Yorkshire Television

Yorkshire Television

Infobox ITV franchisee
name = Yorkshire Television

based = Leeds, West Yorkshire
area = Yorkshire from 1968 and Lincolnshire from 1974
owner = ITV plc
airdate = 29 July 1968
Former Yorkshire Television logos.
captionb =
closeddate = Lost on-air identity 27 October 2002. (known verbally as ITV1 Yorkshire before regional programming only)
replaced = Granada Television and ABC Weekend Television
replacedby =
website = [http://www.itvlocal.com/yorkshire itvlocal.com/yorkshire]

Yorkshire Television is the ITV contractor for the Yorkshire franchise. Up until 1974 this was primarily the three Ridings of Yorkshire and associated areas served by the Emley Moor television transmitter. Following a re-organisation in 1974 the transmission area was extended to include Humberside, Lincolnshire and parts of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and North and West Norfolk, served by the Belmont transmitter.

The company was formed from a 'shotgun marriage' between two applicant groups in the 1967 franchise round, "Telefusion Yorkshire Ltd" and "Yorkshire Independent Television", the former having large financial backing (supported by the Blackpool-based "Telefusion" television rental chain) and the latter having the better plans (but fewer resources). It went on air on 29 July 1968 from purpose-built colour studios in Leeds, the first of their kind in Europe. It also has a smaller studio in Sheffield.

The license for the Yorkshire franchise continues to be held by Yorkshire Television Limited, part of ITV plc. [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/tvlicensing/c3/ytv/] However on the 1st January 2007 and as a result of the restructuring of ITV, the company transferred its programme production business and Channel 3 broadcasting business to ITV Productions Limited and "ITV Broadcasting Limited" respectively. As a consequence Yorkshire Television Limited ceased to trade on the 1st January 2007. [ Directors Report and Financial Statements, Yorkshire Television Limited, Year Ending 31st December 2006] .


On the 28 February 1967 national and regional newspapers carried numerous advertisements from the Independent Television Authority, each requesting applicants for various new ITV contracts, one of which was "Programme Contractor for Yorkshire Area (Contract D) - All Week". Ten formal bids were received by the closing date; another less-serious bid, "Diddy TV", headed by comedian Ken Dodd withdrew their application [ How It All Began in Yorkshire, Volume 2, Maurice Baren, Dalesman Publishing, 2000 ] .

"Telefusion Yorkshire Limited", created by the Blackpool-based TV rental chain "Telefusion", was chosen on the condition that it 'merged' with another applicant "Yorkshire Independent Television". The latter, backed by a consortium of Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd, other local newspaper groups, several Yorkshire-based Co-operative Societies, trade unions and local universities were deemed by the Authority to have the better talent but suffered a lack of funding, whereas Telefusion had the backing of a cash-rich parent. The new venture initially chose the name "Yorkshire Television Network" but decided to drop the word 'Network' before going on-air.

The station started broadcasting on the 28 July 1968 from new studios off Kirkstall Road, Leeds. Although purpose-built for colour the majority of initial broadcasts were in monochrome until the ITV network formally-launched its colour output on the 15 November 1969. Its logo, from launch until 2004, was a chevron and the identification theme (heard before all its programmes throughout the ITV network until the end of 1987 and used within the Yorkshire Television region as late as 2002) was based on the traditional Yorkshire song 'On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at'. YTV's first startup tune was the striking "Yorkshire Television March", written by Derek New and arranged by Ron Goodwin; this was changed in 1982 for the "Yorkshire Theme" written by Chris Gunning.

The station nearly came to grief in March, 1969 when its transmitter at Emley Moor collapsed under a heavy build-up of ice, leaving the major part of the region uncovered by television broadcasts. However, a temporary mast was quickly erected and television to the West Riding of Yorkshire resumed. From this the company grew and by May, 1970 the company was making profits of over £689,000 (2008 equivalent:£7.75m [http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/historic-inflation-calculator] ) [ How It All Began in Yorkshire, Volume 2, Maurice Baren, Dalesman Publishing, 2000 ] .

