Goodbye To All That (ITV, 1992)
A while ago I wrote about my memories of the TV news coverage on the day in 1991 that it was announced that Thames had lost their licence, and also their final programme before they went off air at the end of 1992. Another ITV company that came to an end on that night was south and south-east of England franchise TVS, and thanks to YouTube user “TVSProductions82”, I have been able to see their final programme now too.
Goodbye To All That was a special 75-minute programme that was hosted by Fred Dinenage (who has hosted various programmes over the past five decades for the ITV companies Southern, TVS, and Meridian) and Fern Britton, taking a look in the archive to recall the highlights of the programmes that TVS had made for ITV in their 11 years on air. Continuity announcer Malcolm Brown introduced the show which took place in front of a large studio audience.
First there was a look back at some comedy programmes, including etc…, a late-night show which gave some early TV exposure to Paul Merton, the sitcom That’s Love, sketch show Five Alive which featured Brian Conley and Doon Mackichan among the cast, and Kelly’s Eye, a sketch show starring Matthew Kelly who was then interviewed, and he then stayed around to interview some studio audience members himself including Police 5‘s Shaw Taylor.
Then there was a look back at some news and documentary programmes, followed by some drama series including CATS Eyes and an interview with Jill Gascoine. This was followed by a look back at some childrens’ programmes including Do It, How 2, The Telebugs, Mr Majeika, and Fraggle Rock, and there was also an interview with good old Neil Buchanan who starred in such goodies as No. 73, Motormouth, Finders Keepers and Art Attack.
There was then a look a look back at some cultural programmes and some more drama series including Perfect Scoundrels which starred Peter Bowles and Brian Murray who were also interviewed. This was followed by a look back at some game shows, including Jeopardy!, The Pyramid Game, Tell The Truth, which was followed by an interview with Roy Walker who hosted the great Catchphrase.
Then there was one more look back at some award-winning drama including The Ruth Rendell Mysteries and an interview with George Baker who played Inspector Wexford, plus a look at some regional programmes including the local news Coast To Coast and TVS’s contribution to the three ITV Telethons. And just before the end there was a chance to see some amusing moments where things went wrong including Bobby Davro falling over.
Goodbye To All That was definitely a poignant send-off for TVS, which was much more dignified than the end of their predecessor Southern in 1981 which came across as rather bitter. When the end finally came Fred and Fern thanked everyone who had worked for TVS over the years along with the viewers for their support to much applause, and the show concluded with the message “Thanks for watching”.
Although I don’t live in this region I imagine that a lot of people watching that night felt similar to how I did when Thames left the screen at the same time. I did enjoy a lot of programmes made by TVS, but unfortunately their archive is now in something of a mess, with almost no chance of anything they produced ever being repeated on TV or released on DVD. Preserving shows like this online though means that people can still see some of their best programmes.