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What you like about this telly stuff...

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I can't recall seeing RTÉ listings in the Irish edition of RT, but they were definitely included in TV Times.

Whenever we had a family trip 'out of region' I'd try to persuade my parents to pull over at a newsagents, and buy a local copy of the Radio Times. The Wales edition was a sight to behold !! I seem to recall Look-In magazine which was national, had a listings page with all the ITV logos. I'd be fascinated by them. The 70s really were that dull !

I remember doing exactly that in Hunstanton when I was young, and seeing that they stocked both the Yorkshire/Tyne Tees and Anglia editions of the RadioTimes - but I could only get the one, so I chose Yorkshire/Tyne Tees, as it had a greater number of regional variations, including BBC Scotland Embarassed

Oh, the fascination has never really left me. I was working in Belfast in 1991, and I sneaked into a newsagent there to take a look at the Radio Times NI edition. Am I mis remembering, or did it really carry RTE TV listings in the 'Regional Variations' column ?

Yes, the NI edition did, and still does.
The Midlands now shares its RadioTimes with London and Anglia, so London Live Shocked is listed in the variations column for a vast part of England who can't receive it. And those who can receive it don't watch it...
Always been interested in TV presentation (although I am thoroughly disinterested in the modern stuff, and actually have become that person I used to hate - the one that turns off a programme the second the credits roll).

I think the reason it became an obsession was that it was driven underground by my idiot father who mocked me mercilessly for watching the testcard in the 1970s as a child. So I'd obsess in secret, and of course this hardens resolve.

I was mostly interested (and this may well mark me out as even sadder than the average telly geek) in the transitions between pieces of continuity -- wipes, clunks, errors such as the start of programmes being clipped etc. These of course no longer exist, and so it all just looks too smooth and bland to me.
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Joe posted:
I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't think our kink for telly stuff was "niche", to put it lightly.

For me though it's just a niche of an interest in a much bigger topic - design. Product design, brand identity, graphic design, user interfaces, title sequences, it's all stuff you wouldn't want to bore people about at a party but it's still a pretty big topic, and TV presentation is just one part of it for me.

I've always just loved TV in general so it's no surprise that these two interests came together. I think what sparked it off for me was these great animations that CITV used to use:

Yeah, I'm pretty much the same. For me, it was watching CBBC, and seeing the graphics used on the continuity but also lots of the other shows. The most exciting time for me was when the CBBC channel launched, and the use of the green bugs interrupting both CBBC continuity and BBC One. It felt like the buildup to the launch took ages back then, but I guess it was only a couple of weeks.

The idea of going from CBBC Choice to a proper full-time channel felt very cool to me. I guess as an adult I would say that it was exciting that so much was being invested in young people, though of course I wouldn't think of it in those terms.

Anyway, I loved the graphics but I also loved the sets, and how it worked in the sense of studios. I still think the 2002 TC2/9 CBBC sets are things of beauty. Bright colours, very on-brand, but in a suprising, modern way. And the presenters themselves added to the 'cool' vibe (certainly for a child). I always wanted to see behind the scenes of the live shows – Blue Peter, continuity, XChange, the Saturday morning shows and so on. At one point as a child, I wanted to be a camera operator. In a funny old way I've kind of achieved that goal through my current work.

The 2002 CBBC relaunch was really great. It felt like they'd given it all a massive upgrade even if you couldn't get the new channel (which I couldn't until we got digital later that year). Plus the fact that CBBC now felt more 'grown up' because of the split helped a lot as I was the right age for that to appeal to me. Is it just me or did the presenters start dressing a lot more cooler at the time too? Not that I am any authority on what is cool!

Hard to believe that not only did CBBC and CITV have big fancy sets for in-vision presentation, but so did Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel! We were spoilt.
Totally! I briefly forgot how big that split of CBeebies/CBBC was for children at the time. The idea of a channel without the 'baby stuff' as I saw it – it felt big. As did the end of the same couple of hours of pre-recorded (and usually archive!) content looped all day on BBC Choice.

