• Martin Harrison


As with every campaign since 1959 this was, of course, a ‘television election’ — only more so. Never before had the parties tailored their efforts so single-mindedly to capturing the cameras’ attention. This was the year of the designer campaigns, with their blue flags, red roses and yellow umbrellas, their theatrically spectacular rallies for a generation which had never known Nuremburg, their theme tunes lifted from Brahms, Purcell and Holst and reprocessed for easy listening and, above all, their endless photo opportunities. Every party, from the largest to the Greens and the nationalists made television their first priority, and the broadcasters responded to scale. Between the election announcement and 11 June television alone carried upwards of 200 hours of programmes entirely or substantially about the election. With breakfast television joining the fray and television news on an hour during the day, the election was rarely more than 60 minutes away from the moment the sun rose on Good Morning Britain at 6.15 a.m. until the credits rolled for On The Hustings, which might be well after midnight. In the Midlands insomniac aficionados could even watch the news on Central at three in the morning.


Prime Minister Party Leader Television News Defence Policy Election Nationally 
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Copyright information

© David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Harrison

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