With the introduction of UHF broadcasting, YTV had failed to gain the Bilsdale transmitter in North Yorkshire, which was allocated instead to Tyne Tees Television due to the transmitter's penetration into Teesside and County Durham. This seriously reduced YTV's monopoly commercial broadcast area. Partially to address this issue, in 1974 the Independent Broadcasting Authority reallocated the Belmont Transmitter, then served by Anglia Television, to YTV. Although the area served by Belmont was largely rural, it did cover the more industrial centres of Hull, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Lincoln and it was felt the region would be better served from Leeds rather than from Norwich.

Since the 1993 franchise round, the station has seen a number of significant changes (see Mergers and Branding, below)


Yorkshire Television was a major producer within the ITV network and has produced shows in all disciplines.

The presenter Alan Whicker became a shareholder in the company at its inception and went on to make many programmes for the station, most notably interviews with the Cat's Eye inventor Percy Shaw and the Haiti dictator Baby Doc Duvalier.

In drama the company had many critical successes including "Hadleigh", Flambards, Harry's Game, Heartbeat, The Darling Buds of May, A Touch of Frost and The Beiderbecke Trilogy. In comedy it produced many populist shows such as In Loving Memory, Duty Free, Rising Damp, Only When I Laugh, Joker's Wild, Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt!, Queenie's Castle, The New Statesman and gave the comedian Les Dawson his first major series.

For children it made many networked shows including Animal Kwackers, Junior Showtime, "The Flaxton Boys" and Follyfoot and made the long-running How We Used to Live for ITV's Schools and College's programming. In entertainment it gave the network quiz shows such as 3-2-1 and Winner Takes All and family shows such as "Stars on Sunday".

In 1969 it launched its first soap opera "Castle Haven" which was axed after one year. When the restrictions on daytime broadcasting were relaxed in 1972 it launched an afternoon drama called Emmerdale Farm, which is still being broadcast albeit under the shorter title of Emmerdale.

It was in the field of investigative journalism that the station soon gained an international reputation for award-winning documentaries: 1975 saw the transmission of the BAFTA award-winning "Johnny Go Home", a startling exposé of teenage male prostitution and homelessness in London. In the same year the station transmitted "Too Long a Winter" (also a BAFTA award-winner), featuring Yorkshire Daleswoman Hannah Hauxwell who lived an austere and harsh lifestyle whilst running her small farm. In 1979 the documentary "Rampton: The Secret Hospital", making public the treatment of patients at the Nottinghamshire mental care facility Rampton Hospital, led to a Government investigation - it also won an international Emmy award for the station. The 1989 documentary "Four Hours in My Lai" (broadcast as part of the "First Tuesday" thread) revealed new information about the 1968 massacre.

YTV has often led the way in British commercial broadcasting: As well as building the first purpose-built colour studios on Europe it was the first to offer breakfast television. In 1978 the station took part in a six-week trial offering viewers an hour-long show comprising of local and national news and events called "Good Morning Calendar" (Calendar being the name of the local regional news programme). The show ran from 8.30 am to the then traditional start-up time of 9.25 am.

In August 1986 the station was the first to offer 24-hour transmission (when both the BBC and ITV companies closed down at around 12.30 to 1 am). This was achieved by piping non-stop coverage of the satellite station Music Box - both YTV and Music Box were partly-owned by the same company (W H Smith). However, Music Box closed down at the start of 1987 and Yorkshire introduced a teletext-based Jobfinder service which broadcast for one hour after closedown. YTV re-introduced 24-hour programming 18 months later along with the rest of the ITV network, beginning 24-hour broadcasting on 30 May 1988.

In the mid 1980s Yorkshire broke from the network by refusing to screen the BAFTA Awards, claiming them to be slaps on the backs of the BBC. The movie "The Sting" was a replacement in 1986. As the rest of the network over-ran in the live BAFTA screening, Yorkshire had to cobble together minor programmes until other regions were able to screen the late-running ITN News. In the 1990s, Yorkshire declined to show The Good Sex Guide, replacing the programme with Alan Whicker repeats.



