A while ago I looked back at the attempt to relaunch ITV in 1989 with the “Get Ready For ITV” campaign, and a generic ident that would be taken by every region… except it wasn’t and the idea was abandoned rather quickly (my region Thames/LWT did take this though). Now when idents are designed, I presume that there are some things that have to be done. There has to be a distinctive symbol, an animation that lasts about five seconds, and this has to stand up to being shown probably hundreds of times over.
But although I have seen this ident a huge amount of times, I have noticed that some rather unusual things seem to happen, and I still find it rather intriguing, so I thought that I would investigate what it’s about in… What is going on in the 1989 ITV generic ident? Are there any messages? Any secret codes? Well maybe. Now you might think I am overanalysing this, but this piece is not meant to be taken too seriously!
There are five things that appear in the ident. Just like Channel 4’s original ident was made of five different-coloured interlocking things to showcase various genres, maybe this was an attempt at the equivalent of that. As the “I” appears, a dove flies along. I’m not really sure what this is supposed to represent though, that’s a good start, isn’t it. Maybe nature or documentaries?
Then we see two people, one woman in a purple hat, and a man in a green suit with his back to us having an embrace, this must represent drama, and it all looks rather exciting.
Then there’s the clock tower (the bell inside is called Big Ben), which is at 10 o’clock, representing news as the “T” appears. Of course, ITV’s main news was at 10pm in those days, it’s whenever they feel like it now really.
Then there is a discus thrower, representing sport. This reminds me that there was some athletics coverage on ITV around this time, usually on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, but those days are gone. And why is his shirt number 26?
And finally, as the “V” appears, there are two dancers, one in a yellow dress, and one in a blue dress, in front of some flashing red lights, who turn around, representing entertainment, although whether ITV ever did show anything like this I’m not sure.
I do wonder how this was put together. Did people audition for this? Were they in a room somewhere and then someone said to them “and throw the discus… now!” whilst wondering how they would edit it all together? Well it’s one way to get on the TV I suppose.