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Broadcast Clocks

Origins and examples

MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Which ITV companies never had an electronic continuity clock ?

I'll open the batting with Thames?


Yes, there's a clip on TV Ark from 1990 with the mechanical clock superimposed over a 1989 generic background, which seems bizarre. You'd think Thames, being the "flagship" ITV region would have upgraded to an electronic clock quite early, not still be using a real one into the 90s!


I remember being on holiday in the Lake District in 1990 (I think) and thinking that Border’s clock was something from the Sixties. Never twigged that back home, things weren’t that much different on Thames!


I think I've seen somewhere on You Tube electronic clocks on Border, and Channel. You're right though, I had a holiday in Borderland in 1990, and it was still mechanical
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
DE88 and Night Thoughts gave kudos
NT
Night Thoughts London London
Thames used to wheel out their clock at all sorts of odd times (presumably for a bit of variety or just because it was satisfying to see the clock hit the top of the hour or whatever) but clocks had a real “sit up and pay attention” quality to them that you wouldn’t get now with presentation blending in with the programmes.

The Thatcher resignation one from YTV posted elsewhere earlier in the week is a good example (1:02 in: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bhGtr1Bib1M&feature=youtu.be).

And here’s a good Thames example: https://www.tvark.org/?page=media&mediaid=98823
DE88 and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
VM
VMPhil Granada North West Today
There's a couple of interesting clips on the Thames page on TV Ark, saying they are from a night when the transmitter stayed on all night due to snow, so they showed the clock and the IVC studio during the night instead.

https://tvark.org/?page=media&mediaid=132614
https://tvark.org/?page=media&mediaid=132615
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I'd love to know more about that one! Seems remarkable that that is how they sustained the transmitter feed overnight rather than the IBA control room sticking a slide up.
Write that down in your copybook now.
CO
commseng London London
That is bizarre. Why would you leave a live studio camera to air?
The chances of the cleaner making an appearance must be reasonably high!
The clock on the other hand would be a far safer bet to be clean at all times.
I wonder if the engineers at CP and Croydon for some reason wanted something which wasn't mostly black?
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Pre the TV-am era, Thames used to show their clock and and tone as Crystal Palace's 'wake up' usually from 08:30 until the 'Start Up' at 09:20ish, and I suspect that second clip is an example of that.

However, leaving the IVC camera to air, (and more significantly the studio lights !) all night is bizarre !
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
DE88 and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
That is bizarre. Why would you leavea live studio camera to air?
The chances of the cleaner making an appearance must be reasonably high!
The clock on the other hand would be a far safer bet to be clean at all times.
I wonder if the engineers at CP and Croydon for some reason wanted something which wasn't mostly black?


It might have been that the IBA Croydon control room was unstaffed that night, because of the snow, which explains perhaps why Crystal Palace couldn't be switched off. I think Bluecortina has said the ITV companies played no part in removing the syncs, (by pulling out U-Links) to initiate a transmitter shut down, so without the IBA engineers at Croydon to do it, CP stayed on ! ?
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
CO
commseng London London
Why wouldn't the Croydon control room be staffed - even with snow, it is in a city and hardly the north face of the Eiger.
There are plenty of stories about transmitter engineers making it through the bad weather to man far more remote sites.
Plus CP was always staffed back then by BBC staff, who I'm sure would have helped out in a crisis.
Or BT could have pulled U links out at the Tower under IBA instructions.
There has to be more to this than we can work out!
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Why wouldn't the Croydon control room be staffed - even with snow, it is in a city and hardly the north face of the Eiger.
There are plenty of stories about transmitter engineers making it through the bad weather to man far more remote sites.
Plus CP was always staffed back then by BBC staff, who I'm sure would have helped out in a crisis.
Or BT could have pulled U links out at the Tower under IBA instructions.
There has to be more to this than we can work out!


Yes, I agree it is very odd. Unless of course the engineers were snowed in at home, which is more feasible, but even so, Thames could have yanked their U Links out, although they (or BT doing) that might have triggered the IBA Apology Card crate, I suspect the Tx shut down/power up device was downstream of that at Croydon or CP ?

CP had a rather large lekky bill, so it's not the sort of thing you'd casually leave on !
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I vaguely recall reading of occasions when BBC1 and 2 transmitters were left on overnight during a cold snap to prevent them failing to start up the next day.
Write that down in your copybook now.
DE88 and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I vaguely recall reading of occasions when BBC1 and 2 transmitters were left on overnight during a cold snap to prevent them failing to start up the next day.


It might have been to avoid the transmitting aerials from icing up, which would cause an excessive VSWR, which would in turn cause the transmitters to trip out? However UHF antennas were (and still are) inside fiberglass shrouds for that very reason
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
They were on main sites, but the typical log periodics on relays might have been vulnerable?
Write that down in your copybook now.

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