1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 8 (UK)
Unheralded by advance publicity, a new and vital ITV programme slipped quietly on to Northern screens in the winter of 1963.
Mike Scott, Peter Eckersley, James Murray, Brian Trueman, Bill Grundy, Michael Parkinson, Bob Greaves and Chris Kelly were among those presenting the latest in pop stars, pets and politicians in this half-hour daily regional magazine programme of news, current affairs and topical features which aired at (you guessed it) 6.30 pm.
The series was produced by Granada in Manchester. It was a magazine programme for the North and of the North, with a very irreverent northern anti-metropolitan feel. Although nominally a current affairs show, it featured entertainment guests every night of the week.
Scene at Six-Thirty was able to get the best new bands into the studio before their record had hit the charts, stealing a march on the opposition. One of those bands was The Beatles.
On 22 November 1963, the programme had been on the air five minutes when the telephone rang in the newsroom adjacent to the studio. It was CBS in New York with the tip that President John Kennedy had been shot.
There was a rule that individual programme companies should never pre-empt ITN on big news. Denis Forman, the senior Granada executive present at the time, called ITN and was told they were not going to break into the schedules with the story until they had it from their own reporter in America.
On impulse, Forman decided to go ahead, and Mike Scott broke the news to northern viewers half-an-hour before it reached the rest of the country.
The title was eventually shortened to Scene.