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The televised coverage of the Moon landing was ITV’s longest-ever production – from 6:00 pm on Sunday 20 July to 9:00 am the following morning.
ITN provided the bulk of the coverage of the Apollo 11 mission for the United Kingdom’s then sole commercial television station. The main frontman for the bulletins in the “Moon Studio” was Alastair Burnet, assisted by science correspondent Peter Fairley and former employee of NASA Paul Haney.
For 12 hours, running straight through the night, these three explained and interpreted and told exactly what was going on in a special programme entitled Man On The Moon:
The dramatic moments when the news came through that the Eagle module had parted from Columbia, the descent, so incredibly swift, and the point when there flashed on the screen “8 minutes, 35 seconds to touchdown” which was the closest man had ever been to the Moon.
News and comments on the Moon mission alternated with David Frost’s gala “Moon Party” variety show – featuring personalities such as Peter Cook, Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, Lulu, Mary Hopkin, Sammy Davis Jr., Engelbert Humperdinck, Hattie Jacques and Eric Sykes – and a phone-in session.
Author Ray Bradbury objected to what he saw as the frivolous tone of the show and walked out before he could be interviewed.
All that are known to exist from the ITV archives are two taped interviews by Peter Sissons at Jodrell Bank. Footage from Houston while the craft descended onto the Moon, showing on-screen data, also exists.