Glamour and aspiration: women's employment and the establishment of Midlands ATV, 1956-1968

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This article uses an extant collection of television news inserts and other television ephemera to examine women's employment at Midlands ATV. Focusing on the years between the first Midlands News broadcasts in 1956 until major contract changes across the ITV network in 1968, it examines the jobs women did during this formative period and their chances for promotion. In particular it suggests that contemporary ideas of glamour and their influence in screen culture maintained a significant influence in shaping women's employment. This connection between glamorous television aesthetics and female employees as the embodiment of glamour, especially on screen, did leave women vulnerable to redundancy as ‘frivolity’ in television was increasingly criticised in the mid-1960s. However, this article argues that the precarious status of women in the industry should not undermine historical appreciation of the value of their work in the establishing of television in Britain. Setting this study of Midlands ATV within the growing number of studies into women's employment in television, there are certain points of comparison with women's experience at the BBC and in networked ITV current affairs programmes. However, while the historical contours of television production are broadly comparable, there are clear distinctions, such as the employment of a female newscaster, Pat Cox, between 1956 and 1965. Such distinctions also suggest that regional news teams were experimenting with the development of a vernacular television news style that requires further study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-649
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • ATV regional television
  • ephemera
  • glamour
  • Midlands
  • television news
  • women


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