1 9 6 1 – 1 9 6 8 (UK)
The Tempo series was ITN’s main regular contribution to the presentation and discussion of the arts in general. It was launched in 1961 and came to an end in June 1968.
At a time when television was being criticised for dumbing down, Tempo – more than any other series – showed that ITV could indeed go highbrow whilst still remaining populist – a philosophy and outlook that was to continue into the 1970s and beyond with its successors Aquarius and The South Bank Show.
The shows, produced by ABC, were 30 minutes in duration and originally aired on Sunday afternoons. The Earl of Harewood, Edinburgh Festival’s Artistic Director, introduced the weekly series, which was edited by Kenneth Tynan.
Tempo consistently sought to reflect what was best and new in the arts and to examine the creative process behind the various art forms.
During the final 1968 run, Tempo repeated its distinguished group of programmes on the changing nature of contemporary culture, treating such areas as the ‘information explosion’, noise, violence and expendability.
It devoted a second group of programmes to well-known actors and actresses discussing and performing various parts. These included Dame Sybil Thorndyke in the title role of Euripides’ Media, Donald Pleasence as Arthur Goldman from Robert Shaw’s The Man In The Glass Booth, and Michael Hordern as Prospero.