Tyne Tees History – Page 1
Independent Television began in the North East soon after the birth of the service in the South East in 1955.

Contractors in the region were appointed in 1957.

On January 4th, 1958, the region learnt more about its new television station when the national as well as North East newspapers reported that the first meeting had taken place in Newcastle of the directors of ‘the new company which is to provide commercial television in the North East’.

Sir Richard Pease, a member of the famous Teesside family of industrialists, was appointed Chairman with other members of the board, Claude Darling, film producer Sidney Box and Sunderland-born brothers George and Alfred Black.

By October the public learnt a good deal more about their new station.

It was to be named Tyne Tees Television and its home would be a site formerly occupied by two warehouses on City Road in Newcastle near the Quayside.

Stripped to their shells, the former warehouses provided two huge studios, one of 3,300 and another of 2,400 square feet.

Building for the future
In some ways, it must be said, the site was less than salubrious.

Behind the studios themselves was a derelict area that had awaited clearance and rebuilding since the war.

However, it was a worthy setting as City Road stands directly above Newcastle’s oldest stretch of Quayside, which runs from the Tyne bridge and past the eighteenth century Customs House to the berth used by minesweepers and frigates of the Royal Navy.

Since redevelopment of the whole area Tyne Tees now stands in one of the most sought after areas of the city.

Anthony Jelly was appointed Managing Director, George and Alfred Black were joint Programme Directors and former Head of BBC Light Entertainment Bill Lyon-Shaw was to be Controller of Programmes.

By now the new studios on City Road were almost ready for the opening in january.

Switching On
On January 15th, 1959, at 5 pm a quarter of a million people tuned in to the first transmission from Tyne Tees Television.The opening ceremony was performed by the Duke of Northumberland in the presence of the Prime Minister, Mr Harold Macmillan.

Another distinguished guest was Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, the ITA’s Chairman (Independent Television Authority now known as the ITC – Independent Television Commission), who told the audience that ITV had been criticised for giving ‘the customers what they want rather than what they ought to have’.

Sir Ivone made no apology for that. ‘We will make every effort to give you what you want,’ he told them firmly.Viewers were shown round the new studios and introduced to the people who were to provide their programmes.

At 7 pm Tyne Tees’ own one-hour entertainment show The Big Show was transmitted LIVE from Studio One hosted by Jimmy James, standing in for Dickie Henderson who had gone down with ‘flu.

Concluding the transmission was The Epilogue given by The Bishop of Durham, The Rt. Rev. Maurice Harland.

Network TV

Programming on the Network and Channel Four 
As well as the current After They Were Famous series for ITV and the 100 Greatest franchise for Channel 4, Tyne Tees has enjoyed great network success, especially in Drama and Entertainment.

Drama successes include the widely acclaimed film about the first World Cup starring Dennis Waterman, The World Cup: A Captain’s Tale; two series of Firm Friends starring Madhur Jaffrey, Billie Whitelaw and Michelle Holmes which followed the fortunes of three women running an East-meets-West fast-food business and Finney the story of a man drawn into the battle over his family’s criminal empire, starring David Morrissey and Melanie Hill.

Tyne Tees has become renowned for the television adaptations of several of Catherine Cookson’s best-selling novels which have attracted average audiences of eleven million.

The Black Velvet Gown starring Janet McTeer and Bob Peck was awarded the prestigious International Emmy.

The three latest adaptations have been Colour Blind, Tilly Trotter and Dinner of Herbs.

Entertainment programmes for the Network included The Roxy pop show, game show Chain Letters and ITV’s longest running quiz programme Cross Wits.

Tyne Tees has also made major contributions to ITV’s children’s programmes in the field of drama and entertainment.

The Emmy award-winning drama Supergran and Supergran II; The Ink Thief and Enid Blyton’s popular childrens adventures The Famous Five.

Other programmes include Madabout presented by the inimitable Matthew Kelly featured unusual hobbies, pursuits and even obsessions, Razzmatazz a children’s pop show, and the Essential Guides.

