Southern 

24 May 2004 tbs.pm/2006

ALBUM Southern

Southern Television
Southern England: 1958-1964 (Name change)
Southern Independent Television
Southern England: 1964-1981 (Franchise change)

 

Southern approaches

When stations die, nobody dances on their grave. They are missed, recalled fondly despite their flaws, their successors compared unfavourably to them or the newcomer accidentally called by their old name.

After all, nobody (at least seemingly no British person) truly likes change, even if that change is for the better – or at least offers the promise of being for the better.

But for those stations cast adrift into history by the Byzantine workings of the IBA – and there aren’t many, considering – or worse, those sacrificed on the altar of capitalism to make way for a richer group in the later years of ITV, being remembered is all that is left at the end of a contract.

Southern wanted to make sure this was so. They spent thousands of pounds on their last programme, ‘1958-1981 Southern Independent Television’, determined to be remembered for all time.

It did work. They are now remembered, but it is as a product of their time. It feels like they faded out with the 1970s, leaving a quintessentially 80s company in the south – colourful, brash free with its money. The contrast helps complete the illusion(?) of a staid, plain company. Which is what they were – and it was rather nice, actually.

On Screen

Southern Television

Disappointingly lacking any sound in this clip, this ident is nevertheless not one to be missed.

Combining the two-dimensional idents of most companies with a 3D shading produces an interesting art deco style.

The only flaw is something the designer should have seen – unless he had it imposed on him by management at the last minute.

The lower point of the star is far extended compared to its brothers. But as the ident rushes towards the viewer, the lower point is the same size and therefore has to “grow” to its final size at the end. The result is curiously both cartoon-like and odd – making the whole thing surreal, if not actually pornographic.

Southern Independent Television

Southern Independent Television

Southern Independent Television

Southern Independent Television

Southern Independent Television

In case you had any questions about Southern’s licence area, their extended ident puts you in the picture with a quick reminder to those watching in Southampton, Dover and Portsmouth exactly (a) where they served and (b) therefore where you were. A public service.

Southern

Southern

Southern

The same form-up, but now in colour.

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day

Southern starts the day pre-colour to the strains of Richard Addinsell’s Southern Rhapsody and this film sequence.

The first part of this start-up was played over a static tuning signal. But after Brian Nissen’s portentous authority announcement and a ‘melodic bit’ of the music, this film kicks in.

With a rousing finale underway, the quintessentially 1950s sequence – witness the design of the (British) car that features – shows typical scenes of the south and south east, as well as three generic scenes that could be from any coastal company (and only one – ATV Midlands – was not).

The combination of the music and the period film is enchanting, and it’s a shame that the arrival of colour killed the sequence and simply left a still card on screen.

But the ‘removal of doubt’ at the end – where the Southern Television symbol and Southern Television name clear the screen to announce which region a company called Southern Television was serving – is a surrealist’s delight.

Southern authority announcement by Brian Nissen

Not so much an authority announcement as a declaration of war from Brian Nissae.

His modulated and tones have all the gravitas of a state of emergency, and the heady blooms of Addinsell’s Serenade of the South (aka Southern Rhapsody) in the background somehow just serve to heighten the tension.

Southern logos are the property of Nic Ayling, and used with permission.

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