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Channel 4 pre-1993 regional opt outs

Split from Favourite TV Breakdowns (April 2019)

RO
robertclark125 STV Central Reporting Scotland
Living in central Scotland, I've seen the opt outs on ITV Schools on 4. The first part was that the national roto would appear, and no programme details. There would then be a glitch, and either the regional roto would appear, or black screen and then the regional roto would appear faded up.

At the end, there would be a blank roto, i.e. no follows shortly details, and then another glitch and return to the national roto.

Would be interested to find out where the regional programming on ITV Schools on 4 was played out from. If there was a glitch, that would suggest a different source from where the likes of adverts were played out from, when ITV companies sold the airtime.

Also makes me wonder, in the context of this thread, what if there was a breakdown on a regional programme on ITV Schools on 4.
Markymark, Si-Co and Steve in Pudsey gave kudos
BL
bluecortina

Yes, the local continuity slots were ‘approved’ and scheduled. It would be unthinkable to opt out of C4’s own continuity willy nilly.

Yep regardless of approval they'd need to be co-ordinated with C4, not only for timings but also so the message broadcast in the regional opt-out wasn't a duplicate, or worse still a contradiction to that broadcast by Channel 4


I didn’t mean ‘approve’ as in editorially, I meant as in scheduled officially on C4’s IDENT teletext system. Perhaps there was discussion between C4 and the pertinent ITV company but I would not know the answer to that. If a local opt was scheduled, I wonder if all of the ITV companies used the opportunity? In which case how did they fill the slot? Too long ago for me to remember, I suspect C4 put out its own alternative for those those companies not opting out.
SC
Si-Co Tyne Tees Look North (North East)

Yes, the local continuity slots were ‘approved’ and scheduled. It would be unthinkable to opt out of C4’s own continuity willy nilly.

Yep regardless of approval they'd need to be co-ordinated with C4, not only for timings but also so the message broadcast in the regional opt-out wasn't a duplicate, or worse still a contradiction to that broadcast by Channel 4


I didn’t mean ‘approve’ as in editorially, I meant as in scheduled officially on C4’s IDENT teletext system. Perhaps there was discussion between C4 and the pertinent ITV company but I would not know the answer to that. If a local opt was scheduled, I wonder if all of the ITV companies used the opportunity? In which case how did they fill the slot? Too long ago for me to remember, I suspect C4 put out its own alternative for those those companies not opting out.


That’s been explained earlier. Channel 4 showed a standard “next on 4 it’s such and such” anno while any local station was doing their cross-promotion. I presume the C4 announcement lasted the same length of time as the regional insert, so the C4 announcement about their upcoming programme was a little more detailed than whatever the ITV announcer said about it.
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MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today

Yes, the local continuity slots were ‘approved’ and scheduled. It would be unthinkable to opt out of C4’s own continuity willy nilly.

Yep regardless of approval they'd need to be co-ordinated with C4, not only for timings but also so the message broadcast in the regional opt-out wasn't a duplicate, or worse still a contradiction to that broadcast by Channel 4


I didn’t mean ‘approve’ as in editorially, I meant as in scheduled officially on C4’s IDENT teletext system. Perhaps there was discussion between C4 and the pertinent ITV company but I would not know the answer to that. If a local opt was scheduled, I wonder if all of the ITV companies used the opportunity? In which case how did they fill the slot? Too long ago for me to remember, I suspect C4 put out its own alternative for those those companies not opting out.


They did. C4 put out a 'safe' generic announcement/slide (such as '...don't forget Friday night at 10, it's Cheers) in the 'opt' slots.
TT
ttt
Presumably C4 will have specified a script for the ITV company to work from during these opts.

Else it might have been interesting if the like of Colin Weston (who would always inject his own humour into links) or Bill Steel (who rarely, if ever worked from a formal script) were to say something that jarred with the C4 bosses. Quite a few ITV announcers of the time had closer to the kind of "matey" style common in 2019 to the formal approach taken by C4 of the time.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
ttt posted:
Presumably C4 will have specified a script for the ITV company to work from during these opts.

Else it might have been interesting if the like of Colin Weston (who would always inject his own humour into links) or Bill Steel (who rarely, if ever worked from a formal script) were to say something that jarred with the C4 bosses. Quite a few ITV announcers of the time had closer to the kind of "matey" style common in 2019 to the formal approach taken by C4 of the time.


