TV Home Forum

Daytime TV in the UK

(December 2020)

This site closed in March 2021 and is now a read-only archive
AN
all new Phil
1972 was the year the conservative government lifted all broadcasting hours restrictions - a real tonic for ITV who had been pleading with previous governments to at least extend the broadcasting hours provision, even if they could not lift them totally.

1971, BBC and ITV were limited to just 8 hours per day of regular programming. If BBC or ITV wanted to air anything else during the day it had to come from either exempted programming genres of schools programmes, adult educational programming, religious programming, Welsh language programming or programmes catering for viewers from India or Pakistan - or the outside broadcasting quota allowance, which gave a set amount of hours per year to broadcast sporting coverage etc. By 1971 it was around 400 hours per year for both BBC and ITV.

What was the reason for having restrictions in the first place?
MA
Markymark

ITV blocked their daytime schedules into schools 9.30am-12.00pm, programmes for the little kids at 12.00pm, followed by the lunchtime news. Proper daytime schedules commencing after the news and running up to the start of the afternoon kids programmes. A decent schedule with no stop/starts.


That reminds me, how did Channel 4 fair in its daytime output before ITV Schools moved to there in September 1987? I know they started broadcasting on weekend mornings around that time, though I imagine it wasn't much different from BBC Two outside of Daytime on Two, as both had weekday daytime services that started at lunchtime.


ITV handed C4 weekday horse racing coverage in 1983, which freed up ITV's afternoon schedule to be 5 days a week 'consistent' I think it was supplied free of charge ? (of course back then ITV 'owned' the ad breaks on C4)

I can't remember much else about C4 daytime. It never had anything before Noon, until ITV schools were moved there in 87 ?
JK
JKDerry

ITV blocked their daytime schedules into schools 9.30am-12.00pm, programmes for the little kids at 12.00pm, followed by the lunchtime news. Proper daytime schedules commencing after the news and running up to the start of the afternoon kids programmes. A decent schedule with no stop/starts.


That reminds me, how did Channel 4 fair in its daytime output before ITV Schools moved to there in September 1987? I know they started broadcasting on weekend mornings around that time, though I imagine it wasn't much different from BBC Two outside of Daytime on Two, as both had weekday daytime services that started at lunchtime.

Channel 4 television in the first few years of its existence was severely limited by budget, the original 4.45pm start time in November 1982 moved to a 5pm start time by November 1983. By the autumn of 1984 they were starting to begin their weekday around 2.30pm. It was only when the schools programmes arrived on Channel 4 in 1987 did they start broadcasting from mid mornings onward.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member
1972 was the year the conservative government lifted all broadcasting hours restrictions - a real tonic for ITV who had been pleading with previous governments to at least extend the broadcasting hours provision, even if they could not lift them totally.

1971, BBC and ITV were limited to just 8 hours per day of regular programming. If BBC or ITV wanted to air anything else during the day it had to come from either exempted programming genres of schools programmes, adult educational programming, religious programming, Welsh language programming or programmes catering for viewers from India or Pakistan - or the outside broadcasting quota allowance, which gave a set amount of hours per year to broadcast sporting coverage etc. By 1971 it was around 400 hours per year for both BBC and ITV.

What was the reason for having restrictions in the first place?


TV hours were rationed prior to 1972.
The allocations were as listed here as of 1963, I don't think they changed much in the nine years afterwards:
http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/itw/features/Limits.html

As to the background:

https://www.transdiffusion.org/2015/01/19/not-open-all-hours posted:
It would do no good for the masses to be sat idling about listening to the radio all day every day. Limits on broadcasting hours meant there would be no entertainment when people were meant to get up – no lounging in bed listening to the wireless for you – and radio would have to be off air by a reasonable time because you need to be bright and awake in the morning ready to report for a hard but rewarding day’s work at the factory.

Television was clearly even worse a time-sink than radio had been thought to be: while having the radio on while you’re at your workbench or lathe is no bad thing for productivity – especially with a few stirring tunes thanks to Music While You Work – having a television on was quite the opposite. You would be distracted. If the programme was good, you might be late for work. Horror of horrors, you might find a programme of such interest that you threw a sickie. And then where would we be? In economic ruin all round, clearly.

For Harold Wilson’s 1964-1970 governments, there was more to the restriction of broadcasting hours than the (actually rational and true) argument presented here that every extra minute on air made ITV more profit while costing the BBC more money (the BBC’s income being fixed while ITV’s was flexible). The Labour party had been adamantly opposed to the introduction of commercial television in the 1950s, promising to abolish the fledgling system if elected in 1959. That promise was gone by the time they were elected in 1964, but the visceral dislike of commercial broadcasting remained – the harrying off the air of the off-shore “pirate” commercial radio stations being one of the main things Wilson’s 1960s governments are remembered for today.

By restricting broadcasting hours, the Labour government was ensuring that ITV was kept in its place. A punitive levy on turnover was also imposed, making sure that Lord Renwick, and everybody else involved in ITV, was screaming in pain.


TL;DR - it was deliberate (as the powers that be thought you'd get too engrossed in it and not go to work), and Labour at the time didn't like commercial TV anyway so it was a double edged sword for them.

Newer posts