TV Weekly: ‘Remembering Tony Morris’

Welcome to this week’s TV Weekly newswrap from the world of broadcasting.

Heroes returns to BBC iPlayer

All four series were made available as a box set at the start of this week.

“Heroes is an iconic sci-fi series and the perfect binge-watch for this summer; whether you witnessed it the first time around or it’s all new to you there are 78 episodes back on BBC iPlayer and ready for you to power through. Save the cheerleader, save the world!” – Controller of BBC iPlayer, Dan McGolpin

Created by Tim Kring to emulate the storytelling style of American comic books, the show features an ensemble cast that includes Jack Coleman, Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia, Masi Oka, Greg Grunberg, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Adrian Pasdar, Zachary Quinto, Ali Larter and James Kyson, amongst many others

The show first aired in the UK on BBC Two from 2006-2010.

Tough Task

The stateside version of former UKTV hit, and now BAFTA winning on Channel 4, Taskmaster is set to be axed by The CW due to dire ratings. It appears the American viewers just don’t get that British comedy thing.

The show starring Greg Davies and Alex Horne sets out to test the wiles, wit and wisdom of five hyper-competitive comedians through a series of ingenuous and ingenious challenges. With the chance to be crowned show champion, rivalry amongst the comedians is encouraged, dodgy tactics rewarded and bribes accepted in what is the most hard-fought and ridiculous comedy entertainment show on TV.

While at UKTV’s Channel Dave the series won Best Entertainment Show at the 2018 Broadcast Awards and was UKTV Play’s most-watched show of 2017. However for America it looks bleak, only 212,000 viewers turned on to the first outing with the network suggesting it could face the chop swiftly. Ouch.

Planet Earth to get a BBC Celebration

Who else but the BBC would think of bringing together Sir David Attenborough, voice of the wildlife for decades, composer Hans Zimmer (Going for Gold theme to us we’re *that* cultured) and rapper Dave for a unique collaboration’

This threesome of talent is to bring Beeb viewers a visual and musical feast designed to lift viewers’ spirits during a time of international uncertainty.

“The BBC has curated this amazing collection of sequences from two of the most talked about natural history series of recent years, Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, as a spectacular treat for the viewers. With brand new narration from the brilliant David Attenborough, a new score from Hans Zimmer and the team at Bleeding Fingers played by the BBC Concert Orchestra with Dave on the piano, this thrilling journey around the world promises to lift everyone’s spirits.” – Tony Hall, Beeb DG


ITV advertising fall

ITV, the Channel 3 broadcaster for England, Wales, Channel Islands and Northern Ireland (as UTV) reported their steepest decline in advertising since its early days in the 1950s when the network almost went bust.

The Independent Television advertising revenue fell by 43% in the second quarter, with concerns the Covid-19 lockdown and continuing lack of need for businesses to promote their products on television may see the company soon drop out of the FTSE 100.

The production company and broadcaster noted advertising revenues fell 21% in the first six months, a drop of £178m to £671m, with a 43% decline in the second quarter. ITV began life as a region-by-region company before being united in 2003. However STV, for Scotland, still remains independent of ITVplc.

Launched in September of 1955 the network suffered a lack of advertising in its early months, this saw boss Sir Lew Grade mortgage his house while fellow executive Val Parnell sold off some of his theatre assets such as the Theatre Royal in Birmingham to keep the channel on-air. The same issues arose with the launch of ITV breakfast in 1983, Good Morning Britain failed to pull in advertisers across its first few months, this saw drastic on-screen changes and several behind-the-scenes axing’s in management.

The current crisis in advertising ITV state is now past the worst, and they look to a more lucrative 2021.

On this Day – This Week’s Highlights

Our look back at the ATV Today television news vaults this week has seen highlights including…

August 5th 1976:

What was described as ‘Britain’s oldest cinema’, still in operation in 1976, was to close forever. The cinema on the site dated back to at least 1904.

ATV News reporter Margaret Hounsell interviews the final manager, Mike Roberts, to discuss the lack of patrons to the once-thriving theatre which is forcing the closure.

August 6th 1979:

Anne Diamond visited Mrs Linda Blower from Nuneaton for ATV Today after newspaper reports her local vicar had refused to christen her fifth child, Elvis Aaron Presley, in memory of the late singer.

August 7th 1979:

ATV Today return to Butlins at Skegness for a sunny summer mini-break. The film begins with shots of the monorail train at the Butlins holiday camp at Skegness and a building with the slogan: ‘Our True Intent is all for your Delight’. Reporter Tony Maycock asks Midlanders about their stay at the Lincolnshire attraction.

August 8th 1972:

ATV Today paid a visit to some lovely Apple orchards in Herefordshire. The report contains, as you may have guessed shots of rows of apple trees in an orchard in Herefordshire.

More at the On This Day section…

Keep it Classy

EastEnders cast past and present know how to #keepitclassy as The Sun brings yet another moment of sophistication from an Albert Square irregular of the past – Katie Jarvis – who viewers to the BBC One Walford saga will know as Hayley Slater.

The tabloid reported how Jarvis ‘was filmed arguing with a group of women during a day out in Southend.’ The altercation later lead to the actress being arrested with the paper continuing ‘Footage shows her shouting and screaming and pushing one of the women. A witness later reported to police that a member of the group had been called a “f***ing black c***”‘

She had been mocked by a newspaper last year for working as a security guard in a B&M store during a gap in acting work, which many performers took to defending the 29-year-old. Probably not so many will be readily jumping to defend these alleged comments.

Holby City De-scheduled

Inside Soap Magazine this week brought fans of the long-running medical saga the bad news Holby City is falling out of the BBC One schedules again. The final episode in this current run will broadcast at 8pm on August 11th.

While the show on-screen goes on a hiatus, the programme produced at the BBC Elstree Centre in Borehamwood has gone recently back into production however the editions produced before the March Covid-19 lockdown have now come to their conclusion. This isn’t the first time Holby City disappeared from BBC One due to the pandemic, the show wasn’t screened in April or May to spread out the inevitable running out of episodes.

Holby has been seen across the UK in its 8pm slot – a rare event in itself with BBC One Scotland usually shunting it to after the Ten O’Clock News to make way for their own River City, however it is also off-air currently too.

Remembering Tony Morris

Lucy Meacock presents a special Granada Reports celebrating the life of Tony Morris.

We were, as many were, shocked by the sad news ITV Granada newscaster Tony Morris had passed away this past week. Broadcasting to the North West for seventeen years Tony became a household name in the region and was also well-known to many across the UK who have taken holidays in the region, notably Blackpool, and caught him on the telly reading the news.

The 57-year-old passed away after being diagnosed with kidney cancer last year. He carried on working up until only a few weeks ago, continuing to present Granada News without a hint of his illness showing.

Co-presenter Lucy Meacock, paid tribute noting Tony “brightened up the whole of the North West for 17 years”. She fronted a special edition of Granada Reports on Monday evening (Aug 3rd) which was entirely dedicated to celebrating the life and work of Tony. At the end of the episode, breaking down, she had the viewers in tears too, many taking to social media to praise the programme and thank Lucy for a wonderful tribute. Tony was also celebrated in tributes by viewers and famous faces with online reflection. ITV News‘ Charlene White said Tony was, “an utterly wonderful man, & brilliant journalist”.

Tony began his career on the BBC in the North West, but it was ITV that saw his talent and lured him over to Granada Reports. He hosted several other local programmes for the broadcaster including a music series and over on BBC Two he fronted a late-night comedy showcase.

See the Granada tribute to Tony Morris below:

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