More TV Memories – The 1989 ITV Generic Look (Part 1).

In 1989 ITV made their first attempt to get the network together (but not in a Bruce Forsyth way). A new symbol was introduced which was designed by the company English Markell Pocket, with music by David Dundas. Each region was given their own package such as an ident, a clock, an endcap and so on. The ITV symbol was designed so that a small part of the regional symbol would appear in part of the “V”, so there would be a unified look. The countdown to the launch began in August when several promotions were ran, some as long two minutes, telling us to “get ready”, before the new symbol was introduced at the start of September. It was up to the regions whether they took the look. I’ll be reviewing how well each regional version worked, how long it was used for (if at all), and how long it had been since that region had introduced a computer-generated ident which became commonplace from the mid-80s onwards.

First of all.. what was it? The ident featured some various things which supposedly represented what ITV was all about. This included a dove, people in period costume, a clock tower, an athlete and two dancers, presumably representing their range of things such as news, drama and sport coverage. Although it could be anything frankly. Each version of the ident started with the full version of the regional symbol that was in use at the time, before it turned into ITV, with a small part of the ident placed in the “V”, combining the national and regional elements. vlcsnap-00994

Anglia didn’t use the look. About 18 months before they had introduced the flag look which they were still trying to establish which had replaced the popular but rather old-fashioned knight in 1988. Also the fact that the triangle in the ITV symbol was the other way round to the one on the flag didn’t help either so it didn’t fit well. anglia

Border did use the look for a few years. Being one of the smaller regions, their previous ident was just a white on blue caption which they had used for years, and probably would still have used into the 90s if they didn’t take the look, so it was a good chance for them to update their image. The “B” symbol (if it is a “B”) appeared well in the ident, and it was also used to introduce the local news. They also used an odd hybrid version for a while featuring the ITV symbol from a trail instead of the usual ident. border

Central used the look for a short while. However, they used an edit of it, incorporating the ident into some of their impressive graphics along with the famous “cake” symbol which they had already been using for a few years, they also used their own music too. central

Channel didn’t use the look. The smallest ITV region, they preferred to keep their current look which was their striped “CTV” symbol. channel

Grampian did use the look. They were one of the earliest regions to have a computer-generated ident, and they were the only region to use the ITV ident until it was retired just over nine years later. It must have been a very odd sight to see on screen as late as 1998, many years after every other region had given up on it, but it did use their symbol well. grampian

Granada did use the look briefly. They were still using their silent yellow on blue ident at this point, however, a mistake had somehow been made with part of the symbol at the end missing! So they decided to drop it and introduce their own idents with increasingly odd colour schemes and music. granada

HTV Wales/HTV West did use the ident until their relaunch at the start of 1993, however, because of the HTV “aerial” symbol which had been around since the early-70s, it did look a bit like it actually said “ITH”. Also I think they were the only region to edit the ident so it stayed on the “HTV” at the start without going through the animation which turned it into ITV. htv

I’ll look at the remaining regions, plus trails and extra bits in part two.

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3 thoughts on “More TV Memories – The 1989 ITV Generic Look (Part 1).

  1. Des Elmes says:

    To make a clarification: Granada never used their version of the ident, the one with a section of the ‘G-arrow’ missing (making it look like “an accent or a bl00dy pith helmet”, according to Applemask in his ‘ITV In The Face’ series).

    They did, however, use this peculiar hybrid now and again (with apologies for the quality):

    The clock, meanwhile, was even less popular than the idents – no-one used it besides Yorkshire, AFAIK. It didn’t help that its design was rather clumsy, with no hour markers and an hour hand that was almost as long as the minute hand…

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    • Thanks for your comment. Thanks for confirming the situation with Granada. I must admit I hadn’t seen that hybrid version before, it is still a surprise how such a mistake can happen though.
      As far as clocks go, I think LWT did briefly use a digital version, while Thames used an analogue version.

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      • Des Elmes says:

        Thames did indeed use their own analogue clock, superimposed over a blank ITV slide.

        However, it appears that one would have been very lucky to see this clock at a time other than 5am (leading into the ITN Morning News) and 6am (during the handover to TV-am).

        Tyne Tees apparently tried to superimpose their existing clock over a blank ITV slide as well, but the finished product never made it to air.

        Border took *their* existing clock and simply plonked the ITV logo beside it – while HTV and Grampian didn’t bother changing their clocks at all.

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