Interloper 

24 August 2015 tbs.pm/1730

LONDON WEEKEND TELEVISION (1968-2002)

Notional Date: January 1972
Announcers: Hilary Osborn, Barri Haynes
Music: A Well Swung Fanfare (Jackson), used 1968-1980s

 

It is clear with hindsight that much seventies’ London Weekend presentation custom was derived from Rediffusion practice of the mid-sixties. This was not carried to conclusion in daily start-ups however, as London Weekend (as it was then always known) was keen to present a more laid back image than the sub-BBC aura that Rediffusion had chosen.

It is not difficult to see how this came about. The new Thames amalgam only required the central London Rediffusion offices at Kingsway because they had inherited the Teddington studio complex from ABC and so the main Rediffusion production centre at Wembley was handed over to the new weekend company along with all the employees therein.

The London Weekend output was all from there and thus the transmission controllers and presentation staff were all ex-Rediffusion people. This was an irony as London Weekend had not replaced Rediffusion as such but won a ‘time adjacent’ contract.

There was a curious mixture of earnestness and ‘cool’ about early London Weekend that is hard to describe in retrospect. The avant-garde aspirations of the new company met head on with its BBC (personnel) roots, and the resultant hybrid was inclined to ‘hip gestures’ that did not always pay off.

The daily start-up music broke with tradition in using a real jazz style, and having no climactic verse to provide a point for symbol formation. The cut to logo, ready formed, was placed in relaxed fashion during the second half of the music, and even moved around over time. Our example is as typical as any. The piece is called ‘A Well Swung Fanfare’ and it sounds as if the composer Don Jackson was reacting to a description of the putative piece given by a commissioning editor.

…’Write us a sort of “well swung fanfare” Don’…

… and so he did. He probably didn’t realise that by introducing jazz, it would be another watershed moment in start-up presentation history, and another move away from the era of marches.

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This article originally appeared on Transdiffusion before 2002. It has been republished with the addition of the animated LWT start-up recreation by Dave Jeffery.

You Say

6 responses to this article

Joseph Holloway 27 August 2015 at 3:02 am

Nice well the start-up was from a sunday morning in January 1972, Well sometime in 1969, LWT used “Overture from Tommy” (The Who) arranged by Henry Mancini (A.K.A. Something Absolutely Startling) on Sundays, because LWT felt that it was inappropriate to use “A Well Swung Fanfare” before Sunday morning church services.

Russ J Graham 27 August 2015 at 1:23 pm

No, not because it was ‘inappropriate’ – they used The Who’s piece in 1969 to celebrate going into colour.

Kif Bowden-Smith 27 August 2015 at 2:12 pm

Indeed so!
There was also another period when another piece was used on Sunday mornings before church services which we also have here. The very brief use of the piece mentioned here was indeed almost a one off, shortly after colour started. Part of a promotion.

Ben Grabham 19 November 2015 at 6:30 pm

I’m intrigued by how few Transmitters in Service there actually were! When did Bluebell Hill open? Am I right that was originally a London transmitter?

Martin Fenton 10 February 2017 at 1:34 pm

About them going into colour – did they use The Who’s original recording (which was issued in May 1969?) The date on my copy of the Mancini recording is given as 1971, long after colour broadcasting started on ITV. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that it was available before then as a Library track (although it seems unlikely, and Google hasn’t offered any answers.)

It’s on “Mancini Concert” (RCA Victor SF8212), by the way, which is not a recording of an actual concert.

Russ J Graham 10 February 2017 at 3:39 pm

They commissioned it specially, LWT told TBS at the time, and the Tommy version came later. If that’s true, one assumes The Who were working on it at the time and simply used a different take to rent to LWT. Easy money, anyway!

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