Harlech 

24 May 2004 tbs.pm/2022

ALBUM HTV

Harlech Television – HTV
South Wales and Western England General Service: 1968-1985 (VHF service ended)
West of England (as HTV West): 1970-2002 (Lost identity)
Wales (as HTV Cymru/Wales and HTV Wales): 1968-2002 (Lost identity)

 

The shock of the new

Of all of the surprises that gripped the media world that Sunday afternoon in 1967, when Lord Hill announced what the new ITV would look like, the Harlech Consortium was the one that caused the most headlines.

The papers were left with two equal stories to cover – the death of TWW, noisy and protracted as Lord Derby and company were metaphorically dragged kicking and screaming away from their franchise, and the birth of the new Harlech Television.

Harlech, named for Lord Harlech (three Lords in one article – a rare event today!) was backed by many very famous people – Wynford Vaughn Thomas, Stanley Baker and Richard Burton were most in evidence – and promised a bright new look concentrating on Wales and Welsh values.

What was to become apparent was that, in the day to day grind of producing regional television, few of the new management quite knew how to do it. Whilst their networked opening night was a star-studded extravaganza, their decision to fire all of TWW’s on-screen talent would soon be shown as folly – the replacements needed training but there was no-one with the experience.

Graphically, Harlech’s ident now draws criticism and amusement for its eye-straining qualities. At the time, this wasn’t true. Under 405 line television, it didn’t have this result (due to Moiré effects in 625 line colour) and instead looked clean and modern.

The switch to the name ‘HTV’ – an attempt to reverse the overt Welshness of the station – brought a TV aerial symbol to the company, making a clever use of the HTV initials. The new idents kept the ‘waterfall’ music until the 1980s, although evidence shows that this piece of music was not originally planned to accompany the early idents.

Short excerpts of ‘Young Kingdom’, a longer piece composed for Harlech’s daily opening, are recorded in the Transdiffusion archives. Played over that original ‘eye-strain’ ident, they give a whole new look to a clever old idea.

On Screen

Harlech ident still

Harlech ident still

Harlech ident still

Harlech ident still

Harlech ident still

Can you tell what it is yet? This ident was considered innovative and daring in its time.

A night-time version, simply a negative of the film, could be seen after News at Ten.

HTV Wales ident still

HTV Wales ident still

HTV Wales ident still

HTV Wales ident still

HTV Wales ident still

Here comes the future.

HTV takes advantage of 3D CGI to relaunch its ident, complete with new – and palpably inferior – musical accompaniment.

HTV’s embracing of this style would put it ahead of most regional companies of the time, but was using the same technology pioneered in regional idents by the strange world of TSW.

HTV clock - very spikey

HTV in-vision

HTV in Welsh

HTV Weather - cloudy with some sun, dry with rain and cold but warmer.

A mixed-bag here.

The HTV clock and some in-vision bilingual continuity lead. Welsh-language programmes on ITV pre-S4C had the end cap HTV Cymru/Wales. The weather uses a static caption for the announcer to read over.

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

Start the day the HTV way

A nice regional filmed start-up sequence for HTV.

In fact, three of them – one for Wales, one for the West and one for occasional joint openings. Scenes of Wales – principally industrial, plus shots of the various ways of leaving in a hurry if necessary – the HTV ident and straight into today’s programmes. Ooh! Crown Court!

HTV, part of Carlton, part of ITV...

HTV, part of Carlton, part of ITV...

HTV, part of Carlton, part of ITV...

HTV, part of Carlton, part of ITV...

HTV, part of Carlton, part of ITV...

HTV, part of Carlton, part of ITV...

HTV’s final ident package is the same as the other “Carlton regions” but the form-up is truncated and morphs (uncomfortably) into the HTV symbol as used when HTV was part of United Media.

The only good side is that HTV survived this period without being renamed Carlton HTV or the like. But a worse fate kicked in in 2002 – they became “ITV1 Wales” and “ITV1 West”.

Harlech authority announcement by Endaf Emlyn

Is Endaf Emlyn doing this for a bet, a dare, or for some other odd reason I can’t fathom?

This announcement – plain and to the point – is one you can listen to without ever hearing the words. All I can hear is Mr Emlyn’s bizarre attempt at a received-pronunciation English accent.

Perhaps he’s trying to out do the modulated and non-region-specific tones of Ivor Roberts, who occupied his chair when TWW owned the studio Endaf was sat in. But, if so, he fails – it just sounds very strange, especially when you think what accent a man with a name like Endaf Emlyn would actually have.

Harlech ident number 1, back before “Harlech” was deemed to be too Welsh.

The colour replacement ident, seen here in its Welsh variety (the word ‘West’ fits into the gap at the top between the H and the extended V).

The ident still uses the same musical motif of the original monochrome ident – with that ‘Har-lech!’ at the end – yet the music fits much better with the colour version.

Perhaps that’s because the colour ident was designed to fit the music, whereas the music was designed to fit monochrome ident – a subtle difference, but something that would seem important for station branding.

Channel Four, with the block-flying-through-space idea it launched on a surprised country in 1982 (pre-programme publicity had given no hint – the logo was known, but the form-up was thought to be ‘conventional’) caused a ripple effect that went through the industry for ten years.

Companies all over – some with reluctance, some with amazing enthusiasm – rushed headlong for this ‘new paradigm’ in broadcasting design and branding. The launch of Sky Channel, with its fondness for 3D logos, only made this more urgent.

Even the BBC got dragged in, switching to 3D images for both channels, though eschewing the flying-through-space bit.

HTV also followed. Their ident, being solid to start with, didn’t lend itself to the break-up and re-form idea, so had to be separated out into 3D bits that weren’t previously apparent.

Nevertheless, the ident was a nice reflection of fashion… except for the awful music. Someone decided to take the opportunity to ditch the ‘waterfall’ music and switch to something more modern. The result can be heard here, but probably won’t stick in your mind very long.

You Say

6 responses to this article

penny braithwaite 5 April 2013 at 11:14 am

Hi does anybody remeber which company administered the pension fund at HTV during the early to mid eighties?

Thanks

Penny

Russ J Graham 6 April 2013 at 9:40 pm

Worth writing to the last known address for Carlton’s pension schemes to see if it was folded into the ITV plc scheme. See http://production.investis.com/carlton/about/pensions/update/lookafter/

Leon Howard 17 November 2013 at 7:31 pm

On 20 September 1983 l flew the final pupils of the

Small school on Bardsey Island to the island for a

documentary shoot by Harlech TV

Is it possible to trace the programme for a view?

Chris Stacey 18 January 2015 at 4:30 pm

Hi Penny

All ITV companies pensions are now handled by ITV pensions (which used to be Granada Pension fund).
I hope this helps.
Are you the same Penny Braithwaite that worked at HTV in those dreadful offices in Baker Steet in London

Rob Wheaton 13 January 2016 at 6:48 pm

People seem to have forgotten that when Harlech changed to HTV (and the advent of colour), the waterfall jingle and station ident was static with a much shortened abbreviated version of the waterfall jingle – Only some five seconds maximum in length and a static ident displaying “HTV presents”. The animated ident didn’t appear until a year or two after.
Does anyone else remember this or was I dreaming?

Richard Jones 25 April 2017 at 3:13 am

I remember that the logo was initially static, Rob. I thought it was a great pity and was happy when an animated symbol appeared later…although I don’t remember having to wait very long for this…maybe a couple of months? I don’t recall the music being any shorter either. Happy days of 1970!

Your comment

Enter it below