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Films shown after News at Ten

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  • Films shown after News at Ten

    It's 10.25 pm or thereabouts on a weekday evening - (Sir) Alistair Burnet (or Sandy Gall if you like) is doing the "And Finally" gambit on News at Ten, linking into a sub-Newsround human interest story so that the ITN half-hour bulletin can have a "happy ending" and not end with the news of that Beirut terrorist attack that they began the programme with some 25 minutes before - and then two minutes later, Burnet bids a few words of "that's it for tonight - goodnight" and one hears the scary ending part of Johnny Pearson's The Awakening coinciding with a shot of Tower Bridge overlooking the River Thames and a yellow ITN logo coming into the view - quite often the very last networked image of the day to be seen at the same time in all the ITV regions together until we see the "Independent Television For Schools and Colleges" slide some eleven hours later the following morning, or the TV-am ident eight hours later if it was February 1983 onwards. Some regions such as Central show a weather forecast and a few adverts - regions such as HTV and Yorkshire show a news bulletin after The Awakening has finished, while Thames had a couple of minutes ad break before their news - and usually, on a Monday or Friday at least, they followed regional programmes, quite often a film to take us onto the other side of midnight and then closedown.

    Of course, it wasn't until the late 1980s that post-watershed network films had to start at 9.00 pm and the films were often 15 certificates according to the BBFC who introduced this then relatively new reform of film classification in 1982. As one cannot but a two hour film into a one hour slot (the "square, peg, round hole" of British television scheduling), the film had to be split into two for News at Ten and the regional news and the audience was to supposed to come back together some 45 minutes or so later. In 1999 when the Independent Television Commission gave ITV permission for News at Ten to be News at Eleven or even News at When, the days when films were split into two were numbered, and with the exception of the ad breaks, one could watch them all the way through interrupted. (There were complaints from viewers that the inclusion of ad breaks meant that the statement of having the movies "uninterrupted" was misleading, but the Bigwigs put it down to literal interpretation).

    So, films on after News at Ten - a lot of off-airs from the 1980s seem to consist of movie premieres and locally shown films. In London, this may consist of the final few minutes of News at Ten, followed by Robin Houston reading the Thames News headlines, followed by the London area weather and then linking directly into the movie - various continuity announcers did similar things to introduce the late night film as well. (If you remember my thread of afternoon matinees on Mondays and Fridays after News at One in the afternoon a couple of years ago, then this is a lose link to it). These days now most of the films are on DVD, the only nostalgia value on them are the regional ITV continuity and adverts, and not to forget that the latter would feel more sinister being post-watershed as well as the off PIF.

    Two hours down the road, and half an hour into the next day, if one kept the tape running, there may be an Epilogue such as a vicar in a leatherette chair going on for five minutes about Jesus, or some "one to one" interview about charity or communism (cf TVS' Company), before the continuity announcer points to the animated analogue on screen clock, telling us that the TV station is closing down until 9.25 am and "don't forget to switch off your set, won't you?" a la Charles Foster at Granada. Cue the National Anthem and the picture of the Queen, Charles and Diana if it was one of the middle-ranking ITV companies - some Barry Manilow track if it was Thames; Central's own theme (after telling us that BRMB and Radio Trent are on 24 hours a day), or Yorkshire's BBC 2-alike "let's get on with it" no nonsense "goodnight". Then fade to black for the next few hours.

    Friday evenings meant LWT in the London area, and various regions that couldn't be bothered to do a "Central Weekend", a "Cross Question" (Anglia's answer to Question Time) or a "Friday Live" a la Tyne Tees, often put the odd Cary Grant or Michael Caine film on its place. So many film titles here to mention: No Blade of Grass premiered here in that slot in 1977, except Anglia who waited a couple of weeks due to regional commitments. If it wasn't talk shows that took over films in that slot, then the chances were it was Prisoner: Cell Block H instead. And no doubt, the fact that they were on so late that those who had school in the morning (mostly the teachers), in pre-VCR households, would have to miss out. Any who could not resist would probably be yawning and eventually fall asleep in front of the TV set at around 11.30 pm (not because the film was boring, but because of its late scheduling), and the wake up to the testcard a couple of hours later. Friday evenings weren't so bad for those who went to school, but any other weekday night was out of bounds. Being allowed to stay up on Friday nights was understandable, but even News at Ten was too late for us back then.

