1st January is the 40th anniversary of one of ITV’s three big upheavals.
The 1980 franchise round – which took effect at the start of 1982 – did not lead to fundamental changes for most viewers. But it was fun for Pres fans.
The 1968 changes were substantial and sometimes chaotic. Viewers in all 4 main English regions as well as Wales and the West saw companies come and go. There were changes to the network schedule and the disruption of a strike.
The 1993 changes were hugely controversial too.
But unless you lived in the south or south east of England, the changes in 1982 were evolutionary from the public’s point of view.
Central was, effectively, ATV rebranded and restructured with, eventually, a new service for the East Midlands. We have discussed before whether a full rebrand was needed.
When ATV programmes ended – Pipkins closed its doors in ATV’s final days – it was not because of the franchise round directly. Popular ATV programmes – not least Crossroads and Family Fortunes – continued under Central’s brand.
The new Central ident was certainly imaginative and eye-catching. Compared to ATV’s it was muted and subtle. But remember ATV didn’t quite disappear immediately as the old ident was still seen during schools programmes for a couple of years.
In the south west, TSW was essentially Westward under new management. It had quietly taken over some months earlier but the new ident and name didn’t appear until the New Year.
Of course, sightings of the TSW ident elsewhere were rare.
The genuinely new company with genuinely new programmes was TVS. Its rainbow ident made most of the established ITV companies seem quite dated. Most were using idents devised in 1969 or the early 70s.
The one established company to modify its image in 1982 was Yorkshire. The words “Colour Production” were dropped and the music was rearranged.
Elsewhere there were changes to LWT’s hours and some regional boundaries. But the shake-up didn’t lead to any instability or uncertainty across the network.
Who would have thought then that the two brand new regional companies would only last until the next franchise round or that the Midlands would one day be stripped of almost everything except the regional news?
RELATED ARTICLE: ITV Central marks 40th anniversary.
PICTURED: Central ident (1982). COPYRIGHT: ITV plc.