TV All over the local news last night and this morning were reminders that analogue BBC's One and Two broadcasts from Winter Hill would be switched off for much of the day for 'essential maintenance work' and that digital viewers would be unaffected. I'd imagine they were installing the big switch ready for when the signal will be turned off in a couple of years. As a digital viewer for so many years I actually forget the time when there were only five channels. I mean I'm so old I can remember when there were only three and BBC Two only broadcast in the evening. That was before we had a video recorder so when the signal went off you were buggered.

As I heard the reminder, something dislodged in my brain that before Breakfast TV there was a weekly or monthly show in which a voiceover (that sounded somewhat like the one that cropped up on the parody BBC Two announcements on the second series of Look Around You) would give broadcast frequency news and information, and yes, warn the viewer of when transmissions would be disrupted. There was a photograph of a transmitter and the voice

I can actually remember tuning in once to actually watch the picture go off. Heady days.

But then during the major ITV strike of the seventies, when they permanently broadcast a blue screen with a message about the industrial action, it actually still registered a rating of a few hundred thousand -- presumably because some of the people with the boxes couldn't bare to turn their tv off, watch Grandstand, and might have found the colour quite soothing. That particular shade of blue was brought out of retirement and worked with Derek Jarman.

Since I do have digital it wasn't so much of a blow this time and in any case I was tucked up sneezing in bed watching the average remake of The Italian Job and the generally mis-understood Adaptation. How far we've come.

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