News from somewhere 

22 October 2009 tbs.pm/1110

ITV to drop Big Ben from News at Ten titles

It’s no surprise to learn that ITV bosses have decided to partly apportion the blame for relatively low ratings for the return of News At Ten on an old-fashioned a London-centric title sequence as opposed to ITV’s continuing credibility problem with anything beyond simple paint-by-numbers investigative journalism into “consumer issues”.

Indeed the refreshing aspect of the News At Ten title sequence was that it wore its London-centric badge with pride; there was no pretending that news was being served from an anonymous location that could have been anywhere from Bolton to Botswana.

Plus this was unimportant when ITV had a truly regional structure within England, since London is the administrative capital of the United Kingdom (and still is, despite regional assemblies in Scotland and Wales), hence if one location alone had to be picked for national news than London was naturally at the top of the list.

Of course ITV plc has spent the last few years downgrading everything that was in any sense regional, which in turn made any regional aspect of the News At Ten titles stand out even more in a sea of nonspecific locational blandness that now exists outside of the regional news bulletins.

(And perish the thought that the revamped News At Ten titles as introduced nearly two years ago could now be considered old-fashioned enough to put people off watching ITV’s news altogether.)

ITV’s studios are no longer allowed to even announce their regional location, therefore “From Norwich, it’s the quiz of the week…” would now be strictly off limits, hence it’s perfectly possible to see why certain ITV employees would belatedly turn their attention to removing any legacy regional references that now stand out even more.

Therefore by removing all last traces of locational referencing in the title sequence of ITV plc’s programming, we’re left with a schedule that ends up being about as distinctive and independent as different branches of the same chain store; notably somewhere you don’t want to spend all of your time unless you actually work for the company concerned.

Some “media types” never learn, do they?