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ITV strike of 1979

 



oxpete
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Aug 7, 2019, 2:04 PM

Posts: 4493
Location: Oxford
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ITV strike of 1979 Can't Post or Reply Privately

The 10th August this year marks the 40th anniversary of the ten-week-long ITV strike of 1979, leading to an almost complete shutdown of ITV broadcasts and productions.

At a time of high inflation rates (13.4% in 1979), the ITV companies made a 9% pay offer to their union workers. The unions rejected this and wanted a 25% increase, pointing out that their members’ pay over recent years had been eroded, that the ITV companies were making large profits at the time and that ITV rating were regularly beating those of the BBC with the resultant extra advertising revenue generated.

For ten week the only ITV broadcasts were those on Channel Television, whose perilous finances all involved admitted could send them over the brink if they were forced off air. The only other ITV company to broadcast during this period was Yorkshire TV, who aired appeals from the police concerning the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper murderer.

ITV management increased the pay offer to 17.5% with an added no-redundancy clause due to the upcoming franchise negotiations of 1981, and ITV came back on air at 5.45pm on Wednesday 24th October 1979, with ITN newsreader Leonard Parkin saying on camera “Let’s get on with it!”

On Crossroads, Noelle Gordon spoke to camera to give a resume to viewers to let them know what had been going on at the motel during the blackout, while on Coronation Street Bet Lynch and Len Fairclough discussed recent events ‘in character’.

A few days later, on Monday 29th October, the very first episode of Minder was broadcast, following a delay of several weeks. That first series was supposed to include thirteen episodes, but I remember George Cole once saying that the eventual eleven episodes was a direct result of the strike. The other big ITV programme to suffer delays in the autumn of 1979 was Quartermass.

Other knock-on effects of the strike: I’ve read that The Shadows had planned a major TV advertising campaign for their new album ‘String Of Hits’, but that the lack of television coverage meant pre-Christmas sales of 300,000 albums and a peak of no.4 in the charts. When their adverts were finally aired in January 1980, they shifted another 700,000 records and finally reached no.1.

I don’t know how the lack of Tiswas might have affected the singles charts. Certainly when the BBC had a strike in 1974 with several weeks without Top Of The Pops, the summer epic Mott The Hoople single ‘Foxy Foxy’ stalled at no.33 with no TV exposure, whereas the much more Radio2-friendly ‘She’ by Charles Aznavour coasted to no.1.

There would never be another television strike quite like this one. Margaret Thatcher’s legislation on closed shops, secondary picketing and the introduction of secret ballots, along with the growth in small production companies in the wake of the formation of Channel 4 in 1982 saw to that. When TV-AM went on strike in 1987, the growth in single-person operated cameras and other technology meant that many television programmes could be broadcast with just small teams of technicians.


Tykeoldboy
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Aug 7, 2019, 2:52 PM

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Post #2 of 9 (828 views)
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Re: [oxpete] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

If ITV technicians went on strike now very few people would even notice, I certainly wouldn't, I haven't watched ITV for years, possibly since 9th August 1979.



The feeling of utter devastation when you pick up your mug and realise you already finished your tea.


Chris1963
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Aug 7, 2019, 4:18 PM

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Re: [oxpete] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Personally, I have no recollection of the strike. However, it is possible to watch footage of news programmes from that era on YouTube. Only the other night, I came across a brilliant one from on or around 12th December 1981, which featured the army takeover in Poland and the heavy snow in London. One particular scene, filmed on streets in North London covered in frozen snow, was a reminder of why I could not attend a match on Saturday 12th December. (Edit; Barnet v Wycombe in the FA Cup may have been my last hope that day, but I did attend it three days later as the snow had thawed by then.)


(This post was edited by Chris1963 on Aug 7, 2019, 4:28 PM)


PaulC
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Aug 7, 2019, 4:28 PM

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Post #4 of 9 (784 views)
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Re: [Chris1963] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To
Personally, I have no recollection of the strike. However, it is possible to watch footage of news programmes from that era on YouTube. Only the other night, I came across a brilliant one from on or around 12th December 1981, which featured the army takeover in Poland and the heavy snow in London. One particular scene, filmed on streets in North London covered in frozen snow, was a reminder of why I could not attend a match on Saturday 12th December.


I remember December 1981 well. I took my car to the car wash and came out with an inch thick covering of ice all over the car.


leohoenig
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Aug 7, 2019, 5:56 PM

Posts: 13531
Location: Outer Cheltenhamshire
Team(s): Cheltenham Town

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Re: [PaulC] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I also don't remember the ITV strike - I was not watching much TV at the time.
I do remember the long running strike at the Times, but mainly because of the significance of the day it returned to print.

