STV Early Local Programmes
The weekly news magazine was titled Here and Now and actor Esmond Knight was one of its comperes.
STV's first talent spotting programme was Fanfare, I think jazz singer Fiona Duncan was the winner. A second talent series had the imitative title Stars In Your Eyes, the winner being opera singer Joan Summers.
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."
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"