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A broadcasting landmark. London’s iconic skyline in perfect symmetry, Thames Television.

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Thames Television - The first 'moving' ident

A broadcasting landmark. London’s iconic skyline in perfect symmetry, Thames Television.

 

Thames Television started broadcasting in 1968 following the merger of ABC and Rediffusion to create a new commercial weekday franchise. With a remit to serve the capital and home counties, as well as to produce television programmes for broadcast nationally, Thames Television wanted a strong visual link with its home base. There could hardly be a better backdrop than London’s cityscape and river.

 

Minale Tattersfield worked on the Thames Television identity from 1967, overseeing the transition from a black and white vignette of the London skyline to a new photographic layout, a foil to the modern, sans serif Thames logotype.

 

 

 

Colour television was first broadcast in Britain in 1967 by BBC2 but by 1969 both BBC and independent TV channels switched to colour production. Colour television sets were in great demand, viewers lured by the quality of colour images compared with black and white, so it was important broadcasters didn’t disappoint and raised people’s expectations of this evolving media.

 

The colour sequence designed by Minale Tattersfield, originally shot using stop-frame animation on 16mm film, showed London’s iconic buildings – St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Blackfriars, Big Ben and the Post Office Tower – set against a bright blue sky with fluffy clouds, reflected in the River Thames. The moving graphics consisted of the London landscape slowly rising from the calm surface of the water to a fanfare called ‘Salute to the Thames’ composed by Johnny Hawksworth.

 

 

Minale Tattersfield’s pioneering animation for the broadcaster was in contrast to most other television company identities at the time, which were mainly static symbols and logotypes. With its memorable moving image and stirring music, the identity served Thames Television for 21 years and became a familiar part of people’s daily lives.

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