Round The Regions – HTV.

HTV

HTV was the ITV company for the west of England and Wales. When it was announced that they had won the franchise in July 1967, The outgoing company TWW seemed to think that the whole thing was such a massive injustice that they took their ball home with them and left the screen before their airtime had run out in March 1968. Because HTV were not yet ready to take to air there was a short period of a generic service known as Independent Television For Wales And West before HTV finally launched in May 1968.

When HTV launched they were known by their full name of Harlech. Their first ident is incredibly odd and the first time that I saw it I didn’t think that it was real, it was a strange monochrome thing where several lines turn into one another to create the world “HARLECH”, and it really does hurt the eyes, and it didn’t last long.

In April 1970 with the launch of colour it was time for a new look. The name was shortened to HTV and a new ident was introduced which was much more satisfactory. It consisted of some white lines on a blue background turning into the HTV symbol, which became known as “the aerial”. The music from the previous ident was retained. There were a few versions of this ident, featuring “HTV West”, and “HTV Cymru Wales” which was changed to just “HTV Wales” after all of their Welsh language programming was moved to S4C in November 1982. vlcsnap-01306

Whilst looking back at ITV idents I have noticed a pattern emerging. It seems that most regions barely altered their look from the launch of colour to almost 20 years later when computer technology started to improve. It seems that there were no modifications to the HTV ident made until 1987 when a new version of the aerial symbol was finally introduced, and it also began to appear on different coloured backgrounds in trails. htv6

HTV also had in-vision continuity for many years. It seems that HTV West used some announcers known to London viewers too, with LWT’s Peter Lewis announcing on weekdays. I have seen online a couple of HTV closedowns with Peter and he was always very good. Thames announcers Peter Marshall and Tom Edwards also appeared at weekends, and news coverage was provided by HTV Newshtv8

In August 1988 when HTV went 24 hours they decided to launch a new overnight service called Night Club, featuring various bleary-eyed announcers keeping you company throughout the whole of the night and introducing the old films, but when a generic ITV nighttime service came along in 1991 they disappointingly all got the push. Being one of the smaller regions HTV didn’t contribute a huge amount to the network, apart from the occasional drama and entertainment programme. htv9

HTV used the 1989 corporate look for a long time, but their aerial symbol was beginning to look old fashioned, and when January 1993 came they introduced a new look, with a new HTV symbol that no longer referred to West or Wales. The colours on the ident were changed over the next seven years, with the music being often changed too, and in-vision continuity was dropped about a year into this look. htv2

In 1999 HTV also took the second corporate look, but after a while they were taken over by Carlton. This was a little too late for the region to be fully “Carltonised” like Central and Westcountry had been, so in July 2001 a hybrid ident was introduced which was half-Carlton star look, half-HTV corporate look, meaning at the very least the name did survive on screen until the end of regional ITV in October 2002.

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