HTV Night Club (ITV, 1988-1991)
A while ago on here I did a series called “Round The Regions”, where I looked back at the histories of various ITV regional companies. This was followed by reviewing a specific piece of presentation from various regions. And having having already featured the Thames, LWT, Anglia, and TVS regions, it’s time to go a little further across the country to the HTV region.
When HTV West and HTV Wales went 24 hours a day in August 1988, they introduced an overnight strand which was their equivalent of TVS’s Late Night Late, and it was called Night Club. Now thanks to YouTube I have been able to watch some videos of this strand for myself. It was such a big deal that when they launched there was even a feature on the local 6pm news!
HTV still had in-vision continuity at the time of the launch, so most of the announcers along with a new wave of presenters were there on the big sofa to keep viewers company throughout the night right up to the start of TV-am and introduce the various shows that would now fill the small hours, which included the seemingly never-ending Australian soap Prisoner: Cell Block H.
This was never really going to be something that would be watched by a huge amount of viewers, but there was a small but loyal viewership and they were encouraged to write in (although I don’t think there were ever any phone polls to determine what they showed like TVS), and there were also a few competitions to win prizes. There were even some guests who were interviewed in the studio.
Of course, because all of this went out live, this meant that there was often a chance that things could go wrong, and one of the most famous moments was when one of the presenters seemed to get rather confused as to whether it was time to go to a news report or not, and they always had to be on standby to fill in case America’s Top Ten fell off the air so no dozing off now.
Just like what happened with the overnight strands in the Thames, Anglia, and TVS regions, there was much disappointment in 1991 when Night Club came to an end to be replaced by a generic service shown in several regions with out-of-vision announcers. I must admit that I’ve not been to the HTV region myself, although I can clearly see that they put in some effort and late-night viewers would’ve enjoyed it.
Just to finish off, thinking about these ITV overnight strands does remind me that I once visited some relatives in the Anglia region in the early-90s while their Through The Night strand was going, but because I was rather young at the time I didn’t see any it. Now I realise that I had the chance to watch this, I probably should’ve sat there with the video recorder running at 2am to preserve some for everyone in the future, shouldn’t I?