Wednesday Trivia Question

When did UNC-TV go 24/7?

It’s hard to believe there was a time when television stations did not broadcast 24 hours a day. But for decades, TV stations would sign off overnight, often with a patriotic flair and some pageantry. UNC-TV is no exception, as the network (in the days before digital, we only broadcast the one signal, albeit statewide on many transmitters and translators) signed off at midnight. That time frame was extended until about 2am for a short while and then the full 24/7 experience that you’ve come to know and love.

But when did it happen?

If this sounds like a tough question, I assure you it is. I couldn’t recall the date or even the year. My supervisor didn’t remember. I even asked an engineer who has been with the organization even longer than I have (which is forever, it seems) and he didn’t know either. Eventually, a co-worker rummaged through some old Centerpiece magazines and found the answer.

So when did UNC-TV extend its broadcast schedule to 24 hours day? If you know the year, that’s impressive – but if you can remember the month as well then you have a far better memory than anyone who works here.

The answer? July of 2000. In fact, here is a pic of the rather unceremonious announcement in that month’s Centerpiece…

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Where Do I Know That Actor?

The Tunnel is back. The gripping crime drama kicked off season two Saturday night and continues into August. Adapted from the Danish/Swedish crime series The Bridge, the program follows two detectives (one French, one English) as they tackle crimes that span international boundaries. The show also boasts a few familiar faces. See if you caught them.

Let’s  start with the two leads – Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy – who play police detectives Karl Rosebuck and Elise Wassermann. Both actors, who return from the first series, have appeared in programs UNC-TV has broadcast before. Poésy was Isabelle in Birdsong on Masterpiece and Queen Isabella in Richard II on Great Performances in The Hollow Crown series. Dillane was Jonathan Byrne in The Rector’s Wife, Karenin in Anna Karenina, Edward Cazelet on The Cazelets and Schmidt in God On Trial, all on Masterpiece.

Angel Coulby is back as Laura Roebuck. Coulby played lead singer Jessie Taylor on Dancing On The Edge.

New for season two is Emilia Fox as Vanessa Hamilton. She was the second Mrs. De Winter in Rebecca on Masterpiece Theatre in 1997. A few years later, she was Clara Copperfield on David Copperfield. In the mid-aughts, Fox played Jane Seymour on Henry VIII and Amy Dudley in The Virgin Queen, both on Masterpiece.

Also, Stanley Townsend is Chief Supt. Mike Bowden. He played Warwick on The Hollow Crown (Henry VI) and Moscati on Masterpiece Mystery’s Zen. Going back to the early 1990s, Townsend was Thomas Sexton on Masterpiece Theatre’s series Parnell & The Englishwoman.

The Tunnel: Sabotage continues Saturday nights at 11 on UNC-TV.

Got a face you can’t place from one of the plethora of programs UNC-TV airs from the UK? Email me at sparkymac@unctv.org and I’ll try to help out.

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Longtime UNC-TV viewers may recall the name of Michael Wood. Over the years, this accomplished historian has presented incredible television documentary series covering subjects as interesting and varied as The Conquistadors, William Shakespeare, Alexander The Great, The Trojan War and The Origins Of Civilization. Now Michael Wood heads to Asia to explore the people, places and fascinating history of the world’s most populous country. The Story Of China begins Tuesday night at 8 on UNC-TV.

The airline industry hasn’t had a good year. Now Reading Rainbow‘s LeVar Burton is adding to the bad publicity with a tale of in-flight woes.

As Endeavour explored the early years of Inspector Morse, a new series delves into the origins of Jane Tennison. Starting Sunday, Masterpiece Mystery! chronicles the story of Tennison’s early years in the police force. Don’t miss Prime Suspect: Tennison – Sunday night at 10 on UNC-TV.

Speaking of Masterpiece Mystery! – host Alan Cumming is set to star in a new TV series on CBS.

Opera fans, take note. UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel now offers up world class operas every Sunday night at 7. Tune in as Great Performances At The Met presents Carmen, The Merry Widow, Il Travatore, Otello, Turandot and more – all summer long!

And if you’re on social media, you could do worse than following Michael Palin on Instagram. The Monty Python alum and world traveler posts all sorts of interesting pictures, from the personal to the retro to the unbelievably scenic.

Now let’s blow out the candles and see who’s celebrating this week…

June 19

Aidan Turner (Poldark) celebrates his 34th

Helen George (Call The Midwife) turns 33

Hugh Dancy (Daniel Deronda) is 42

Samuel West (Mr. Selfridge) marks 51 years

Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey) has her 64th

June 20

Wendy Craig (Butterflies) turns 83

Gracee O’Brien (Poldark) celebrates 20

June 22

Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers) is 85

June 23

Gerry Cowper (EastEnders) turns 59

June 24

Iain Glen (Breathless, Downton Abbey) has his 56th

Richard Lumsden (Is It Legal?) marks 52 years

June 25

Roy Marsden (Dalgliesh, The Sandbaggers) is 76

Lucy Benjamin (EastEnders) has her 47th

Hey, It’s Photo Friday!

As you may have gathered, I’m a big fan of Wishbone – the little dog with the big imagination. It was a cool show with a great premise (bring classic books to a young audience) and an ultra-cute canine star. So you can understand my surprise to stumble upon this promotional Wishbone stand-up in a co-worker’s cubicle.

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The display probably dates back to the early days of the show (mid-90s) but I’ve no idea as to its actual origins. I could ask but I don’t want to tip my hand if the cardboard doggie happens to go walkies.

Sounds Familiar

“For much of our history as a state and nation, streams and rivers were major impediments – and sources of power for grinding grain or sawing wood. Today, just the names in the form of signs harken back to the time in our history dominated by fords and mills.” – Tom Earnhardt, Exploring North Carolina (“Fords and Mills”)