I'm sure the ITV companies would have had to adhere to C4's 'branding guidelines', and ensure the announcers used C4's style of delivery etc. No different to at the time BBC 1 which was a lot more formal in pres style than BBC 2, but the same CAs were used on both channels
SW
Steve Williams
There was an incident one morning on Channel 4 years later when Horseferry Road was evacuated due to a big gas leak and it relocated to it's DR facility (the location of which I won't divulge as it might still be the same place). The correct programmes went out I think but the junctions were a bit basic and erratic as were the aspect ratios


I remember this, it was in 2002 I think. It happened mid-morning but the effects carried on until well into the evening, as you say the programmes were alright but the junctions were indeed pretty basic and I think in squished 16:9 on analogue. The most exciting bit was that us plebs in the provinces got London adverts, including Bob Mills talking about the upcoming congestion charge.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
There was an incident one morning on Channel 4 years later when Horseferry Road was evacuated due to a big gas leak and it relocated to it's DR facility (the location of which I won't divulge as it might still be the same place). The correct programmes went out I think but the junctions were a bit basic and erratic as were the aspect ratios


I remember this, it was in 2002 I think. It happened mid-morning but the effects carried on until well into the evening, as you say the programmes were alright but the junctions were indeed pretty basic and I think in squished 16:9 on analogue. The most exciting bit was that us plebs in the provinces got London adverts, including Bob Mills talking about the upcoming congestion charge.


There was a quite a far reaching change too, C4 also ditched the six regional feeds to Astra (used then only for Sky's platform ) and just had a single national region on Astra, (that required Sky to remap all the SI/ EPG data for the day)
RO
robertclark125 STV Central Reporting Scotland
Another power failure at C4 in the 1990s affected schools programmes. This was during the Channel 4 schools era with the Gallery etc. AFAIK programmes didn't start until about 09:45 - 09:50. Intervals were kept to a bare minimum, and by about 11:00 everything was back to normal.
IS
Inspector Sands
I remember this, it was in 2002 I think. It happened mid-morning but the effects carried on until well into the evening, as you say the programmes were alright but the junctions were indeed pretty basic and I think in squished 16:9 on analogue. The most exciting bit was that us plebs in the provinces got London adverts, including Bob Mills talking about the upcoming congestion charge.

A foretaste of Channel 4 HD which has London adverts on it everywhere
SC
Si-Co Tyne Tees Look North (North East)

Yes, the local continuity slots were ‘approved’ and scheduled. It would be unthinkable to opt out of C4’s own continuity willy nilly.

Yep regardless of approval they'd need to be co-ordinated with C4, not only for timings but also so the message broadcast in the regional opt-out wasn't a duplicate, or worse still a contradiction to that broadcast by Channel 4


I didn’t mean ‘approve’ as in editorially, I meant as in scheduled officially on C4’s IDENT teletext system. Perhaps there was discussion between C4 and the pertinent ITV company but I would not know the answer to that. If a local opt was scheduled, I wonder if all of the ITV companies used the opportunity? In which case how did they fill the slot? Too long ago for me to remember, I suspect C4 put out its own alternative for those those companies not opting out.


Although we are saying that these “regional inserted cross-promotions” were scheduled/agreed in advance and the opt point co-ordinated with the region, it’s worth noting that the cue-dot was timed to disappear 5 seconds before the start of the commercial break, not the cross-promotion - presumably because the majority of regions were not opting out of the C4 announcement and needed the correct cue for their own opt, whether automated or manual . This makes me question whether they would appear on IDENT, if all regions used that. The smaller companies, after perhaps taking the initial decision not to bother with these, possibly had no idea when and where they were happening.

LWT opted out for a local Announcement about four or five times a shift (I’m told). YTV I assume much less often, as despite seeing quite a bit of YTV C4, I never stumbled across such an announcement. I believe Thames and LWT’s opt outs for commercial breaks worked differently to the other stations - was it totally automated and triggered from Charlotte Street? I may be wrong, but something like that is ringing a bell.
Last edited by Si-Co on 18 April 2019 11:38am
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IS
Inspector Sands
The IDENT system when it was used for BBC World had two seperate sets of triggers and schedules - one for ads and another for programmes. The list of events that the stations opting out got were on a pair of teletext pages, I can't remember the exact numbers but for example 101 had the ad breaks and 102 had any programme opt outs (not that there were many). The advantage of this is that the stations that weren't opting out for a programme wouldn't need to see the timings for it. I can't remember how the triggers worked, presumably there was some set of configuration in the station to trigger one VT with one trigger signal and another with the second one (I'm pretty sure that the programme opt outs I was vaguely involved in were done manually - they were on the wrong format so were played in from a VT in a different bay)

I suspect that Channel 4 worked the same way
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 17 April 2019 11:24am

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