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 – Tyne Tees.


Tyne Tees is the ITV region for the north-east of England, which launched in January 1959, and they never lost their licence, going on to have one of the more complicated histories as far as their presentation goes. Their first ident was rather unusual, featuring a “T” in a sort-of anchor shape.

When colour came along Tyne Tees introduced what would be their most enduring symbol, the letters “TTTV” which were yellow on a blue background. This was revised in 1979 after ITV came back from their epic strike with the symbol animating in a new way and a new soundtrack being introduced. tttv3

Tyne Tees was an ITV company that didn’t contribute much to the network, among their biggest success were the music shows The Tube (for Channel 4) and The Roxy, plus the game shows Cross Wits and Chain Letters. Their local news programme had several different names over the years including Northern Lifetttv8

Tyne Tees also had in-vision continuity for many years and I have seen plenty of clips online. Their announcers included Neville Wanless, I’m sure that he was a nice chap but he wouldn’t have lasted five minutes on Thames, and his announcements at closedown seemed rather rambling. I think that Bill Steel was much better, and he announced against various horrid coloured backgrounds throughout the years. Colin Weston who was more familiar to Granada viewers also turned up occasionally to read out some birthdays and bluff his way through various technical faults. tttv1

By 1988 the Tyne Tees ident was beginning to look rather old-fashioned having been played frequently for the last nine years, so their first computer-generated look was introduced, retaining the same symbol which was now blue on yellow and was formed together by water droplets connecting to one another on sand. In September 1988 Tyne Tees went 24 hours, one of the final ITV regions to do so. tttv4

This didn’t last long as Tyne Tees took the 1989 corporate look, but by 1991 they had dropped it for another new ident. Like some regions they actually continued to use the corporate music with their new ident. By this point the TTTV symbol was over 20 years and looked rather bad with various patterns and colours added to it, so it was time for a new look. tttv2

In 1992 a new symbol was launched, a variation on the old one with the TTTV letters finally changed for the first time since the early-70s, with new music too. This brought the Tyne Tees look into the 90s, but just as it looked like this look was going to become established, by the mid-90s things were about to change. tttv5

In September 1996 Tyne Tees was used as an experiment for different branding on ITV. They were renamed Channel 3 North East, with the new ident featuring a rather oversized “3” and some irritating music. In-vision continuity at this point was dropped. The company was still called Tyne Tees though, and even the announcers seemed confused as to what the channel was called, resulting in some ridiculous announcements such as “this is Tyne Tees Television on Channel 3 in the North East”. It was not a success, and viewers were not impressed. tttv6

Viewers got another surprise in March 1998 when the TTTV name reappeared with another new ident, and an additional special version was made for the 40th anniversary in 1999. By the end of that year they had taken the second corporate look, but also continued to use a local ident, which featured a different TTTV symbol, meaning their presentation remained vaguely shambolic to the end. By the time the name left the screen for the last time in October 2002, Tyne Tees had somehow survived for almost 45 years on screen. tttv7