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nwtv20038,378 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Granada North West Today
AISTR Greg Dyke took the first opportunity he took as a boss at LWT to scrap the religious programming.


Kind of, he wanted rid of the God slot, ie the slot Highway occupied on a Sunday evening. He wanted to put Movie Premieres in their place, which is what happened pretty much as soon as the new licences came into force in 1993. As such, Highway was moved to Sunday morning when it died shortly after.

Movie Premieres didn’t last too long in that slot if memory serves, I think Heartbeat moved to Sunday nights shortly after its first series.
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Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Kind of, he wanted rid of the God slot, ie the slot Highway occupied on a Sunday evening. He wanted to put Movie Premieres in their place, which is what happened pretty much as soon as the new licences came into force in 1993. As such, Highway was moved to Sunday morning when it died shortly after.

Movie Premieres didn’t last too long in that slot if memory serves, I think Heartbeat moved to Sunday nights shortly after its first series.


As I mentioned earlier, LWT lobbied hard to get rid of the God Slot in 1988, and were convinced the IBA were going to let them do it - they were going to replace it with the current affairs series Eyewitness, which would be suitably worthy but of more secular interest, and it meant people could watch both Songs of Praise and Highway, which they thought were winning arguments - so they started planning for that, only to find to their surprise the IBA said no.

When the God Slot ended, anything went in that slot. Often there would indeed be the ITV Diet Coke Family Movie, to give it its official name, which would run from around 6pm to 8pm, but there was obviously a finite number of films that could run in that slot. I most associate it with things like Dr Quinn Medicine Woman (which Granada would often opt out of for the Corrie omnibus) but there were all kinds of things there over the years, including Schofield's Quest with Pip and a series of Barrymore. The films stopped when the Sunday Corrie began in November 1996.

Heartbeat had nothing to do with the God Slot, it moved in 1993 to the familiar Sunday evening drama slot. In fact Greg Dyke's biggest effect on Sunday evenings was his concept of double drama, where ITV would have drama at both 7.45 and 8.45, as part of the station's hike upmarket.

In the heyday of religious programming on the BBC and ITV, programmes were nothing of the sort. Were the types of religious programmes we got to see primarily the decision of BBC and ITV bosses or was it a result of rules and restrictions imposed by the government and the IBA?


Like much of what you ask, this is all explained in great detail in the IBA Yearbooks of the time. In the seventies and eighties there was a body known as the CRAC, the Central Religious Advisory Committee, which the yearbook says was made up of "representatives of the main streams of religious thought in the UK", which would, as the name suggests, advise on religious issues for both the BBC and ITV, presumably including suggesting the amount of time that should be given to each religion and the current thinking in it. And in addition, the IBA had their own committee which was made up of representatives from the main churches in the UK - the Churches of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Catholic Church and the Free Church.

It probably wasn't especially representative of every religion and was clearly dominated by Christianity but it was a different era and trying to suggest what should be done in the seventies from today's perspective is a rather pointless exercise.
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Steve in Pudsey10,171 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Wouldn't the Rememberance Day Centoaph coverage have been handled by ITN?


Something in the back of my mind thinks Thames's OB dept covered the Centoaph, (with an ITN production team) ?


In the year in question, 1973, it seems that ITV didn't broadcast the Remembrance Ceremony from the Cenotaph.

At 10.17 they took a Remembrance Service live from St Ethelreder Church, Hatfield, Herts, which was networked to all except Channel.

That lasted an hour, so would have included the silence, after which they put up a special poppy themed interval slide and music which was networked from LWT. This has no definitive start time, so I assume it's there to mop up under/over runs in the church service. (How do they cope with the timings for this kind of thing? Does the vicar have talkback?)

There's a note "into pleasant slides and lighter music into commercial break (must be buffered)" which I assume combined with a brief bit of IVC is their way of doing a gear change and separating religious and commercial programming as it's followed by an ad break.

http://routinesheetsdatabase.co.uk/rsdb/71
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Steve in Pudsey10,171 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
It seems that the ITV companies of the day took the Sunday morning church service seriously, even though it was making them no money and costing quite a bit in terms of staffing around the country to put on air.


Were there terms and conditions in their PSB commitments that they had to live broadcast a church service every Sunday, and a different one every week?

