The YouTube Files – Christmas With Meridian.

Christmas With Meridian (ITV, 1999)

This review will probably be the last in the series, but it’s another look back at a bumper-sized continuity clip from ITV on Christmas Day (to make up for it I might go on to review some clips from Boxing Day or New Year’s Eve soon). We’re off to the Meridian region on 25 December 1999, almost 20 years ago now which is rather hard to believe. This video was uploaded by “Coldclough” to YouTube, and here are some of the highlights. vlcsnap-00850

Well I was hoping that the breaks would contain some frequently repeated low-budget local sale adverts, and I wasn’t let down. Although there were plenty for the likes of Homebase, Magnet, PC World, and so on, one that stood out to me was for Landmark that featured a Tony Slattery lookalike getting rather overexcited by their prices. Also being rather old school were Reading Wholesale (no fancy music for them) along with their price promise. vlcsnap-00842

There are also plenty of computer adverts, including Intel who have everything you need for a great internet experience, and Tiny. Also featuring is the famous Werther’s Original “now I’m the granddad” advert (which I don’t remember running as late as this), featuring uncommonly good butter-candy. And yes, there is also the DFS sale, featuring “More More More” (what an unusual choice of song). vlcsnap-00847

This video comes from about a month or two after the launch of the second ITV corporate era (and also from the early days of Digital TV, but I don’t think that many people had an OnDigital box at that point). After A Touch Of Frost ends, there’s a preview of the next episode, followed by a rather complicated Yorkshire endcap, and also a trail for the next series of London’s Burning that’s coming soon to ITV. vlcsnap-00848

Then there’s a brief promotion for “Spirit Of The South”, a slogan that had been used ever since the launch of Meridian at the beginning of 1993, featuring the excitement of ice hockey players in Basingstoke. After a trail for Bank Holiday Monday, we then get a heart-filled generic Meridian ident (not sure who the out-of-vision announcer is). It seems that it isn’t a special Christmas variation, and it reminded me that LWT thought that these we so dull by comparison to their previous looks they dropped them after a few months. vlcsnap-00849

The ident is introducing Who Wants To Milk A Franchise To Death… er, I mean Who Wants To Be A Christmas Millionaire with Chris Tarrant (sponsored by Jacob’s Twiglets), which was at the peak of its popularity as this point and was returning for its third edition of the evening. Jim from Beckenham is in the chair. Just who is the comedian with the chunky glasses? It’s for £8,000. However, this is the point where the video comes to an end. vlcsnap-00851

Round The Regions – Meridian.


Meridian became the third company to have the ITV franchise for the south-east of England after the demise of TVS. There isn’t too much to say about their presentation really, their look changed little from when they came to air in January 1993 to the end almost a decade later. Their symbol was a rather bizarre thing, a sort-of all-in-one purple, yellow and red sun and moon eclipse that would serve as the main image of Meridian for the whole time that it was on air. Also curiously the company’s full name is “Meridian Broadcasting”, not “Meridian Television”, not sure why. meridian1

Meridian did briefly have a try at some in-vision continuity, but only overnight for about the first year or two that they were on air. They were clearly trying to replicate TVS’s Late Night Late service that was popular in the late-80s, even bringing in Graham Rogers who was one of the announcers. I’m sure he enjoyed being sat there throughout the night and introducing the various shows for insomniacs including Noisy Mothersmeridian3

Meridian did have a few variations of their ident, and the music was also changed occasionally, and by the late-90s a small “ITV” was added which was a sign of things to come, and like most other regions in November 1999 they adopted the corporate look which was used until the end of regional ITV in October 2002. meridian2

Meridian didn’t contribute a huge amount of programming to the network and they didn’t come across as ambitious as TVS were, seemingly realising their place as a mid-ranking ITV company. They did make lots of local programming though, and also co-produced a few memorable CITV shows including Wizadora and Zzzap! Meridian also produced a few programmes in the early days of Channel 5. vlcsnap-01307

As far as their local news coverage goes, Meridian Tonight was the main programme which was usually hosted by Fred Dinenage who has been a popular presenter on ITV in the south-east of England back to the Southern days, and he is still there, hosting the current equivalent ITV News Meridian.