Border Television

The Borders

Grasmere's Sports Arena
Grasmere’s Sports Arena

Border Television Limited is a public company which, under agreement with the Independent Television Authority, provides the television programmes for the whole week, serving Southern Scotland, Cumberland, Westmorland, the Isle of Man and North Northumberland, including Berwick-upon-Tweed.


Television Centre, Carlisle.
14 Curzon Street, London W.C.1.


    ITA    Channel   Vision     Sound    Opening Date   Population ITA Homes
Transmitter        Frequency  Frequency                    000's      000's
                      Mc/s       Mc/s
Caldbeck     11    204.75      201.25    1st Sept 1961  }
                                                        }    476       114
Selkirk      13    214.723     211.223    1st Dec 1961  }

John L Burgess, OBE TD, DL, JP (Chairman); Robin D Gill MA (Managing Director); Sir Michael Balcon; NH Leyland, MA; GLS Lightfoot, OBE; The Earl of Lonsdale; GS Marr; Sir John Muirhead, DSO, MC, TD, DL, MA, LL.D; Major-General J Scott Elliot, CB, CBE, DSO; JIM Smail, MC, TD; Colonel The Earl of Stair, MBE, JP; WS Trimble; JC Wade, OBE, JP


PF Campbell (Controller of Programmes); P Frances, MA (Marketing Controller); RH Watts, ACIS ACWA (Company Secretary/Chief Accountant); M Lindsay (Production Controller); HJC Gower MIEE (Chief Engineer).

Religious Advisers

Rev. RS Ebbitt (Church of England); Rev. E Hardy (Methodist); Rev. AW Sawyer (Church of Scotland); Rt. Rev. Monsignor RL Smith (Roman Catholic).


Total members of staff 129. This total comprises: Production 18; Presentation 26; Engineering 29; Sales and Research 23; Administration 24; Accounts 7; Public Relations 2.

Visits to Studios

Official visits for limited numbers are arranged by application to the Public Relations Manager.

Script Requirements

Most scripts are provided from the Company’s staff. Occasionally, scripts are commissioned for special programmes from outside sources. The company is, however, constantly searching for new writers, particularly those with Border associations. Writers are always welcome to submit ideas for programmes, more particularly those to be produced in television studios rather than on film. There is at present no demand for drama scripts, but the company is prepared to discuss with writers their ideas for short plays with unusual themes and small casts. Ideas for light entertainment shows that can be produced in a small studio will also be welcomed. Writers should in no circumstances submit written work, apart from notes, before their ideas have been fully discussed. Suggestions and applications for interviews should be addressed to the Production Controller in Carlisle.

Programme Journal

A special Border edition of the TV Times is published giving full details of all the programmes broadcast by Border Television.


THE TELEVISION CENTRE, CARLISLE. The Border studio centre forms a specially designed, modern and compact self-contained production unit of some 20,600 sq. ft. (1,920 sq. m.). The working areas comprise two studios of 1,050 sq. ft. (98 sq. m.) and 343 sq. ft. (32 sq. m.) which cope with both production and presentation requirements. Associated with these are technical areas (studio control, master control, central apparatus, telecine, maintenance and stores) totalling 1,458 sq. ft. (135 sq. mm), scene construction and storage areas of 2,090 sq. ft. (193 sq. m.) and a dressing and make-up suite of 451 sq. ft. (42 sq. m.). The total area occupied by the technical operation is 5,392 sq. ft. (500 sq. m.), the remainder of the building being occupied by Film Department – 1,000 sq. ft. (93 sq. m.) – and administration, cafeteria, kitchen, garage and house services covering 14,203 sq. ft. (1,327 sq. m.).

TECHNICAL INSTALLATION. Simplicity and reliability are the keynotes of the technical installation, which has to undertake most of the functions of larger centres. Transistorized equipment has been used where available in a proved and reliable form. The studio lighting system is interesting, forming a compromise between the basic direct switching and the sophisticated console-controlled/dimmer bank system. Telecine machines may be controlled from any desired control room. The whole station, including the vision links into the national network, is suitable for either 405 or 625 line operation, an overnight change-over being possible. For live transmissions, the studios use vidicon-type cameras, which have proved reliable and capable of producing pictures of excellent quality. The use of identical cameras on telecine machines provides a high degree of flexibility.

Film Department

The entire film operation is based at Carlisle. Filming, processing and editing facilities are maintained, and more than 1,000 films of local news and documentary interest are produced annually. Special programmes highlighting topics of outstanding interest in the Borders and the Isle of Man are a regular feature.


