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Encyclopedia > Toddlers' Truce

The Toddlers' Truce was a piece of early British television scheduling policy. It required that transmission be halted for an hour each weekday between 6.00pm and 7.00pm (ie, between the close of children's TV and the evening schedule) in order that very young children, known as "toddlers" in British English, could be put to bed.



The Truce probably originated when the BBC resumed television broadcasting after the Second World War in 1946. As a policy, it remained fairly uncontroversial until Independent Television (ITV) began transmission in 1955. During the creation of ITV, the Truce was accepted as policy by the Postmaster General, Earl De La Warr, in the interests of smoothing relations between them and the fledgling Independent Television Authority (ITA). The problem became apparent in 1956 when the ITV franchise-holders under the ITA's jurisdiction were struggling to stay in business. Since the BBC were (and still are) funded by a television licence fee, their budget was not related to the number of hours of transmission and indeed the Truce actually saved them money. ITV, on the other hand, were funded entirely by advertising; the Truce caused a loss of much-needed revenue during the hour's closedown. Supporters of ITV, which had faced strong political opposition, argued that the Truce had little to do with social responsibility and was simply a way to give the BBC an unfair advantage. This article is an overview article about the Crown chartered British Broadcasting Corporation formed in 1927. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Independent Television (ITV) is the name given to the original network of British commercial television broadcasters, set up to provide competition to the BBC. In England and Wales the channel was recently rebranded ITV1 by ITV plc who own the regional broadcasting licences for the regions. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... In the United Kingdom, the Postmaster General is a now defunct ministerial position. ... Herbrand Edward Dundonald Brassey Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr (June 20, 1900 - January 28, 1976), known as Lord Buckhurst from 1900 until 1915 (and sometimes nicknamed Buck de la Warr after that), was a British National Labour politician in the 1930s. ... The Independent Television Authority (ITA) was a body created by the Television Act 1954 to supervise the creation of Independent Television (ITV), the first commercial television network in the United Kingdom. ... Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A television licence (or more correctly broadcast receiver licence, as it usually also pays for public radio) is an official licence required in many countries for all owners of television (and sometimes also radio) receivers. ...


The ITA had encouraged the ITV companies (Granada Television, ABC Television, ATV and Associated-Rediffusion) to seek the abolition of the Truce since transmission began in 1955, but it was only in July 1956 that action was finally taken. This was probably the result of a lack of effective cooperation between the companies rather than any political objection. Indeed, the Postmaster General, at this point Charles Hill, had always disliked the policy as an example of the BBC's paternalism toward its audience:- This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... ABC logo, 1960s ABC Television or ABC Weekend TV was the British Independent Television (ITV) (commercial television) contractor on Saturdays and Sundays in the Midlands and North of England between 1956 and 1968. ... Associated TeleVision Limited, later ATV Network and best known simply as ATV, was a British ITV company from 1955 until 1981. ... Associated-Rediffusion, later Rediffusion London, was the British Independent Television (commercial television) contractor for London, on weekdays between 1954 (transmissions started on September 22, 1955) and July 29, 1968. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Look up July in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Charles Hill, Baron Hill of Luton (15 January 1904 —22 August 1989) M.D., was an English administrator, doctor and television executive. ...

This restriction seemed to me absurd and I said so. It was the responsibility of parents, not the state, to put their children to bed at the right time... I invited the BBC and the ITA to agree to its abolition...

The BBC could not, however, be persuaded to accept the abolition of the Truce or even to a compromise (reducing the period to 30 minutes). Hill, whose decision it ultimately was, eventually tired of the disagreement and asked Parliament for the abolition of the Truce which they agreed to by 31 October 1956. However, the BBC and ITA could not even agree on an acceptable date for the abolition to take place, so Hill decided on Saturday 16 February 1957. October 31 is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 61 days remaining. ... Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... February 16 is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Subsequent use of the time

The BBC filled in the missing hour with a music programme, Six-Five Special from the first Saturday and with the Tonight news magazine from Monday to Friday (the Truce did not apply on Sundays). In fact the 6.00pm-7.00pm has ever since been devoted to news, especially regional news, on both BBC1 and ITV. The Six-Five Special was a television programme launched in February 1957 when both television and rock and roll were in their infancy in Britain. ... Tonight was a BBC television current affairs programme presented by Cliff Michelmore and broadcast in Britain live on weekday evenings from 1957 to 1965. ... BBC One (or BBC1 as it was formerly styled) is the oldest United Kingdom, and indeed, the world. ...


  • Sendall, Bernard Independent Television in Britain: Volume 1 - Origin and Foundation 1946-62 London: The Macmillan Press Ltd 1982 ISBN 0-333-30941-3, Chapter 30ii: "The End of the Toddlers' Truce"



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