Night Network was ITV’s first major experiment into the area of overnight broadcasting beginning on Friday 28 August 1987, originally for the ITV regions covered by LWT, TVS and Anglia, before expanding to other regions during the summer of 1988. Whereas overnight broadcasts are commonplace today, back in the late 1980s, ITV decided it would take a more cautious approach with Night Network only initially broadcasting between 1am and 4am in the Friday and Saturday night schedules, and between 1am and 3am in the Sunday night schedule.
The show was produced for Night Network Productions and LWT by Jill Sinclair who had been the producer of BBC1’s Pop Quiz and Channel 4’s The Tube at Tyne Tees Television, aiming for a similar audience to that of these two shows. The format of Night Network was similar to Channel 4’s Network 7, or even a late night adult version of Saturday morning kids TV, as it was a mixture of quizzes, celebrity guests, imported serials and bands.
Feature segments included Street Cred with Paul Thompson, Video View with Steve Allen and Kate Davies, Rowland Rivron in The Bunker Show, Tim Westwood’s N-Sign Radio, Emma Freud’s chat segment Pillow Talk, Geoffrey Cantor’s video segment The Axeman, Barbie Wilde’s video review for The Small Screen, and quiz show The Alphabet Game hosted by Nicholas Parsons, whilst cult TV series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Batman were also frequently seen. Originally, on Sunday nights, classic movies were shown but this was only until the programme was expanded to other ITV regions on Friday 2 September 1988.
Although it proved a success, Night Network was never broadcast nationally – companies such as Central opted out of the entire programme from the start to provide its own schedule. With more programmes (be it imports, repeats or original output) competing for the overnight slots, the Sunday edition was eventually dropped during the auttum of 1988. Around the same time, the first hour of Night Network became a regional For London Only segment on LWT while the remaining two hours continued to air across other regions, albeit in differing timeslots depending on the stations’ preferred schedules. Night Network was broadcast for the last time on Friday 31 March 1989.
Night Network Promo
Titles – with thanks to Paul Clark
Studio and menu-info
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