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Inspector Sands13,763 posts since 25 Aug 2004
Westcountry Live did seem to fill the hour quite well whenever I saw it. There were some features but that's not a bad thing, especially when it was really the only outlet for regional content - they had some other regional slots but far less was regional outside news than it was on TSW.

The other thing is because they had local slots they had more news to put in. In those local slots there were stories that wouldn't have made a regional bulletin because they were too local. So that's 5/10 minutes a day filled with decent content that they wouldn't have otherwise
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 19 July 2018 8:35am
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Brekkie31,818 posts since 4 Jan 2003 Recently warned
HTV Wales Wales Today
Well it really stems back to the creation of the schedules way back when - maybe even as early as 1955? I can't remember when the early evening bulletin was introduced but it was certainly still in the "Non Stop" theme music era before 1976. In those days the early evening news was at 5.50pm. In 1976 it was extended by 5 minutes and began at 5.45pm. Then it was shifted to 5.40pm in 1989 to make space for the new ITV National Weather forecast. That's how it stayed until the 1999 revamp. I can't really give you an answer as to why the early evening bulletin was so early and so short, but I think to find the answer you would have to look back quite a way.

Didn't TV close for an hour at 6pm in the early days, hence ending daytime rather than starting primetime with the news made sense. As time developed the 6pm hour was predominantly local so left 7pm onwards for network content.


The Evening News now generally has a runtime of less than 20 minutes compared to 28-30 mins for News at Ten.
I preferred the internet when it had a sense of humour.
JKDerry1,810 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
Well it really stems back to the creation of the schedules way back when - maybe even as early as 1955? I can't remember when the early evening bulletin was introduced but it was certainly still in the "Non Stop" theme music era before 1976. In those days the early evening news was at 5.50pm. In 1976 it was extended by 5 minutes and began at 5.45pm. Then it was shifted to 5.40pm in 1989 to make space for the new ITV National Weather forecast. That's how it stayed until the 1999 revamp. I can't really give you an answer as to why the early evening bulletin was so early and so short, but I think to find the answer you would have to look back quite a way.

Didn't TV close for an hour at 6pm in the early days, hence ending daytime rather than starting primetime with the news made sense. As time developed the 6pm hour was predominantly local so left 7pm onwards for network content.


The Evening News now generally has a runtime of less than 20 minutes compared to 28-30 mins for News at Ten.

Up until 1957 there was something called "Toddlers Truce", where television was not permitted to air during roughly 6-7pm each night. There were exceptions, such as cricket, other sporting events, some religious programming.

BBC and ITV hated this restriction, as they wanted the audience hooked at 6pm, and stay with them for the night, so the government relented, and in 1957 the restriction was lifted, except for Sundays. 1958 saw the Sunday restriction eased, and allowed religious or "morally uplifting" programming to only air in the "God Slot" as it would be nicknamed.

Remember also until the autumn of 1972, broadcasting hours on UK television was very restricted and tightly controlled by the then Postmaster General. 50 years a go in 1968 the rule was 7 hours of normal programming Mondays to Fridays, with 7.5 hours for Saturday and Sunday each, amounting to just 50 hours a week. Sporting events had their own special annual quota of around 350 hours a year allowance, whilst schools, colleges, adult education, state occasions, political coverage, Welsh language programming were all exempt from the restrictions.

The restrictions were eased gradually in 1971 with an increase to a 8 hour daily allowance Mondays to Sundays, before being lifted all together in 1972, which allowed ITV to launch a proper, codified daytime schedule on Monday 16th October 1972.
mannewskev514 posts since 2 Sep 2011
I like the fact that the 1999 changes have rationalised the regional news scheduling.

Different regional programmes hitherto had durations of either 30, 35, or 60 minutes, with start times of either 5.55pm, 6pm, 6.25pm, or 6.30pm. In the latter two cases it of course meant that the national and regional news were separated, with e.g. Home & Away (or whatever) in-between. This always seemed odd to me.

It seemed bloody ridiculous having as little as 15-20 minutes of national/international news, but 30-60 for regional news. Having a whole hour of regional news at all, regardless of how this compared to the national news length, also seemed excessive. I can't imagine how Westcountry Live filled an hour each weeknight. It must've been fluff central.


Granada Reports started at 17:30 for a time, when it was an hour long.

(Granada TONIGHT, as was...)
Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Well it really stems back to the creation of the schedules way back when - maybe even as early as 1955? I can't remember when the early evening bulletin was introduced but it was certainly still in the "Non Stop" theme music era before 1976. In those days the early evening news was at 5.50pm. In 1976 it was extended by 5 minutes and began at 5.45pm. Then it was shifted to 5.40pm in 1989 to make space for the new ITV National Weather forecast. That's how it stayed until the 1999 revamp. I can't really give you an answer as to why the early evening bulletin was so early and so short, but I think to find the answer you would have to look back quite a way.


I remember at the time of the 1999 revamp that ITV said they'd done audience research and the preference from the audience was that they were more interested in watching the news earlier in the evening, hence why the 6.30 bulletin became the flagship at the time. How much of that was down to the idea News at Ten was getting in the way is another question, but in those days the Six O'Clock News was the most watched bulletin of the day so clearly there was a big audience available at the time.

