Picture Post: Sunset brings a whole new meaning to sky TV

PIC: Scott Merrylees
PIC: Scott Merrylees
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As sunsets go, this one captured across Emley Moor is pretty impressive.

Taken at dusk, West Yorkshire’s landmark television transmitter is silhouetted against the vivid orange sky – a striking sight which can only really occur during the coldest months of the year.

The lights that wind around the tapering 1,084ft high structure glow a bright red, 
and can be seen for miles, making it look more like a 
work of art than a feat of engineering.

As well as providing broadcasting facilities for both BBC Yorkshire and ITV Yorkshire, the transmitter, officially named Arqiva Tower, is also a Grade II listed building, and is the tallest freestanding structure in Great Britain.

Ever since the earliest days of television, a mast has stood on this particular spot. However, disaster stuck in 1969 when the original mast, which was at the time one of the tallest standing structures in the world, was brought to the ground following a combination of strong winds and a great deal of ice which had formed around the top of the mast.

With several million people left without a TV signal and replacement was needed and fast. Work on the current mast got underway the same year and it became operational in 1971. While it has now become something of a landmark, those who lived in the shadow of the transmitter weren’t so keen and it was under pressure from them that the structure was redesigned to be more aesthetically pleasing than its predecessor.

Flickering in the foreground are the lights from homes in the village of Emley. Located between Wakefield and Huddersfield, the village dates from Anglo-Saxon times and with a population of less than 2,000, it remains one of Yorkshire’s best-preserved villages.

The transmitter which stands nearby may not be blessed with such natural beauty and it may be a stark contrast to the rolling countryside which it stands in, but on an evening such as this, the Arqiva Tower certainly makes a grand statement.

Technical details: Nikon D3s, 70-200mm lens, 800 ISO, f4, 50th sec.