TSW was the second company for ITV in the south-west of England. They actually replaced the outgoing Westward in August 1981, but maintained their name until it was time for their launch in January 1982. Their first programme was a rather odd affair hosted by Lennie Bennett for some reason who insisted that TSW would stand for “Television Simply Wonderful”. We’ll see about that…
TSW’s first ident was a very odd thing which almost defies description. Needless to say that there hasn’t really been an ITV ident like it before or since. Was it was actually supposed to be was something that viewers had to interpret for themselves as it seemed to reveal and mean nothing about the region. As for me, I always that it was supposed to be some bananas in a fruit bowl, but I am probably wrong about that.
After a few years a computer-generated version of the ident was introduced along with a new soundtrack. This looked much better than the first ident but it was still rather curious. TSW was one of the smaller regions who decided to concentrate on local programming including their news programme TSW Today and so it was very clear that the 1989 corporate look wasn’t going to be for them. They didn’t produce too much for the network during the time that they were on air.
TSW had in-vision continuity for the whole of its run, with various announcers including Judi Spiers and Ruth Langsford who went on to bigger things. There was also Roger Shaw and Ian Stirling who seemed to be the most popular of the announcers. I have enjoyed the clips that I have seen of Ian online, including him seeming to forget the name of the film he was introducing, his descriptions of what was happening in the soaps, and laughing his way through a closedown because he thought that the film that had just finished was really good.
TSW did do some things differently to some regions. They scheduled some programmes including soaps in unusual slots and I think at closedown time that they were one of the few regions to feature a shipping forecast and an epilogue. When in September 1988 the time came to go 24 hours TSW seemed rather reluctant to join in all this, providing a rather half-hearted service that just consisted of showing Granada’s coverage with an occasional pre-recorded message.
TSW were another region to have a regular birthday slot and this featured the puppet rabbit Gus Honeybun who was very popular with viewers. He had also appeared on Westward and people of all ages were eager to have their birthday read out by the presenter on the chance that he might wave to them.
By 1989 TSW rarely used their main ident, and started to use seasonal ones instead, along with extra ones for occasions including Christmas and New Year. In October 1991 TSW lost their licence, and at the end of 1992 when it was time for them to go Ian Stirling and Ruth Langsford appeared on the sofa one final time to say goodbye. Poor old Gus was retired after 31 years too. From 1993 there would be more changes to come.