More TV Memories – The 1999 ITV Generic Look (Part 1).

In October 1998 ITV launched a new look, with a new yellow and blue lower-case symbol introduced which was designed by English and Pockett replacing the symbol that had been around since 1989. This was accompanied by a new slogan which was “TV from the heart of life”. Curiously a generic look wasn’t introduced for the regions until 13 months later in November 1999. It seems there were a few failed attempts to get the look going, but when the idents finally came to the screen they consisted of various things turning into heart shapes before the region’s name appears on a blue background of hearts which accompanied by music from David Dundas. By the end of this look in October 2002 the openings had stopped being used. Again some regions took this look and some didn’t, so let’s have a review of what exactly happened. itv

Anglia did use the look. In 1999 they were still using the same flag ident which had been introduced almost 12 years earlier! The “A” symbol did survive though as it appeared on the ident with “Anglia” underneath in yellow. vlcsnap-01039

Border did use the look. Curiously though the ident didn’t feature their long-running “B” symbol which had been around since their launch in the 1960s although I am fairly sure that it hadn’t been officially retired. vlcsnap-01040

Carlton didn’t use the look. They decided to being in their own version of a generic look in September 1999 which was designed by Lambie-Nairn, two months before the other version launched. A star within a star was added to the Carlton symbol which had been in use since their launch in 1993. Each ident would begin again with various things turning into heart shapes, before the Carlton symbol appeared with the stars in the background. There were several variations on this ident and they were very impressive. The Carlton symbol was fairly small at first and after a few months was increased in size. It also seems that there was a Carlton ident designed for the main generic look but this was rejected. vlcsnap-01041

Central didn’t use the look. A few years earlier they had been “Carltonised”, although the Central name remained on screen. In 1999 that all changed, Central took the same look as the London region, with the Central name no longer appearing on screen, although it was occasionally referred to by the continuity announcers. Needless to say, viewers weren’t very impressed at seeing their impressive graphics and cake symbol being fiddled around with before disappearing altogether.

Channel did use the look, sort of. They had the blue hearts background, but with their own ident, a globe-type symbol but only featuring the islands. vlcsnap-01042

Grampian didn’t use the look. They were still using the familiar Scottish flag symbol, and in February 2000 a few months after the generic look was introduced they launched a new blue square ident which was the same as Scottish’s. No version of the generic look was made for them.

Granada took the look, keeping their familiar symbol which was yellow and blue again just like it used to be for many years before. vlcsnap-01043

HTV did use the look… and then they didn’t. At first they used the generic look which still featured their symbol that they had introduced in 1993. But in 2001 after they were another region to be gobbled up by Carlton, instead of being “Carltonised” outright, they started to use a bizarre hybrid ident which consisted of the start of the Carlton idents with the various heart shapes which then sloppily transformed into the end of the generic HTV ident that was already being used, trying to make the star symbol mix into the “V” of the ident. vlcsnap-01044

I’ll be back looking at the rest of the regions plus additional notes next time. Again, if anyone has any comments or corrections on this piece you are welcome to reply.

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