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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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Signposting Television in the 1980s: The Fourth Television

Signposting Television in the 1980s: The Fourth Television

The James Mactaggart Lecture 1979

(p.61) Signposting Television in the 1980s: The Fourth Television
Television Policy

Jeremy Isaacs

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, a producer and broadcaster, articulated his vision for the (at the time of writing) new fourth television channel in Britain. In the lecture he envisages broadcasting in the 1980s as being characterised by a confrontation between ‘a BBC on two channels and an ITV on two channels’; the former ‘poorly off and getting poorer’, the latter ‘rich’ and getting ‘richer’. While Pilkington's (1962) assessment of ITV was critical, Annan (1977) found much to praise. The change reflected the impact of Pilkington's remarks in shifting the Independent Television Authority (ITA) from being a ‘friend’ of the companies in the direction of more rigorous regulation. The BBC has always served as a sheet anchor for all television programming in Britain and the author's hope, as expressed in the lecture, for the 1980s is that ‘BBC television will be guaranteed the funding it will need’. The author concluded in the lecture with the hope that the competition between BBC and ITV will be competition ‘not to grind each other down, but competition to serve all the publics we strive to reach, competition to excel’.

Keywords:   Channel 4, Britain, broadcasting, television programming, BBC, ITV, Independent Television Authority, funding, competition

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