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ITV Schools Continuity - the late 70s until September 1987

Next, we move on to the next stage in ITV's Schools continuity.  Gone is the light-spots caption to make way for more varied captions, but the Picture Roll survived. The clock was retained for a while, but was revamped afterwards. Anyone know when the countdown clock was updated?

This is an early caption. 

Gordon Bruce from the Test Card Circle says "I recall when the slides started in 1975/6 (I can't remember which year exactly).

"During the first two years there were ten slides used for the Autumn and Spring Terms and eight for the Summer term, the slides being changed weekly.

"As the autumn & spring terms ran for 11 weeks (to allow for different half-term holidays around the country) this meant that one slide was used for two weeks.

"I recall that the very first slide was used for the first two weeks, but with alterations to the caption. "

(Thanks to Gordon Bruce for info.)

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Here's another early one, which David Harrison thinks is a Lowry painting.

A bad choice of colour for the text, though.

Here's another early one.

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Here's an example of a menu broadcast before the schools programmes after the station startup, from the mid 80s. In this case the announcer gave brief synopses of each programme; on other ITV regions it might be accompanied by music.

Some stations would have a menu of their programmes after schools programmes, ie running from 12.0 noon until closedown. TSW did this, switching to the networked schools presentation at 9.28 (preceded by a station clock).

This practice may not have always been the case, but it looks like it was the norm in the mid 80s.

Looks like when this slide was photographed or copied it was wonky!

This won't have been noticeable with a domestic TV set as they are usually set up to crop the extreme edges of the picture out.

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4th January 2004

Click on the image to see a complete junction circa 1983/4, notable for a few things:

  • It has an ATV Colour Zoom preceded by a "Central Presents" slide

  • It contains the titles to primary numeracy show "Basic Maths", complete with bizarre theme music

  • It has Fred Harris, guru of 70s and 80s kids TV, in it.

It is, however, quite big at 3.96Mb.

MPEG available.

Click on the image to see more interval slides.

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Stamps were a popular theme, by the looks of things!


Here's the full set of stamps in that set.  This makes six slides, this one and the five shown.

There are three terms in a year, each split into two which makes six half-terms.

I guess, therefore, that they used a different card each half-term.

Dave Jeffery thinks that the slide changed every week, verified by Mike Prince's announcment below, but the theme changed termly.

Other correspondents say that it the slides changed every term.

Can anyone clear this up either way?

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Here's a mid 80s slide, part of a set that is different in design to slides of a similar time, perhaps harking back to the first pictoral slide designs.

Simon Luxton: "The slide 'Brimming the water-lily cups with tears' was shown in Spring Term 1987 [..]. All the photos used that term were taken by artist/photographer Jim Brigden."

Simon Luxton kindly sent in these Music Copyright Sheets from Central (who of course were responsible for the schools presentation at the time).

These had to be filled in with what music was used, etc. so that the usage fee could be paid.

It looks like these were only filled in once a term, as they are not dated otherwise. They also do not say what exact piece of music was used when on each day - it seems a termly list sufficed.

You can see the cue sheets in their larger form by clicking below. A new window will open.

Spring 1983
Summer 1983
Summer 1984
Autumn 1985
Winter 1985
Summer 1986

I'd not seen this before, but the schools announcer used to give a brief desciption of a selection of forthcoming schools programmes.

This example, using the Central station typeface, is from half-term week, Autumn 1985. (Simon Luxton)

Here, Mike Prince said: "Good morning and welcome to ITV for schools and colleges, wherever you may be watching.

"Viewers at home may be interested to know that ITV broadcasts schools television for two-and-a-half hours each weekday for thirty weeks each year.

"We do it as part of our public service responsibilities to educate and inform our audience."

This is the first time on air, as far as I know, that ITV acknowledges the fact that people other than students and teachers watch the programmes.


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Here's another example, from Autumn 1986. (Simon Luxton)

Here's the first caption (shown after the usual interval slide) and its accompanying list of programmes that the announcer (again Mike Prince) was talking about.

Each programme is described over a picture of its programme literature.

The voiceover is very similar to the above example.

Mike gave a brief synopsis of each programme, its intended use and what the episode to be shown on the same day is about, each with its own caption with a picture of its programme literature.

It is suggested here that Time For a Story be used by parents and their pre-school children.

Andy Simpson believes that this clock was introduced for the Autumn term (i.e. September) 1978.

Simon Luxton says "I think the 1980s ITV Schools clock was introduced in Autumn 1979, following the end of the ITV strike. I was only six at the time, but I
remember my disappointment that the previous clock was no more."

The clock remained unchanged from its introduction to its withdrawal.

I think it was the same mechanical model too, as on all the ones I've seen the gap between the dashes between 26 and 27 seconds is slightly wider than the others! I should get out more ;-)

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Additionally, there is also an irregularity on the 45-second marker. Must've slipped with the Tippex ;-)

Note that one difference between this clock and its predecessors is that the programme title is at the bottom of the screen and the legend "Independent Television for Schools and Colleges" is in the clock centre. This was probably easier from the point of view of making the mechanical model - for each programme all that would be needed would be a slim piece of card with the programme title on it.

MPEG available.


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This fuzzy example, recieved in North Devon, outside of HTV's usual range, is of a HTV opt-out, made conspicuous by its title being in capitals and a different font.

Here's good evidence that the clock was mechanical - to the right of the 'S' in COLLEGES you can see a white splodge, which isn't present on other clocks.

In a film or video version this wouldn't be present - it's a one-off inaccuracy of the mechanics/card.

The following programme wasn't a Canadian version of Stop, Look, Listen! :-)

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Here's a clock from 1987 - They must've had a new caption generator as the programme title font is slightly different.

Here's a slide that TSW used to introduce Schools' Programmes before handing over to the network at 9.28, and to close Schools' Programmes before introducing childrens' programmes at 12.00.

Simon Luxton: "The TSW Schools slide was originally used in place of the picture slides at 9:28am (TSW viewers would then join the clock at 9:29 - continuing the practice adopted by Westward TV). But by 1985 TSW was forced to pull rank and showed the picture captions at 9:28am."

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This slide used some work from a childrens' art exhibition.

Starting the week: click on the picture to see an MPEG of Mike Prince introducing the week's picture.

As an added bonus, there's a bit of a Central mid-80s startup included!

MPEG available.

There was always an announcement bringing to an end the day's schools' programmes. They always went along the lines of, "And that brings today's schools programmes to a close. There'll be more schools' programmes, beginning at 9.30 tomorrow."

Click to see an MPEG - the announcer forgot to put his teeth in for this one!

MPEG available.

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This is an interval slide that was used during ITV Schools' last term on ITV.

There was a selection of slides, all of which depicted developments and historical events that had occurred during those 30 years.

Simon Luxton says: "The '30th Anniversary Year' slides were the final set used on ITV, in Summer Term 1987. They were compiled by illustrator Chris Bent [..]."

Some more are presented below.

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Around this time was broadcast a documentary looking back at the development of schools television, presented by Anna Ford.
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You can click on this picture to see an MPEG of the promotional video that warned schools and colleges about the changes.

The changes marked the end of ITV Schools' 30th anniversary year.

MPEG available.


We also have some MP3s of ITV schools interlude music.

On to BBC / ITV Schools MP3s
On to CH4/S4C Schools
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