Because myself and my boyfriend (who runs Dirty Feed) both work in television presentation (we’re the people who make sure TV gets to you as the channel intended, and minimise the impact of any technical problems) we love to relax by watching YouTube videos about TV presentation of times past, as that was the sort of thing which made us want to get into the industry in the first place. It’s a bit like talking about the old days with colleagues, but with actual video to back it up.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, when I experienced a blast from the past when watching the last in-vision presentation link from BBC Manchester in 1980; regional in-vision links were a casualty of BBC cuts imposed by the new Tory government, rather like BBC Three going online only soon, due to the current government freezing the licence fee.
At 4.04 in, John Mundy talks about his co-presenter, Christine Byrne, and a slide of her appears. My mouth dropped open as I recognised her as the producer I did work experience under at BBC GMR (Greater Manchester Radio) in 1998. She’d talked about her presenting days to me, but in regards to her radio presenting, rather than local television links. Mind you, given that the in-vision links had ended 18 years ago at that point, I can understand those days not being uppermost in her memory. I remember her being extremely professional and organised, qualities which no doubt resulted in her long and successful career at BBC Manchester. I imagine she’s retired now, although one side-effect of short-term contracts in the media industry means that people with such deep local experience are becoming rare, so perhaps she’s still working. This was something that was becoming noteworthy even when I was at New Broadcasting House (these links came from the building BBC Manchester had before), and is probably even more obvious at the new MediaCity home of BBC Manchester. I feel very lucky that I’m able to work with people who have had long careers in transmission, including one colleague who started at my home ITV region of Westward in the late 1970s, and was probably around to transmit my TV debut on Westward News, when I was a baby. His experience is invaluable, as are his stories.
Although I’m sure Dirty Feed will give another perspective on this gem, for me, it underlines how small our industry is, and how old I am that I have work anecdotes from 16 years ago (even if I wasn’t paid).
One of the best videos I’ve ever seen. Well worth sitting down properly and watching all of it if you’re a TV pres fan.