    I could include post Nine O'clock News films on BBC 1, but the element explored wouldn't have been as great as ITV for obvious reasons, mostly because it wasn't on that late. It did feel like films like Jaws and the odd James Bond film were seen after News at Ten, although this was probably during Christmas and New Near holidays. Looking at the Times archive online, various films crop up from one region to the next just like a theatre group doing a whistle-stop tour of the country's theatres, and over a period of a few years, we can see that Tyne Tees is showing a film that HTV had shown a couple of months before in the same slot. The fact that one was jealous of Border showing a film and wished that Central was showing it as well - a station which damn well did what it liked between 10.30 pm and 5.30 am when 24 hour broadcasting came their way. One tended to feel that we were the only people watching the film when it was on, which was just like being in an empty cinema, with ad breaks every 25 minutes or so - a chance to get a Fanta from the fridge or go to the toilet while the adverts were on, but no popcorn I'm afraid.

    I hear a lot about people never getting to see the end of these scheduled films due to fatigue because of its original late scheduling, and having to wait 20 years to see the conclusion of DVD, and it's great to hear about these memories so many years later. These memories are fascinating and provide a link between then and now. The fact that it's late night films rather than afternoon films where the most exciting antidote was "I skived off school to see it - it was only Maths and French I missed out on that Friday afternoon" rather than "I stayed up to to see it" makes ir almost feel like an adventure in many ways. I wasn't allowed a TV set in my bedroom for many years , probably because my parents would see that a glowing light from a TV set in the bedroom meant that I had gone to sleep with it left on, or the fact that I was staying up to watch it - more like the latter.

    Are there any films that you remember the different ITV regions showing after News at Ten? There must have been hundreds of them!
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    I do remember think it was a Monday night after ITV news at 22.30 .There would be a film on either horror or thriller etc.I always went to bed as getting up for work at 6.30 but I do remember my friends at work mentioning did you see that film last night and I thought gosh you don't have much sleep in the night,the days when you had no tape machine to record think this was around 1976 onwards

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    • #3
      I fondly remember being allowed to stay up late on a Saturday night to watch Appointment With Fear. It was a horror double bill on ITV, usually Hammer or the terrific Amicus portmanteau films although I'm sure there must have been others too. The Mummy's Shroud, Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, Tales From The Crypt being just a few examples. This is going back to the 70's though. I've no idea what time the news was broadcast, might have been either nine or ten.

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      • #4
        i got netflix watched all the movies from Bruce willis to Richard GERRE the double, to Infernal affairs , to spanish drama Money Hiest

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        • #5
          At one time (when i could still keep my eyes open past 10pm) i would sit up until midnight watching Hammer horrors, Christopher lee as Count Dracula was always essential late night viewing for me. Noticed recently a run of the vintage horrors were shown on TCM in the afternoon which included The mummy, Wolf man, and Frankenstein which just demonstrates how attitudes have changed
          Ejector seat?...your jokin!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by W1 Rover View Post
            I fondly remember being allowed to stay up late on a Saturday night to watch Appointment With Fear. It was a horror double bill on ITV, usually Hammer or the terrific Amicus portmanteau films although I'm sure there must have been others too. The Mummy's Shroud, Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, Tales From The Crypt being just a few examples. This is going back to the 70's though. I've no idea what time the news was broadcast, might have been either nine or ten.
            I was thinking more of weekday evenings with the "school in the morning" approach, but point taken. I know that ATV and Yorkshire used to show horror films of the Dracula variety in that slot where people on other forums have commented on.

            I am certain that some of you were yawning all the way through a morning's school because of the late film that you saw the night before?

            I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
            There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
            I'm having so much fun
            My lucky number's one
            Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

            Comment

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