Border Television produce in their own studios the following local programmes: News and News Magazines: Border News and Border News Summary (daily, Monday to Friday); Border Diary (Wednesdays); extended reports on Royal visits and other notable events (periodically); Talks, Discussions, Documentaries: Focus – a topical magazine (Tuesdays and Thursdays); First Day of the Week – selected readings (Sundays); Focus About the Home – a programme about home interests (Fridays); Borderline – interviews with nationally famous persons exploring alternative courses they might have taken to achieve eminence (monthly); Editorial – a review of local newspapers (weekly); Take a Look at… – documentary reviews of Border towns (periodically); What Say They? – a panel of well-known Borderers discuss topics of the day (periodically); Time Was – long-lived Border characters look back over the years (periodically); Farming: Farming Prices (daily, Monday to Friday); For Border Farmers – a weekly magazine prepared in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture (Sundays); Sport: Time out of Doors (Mondays); Sportscast (Fridays); Sportlight – interviews with national sporting personalities (periodically); Gardening: Summer Garden (weekly during summer); Light Entertainment: Beat in the Border (Wednesdays); Religion: musical feature programmes marking the principle festivals of the Christian Year (periodically); Programmes for Children: Let’s See and Many Happy Returns (both weekly).

The Borders


  • Population within measured contours: Primary 0.28 mn, Secondary 0.043 mn, Fringe 0.041 mn. Total 0.364 mn.
  • Channel: Band III Channel 11 (horizontally polarised)
  • Vision Carrier Frequency: Actual 204.75 Mc/s
  • Sound Carrier Frequency: Actual 201.25 Mc/s
  • Effective Radiated Power: Vision 100 kw maximum. Sound 25 kw maximum.
  • Power of Transmitters: Vision (peak white) 4 kW. Sound (carrier) 1 kW
  • Heights above sea level: Site 940 ft. Mean aerial 1,900 ft.
  • Location: 3° 5′ 21″ W, 54° 46′ 24″ N.
  • Population within measured contours: Primary 0.071 mn, Secondary 0.026 mn, Fringe 0.019 mn. Total 0.116 mn.
  • Channel: Band III Channel 13 (vertically polarised)
  • Vision Carrier Frequency: Nominal 214.75 Mc/s. Actual 214.723 Mc/s
  • Sound Carrier Frequency: Nominal 211.25 Mc/s. Actual 211.223 Mc/s
  • Effective Radiated Power: Vision 25 kw maximum. Sound 6.25 kw maximum.
  • Power of Transmitters: Vision (peak white) 2 x 0.5 kW. Sound (carrier) 2 x 0.125 kW
  • Heights above sea level: Site 944 ft. Mean aerial 1,644 ft.
  • Location: 2° 47′ 30″ W, 55° 33′ 22″ N.

Calbeck (Channel 11) and Selkirk (Channel 13)

Company: Border Television

The Border country has two well-populated areas separated by the high sparsely-populated Cheviot Hills. That in the west extends north and south of the Solway Firth and includes the towns of Carlisle, Penrith and Dumfries. The other, in the east, embraces the Valley of the Tweed, and includes Selkirk and the coastal town of Berwick-on-Tweed.

Planning studies indicated that the best way of serving the pupulated areas was to build two separate stations, one near Carlisle and one near Selkirk. The site chosen for the first station was at Caldbeck, 940 ft. above sea level and some 10 miles west of Carlisle, in the foothills of the Cumbrian Mountains. Caldbeck lies somewhat to the south of the area to be served and a directional transmitting aerial supported on a 1,000 ft. mast was provided to radiate the maximum power of 100 kW to the northeast and the south-west, about 7o kW to the north-west across the Solway Firth, but only 20 kW to the south-east. In this direction the useful signal would naturally be blocked by mountainous country, which would not, however, prevent an interfering signal from penetrating into the service area of Mendlesham (which uses the same channel) some 200 miles distant, unless power in that direction were appropriately restricted.


The second station was built on Lindean Moor, 944 feet above sea level and close to Selkirk. It has a 750 ft. mast and an aerial which radiates its effective power of 25 kW mainly eastwards towards the coast. This provides a good secondary service in Berwick-on-Tweed, whilst the numerous small towns of the Tweed Valley all receive a primary service.

The Selkirk station is a satellite of Caldbeck. It obtains its programmes by direct radio pick-up from Caldbeck and rebroadcasts them on a different channel. It is the first of a number of unattended remotely-controlled satellite stations of medium to low power to be constructed by the Authority.

Caldbeck began programme service on 1st September 1961 and Selkirk on 1st December in the same year, and both well fulfil the purpose for which they were designed.