Moving to London 

2 February 2004

What goes around comes around. Or so they say. Six years after the announcers in Newcastle hung up their microphones, it was time for their colleagues in Leeds to do the same.

At twenty past midnight on Monday 28 October, in the year 2002, Bob Preedy made the final announcement from the Leeds team:

“Well that’s just about it from me. As you may know our colleagues in London take over continuity from 9:25 this morning, so on behalf of our Northern Team, Helen, Neil, Maggie and Kerrie and all the past Tyne Tees announcers since 1959, this is Bob Preedy bidding you a fond farewell.”

No matter what you thought of the Leeds team, they’d done their job as best they could. Creating announcements for four different stations at the same time isn’t the easiest of things to do.

Of course the final announcement was also a fitting tribute to the type of continuity service Leeds had provided since 1996 – it was pre-recorded. At the same time similar announcements were going out on Granada, Yorkshire and Border.

The replacement

ITV1 national ident from 2002.

The new team in London were part of the ‘grand vision’ of a single ITV1 brand. The vision was of ITV’s Marketing and Commercial Director, Jim Hytner, and was to see the end of the regional company names, except for before regional programmes. In all other cases, just ITV1 would be used.

Unfortunately someone in Carlton and Granada realised that they could save some money. With the need to have a team of announcers introducing the same programme but with different station names, why not just have one announcer do it for all of them? Of course there are still opt outs, but those links can be pre-recorded in advance…

And so it came to pass that the various announcers went their separate ways and a new team was assembled in London to take on the job. The new team were to be based at the LNN continuity suite, former home to the Carlton London and LWT teams.

It wasn’t to be quite the end for Leeds itself though. The broadcast centre is still in use, assembling adverts and promos as well as playing out the recorded regional announcements as and when necessary. But it’s continuity booths are now mostly empty.

After all the cost in equipment that went into Leeds in order to provide 4 different links for 4 different companies, it was all replaced by one microphone broadcasting one single link for 11 companies.

The cost

Whilst the money savings are there for the increasingly cut-back obsessed Carlton and Granada, the costs are a large reduction in promotion for regional programmes.

Whilst the various regional programmes are still promoted in intermittent trailers, they now lack promotion during continuity. Even with four stations to record announcements for, the Leeds team would still have the ability to create separate announcements to promote different programmes. All that’s gone now.

The regional announcements when they do exist are now rather terse. No wonder that Tyne Tees has taken the step to bypass the ident completely before its regional news programmes…

But then given the way ITV is going, there won’t be a regional service full stop in a few years time anyway…

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