From the very north 

14 September 2015


Notional Date: September 1974
Announcer: Unknown
Music: Sounds On (Pearson), used from 1974

When Grampian decided on a presentation revamp in the seventies, they broke with tradition and ditched their long lived ‘Lochlaggan’ theme for a trendy ‘new age’ piece by Johnny Pearson, composer of the ‘Midlands Montage’ and ‘News at Ten’ themes.

This music is very redolent of seventies’ film instrumentals and was originally intended to include female backing singers repeating the phrase ‘G-R-A-M-P-I-A-N’ as part of the recurring motif towards the end of the piece, followed by a full chorus singing ‘GRAM-PI-ANNNNNN’ with the word ‘TE-LE-VI-SION’ sung on the last four notes! This would have breached guidelines about start-up themes having to be instrumentals (though ATV breached this rule briefly in the mid seventies) and was not implemented.

The Authority announcement on this Grampian start-up is notable for the evident nervousness of the announcer – almost an example of ‘announcing under duress’. It certainly sounds like an announcement with a story behind it!

This music maintained the Grampian tradition of not appearing too ‘Scottish’ in the kilts and tartans musical style of which STV was so fond. Grampian always felt more ‘North British’ than Scottish, per se, which seems surprising in retrospect. They were certainly loved by their viewers, and rather more so than STV. The announcing had a personal touch, and the station a very distinctive flavour.

This article originally appeared on Transdiffusion before 2001. It has been republished in a slightly different form and with the addition of the animated Grampian start-up recreation by Dave Jeffery.

You Say

5 responses to this article

Alan Keeling 27 June 2014 at 9:29 pm

I once viewed (with interest) a Grampian TV startup in 1964, with the “Lochlaggan” tune. The “Picasso” tuning signal contained its transmitter location DURRIS with an unusual white underline, not quite in practice with other regional start ups. Nevertheless, it was good to see and hear, those were the days, indeed.

Arthur Nibble 14 September 2015 at 3:33 pm

Are those two black and white Grampian start and end idents from the same programme? If so, interesting that the end ident’s saltire is slightly more television shaped and has considerably fewer stripes in its bottom segment. Yes, I know, I need to get out more!

Ronnie MacLennan Baird 20 September 2015 at 3:34 am

Part of this was used in the 1970 British Transport Films production “Railways Conserve The Environment”:

Variations on it are used elsewhere in the same film, for example:

John macleod 4 September 2016 at 6:52 pm

I always felt that Johnny Pearsons sounds on tune suited Grampian television more to begin each new day of broadcasting from the channel.

Dave Rhodes 27 June 2017 at 10:39 pm

And go to 48.18 in this file to hear it used in a Daily Mirror radio ad in early 1974.

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