To join, leave or change ukfree.tv updates by email, enter your email address here:
Whatever happened to Central South, Meridian Newbury and ITV Thames Valley?
With ITV reinstating the rural Border region for the 500,000 people in Cumbria, you might feel a little disappointed if you are one of the 2,500,000 people whom ITV has only two minutes a day of local news for - those in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, northern Hampshire, Wiltshire and parts of Surrey.
Back in 1970, the Independent Broadcasting Authority licensed "independent television" provider ATV to provide a new colour television service to Oxfordshire. ATV made a somewhat psychedelic promotional film:
Many years later, Central Independent Television was hoping to hold on the licence to broadcast and "in advance of the 1992 franchise round, Central raised the bar by creating its own new sub-region, giving the area served by the Ridge Hill and Oxford transmitters in the west and south of the region its own local news service. The new regulator, the Independent Television Commission, responded by making this a requirement for all applicants. "
The last time there was an competition for the Channel 3 licences (rather than a simple renewal of the status quo) was for the period stating in 1993.
To the south of Central, the licence went to Meridian Broadcasting, who split their region into three: news would come from not just Southampton but Maidstone and Newbury
During the mergers that took place to form a single company running Channel 3 in England and Wales, ITV plc combined the Meridian Newbury news area with the Oxfordshire part of Central South to ITV Thames Valley. The Ridge Hill area reverted back to Central West - this lead to complaints and an extra service of ITV West (see here) was provided from the Ridge Hill transmitter's South-East for Gloucester and Cheltenham.
ITV Thames Valley lasted from 4 December 2006 until 8 February 2009.
Since then viewers in Oxfordshire and what was Meridian Newbury have had couple of minutes of news as an opt-out from the larger Meridian region.
Charles Brenan: Film4's native logical channel is 15. Perhaps this is a Film4 from another transmitter and rather than putting the "other" channels in the 800s your receiver stacks them following the highest number which is Heart on 728. So have a look in the range 729 to 790.
Hi Brian. No worries. The computations are probably why this site's maps are so much better than the official ITV fiction. I'm between King's Lynn and Downham Market and Belmont is fairly strong, Sandy Heath is possible, but Tacolneston is a dream. As you seem to suggest, it may be Thetford Forest or the Brecks to blame, as the terrain plot suggests there isn't much clearance at some points and those evergreens are rather tall! Meanwhile, it's open fenland to our west.
Last time I looked Fairford and Lechlade-on-Thames were in Gloucestershire so they get even worse coverage. East Glos has always been on the edge: served (poorly) by Mendip or Oxford depending on exactly where you were. In analogue days we got BBC London news from Oxford and the Central News South was in reality obsessed with Oxford. Now we get South coast or West (the entire South West in ITV's case).
Until the storms over the Christmas period I received Meridien South (covering all southern coastal areas up to the western Dorset border) but since Christmas all I received as local ITV is South West - I do not need to know what is happening in Bristol and all places West! What has happened to cause this? I live in Poole.
Jenny: The reason is that the TV has retuned, either of its own accord or because you retuned it. I imagine that it is probably tuned to Mendip now, it providing West programmes and its signal being available in parts of Poole.