TSW 

24 May 2004 tbs.pm/2000

ALBUM TSW

Television South West – TSW
Southwest England as Westward Television: August 1981 – 31 December 1981
Southwest England: 1982-1992 (Franchise change)

 

Gus Honeybun vs Mad King Ludwig

TSW had been lucky. The chances of displacing an existing company are actually very low. The chances that they will hand over to you, lock, stock and barrel their archive and staff are also low.

But Westward had been doing a very good job of pulling itself apart. TSW’s bid offered a plan for something bold and refreshing for the area, and also a respite to the IBA from the problems the little company had brought them.

Things got so bad at Westward that TSW ended up taking over from the company in the August. This appears to have had a profound effect on management of the new company. They had planned to be visually very similar to Westward – although the Golden Hind was doomed – but to introduce brand new, exciting programming.

Having got control early and taken over Westward’s identity, TSW soon found the truth – the money and talent for the brand new, exciting programming wasn’t there and wasn’t easy to attract. Instead there was the solid, existing programme makers and their programmes – tried and tested.

But how to appear to be the bold newcomer when you’re not changing everything – or anything? The answer was to turn the plan on its head. The Westward programming stayed, but the visual identity was something the region had never seen before – or since. Indeed, it was something the country as a whole had never seen.

Almost as if the designers had been too literal with the brief, the instruction that TSW would be “different” was carried out to the letter. Television in the south west would never be the same again – but for remarkably different reasons to those TSW originally planned.

On Screen

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

Sometimes, writing these captions is very difficult. Now is one of those times. What can you possibly say about this ident, its form-up and the resulting symbol? What does it all mean? In places it looks very Freudian – bubbling over with images that may be banned in other countries.

The starting point is obviously (?) a TV screen. It is suddenly enveloped by… something, which provokes (why?) a ‘splash’ from the screen. The enveloping continues until the TV screen has faded away, then becomes… a bubble of water? This divides first into three, then, like cell division, into two – making six bubbles. The bubbles rotate, and suddenly they’re not bubbles anymore, but rather… cups, maybe? The cups turn sideways-on to reveal they’re not cups but something else – hills perhaps? Or palm leaves? Then TSW’s initials hurry into view, accompanied by a wavy line.

The whole thing is fun and unusual, but somewhat uncomfortably like an LSD flashback.

Accompanying the ident is a piece of music called “That’s Soul, Write!”.

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

TSW

Normality returns later in the 1980s, when TSW’s ident suddenly gets a bit more sane and a bit more two-dimensional.

The amazingly odd symbol remains roughly the same, but the form-up now makes more sense, and is actually quite a clever use of the Channel Four-inspired ‘objects in space’ form-up that became so prevalent in the aftermath of C4’s launch.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

Report an error

Author

Russ J Graham My website Contact More by me

Tags

#

You Say

1 response to this article

Mikey B 14 August 2012 at 10:32 pm

To be honest, I never really understood why anyone thought the symbol odd or impenetrable. The logo very obviously represents the countryside of the south-west, with hills and a river.

I grant you that the original form-up was bizarre – to me it always seemed to represent “creation” and/or “rebirth” but I maybe wrong and it may just have been designers enjoying themselves.

Note that the original ident had no CGI elements (the Wikipedia entry is incorrect) – the ident was created by cel animation of various filmed elements, including some quantel electronic effects, model work, and even a chemical reaction (using gallium to create the mitosis-like bubble splitting).

Your comment

Enter it below