Westward 

24 May 2004 tbs.pm/1966

ALBUM Westward

Westward Television
Southwest England: 1961-1981 (Lost franchise)

 

Plain sailing

Peter Cadbury wanted a slice of the ITV action. As one of the original campaigners for the introduction of commercial television, with a special interest in a service for the southwest, he became an expert in the theory behind commercial television broadcasting.

As ITV began to spread around the country, he took the chairmanship of Tyne Tees Television, invested judiciously in other companies, and made his voice heard on the subject of commercial television throughout the country.

When the South West England region became available, Cadbury was there with Westward Television. With its symbol – Drake’s Golden Hind – and a strong feeling for the area and it’s people, Westward was soon everywhere about the new region. The company was relentlessly promoted and held itself up to other regional companies as an ideal of how local television should be done. Its ‘brand identification’ was so strong that to this day, many people in the South West call ITV, ‘Westward’. Its successor, TSW, changed their original plans for turning the world upside down when they first met the staff and found commitment to the region was paramount.

Westward’s contribution to the history of independent television didn’t last. At the end of the 1970s, something went wrong between the station’s owners in London and the station’s management in Devon. Suffice to say, each became suspicious of the others’ motives, and the mood turned nasty. The IBA got to hear of some of the shenanigans – as did the popular press…

If there is one thing, above all, that the IBA would not accept, it was backroom brawls amongst management spilling over into the public domain. For the sake of the integrity of the system – the only thing the ITA truly ever worried about – a united front had to be presented by each company. That wasn’t happening, so it was time to bring an era to a close.

In 1981, Westward, the golden regional station, foundered on the IBA rocks as the regulator announced that its franchise would not be renewed. With a vicious suddenness, the station expired in August 1981, unable to continue with the franchise. The new TSW took over, operating as Westward until the appointed changeover day before banishing it to history.

On Screen

Westward

Westward

Westward

The Golden Hind makes its debut in glorious black-and-white, sailing from profile to portside whilst the station name slides in, rendered in a defining 1960s typeface.

Westward

Westward

Westward

Westward

Westward

Westward

Westward

Westward

Westward

A different way of rendering the same thing, as Hind is seen only in profile, sailing the Spanish Main, before being replaced by an abstract (but printable) version, complete with VHF channel designations dropping down with a water effect.

Westward starts the day in the late 1970s with this look at local life. The distinguishing feature of all these ‘local’ films is how generic they are. Whilst the pioneer, Southern, captured the local sights of the region it served, HTV and Westward – producers of the most famous colour start-up films – seemed to have less landmarks to go by.

Either that or they took the brief too literally and were trying to sum up their areas without reference to those parts that made each most famous.

Westward authority announcement by Roger Shaw

From the school of “breathtakingly comprehensive” announcements comes this gem, with Roger Shaw cheerfully giving us the both the three transmitters and the channel numbers – a habit shared by Anglia.

He speaks over the start-up music, just before it reaches a rousing finale and seems to have calm control of the entire situation, despite have a lot to fit into a very short space in the tune.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Author

Russ J Graham My website Contact More by me

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