Starting The Day 

17 August 2005

Nowadays, Tyne Tees takes over from GMTV with little ceremony. It didn’t always used to be like this. Indeed, a formal start of the day used to be insisted upon by the regulating authorities.

In the end it was the birth of breakfast television that gave the formal startup the kiss of death, and the startup music was played for the last time, switching to a briefer announcement. By the early 90s, even that had gone.

The Sixties

In the early 1960s, this ITA tuning signal would have been the first thing you would see on screen. The slide was generated at the transmitter. The ITA authority announcement would be said by the announcer (This is Tyne Tees Television which provides your programmes on Channel 8, broadcasting from the North Eastern transmitter of the Independent Television Authority). Then the start up music, Three Rivers Fantasy, played.

The tuning signal would fade to black at the part of the tune where the Tyne Tees jingle would play (roughly two minutes in), which was when the transmitter was officially handed over to Tyne Tees, and at this point that we saw the Tyne Tees Channel 8 ident.

Listen to the Tyne Tees start-up music, Three Rivers Fantasy

Three Rivers Fantasy (perhaps composed when the station was still going to be called Three Rivers Television) was a melody of North East folk tunes, arranged by Arthur Wilkinson. The songs used in the montage were Bobby Shaftoe, Keel Row, Waters of Tyne, the Sailor’s Hornpipe (on which the original Tyne Tees jingle was based) and the Blaydon Races (later used as the Northern Life theme).

Listen to startup announcement from 1974, by Neville Wanless

This was then followed by the station announcement. This example is from the summer of 1974, done by Neville Wanless.


IBA tuning signal

Used from 1979, this ident, showing the logo of both Tyne Tees and the new regulator, the Independent Broadcasting Authority, which had replaced the old Independent Television Authority. Three Rivers Fantasy would be used for a few more years, until the launch of TVam.

Both this image, and the picaso image above were recreated by Rory Clark.

From Breakfast To Now.

Just after TVam launched in 1982, the caption would be shown, with the authority announcement, but these were scaled down in the mid 1980s.

By 1986, the station was starting with just an ident, and the words:

“This is Tyne Tees Television, broadcasting to the North Of England from the Pontop Pike, Bilsdale and associated transmitters of the Independent Broadcasting Authority.”

Listen to startup announcement from 1986, by Bill Steel

Listen to startup announcement from 1986, by Neville Wanless

On weekdays this would be followed by the morning news roundup. Above are a few audio clips of startups from 1986:

Listen to startup announcement from 1986, followed by Morning Glory

If the news wasn’t quite to your taste, at weekends you started the day with some school children singing. Welcome ladies and gentleman to the world of ‘Morning Glory’, here introduced by Judi Lines.

Sadly we don’t have the full version of this audio masterpiece!

Listen to startup announcement from 1988, by Judi Lines

By 1988, the transmitters had been ditched, in favour of the date and the news. Bill and Judi demonstrate the new style

You Say

2 responses to this article

Keith Cunliffe 16 July 2017 at 9:29 am

It was a sad day when itv did away with the ‘original’ start-ups, fortunately I went around the main transmitters and collected over 40 start-ups on tape which I still have to this day, as well as the Picasso slide, with the transmitter name on, and the later regional slides, and then the programme companies name slides, and lastly, the final ITA slide of half black/blue & white slide, All now a full set. If anyone interested in buying this collection, contact me, because when I die, the lot will be destroyed…..

Phillip Dack 14 February 2022 at 8:28 pm

It used to really annoy me that they never mentioned the Chatton transmitter, after all it was a main station.

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