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benriggers701 posts since 19 Sep 2005
Meridian (South) Oxford
Must admit, I've never seen an ITV Schools on Channel 4 breakdown. I presumed if a programme fell off air there would either be a slide or a return to the rotomotion which, as I posted in the original post, can apparently run for as long as needed.


Here you go! An example of when ITV Schools on C4 went off air for most of the morning.
(Thanks to SiCo)


The 30th anniversary was 1987, do we know if this was post September when the ITV Schools on C4 service "proper" was up and running, or one of the occasional days when something displaced Schools to C4? The use of that anniversary slide implies the latter - would Central have still played out the Schools sequence on that occasion?


No I was told this was all on the same morning when ITV Schools had permanently moved to C4 but hopefully Si-Co will tell more.
"They don't want your name, just your number"
Inspector Sands10,726 posts since 25 Aug 2004
The rotomotion was played off tape, so I'm not sure that it could stay on indefinitely. Although it was computer controlled so perhaps the automation could switch between two machines with separate copies of the same tape cleanly.


That has amazed me, I always thought it was completely computer controlled and generated, it never occurred to me it could have run from tape. Learn something new every day here Smile

It was 1987, they were very advanced graphics for the time, not something they'd want to animate live on air several times a day. It was only a few years after the BBC 1 computer generated globe, which was 'live' but was simpler, shorter and looped.
Si-Co1,533 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)


Here you go! An example of when ITV Schools on C4 went off air for most of the morning.
(Thanks to SiCo)


OK, just to clarify a few things.

Schools programmes were broadcast on Channel 4 a couple of times during Summer 1987, and these were all played out by Channel 4, who had copies of the current slide, clock (on video) and the programmes.

I can't actually view the breakdown footage Ben posted, but I know it is my own recording and dates from no earlier than 1989 (probably Spring 1989). Schools programmes fell off the air, we saw a blank screen and I think temporarily the 'blue screen of death' from the local transmitter. Channel 4 then showed the '30th Anniversary (surgery)' slide with the 'schools programmes will resume as soon as possible' caption superimposed, this was then replaced by a still '4' symbol, then a plain black screen with 'apologies for the loss of schools programmes - channel 4 programmes will begin shortly', and a classical testcard tape then faded up. [All those captions were shown that morning, but I may be remembering the order incorrectly - Ben's upload will clarify].

Anyway, my real point is that the 1987 '30th Anniversary' slide was shown again during that breakdown in c. 1989. It's the only example I've seen of a breakdown during the 1987-93 ITV Schools on Four era. I don't know if channel 4 had any standby 'crash' sequence (such as an extended roto) - either they didn't, or the problem that morning was so serious that even that sequence couldn't be put to air. It was a total loss of service from mid-morning (10.30ish) until 12 noon. I assume the 1987 slide was the first suitable thing they could put to air (or maybe it was intentionally kept nearby for such occasions) - proof, if we need it, that Channel 4 did play out the junctions and programmes on the two occasions they were shown on that channel in 1987.

EDITED TO ADD: I wonder what S4C did that morning? I assume they lost the Channel 4 feed of programmes, but we're probably in a position to put their own apology caption to air - maybe even with a live announcement? - and if they were due to opt out and show their own schools programmes at any point during the breakdown, these may still have made it to air.
Last edited by Si-Co on 23 June 2016 3:09am
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bluecortina467 posts since 26 Jul 2012
When ITV opened in 1955, shows were broadcast all day - until the dire financial situation kicked in and the daytime schedule was axed. There were daytime serials, magazine shows etc... The more restricted schedule - that lasted until 1972 when the daytime service launched, must have come later.

I think the misunderstanding of your post is your reference to "all day" because of course Parliament restricted television's hours of transmission and programmes certainly didn't appear "all day", but were spread across the day. Associated-Rediffusion made the most of what they had by running some morning programmes, then half an hour of test card, then more programmes. Then more test card. And after children's TV there was an hour's gap. When Lichfield opened, ATV didn't bother with morning programmes and started at 4pm instead.

The "Schools programmes suspended" caption relates to an ACTT dispute. Any breakdowns in schools programmes in the days when they were shown on the local ITV station would be covered by the announcer, because the union ruled that as long as the station was on the air their had to employ a live announcer. (I was the national union negotiator, so I remember fighting hard for this rule at the time.)


I surprised the ACTT would have gotten involved with a dispute involving continuity announcers as I can't see them being eligible to become ACTT members. I'd have thought it was more of an Equity thing.