I'm sure there were, but surely force majeure would apply if they had made appropriate efforts to cover the planned service but were technical issues meant it was not possible?
Quote:

During it was Morning Worship, although at the start of the first one, Pettifer said "Viewers in the Scottish and Grampian regions will have their own service"


I had wondered whether different ITV regions got to see different church services - such as STV, Grampian, Ulster, and HTV Wales having something local when everybody else got a C of E service.

Tony Currie has previously suggested that the Hogmanay church service which fell off air leading to his epic padding stint would not have been networked beyond neighbouring regions because it was Church of Scotland not CofE.
Write that down in your copybook now.
gottago2,839 posts since 26 Aug 2004
London London
There was some awful Christian propaganda cartoon called The Timekeepers or something like that that ITV would show for as many Sunday mornings in the mid-late 90s that I can remember. Thankfully I don’t think it was ever blessed with having CITV branding on it even though it normally followed the CITV block.
I remember 'The Hour of Power' on Sky One. Murdoch supposedly wanted it to be a permanent fixture on the channel and it was FTA.


It’s still there, airing Sundays at 6:00am, it must easily be the longest running programme on Sky (it aired on the pre-1989 Sky Channel).

Typically, I can't find it now, but recently someone on Twitter said they once emailed Stuart Murphy to ask him why it was still in the schedule, and he apparently had no idea it even existed!
That was me!
Jake531 posts since 10 Jan 2006
Central (East) East Midlands Today
There was some awful Christian propaganda cartoon called The Timekeepers or something like that that ITV would show for as many Sunday mornings in the mid-late 90s that I can remember. Thankfully I don’t think it was ever blessed with having CITV branding on it even though it normally followed the CITV block.

It’s still there, airing Sundays at 6:00am, it must easily be the longest running programme on Sky (it aired on the pre-1989 Sky Channel).

Typically, I can't find it now, but recently someone on Twitter said they once emailed Stuart Murphy to ask him why it was still in the schedule, and he apparently had no idea it even existed!
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It was The Story Keepers.
Riaz614 posts since 6 Jan 2016
Like much of what you ask, this is all explained in great detail in the IBA Yearbooks of the time. In the seventies and eighties there was a body known as the CRAC, the Central Religious Advisory Committee, which the yearbook says was made up of "representatives of the main streams of religious thought in the UK", which would, as the name suggests, advise on religious issues for both the BBC and ITV, presumably including suggesting the amount of time that should be given to each religion and the current thinking in it. And in addition, the IBA had their own committee which was made up of representatives from the main churches in the UK - the Churches of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Catholic Church and the Free Church.

It probably wasn't especially representative of every religion and was clearly dominated by Christianity but it was a different era and trying to suggest what should be done in the seventies from today's perspective is a rather pointless exercise.


I am looking for information that runs deeper than this and much of the material published in old IBA yearbooks...

It's common knowledge that religious programmes were amongst the least popular with the public, but it's notable that only a fraction of them could be considered to be child friendly or reasonably well aligned with the RS syllabus in schools.
Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
In the year in question, 1973, it seems that ITV didn't broadcast the Remembrance Ceremony from the Cenotaph.

At 10.17 they took a Remembrance Service live from St Ethelreder Church, Hatfield, Herts, which was networked to all except Channel.

That lasted an hour, so would have included the silence, after which they put up a special poppy themed interval slide and music which was networked from LWT. This has no definitive start time, so I assume it's there to mop up under/over runs in the church service. (How do they cope with the timings for this kind of thing? Does the vicar have talkback?)


Actually I'm not sure ITV did regularly broadcast from the Cenotaph, as you say they didn't in 1973 and I've got a TV Times from another Remembrance Sunday in the early eighties and, like then, rather than taking the Cenotaph service they're showing a remembrance service from a church. Presumably it was decided that the Beeb already had that covered so they would offer an alternative.

As for the duration, I would assume they'd see the order of service but there'd be a bit of a buffer in the schedule if it overran, it was very much a service that telly happened to be present at rather than something specially made for television. I have a Radio Times somewhere from the early eighties where someone complains that on a number of occasions they'd billed a favourite hymn on Radio 3's (pre-recorded) Choral Evensong and it wasn't included, and the reply says that although they ask the person giving the service to remember the programme duration, they don't prescribe a definite running time and so it would occasionally overrun and they'd have to edit it.

I am looking for information that runs deeper than this and much of the material published in old IBA yearbooks...


It's a primary source, published by the IBA at the time to detail their operations. If you're not accepting that as suitable information, you will be struggling to find anything else. And frankly I'm not sure why anyone would want to go out of they way to provide information if that's all the thanks they get.
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