As for the 12 December 1981, Pagham lost 2-1 to Windsor & Eton in the FA Vase



Fat AND Pompous.
The proof that you can have too much of a good thing
Now blogging at http://www.leohoenig.com



Whiskey Coates
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Aug 7, 2019, 8:48 PM

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Post #6 of 9 (690 views)
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Re: [oxpete] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To
I don’t know how the lack of Tiswas might have affected the singles charts.....


Funny you should mention that because I was only thinking the other day when it came up randomly on my playlist how I remember an episode of Tiswas where The Phantom Flan Flinger was creeping round a supermarket looking for victims, with 'O Superman' by Laurie Anderson playing in the background. At first I thought it was some novelty comedy record, and it only dawned on me quite a while afterwards what a serious song it was. I think the following week it shot up to No2 in the hit parade, but how much of that had to do with Tiswas I don't know?

This would be 1981, so after the strike which for some reason I don't remember, but I do remember the appeals regarding The Yorkshire Ripper on Yorkshire Television.


oxpete
Chelsea Transfer Target


Aug 9, 2019, 5:55 PM

Posts: 4493
Location: Oxford
Team(s): Pompey

Post #7 of 9 (525 views)
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Re: [Whiskey Coates] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To

In Reply To
I don’t know how the lack of Tiswas might have affected the singles charts.....


Funny you should mention that because I was only thinking the other day when it came up randomly on my playlist how I remember an episode of Tiswas where The Phantom Flan Flinger was creeping round a supermarket looking for victims, with 'O Superman' by Laurie Anderson playing in the background. At first I thought it was some novelty comedy record, and it only dawned on me quite a while afterwards what a serious song it was. I think the following week it shot up to No2 in the hit parade, but how much of that had to do with Tiswas I don't know?

This would be 1981, so after the strike which for some reason I don't remember, but I do remember the appeals regarding The Yorkshire Ripper on Yorkshire Television.


Someone else has told me that, in a similar vein, there was a gap of several weeks in the late summer of 1967 between the pirate radio stations being outlawed and the start of broadcasts of Radio One.

During this period, some important singles were released, such as: ‘I Can See For Miles’ by The Who, ‘I Love You’ by The Rolling Stones, ‘King Midas In Reverse’ by The Hollies, and ‘Burning Of The Midnight Lamp’ by Jimi Hendrix Experience. Due to the lack of any decent airplay, none of these singles reached the sort of chart position that would’ve been expected.


Tykeoldboy
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Aug 9, 2019, 8:21 PM

Posts: 3265
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Post #8 of 9 (509 views)
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Re: [oxpete] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To

In Reply To

In Reply To
I don’t know how the lack of Tiswas might have affected the singles charts.....


Funny you should mention that because I was only thinking the other day when it came up randomly on my playlist how I remember an episode of Tiswas where The Phantom Flan Flinger was creeping round a supermarket looking for victims, with 'O Superman' by Laurie Anderson playing in the background. At first I thought it was some novelty comedy record, and it only dawned on me quite a while afterwards what a serious song it was. I think the following week it shot up to No2 in the hit parade, but how much of that had to do with Tiswas I don't know?

This would be 1981, so after the strike which for some reason I don't remember, but I do remember the appeals regarding The Yorkshire Ripper on Yorkshire Television.


Someone else has told me that, in a similar vein, there was a gap of several weeks in the late summer of 1967 between the pirate radio stations being outlawed and the start of broadcasts of Radio One.

During this period, some important singles were released, such as: ‘I Can See For Miles’ by The Who, ‘I Love You’ by The Rolling Stones, ‘King Midas In Reverse’ by The Hollies, and ‘Burning Of The Midnight Lamp’ by Jimi Hendrix Experience. Due to the lack of any decent airplay, none of these singles reached the sort of chart position that would’ve been expected.


Most people, especially those outside of the Radio Caroline area listened to Radio Luxembourg for their pop music fix. I would also listen to Radio Luxembourg to get the midweek football results before ITN gave them out at the end of the News at Ten.



The feeling of utter devastation when you pick up your mug and realise you already finished your tea.


Chris M
Reserve Team Sub

Aug 11, 2019, 11:19 AM

Posts: 459
Location: Sheffield
Team(s): Everton, Marine, Sheffield clubs generally

Post #9 of 9 (401 views)
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Re: [Tykeoldboy] ITV strike of 1979 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

https://twitter.com/ITVonstrike are "live-tweeting" the entire strike. As someone who's interested in the history of broadcasting, but wasn't born at that point, it's quite interesting.

 
 


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