ITV always used to have mad weekends of sport every other October around that time, with the final race of the F1 season, a big England match albeit usually highlights only and every four years, the Rugby World Cup. The one I most remember was in October 2003 when over 24 hours they had the Japanese Grand Prix, all the home nations in the Rugby World Cup and highlights of Turkey vs England in the Euro qualifiers.

You'd have to say that was the high water mark of F1 in the UK, during the first few years of ITV's coverage, if only because they used to promote it so relentlessly, so even if you didn't much care for the sport (as I didn't) you got to know the calendar pretty well, not least as it would mean SMTV finishing early - a bit like how the Beeb Saturday morning programmes used to finish at 10.52 every other week for the test match. Actually I remember Giles Smith reviewing the aforementioned Champions of Sport Awards and pointing out that F1, unsurprisingly, featured rather heavily in their review of the sporting year.


I wonder if anyone still has the champions of sport awards as I would like to see it