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Inspector Sands10,613 posts since 25 Aug 2004

There were other examples of this happening, Thames did it on one night in 1984 - https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=c8FAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6qUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=1534%2C4131356 That would have been particularly tough for the other regions, because other than Corrie and the news, every other programme on ITV that night was produced by Thames, hence the non-appearance of This Is Your Life, Mike Yarwood and Minder, plus highlights of an England match.

That was the start of a long dispute at Thames which meant that for over a week Thames couldn't show programmes from other regions and other regions couldn't show Thames programmes.

That was the one where the management ran the station during the strike.

There's a few clips around of their afternoon start ups including this one which had a basic news bulletin:

Last edited by Inspector Sands on 26 August 2016 8:27pm
bluecortina460 posts since 26 Jul 2012
Just to add a bit more to what's already been said here. ITV contractors all held stocks of programmes including standbys. When the entire ITV network was taken off by a 12 week strike in 1979, Channel Television was unaffected because the unions had a different agreement in the islands. Channel provided its own programme service during the strike, with lunchtime news, weather and what's on and then going on the air at 5pm with children's programmes, an hour-long local news magazine at 6 which included national headlines, and an evening made up from Mystery Movies, Columbo, New Avengers, Feature Films etc with a local news bulletin somewhere near 10pm. A huge effort on the part of the smallest ITV contractor, which worked extraordinarily well.

When the contractor went to black for more that thirty seconds, the transmitters did indeed take over with a caption. But there was a hot line telephone between the company's CTA (Central Technical Area) and the transmitter so they could co-ordinate a resumption of programme under whatever circumstances prevailed. I was on duty once when a power cut took STV off the air, and the transmitter switched the feed to Grampian until the power was restored.


I still have my copy of the old 'White book' agreement between the individual ITV companies and the ACTT, all the ITV companies are listed with the exception of Channel Television which as you say had a different agreement.

I have it in the back of my mind that during the 1979 ITCA/ACTT dispute Channel were potentially affected but the ACTT agreed that they did not have to walk out (i.e. they could continue to work) as to do otherwise would have bankrupted Channel which of course was in no-ones interest. That sort of implies that Channel were in dis-agreement with the ITCA within their own agreement. But it is all fuzzy in my mind now, and I'm prepared to accept I may be mis-remembering.
Neil Jones3,470 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
When the contractor went to black for more that thirty seconds, the transmitters did indeed take over with a caption. But there was a hot line telephone between the company's CTA (Central Technical Area) and the transmitter so they could co-ordinate a resumption of programme under whatever circumstances prevailed. I was on duty once when a power cut took STV off the air, and the transmitter switched the feed to Grampian until the power was restored.


Is or was there a difference between black as in "deliberate" black (ie still actually transmitting but with no actual picture ie for artistic or dramatic reasons) or black as in "we're not transmitting anything at all"? I presume the transmitters could still "see" a feed even though the picture was black? I think the term I'm after is "carrier" instead of feed.
Steve in Pudsey7,946 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I can't imagine 30 seconds of black being for artistic or dramatic effect, that's a long time!

I'm sure the transmission controller would have been able to tell the transmitter operators that there was a deliberate lengthy black and silence coming up if there genuinely was a need - similar to how some radio stations disable the silence detector for remembrance silences.
Write that down in your copybook now.
1
Inspector Sands10,613 posts since 25 Aug 2004
I think what Neil was getting at was more: did it automatically detect a lack of picture/sound or a lack of video signal, i.e no syncs.

I think the term I'm after is "carrier" instead of feed.

Carrier is more RF related, so the output of the transmitter rather than the output of a TV station.


The video/audio or these days data is carried by the radio signal. It is possible to still be radiating the carrier without any video/audio/data. So if in this case is the transmitter lost the feed from the station and didn't replace it with anything such as a caption
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 27 August 2016 7:50am
Markymark4,467 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
I think in that era it was more a pair of mk1 eyeballs rather than an electronic system - wouldn't the IBA regional operations centre have been monitoring the output?


They were, though whether they were paying attention all the time, to all regions enough to catch a failure 'manually' within 30 secs I don't know ? Remember the ROCs monitored several ITV regions and sub regions, and also the corresponding C4 'regions'.

My memory of IBA captions appearing (on both ITV and 4) was fairly rapid (10 secs or so) with a total failure of picture ( i.e loss of syncs situation), and 30 secs to a min for industrial action style fade to black (where syncs and ITS, and teletext data was still present on a black and silent output)