Tyne Tees is the ITV region for the north-east of England, which launched in January 1959, and they never lost their licence, going on to have one of the more complicated histories as far as their presentation goes. Their first ident was rather unusual, featuring a “T” in a sort-of anchor shape.
When colour came along Tyne Tees introduced what would be their most enduring symbol, the letters “TTTV” which were yellow on a blue background. This was revised in 1979 after ITV came back from their epic strike with the symbol animating in a new way and a new soundtrack being introduced.
Tyne Tees was an ITV company that didn’t contribute much to the network, among their biggest success were the music shows The Tube (for Channel 4) and The Roxy, plus the game shows Cross Wits and Chain Letters. Their local news programme had several different names over the years including Northern Life.
Tyne Tees also had in-vision continuity for many years and I have seen plenty of clips online. Their announcers included Neville Wanless, I’m sure that he was a nice chap but he wouldn’t have lasted five minutes on Thames, and his announcements at closedown seemed rather rambling. I think that Bill Steel was much better, and he announced against various horrid coloured backgrounds throughout the years. Colin Weston who was more familiar to Granada viewers also turned up occasionally to read out some birthdays and bluff his way through various technical faults.
By 1988 the Tyne Tees ident was beginning to look rather old-fashioned having been played frequently for the last nine years, so their first computer-generated look was introduced, retaining the same symbol which was now blue on yellow and was formed together by water droplets connecting to one another on sand. In September 1988 Tyne Tees went 24 hours, one of the final ITV regions to do so.
This didn’t last long as Tyne Tees took the 1989 corporate look, but by 1991 they had dropped it for another new ident. Like some regions they actually continued to use the corporate music with their new ident. By this point the TTTV symbol was over 20 years and looked rather bad with various patterns and colours added to it, so it was time for a new look.
In 1992 a new symbol was launched, a variation on the old one with the TTTV letters finally changed for the first time since the early-70s, with new music too. This brought the Tyne Tees look into the 90s, but just as it looked like this look was going to become established, by the mid-90s things were about to change.
In September 1996 Tyne Tees was used as an experiment for different branding on ITV. They were renamed Channel 3 North East, with the new ident featuring a rather oversized “3” and some irritating music. In-vision continuity at this point was dropped. The company was still called Tyne Tees though, and even the announcers seemed confused as to what the channel was called, resulting in some ridiculous announcements such as “this is Tyne Tees Television on Channel 3 in the North East”. It was not a success, and viewers were not impressed.
Viewers got another surprise in March 1998 when the TTTV name reappeared with another new ident, and an additional special version was made for the 40th anniversary in 1999. By the end of that year they had taken the second corporate look, but also continued to use a local ident, which featured a different TTTV symbol, meaning their presentation remained vaguely shambolic to the end. By the time the name left the screen for the last time in October 2002, Tyne Tees had somehow survived for almost 45 years on screen.