MHPPick of the Continuity Announcements

The Start of ITV

No, I don't mean 1955. I mean 9.25am in the morning, or thereabouts. In the days before TV-am, when the Test Card reigned supreme as most watched daytime programme, when parents sat down with their children to watch Play School instead of Richard and Judy, when "Engineering Announcements" was the first programme of the day.

Each ITV station woke up around 9.30am in their own unique way. There tended to be an ITA or IBA white on blue "Transmitters In Service" caption for a while, occasionally an IBA logo, but then each station would present their morning welcome. This would typically be a short musical piece, often an extended version of the station's standard ident tune. In some areas this would be played over a static caption, others were more adventurous and presented a collage of images reflecting their region. All part of creating a regional identity. We don't have a full collection, but we present some examples. If you have an old recording of a start of day sequence, then let us know.

We shall start our journey, for no particular reason, in the south of the country, "Southern" land. Southern were ITV franchise holders from the fifties until 1982. This start up film, from the black and white era, shows many of the famous landmarks of Hampshire and West Sussex, to a wonderful tune "Southern Rhapsody", a development of their rather short ident tune. Play Now! Download
0:42 293K
Heading up the country, our next stop is London, and Rediffusion. I believe that this was played over the following ident, with the famous "spinning star" turning clockwise throughout. Unless of course, you know different? Play Now! Download
1:18 383K
We stay in London, for in 1968, Rediffusion merged with ABC to become Thames Television. For as long as I can remember, they used the following start up tune, supplied by Sean Hughes. It is the full version of their short ident tune, and starts with the familiar Thames mirror trick. Again, no filmed sequences, just the Thames ident whilst the music played. Play Now! Download
1:50 215K
We now pop off to the East, and Anglia's famous knight. We all remember it from Sale of the Century, but viewers tuned into Norwich were fortunate to see a full length rendition every morning Play Now! Download
0:45 339K
We also have a later morning menu rundown by the continuity announcer. Play Now! Download
0:30 57K
Onwards we go in our whistle stop tour of the country. Our next call is the midlands, and ATV. This music was played over several changing still pictures of various village scenes etc from around the midlands during the seventies up until 1981.

On occasions they would play a different piece of music, possibly called 'Life is a beautiful book'. That played over a film of a seagull flying over the midlands with lots of aerial shots of midlands towns as if seen from the birds position in the sky.

Thanks go to Ian Haggis for this clip

Play Now! Download
3:09 388K
We stay in the Midlands, but move forward in time, for when ATV turned into Central in 1981, the start of the day sequence changed as well. Play Now! Download
0:25 249K
We also have the opening music from 1985, a variation on their ident theme.
Thanks to Jeremy Rogers for this clip.
Play Now! Download
2:29 289K
Off in to Wales, and HTV Wales used the following tune, entitled "Young Kingdom" as their start up music from 1968 and throughout the seventies. It was played out over the ITA/IBA Transmitters In Service slide and a static HTV slide.
Thanks to Al Duprés for this clip.
Play Now! Download
4:33 533K
Travelling north and east, we now visit Yorkshire Television. From their Kirkstall Road studios, the following music was played every morning in the seventies. Play Now! Download
4:32 530K
By 1985, the music had changed to this more modern theme. (Thanks to Jeremy Rogers for this clip) Play Now! Download
1:51 216K

Our penultimate stop, to the Borders. Unfortunately we could not find the start up music (they had a separate piece for each day), but we just had to include this good morning announcement. Play Now! Download
0:15 30K
Our final stop, all the way down to the Channel Islands. Channel Television is by far the smallest ITV region, and produces a unique local service. This start of the day film dates from around 1980, and although rather large in size, is delightful to watch. A classical piece that I have been unable to identify, is played along with pictures of Jersey and Guernsey on a sunny day. The film shows the coastline of Fremont Point and of course the transmitter that the majority of viewers received their signals from. Play Now! Download
4:04 1845K

What do you remember about the start of day on ITV (or BBC) in your region? Join mhp-chat and let us know!

Recommended Links
You can find out about the history of many ITV companies at Jeremy Roger's Independent Teleweb

In-vision continuity announcers live on at Another Television Website

Pick of the Continuity Announcements

Last Update 06 Apr 2000