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 – Yorkshire.


Yorkshire launched in July 1968 after replacing ABC and Granada who began to serve only the north-west of England. From their launch their symbol was been rather odd, what is it supposed to be exactly, a stylised “Y”, or maybe not. When after about a year colour came along in November 1969 their symbol was revised slightly and was now yellow, and that was how it would stay for many years.

I must admit that I have never really been scared by the early Yorkshire ident, but I can see why some people have admitted that they were. The music is rather odd, and if I had been a child in Yorkshire in the 70s I feel that I probably would have not liked it. Around 1982 the music was changed to being much less creepy. ytv7

Yorkshire were one of the bigger ITV regions and did contribute a lot to the network, including the soap Emmerdale which launched in 1972. Among their local programming was the news programme Calendar which was hosted by Richard Whiteley among many others. In January 1987 Yorkshire decided to modernise their look with a new computer-generated ident that was nicknamed “liquid gold”. It was definitely seen as very impressive for the time. ytv4

Yorkshire only had in-vision continuity for a very brief time, they were about the only ITV region who hardly ever used it, and their presentation style was such that they became known to viewers as being the ITV company that was the closest to being “the BBC with adverts”. Yorkshire were also pioneering in some respects, experimenting with a breakfast service in March 1977, almost six years before the launch of TV-am, and also introducing a 24-hour service in August 1986 by simulcasting the channel Music Box. Yorkshire also memorably opted-out of showing a primetime programme which they thought was too shoddy. ytv2

Among Yorkshire’s announcers was Redvers Kyle. I must admit that I hadn’t heard of him before I went online and went I first saw people talking about him on websites I actually assumed that it was the name of a transmitter, and imagined announcers saying “Redvers Kyle will be on reduced power tonight”. However, now I have heard many clips of him announcing on various trails and idents and I have to say that he is very good, and some TV fans insist that he is the best ITV announcer of them all, and he worked for Yorkshire from their launch until his retirement in 1993. ytv5

There have been other Yorkshire announcers throughout the years, I have enjoyed Paul Lally, there is a great announcement by him on TV Ark talking about “a lovely Christmas morning”, and there are also some clips of him on various sites where he seems to be having some trouble filling the time before the programme begins. Other long-runners included John Crosse and Graham Roberts. ytv8

After celebrating their 21st anniversary, Yorkshire took the 1989 ITV corporate look and used it for longer than most, but it seems that they weren’t huge fans of it. By 1994 the “Y” symbol had become the main aspect of the ident again, and was revised again a few times before the 1999 corproate look came along, which they took part in, although along with Tyne Tees they also retained an additional ident for before local programming until October 2002. Their local news programme is now called ITV News Calendar, keeping the long-running name, but that’s about as far as their local coverage goes now. ytv6