ITV Tyne Tees - Programming


The station's founding executives George and Alfred Black used their theatrical background to produce a lot of light entertainment programming on Tyne Tees in the early years. One of the best known was The One O'Clock Show, a 40-minute variety show broadcast on weekdays. After 1,098 editions and more than five years on air, the final show was broadcast in March 1964. Some editions of The One O'Clock Show were produced by David Croft, who would go on to co-write many BBC situation comedies. For Tyne Tees, Croft also directed and produced the Ned's Shed and Mary Goes to Market admags, as well as producing his first sitcom, Under New Management, set in a derelict pub in the North of England.

The bulk of Tyne Tees' output has been its regional programming, consisting of news, current affairs and local interest. Its longest running news programme was Northern Life, which ran from 1976 to 1992. The main news show has been rebranded several times; the 2009 version is North East Tonight. Until December 2008, local-interest programming was usually broadcast at 19:30 on Thursdays, which are low-profile slots due to the high-rating EastEnders being broadcast at those times on BBC One. Local non-news programming was also broadcast on early Sunday evenings and various late slots following News at Ten on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Such documentaries concentrate upon local history, landscape and architecture, such as the various shows by John Grundy. A monthly political programme, Around the House, continues to be produced for ITV Tyne Tees and Border.

Tyne Tees was obliged to contribute programming for the ITV network, although the bulk of network programming was purchased from the largest stations. Tyne Tees contributed game shows to the network, including Crosswits (1985–98) and Chain Letters (1987–97). Tyne Tees became a prolific producer of children's entertainment for the ITV network in the 1970s and 1980s. From the late 1970s, it produced series such as The Paper Lads, Quest of Eagles, Barriers and Andy Robson. This continued into the 1980s with How Dare You!, and weekday pop-music show Razzamatazz, a pop programme that attracted many major recording artists to appear in a 17:15 slot. Tyne Tees also managed the production of Get Fresh, a Saturday morning show hosted in various weeks by different ITV regions. Super Gran, based on a series of books about a grandmother with superhuman powers, was also successful in the mid-1980s.

With independent production company Festival Films and Television, Tyne Tees produced several adaptations of books by local novelist Catherine Cookson. The second dramatisation, The Black Velvet Gown, was the number one drama of 1991, winning an Emmy Award for best TV drama. Long-running soap opera Coronation Street was briefly produced at Tyne Tees' City Road studios in 1963 while all of the studios at the show's home, Granada Television in Manchester, were occupied by a production of the opera Orpheus in the Underworld. However, not all of the station's output has been successful. The 1997 soap opera Quayside was axed after 17 episodes after competing with the BBC's EastEnders.

Tyne Tees has also produced a wide range of music programming. One of the first attempts at reaching the teenage audience was Young at Heart, hosted by Jimmy Savile and Valerie Masters in 1960. In 1979, Tyne Tees launched two national series, Alright Now and Check it Out, the latter a mix of rock music and segments on youth-oriented social issues; among performances by established acts, the two shows offered early exposure to bands linked to the North East, notably Dire Straits and The Police.

The most famous music show from the station, though, derived its name from the studios themselves. Produced for Channel 4, and first broadcast three days after the new station's launch in November 1982, The Tube acquired its name from the architecture of the public entrance to Studio 5, from where the show was broadcast, at the City Road complex. Under the direction of Gavin Taylor, The Tube filmed rock band Queen's 1986 Wembley concert for later broadcast and video and DVD release. Cameras bearing the Tyne Tees logo can be seen throughout the concert. The Tube was dropped in 1987 as a result of falling audience figures and an incident involving Jools Holland, who cursed during a live trailer. A couple of months later, Tyne Tees launched another music show, this time for the ITV network. Whereas The Tube featured rock and punk bands and emerging musicians, Tyne Tees' The Roxy, concentrated on the mainstream UK singles chart. The show suffered, however, from not having a regular slot on the ITV network. Also, unlike The Tube, which had gained a loyal fanbase and respect from artists, mainstream acts were reluctant to travel to Newcastle for a three-minute performance when they could appear on the BBC's more established Top of the Pops in the more accessible London.

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