New logo for London Weekend 

18 September 2014 tbs.pm/5188

LWT

 

LWT’s first few years on air had been a disaster. Their highbrow programming had failed to find an audience and their sales force was bested by Thames at every turn. Their opening identity, simply their name in white on black, was meant to be “something absolutely startling”. It turned out to be “something very similar to Thames’s non-skyline version” and was soon changed to a weird contra-rotating oval.

As LWT teetered on the edge of bankrupcy, a knight in shining armour appeared. Australian newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch had pockets bulging with money from his News of the World paper and wanted to make the leap from print to screen. By waving cash at the struggling company, he was soon able to get a seat on the board and then effectively take over management of the station. The ITA, concerned that this was not a good thing, soon had him thrown out and he stalked off vowing revenge on regulated television.

The money he’d brought with him came in handy while it lasted. LWT invested heavily in light entertainment, drama and variety, the stuff the viewers wanted at weekends rather than the stuff LWT wanted them to have. They also relaunched their on-screen look with a new logo and a new jingle, aiming to try to shed the fusty image they had accidentally inherited from Rediffusion. While they would never be as successful financially as Thames had turned out to be, LWT finally started to turn the corner and become the programming powerhouse we now remember it as being.

You Say

2 responses to this article

Westy 18 September 2020 at 8:27 pm

Wonder what would have happened if Murdoch had been allowed to stay at LWT?

Russ J Graham 19 September 2020 at 1:08 pm

Murdoch presented a schedule that was relentlessly downmarket and populist in order to make some money for LWT quickly. The ITA nixed it and at the same time told him to leave (also telling Thames to get ready to take over the weekends). If his schedule had been allowed to continue… well, ITV would’ve been a very different place in the 1970s.

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