More TV Memories – The 1989 ITV Generic Look (Part 2).


LWT did use the look. This being my region, and even though I was only six at the time I remember being rather surprised that they did so, with their previous ident having been used since 1986 (although it continued to be used to introduce local programmes). They used the look for about ten months longer than Thames, so it was odd seeing one region use it and not the other for a while. It was replaced in 1992 by a new ident which had “ITV” much smaller at the bottom, which was removed from it around the start of 1995. lwt

Scottish used the look for a very short time. They were on to their second computer-generated thistle ident in 1989, having already moved on from their famous “Bertie Bassett” look which was introduced in the mid-80s. scottish

Thames did use the look. Again, like LWT, I was surprised that they did, dropping the skyline ident that had served them so well for almost two decades. There was a sign of things to come when the 21st anniversary ident was introduced in the summer of 1989 which being triangle-shaped very conveniently slotted perfectly into the “V” at the end. Also, they were the only region to have a new version made when a new symbol was introduced in 1990. They dropped the look in 1991 shortly after they lost their licence. It wasn’t a coincidence. thames

TSW didn’t use the look. They had started to use a much nicer version of their ident in the mid-80s, replacing the original bizarre one. Being one of the smaller regions, TSW liked to come across as more local to their viewers than most which must have been one of the reasons that put them off taking the generic look. tsw

TVS didn’t use the look. They introduced their first computer-generated ident in 1987, which is what their generic ident was based on. They turned it down because the month the look was introduced they revealed a new ident which instantly made it outdated. Also, curiously at the end in the “V” was part of the “TVS Television” spin-off company symbol, not the proper TVS one which just confused things even more. tvs

Tyne Tees did use the look for about a year or two. They introduced a new blue on yellow ident in 1988, which replaced the more famous but rather manky looking by that time yellow on blue one. After they dropped the look, they actually still used the music for their new ident featuring the TTTV symbol in ever-more hideous colours before it was finally retired in 1993. tttv

Ulster didn’t use the look. They were still using their yellow and blue ident, although their “telly on a stick” variation had gone by this point, and it went altogether when they relaunched as UTV in 1993. utv

Yorkshire did use the look. They had been using their famous “liquid gold” ident since the mid-80s and it was still seen before local programmes. However, it seems that Yorkshire were unhappy with how much of their chevron symbol appeared in the “V” at the end, so they made a re-edit themselves where the whole of it appeared at the end and then the “ITV” disappeared to make it fill the whole screen, kind-of defeating the point of what the look what supposed to achieve in the first place. This variation was used until 1994. yorkshire

Also, when Carlton, Meridian and Westcountry took over their franchises in 1993, no generic idents were designed for them. The ITV symbol was also used in some other ways, such as to introduce ITV Sport and Children’s ITV, although this was dropped around 1992. The generic theme was also used at the start of the weather for a while, maybe a sneaky way to get the music heard in the regions that didn’t take the look.


Although it lasted for nine years, by the end the ITV symbol was usually only seen on trails, and the design for these often changed every few months like it used to on BBC1, and there were some good variations. The look was dropped in October 1998 for a new ITV symbol (and every one since has featured “itv” in lower-case letters). By the time the next attempt at a generic look came along in 1999, things at ITV would be very different indeed… itv2


3 thoughts on “More TV Memories – The 1989 ITV Generic Look (Part 2).

  1. Des Elmes says:

    TVS didn’t use their version of the ident, but did use some elements of the look – most notably the endcap, and the Palatino Italic font on their programme slides:

    Many believe that Ulster didn’t use their version of the ident because of the well-documented political situation in Northern Ireland at the time. However, it’s just as possible that they didn’t use it because they had only just introduced their first computer-generated ident:

    Finally, the generic theme was used on the weather until the arrival of Powergen’s Weathergens in late 1996. (I presume you’ll be looking back at those at some point in the future, Adam?)


    • Yes I think that for most regions the endcap was a far as they used the 1989 generic look.
      I must admit that as far as classic TV presentation goes I’m not really that interested in watching old weather forecasts, although I do think that the ITV Weathergens were very good.


      • Des Elmes says:

        Anglia hardly ever used the endcap – preferring to use their existing endcap with “for ITV” plonked at the bottom.

        Grampian, despite using the look longer than anyone else, don’t appear to have used the endcap very often either – but then again, almost all of the programmes they made were local and not networked.


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