Round The Regions – Westcountry.

WESTCOUNTRY

Westcountry became the third ITV company in the south-west of England when they replaced TSW in January 1993. Their idents consisted of a big “W” through which various scenes could be seen, with the rest of the screen having a frosted effect. And that was about as much as Westcountry’s presentation evolved in its original version, although the backgrounds were changed regularly, with different versions for various seasons plus Christmas and New Year.

Westcountry were definitely one of the most low-key of all of the ITV companies, it is fair to say that they remained committed to providing local programming and barely contributed anything to the network, I don’t ever recall seeing anything in the 90s that was credited to being a Westcountry production for ITV. Also, their main news programme was called Westcountry Livevlcsnap-01314

Westcountry also never had in-vision continuity, but they did have various announcers over the years and their main one was Peter Griffin (hur-hur). I have also read that Philip Elsmore briefly announced on Westcountry in their early days, the only region he worked for after the demise of Thames, although unfortunately I haven’t found any clips that feature him, but I am sure that he was very good. west1

Westcountry also had a birthday slot called Birthday People, but it didn’t feature Gus Honeybun who had been retired when TSW closed. It seems that viewers just didn’t enjoy a Gus-free birthday show as much despite the best efforts of the presenters. Also, although Westward/TSW favourite Ian Stirling didn’t work for Westcountry as an announcer, he did host a few programmes visiting various parts of the region. west2

The Carlton website was added to idents in early-1999 which should have given viewers a sign of what was to come. The first major change to Westcountry’s presentation was when they were “Carltonised” in September 1999 along with Central, and after just over six years the “W” was removed and replaced with the star and hearts look, meaning that the region was now called “Carlton Westcountry”. Also, because they broadcast seven days a week the star symbol unlike in London was seen seven days a week. Carlton idents being aired on a Sunday. It’s just not right! west3

When the ITV1 look was launched in October 2002, regional idents did just about survive. They were usually only shown though before the local news. This means rather oddly that because these weren’t used in the London region where Carlton launched in 1993, the Carlton star survived on screen for longer on Westcountry and Central! west4

After a while ITV1’s look was changed again and for a short while the local ident accidentally said “West”. The Westcountry name does just about survive though to this day, the main local news programme is now actually called ITV News West Country, I’m not sure when they finally decided that “Westcountry” is actually two words.

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