We Are One (Honest) 

2 February 2004 tbs.pm/3433

By it’s very nature of being a series of seperate regional franchises, ITV had never really been able to present a united front.

That’s not to say it hadn’t tried. There had been several logos used to try and represent the whole network, and in 1989 there was even an attempt to unite the network under one generic ident. It failed.

Tyne Tees/ITV 1989 ident

It failed because each company was seperate and many were afraid of loosing their identity. The 1989 ident was shunned by Granada and TVS amongst others, and Yorkshire wouldn’t use it until it had been re-edited. In contrast Tyne Tees was one of the small band of strong users of the ident – the other notable company being Grampian who used it non-stop until 1999.

Moving on a bit…

Ten years later, ITV had changed. Instead of the network being run by a large number of companies, each fiercely independent, there were now three major ITV groups (Granada, Carlton and United News and Media) owning everything apart from Scottish, Grampian, Border, Ulster and Channel.

Even worse, the network was coming under attack from the increasing raft of pay-channels on satellite and cable. The ideal of promoting a more united front was recognised as being “necessary” in order to enable ITV to compete effectively in the digital age.

In an era when Granada executives wittered on telling anyone that will listen, that soon ITV will be controlled by one company, with national continuity done from one location, it was interesting to note two things happened:

  1. On November 8th, ITV launched its new generic ident, designed – like the 1989 idents – by English and Pocket.
  2. Granada upgraded the Leeds broadcast centre to enable separate continuity to be done for Granada, Yorkshire and Tyne Tees.

It’s interesting to see these two things happen at the same time. One, an attempt to assert a national identity upon a fragmented TV network, the other a system enabling different ITV regions in the north to continue to be distinct from their neighbours. Needless to say, both affected Tyne Tees…

1999 ITV/Tyne Tees ident

In 1989 Tyne Tees had embraced the generic ident with open arms. With new lords and masters, Granada Media supporting the concept too, there was no way that Tyne Tees wouldn’t have seen its own ident take second place.

The introduction of the new equipment in the continuity department at Leeds also enabled Tyne Tees to act more like a regional station than it had in recent years. Proper regional continuity enabled the station to remain regional at heart and yet still play its united role in a nationwide network.

In a way, things looked promising.

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