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Steve Williams2,666 posts since 1 Aug 2008
That's a brilliant article, the most detailed summary of this whole fascinating episode I've ever seen.

The general suggestion is that the Christmas Pops from 1978 is so bad because it had to be flung together quickly after the strike, but I don't think that's the case. Although they use the office set, it is clearly a set, and those visual gags must have taken a bit of time to set up (plus the special message from Abba, of course). A lot of the performances are new as well - the Darts one certainly is, because Kenny Andrews is in it, who wasn't in the band when the record was a hit. There isn't an audience, but there generally wasn't one for Christmas shows in those days - 1976 is the only year between 1974 and 1980 there was one - and you can compare it to the show from the previous year which has about the same number of new performances and, as I say, no audience, the only real difference is that it's on the familiar Pops set. We expect the Christmas show these days to be a very glamorous production but in those days it was often the least glamorous show of the year.

One thing that had always puzzled me, though, is the Pops from 21st December, because as Genome points out, it was going to be an hour long and was ostensibly "part one" of the Christmas show - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/1978-12-21#at-19.25. You would assume if that was the case, they would have started work on that a bit sooner than the previous day, so I wonder if anything intended for that actually exists. Bit of a shame it was never finished, would have been a bit better than the awful show we did get.
james-20014,683 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
Seems unusual for the "part one" episode to go out before Christmas as was planned in 1978, usually part one went out on Christmas day, and part 2 some time between Christmas and new year. A quick look at Popscene shows it was the same in 1975 though, with the first part going out on the 23rd.

Though if it had been made, we wouldn't have seen it on BBC4 anyway thanks to who presented it. The only years we got both Xmas episodes on BBC4 were 1976 and 1984, and the latter was only because it was pre-Yewtree, we wouldn't have seen either post yewtree. 1984 of course had none of the regular presenters on either show (or any presenters full stop on the Xmas day edition). In 1980 and 82 we didn't get either Xmas episode.
Last edited by james-2001 on 24 December 2018 7:43pm
robertclark1251,369 posts since 13 Jan 2009
STV Central Reporting Scotland
Bringing up the 1979 ITV strike again makes me want to ask this question, which is slightly off topic.

During the 1979 ITV strike, someone from Channel television would drive to the northernmost point of either Jersey or Guernsey, and use their car radio to pick up the radio signals from the UK mainland. They would then make a note of the top news stories from Independent radio news, and return to the Channel TV studios. The evening bulletin Channel produced would use those stories, albeit without footage, during the strike.

So my question is this. IF it was just possible to get ILR from the mainland UK at the northern most point of the channel islands, was it possible for viewers on the southernmost point of the south coast, at places like Shanklin IOW, Southampton, Brighton, to just receive the Channel Television output? If so, at least that way some folk would still have ITV?
Markymark6,602 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Bringing up the 1979 ITV strike again makes me want to ask this question, which is slightly off topic.

During the 1979 ITV strike, someone from Channel television would drive to the northernmost point of either Jersey or Guernsey, and use their car radio to pick up the radio signals from the UK mainland. They would then make a note of the top news stories from Independent radio news, and return to the Channel TV studios. The evening bulletin Channel produced would use those stories, albeit without footage, during the strike.

So my question is this. IF it was just possible to get ILR from the mainland UK at the northern most point of the channel islands, was it possible for viewers on the southernmost point of the south coast, at places like Shanklin IOW, Southampton, Brighton, to just receive the Channel Television output? If so, at least that way some folk would still have ITV?


You can receive south coast local radio stations on AM in the Channel Islands, back then in 1979 most likely it was Radio Victory in Portsmouth, although Capital and LBC go a long way south too.

Forget UHF TV reception on the UK mainland of Channel TV, too far away (except during freak reception conditions). On 405 VHF also near impossible, because that operated on Ch 9, which was used at Stockland Hill, Westward's transmitter that was the feed site and received at Alderney. For that reason Fremont point didn't radiate anything towards Alderney, and therefore the mainland. Plus Ch 9 was also used at Croydon.
Inspector Sands13,486 posts since 25 Aug 2004
So my question is this. IF it was just possible to get ILR from the mainland UK at the northern most point of the channel islands, was it possible for viewers on the southernmost point of the south coast, at places like Shanklin IOW, Southampton, Brighton, to just receive the Channel Television output? If so, at least that way some folk would still have ITV?

I wouldn't have thought so, look at the apparatus they needed to get ITV off air to the islands. That was from a high powered station in the UK, doing it the other way you'd be doing it from the lower powered Fremont Point.


