Fifty years ago, the television transmitter on Emley Moor had collapsed taking channels off the air for millions of viewers across Yorkshire. With only BBC1 available, engineers worked around the clock using oxy-acetylene cutting apparatus and cranes to move large sections of the circular top half of the mast, some of which had fallen on to the road.

At one point, Yorkshire Television even considered transmitting programmes from an aircraft or a barrage of balloons.

As the 1,265ft transmitter toppled to the ground the two-and-a-half diameter steel guy ropes lashed into a chapel 50 yards from its base, wrecking the roof and parts of the walls. Two men inside, both wearing crash helmets, escaped. One dived under a pew for safety as the ropes cut into the roof “just like a wire cutting cheese.”

The cause of the collapse seemed to be the weight of ice on the mast and guy wires. A spokesman for the ITA at the time admitted that they didn’t have any equipment to combat the ice on Emley Moor or any of their masts. “We don’t have a method of de-freezing. This accident was the first of its kind and it was not envisaged that there would be so much trouble with ice.”

Two days later the hopes of transmitting Yorkshire Television to viewers across the district had faded, as adverse weather conditions put a halt to the replacement of a temporary 200ft mast.

In 1971, the mast was finally replaced by a concrete structure which still stands today.