They spend the money

Sydney Newman former Head of Television Drama for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, came to ABC nearly three years ago.

Trained on documentary films through eight years with John Grierson at the National Film Board of Canada and winner of several international production awards,

Sydney Newman determined that his ABC programmes should reflect contemporary Britain. He now has seven playwrights under contract and many more under commission, and although Armchair Theatre is often the subject of controversy its consistently high standard draws the best creative talents in the country

David Southwood is a Liverpool man who joined ABC on the Company’s formation after a successful career as a BBC radio commentator and producer and a working introduction to television in Canada and the USA.

He built ABC’s Outside Broadcast Unit into the largest in ITV, and has made notable use of its widely varied programmes to foster good relations throughout the North and Midlands, pioneering many ventures such as the first telecast from the Isle of Man. Now he is ABC’s principal executive in the North

Brian Tesler took a first in English at Oxford University, spent four years at the BBC, where he won the 1954 National TV Award for Devising and Producing the Best Light Entertainment, and three years at ATV, where his work on Saturday Spectacular and Sunday Night at the London Palladium won him the 1957 Light Entertainment Production Award of the Guild of TV Producers and Directors.

He came to ABC early in 1960 to extend the range of the Company’s Light Entertainment and to develop further the work of the Features Departmentl

David Southwood

Chief of Outside Broadcasts

Adaptability is an essential quality for all of us who work in Outside Broadcasts, not only in regard to people and places, but also to the different techniques needed to meet the requirements of the wide range of subjects we cover, from church services to sporting events and varied entertainments.

This range of activity presents problems not only for me and my assistant Andy Gullen, who arrange, prepare and direct the programmes, but to the engineers of our Mobile Division, who have to overcome many problems to bring the high definition pictures and sound back to the transmitters, often against adverse conditions of both climate and terrain. Working together, we have travelled a combined total of one and a half million miles on ABC Outside Broadcasts since we presented the Company’s first live transmission from Coventry on a freezing, snowy day nearly five years ago.

Since then we have tackled pretty well every type of Outside Broadcast. We have introduced new techniques into the coverage of Church Services and Horse Racing. We have pioneered the televising of Wrestling, Motor-cycle Scramble Races and Five-a-side Indoor Football. We have created new programmes like Holiday Town Parade and The Other Man’s Farm. We have televised for the first time ever from parts of Britain like the Isle of Man, the East and North Wales Coasts and even large inland towns which had never previously been visited by a TV organisation.

A great deal has been done but a great deal remains to challenge us. We will not rest on our past achievements but will go on searching for new material and new methods to improve our contribution to what is now as much a part of everyday life as the air itself. And if one day you hear that man has conquered space, look up into the sky — and don’t be surprised if you see a string of shapes looking suspiciously like our OB vans. That will be us on our way to cover the first landing on the moon!

Two views of Liverpool

John Timbers

No Tram to Lime Street, with its celebrating sailors and a brief but warmly realistic love affair between one of them, Jack Hedley and the girl he picked up, Billie Whitelaw, drew some protests from local papers that the play gave a distorted view of Liverpool

But the other side of the picture was seen across the ITV Network when ABC’s Outside Broadcast Unit took TV cameras into Liverpool Cathedral for the first time to televise Holy Communion.

A recording of the service was later presented to the Cathedral

Bedford Studios

Summer at the seaside

Summer time at ABC means Holiday Town Parade. This popular annual show takes David Southwood and his Outside Broadcast team every summer round the seaside resorts on the East and West coasts of the North and Midlands, building up a fund of local goodwill through the interest aroused by its contests for the TV Bathing Beauty Queen, the TV Fashion Queen and the TV Adonis of Great Britain.

Errol Flynn, Boris Karloff and John Gregson have helped to crown the Beauty Queen, while Pierre Balmain and Norman Hartnell are among those who have bestowed the Fashion accolade.

McDonald Hobley is the programme’s host, and Joe Loss and his Orchestra were a popular backbone of the show until they were claimed by the Hammersmith Palais

Bedford Studios

▼ Summer for ABC’s Drama Department meant Armchair Mystery Theatre, whose resident host was one of Britain’s busiest actors, Donal Pleasence, taking time off to make his introduction and to star in one of the plays, Machinal, between performances of Harold Pinter’s stage success, The Caretaker

John Timbers

Diana Wynyard gave a remarkable performance as a paralysed woman, using only her eyes and recorded thoughts, in the opening play, Eye Witness, specially written by Leslie Sands and directed by Charles Jarrott

John Timbers

John Gregson was another star visitor to the series, mocking the traditional Secret Service man in Flight from Treason, a spy thriller by schoolmaster James Mitchell, directed by Dennis Vance

1960 // TRANSDIFFUSION BROADCASTING SYSTEM