|Also known as||Thames at Six|
Thames Weekend News
|Genre||News, London (regional)|
|Presented by||Various, including:|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||Main bulletin:|
|Production company||Thames Television|
|Original network||Thames Television|
|Original release||12 September 1977 –|
31 December 1992
|Followed by||London Tonight|
Thames News was the flagship regional news programme of Thames Television, serving the Thames ITV region and broadcast on weekdays from 12 September 1977 to 31 December 1992.
The news service was produced and broadcast from Thames TV's headquarters at Euston Road in north-west London and, during its last few years in operation, from district newsrooms in Dartford in Kent, Guildford in Surrey and Watford in Hertfordshire.
Today & launch of Thames News
Prior to Thames News, the station opted not to provide a conventional local news service in spite of requests from the Independent Television Authority to improve on Rediffusion's scant levels of regional output. Instead, Thames produced Today, a local magazine show presented chiefly on alternating nights by Bob Holness, Eamonn Andrews and Bill Grundy. The programme was axed in the summer of 1977, several months after Grundy's infamous on-air interview with The Sex Pistols.
Today was replaced on Monday, 12 September 1977 by Thames at Six, a more conventional news magazine programme, presented by former ITN newscaster Andrew Gardner. The following year saw Thames establish a full strength newsroom, enabling daily coverage of London-specific news for the first time in ITV's history. A lunchtime Thames News bulletin, presented by Robin Houston, was launched on Tuesday, 5 September 1978 – a late night bulletin, broadcast after News at Ten and also to be presented by Robin Houston, was due to launch on the same day, but was held back until Monday, 28 April 1980 because of union problems. During 1979, the main evening programme was renamed as Thames News.
Thames Weekend News
On New Year's Day – Friday, 1 January 1982 – Thames and its weekend counterpart London Weekend Television (LWT) began new franchise periods, and at the same time, the weekly handover from Thames to LWT was brought forward from 7pm to 5.15pm on Friday nights.
Prior to the change, Thames aired a full Friday evening edition of Thames News at 6pm, followed by Thames Sport at 6:30pm, but after the franchise renewals, LWT was reluctant to start a weekend news service, despite pressure from the Independent Broadcasting Authority, which had also suggested introducing a single seven-day service co-produced by both companies. LWT director of programmes, Michael Grade, described the idea as impractical for various reasons.
Therefore, Thames produced special Thames Weekend News bulletins for broadcast on Friday evenings, including a 15-minute round-up during LWT's light-hearted magazine programme The Six O'Clock Show. LWT paid Thames a reported £500,000 a year to provide 16 minutes of local news on Friday evenings.
The arrangement ended in January 1988 when LWT launched a full strength local news service, provided by Screen News and later, Chrysalis Television.
Goodbye from Thames News
On Wednesday, 16 October 1991, Thames Television learned it would lose its ITV franchise to serve London during the weekdays to Carlton Television, which joined up with London Weekend Television to form London News Network, a new seven-day news service for the capital.
Thames News produced its final full-length programme on Wednesday, 23 December 1992, presented by Steve Clarke (a former presenter of the BBC's rival London Plus programme) and Gytha Hutton (a reporter based in Thames' Guildford newsroom). The very last bulletin was broadcast on New Year's Eve, Thursday, 31 December 1992 and presented by regular sports anchor Graham Miller. The bulletin closed with the town crier of London, Peter Moore, announcing the end of Thames News after 15 years.
Thames News on-air team
- Thames at Six titles 1977., youtube.com, 4 December 2013.