If you want to understand the history of Thames Television’s outside broadcast (OB) trucks, it is necessary first to appreciate the tortuous way that the broadcaster came into being. Therefore, I am starting this review of the Thames OB fleet with a little history.
Edit: corrected the caption on the picture of Unit 4.
While many enthusiasts collect radios and televisions, broadcasting equipment is a more neglected area. The Broadcast Engineering Conservation Group (BECG) is a group of people who rescue, restore and conserve historic UK television equipment, focusing on the engineering aspects. We aim to use this to present television history to the public. Continue reading “Carry on Trucking”
We have made our first foray into restoring our latest acquisition – the ABC/Thames Outside Broadcast Unit “GNF951E”. As detailed on the Project Page, this vehicle was converted into a mobile home by the previous owners, so we had to start by removing the modifications. A project team consisting of Paul, Richard, Martin, Jeffrey, Dave, Phil, Dicky, Jill, Margaret and Ruth assembled to start the work.
Dicky Howett recalls a little piece of ABC Television at Didsbury.
In a residential street on the outskirts of Manchester there used to stand the production base of ABC Television. (You remember ABC Television? Come on now, that was back in the days when ITV was ITV!). Demolition, it seems, is the pre-ordained fate of most pioneer tv establishments. For example, A-R tv’s Wembley got razed and recently, the big double production space known as ‘Studio Five’. Teddington Studios became an upmarket riverside residential enclave; Television Centre – sold for a pittance; the London Studios are not what they used to be; Lime Grove bit the dust and Alexandra Palace… well who knows? However, redundancy is the name of the game and sentiment doesn’t enter the balance sheet.
Our latest project is the restoration of ABC TV’s “Unit 5”. This was one of three new vehicles ordered by ABC in the mid-sixties. It passed to Thames and then to Sony before being converted into a domestic vehicle.