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ITV Nightscreen
ITV Nightscreen logo.png
Pre-final logo of ITV Nightscreen ("Nightscreen" was later upper-cased[1]).
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Production
Running time240 minutes (1998–2005)
180 minutes (2005–2007)
120 minutes (2007–2010)
90 minutes (2010–2013)
75 minutes (2013–2021)
60 minutes (2021)
Production companyGower Creative Communications
Release
Original networkITV, STV, UTV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITVBe
Picture format4:3 (14 January 1998 – 5 April 2012)
16:9 (6 April 2012 – 1 October 2021)
Original release14 January 1998 (1998-01-14) –
1 October 2021 (2021-10-01)
Chronology
Followed byUnwind with ITV,
Unwind with STV
Related showsJobfinder
The Nightshift

ITV Nightscreen was a scheduled programme on the ITV television network, consisting of a sequence of animated pages of information about ITV's upcoming programmes, features and special events, with easy listening music in the background. The programme was used to fill the station's overnight downtime, where a closedown would have once been used at the end of programmes. The programme was generally shown 7 days a week with the typical weekday show airing from 4:05am – 5:05am daily. However, on ITV's digital channels, the amount of Teleshopping affects how much Nightscreen is broadcast. The programme was also broadcast on all of ITV's +1 channels.

At Christmas and weekends, an additional 55 minutes was broadcast from 5:05am – 6am as no other programmes were shown. Very occasionally was is not broadcast due to live events and other programming filling its hour.

It was first broadcast on 14 January 1998, and consisted of teletext pages taken from the ITV regional teletext services, with interstitial teletext-based animations in a similar style to the former 4-Tel On View.[2] Since 2003 the screens have been produced using Scala InfoChannel3. In early 2009, updated systems were installed with the latest version of Scala5, with a dual redundant system to counter any issues of service. In April 2012, the system was upgraded again to a newer version of Scala5. This, amongst other minor presentational changes, allowed compatibility of the service to be transmitted in 16:9 widescreen for the first time, as opposed to 4:3.

As well as providing focus on upcoming programmes, films and TV listings, it also used to offers some news from the world of entertainment. In the past it also offered sports news and even on some occasions cooking tips, recipes and also fact files of characters from famous ITV shows such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street.

The Scala system was provided by Beaver Group, and the programme was produced by Gower Creative Communications[3] with soundtracks provided by KPM Music and BMG Production Music.

In October 2021, the programme was replaced by Unwind with ITV (branded as Unwind with STV on STV in Central Scotland and North of Scotland).[3]

Origins

Teletext screens had been employed by the BBC since 1980 and by Channel 4 since 1983 to fill airtime cheaply. In-vision teletext was only ever occasionally used on the ITV network. From April 1986 certain regions, firstly Central Independent Television, followed in January 1987 by Yorkshire Television, started showing overnight teletext sequences containing details of local job vacancies under the title Jobfinder. Initially the pages were broadcast for an hour after the end of regular programming but from April 1987 Central broadcast Jobfinder throughout their overnight downtime.[4] When 24-hour television began in 1988, the majority of ITV regions broadcast a Jobfinder programme in the hour preceding the ITV Morning News. Also, for a short while in 1987, an Oracle-provided service preceding TV-am broadcasts, known as Daybreak, was broadcast before the start of TV-am's programming.

ITV Nightscreen's origins can also be found in a programme simply titled Freescreen, which was made and screened by Meridian Broadcasting in its early years. The Meridian version mixed the teletext pages with local news stories and short videos made and sent in by viewers.

Broadcasts

ITV Nightscreen was broadcast on ITV, STV and UTV starting from when the last programme finishes and ending at 5:05am most weekdays and at 6am at weekends and holidays.

ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 & ITVBe also broadcast Nightscreen. Availability depended on how much unused time was left, and could sometimes last for as little as five minutes as teleshopping is shown on these channels. There was a different music tracklist for each channel, however, upcoming programmes on only the ITV network were shown. CITV did not use the service since the channel closes down at 9pm. Although not an ITV-branded channel, ITV's defunct Men & Motors channel would in its later years carry the filler from the close of programming until 6am.

In its early years, Nightscreen would often begin at around 4am and finish before the ITV News at 5:30. The length of the programme varied depending on the overnight schedules. Some ITV regions didn't broadcast Nightscreen initially, including Meridian, who opted to continue with their own Freescreen service, and Central, who opted to broadcast their own local programming within that slot. In the Yorkshire and Tyne Tees regions, Nightscreen ended at 5am to allow both networks to opt-out for their regional Jobfinder programme.

In December 2005, three months before the now defunct ITV Play began transmitting, a quiz show entitled Quizmania began broadcasting in the early hours on ITV. Subsequent programmes that followed were The Mint, Make Your Play and Glitterball. This resulted in Nightscreen being pushed back to just a half-hour service between 5am and 5:30am

In 2008, largely as a result of widespread scandal surrounding phone-ins, ITV Play was permanently axed, meaning that Nightscreen began broadcasting from around 4:30am.

ITV Channel Television previously ran its own version of the service entitled Channel Nightscreen consisting of local news headlines and programming information. Channel Nightscreen was axed towards the end of 2011 shortly after ITV plc brought Channel Television.

In 2010, ITV started airing The Zone for 2 hours, a gaming and shopping programme block, usually airing from 12:30am to 2:30am, leaving Nightscreen often cut back to as little as an hour and sometimes removed from ITV's schedule altogether.

In April 2010, STV launched its own Scottish night-time service, The Nightshift, broadcast in the STV Central region and consisting of programming highlights, news, competitions and viewers texts & emails read out by a live out-of-vision presenter. STV North continued to broadcast ITV Nightscreen until July 2010, when The Nightshift was extended to the North region. The programme included regional news opt-outs for the four STV sub-regions: Aberdeen & the North, Dundee & Tayside, Edinburgh & the East and Glasgow & the West. STV dropped The Nightshift from its schedules in June 2015, meaning Nightscreen was extended on the station.

