TVS was the second company to have the ITV franchise for the south and south-east of England, replacing Southern in January 1982. Their first ident was rather eye-catching for the time as their symbol consisted of more than one colour! Two versions were made, one used on weekdays, and one at weekends. It was a shell/flower-type thing that was split into six parts and would be used in various forms throughout the whole of their run.
When they launched they did have in-vision continuity with announcers including Christopher Robbie and Brian Nissen who stayed on from Southern. Of the clips that I have seen, the announcer that I have enjoyed watching the most is Malcolm Brown, he came across as very entertaining, always having an interesting comment to make about the programmes.
Around the mid-80s TVS in promotions started to refer to themselves by their full name of “Television South” which sounded curiously old-fashioned. In September 1987 there were the first major changes to TVS’s presentation. A new computer-generated ident was introduced and in-vision continuity was dropped. Also around this time the design on trails became much more creative.
TVS would be one of the more ambitious ITV companies, they were determined to break into the big five and become a nationwide success but it didn’t really work out for them. For a comparatively small region they produced a lot for the network, including Saturday Morning shows No. 73 and Motormouth, and some of my favourite children’s programmes of the time including the earliest series of Art Attack and How 2, plus the game shows Catchphrase, Concentration and All Clued Up. They also made lots of local programming and their main news programme which won some awards was called Coast To Coast and the hosts included Fred Dinenage (as if it could be anyone else).
When TVS used to close down, the sequence included various things such as a look at the clock and an epilogue called Company. When they went 24 hours they introduced a new overnight strand called Late Night Late which featured the return of various in-vision announcers introducing the mix of old films and sitcoms that they had in the archive.
TVS showed no interest in taking the 1989 corproate look partly because they had just launched their third and final look, this time featuring the symbol on a more blue background. In October 1991 though it was announced that they would lose their franchise. When the end came in December 1992 the final programme was Goodbye To All That, which was hosted by Fred Dinenage and Fern Britton and was much more dignified than most finales as they and various others had a celebratory look at their 11 years on air.
In their later years TVS tried to take over some production companies and their archive has changed hands a lot since they left the screen, however the rather awkward situation of paperwork being mislaid means that none of their programming is likely to be repeated on TV or released on DVD any time soon, so that’s bad luck for Bobby Davro.
Of all the ITV regions that I have been able to watch archive clips of online, I think that the region that I would have most liked to live in to watch their coverage if I had the choice would be TVS. I have liked their presentation and announcers, and they made more of an attempt to create an impression nationally with their programmes than others, and it was unfortunate that it didn’t work out for them, but I am still a fan of them.