ABC Television

Midlands and North (Saturdays and Sundays)

ABC Television's Teddington Studios
ABC Television’s Teddington Studios

ABC is the company which, under agreement with the Independent Television Authority, provides the television programmes in the North and Midlands on Saturdays and Sundays.

comp-abc1 Hanover Square, London W.1.
HYDe Park 7222
City Centre House, 30 Union Street, Birmingham 2
Television House, 12 Mount Street, Manchester 2

Area         ITA      Channel   Vision    Sound    Opening Date  Population ITA Homes
          Transmitter          Frequency Frequency                  000's     000's
                                 Mc/s      Mc/s

Midlands  Lichfield       8     189.75    186.25   17th Feb 1956     8,850    1,765

North     Winter Hill     9     194.75    181.25    3rd May 1956  }
          Emley Moor     10     199.7372  196.2605  3rd Nov 1956  } 12,452    3,282

Sir Philip Warter (Chairman); E G M Fletcher LL.D, MP (Deputy Chairman); Howard Thomas (Managing Director); C J Latta; R Clark, LL.B; D J Goodlatte; G A Cooper.


C J Orr, FCA (Secretary); B R Greenhead (Technical Controller); R H Norris (Advertisement Controller); B Tesler (Programme Controller); D Southwood (Northern Executive and Chief of Outside Broadcasts); E G Harris (Midlands Executive); L Shirley (Features Supervisor); R Taylor (Light Entertainment Supervisor); Penry Jones (Religious Adviser).


Total members of staff 957 (excluding Alpha Television).

Visits to Studios

A limited number of tickets are available for audiences at certain shows. Applications, enclosing stamped addressed envelopes, should be made to the Ticket Controller at the address of the studio from which the programme originates. The minimum age is sixteen.


Enquiries about artistes and programmes should be addressed to Viewers’ Correspondence, ABC Television, Broom Road, Teddington, Middlesex.

Submission of Scripts

Present requirements are for 60-minute plays, 30-minute children’s serials and 60- or 45-minute series scripts. But programmes change, and authors should contact story editors for the appropriate category to learn of future trends before submitting outlines or scripts.

Programme Journal

TV Times publishes separate editions for the North and Midlands areas giving details of the available programmes.


DIDSBURY STUDIO CENTRE, Manchester (Didsbury 8181). Winter Hill and Emley Moor transmitters receive their weekend programmes via the ABC master control rooms at Didsbury. Here too is based the Outside Broadcast fleet. The main studio has a stage area of 5,000 sq. ft. and has seating for an audience of 600. The second studio has an area of approximately 1,000 sq. ft., and there is a presentation studio attached to the dual master control rooms, plus an announcer’s booth for sound only.

BIRMINGHAM. Alpha Television Studios, Aston, Birmingham (Aston Cross 3091), are jointly owned by ABC and Associated TeleVision Limited. There are three studios of 3,000, 1,200 and 380 sq. ft., and master control and technical areas which were housed in a new building during 1962.

TEDDINGTON STUDIO CENTRE, Broom Road, Teddington (Teddington Lock 3252). This modern studio centre has been established close to London, where the main body of artistes is available. It specialises in the recording of drama, light entertainment and feature programmes. Studio 1 has an area of 7,500 sq. ft.; Studio 2, 4,750 sq. ft.; and Studio 3, 2,500 sq. ft. The technical equipment covers an area of 8,000 sq. ft. and is fully multi-standard with immediate switching between 405, 525 and 625 line standards. The new central block, opened in 1962, has in addition 13,000 sq. ft. of rehearsal rooms, an acoustically treated recording studio of 1,700 sq. ft., and scenery assembly and handling facilities.

Outside Broadcast Units

ABC have three Outside Broadcast units based at Didsbury, all with 4½” cameras and a smaller vidicon unit. In addition, the mobile videotape recorder can be equipped with one or two cameras, there being a total of twelve available between the units, There are seven microwave link units with portable power generators, and a hydraulic platform tower truck.

Videotape Recording

There are two machines based at Didsbury, together with the mobile unit. At Teddington there are four standards-switchable transistorised recorders together with standards converter equipment. At Alpha Studios, Birmingham, there are two machines.

Colour Television

One of the flying spot telecine channels at Teddington is equipped for the generation of colour signals, and programmes from Teddington have been experimentally radiated by the Croydon transmitter. In addition, numerous public demonstrations have been given over the GPO network, notably those using the continental SECAM system.

Technical Developments

A considerable amount of apparatus was specially developed for the Teddington Studio Centre in order to achieve full multi-standard operation. All this newly developed equipment is transistorised, and, in particular, vision switching matrices and pulse and vision distribution amplifiers have been used in considerable numbers.


