LWT 

24 May 2004 tbs.pm/2016

ALBUM London Weekend

London Weekend Television – LWT
London Friday evenings-early Monday mornings: 1968-2002 (Lost identity)

 

Unwanted brilliance

The unneeded and unexpected genius of the London Television Consortium bid for the London (weekends) contract profoundly changed ITV.

The ITA had already mapped out a new look for ITV, and especially ITV in London. The plan had been for Rediffusion to keep Monday to Friday evening and for the north and midlands weekend contractor ABC (probably using the name ‘Capital Television’) to be given Friday evening to Sunday night. This would be a reward to ABC, a small punishment for Rediffusion and the ITV system would be changed but still comfortable. The ITA would show it could flex its muscles, but no real harm would come.

Of course, it didn’t happen that way. The open nature of the invitation to bid for a contract was bound to throw up some anomalies, but none was as as big as David Frost and his consortium. Frost, plus a host of BBC-trained management and talent, saw an opportunity to bring some heavyweight flair to ITV weekends, replacing ATV’s light-but-trite offerings.

If the system were fair, the impressive plans of ‘LTC’ would force the ITA to include them. And the ITA had to be seen to be fair above all else, so the loser was to be Rediffusion, combined as a minority with ABC in Thames Television on weekdays, while the soon-to-be named London Weekend took the ‘plum’ weekend contract.

Visually, LWT was at first a disappointment compared to what had gone before. Run by media people for media people, it would have been an embarrassment if they had gone ‘back to the old ways’ that they were determined to change. Therefore they eschewed a symbol – choosing not to bother for over a year – and finding that they failed to make an impression on viewers because of it.

With the prospect of colour, a not-quite-symbol was introduced, still heavily dependent on their name. The arrival of Rupert Murdoch as a shareholder began to shake things up on-screen, not least because a strong branding for his channels is something that he personally believes in.

A symbol finally made its debut with the letters ‘LW’, based on the River Thames as depicted on the London Underground Diagram by Harry Beck. This symbol would be further extended to include the letter ‘T’ when London Weekend started using the full formal title of the company, London Weekend Television. The letters LWT would soon become as synonymous with weekend nights’ television as ABC and ATV had before them.

On Screen

from London Weekend

from London Weekend

from London Weekend

from London Weekend

The first London Weekend ‘symbol’ – previously they had used just text – was in the form of a screen-shaped, contra-rotating, graphically-represented ‘thing’. What was it meant to be? Rupert Murdoch is probably the only one who knows.

London Weekend

London Weekend

London Weekend

London Weekend

London Weekend

The ‘LW’ makes an appearance – apparently based on the shape of the Thames on HC Beck’s innovative and unsurpassed Underground map.

London Weekend in-vision

The ‘LW’ appears on the stripped-pine backdrop to in-vision continuity announcer. Is he presenting from inside a sauna? If so, he’s somewhat overdressed.

London Weekend Television ident

London Weekend Television ident

London Weekend Television ident

London Weekend Television ident

London Weekend Television ident

London Weekend Television ident

The famous LWT ident. Each letter ‘poured’ in from the top and was drawn in a single fluid motion. Then, to form the letters readably, each one detaches and falls into place.

This contrasts to the earlier version above, where the letters ‘LW’ were enough and the strange detaching and falling into place wasn’t required.

LWT 3D

LWT 3D

LWT 3D

LWT 3D

Used locally under continuity announcements, this version of the ident turns the letters into 3D shapes and spins them randomly around the screen before ending up with the symbol in full view just before the next programme begins.

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

London Weekend Television - LWT

Here LWT appears then disappears, each letter appears singularly, then LWT appears again – as if on ‘blinds’

LWT Production

And finally a brief appearance by the last ever logo.

The design has been subtly tweaked and the layout of the colours altered, but LWT’s symbol generally survived. The generic Granada-ITV1 version didn’t work, though, and the station is now “ITV1 London”

LWT authority announcement by Hilary Osborne

Hilary Osborne announces into another day at LWT.

Listen to LWT’s first jingle

In sound only, here is the “something absolutely startling” that LWT promised for their first ident.

Presumably the PR person who uttered that phrase was talking about a different piece of music, replaced by this before LWT went on air. If not, then that person may have need a bit of advice as to what would make an ident ‘startling’.

This one may be startling, but only because it is so desperately poor.

LWT colour idents

A quick rundown of LWT’s frontcaps once colour arrived.

The orange oval – nothing sensational, but probably better than the plain monochrome ident that went before it (though there was a monochrome version of this one, with fewer drumbeats at the end of the music).

The famous ‘LW’ river ident, and the equally famous, but less well done ‘LWT’ variant that followed it.

The LWT blinds frontcap is unusual but fascinating.

LWT ‘the movie’ – Just for a bit of fun, here we blend together 30 years of LWT to give you a flavour of how much the company’s presentation changed over the years – and how much of its style remained the same. Featuring here are announcers from Jill Betchley to Trish Bertram and Barri Hayes to Peter Lewis; promos, front caps, a glimpse of an early 70s start up and more.

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