From 1 August 2019, home shopping channel Ideal World began simulcasting during part of the overnight period on ITV. Consequently, the two bursts of Nightscreen on UTV and Channel have now ceased as these regions now follow network scheduling due to there being no restrictions about them showing Ideal World, unlike the previous gaming programmes. STV began simulcasting Ideal World from September 2021, meaning Nightscreen was only shown once per night on the channel, instead of twice.

From January 2021, ITV started airing FYI Extra at 3am for 15 minutes daily. This meant that Nightscreen was reduced from 75 minutes to 60 minutes.

On 10 April 2021, due to the death of Prince Philip, Nightscreen was broadcast continually from 12:15am to 6am without a break, in all ITV regions.

On 1 October 2021, the final episode of Nightscreen aired and was replaced by Unwind with ITV the following day. The final episode was no different to any other ordinary broadcast, and did not feature a goodbye message like other services did.

Closure

On 2 October 2021, Nightscreen was replaced by Unwind with ITV (Unwind with STV on STV in Central Scotland and North of Scotland). This features time-lapse footage of various peaceful environments with ambient, relaxing music in the background, also provided by BMG Production Music. Its introduction was, partially, a part of ITV's Britain Get Talking campaign, and is produced by Rock Oyster Media.[3][5][6] Ofcom's 2019 Review of Regional TV Production and Programming Guidance stated that these promotional text-based shows could no longer be part of ITV's regional production quotas anymore (from 2021) and so ITV had to replace the Nightscreen slots with a new type of programme.[7] This also meant that the contract between ITV plc and Gower Creative Communications regarding production of ITV Nightscreen was definitely terminated, and Scala servers on which Nightscreen ran were shut down permanently. The final episode of Nightscreen aired on 1 October 2021.

Other similar services

RTÉ Aertel

A similar filler to ITV Nightscreen was also provided by RTÉ, who currently uses this to fill airtime cheaply on RTÉ Two. It is very similar in fashion to Nightscreen as it provides rolling teletext pages while RTÉ Two is not broadcasting. It has been criticised by many FAI League of Ireland fans who have dubbed the service "Errortel" due to the constant inaccuracies, delays & incorrect information with live scoring and reporting of games.

Pages from Ceefax

Ceefax was the BBC's teletext information service transmitted via the analogue signal, started in 1974 and continued to run until the UK analogue switch off in October 2012. In-vision Ceefax broadcasts started in 1980, initially as a daytime filler, but as programme hours expanded Ceefax was shown before the start of programming. From 1995 until October 2012 they were seen on BBC Two late at night, most commonly at the weekend but occasionally during the week. The final broadcast was in the early hours of Monday 22 October 2012, two days before Ceefax was switched off when digital switchover was completed.[8] Broadcasts on BBC One had ceased in November 1997 when BBC News was launched as BBC One carries BBC News overnight although occasional Ceefax broadcasts were seen on BBC One Scotland.

4-Tel On View

Originally broadcast on weekdays, it alternated with showings of the IBA ETP-1 testcard and Oracle On View. From 1983 until the start of Channel 4's breakfast television service in April 1989, the 4-Tel magazine ran for 15 minutes and was repeated several times each day[9] with transmissions airing at increasingly earlier times of the day as Channel 4 expanded its broadcast hours. In April 1989 Channel 4 began broadcasting programming at breakfast and 4-Tel On View was reduced to a 40-minute slot between 05:20 and 06:00,[10] although from 1993 4-Tel was broadcast throughout Channel 4's closedown period.[11][12] It ended in January 1997 when Channel 4 began broadcasting a 24-hour television service.

Oracle on View

Was aired from 1983 until 1989 on Channel 4. The fifteen-minute bursts were originally broadcast at :30 to :45 minutes past the hour but changed to :15 to :30 minutes past in October 1984. Initially the pages were used to showcase various aspects of the Oracle service, alternating subject matter every so often,[9] but from September 1987 Oracle On View featured a newsreel and a weather forecast.[13] Oracle On View ended when Channel 4 launched breakfast programming.

S4C Closedown Screen

A programme which ran for 10 minutes after closedown and for 10 minutes before startup. It was phased out in the late 2000s.

References

  1. ^ "TVARK Media Player".
  2. ^ ITV Nightscreen 23rd May 1998, retrieved 27 November 2021
  3. ^ a b c Staff Reporter (11 October 2021). "Unwind with ITV: ITV announces new nightly mindfulness programme". TellyMix. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  4. ^ Ident Central – More Central
  5. ^ "ITV NIGHTSCREEN TO END AFTER 23 YEARS". Tvzoneuk.com. 26 September 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  6. ^ "ITV Nightscreen bows out after more than 23-and-a-half years". Clean Feed. 1 October 2021. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Review of Regional TV Production and Programming Guidance" (PDF). Ofcom. 19 June 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "The final Pages From Ceefax in full, 22/10/12, BBC Two". 28 November 2012. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ a b Channel Four 20th November 1986 - 4-Tel On View, ORACLE On View and ETP-1, retrieved 27 November 2021
  10. ^ 4-Tel Pages 23rd December 1989, retrieved 27 November 2021
  11. ^ Channel 4 Closedown & 4-Tel on View Pages 27th/28th March 1994, retrieved 27 November 2021
  12. ^ Channel 4 Closedown & 4-Tel on View Pages 6th/7th April 1996, retrieved 27 November 2021
  13. ^ Christmas 4 Tel On View & Oracle - Fri 30 Dec 1988, retrieved 27 November 2021