ABC productions include: News and News Magazines: ABC At Large. Talks, Discussions and Documentaries: The Other Man’s Farm, The Bookman. The Arts: Tempo. Science and Natural History: You’d Never Believe It! Religion: The Sunday Break, Living Your Life, Journey of a Lifetime, Sunday Morning Service, Epilogues. Adult Education: Headway. Sport: extensive outside broadcast coverage of all sporting events, including such minority sports as tenpin bowling, motor cycle scrambles, indoor soccer and amateur boxing. Children’s Programmes: Once Upon A Time. Drama Programmes: Armchair Theatre, The Avengers, Dimension of Fear (four-part thriller serial), Secret Beneath the Sea (six-part children’s serial), Ocean Liner series (untitled). Variety, Light Entertainment and Music: Thank Your Lucky Stars, Sing Along, The Best of Friends, Comedy Bandbox, Candid Camera, The Dave King Show, Life and Al Read. Entertainment Films: several film series produced in collaboration with ABC include The Human Jungle, Sir Francis Drake. Dramatised Documentaries: The Sword in the Web.

Associated TeleVision

London (weekends); Midlands (weekdays)

The producer's view of one of A.T.V.'s studios
The producer’s view of one of A.T.V.’s studios

ATV is a public company which, under agreement with the Independent Television Authority, provides the television programmes in London on Saturdays and Sundays and in the Midlands from Monday to Friday.


ATV House, 17 Great Cumberland Place, London W.1.
AMBassador 8040
ATV House, 150 Edmund Street, Birmingham.

Area         ITA    Channel   Vision     Sound    Opening Date   Population ITA Homes
         Transmitter        Frequency  Frequency                   000's      000's
                               Mc/s       Mc/s

London     Croydon     9    194.75675   191.266   22nd Sep 1955   12,910     3,023

Midlands  Lichfield    8    189.75      186.25    17th Feb 1956    8,850     1,765

Sir Robert Renwick, Bt, KBE (Chairman); Norman Collins (Deputy Chairman); Lew Grade (Managing Director); Edward J Roth (Deputy Managing Director); JAL Drummond (Finance); The Earl of Bessborough; Ellis S Birk; Hugh Cudlipp, OBE; RPT Gibson; Prince Littler, CBE; Val Parnell; Charles Orr Stanley, CBE, Ll.D


JM Barham, FCA (Secretary); B Bibby (Production Facilities Controller); P Dorté, OBE (Midlands Controller); JF Gill, FCA (Group Accountant and Treasurer); M Gumpel (Director of Business Affairs); PJ Henry (Sales Director); L Lewis (Administration Controller); TC Macnamara (Technical Controller); S Mitchell (Chief Press Officer); K Rogers (Operations Controller); W Ward (Productions Controller).

Religious Advisers

The Rev. John Bebb (Roman Catholic); The Rev. Stephan Hopkinson (Anglican); The Rev. Caryl Micklem (Free Church).


Sir John Materman (Chairman, Education Advisory Committee); James Cochrane Wykes (Senior Education Officer); W Hemingway (Schools Liaison Officer).


Total members of staff 1,379 (excluding ATV’s subsidiary companies). Production 622, Administration 289, Engineering 213, Sales and Research 83, Operations (presentation and films) 89, Accounts 62, Press and Public Relations 21. In addition, ATV employs some 3,300 artistes each year, as well as musicians and scriptwriters.

Visits to Studios

A limited number of tickets are available for audience shows. Applications, enclosing stamped addressed envelopes, should be made to the Ticket Office Supervisor, ATV Studios, Elstree, Borehamwood, Herts. The minimum age is sixteen.


Enquiries about artistes and programmes should be addressed to Viewer’s Correspondence, at ATV’s London or Midlands offices.

Submission of Scripts

Material required: 60-minute plays. These should be complete dialogue script of first form. Six- or seven-part children’s serials: completed dialogue script of first episode and detailed synopses of the remainder must be submitted. Unless Associated TeleVision has knowledge or experience of the writer’s work, no other form of submission will be considered. 30-minute situation and domestic comedies and documentaries are also in demand. There is very little demand for short plays, musicals, quiz games, panel shows, short stories and talks. All submissions should be addressed to The Script Editor.

Programme Journal

TV Times publishes separate editions for the London and Midlands areas giving details of the available programmes.


ELSTREE STUDIO CENTRE, Borehamwood, Herts (Elstree 6100). This 340,000 sq. ft. development is one of the most up-to-date centres of television production, studio and technical facilities. The working floor area of the studios total 31,680 sq. ft. as follows: Studio A, 80′ × 80′; Studio B, 84′ × 80′; Studio C, 116′ × 80′; Studio D 116′ × 80′. The technical facilities directly associated with these four studios total 26,736 sq. ft. Other premises include Studio Facilities (75,790 sq. ft.), Technical Facilities (20,043 sq. ft.), Transport and Workshop Facilities (40,951 sq. ft.), Administration and Rehearsal Rooms (81,500 sq. ft.) and Restaurant (16,500 sq. ft.).

WOOD GREEN TELEVISION STUDIO, Wood Green Empire, N.22. Working floor area some 4,250 sq. ft. Particularly suitable for large-audience shows with seating for 600.

FOLEY STREET (Britallian House) London W.1, containing ATV’s Master Control centre and a small studio of 814 sq. ft. used for presentation and some discussion programmes.

