Scottish Televison STV (Channel 10)

This was the first ITV station after the Big Four to start transmission. STV's Opening night was 31st August 1957, "one of the most glittering show business gatherings ever assembled in Scotland," said Gordon Irving. The switch on at 6.12pm was by the Secretary of State for Scotland in front of STV staff, "trim in smart blazers with Scottish Television emblems on their pockets." One sad note, a 29 year old theatre electrician George Doughty at the Theatre Royal studio, collapsed and died 40 minutes before the station went on air.
Among the audience for the star studded opening show at 6.30, were 'rival' tv bosses Lew Grade, Val Parnell, and Sidney Bernstein while from the ITA were Sir Kenneth Clark and Sir Robert Fraser, and from ITN Chris Chattaway. Others included Dr Tom Honeyman, Jack and Mrs Radcliffe, Miss Greta Lauder, Freddie Carpenter, Peter Donald and Stewart Cruikshank. The on screen audience was estimated at around two and a half million viewers, though Nielsen's more accurate measurement gave 150,000 homes watching.
Unlike the other founding ITV companies, it's good to report that STV is alive and well, and maintains a certain proud independence from the rest of the network.

To Rai Purdy's STV plans
To my review of STV's Opening Night Show This is Scotland
One O'Clock Gang (pictured)
Some other early STV productions
Some 1960 STV TAM Ratings
Sample STV schedule from 1967

In charge of STV was Lord Thompson, for ever associated with his remark about ITV being a licence to print money.
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STV Early Local Programmes
The weekly news magazine was titled Here and Now and actor Esmond Knight was one of its comperes.
Jig Time was a popular local show. In 1958 this was transmitted on Friday nights "genially compered" by kilted David Kinnaird. Critic H Bronson wrote: "the best thing is its essential matey-ness. If it can preserve this friendly spirit, it would be worthy of seeing on other regional networks. Eight pretty girls known as the Scottish Television Dancers trip out reels and figure dances in lively fashion, bringing welcome movement to the small screen. The Reivers choose offbeat ballads and prove an interesting foursome while Betty Robson is a young singer in the best Scottish tradition."
One guest on Friday January 23rd 1959 for a Robbie Burns special was the baritone John Heddle Nash. Also appearing: Betty Robson, Clydebank Lyric Choir, Geraldo, and reader Harold Wightman, with Davie Kinnaird as host. Directed by James Sutherland.
The series had a short break in the summer of 1959, but returned on September 18th 1959, transmitted from the Scottish Industries Exhibiton at Kelvin Hall, with David Kinnaird, The Reivers, Jimmy Blair's Band and The Andrew Macpherson Chorale.
Wrote critic Gordon Irving "Jig Time must take credit for helping to inspire the new trend in entertainment." Indeed Imitation being.... etc etc, the BBC's White Heather Club which got shown all over the nation, was started as a result of the success of Jig Time. The BBC disputed STV's innovative claim saying their show was the original. Perhaps life is too short to penetrate now to the depths of this dispute, but according to the BBC Publicity Officer for Scotland the facts were: White Heather Club first appeared as part of A New Year Party (December 31st 1957). Note however it was not a show in its own right as yet. Jig Time was first shown on STV on February 18th 1958. So now you know!

Christmas Eve 1958 saw a live telecast from Dunfermline Abbey. A report noted "the camera angles did credit to all, and there was a grand sense of movement. It was a programme worthy of the network."
The final show of 1958 "A Guid New Year from Glasgow" was produced by Rai Purdy. Directed by James Sutherland, Liam Hood and Geoff Rimmer, it featured Jack Radcliffe, Larry Marshall, Jimmy Nairn (of the 'One O'Clock Gang') with Jimmy Blair and His Band. And the last show of 1959 was an hour long Jig Time special, again directed by James Sutherland.

A serious series on Tuesdays at 10.30pm starting on July 7th 1959 took cameras to various Scottish centres of business. The first programme dealt with steel, later programmes covered shipbuilding, coal, whiskey, farming, and textiles/chemicals. Programmes were devised by John Wilson, and directed by Liam Hood.
Locally produced programmes often did well in local TAM ratings. Scotsport at times even reached No.1 whilst John Grierson's This Wonderful World was known to have attained eighth spot.
STV is one of the few survivors of the ITV network. Indeed they do now have a certain independence from the current over centrallised ITV (perhaps they should be named I-ITV !) which is ironic as there's no doubt that originally STV could have thought a lot bigger, and with their resources ought certainly to have produced a much greater contribution to the network.
Complaints about its lack of ambition were frequently voiced. For example the Scottish branch of actors' union Equity held a meeting, chaired by Duncan Macrae, adopted a resolution to "request the ITA to direct its Scottish Committee to initiate discussions with representative Scottish organisations on programme balance, existing and future ITA services, with a view to ensuring the proper proportion of Scottish material employing Scottish professional performers."

STV Drama
Typical of the company was their first STV Television Theatre, on January 30th 1959 at 9pm. The Open by Alex Peterson was in fact a presentation by the Perth Repertory Theatre.
STV's second original drama production was The Keys of Paradise on 11th March 1960 (over two years after the station had been on air!) by Ronald Mavor and directed by James Sutherland. The cast included Richard Matthews, John Grieve, Martin Heller and Elaine Welles.
To my review of STV's 1968 children's serial
Flight of the Heron .