Construction commenced in early 1967: A mild winter aided building work and by mid-1968 studios one and two were equipped for transmission (studios three and four being completed by early 1969). During construction pre-launch shows were produced at the ABC studios at Didsbury, Manchester while a former trouser-press factory next to the Leeds facility was used as an administration centre.

The studio was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent on the 29th July 1968. It was the first purpose-built colour television production centre in Europe and cost over £4 million to build and equip (2008 equivalent:£50m [http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/historic-inflation-calculator] ). The studios were initially kitted out entirely by Marconi although their colour cameras, prone to overheating and often disliked by operators due to their bulky zoom lens, were later replaced by EMI 2001 models.

The regional news show "Calendar" was produced at the centre for many years but in 1989 was moved to a dedicated newsroom and broadcast facility based in a converted Ice Rink next to the main studios.

The site is a major production centre within ITV and today produces programmes such as "Countdown" although the soap opera "Emmerdale" is produced at dedicated facilities in a former car dealership near the Kirkstall Road site and is the largest single television studio in Europe; Production still continues in studios 3 and 4

Recent productions include "Countdown", the revived "Bullseye", "Mastermind" (as relief, during a busy spell at The Manchester Studios), "My Parents Are Aliens", new Channel 4 gameshow "Win My Wage" and a new children's comedy-drama for Cartoon Network called "My Spy Family". The site is now home to continuity for ITV's northern transmission areas (although this is now managed, along with its southern counterpart, by Technicolor Network Services [http://www.technicolornetworkservices.com/pdfs/TNS_20061219_ITV.pdf] ) and a number of independent producers. The production facilities are marketed as The Leeds Studios and sister companies ProVision, Film Lab North and The Finishing School occupy adjacent buildings, although the operation continues to be widely referred to as the Yorkshire Television studios or YTV.

Industrial Relations

From its inception YTV had a turbulent relationship with the broadcasting unions (a common theme within ITV). Viewers tuning in to watch one edition of News at Ten in 1970 found themselves looking at a hand-written card which read "Yorkshire Television have threatened to sack us, we are going on strike, Goodnight." [http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/insidetv/history/union.php]

YTV was forced off the air by more industrial action over the whole of Christmas, 1978. This partially coincided with a two-day national shutdown of both BBC channels by strikes in December of that year, meaning that for those two days the people of Yorkshire had no television at all. Many of ITV's Christmas programmes were eventually shown in the Yorkshire region in early 1979, after the dispute had ended.

In the ITV strike of 1979 the station, like the rest of the network, was off the air for over two months. However the dispute was more intense at YTV as the company's management were seen as instrumental in fighting the unions, and because the company covered an "Old Labour" heartland where the miners' strike would later be fought.

In the 1980 franchise round several YTV staff submitted their own application for the Yorkshire franchise under the name of 'Television Yorkshire' [The Franchise Affair, Briggs A & Spicer J, Century, 1986] .


Although Yorkshire Television claims to serve the whole of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, it has long been contended by many of the people of Sheffield that Yorkshire Television shows an unacceptable bias towards West Yorkshire in general and Leeds in particular

cite news
publisher=Sheffield Forum
title=Look North and Calendar - are they too Leeds focused?
date=May 18, 2007

] . This alleged bias was seldom better illustrated than when Sheffield Wednesday won an unlikely League Cup Final in 1991 against Manchester United. Extended highlights of the game and post-match celebrations were available and individual ITV stations were left to decide whether to show them; London Weekend Television showed the additional half-hour, but Yorkshire Television opted to stay with their scheduled programme, War of the Monster Trucks - a decision which they have never subsequently been able to live down. Yorkshire Television opened a Calendar News studio in Sheffield prior to the War of the Monster Trucks incident

cite news
publisher=TV Ark
title=Yorkshire Television - News

] , possibly to counter accusations of bias. The studio is clearly a very small setup however, which again has led to a perception among locals that YTV treats Sheffield as an afterthought.