I also really loved the week before the channel's launch where they visited the sets of some of their shows. I remember Blue Peter, and TC2, being two of those, though can't remember any others just now… I suppose the Saturday Show was likely one.

In one sense it does seem crazy that so much budget was given over to the studios of presentation and the shows, particularly for continuity. In a way, it's no surprise it was also the first line to be cut when it needed to be. From 2006 (I think), CBBC went to green screen links. (Crazy that this was just four years after the channels launched.) Yet at the same time, I think a lot was lost in losing those studios – it gave so much to the atmosphere of the CBBC channel (and BBC One/Two strands). I fondly remember some of the games/challenges/guests that appeared in TC9/2/10 over the years. I think a lot of that has since come back, which is good (though in a smaller space) – but that green screen period was a real low. ETA – I'd actually grown out of most of the CBBC stuff by 2006, but being on the cusp of that I was still quite interested in the presentation. The green screen was a low, as I say, but the wider presentation was utter tripe.

(Now, what were we talking about again?)
johnnyboy Founding member
Colm posted:
I can't recall seeing RTÉ listings in the Irish edition of RT, but they were definitely included in TV Times.

Not quite related but I remember that, when I was at Sheffield Uni in 95-96, I used to buy the Times because it had listings for that new "BBC World" channel and feeling insanely aggrieved that I could receive it.

I was desparate to see what the presentation looked like and I loved the idea of a 24hr BBC news TV channel because, at the time, there wasn't one in Britain.

EDIT: Just had a flashback after posting that. On BBC2 in the afternoons a couple of times a week, they used to show "The Andrew Neil Show". I think it started on BBC2 at 2.15 and joined BBC World at 2.30. I have a memory of Mr Neil saying, "and now it's time for the show to go GLOBO!". They'd get the odd phone call in from the other side of the world and I remember my national pride feeling a bit stoked by that. Strange what gets you triggered, isn't it?
Always been interested in TV presentation (although I am thoroughly disinterested in the modern stuff, and actually have become that person I used to hate - the one that turns off a programme the second the credits roll).

I think the reason it became an obsession was that it was driven underground by my idiot father who mocked me mercilessly for watching the testcard in the 1970s as a child. So I'd obsess in secret, and of course this hardens resolve.

That's not good, I'm sorry to hear that. Both my grandparents were constantly tinkering with their TV sets, one of them built his own in the 50s, the other who lived on the West Sussex coast erected a huge aerial on the roof, with guy ropes going to each of the four corners, in order to receive Ally Pally. The whole road crammed themselves into the front room to watch the coronation in 1953.

With grandparents like that, my parents weren't surprised the genes had transferred through to me!
I can very much relate to those with the CBBC nostalgia from the late 90s to the mid 00s - I remember the 2002 relaunch very well.

CBBC continuity and Blue Peter in particular piqued my interest in the behind the scenes aspects of TV - purely because they used to show so much of it, and TVC in general. They never shied away from showing the cameras, scenery docks and other parts of TVC.

I don't really know how that translated to a wider interest in presentation - but I can definitely relate to being interested in all things branding and design too, so it's not a huge surprise really. I found TV Ark, TV Home, TV Room etc in the early 00s and lurked a bit here before signing up in 2005 and I haven't looked back, being a member for over half my life now.

I do owe this peculiar little interest quite a debt, having made a few good friends as a result and not least meeting my partner here (in a round about way) and being with him for 12 years and counting this month.
I’m sure we want to hear more about that story! (But I fully accept you may not wish to share…)
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itsrobert Founding member
I think I've always been niche within niche. Although I've always had a general awareness of television presentation and as a child probably enjoyed the opening titles more than the programmes themselves, my main love has always been TV News presentation.

Like others in this thread, my awareness of TV pres has always been there. As an only child and with two working parents, I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents during my early childhood. As a result, I spent a lot of time watching daytime TV and pretty much all my early memories revolve around TV in some form or another.

My first major interest in TV News presentation was of the "virtual era" BBC News in the 1990s. I was obsessed with it and longed to be a cameraman in the studio. I learnt much, much later that they were in fact robotic cameras after all.

