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 – TSW.


TSW was the second company for ITV in the south-west of England. They actually replaced the outgoing Westward in August 1981, but maintained their name until it was time for their launch in January 1982. Their first programme was a rather odd affair hosted by Lennie Bennett for some reason who insisted that TSW would stand for “Television Simply Wonderful”. We’ll see about that…

TSW’s first ident was a very odd thing which almost defies description. Needless to say that there hasn’t really been an ITV ident like it before or since. Was it was actually supposed to be was something that viewers had to interpret for themselves as it seemed to reveal and mean nothing about the region. As for me, I always that it was supposed to be some bananas in a fruit bowl, but I am probably wrong about that. tsw1

After a few years a computer-generated version of the ident was introduced along with a new soundtrack. This looked much better than the first ident but it was still rather curious. TSW was one of the smaller regions who decided to concentrate on local programming including their news programme TSW Today and so it was very clear that the 1989 corporate look wasn’t going to be for them. They didn’t produce too much for the network during the time that they were on air. tsw6

TSW had in-vision continuity for the whole of its run, with various announcers including Judi Spiers and Ruth Langsford who went on to bigger things. There was also Roger Shaw and Ian Stirling who seemed to be the most popular of the announcers. I have enjoyed the clips that I have seen of Ian online, including him seeming to forget the name of the film he was introducing, his descriptions of what was happening in the soaps, and laughing his way through a closedown because he thought that the film that had just finished was really good. tsw4

TSW did do some things differently to some regions. They scheduled some programmes including soaps in unusual slots and I think at closedown time that they were one of the few regions to feature a shipping forecast and an epilogue. When in September 1988 the time came to go 24 hours TSW seemed rather reluctant to join in all this, providing a rather half-hearted service that just consisted of showing Granada’s coverage with an occasional pre-recorded message. tsw7

TSW were another region to have a regular birthday slot and this featured the puppet rabbit Gus Honeybun who was very popular with viewers. He had also appeared on Westward and people of all ages were eager to have their birthday read out by the presenter on the chance that he might wave to them. tsw3

By 1989 TSW rarely used their main ident, and started to use seasonal ones instead, along with extra ones for occasions including Christmas and New Year. In October 1991 TSW lost their licence, and at the end of 1992 when it was time for them to go Ian Stirling and Ruth Langsford appeared on the sofa one final time to say goodbye. Poor old Gus was retired after 31 years too. From 1993 there would be more changes to come. tsw5