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james-20013,709 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
Those episodes coming from that very strange short lived era in the lead up to the 1991 revamp where they slightly altered the opening titles by having numbers flying across them, they did the entire 40-2 countdown over a video and they put the presenters out of the way of the audience on gantries and balconies for some reason.
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Steve Williams2,456 posts since 1 Aug 2008
The following Thursday, the 7.00-7.30 slot on Radio 1 was filled by the last 30 minutes of Jakki Brambles' show - while she was hosting her last TOTP at the same time in NICAM stereo on BBC1.


Yes, although to be a DREADFUL pedant, Pops was on Friday that week because of Hospital Watch at 7pm every night. As you say, when BBC1 went officially stereo, the Radio 1 simulcast ended, although I remember when the revamp happened a few weeks later, there were loads of complaints about it in Smash Hits and someone wrote "Why have Radio 1 stopped broadcasting it? Do they think the new show is crap?"

Although the Beeb officially launched stereo on 31st August 1991, I think they only chose that day because it was when pretty much all the transmitters were in stereo and pretty much all of the programmes were and they'd been broadcasting in stereo for the previous few years. That was different from C4 who promoted their stereo output from the late eighties even though you could only get it from the Crystal Palace and Emley Moor transmitters, and similarly the various ITV regions promoted it when it reached them.

Oddly when they stopped broadcasting Pops on Radio 1, it was replaced by an extra half an hour of Jakki Brambles and they branded that bit as Brambles' Breakers, which does just sound like an audio version of Top of the Pops - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio1/england/1991-11-28#at-18.00. It always seemed a weird slot, Jakki Brambles' - ninety minutes from Monday to Wednesday and an hour on Thursdays.

Those episodes coming from that very strange short lived era in the lead up to the 1991 revamp where they slightly altered the opening titles by having numbers flying across them, they did the entire 40-2 countdown over a video and they put the presenters out of the way of the audience on gantries and balconies for some reason.


Yes, although it does seem to go in cycles how they do the links - at the moment in 1986 we're not seeing the hosts with the audience much and they do most of the links from empty stages or alone on the gantry. It seems like Stanley Appel wasn't a fan of putting them within the audience very much. But as you say, in that period they were almost always on their own, I remember one episode where Nicky Campbell did most of the links in front of a CSO backdrop (he was in the studio, though). Quite an interesting period, that, a weird transitional phase.
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Markymark5,897 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

Although the Beeb officially launched stereo on 31st August 1991, I think they only chose that day because it was when pretty much all the transmitters were in stereo and pretty much all of the programmes were and they'd been broadcasting in stereo for the previous few years. That was different from C4 who promoted their stereo output from the late eighties even though you could only get it from the Crystal Palace and Emley Moor transmitters, and similarly the various ITV regions promoted it when it reached them.


By August 1991 the BBC had about 10 key sites (and their relays) in NICAM, covering about 60% of the population. It took another 12 years to roll out to all remaining sites. Some BBC sites actually had DTT before NICAM on BBC 1/2

Aug 31 1991 was chosen because it was The Last Night of The Proms

As you say the IBA launched NICAM on ITV and C4 in 1989, in response to industry disappointment that the Beeb had stalled on their plans to provide an official NICAM service.

Roll out was must faster, by Aug 1991 I think they had NICAM available from at least one Tx in every ITV region (I'm not sure about Durris for Grampian). They, and later the ITC/NTL ensured every Tx was equipped for NICAM in time for Jan 1993 and the new ITV licence period.
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tesandco931 posts since 28 Sep 2001
Granada North West Today
There was quite a good (now archived) thread on the early days of NICAM rollout in the tech forum last year, which touches on the TOTP broadcasts from the late 80s/early 90s. Indeed it even references finding out next year (as was then) on BBC Four what would happen.

The thread also shows which transmitters were NICAM equipped on both ITV and the BBC by 1990/1991.

https://tvforum.uk/mediatech/early-days-nicam-stereo-42930/
TV Whirl - Still covering UK idents, presentation, teletext and programmes after 17 years
Markymark5,897 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
There was quite a good (now archived) thread on the early days of NICAM rollout in the tech forum last year, which touches on the TOTP broadcasts from the late 80s/early 90s. Indeed it even references finding out next year (as was then) on BBC Four what would happen.

The thread also shows which transmitters were NICAM equipped on both ITV and the BBC by 1990/1991.

https://tvforum.uk/mediatech/early-days-nicam-stereo-42930/


Thanks for that, it also incudes a link to a BBC document I tried to find today, but I found and posted it in that thread back then !
Steve Williams2,456 posts since 1 Aug 2008
By August 1991 the BBC had about 10 key sites (and their relays) in NICAM, covering about 60% of the population. It took another 12 years to roll out to all remaining sites. Some BBC sites actually had DTT before NICAM on BBC 1/2

Aug 31 1991 was chosen because it was The Last Night of The Proms


Thanks for this, although it wasn't actually the Last Night of the Proms that day, but there was a suitably grand musical event to launch it - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbctwo/england/1991-08-31#at-18.00

And it was the first day of the autumn season, back when that was a big thing.

The point I was trying to make is that by the time the Beeb "officially" launched stereo they'd been broadcasting most programmes in it for a while. Certainly if you look at the BBC1 schedule for that day, all the high profile new shows are in stereo - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/1991-08-31 - and as you say it was available from the main transmitters. This was in contrast to C4 launching it when they only had a handful of shows using it and it wasn't widely available - in the 1989 Christmas TV Times there are programmes on C4 billed as "Digital Stereo Sound (London/Yorkshire only)".
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