Live Saturday morning shows from Tyne Tees include Ghost Train, Gimme 5 and more recently Mashed. From the religious department came Morning Worship; Life With Johnny, Bible teachings with contemporary story-lines and original songs by Cliff Richard and The Settlers; and Highway with the late Sir Harry Secombe.

Face The Press was originally a regional programme, however when the Duke of Edinburgh appeared in the 1960s it was shown nationally. Three years later the series was given its first full Network showing, receiving an annual place in the Network’s summer schedules making it the first current affairs series to be shown nationally from a regional company.

Paul Gascoigne’s fight back to fitness after his knee injury Gazza: The Fight Back also enjoyed national success and more recently The Catherine Cookson Story was given a Network airing.

Channel Four has commissioned a wide variety of Tyne Tees programmes since it started transmitting in 1982.

One of the biggest successes was The Tube which enjoyed 5 series, plus numerous specials.

A special edition of The Tube was aired on Sky One and Channel 4 as part of the Millennium celebrations.

In contrast Tyne Tees also provided the award-winning Coping series and the widely acclaimed Listening Eye and Sign On series for the Deaf which employed a Deaf researcher, the first in the ITV Network.

More recent programmes for Channel Four have include The Entertainers, Going Underground and The Ship.

Local TV

Programming in the Region
Tyne Tees has come a long way since the Fifties when the station’s most notable programme was the One O’Clock Show which provided daily lunch-time entertainment for viewers – 1,098 editions.

As a regional company our main commitment is to reflect the lives of the people living in the North East and North Yorkshire.

From our very first news magazine programme North East Roundabout to today’s award winning North East Tonight with Mike Neville, Tyne Tees crews and reporters have travelled far and wide to chronicle the changing landscape of life in the region.

Tyne Tees also provides a roundup of the week’s news in Newsweek, signed and subtitled for our deaf and hard of hearing viewers.

Tyne Tees has always had a strong commitment to news.

In 1993, £1.5 million was invested in a purpose built News Studio on Teesside enabling Tyne Tees to give viewers in the South of the region comprehensive news from their area, via the Bilsdale transmitter. As a result viewers in the North of the region receive a separate news service from the Pontop Pike transmitter.

Tyne Tees was the first company in England to use ENG (Electronic News Gathering) cameras.

Digital cameras are now used and can send reports back to base through a state of the art links truck.

Documentaries over the years have covered all areas of life in the region, from lighted-hearted to the hard-hitting.

Tyne Tees continues this tradition with the Magnetic North series and the ever popular Dales Diary with Luke Casey – now in to its ninth series.

Tyne Tees has kept its viewers up to date on the political scene – with its most recent political programme Around the House broadcast direct from Westminster.

Sport also plays a major part in our regional programming.

For the past 40 years Tyne Tees has provided coverage of many major sporting events in the region including Ice Hockey, Darts, Snooker and Athletics as well as memorable occasions for the regions football fans.

Today’s dedicated sports team gives the viewers comprehensive reports in North East Tonight, complemented by our weekend results programme Full Time, the weekly sports magazine Café Sport, as well as football highlights in The North East Match.

Arts and entertainment programmes such as East Coast Main Line, The Mike Neville Show, New Voices, First Cut and Tom O’Connor Entertains have always rated highly in the regional schedule.

More recently viewers have enjoyed the Masterclass series – in which top stars including Sir Wayne Sleep and Carla Lane shared their secrets with students.

Noted for our Religious programmes, Tyne Tees has covered all Christian and Ethnic religions in the region and continues to give the viewers a wide variety of programming including The Lindisfarne Gospels – the latest installment of our series The ABC of Christian Heritage.

With Voices Raised and Sunday Craftshop have also proved popular with the viewers.

Tyne Tees gives its support to the Community by screening Community Links which offers groups and organisations the opportunity to tell viewers about their service.

Tyne Tees has also been proud to be associated with Crimestoppers which has helped the police solve many crimes in the region.