24 May 2004

ALBUM Anglia

Anglia Television
East of England 1959-2002 (Lost identity)


Knight in shining armour

Anglia – the station synonymous for most with the spooky ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, the quiz of the week ‘Sale of the Century’ and the highly successful ‘Survival’ natural history programmes, was also the first of three ITV companies to use a three-dimensional model for an ident.

This was considered innovative and unusual at the time, but the distinctiveness of the idea – a Norman invader on his mighty charger carrying Anglia’s standard – was always meat-and-drink to Anglia’s detractors, rivals, and any comedy programme worth its salt.

The initial appearance of the ident in 405-line black and white days, was of a static model, with changing camera angles and lighting, which today still looks impressive. When presented with the ‘limits’ of technology, pioneers of television always excelled in making more of what they had than their counterparts today dare.

The 625-line colour version looks less impressive, simply rotating almost endlessly, leaving one famous ident critic to point out its similarity to a toy on a record player. However, the Knight was the first three-dimensional ident in independent television, and for that deserves recognition and respect.

The follow-up ident introduced in the 1980s was of a capital ‘A’ built out of triangles, usually depicted on a flag. Launched with an innovative drum-beat ident and using an unusual device of parts of the flag disappearing and reappearing, it is a superb ident. The triangles of the ident all face east, and the breakbumper designed to accompany it featured the elements randomly scattering, with the final centre triangle dashing eastward at the end.

But for all this, the new flag ident was undistinguished against the Knight and never really achieved the cult status enjoyed by a man on a horse, slowly rotating.

On Screen

For those who have only ever seen the colour version of the Anglia ident, the monochrome version is a delight – on seeing this, opinions on whether the Knight symbol was awful or brilliant melt away.

Firstly, the endless rotation of the colour knight is replaced by moody lighting and details of the statue.

The effect is quite charming and also very impressive – the ident stands out from the crowd and is simply unmistakable. As a demonstration of what could be done with monochrome television, this ident, plus the title sequences of ABC Weekend’s The Avengers, show the power of ‘the silver screen’

And then colour television arrived – piecemeal in the east of England – and a new version of the ident needed to be recorded.

With the drama – yes! – of the previous version, how could Anglia top it? They couldn’t, so they didn’t try. Instead of close-ups and dramatic lighting, we get a man on a gelding rotating on a turntable.

The problem with the colour ident is – even in the shortened network version – it is interminable.

It is clear that the statue is doing nothing but rotate – and will do nothing else. A very long time has been spent getting the lighting even, but this just adds to the tedium – nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary will happen here.

The whole thing looks dull – in colour, the silver knight looks more like pewter, and the whole thing looks like it was purchased from Innovations rather than Aspreys.

Anglia broadcasting a full-colour service to the east of England from transmitters of the Indepedent Broadcasting Authority

Let’s to spend some time with Anglia in the colour-Knight days.

First up is the standard card showing company symbol and regulator name over which the start-up music played.

Anglia clock

Then it’s time for Anglia’s clock – evidently mechanical and interestingly old fashioned – like the face to a retirement-present carriage clock.

Anglia menu

A menu, giving a run-down of a typically awful ITV Saturday night in the early 1980s, including such wonders as The Grumbleweeds Radio Show, The Price Is Right and – something not likely to be seen now – an American import, slap-bang in the middle of primetime at 2030. But a 15 minute news bulletin just before is even less likely to be seen now.

Anglia presents

An Anglia Presentation

Anglia Presents

Finally, it’s time for a programme, and Anglia presents (and presented) a non-ITV production.

Take the model off the turntable and pop it into a pile of compost. Film it, and superimpose the words ‘Anglia Presents’. Add the short version of the Water Music ident. Behold one ident for use on important imports, films and ITC productions.

Of course, it isn’t as simple as that, and the use of the symbol – spoiled by colour in its elongated version – is certainly innovative, seeming to suggest that the Knight is real, stood astride a piece of eastern turf and dominating the (non-local) programme that follows.

Now a look at the successor ident. Highly innovative, the triangles of the symbol all point eastward. The flag ident is also unusual, with the flag itself disappearing, leaving the symbol, then the situation reversing, leaving a flag with the symbol missing. A fascinating and well-played idea.

Anglia promo November 2001

Under the yoke of United and later Granada, the symbol slipped in popularity with the company – featuring only incidentally in this local promo.

