Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dead air is not a crime if there's something in it...

We think that only since 17th January 1983 television has been getting up early each morning to bring a serving of breakfast to the bleary-eyed viewing public or it does seem that this is the date which is remembered by the average viewer. Throughout its 75 years television has been early to rise and late to bed, it only takes a special occasion for it rise from its slumber.

Contry to this the tea and toast is pulled out on several occasions before Frank Bough welcomed the world to Breakfast Time, well he should know... He was on of the faces on the early shift years before the leather sofas were introduced to BBC1. During 1968 owing to the time difference between the UK and Mexico where the Olympics were being held that autumn, the BBC had to mount a breakfast service to cover the events as they happened from Mexico City and also again for the 1984 and 1988 Olympics as well.

" *whispers* And what you don't realise Debbie, he's going to go onto Wogan in a turquoise shellsuit.."

For the time difference between the Americas and this country meant also that the lunar landings in 1969 took place in the middle of the night allowing BBC and ITV to extend their hours, before 1972 permission was needed especially for ITV to be able to broadcast outside their hours which were limited at that time. There was racing and other events which meant the rules could be relaxed for special events then need for them to be covered was some what important.

Of the two royal weddings in 1973 and 1981, both channels opened for business early on both days with in 1973 when at that time because of the three-day week hours were held even tighter then usual thought BBC started at 7.30am and ITV an hour later. When it came to the big day in 1981 BBC started with two cartoons at 7am and ITV at
7.30am began their build-up, even BBC2 joined in at 9.45am with coverage with subtitles for the deaf which showed the versatility of the second channel. These programmes were long affairs, not like the marriages themselves! They would start off at breakfast time and go off the air at the start of the afternoon, meaning that hours and hours of coverage could be shown and with only three channels if you didn't like the pomp and circumstance you had little escape from the day on television.

This all happened before a time when the radio ruled in the morning with Radios One and Two in its infancy, it no doubt that television at this time was something new and different. Though whether that matter to the mothers and fathers going about their business of a morning is a different matter, maybe for the younger viewer this had an effect on.

General elections are another exception to the rule, with coverage starting the night before usually at 10pm when the polls closed. For most of the elections upto the 1980's the pattern would be a closedown about 4am ready to come on again at 7am the next day and for the host, on the BBC, a Dimbleby to catch some sleep with also Cliff Mitchelmore and Alistair Burnet as filling the chair for auntie. By the time of breakfast television which took on the early programmes role for general elections, this was seen the last bastion of television making special apperances before when it usually started up, but the late closedown was still there and one day in 1985 made sure that it was a very late night closedown.

"Yummy! I love a Walls Ice Cream brick!"

With Live Aid which had started at 12pm London time on the 13th July, the concert in the UK was done by 10pm but with also it taking place in America, the time difference for it to be shown on American network television and over here meant that BBC1 had to go into the early hours, but when the importance of such an occasion was realised by Michael Grade, he gave his blessing for this to happen and give over time to the American concert when realising the quality of the acts at the Philadelphia concert. By not wanting to annoy any of the music fans who had tuned in from the start, it was a wise move and thus BBC1 closed down at 4am on Sunday morning. Really with it being a Sunday in the middle of summer, it didn't really matter if BBC1 opened up at about 10am on the Sunday, before the days of 24-hour television it didn't really matter as much as the same with most of the other early starts and late close downs.
"And their line-up for this big game includes a few changes here with Dwight and Kemp coming into the midfield..."

Television eventually closed down later and later with much more things being put into the small hours, with ITV eventually covering the big boxing clashes to fill this time in terms of airtime and the same went eventually for sports which were covered such as the 1987 Rugby World Cup, various Grand Prix and other events. Now it seems no one cares when television should stop and with things like The Sign Zone which are a good thing in themselves, there is a point to that. But when BBC News is simulcasted in the early hours, when news doesn't generally happen. Through the death of Princess Diana, it seems television has felt embarassed by that ever since that they had to cut into a closedown and don't want to be caught with their night clothes on again, but surely there has to be a natural stopping point again for television. With special occasions allowed for events to be covered by broadcasters, but even television must been seen to get tired without a rest since 1989.

Maybe its time we told it go to bed and get some sleep and we'll come back when its good and ready, dead air is not a crime as long as there's something in it and television will feel refreshed for it....

No comments:

Post a Comment