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Markymark5,335 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
In this clip from 1988, you'll see at 1:15, the ending of ITV Schools on 4 for the day. Then, as it's not quite midday, a holding menu come up with music. On it, part way through, come up cue dots. But, this was on 4, so it would've been networked. What would the purpose of the dots be in this case, unless it was for the nations, who may have opted out of the last programme of the day to show their own one, and were waiting on the national continuity to return?


Dare I suggest it was simply a test, to ensure the cue dot generator and keying were working correctly ?

When better to it, than when there was no one manning the ITV ad insertion suites, or maybe they were, and were in on it. The C4 equivalent of Presfex (part of their CATs playout system) may well have mentioned it ? !
Blake Connolly1,612 posts since 21 Apr 2001
London London
Being a relative newbie, the only times I've used cue dots were when output was being switched from one playout suite to another, either for DR purposes (mostly test runs) or because the channel was moving elsewhere. Means that the people doing the switching further down the chain can be sure which feed is which and it makes it obvious to everyone involved when the switch has been done.

I've also seen it done by removing the DOG on one of the feeds, but that doesn't help when the inevitable commercial break comes along and you've got no DOG on either.
deejay2,686 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
Cue Dots were also "flashed" by NC1/2 ahead of live programmes, as part of the line up. They'd be on the phone to the production gallery, confirming on air time, duration etc and would put on the cue dots temporarily to check they could see them. All studio centres and OBs therefore needed an off air monitor. There were occasions where Cue Dots couldn't be seen during line up, if a region was opted out for example. This was a good way of checking.

BBC Cue Dots (as has been discussed before many times) were used by network control to cue a live programme, not the other way around. If memory serves, they went on at 1'00 to air, off at 10", back on again at 5" then off at Zero.

When digital distribution and digital television became the norm, the BBC ceased use of Cue Dots, as the delays inherent in the tx system meant they were no longer near-instantaneous.
Two minutes regions...
deejay2,686 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
Bit confused by this, and it's not something I've heard of as happening, though I could be wrong. I think the BBC did usually have talkback links to and from OBs, Cue Dots were really just an easier way of cueing those that were in the U.K.

BBC World has always had its own separate presentation (playout) area. For many years they used Cue Dots in the ITV way to warn of upcoming commercial breaks (on at 1'00, off at 5" to the break). Any Cue Dots that were requested to be added by NC1/2 would have been potentially very confusing for World's partner broadcasters. I think Cue Dot use on World ended around 2005 when they moved to the broadcast centre, though I also have vague recollections of the dot generator breaking one day. We sent an urgent fax to all partners warning them of the lack of Cue Dots for the foreseeable future and we got one response which was along the lines of " What are Cue Dots?".

I'm not sure it got fixed as a result.
Two minutes regions...
deejay2,686 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
Well there you are. And I replied too. I have been dallying around these environs for years haven't I ?!

Cue dots on BBC Europe wouldn't have confused anyone else, as there were no partner stations inserting advertising. It was a mixture of programmes from BBC 1 and 2, as rights allowed (which were far more relaxed in those days) and sort of evolved into BBC Prime.
Two minutes regions...
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harshy5,596 posts since 24 Mar 2001
I was watching George and Mildred the other day and noticed cue dots on the left as well at a rather random unexpected time, as the usual one on the right which did come on at the right times, so the question is what was the purpose of the left hand side cue dot?
Markymark5,335 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
I was watching George and Mildred the other day and noticed cue dots on the left as well at a rather random unexpected time, as the usual one on the right which did come on at the right times, so the question is what was the purpose of the left hand side cue dot?


Thames and ATV/Central seemed to use left hand cue dots, for internal cueing of VT or TK. I saw them a lot during Tiswas and Magpie for instance. In George and Mildred's case it might have been a TK insert (which were used for outdoor filmed scenes) inserted into the 'as live' studio recording ?