Anglia pre-colour authority announcement by Dick Graham

Dick Graham – Chief Announcer at Anglia as well as primary voice-over talent on ‘Survival’ – gives one of the most comprehensive authority announcements heard on Independent Television.

As far as the rules can be established, mention of the region, transmitter names or channel was “pick one of the above”. Some companies were downright minimalist, others chose to be more enigmatic.

Anglia appear to have misread the rules – something they shared with that other 3D company, Westward – and go for the entire technical banquet.

Given that Anglia had one of the most comprehensive authority announcements in monochrome days, followed by a breathtaking colour announcement (“broadcasting a Full Colour service to the east of England”), the company still managed to be one of the first to junk the authority announcement when it became optional.

Having been one of the first to shorten the opening sequence – from the full 4 minutes or so down to a token two – the post TV-am handover here is incredibly short, used to bridge the gap between programmes for only a few seconds. It’s even played out a tad early – meaning we get to join it a few seconds in.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

Report an error


Russ J Graham My website Contact More by me

You Say

4 responses to this article

Terry Christie 17 January 2013 at 4:16 pm

Dick Graham is The Famous Voiceovers & Face on Anglia Television since October 1959 when he made The Documentaries with The Towns & Villages including Clacton on Sea,Southend,Norfolk,Suffolk,

Lowesoft,Waverney,with The ITV Programmes Here and Now also About Britain.

He did the great voiceover on Mr & Mrs with The late Norman Vaughan.

The War Game is about The infamous Nuclear Attack

on Britain by Peter Watkins banned by The BBC in 1965 by The Director General Hugh Greene and The Programme remained off air until it was shown on Wednesday July 31st 1985 for The First Time alongside The BBC Newsreader Michael Aspel.

Dick Graham is The Great Artist of The Famous Voiceovers and The Face of Anglia,ATV & BBC Television for many decades.

Terry Christie

From Sunderland,Tyne & Wear

Roly Graham 20 October 2013 at 7:29 pm

Thankyou Terry Christie , its very nice to read such nice about my father .He was a very talented man ,and would be very humbled by loverly words on hes career . Regards Roly Graham

Darryl Turner 16 March 2015 at 4:29 am

As an American,I appreciate the detail of the various ITV networks in the UK. Anglia is my favorite,ATV and ABC weekend tied for second.

nhewit 8 March 2016 at 12:56 pm

The clock is a flash from the past remember seeing it at King’s Lynn in late March 1969, that Easter was the last time I saw Anglia, by the time I returned in August 1974, Belmont had been re-allocated to YTV. When on placement with Cambridgeshire careers , it was impossible to make small talk about what was on the Box, half the office who lived towards March and Peterborough viewed Anglia from Sandy Heath, whilst the other staff including the Manager lived in the Lynn area and viewed YTV from Belmont, likewise the receptionist who was also in the YTV area at Long Sutton in Lincolnshire. I remember the Anglia news crew doing a story from Probation next door to our office on Sommers Road, we had to ask the two slightly Slocombesque Support workers to find out what it was about as they lived further into the Anglia Region and would gain the information from About Anglia, the rest of us had no chance, Anglia only provided news from West Norfolk, or South Lincolnshire for YTV’s Calender, Belmont opt out bulletin!
Better than the Beeb who were convinced the boundary was coterminous with the Lincolnshire/Norfolk boundary!
As far as favourites are concerned all the companies up to 1982 had their strengths, but I particularly rated ABC, AR, ATV, Anglia, THames and Yorkshire, post 1982 Central and Granada could be added to the list, its image seemed to soften and it fell into line with most of the other ITV franchises and stopped the frequent opt outs from the Network offering, which Yorkshire did as late as the Mid 1990’s, when it opted out of Carlton’s the Joy of Sex and replaced it with repeats of Wickers World, not I hesitate that this bothered me as I enjoy travelogues but I did wonder why I always end up in an ITV Region that seems to serve an audience who’s ideas of good viewing to the mainstream, we also were unable to see a Panorama which the High Court had ruled could not be transmitted in Scotland, because the combined Yorkshire /Tyne Tees area included a transmitter at Chatton which served the area due north of Berwick on Tweed!

Your comment

Enter it below

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Sunday 21 July 2024