ILR was (and still is) on MW, I'd have thought that the south coast stations could reach the Channel Islands fairly reliably, they definitely would have when it got dark
Inspector Sands13,486 posts since 25 Aug 2004
You can receive south coast local radio stations on AM in the Channel Islands, back then in 1979 most likely it was Radio Victory in Portsmouth, although Capital and LBC go a long way south too.

Plymouth Sound too maybe? The other two stations on the south coast - DevonAir and 2CR didn't launch till 1980.

I seem to remember getting stations from the Channel Islands in Bournemouth
JKDerry1,505 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
Bringing up the 1979 ITV strike again makes me want to ask this question, which is slightly off topic.

During the 1979 ITV strike, someone from Channel television would drive to the northernmost point of either Jersey or Guernsey, and use their car radio to pick up the radio signals from the UK mainland. They would then make a note of the top news stories from Independent radio news, and return to the Channel TV studios. The evening bulletin Channel produced would use those stories, albeit without footage, during the strike.

So my question is this. IF it was just possible to get ILR from the mainland UK at the northern most point of the channel islands, was it possible for viewers on the southernmost point of the south coast, at places like Shanklin IOW, Southampton, Brighton, to just receive the Channel Television output? If so, at least that way some folk would still have ITV?


You can receive south coast local radio stations on AM in the Channel Islands, back then in 1979 most likely it was Radio Victory in Portsmouth, although Capital and LBC go a long way south too.

Forget UHF TV reception on the UK mainland of Channel TV, too far away (except during freak reception conditions). On 405 VHF also near impossible, because that operated on Ch 9, which was used at Stockland Hill, Westward's transmitter that was the feed site and received at Alderney. For that reason Fremont point didn't radiate anything towards Alderney, and therefore the mainland. Plus Ch 9 was also used at Croydon.

Alderney only received ITV in 1976 when UHF finally launched in the Channel Islands. That is what I was told.


Also, all the BBC national radio stations have been broadcast from the Channel Islands since 1955 from Les Platons transmitter, so lack of news would not be hard for Channel Television to listen into the BBC News service back in 1979 and take note of key news stories and air them on Channel TV during the 1979 strike.
JKDerry1,505 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
There was no "just" calling up Ceefax - not every telly had it. It was certainly a luxury/novelty where/when I grew up in the 90s.

BBC Radio would have been the prime place to go for news during the 1979 strike. BBC Radio 2 was by January 1979 on the air 24 hours a day and airing news bulletins on the hour. BBC Radio 4 would have plenty of news from 6.00am until Midnight, so Channel Television and the UK audiences and listeners would still have good access to news when ITN was off the air.
Markymark6,602 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
You can receive south coast local radio stations on AM in the Channel Islands, back then in 1979 most likely it was Radio Victory in Portsmouth, although Capital and LBC go a long way south too.

Plymouth Sound too maybe? The other two stations on the south coast - DevonAir and 2CR didn't launch till 1980.

I seem to remember getting stations from the Channel Islands in Bournemouth


Yes, I can just hear them here on AM in deepest North Hampshire 40 miles inland.

Plymouth Sound was (still is) co channel with LBC on 1152kHz, so probably a mangled mess in the CI (perhaps our CI contributor in here can confirm ?) . However as they simply took the IRN/LBC bulletins on the hour back then, the news might have been intelligible ?

Alderney only received ITV in 1976 when UHF finally launched in the Channel Islands. That is what I was told.


Yes, a marginal service from Fremont Point, until the UHF relay on Alderney opened in April 1977


Also, all the BBC national radio stations have been broadcast from the Channel Islands since 1955 from Les Platons transmitter, so lack of news would not be hard for Channel Television to listen into the BBC News service back in 1979 and take note of key news stories and air them on Channel TV during the 1979 strike.


You can't just go nicking the news from other broadcasters. I suspect Channel approached LBC/IRN to gain permission to use their copy. There'd have been all sorts of union sensitivity about that though, so I suspect
the deal was if they could hear by 'normal means' the content, they could use it. The NUJ would have probably blacked sending copy via telex directly to Channel TV

There was no "just" calling up Ceefax - not every telly had it. It was certainly a luxury/novelty where/when I grew up in the 90s.


Newsrooms would have had Teletext tellies though.

However as said you can't do that. Back in the 80s the BBC suspected an ILR station was lifting their travel news from Ceefax, so they inserted dummy incidents to catch them out ISTR
Last edited by Markymark on 25 January 2019 8:11am
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