Here’s the first of my reviews of the presentation of the ITV regions based on the various clips that I have seen. We begin with Anglia, which served the east of England and came on air in October 1959, and as it never lost its franchise it became one of the longest-running of the ITV companies. When they launched, they introduced the silver Anglia knight on horseback which proved to be a very long-running symbol.
Anglia was one of the smaller ITV companies, but their knight was occasionally seen before such successful networked programmes as Sale Of The Century and Tales Of The Unexpected. The knight endured and was used until as late as March 1988, by which point unfortunately the knight and the music that accompanied him which had barely changed since the introduction of colour in 1969 looked very outdated.
Anglia around this time regularly used in-vision continuity, usually in front of a drab curtain, and they also had a birthday slot where the announcers were accompanied by a bizarre puppet called BC. Although some regions did this mine never did so watching clips of birthdays of young viewers being read out comes across as a rather peculiar phenomenon to me. Also, when Anglia closed down for the night they would play the national anthem.
In 1988 although Anglia remained proud of the knight he was finally retired. Anglia required a new look that not only would be stylish and computer-generated but also be a symbol that could be used into the 90s. They contacted Lambie-Nairn who created for them the flag symbol. It was a stark change from the knight but it did work. I must admit I couldn’t really make out what it was supposed to be at the time, although later I realised that it was several triangles that were supposed to make the shape of an “A”. There was also a bold new soundtrack.
I haven’t travelled across the UK much but many years ago when I visited relatives in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk in the early-90s I got to see some Anglia TV for myself. Even then I was interested in TV presentation so I remember seeing the flag and being fascinated by it. As a Londoner it was very odd to me seeing the same region during the weekend but it was definitely enjoyable. I also remember watching the local news coverage which seemed comparatively small time to what was covered in the bustling metropolis on Thames News.
By the early-90s in-vision continuity had been confined to nighttime only, and they had various announcers who would introduce the shows who kept viewers entertained during the small hours. Of the clips I’ve seen I’ve enjoyed Phil Fothergill and his moustache introducing Casey Kasem’s America’s Top 10 and criticising his choice of knitwear. I also enjoyed Paul Lavers before he became a star on various shopping channels having to fill for about seven minutes during a technical fault. And when a generic nighttime service was introduced on ITV in 1991 and all the announcers were dropped it seems that viewers were not happy.
Anglia didn’t use the ITV generic look introduced in 1989. Anglia’s flag fluttered for nearly 12 years, still being used in the late-90s until the second generic look came along in November 1999, and when local identity was dropped in 2002 the “A” symbol still appeared on the local news for a couple more years and eventually the flag became as respected as the knight.