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Markymark7,845 posts since 13 Dec 2004 Recently warned
Meridian (North) South Today
As a backup centre, I assume they could. Otherwise, they may as well have shown Midlands Today in London. Would've been a bit unfair to deprive the Midlands of their news just because London couldn't have theirs.

Going back up the thread a bit: BBC analogue definitely used BBC South East as the network feed throughout the 90s. I distinctly remember watching BBC One North East & Cumbria whilst on holiday in Scarborough. This was in the very early days of regional headlines being embedded in the network news open. Newcastle were just that bit tardy in opting out and for just a brief second I got to see Mike Embley in the blue Newsroom South East studio. That was summer 1999.


Oh, such things have been a feature since the start of BBC regional opts, in the 70s the start of Nationwide had the same 5 to 10 second opt away for regional headlines, even though a minute of so later the regional opt proper would start. There was also a 1 minute regional trailer at 17:39, going into the national 17:40 news, usually with the local clock. All fertile territory for flashes of the 'wrong' pictures!
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Inspector Sands14,549 posts since 25 Aug 2004

They would just have patched feeds from the makeshift pres setup in Birmingham to the network feed sent round the country, so for MT it is business as usual opting their transmitters out of that feed - it wasn't the MT studio output that was being fed to the networks.

South East at that time had no opt-out ability, so network took their studio output.

In 2000 they did opt out, but the actual process happened in TVC. So if that had been out of action or bypassed then they couldn't opt out. Getting a circuit from Elstree to Birmingham would be unlikely if TVC was out of action too


So they'd have probably put Midlands Today on the makeshift network at 10:30 for their bulletin as they would have had nothing else to show
Inspector Sands14,549 posts since 25 Aug 2004
At one time the plan was for network news to commandeer Studio B at Pebble Mill (with a joint World News/News 24 operation from Studio A) so there may have been some disruption to Midlands Today.

Gallery C became the stand-in for NC1 and the regional Pres gallery stood in for NC2.

Deejay explains more in this post https://tvforum.uk/forums/post698378#post-698378

An excellent post which proves what I've been trying to explain several times on here... it wasn't a magic switch that suddenly replaced the channels with backups from Brum. It took a bit of conversion and a quite a few cars going up the M40 to achieve.


Chances are that by the time it was ready to go the issue in London would have been sorted. Which was what happened in 2000.

The second line of back up was Post Production in TVC, it was only if the whole of the complex was evacuated that they'd all decamp. It was a last resort


The facilities Deejay described were readied and manned for Millennium night just in case
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 27 February 2020 7:53am
deejay2,976 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
I think U.K. Today was only on News 24 and digital BBC One, which in those days was run separately from DNC1. There was no Pebble Mill backup for the digital versions of BBC 1 and 2 at all and Choice and Knowledge (or was it BBC 3/4 by then?) were lost.
Two minutes regions...
Inspector Sands14,549 posts since 25 Aug 2004
I think U.K. Today was only on News 24 and digital BBC One, which in those days was run separately from DNC1. There was no Pebble Mill backup for the digital versions of BBC 1 and 2 at all and Choice and Knowledge (or was it BBC 3/4 by then?) were lost.

By the time the 2000 power blip happened UK Today was the default on both analogue and digital. Once the older analogue TX area (the NTA) stopped being 24 hours - which was in late 1999 - the South East had to start opting out as out of hours because if the NTA wasn't on air it would have had to have been shown on digital BBC1 too.

Initially the NTA was off air normally between midnight-ish and noon-ish.
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Inspector Sands14,549 posts since 25 Aug 2004
I think there was an incident where the remote controlled opt switch arrangement failed (possibly on analogue) and Elstree managed to persuade analogue NC1 to put them on air via the sustaining feed while DNC1 stayed with UK Today.

That would have been perfectly feasible as they had the ability to split analogue and digital when the two playout areas were seperate.

Once the NTA closed arrangements were made to have a way of putting different trails and film versions etc on analogue and digital via a spare TX suite. I'm not sure if it was ever used.


Before the South East had the ability to opt out there was a similar arrangement to put out regional programmes to the South East from TV Centre. The spare suite in the NTA would be put to air to Crystal Palace etc and then would play the regional programme while the network programme was coming from NC2. Wasn't used very often as far as I know, maybe only once
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 27 February 2020 2:45pm
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Markymark7,845 posts since 13 Dec 2004 Recently warned
Meridian (North) South Today
I think there was an incident where the remote controlled opt switch arrangement failed (possibly on analogue) and Elstree managed to persuade analogue NC1 to put them on air via the sustaining feed while DNC1 stayed with UK Today.

That would have been perfectly feasible as they had the ability to split analogue and digital when the two playout areas were seperate.

Once the NTA closed arrangements were made to have a way of putting different trails and film versions etc on analogue and digital via a spare TX suite. I'm not sure if it was ever used


I think different trailers were shown, and I think two different copies of movies were sometimes broadcast 4:3 p&s on analogue, widescreen on digital? (Rather than letting an ARC sort out the analogue version)
Inspector Sands14,549 posts since 25 Aug 2004

I think different trailers were shown, and I think two different copies of movies were sometimes broadcast 4:3 p&s on analogue, widescreen on digital? (Rather than letting an ARC sort out the analogue version)

Yes they were for years using the two playout areas: NTA and DTA. However when the NTA closed they equipped a suite that could be used to do the same.


However IIRC around the same time the BBC decided that they didn't have the need to put out different trails on the two platforms and so don't think it was ever used.


Films were often shown with two versions, the old 4:3 print on analogue and a widescreen version on digital. I do remember seeing Apollo 13 being TX'd like this, but somehow the 16:9 version showed less than the 4:3 one, as if they'd just but the top and bottom off to make it 16:9
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 27 February 2020 4:09pm
VMPhil10,249 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
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I think different trailers were shown, and I think two different copies of movies were sometimes broadcast 4:3 p&s on analogue, widescreen on digital? (Rather than letting an ARC sort out the analogue version)

Yes they were for years using the two playout areas: NTA and DTA. However when the NTA closed they equipped a suite that could be used to do the same.


However IIRC around the same time the BBC decided that they didn't have the need to put out different trails on the two platforms and soi don't think it was ever used.


Films were often shown with two versions, the old 4:3 print on analogue and a widescreen version on digital. I do remember seeing Apollo 13 being TX'd like this, but somehow the 16:9 version showed less than the 4:3 one, as if they'd just but the top and bottom off to make it 16:9

The 4:3 version was probably open matte. The 16:9 version would have been what was used in the cinema (and likely what the director intended). Sometimes boom mics or other errors appeared in open matte home video releases or TV broadcasts.