ALPHA TELEVISION STUDIOS, Aston, Birmingham, are owned jointly by ATV and ABC Television Ltd. There are three studios of 3,000 sq. ft., 1,200 sq. ft. and 380 sq. ft.

Technical Development

A great deal of the equipment installed in ATV’s Studios is fully transistorised. This includes pulse and vision distributing equipment employing semi-conductors throughout, and fully transistorised sound equipment. The studios are equipped for 405, 525, and 625 line standards.

Outside Broadcasts

ATV has four mobile control rooms, each with four cameras, and an additional two-camera unit. One of these control rooms is used in conjunction with a video-recording vehicle to form the International Mobile Recording Unit.


ATV Productions include: News and News Magazines: Midlands News; Midland Montage; On the Braden Beat. Talks, Discussions and Documentaries: The Warning Voice; Dinner Party; Midland Farming; Midland Profile; special documentaries; Meeting of Minds; Forum; Look Around the Midlands. The Arts: Sir Kenneth Clark series. Science and Natural History: Threshold; It Can Happen Tomorrow; The Wonder of Man. Religion: About Religion; Church Services; Epilogues; A Box of Birds (for children). Children: drama serials; Seeing Sport; I Am Going To Be… Schools: French from France, Ici la France, Summing It Up, Auf deutsch, Chemistry for Sixth Forms. Adult Education: Mesdames, Messieurs… Plays and Drama Series: Drama ’63; regular contributions to the Play of the Week and Television Playhouse series; Emergency Ward 10; Harpers West One; Deadline Midnight; The Plane Makers. Variety, Light Entertainment and Music: Sunday Night at the London Palladium; Bruce’s Show; Startime; Arthur Haynes Show; Hancock; The Morecambe and Wise Show; Tommy Steele Show; Roy Castle Show; A Golden Hour. Entertainment Films: many TV film series produced by or in collaboration with ATV. Sport: wide sports coverage, especially on Saturday afternoons.

The Midlands


  • Population within measured contours: Primary 5.01 mn, Secondary 1.51 mn, Fringe 0.93 mn. Total 7.45 mn.
  • Channel: Band III Channel 8 (vertically polarised)
  • Vision Carrier Frequency: Actual 189.75 Mc/s
  • Sound Carrier Frequency: Actual 186.25 Mc/s
  • Effective Radiated Power: Vision 400 kw maximum. Sound 100 kw maximum.
  • Power of Transmitters: Vision (peak white) 20 kW. Sound (carrier) 5 kW
  • Heights above sea level: Site 500 ft. Mean aerial 1,450 ft.
  • Location: 1° 45′ 40″ W, 52° 36′ 30″ N.

Lichfield (Channel 8)

Companies: Associated TeleVision (weekdays), A.B.C. Television (weekends)

Geographically, the siting of a station to serve the industrial Midlands proved fairly straightforward, because the service area of the BBC’s Band I station at Sutton Coldfield corresponded closely with that which the Authority also wished to achieve. High open ground in the area is scarce and, with reason, carefully protected. It was not therefore easy to find an acceptable site. A piece of land 500 ft. above sea level, about four miles north-east of the BBC station, was eventually secured. It lies near the Watling Street in the rural district of Lichfield, from which the station derives its name.

Initially, an available design of 450 ft. self-supporting steel tower was erected, carrying an omnidirectional aerial similar to the one used at Croydon but of twice the aperture. This enabled a service to be provided quickly. The station went into programme service on 17th February 1956 with a single 5 kW transmitter, giving an effective radiated power of 6o kW. A few months later the power was raised to 120 kW by paralleling two 5 kW sets into the split aerial. In November of the same year, after the main 20 kW transmitter had been installed, the power was raised to 200 kW e.r.p. This gave a population coverage of nearly 6.5 million within the o.25 mV/m contouur. From the start it was recognised that, because of the relatively low site, greater and more uniform coverage could be obtained with a higher mast and an aerial system with directional characteristics. Sufficient land was therefore acquired to permit this to be done later.

ill-lichfieldEarly in 1961 it became possible to start the construction of a 1,000 ft. mast and an improved aerial. Both these were brought into service in July of the same year, thus allowing the original tower to be dismantled and re-erected for use at the Fremont Point station in the Channel Islands. The new aerial enabled the power radiated south towards Gloucester to be increased to 400 kW.

Towards East Anglia, however, the power had to be reduced to 100 kW to prevent harmful interference to viewers of the Netherlands Television Service on the Dutch coast. For this reason, the service to Midlands viewers living east of the station remained substantially unchanged. Over a semi-circle towards the north the radiated power was maintained at 200 kW. This was sufficient, with the higher aerial, to close the gaps between the service areas of Lichfield and the Winter Hill and Emley Moor stations. The effect of the new mast and aerial was a general all-round improvement in reception, both within the old service area and beyond. The predicted coverage is shown in the map opposite. The measured coverage has recently been completed and includes a population of 8.85 million within the 0.25 mV/m contour.