|Presented by||Bob Warman|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||Main edition: 30 minutes|
|Original channel||Associated TeleVision (ITV Midlands region)|
|Original run||May 12, 1956 – December 31, 1981|
|Related shows||BBC Midlands Today,|
ATV Today was a regional television news and current affairs programme, produced by Associated TeleVision, serving the Midlands area of England. The programme was on air from October 1964 until 31 December 1981, the final day on which ATV broadcast before handing over to Central Independent Television.
Regional television came to the Midlands in 1956 with the launch of ATV. The first news programme, ATV Midland News, was broadcast on 12 May 1956, three months after the channel first went on air, and it continued until 1964. However, following pressure from the Independent Television Authority for ATV to commit itself to greater regional coverage, ATV Today began in October 1964 as a 15-minute daily magazine programme, airing after the main early evening news from ITN. The programme introduced viewers to a more light-hearted form of journalism not seen on television at that time. One of the earliest reporters on ATV Today was John Swallow, a journalist who brought his own individual style of reporting events in the Midlands to television screens.
The programme reached its peak during the 1970s when it was watched on a daily basis by some three million viewers. By now airing for 30 minutes from 6:00pm, ATV Today was a popular mainstay of television in the Midlands, and alongside the more serious news items, it maintained its light-hearted and knockabout style of presenting. The emphasis was on entertainment rather than what was seen as a more starchy alternative offered by the BBC's Midlands Today.
The show was responsible for launching the television careers of many household names in British television. Among those who started as reporters and presenters on ATV Today are Chris Tarrant who joined in 1972 initially as a news reporter but later presented more light hearted stories, and Bob Warman, who presents Central News to the present day. Others who worked on the programme include Anne Diamond and Nick Owen, while Gary Newbon and Jimmy Greaves were first seen on television as sports presenters for ATV.
As a result of the success of the magazine programme format, ATV launched a number of other shows for the Midlands region. Farming Today reported on countryside matters throughout the 1970s, and the long running crime show Police 5 hosted by Shaw Taylor was first introduced as part of ATV Today during the 1960s.
Because the programme was based in Birmingham and focused primarily on news events in and around the West Midlands, it was often criticised for giving less coverage to other areas of the Midlands region such as the East Midlands. An attempt was made to address this after MPs and councillors from the East Midlands region lobbied ATV and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) for a separate ITV region. ATV believed the cost of a separate region would be too expensive, but did establish a small studio in Nottingham after renting space at the city's Theatre Royal.
In 1980, all ITV regional franchises were up for renewal and the IBA decided that ATV's lack of regional programming and production was hampering the region. It insisted that the new applicant for the franchise should be more clearly based in the region and have separate facilities for the East and West Midlands. Although ATV successfully won the new franchise, it would soon be required to change its name. The final edition of ATV Today went out at 6:00pm on 31 December 1981, It was presented by Bob Warman, Wendy Nelson and John Swallow, and took a retrospective look through the ATV news archives. ATV Today was replaced the following day by Central News.
Among those to have presented on ATV Today are Bob Warman, Anne Diamond, Geoff Meade, Chris Tarrant, Terry Lloyd, Wendy Nelson, Mike Hollingsworth, Trevor East, Gary Newbon, Jimmy Greaves, Derek Hobson and Shaw Taylor.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Buxton, R, 11 May 2008, "ATV Today - A Midland Montage", GeoHistory, Transdiffusion Broadcasting System 
- ↑ "My Life In Media: Chris Tarrant". The Independent. 22 November 2004. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/my-life-in-media-chris-tarrant-534185.html. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
- ↑ "Central News anchor Warman marks three decades at ITV". Press Gazette. 11 April 2003. http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=22647§ioncode=1. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "ATV (Associated Television) History". http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/itw/ATV/history.html.
- ↑ Barnes, S., "ATV News", TV Ark
- ATV Today - A Midland Montage article about ATV Today