Tyne Tees 

24 May 2004 tbs.pm/1992

ALBUM Tyne Tees

Tyne Tees Television
Northeast England: 1959-1996 (Name change)
Channel 3 North East
North East England: 1996-1998 (Name change)
Tyne Tees Television
Northeast England: 1998-2002 (Lost identity)


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Tyne Tees has the distinction of being the first regional company to be criticised by the ITA – and with good reason. Determined to live down to the reputation ITV had managed to get before it even went on air, the company made a strict point of ditching any network offering that seemed heavier than ‘Double Your Money’. With a packed schedule of wall-to-wall entertainment (and little or no effort made in showing balance programmes) 1950s Tyne Tees was just waiting for the ITA to rap their knuckles.

Flash forward to more recent times, and we find a changed Tyne Tees. The once headstrong and uncompromising company that put imported American westerns before local arts programmes has been turned into something else. A succession of owners over the years have installed a new ‘brand managers’ who have contrived to tinker with the station’s name and image without once managing to improve either.

The modern Tyne Tees is, by all accounts, quite vibrant behind the scenes, playing host to Granada Interactive, the internet and multimedia operation of its parent – Granada’s big hope for the future it plans against, when ITV becomes forgotten and irrelevant thanks to dozens of similar digital entertainment channels.

But on-screen, Tyne Tees is less vibrant. Bulk continuity plays out on tape from Leeds, failing to mention the name of the company seen on the generic ITV1 ident. When local continuity is heard – perhaps twice a day on a week day – a different ident with a different logo is used. Perhaps someone at the company is making a point, but it must be lost on most viewers. One company, two logos – even basic marketing courses advise against this.

But perhaps Granada wants the following advice, if only to save money and thought: it’s time to put TTTV out of its misery. There’s no point in continually botching the station’s identity, and all local people know the owners care not a jot for their regional aspirations. Granada, please do something – we know you can’t make the right choice (it’s programmed into modern TV people to fail there) so just do it. Kill the brand and abolish this once-great company for good. You know you want to, and on present evidence, it would be the merciful thing to do.

On Screen

Listen to Tyne Tees authority announcement

An unusual announcement from Tyne Tees – no mention of the region or transmitter, but a hybrid of the two – the “northeastern transmitter”.

The region was the Northeast of England and the forgotten transmitter was Burnhope on VHF channel 8.

Arthur Wilkinson – brilliant composer but poor businessman – composed the TTT daily start up music by combining several folk music favourites.

In the middle of the tune there is a hiatus and this jaunty little number appears – TTT’s first ident, the vision of which accompanied the the music as it played out.

When the ident – and the symbol – changed in later years, the music remained unedited, perhaps because of Wilkinson’s unfortunate death. So for about 15 years, viewers heard this jingle play in the middle of the tune, but over a static card and with no idea it had ever known greatness.

Tyne Tees break bumper

Tyne Tees break bumper

Tyne Tees break bumper

Tyne Tees break bumper

Tyne Tees break bumper

Tyne Tees break bumper

Tyne Tees break bumper

Tyne Tees break bumper

Showing something of the methods of regional companies, and of Tyne Tees in particular, here is one of the few break bumpers used by TTT.

Guess the period this comes from. Shot on film, using standard animation techniques rather than CGI, it should be obvious.

But it isn’t. The break bumper was being used in 1990, and bore no relation to the ident package being used at the time (which was the 1989 corporate ITV look).

Nice try, but ultimately not worth anything.

Tyne Tees

At some point, someone at the then-independent Tyne Tees got bored with the 1989 ITV style, and this ident (using the same music) was born to replace it. Try to name what relevance the reflected pictures have.

Tyne Tees

Using the same music as ITV89, the ident is the TTTV symbol spinning on its side.

Tyne Tees

This part of the ident was always the same, but the final form-up, as the ident resolved into the TTTV symbol, was regularly changed.

Tyne Tees

Backgrounds and colouring were altered to reflect the current fad at the company. Some were very successful, others – like this one – were less so.

Tyne Tees

The change from a blue-on-yellow or yellow-on-blue ident to this multi-coloured ‘primaries’ ident is interesting, mainly because virtually everyone else had done it ten years before.

Tyne Tees

By waiting until just prior to contract renewal, TTT relegated itself to the same level as Border Television – a shame for a company that once felt it was a major-in-waiting.

Tyne Tees

The final form-up. The company name is still in the ITV89 typeface, but little else survives of the noble idea.

At this point, a loud click would be heard and the duty announcer would fumble the next link.

Neville Wanless

Judi Lines

Mid-1980s continuity in-vision on Tyne Tees.

Bill Steel

Bob Langley

Charlotte Allen

“These are the people, the familiar faces, Tyne Tees People, Tyne Tees places”.

So rang the promo in the run-up to the contract round in 1992 (after which, the familiar faces were virtually all made redundant, and Mike Neville of BBC North East hired to replace them).

Seen here are Bill Steel (ex-ABC Midlands and TTT head of presentation and chief announcer), Bob Langley and Charlotte Allen.

Pictures provided by the family of J P Graham, one of the driving forces behind Tyne Tees and later Trident Television.

Jimmy Carter

In 1977, TTT’s parent company Trident Television (also owner of YTV) placed this advert in the US entertainment-industry news magazine Variety.

Trident Anglia appears to be a joint venture between TTT/YTV and Anglia Television for international programme sales. According to Shelagh Graham, daughter of JP, Trident was never intended to include the avaricious Anglia (the third ‘spike’ being the associated companies like Windsor Safari Park).

Tyne Tees ITV

Tyne Tees ITV

Tyne Tees ITV

Tyne Tees ITV

Tyne Tees ITV

A generic ITV ident forms up into an insipid TTTV ident in 2000.

Tyne Tees ITV1

Tyne Tees ITV1

Tyne Tees ITV1

… and again in 2001, but this time forming more quickly into an ‘ITV1’ ident.

Tyne Tees

Tyne Tees

Tyne Tees

A very boring and perfunctory local ident for TTTV. But the question has to be asked, why was this ident – complete with totally different symbol – being run together with the utterly different ITV version?

Many correspondents said ‘forgetfulness’ when the ident first appeared; but it ran for so long afterward, perhaps ‘viewers are idiots’ is a better explanation?

'Weather with Bob Johnson' caption.

If most regional news is dire to locals and bemusing to outsiders, regional weather also has a similar character.

In this case, the character in question is Bob Johnson and his ‘Weather Blether’.

The region seemed unable to maintain a sponsor for this segment, but still left space for one should a company appear to pay good money for ‘presenting’ the weather.

The regional companies were very proud of colour television – mainly because they were often last to get it, often just in piecemeal and usually at a price they could ill-afford.

Perhaps some – or all – of the above explain this ident.

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You Say

2 responses to this article

Gary Dunn 17 January 2019 at 1:06 pm

Whatever happened to Charlotte Allen, as a teenager back in the early
70’s, she was always a regular on the North East News Network. Along
with anchor man Bob Langley.

Hazel Anderson 20 January 2020 at 6:08 pm

Gary, I’ve often wondered about Charlotte. I think that she was Canadian or American, but she had a very pleasant way of speaking.
I met her in Newcastle Railway Station with my parents when I was young, and she kindly gave me her autograph (now sadly lost). She was going to Edinburgh, as were we, and I caused a little bit of a scene because I wanted to go and sit with her instead of being with my boring parents!

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