24 May 2004 tbs.pm/1965

Yorkshire Television

Yorkshire: 1968-1974 (Expanded contract area)
Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and north Norfolk: 1974-2002 (Lost identity)


Young pretender

How far does the principal of regionalism go? The ITA in 1955 felt that it could push it pretty far. Outside of the geographically well defined ‘Big Three’ regions – London, Midlands, North – the possibility that each transmitter, or group of transmitters, could have its own company seemed a good policy.

Lord Hill’s changes to the pattern of ITV in 1968 were partially designed to reduce the power of the ‘Big Four’ companies (ABC, ATV, Rediffusion, Granada) who between them held the largest 3 regions, by squeezing in a fifth company.

The question of where to carve out this new company was already answered. Whilst other areas may have had local reason for their own company, only the North region – spanning from Liverpool to Hull – had two main transmitters serving two obviously different populations.

Applications for the new, 7-day region were called for at the same time as the rest of the network was readvertised, and the result announced on the same day as the rest. Whilst most attention was focused on TWW’s sudden death and the shotgun marriage of ABC and Rediffusion, little was said about the game Hill was playing in the newest region.

Two applicants stood out. The first, Telefusion Yorkshire, was backed by the Blackpool-based Telefusion TV rental chain and was rolling in money – and prepared to splash it over the new company. The second, Yorkshire Independent Television, was cash-strapped, but featured local people in management and had a large number of talented people – from floor managers to on-screen personalities – on its books.

This left Hill with a quandary. The second group was obviously better from an ITA perspective, but could not afford to do much with the region. The first was against the ITA’s own guidelines on ownership, but had money. How could the two be reconciled?

Hill managed it in a very clever way. In a full glare of publicity, he announced that the contract would be awarded to Telefusion. But behind the scenes, he instructed Telefusion to absorb Yorkshire Independent. By ‘micromanaging’ the board and the shareholdings, he persuaded Telefusion that it was in charge of the new company, whilst giving the new company’s management to Yorkshire Independent.

The new company even lost the Telefusion name, and handled the contract exactly as Yorkshire Independent has said it would do it. Telefusion themselves put up the cash – and got it back in no small measure – but Hill’s love of the shotgun marriage of applicants was shown again to work for the benefit of ITV as a whole.

On Screen

Symbol or simulation?

A few months before the company launched, the forthcoming YTV schools’ programmes were previewed on network television, and this ident appeared. Not much photographic distortion here, actually – you decide whether this is badly drawn or a putative symbol.



The black-and-white formup in progress – made in Didsbury by ABC for the new company.

Yorkshire 1970s clock

Yorkshire 1980s clock

Clocks, 1970s and 1980s style. The first allows for the date to be changed by swapping the press-on figures.

Yorkshire regional map

Start the day the Yorkshire way. When the IBA allowed this opening caption – showing a rough map of the region – few companies actually took them up on it. YTV did, perhaps boasting of the enlarged region it gained post-1974.

Yorkshire promo

Yorkshire promo

The 1980s, and stills from two adverts for the company, both trumpeting its size.


When the animated ident was replaced due to the arrival of colour (and the realisation that the first notes of the music were identical to Thames) YTV moved to still frontcaps.

Yorkshire 1975 endcap

Yorkshire 1975 endcap

Endcaps were usually still too. In these two versions, note the ‘Trident’ copyright line…

Yorkshire 1980s endcap

…as compared to its absence on this version. Variations in colour are due to film stock and recording equipment, rather than company policy.

Yorkshire 1989 endcap Yorkshire 1989 endcap

An animated endcap celebrates 21 years of YTV excellence.

Not the usual 1980s C4-inspired blocks-through-space animation though. This endcap manages to go 3D without copying the newcomer channel – one of the few to manage this feat.

Most interesting is the reworking of the Ilkla’ Moor ba’ t’at ident music into something much more celebratory and fanfare-like – seeming to revel in the birthday party ethos, whilst losing only a fraction of clarity as to what the theme is.

Yorkshire 1980s frontcap

The rebirth of the animated frontcap came very shortly before they were abolished anyway. A pool of gold launches the chevron skywards. This is the associated endcap, showing a daring 3d element influenced – again – by Channel 4.

Yorkshire Television authority announcement by Redvers Kyle

Those ultimate television tones transferred from London to Leeds on the closure of Rediffusion, and ensured we’d get this peach of an announcement.

Redvers Kyle is clearly older here than the young man in the Associated Rediffusion announcements of the 1950s, but his voice still has the power and authority to make you sit up and take notice.

Listen to Yorkshire’s jingle – ‘Ilkla’ Moor ba’ t’at!’

Some people have been unable to detect the basis for Yorkshire Television’s daily opening march used 1968-1981 as being that famous Tyke’s hymn Ilkla’ Moor ba’ t’at.

This ident, drawn from tune, leaves no doubt however.

You Say

2 responses to this article

Joseph Holloway 12 July 2015 at 3:29 pm

Yorkshire Television’s daily start-up routine used from 1968 to 1981 was the famous “Yorkshire Television March” by Derek New, arranged by Ron Goodwin. By 1982, Yorkshire wanted a presentation revamp, it was replaced by the “Yorkshire Theme” by Chris Gunning. which was the theme to Yorkshire’s daily news program “Calendar”.

n hewit 12 October 2015 at 1:09 pm

I first remember the enlarged map, ‘start the day the Yorkshire Way’, when I went to visit relatives in King’s Lynn, Norfolk eight weeks after the Belmont Transmitter had been re-allocated in August 1974. During this transistional period I recall that Belmont News and Calendar were cut short to switch to the special bespoke, ‘Belmont Weather Forecast’, transmitted from non other than Anglia House! I also recall that one of the value added programmes the area was later to receive was ‘Scrum Down’,meaning that my uncle was able to follow Warrngton RLFC, whilst his younger brother, my dad living five miles from the Rugby League Ground was not as Granda did not relay this YTV production in its area,which if I recall Border the home of 2nd Division Workington and Whitehaven did!
By the time I relocated to the region in the late 1980’s via Central and HTV Regions, the Belmont Weather had been discontinued, but Anglia’s presence was still palpalby evident from the obligatory West Norfolk item on most editions of the Calendar Belmont News opt out.
Incidntally because of its diverse transmission area, whilst Yorkshire’s Network Productions reflected the region, its regional productions and presentations did not and by the time I arrived on Humberside it was euphamistically referred to as ‘YTV: Your TV,’ this was more or less alluded to by the company in their final bid prospectus to defend their tendency, like ATV pre 1982, to provide regional programmes linked to themes with contributions drawn from Masham to March, I note that Skegness is still mentioned as the day tripper destination on Emmerdale to this day as opposed to Scarborough; Old habits die hard, but it did stop a lot of the bickering that occured in other ITV regions with competing centres of population; notably the Midlands in the early 1980’s!

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