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MMcG198625 posts since 14 Dec 2014
UTV Newsline
Just been listening to a recording of the combined BBC radio service from 22nd December 1978. Although that particular strike - which affected BBC TV and radio - is quite well documented, there are countless other BBC and ITV strikes which seem to have long since been forgotten. It'd be interesting to hear any recollections/accounts from anyone who can recall some of these events, or indeed, if they were working with any of the affected broadcasters at the time.

One of the news reports from the BBC radio recording of 22nd December 1978 mentions an ongoing strike at Yorkshire TV. It sounded as though Christmas programming was going to be blacked out there. Does anyone know how long that strike lasted? There was a strike at Border TV a few weeks earlier - again, anyone know how long that ran for? I take it there was no attempt at a management-run temporary service in either case?
Steve Williams2,602 posts since 1 Aug 2008
One of the news reports from the BBC radio recording of 22nd December 1978 mentions an ongoing strike at Yorkshire TV. It sounded as though Christmas programming was going to be blacked out there. Does anyone know how long that strike lasted?


Yes! Yorkshire TV's Cancelled Christmas! YTV were on strike at the same time as the Beeb so on 21st and 22nd December there was no television at all in Yorkshire. That lasted over Christmas - because no regions could show 321 on Christmas Day - and Yorkshire had to show all the Christmas shows in January, I think they showed Morecambe and Wise and Diamonds are Forever, both scheduled for Christmas Day, on Saturday 27th January. It wasn't resolved until the new year.

As I mentioned in the other thread, in the build-up to that BBC strike in December 1978 there'd been a long period of industrial problems - in November they were supposed to be extending the hours of BBC2 (which would now open at 5.40 instead of 7pm), Radio 1 (which wouldn't close down 7-10pm) and Radio 2, which was going 24 hours, and it all had to be postponed until January. And there was a work-to-rule which meant shows couldn't overrun and various shows didn't go out, for much of December BBC1 were closing down around 11pm.
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Si-Co1,979 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
I seem to remember a few disputes around 1980-81 that took Thames off the air, or at least on a reduced schedule. On numerous occasions Rainbow and The Sullivans couldn’t be shown at lunchtime on Tyne Tees due to “an industrial dispute”, which must have been at Thames. These are not to be confused with the disputes of 1984.
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Steve in Pudsey9,636 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
A couple of pertinent clips - here is BBC 2 closing down just before 11 during that 1978 dispute, presumably as the scheduled film would have taken them beyond midnight



And here is Granada coming on the air after an interruption caused by the electrician's union holding an emergency meeting (conveniently timed to coincide with a big story in Coronation Street), which also includes how HTV West and Central filled the time

Write that down in your copybook now.
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Markymark6,276 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
A couple of pertinent clips - here is BBC 2 closing down just before 11 during that 1978 dispute, presumably as the scheduled film would have taken them beyond midnight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a1qluvbt0c



Fantastically sombre music too ! I seem to recall nothing could be shown beyond 23:40 hrs ?

I thought the dispute had also delayed the launch of Newsnght, but reading up, that didn't appear
until early 1980, (after a four month delay)
Steve Williams2,602 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Here's the recording presumably mentioned in the original post, courtesy of the great Andy Walmsley...



Diddy David Hamilton's introduction at the start sounds like he's announcing nuclear war.
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commseng163 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London
Can you imagine an All Network Service now, that would have to include Radio 1 Xtra, 6 Music, Radio 4 extra, Asian Network, plus 5 Live and Sport Extra channels as well as the previous 4?

Technology has made the dependance on staff less important to keep some form of a service on air, which wasn't the case back then.

Back in the late 80s I was a Branch Secretary in BETA, and worked in a main London Switching Centre.
If there was industrial action in the air as there was in May 1989, then to communicate a short notice strike to all was quite a feat.

It would be rumoured, and then usually confirmed just beforehand via CEEFAX, which then caused a lot of calls on engineering control lines to Outside Broadcasts, the regions and any other parties that may be affected - BT, foreign news agencies etc.

I have seen cricket fall off the air on BBC 2, when as the Simon hoist which was holding the outgoing microwave link over local obstructions was bought down by staff leaving site. (It was not something you could leave up unattended for obvious safety reasons.)
The Sound in Syncs started breaking up first, and the announcer appologised for the loss of sound, and that it would continue in vision only. It didn't for long as the pictures slowly faded to noise too......

A different world!
Last edited by commseng on 18 December 2018 10:01am
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Markymark6,276 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Diddy David Hamilton's introduction at the start sounds like he's announcing nuclear war.


Much worse than that, he crashed the pips!


I was listening on Radio 4, on there we had a faded up snatch of Diddy saying '....and music' over the pips

Speaking of Diddy, I remember seeing this open an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, but have never (yet) found a video clip of it ?

http://www.montypython.net/scripts/thamesTV.php
Last edited by Markymark on 18 December 2018 10:36am
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Markymark6,276 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Wasn't there also a strike in the early 1980s, when BBC1 was off air all day? I'm sure as a kid I saw a yellow on blue caption with music being played, and it was on all day.


I recall the same, the only programme was the 15:50 ish hrs regional news from BBC South, that crashed out of the caption, then back in to it after the bulletin !

I think the same happened at 18:00hrs for the main edition ?
Steve Williams2,602 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Wasn't there also a strike in the early 1980s, when BBC1 was off air all day? I'm sure as a kid I saw a yellow on blue caption with music being played, and it was on all day.


That was Thursday 5th April 1984 - BBC1 closed down all day, because there were so many live shows scheduled that it was considered a waste of time even trying.

BBC2 stayed on air, as most of their schedule was pre-recorded, and that included two news bulletins. Here's one.



I remember reading somewhere that the only thing on television during the 1978 strike was a sound-only simulcast of the radio news at 10pm.
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