Wednesday, 03 April 2019 13:16

Sheffield Cablevision: Local TV pioneers

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Sheffield Cablevision in the 1970s Sheffield Cablevision in the 1970s

The city now has its own local TV station in Sheffield Live! TV. But did you know the Steel City had its own TV channel way back in the 1970s?

Sheffield Cablevision opened on 29 August 1973, broadcasting from studios on Matilda Street.

In a familiar scenario to today’s community channels, the Minister for Posts and Telecommunications licensed five local stations to operate in an experiment for expanding the concept across the country.

Other locations included in the trial were Bristol, Greenwich, Swindon and Wellingborough.

A project led by British Relay, Sheffield Cablevision offered a small slate of original programming to around 30,000 homes across the city. With just a tiny core staff of six, the station relied on volunteers to produce and star in the shows - with duties ranging from presenting to operating cameras.

A woman helms the camera for Sheffield Cablevision

The channel even had a van that offered on-the-scene outside broadcasting, such as children’s Saturday morning TV from within the ABC cinema on Angel Street or theatre shows from The Crucible or the City Hall.

Sheffield Cablevision outside the Crucible theatre

‘Scene in Sheffield’ was a nightly news show, not unlike today’s Calendar on ITV (or Look North on BBC), and the station broadcast regular news bulletins through the rest of the day. At certain times a placeholder logo would be shown whilst Radio Hallam played in the background.

Football journalist Alan Biggs even had a slot hosting a sports show on a Saturday evening.

Sheffield Cablevision's studios on Matilda Street

The local channel had decent viewing figures with more than two thirds of serviced homes tuning in regularly but it is said that a mixture of high costs and politics led to the station closing after three and a half years on 2 January 1977.

But never fear, Sheffield Live! TV is now on air to help fill the gap:

Find more memories of Sheffield Cablevision at the facebook page.

A version of this article was originally written for and published at Social Sheffield / We Love Sheffield magazine.

Fun, informative, interesting videos from the steel city!

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