This is a piece that I have been looking forward to bringing you because this is a region that I remember watching myself. London Weekend Television launched in July 1968 and they hoped to be a success on ITV. Their first ident was rather basic and was accompanied by a rather odd piece of electronic music.
After about a year when colour was introduced in 1969 they launched a new ident with a new piece of music. But it wasn’t until September 1970 that LWT introduced the look which would remain in various styles for the next 26 years. It featured a blue, white and red stripe that would from an “L” and a “W” to another new piece of music.
In September 1978 this ident was modified to now say “LWT” and the music was tweaked slightly. This look was often parodied on the terrific comedy sketch show End Of Part One, which also took the mickey out of LWT’s continuity announcers. LWT had various announcers including the great Peter Lewis although in-vision continuity was phased out by 1983.
In 1983 LWT introduced a new ident, and I am not sure if this is the first-ever ident that was fully computer-generated to be used by an ITV company, as it was never shown nationally. It seems that the first ITV region to feature a computer-generated ident that was shown nationally before and after their programmes was Grampian in 1985.
LWT didn’t have much news coverage in their early days. From January 1982 the news was hosted by their continuity announcer, and the reports were provided by a news agency, they had no news service themselves. The regulator wasn’t very impressed by this and they finally launched LWT News in January 1988 which would last for the next five years until LNN took over.
LWT were one of the biggest of the ITV companies and they were definitely the most showbizzy, which a big commitment to various local programming, and also providing a variety of entertainment programmes for the network during the weekend which won many awards. LWT also often ran trails promoting their programmes as featuring “The Entertainers”. In August 1986 they introduced a new look, with a slightly modified LWT symbol and a new soundtrack. Two idents were created which looked very impressive at the time. There are lots of LWT continuity clips online, I have enjoyed watching some closedowns with Peter Lewis as the announcer, and when LWT went 24 hours in 1987 they launched Night Network which ran for a few years.
LWT were very keen to take the ITV corporate look in September 1989, which came just after their 21st anniversary that they celebrated with some special programmes. This lasted for the next three years, when they introduced another new look in September 1992, with LWT now appearing in 3D. This was dropped for a similar ident in 1994, but was reinstated in 1995 although the “ITV” no longer appeared at the bottom.
In August 1996 it was time for another new look. Out went the blue, white and red look which was replaced by a new symbol and another new piece of music. Again there were also several creative trails made which heavily featured the symbol and LWT’s programming remained successful going into the 90s, and they celebrated their 30th anniversary in 1998 with a season of various programmes looking back at the archive.
When the second corporate look came along in November 1999, LWT did take it, but they didn’t seem very enthusiastic about it, the LWT symbol looked rather drab on the screen and it they felt that it didn’t come across as very exciting to look at compared to some of their graphics, so they decided to make some changes.
LWT were the only region to drop the look, replacing it in March 2000 which a much livelier ident that they felt was much more suitable, and that’s how it stayed until October 2002. When it was time for LWT to leave the screen, they decided that it was a big occasion and did a few special things on their final weekend, including a recreation of a startup, and ending with long-serving continuity announcers Trish Bertram and Glen Thompsett appearing in-vision to say goodbye before a quick look at some of LWT’s best bits. Now that’s the way to send off a great station.