As for the 5.45, I know when it began in 1976 (as a branded programme in its own right rather than just a generic news bulletin) that the intention was for it to be very bright and breezy in the style of a tabloid newspaper, hence the rather lurid backdrops ("EURO SOCCER", "CRIME") and the no-frills presentation. It's not neccessarily the case that longer would always be better. In the seventies the controller of Radio 4 famously cut the duration of all the news programmes because he thought they were getting increasingly self-indulgent and bloated and if they were shorter they would be more concise and informative. In the end that didn't work because the new programmes that made up the time they saved were rubbish and he was quietly shuffled over to Radio 3, but you can see the point.

For what it's worth, as a family we used to watch the 5.40 quite frequently. My mum and sister liked Home and Away but not Neighbours, so we got into a routine of watching CBBC then switching over to Granada for the 5.40 and then Home and Away. Used to fit into our schedule really nicely.

Granada Reports started at 17:30 for a time, when it was an hour long.

(Granada TONIGHT, as was...)


Yes, a couple of regions did an hour from 5.30 and that slot was still home to all kinds of odds and sods. Central, who were one of the last regions to do their regional news at 6.30, moved theirs to six with Shortland Street at 5.30. Opposite Neighbours!

Seeing Calendar at 5.55 in the Radio Times variations panel always annoyed me. I assume it was at that time to get one jump ahead on the Six O'Clock News, but it just looked weird.
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Lou Scannon1,169 posts since 1 Jan 2016
HTV West Points West
Seeing Calendar at 5.55 in the Radio Times variations panel always annoyed me. I assume it was at that time to get one jump ahead on the Six O'Clock News, but it just looked weird.


A childhood holiday in Skegness in the early 1990s was my first experience of YTV and Calendar.

My memory's a bit hazy, but I think it went something like this...

I think in practice it may have always started up to a couple of minutes later than the billed time of 5:55pm. There may have been a trailer/promo or two immediately after the ITV National Weather, and then a YTV ident and/or clock leading into Calendar. But certainly not a commercial break of any kind IIRC.

One of the main pan-regional presenters stood near to three TV monitors, showing the Hull/Sheffield/Leeds sub-opt presenters (one sub-opt on each monitor, obv). After introducing some of what would be coming up in the main body of the programme, there was a "but first the news from your part of the region" handover.

Your respective sub-opt (we got the East/Hull one) was a bit of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it affair, and I suppose must've ended at bang-on 18:00 for the main opening titles. The standing presenter that we had seen at the very start was now on a sofa in the midst of the Calendar newsroom, joined by a co-anchor.

At some point mid-programme, there was another throw to the sub-regions for a more substantial news roundup. The earlier opt was basically just the "headlines" version of the later "proper" opt.

As the entire pre-18:00 section of the programme contained/added nothing that wasn't also shown within the main half-hour, it seemed painfully obvious that it must've literally only existed in an effort to retain ITN Early Evening News viewers rather than losing them to BBC1 during a commercial break.
I'm still a European.
nwtv20038,378 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Granada North West Today
I like the fact that the 1999 changes have rationalised the regional news scheduling.

Different regional programmes hitherto had durations of either 30, 35, or 60 minutes, with start times of either 5.55pm, 6pm, 6.25pm, or 6.30pm. In the latter two cases it of course meant that the national and regional news were separated, with e.g. Home & Away (or whatever) in-between. This always seemed odd to me.

It seemed bloody ridiculous having as little as 15-20 minutes of national/international news, but 30-60 for regional news. Having a whole hour of regional news at all, regardless of how this compared to the national news length, also seemed excessive. I can't imagine how Westcountry Live filled an hour each weeknight. It must've been fluff central.


Granada Reports started at 17:30 for a time, when it was an hour long.

(Granada TONIGHT, as was...)


It was 1998 when they extended Granada Tonight to one hour, great idea on paper but it was awfully executed. It was a cut price This Morning with regional news and it was dire. The best thing they did was cutting it in half, relaunching as Granada Reports and moving all of the fluff to earlier in the day as Lunchtime Live.

Hard to believe that in March it will be 20 years since News At Ten was axed, and how much of a big deal it was at the time.
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steviegTVreturns
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DE88682 posts since 8 Jan 2017
News at Ten moving to 6:30, and the Early Evening News to 11... I'd actually not thought about it like that until I first looked at this thread.

I certainly wouldn't disagree, though, about NAT moving to 6:30. The Evening News had a 30-minute running time, Trevor and the "And Finally" slot, and it *was* promoted as ITV's new flagship bulletin. (As an aside, I'm not ashamed to admit that watching Trevor presenting this bulletin was at first a slightly strange experience for the then 11-year-old me, having not seen him present any other bulletin besides the actual NAT up to this point...)

I remember the buzz surrounding the return of the actual NAT in 2001, and then watching an edition and thinking, "This isn't as good as the old NAT." And, of course, the fact that it didn't air five nights a week only added to the whole mess.

Of course it was the 1999 changes that brought in that new news set. The more modern looking newsroom studio was gone and it was all wood, bright colours, fake newsroom backdrop and that monitor stack and every bulletin looked the same. This look seemed to hang around forever, it was on screen for 5 years. Even today, what proceeded that look was infinitely better.


Wouldn't disagree here, either - the 1995 look still felt fresh when it was replaced.

And the '99 music was basically the '95 music with bongs.
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