More TV Memories – ITV National Weather.

ITV National Weather (ITV, 1993-1996)

A while ago I decided to take a look back on here at the Weathergens, the very impressive and creative characters who appeared in the idents that introduced the weather forecasts on ITV from 1996-2001. It has gone on to be one of my most popular pieces from the past year, so I have decided to do a sequel. This is a piece that will look at the predecessors to those, a series of idents that were used from 1993-1996 when the ITV National Weather was sponsored by Powergen. These were also very good, if not as great as the Weathergens, and they were all accompanied by a suitably stirring soundtrack. They all featured different types of weather happening against the Powergen symbol, and the one most appropriate to that day’s weather would precede the forecast. I’m fairly sure that there were 13 of these made (including a couple of minor variations), and I don’t think that any of them had an official title. In no particular order, here’s a brief description of all of them. vlcsnap-00678

1. Some ice forms on the Powergen symbol, which is then rubbed away by a hand. w1

2. A dog looks on as all of its hair is ruffled by some light wind. w2

3. A duck flaps and slides around on some ice. It also seems to move in time to the music! w3

4. Some drips of rain slide down the Powergen symbol. w4

5. Spring has sprung as some flowers bloom, much to the approval of the woman in the Powergen symbol it seems. w5

6. A very hot and sunny day. This one also features the most sombre variation of the soundtrack, with makes it oddly all a little moving. w6

7. There is snow everywhere, which then falls down to reveal the Powergen symbol, accompanied by bells and birdsong. w7

8. A rather windy one, making everything flap everywhere (I think that there was a stormier variation of this one for when it was very windy). w8

9. Some heavy rain falls (again I think that there was a stormier variation of this one featuring some flashes of thunder) which concludes with a big drip landing in the water. w9

10. A cold one featuring someone who is wearing a big coat but is still shivering, before vanishing into the air. w10

11. Some light rain falls on a few leaves. w11

12. It begins to get light, revealing some shadows under the Powergen symbol. w12

13. A rather misty one that features some flickering and buzzing neon lights. w13

UPDATE: I always wondered if I had missed one out, and it turns out that I had. There was another one of these that was used very briefly to the point that I don’t remember seeing it, featuring a lawnmower on a sunny day.


Another thing that I liked about this era was when the forecast ended, there was a still of part of the opening ident down the right side of the screen during the summary, which reminded me a little of the slide designs that were used on BBC2 from 1991-1992 (another great piece of TV presentation from the 90s). There were also edited versions of the idents shown occasionally, cut down from the usual length of about 15 seconds. vlcsnap-00691

I’ll conclude this piece with a picture of weather forecasting giant and hero to millions Martyn Davies doing his thing. Bye for now. vlcsnap-00694

More TV Memories – The ITV Weathergens.

ITV National Weather (ITV, 1996-2001)

This is a piece that I wasn’t sure about doing at first, but then I decided to go ahead. Here’s the story. Although I do like to take notice of the bits between the programmes, one area of TV presentation that has never really interested me that much is weather forecasts. Although the graphics and technology on various channels has evolved over the years, and there have been several memorable forecasters, I’ve never really thought that it was worth writing about, partly because such things do seem to have something of an awkward reputation online.

This is because there seems to be a small core of people who are mildly obsessed with old weather forecasts, seemingly needing to know what ident was shown on what day, and they probably often also ponder what Martyn Davies had for dinner before he hosted the forecast after News At Ten on 10 November 1998, and so on. However, watching some old news and weather clips online recently, I couldn’t help but be struck by a piece of weather presentation that all these years on still looked so creative and impressive to the point that I think it is worth documenting it. These are… the Weathergens.

In February 1989, ITV launched their National Weather service, which was sponsored by Powergen (one of the earliest shows on British TV to have a sponsor). In 1993, some idents were introduced to be shown before every forecast that represented the mood and weather of what was planned for that day. These were very good, but in November 1996 they were replaced by the Weathergens. There were a dozen of these remarkable characters created featuring in a 15-second sequence (including a couple of minor variations) before every weather forecast on ITV, accompanied by an equally atmospheric soundtrack. They were designed and produced by Lambie-Nairn and The New Renaissance Company. Over 20 years on they still look hugely impressive and definitely stood up to constant showings. Here’s a review of all of them… vlcsnap-00748

Aurora. This brightly-coloured one represents sun and hot weather so it wasn’t shown very often (joke). w1

Brellina. Possibly the most famous of the Weathergens, mostly for the “how did they do that?” element to it, where a woman has water shoot out of her head on a mountain of umbrellas to represent rain. There was also a variation of this one for stormier weather. I have also noticed that a lot of online commenters have described this one as “kinky”. w2

Crystella. This one stars a rather glamorous-looking woman who has become a snowflake and cloned herself to fall gently from the sky. w3

Cyan. This is a variation on Gilda, who turns around to reveal a blue-tinted woman, seemingly representing the sun going down, and the colder nighttime weather taking over. w7

Frice. This one represents frost and ice, it must have been shown a lot at the start of the year. w5

Florta. This is an autumnal one featuring a young woman who rather unhappily loses the leaves on her head. w4

Gilda. This one represents the sun going down and being replaced by rain. This was one with another stormier variation. w6

Helios. This one represents the sun poking through clouds, as illustrated by a big shiny head. w8

Mirka. This one represents mist and fog. I suppose that after watching these again all these years on I would have to say that this is my favourite of the Weathergens. This is because these idents are a rather unexpected source of what if you have read some of my pieces on pop music you might realise I seem to be a fan of – rather spooky-looking women with big hair wearing too much make-up. w9

Nimbella. This one represents rain and overcast weather, featuring some rather alarming eyelashes. This was another one with a stormier variation. w10

Norwin. This is another moody one that represents wind, which seems to mean bad news for owners of bowler hats. Again, there was a stormier variation of this one. w11

Shivra. I have noticed that a lot of the comments about these Weathergens online are “these used to scare me as a child”. Well I was never really that scared of them, although I do think that this one is probably the weirdest of the lot, featuring a shivering blue-faced boy representing the cold. w12

In October 2001, the Weathergens (following a few re-edits) finally left the screen after almost five years. I definitely think that they remain among the best collections of idents that I have seen. I do try and keep away from “so much better than nowadays!” and “why won’t they bring it back?”-type comments on here, but there really doesn’t seem to be any TV presentation as striking and lavish as this now.