Stories featured on this page:
- MON 27TH DEC (7.33AM): Graphic missing from BBC Breakfast package
- MON 27TH DEC (6PM): Channel 4 and Channel 5 resume use of standard idents
- THU 30TH DEC (10AM): Technical issues take North West Today breakfast bulletins off the air
- THU 30TH DEC (5PM): Sky Sports News temporarily off the air
- FRI 31ST DEC (2PM): RTÉ One lunchtime news bulletin not broadcast
- SAT 1ST JAN (12.30AM): ITV continues tradition of running a Tunnock’s ad in the first commercial break of the new year
- SAT 1ST JAN (2AM): BBC TV Christmas presentation ends for another year
- SAT 1ST JAN (2PM): RTÉ One lunchtime news bulletin remains off the air
- SUN 2ND JAN (10AM): ITV returns to standard idents at 9.25am
- SUN 2ND JAN (2PM): No lunchtime TV news from RTÉ today – again
Monday 27th December
7.33am Graphic missing from BBC Breakfast package
A pre-recorded report went to air on BBC Breakfast this morning minus a graphic. Instead, the below placeholder image was broadcast:
6pm Channel 4 and Channel 5 resume use of standard idents
It looks as though Channel 4 and Channel 5 have withdrawn their Christmas idents for this year. Standard idents have been in use again since early this morning.
Thursday 30th December
10am Technical issues take North West Today breakfast bulletins off the air
After technical issues affected the first two North West Today bulletins this morning, subsequent local breakfast news opts in the north west were replaced with bulletins from Leeds.
A BBC engineer explained what happened, via his Twitter account:
Never done this before but I thought maybe it would be interesting to explain what actually happened this morning to get an understanding of the complexity of modern broadcasting and what happens when things go wrong.Twitter user @toby_stretch
Firstly this had absolutely nothing to do with COVID, NW even put out the bulletin online! All staff were there for the opt. This was purely 100% a technical issue.
The first opt this morning, 0625 – there was some minor audio glitching noted on the North West (Salford) output. Don’t think it triggered alarms at this point as we get minor glitching on content all the time, if we had alarms for this they would be going off constantly.
The 0650 opt was much more impacted, video erroring as well now – the fault was clearly getting worse and it now triggering alarms. Salford engineers were informed at this point and investigations began.
We rarely go off air, so when something like this happens it’s a big deal for us. Thankfully there is a great engineering team across the BBC, one I’m genuinely proud to work for. Regardless sorry to Steven Saul and the North West Today as it was completely out of their hands.
Now in this situation most regions would probably move to a second studio which usually has it’s own dedicated chain, however because Breakfast in the morning takes up the main SQ2 Studio in Salford, NW in the morning can’t move from their Pres studio to there.
So the decision to “buddy” was made whilst engineers investigated as the output at this point was pretty much unusable for broadcast. Buddying is the centralised process where another region’s output takes over another on DTT/DSAT Tx. Opts in the NW now indeed came from Leeds.
This process is often used during engineering work in the regions, but its usually when BBC 1 sustain/network is live so you at home would never notice at home. Especially in our new centralised opt system which is the first step towards HD opts which is coming!
Sometimes you may even notice a unusual coloured dot on BBC 1 regional output – this is known as cue dot and is usually what we do when we “unbuddy” and wish to test/ident our transmission path is indeed live to the NW from the NW.
The Pres studio’s output itself was clean and is recorded before the transmission chain, hence why North West Today made a clean recording and put it online. This proved further it was indeed a fault with the post studio transmission/Tx chain which is how it gets to your screens.
The broadcast chain for regional TV is however, complicated. Salford engineers spent a couple of hours going through it all and found the issue within the “glue” of the chain – “Glue” is the broadcast eng term for the bits of kit that connect everything together.
Said bit of kit was a audio limiter which stops the embedded audio levels from going too loud- video output of said box was very unhappy and filled with CRC errors, hence the glitching. It was replaced with a fresh spare unit and reconfigured.
Even though the recordings were clean, the broadcast chain that gets it to your screens was not, hence why they couldn’t just simply play out a recording and why Leeds output was used instead.
Happy to say everything has now been been fully tested with our wider Engineering colleagues in the BBC. NW unbuddied and at 0918+23 BBC 1 sustain/network was put through both NW studio opt chains, known as a “soft” opt. No audio or video drops outs on either, hurrah!
I’m sat WFH today so can’t take any credit – but many many thanks to my colleagues John and Lawrence in Salford and CCM Engineers who fixed all of this!
5pm Sky Sports News temporarily off the air
Sky Sports News was off the air for a time this afternoon due to technical issues.
The channel posted this apology on Twitter:
We apologise for the temporary loss of live coverage on Sky Sports News. We are now back on air after some technical issues.Sky Sports News
Friday 31st December
2pm RTÉ One lunchtime news bulletin not broadcast
This afternoon’s scheduled TV news bulletin on RTÉ One didn’t appear. It was replaced by a filler programme presented by John Creedon.
UPDATE: we’ve since been contacted by one of our readers, who suggests the lunchtime news programme hasn’t been broadcast since 23rd December.
Saturday 1st January
12.30am ITV continues tradition of running a Tunnock’s ad in the first commercial break of the new year
ITV’s first commercial break of the new year started with a 20-second ad for Tunnock’s – a Scotland-based confectionary company. This has become a bit of an ITV tradition in recent years.
2am BBC TV Christmas presentation ends for another year
BBC One and BBC Two resumed standard on-screen presentation in their respective first junctions of the new year. ITV continues with its Christmas presentation for the time being.
2pm RTÉ One lunchtime news bulletin remains off the air
The planned RTÉ One lunchtime news programme was replaced again today by a filler programme. It’s not clear why the programme has been absent from the schedule during the Christmas period.
Sunday 2nd January
10am ITV returns to standard idents at 9.25am
ITV has reverted back to standard ITV Creates idents. No new ITV Creates idents are being produced and it looks like ITV will be recycling past idents from the project.
The ident broadcast at 9.25am was from the set produced by Stuart Robinson, which were first aired in October 2019.
UPDATE: Stuart’s idents have been airing throughout the day.
2pm No lunchtime TV news from RTÉ today – again
The lunchtime RTÉ One news programme remains off the air. Again today, we had a short filler programme.
On this occasion, we noted that the news programme had been deleted from the schedules published on the RTÉ website.
The announcer provided no explanation for the lack of news programme.
RELATED ARTICLE: Timeline: 2021 Week 51.
RELATED ARTICLE: Timeline: 2022 Week 1.