A similar charge of bias has been levied by viewers served by the Belmont Transmitter which covers Lincolnshire and northern Norfolk. Until 1 January 1974 this area received coverage from Anglia Television but was replaced by Yorkshire. It is often contended that the name of the company reflects its focus, but others say this is an unfair accusation given that during the 1970s and 1980s the company invested heavily in operations in Lincoln and Grimsby and created a regional opt-out for the area on its main news programme Calendar. This has been succeeded by a news show dedicated to the region served by the Belmont transmitter. However it is still broadcast from the studios in Leeds unlike its BBC rival which is produced at studios in Hull.

Mergers and branding

Trident Television

In 1974, Yorkshire Television was effectively merged with its neighbour Tyne Tees Television, when the two were brought under the control of Trident Television Limited, a company formed to deal with the problem of effective ownership of the Bilsdale transmitter. It is often contended that the other point of the "trident" was intended to be Anglia Television but that in the event Anglia was prevented from joining by the Independent Broadcasting Authority. However it appears that the third 'point' was to be Trident's non-television interests and that Anglia were never considered as partners in the enterprise.

The two stations remained separately run and were required to demerge by late 1982 as a condition of the re-awarding of their ITV contracts from January, 1982. Trident's majority shareholdings were sold although they retained ownership of studios and equipment which were leased to the respective companies.

Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television plc

However, following rule changes in 1992, the two stations resumed their alliance under the name Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television plc. This time around the two stations were integrated to a far greater extent -- following the takeover 292 jobs were axed at the two broadcasters [http://web.mac.com/spunter1/iWeb/Steve%20Punter%20Web%202/The%20Bumblebee%20Blog/48746E4C-1154-4479-A80E-CCC21BFB393E.html] , including 185 at Tyne Tees (over half the workforce) with a further 150 lost the following year.

Yorkshire-Tyne Tees were repeatedly warned over worsening standards at the Newcastle-based station and at one point the Independent Television Commission (the then-governing body of ITV] threatened to revoke the Tyne Tees licence if the situation did not improve. In 1993 the MP Ann Clywd described Tyne Tees as having been "stripped of any meaningful identity since its take over by Yorkshire TV" and Ian Ritchie, Managing Director at Tyne-Tees left the company over a widely publicised disagreement with the Yorkshire-Tynes Tees board over what he saw as an unacceptable drive to centralise the companyFact|date=August 2008.

The company faced a large revenue shortfall in 1993 of around £15m, caused largely by financial irregularities in advertising sales, where airtime was oversold. Generally the bids submitted by both YTV and the (then-independent) Tyne Tees were considered financially questionable, and the ITC is said to have come close to rejecting the YTV bid on financial quality grounds [ [http://www.variety.com/article/VR116745.html?categoryid=19&cs=1 U.K.'s Tyne Tees TV faces year loss - Entertainment News, International News, Media - Variety ] ] . However, with London Weekend Television's airtime sales subsidiary "Laser" taking over the advertising responsibilities for the company, company profits did recover by 1996, thanks to the cost-cutting measures implemented in the intervening years [ [http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=27248 YORKSHIRE TYNE TEES TELEVISION PRE-TAX UP 40% ] ] .

Various programmes which had previously been shown at a regional pace were suddenly jolted forward to the furthest ahead point among Yorkshire and Tyne Tees. Yorkshire had to lose over 200 episodes of "The Young Doctors" to reach the Tyne Tees stage of the serial. Similarly Tyne Tees had to lose over 100 episodes of Blockbusters and 2 episodes of "". Other programmes were also affected.

In 1996, Yorkshire Tyne Tees Television made the controversial move of dual branding its stations as "Channel 3". Yorkshire Television had a scaled back version of this branding, and became known as "Channel 3 Yorkshire", but its neighbour Tyne Tees Television was forced to use "Channel 3 North East" with "Tyne Tees Television" existing only in small letters underneath. To make matters worse, the announcers often informed viewers they were watching 'Tyne Tees Television, broadcasting on Channel 3 in the North East'.


