More TV Memories – ITV In The 80s (Part 2).

This is the second part of my look back at ITV in the 80s. ITV1

LWT introduced their red, white, and blue symbol in 1970, and then this was revised in 1978. A computer-generated version had been around locally since around 1983 (maybe the first one all of the ITV companies?), but the main ident wasn’t changed until August 1986, and there were two variations. They were rather classy, featuring another minor revision of the symbol, and they were still occasionally seen as late as 1992 (and survived on the endcap until 1996). LWT1

Scottish had used their “STV” look for a long time. This was then changed in August 1985 to a rather stylised “thimble” symbol. The colours of pinks and blues, along with the combination of spheres and cubes, made viewers think this looked a little like some Liquorice Allsorts. This was then changed in 1988, meaning that Scottish were on their second computer-generated symbol before some regions had barely established their first. This was used in various styles until as late as 2000. Scottish1

Thames had been using their famous “skyline” look since 1969. It was revised a few times, and it was still being used almost two decades later. Although it was a design classic, it really was time for a change. A new version of the symbol was introduced for the 21st anniversary in July 1989, and this was one of the biggest changes of any region. Also, Thames were the final region to inform us that their shows were a “colour production”. The fact that this endcap was still being used right up until the launch of the generic look in September 1989 is rather remarkable really. Thames1

TSW‘s ident at their launch in 1982 was a really strange mess of all kinds of mismatched things floating around for no reason. It might have been memorable but it was so odd. In May 1985 this was replaced by something more straightforward that formed together in a much more slick and pleasing style, although it was rarely seen by the late-80s. TSW1

TVS introduced their multicoloured symbol when they launched in 1982. Their new look came in September 1987, keeping their “shell” symbol, although it was now a rather cold blue colour. This was updated in 1989 and was used until the closure in 1992. One of the better ones. TVS1

Tyne Tees had been using their “TTTV” symbol since the early-70s. Many years later, this was still being used, and the ident looked very old and tired. There was finally change in September 1988, where droplets of rain on sand formed the symbol, which was now blue on yellow instead of yellow on blue (70s idents were very blue). Further variations were introduced in the early-90s, but by now the symbol probably had the worst case of old symbol/new graphics clash (even more than Granada and HTV), and along with the colour combinations, this looked horrible, frankly. A stop was finally put to this nonsense when an all-new (if less distinctive) symbol was introduced in 1992, but at least it looked like something designed in the 90s. TyneTees1

UTV were another region that didn’t go for very fancy graphics, being known for their not very expensive-looking “telly on a stick” symbol, or a static caption. Although by September 1987 there had been an upgrade, the unusual symbol dealing with the modernisation better than most did. Variations of this were used until the big relaunch in 1993. UTV1

Yorkshire were yet another region that had barely altered their symbol since the introduction of colour, with their rather creepy and static yellow symbol. They were another region to embrace computer-generated graphics early, and in January 1987 they went all the way, putting a lot of time and effort into a new ident… this time in 3D! Several computers worked overtime to create the “Liquid Gold” ident, where the symbol appeared from a pool of gold to fly into the air. This was definitely one of the better designs, and was used on local programming well into the 90s.Yorkshire1

In conclusion, it seems that the process of all the ITV regions changing over to computer-generated idents took almost five years. Grampian were the first, in April 1985, and Border were the last, in September 1989 (although Channel remains unclear unfortunately). The biggest changes came in the Anglia, Scottish, and Thames regions.

Round The Regions – Scottish.


Scottish Television has been the ITV company for central Scotland since August 1957, only Granada have held their franchise for longer of all the regional companies. Their first ident in the monochrome era featured a lion that span round and formed part of the Scottish symbol.

About a year or so after the introduction of colour television, a new symbol was introduced, which featured a tartan-style pattern forming into the STV symbol, and this was used for about 15 years. Also during this time an onscreen clock was regularly used which prominently featured the symbol. stv5

In August 1985 STV brought in a new look and became one of the first ITV regions to have a computer-generated ident. The idea was that it was a somewhat abstract version of a thistle, made out of various cubes and spheres that form together. With the pinks and blues used on a grey background, it does look very mid-80s, and it would became known to viewers as “Bertie Bassett”. They also reverted to using the full Scottish Television name, and there were a few special variations made including one for the 30th anniversary in 1987. stv1

There isn’t a huge amount of Scottish continuity clips online but the ones that I have seen of their presentation have been rather enjoyable and interesting, especially from the 80s. In the mid-80s Scottish did use in-vision continuity with various announcers, including Steve Hamilton who would become better known nationally as the voiceover on Wheel Of Fortune for the whole of its 13-year run on ITV. By the late-80s though in-vision was only used after the launch of Scottish’s night time service in 1988 before being phased out altogether. stv2

Scottish weren’t that interested in taking the first ITV corporate look, and preferred to establish the thistle symbol. In January 1989 a new look was introduced, meaning that Scottish were already on to their second computer-generated ident. Also, Scottish didn’t produce a huge amount of programming for the network, but some of their most memorable shows include CITV’s Fun House, the game show Win, Lose Or Draw, and dramas such as Taggart and Take The High Roadstv4

Scottish decided to keep the second thistle symbol throughout the whole of the 90s, although it was modified on a few occasions as the years went by, and there were also some nice variations created for Christmas and Hogmanay. Scottish didn’t use the second corporate ITV look, keeping the thistle on screen. stv3

In February 2000 Scottish’s new blue square look was introduced in-line with Grampian, and this was the look that would be used for the next six years. I must admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of lifestyle idents but several of them were introduced to help create a new image. I haven’t seen many clips of Scottish’s news coverage but I do know that their main programme was Scotland Todaystv6

In May 2006 Scottish decided to have another relaunch, again returning to the STV name, and Grampian also took this look meaning that their name left the screen. Although regional presentation has long gone from ITV in England and Wales, it still survives in Scotland, with the STV name still being used meaning that there is still a local feel to programming remaining north of the border.