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RJG255 posts since 29 Jun 2006
Border (Scotland) Reporting Scotland
Some soaps were given the chance to thrive...others were killed off by indifference, sometimes from a dwindling audience, sometimes from other ITV stations dropping the show, or sidelining it in a difficult slot. Yorkshire, for instance, introduced "Castle Haven" in 1969 but the twice-weekly series only lasted a year. Likewise "Albion Market", a much-trumpeted series by Granada. It, too, bit the dust after only around 100 episodes. STV has had a number of soaps in its history..."High Living" and "Garnock Way", neither of which was ever fully networked, and "Take The High Road" which was fully networked for a time, but gradually dropped by most local ITV companies, although UTV and Border transmitted every episode.
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62305823,382 posts since 19 Aug 2005
Central and westcountry got pretty close to the end with TTHR ending in May 2002. Again during the 90s the network centre had all the power but as seen many itv stations ignored them at times.
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JamesM0984
Central (East) East Midlands Today
There was still a fair amount of autonomy post-1993, but consolidation obviously created almost mini-networks within the network.
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Brekkie31,686 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
With the big 5 dominating primetime I guess the smaller regions took their chances in daytime, and regional soaps were probably a good way in, but far from a guaranteed success. I suspect even had the regions remained they'd rather have six episodes of something that rates rather than another soap or two in the mix.
I preferred the internet when it had a sense of humour.
JamesM0984
Central (East) East Midlands Today
I suppose different things suited different parts of the country. Having Home & Away virtually in primetime probably suited certain places, but shunting it to teatime made sense elsewheere.

How did STV handle hour-long editions of Emmerdale, or were they playing ball by this point?

I suppose one of the big issues with the old system now is social media and the Internet generally - if STV showed the resolution to a major cliffhanger two hours before ITV did, then it would inevitably leak to more than a few English, Welsh and Irish viewers during that time period!

Worth noting that particularly on Sunday afternoons, there were massive regional variations as late as 2002.
Brekkie31,686 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
I don't think hour long episode of Emmerdale were a thing till the late 90s at the earliest.

Did Thames ever try to get a soap off the ground, other than The Bill, which I doubt anyone at Thames would have considered a soap in the eighties.
I preferred the internet when it had a sense of humour.
JamesM0984
Central (East) East Midlands Today
I don't think hour long episode of Emmerdale were a thing till the late 90s at the earliest.

Did Thames ever try to get a soap off the ground, other than The Bill, which I doubt anyone at Thames would have considered a soap in the eighties.


Kim returning and Frank dying was one in 1997. There was one earlier on but it might well have been during either the 1994 World Cup or the 1996 Euros and was ITV catching back up.
tightrope781,108 posts since 29 Dec 2005
UTV Newsline
Did Thames ever try to get a soap off the ground, other than The Bill, which I doubt anyone at Thames would have considered a soap in the eighties.


According to Wiki Gems was considered a soap opera. It was one of a number of potential soaps launched by the regions in the 1980s afternoon slot, such as the aforementioned Albion Market.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gems_(TV_series)
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Steve Williams2,747 posts since 1 Aug 2008
There was fallacious claims "most companies placed hour long regional news at 6pm" as reason for blockbusters disappearing but that is wrong as only two ITV station did this, and by 1994 it was just Westcountry.

With London, it couldn't make up its mind with H&W all of 1993 and parts of 1994 it was 17.10, then it went back 6pm, then it went back to 17.10 by late 96?


It's hardly "fallacious claims", it's not a conspiracy to undermine Blockbusters. Although only a few regions did an hour of regional news, other regions did use 6.30 quite frequently as a slot for regional programmes, Meridian did every night for example, and the fact Carlton had an hour of regional news was an issue because Blockbusters had to go to 3.20 in London and that was obviously to its detriment on a national basis because London was the biggest region and so the ratings went down and you lost all the cult status from the London media.

The other general point is that, now there was Home and Away as well, that took up either the 5.10 or 6pm slot all year round so some regions weren't willing to then devote the other slot to Blockbusters for a large period of the year, as they were slots they liked to show regional programmes in.

Of course, when London Tonight began it was supposed to be half hard news and half showbiz and that, with the hard news at 8.30 because people in London got in late. But that flopped, so they shifted the showbiz off to After 5 and moved Home and Away back to six. But I think the regions were slightly embarrassed at the success of Home and Away - Granada shuffled it around all over the place, from 5.10 in 1989 to six in 1990 to 5.10 in 1992 to six in 1993 to 5.10 in 1997, and they treated it very badly, if they ever wanted to do an extended Granada Tonight or anything they would just shove it to 5.10, often unadvertised. I think that was the case in many of the regions, they didn't want an import doing so well.

How did STV handle hour-long editions of Emmerdale, or were they playing ball by this point?

Worth noting that particularly on Sunday afternoons, there were massive regional variations as late as 2002.


Indeed, although they would often be inelegantly shoved out of the way to make way for network stuff, I remember in Broadcast circa 2002 the production team of a regional show for Granada which was indeed going out on Sunday afternoons complained about how badly they were treating the show and how it was frequently being dropped, and Granada wrote in to say it wasn't their fault, as the network were frequently asking for that slot back if they had anything at all they wanted to put there.

As far as I can remember the first ever hour long Emmerdale was in 1995, I think to mark the two thousandth episode or something. I would assume for an occasion for that STV would show it with the network, as mentioned it didn't happen very often in those days. One thing that did happen after a couple of those hour-long Emmerdales is that the Beeb would often move 'stEnders so it didn't clash - I remember my flatmate being baffled one day that she'd switched for on 'stEnders at 7.30 and they were showing Keeping Up Appearances, and I had to explain it was getting out of the way of Emmerdale. They stopped doing that when it became so common they'd be moving it every week.

Did Thames ever try to get a soap off the ground, other than The Bill, which I doubt anyone at Thames would have considered a soap in the eighties.


Gems! This was a daytime soap in the eighties which was set in a fashion market and was supposed to be quite aspirational, but it flopped. Tony Slattery was in it and he later put it in Room 101.

Of course Carlton produced London Bridge for a few years and it seems bizarre these days to imagine the concept of regional soaps when these days we barely get any networked drama for most of the summer.
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harshy6,180 posts since 24 Mar 2001
Yeah - Of course at that time, the national news was at 5.40. Calendar was at 6 like it still is today, and 6.30 was Tonight, a magazine show which I think also aired on Tyne Tees (which YTV owned).

It did yes with different theme music better then the YTV version.