In 1997 Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television plc was acquired by Granada Group plc (now ITV plc). Granada's first move was to scrap the hated-in-some-quarters Channel 3 branding, starting from 9 March 1998. However, dual branding with the "ITV" name was introduced a year later.

In 1998, transmission control and presentation for all of Granada's stations in the North of England moved to Yorkshire, with the creation of the Northern Transmission Centre. This highly automated server based system was the source to Border, Tyne Tees and Granada as well as the Yorkshire regional output. The continuity department closed down in 2002 after a unified presentation department for ITV1 in England was set up by the London News Network in London.

On 28 October 2002, Yorkshire Television was rebranded as ITV1 Yorkshire. The "Yorkshire" does not appear, even before regional programmes; only the name "ITV1" is shown. The famous chevron continued to appear after programmes made by Yorkshire Television, until 31 October 2004. Today, ITV programmes made at the Leeds studios are credited to ITV Productions and those made for other networks (e.g. "Countdown") to Granada Productions.

Since the change of management to ITV plc (and the move to use the ITV Productions and The Leeds Studios brands), the large chevron logo used prominently on the front of the Television Centre building has been removed. However, the chevron logo at the Calendar South studios in Sheffield remains intact, despite prominent ITV News branding. The same applies to the Hull studio at the city's Prospect Shopping Centre.

The license for Yorkshire continues to be held by Yorkshire Television Limited, part of ITV plc. [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/tvlicensing/c3/ytv/]


"Calendar" is YTV's long running news programme which is aired throughout the day on ITV1 Yorkshire. The main programme at 6pm is split into two regions. In the North, Duncan Wood and Christine Talbot present the programme, while in the South, it is presented by John Shires and Gaynor Barnes.

"Calendar" first appeared on YTV's opening night, presented by Jonathan Aitken. In the past, "Calendar" has been hosted by the late Richard Whiteley (until 1995, alongside his duties on "Countdown", earning him the nickname "Twice Nightly Whiteley"), Austin Mitchell and Mike Morris.

"Calendar" has reported a number of significant events in its' history. The construction of major projects such as the M62 motorway (1968-1975) and the Humber Bridge (1972-1981) were covered by the programme. Also covered were major disasters including the failed attempt to rescue miners at Lofthouse Colliery, Wakefield (1973), the explosion at the chemical factory at Flixborough, Lincolnshire (1974), the fire at the Bradford City football ground (1985) (transmitted live by YTV who were covering the football match for ITV Sport) and the Hillsborough Disaster (1989). Two highly-significant events in modern history occurred in the Calendar area; the murders committed by the Yorkshire Ripper (1975-1981) and the Miners' Strike (1984-1985).

Originally broadcast from Studio 2 in YTV's main studios in Kirkstall Road, in 1987 the operation was moved to a former ice skating rink and bowling alley opposite the centre, which was converted into a dedicated news production facility and which is still in use today. The show has spawned a number of related shows including "Calendar Kids" (presented by Richard Madeley), "Calendar People" (presented by Richard Whiteley), "Calendar Election Special", "Calendar Lunchtime Live" and Calendar Countdown.

A catch-up service for Calendar is available on the ITV Local Yorkshire website.


External links

* [http://www.itvlocal.com/yorkshire ITV Yorkshire] at itvlocal.com
* [http://www.the-leeds-studios.tv/ Leeds Studios website] (Under Construction)
* [http://www.625.uk.com/tv_logos/flash/yorkshire_bw.asp Animated Yorkshire TV logo, 1968] from 625.uk.com (Requires Macromedia Flash version 4 or later).
* [http://www.625.uk.com/tv_logos/flash/yorkshire_69_bw.asp 1969 Yorkshire TV logo] from 625.uk.com (Requires Macromedia Flash version 6 or later).
* [http://www.625.uk.com/tv_logos/flash/yorkshire_69.asp 1969 Yorkshire TV in colour logo] from 625.uk.com (Requires Macromedia Flash version 6 or later).
* [http://www.625.uk.com/tv_logos/flash/yorkshire_82.asp 1982 revamp of the logo] from 625.uk.com (Requires Macromedia Flash version 4 or later).

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