The next major memory I have was asking if I could stay up extra late to watch the very last News at Ten in 1999. I knew that would be something historic. I also remember visiting a school friend's house and seeing BBC News 24 for the first time and being incredibly jealous that I couldn't watch these beautiful flags all day at home.

I'd say my awareness turned into a hobby in 2000. By that time, I was fully aware of the relaunch of BBC News in 1999 but it was on a holiday to Rome in October 2000 that things really developed. I turned the TV on in my hotel room and discovered this strange BBC World channel that had even better branding than we had on domestic BBC News output. The 10-second countdown, the breakfillers, the news music and studio set - it was all captivating and mesmerising. As soon as I returned home - after missing most of the sights of Rome - I set about researching on this new fangled internet thing. Suddenly I discovered all these fantastic websites - TV Ark, The TV Room, Jim Edwards' TV World, Round the Regions and, of course, TV Home.

From there it wasn't long until Asa launched TV Forum and I truly discovered that there were other people just like me. And that takes care of the last 20 years. I'll always be grateful to TV Forum as I met one of my best friends through here and have enjoyed many a memorable tour around various TV studios as a result. I've learnt more than I could ever have thought imaginable as a lowly hobbyist.

I do feel a bit sad for our younger members, though. They will always have experienced this interconnected world and have missed out on that sudden feeling that you're not (much of) a weirdo after all. And they will also have missed out on the delight of going on holiday to Scotland and being more excited about the prospect of watching Reporting Scotland than seeing Edinburgh. And the thrill of waiting half an hour for a video clip the size of a postage stamp to download from TV Ark. It's all a bit too easy now. Back in those days you really had to work hard at this hobby and it wasn't half fun!
Night Thoughts
So I grew up in a house where the three-channel telly as always on, and more often than not, on ITV; so in London that meant a lot of Thames and a lot of LWT. I could also read from a very early age. There's a joke from the early days of the Simpsons that Lisa learnt to read through the TV Guide - I can identify with that! I'd read anything I could get my hands on - so the listings and the credits and what company made which show was fascinating. And as you'd see the idents several times a day (and then presented in a slightly different manner at weekends), it all sank in. So I was seven and I was aware of what was happening when ATV became Central. I was eight when Channel 4 began and thought it was the most exciting thing ever (Countdown soon sorted that out). When ITV binned the pre-programme idents (1988?) it all looked very odd. I remember reading someone had complained to Oracle teletext and ITV had said it was to remove clutter...

There was something in the familiarity and repetition, plus the avuncular style of presentation, that stuck in the brain. And obviously the BBC was a bit samey and dull... and then being on holiday in other parts of the country and seeing other regions (HTV Wales was my first) and being curious about it all and how it all worked. I still have that instinct now whenever I check into a hotel somewhere to have look at the TV and listen to the radio for a bit.

I've always seen that as part of me being fascinated with all parts of the media in general (and good thing too, because it's provided me with a living on and off for most of my adult life, including a little bit of time in TV). I do remember being in a pub during the 1994 World Cup and briefly excusing myself so I could crane my neck at a telly so I could see what happened at the only junction when Carlton directly handed over to LWT at 5.15 on a Friday, and then thinking it was a bit odd!

I remember discovering the MHP site and mailing list in the late 90s and being fascinated to learn the history of it all - I always thought I'd imagined the five-minute version of the Thames music that'd come on at the start of the day until I discovered that it had a name, Salute to Thames, they had to play it and it was known as a start-up. I found the backstory behind Transdiffusion (schoolkids sending tapes to each other in the 60s) fascinating too - and they must have the only remaining recordings of so much old TV.

I don't watch anywhere near as much TV now, and I wonder whether the more subtle presentation techniques now - plus the huge number of channels and the fact that linear TV is nowhere near the force it was - draw as much fascination from newer generations. I enjoy reading tales from those in the know about how it was done and how it's still done, though.

And it's still gratifying to see imaginative TV presentation - like the ITV Creates idents and the current C4 set, even the little Netflix ident - because it's good to see people inside television still clearly have a lot of love and respect for the medium, what can make it special, and how to make their mark on it.
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