Today marks the end of the road for the overnight “filler” programme, ITV Nightscreen.
The service first appeared on 14th January 1998, occupying large portions of the overnight ITV schedule. A sign perhaps that ITV was no longer interested in investing in bespoke programming for an unprofitable part of the daily schedule.
ITV Nightscreen started out as an in-vision teletext service offering background information about ITV programmes. It was presented in a similar style to Channel 4’s equivalent, 4-Tel On View, which included animated elements. Both services were produced by Intelfax.
Content was more varied in its early years. As well as previews of ITV programmes, it also went behind-the-scenes of ITV shows, provided entertainment and sports news and also included profiles of characters from the soaps.
However, its scope was later reduced to programme listings and previews for shows on the main ITV channel.
In the early 2000s, the service moved to Scala InfoChannel software, with Gower Creative Communications taking over responsibility for editorial content.
The Scala software had been upgraded a number of times over the years. However, the on air appearance of the service has remained more or less unchanged – bar some minor adjustments – for more than fifteen years.
The music that accompanied the on-screen information was usually from the KPM Music and BMG Production Music libraries.
ITV classified ITV Nightscreen as a regional programme. In 2017, the programme was said to account for more than a third of ITV’s regional programming hours. Ofcom considered this an inappropriate means of fulfilling regional quotas and took action to remove the loophole.
And so from the early hours of 2nd October, Unwind with ITV will take over: “Your daily escape designed to calm the mind and encourage relaxation and reflection”.
Here’s the start and end of the final ITV Nightscreen broadcast. As usual, the continuity announcer didn’t acknowledge that ITV Nightscreen was coming up, instead promoting ITV Hub. And at the end, the Gower Creative Communications production animation played out as normal.
PICTURED: ITV Nightscreen. COPYRIGHT: Gower Creative Communications.