London SE1 website team

South Bank studios hit by ITV strike

A strike by broadcasting unions Amicus and BECTU disrupted production at ITV's London Studios on the South Bank this week, including Parkinson and Saturday Night Takeaway.

The strike, aimed at restarting talks over this year's pay claim also shut down Friday's recordings of Coronation Street, Emmerdale, and Heartbeat.

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeway was pre-recorded on Tuesday by staff instructed to report for duty at short notice, preventing the unions from issuing legal strike instructions to them.

Efforts to transmit another live entertainment programme, Hit Me Baby One More Time, were marred by a serious accident when an independent lighting contractor fell through a trap-door on the set, which had been hastily moved to a BBC studio to avoid strike action.

The incident occurred after BBC safety representatives had inspected the studio during rehearsals, and issued an official warning that the absence of guard rails and kick-boards on the 2.5m high set posed a severe hazard to the mainly freelance crew working on the show.

Friday's edition of This Morning would have been affected by the strike had it not been replaced by live coverage of the Pope's Funeral.

The two unions have condemned boardroom pay at ITV plc where chief executive Charles Allen has received a bumper remuneration package of 8.7 million. ITV's finance director is also reported to be paid 1m a year.

The filming of this week's edition of Parkinson has also had to move to a smaller studio to accommodate the pre-recording of Ant and Dec.

Both unions will be taking further action at Granada London (LWT) starting again at 7am on Friday 15 April.

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