The Epilogue- In January 1960, Scottish Television announced a training course for Scottish clergymen, to make them "into better television personalities." It was a four week course, two two hour periods per week to study camera and microphone techniques, the projection of personality, with talks and demonstrations by actors and writers. The course ended with two short talks by course members, from their own material, then "ministers will be invited to make suggestions and criticisms... about their own performances"
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STV's Lunchtime show was the One O'Clock Gang from Theatre Royal Glasgow.

On Monday February 16th 1959 it "celebrated" its 365th edition! Mainstay of the show was compere Larry Marshall (real name Harry Tomasso) who said, "the Gang has not once indulged in any unsavoury jokes;" nowadays of course that would be a matter for ridicule, so all credit to Marshall. The Gang also included Sheila Matthews and Brian Douglas who provided the songs. Producer Rai Purdy described the show as "an informal get together between half a dozen folk who are out to entertain you in a relaxed sort of way."

Clearly things had improved since that first show on 2nd September 1957, which one critic (Gordon Irving) slated thus,
"This lunch time half hour proved deficient in slick comedy material, and will require much greater polish if it is to hold its viewing public. Larry Marshall, as comedian, has too spivish an approach, and needs to be more sympathetic... the programme is safer in its song department, put over quite attractively by singers Brian Douglas and Sheila Matthews. The Tommy Maxwell Four give musical backing. A spot for audience interviews has possibilities, but the interviewees should be more carefully selected. One member of the audience frankly admitted to being idle!... This lunchtime spot has so many rough edges that.. immediate attention is required. Robin Gardiner and Gordon Fleming are responsible for the script, such as it is. Bill Skinner directed."
January 11th 1960 saw the start of the feature Yours for a Song, which reached its final in May, in which contestants submitted a piano copy with words and music of an original song. The winner received a gramophone record of the song, a first class return fare to London, a week at a London hotel, with 20 for incidental expenses, plus a letter of introduction to two music publishers.
Among the numerous guests on the show were: Carmita aka Ivi Rodan (Fri Jan 30th 1959), and veterans Dave Willis, Alf Fleming, Bessie Hogarth and violinist Hamilton Scott (March 3rd 1960).
This 1962 photo depicts the Gang of that era. Front left: Dorothy Paul, the singer, Larry Marshall centre, and right front Moira Briody, Irish singer. Rear left is Jimmy Nairn, an old friend of the show and the straight man, with rear right Charlie Sim singer and comedian. The Tommy Maxwell Quartet (led by drummer TM) continued to provide the music.
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TAM ratings in Scotland (STV area) w/e 26th June 1960
1 Flag Fall (Armchair Mystery Theatre) ABC 61%
2 Silent Service STV * 55 #
3 Delfont's Sunday Show ATV 54
4 No Hiding Place A-R 52
5 The Variety Show Granada 51
6 Boxing BBC 50
6= Bonanza ATV presentation * 50
6= Interpol Calling STV presentation * 50 #
9 Silver River (film) STV presentation * 48 #
9= Criss Cross Quiz Granada 48
*=NOT in National Top Ten. # Not in any other regional top ten in this week.

TAM ratings in Scotland (STV area) w/e 2nd October 1960
1 Cheyenne 77% *
2 The Army Game Granada 75
3 Take Your Pick A-R 63
4 Maverick 62 *
5 Bootsie and Snudge Granada 61
5= Knight Errant Ltd Granada 61
5= London Palladium Show ATV 61
8 No Hiding Place A-R 60
9 Pig's Ear with Flowers (ABC Armchair Theatre) ABC 59%
10 Panic 58*#
10= The Protest Granada 58*#
10= Bonanza 58 *
10= Arthur Haynes Show ATV 58
*=NOT in National Top Ten. # Not in any other regional top ten in this week.

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Rai Purdy, executive producer of STV,
outlined plans for the station in January 1957.
(Given in an interview when he flew in from Vancouver. He had formerly worked for CBS in New York as a producer for seven years.)

His three main objectives were:
1 To give viewers first class entertainment.
2 To give Scottish talent every opportunity to develop and be seen on STV. "There is plenty of talent in this country."
3 To do as much cultural programming as possible, consistent with the policy of providing the best entertainment possible. "The Edinburgh Festival will be covered, and there will be discussion programmes on matters of outstanding moment."

He also added that "we hope to train an almost completely Scottish staff for the new station. I want to get Scots and train them, rather than import outside help."

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Scottish Television Schedule for Thursday March 9th 1967
10.45 For Schools -2.55
4.50 Lesley - for the youngest Scots, with Lesley Blair
5.00 Junior Criss Cross Quiz
5.25 Movie Magazine with Peter Lewis (TWW)
5.55 News
6.05 Here and Now with Bill Tennent
6.35 Crossroads - Kitty: "Dick... will you pick up that telephone"
7.00 Criss Cross Quiz
7.30 Command Performance: Beloved Enemy film with Merle Oberon
8.55 News
9.10 This Week
9.40 The Investigation - Another play illustrating Granada's obsession with the lawcourts
11.20 Reflection - with Ludovic Kennedy (STV)
11.50 News Headlines, followed by
Pollok By-election
12.00 Late Call - Rev A Cameron Gibson, Fenwick Church, Kilmarnock
12.05 Late Night Look - In search of a Holiday Isle of Wight with Brian Redhead (Southern TV)
12.30 Close-down
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