Thames Television IDs (UK)
Thames Television (commonly simplified to just Thames) was the second ITV franchise holder serving London and its surrounding areas on weekdays. It was formed from a "shotgun marriage" between ABC Television and Rediffusion London, and started broadcasting on July 30, 1968. Over the years, Thames became highly regarded inside the ITV network for its consistently high-quality programming, which included shows like The Benny Hill Show, The Kenny Everett Video Show and The Avengers, and (through its animation subsidiary Cosgrove Hall Productions) a variety of cartoons like Chorlton and the Wheelies, The Wind in the Willows and Danger Mouse.
Amidst the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, Thames' broadcasting license was withdrawn, and the network was replaced on January 1, 1993 by Carlton Television after the auction-style 1991 franchise round (interestingly, Carlton had already made two unsuccessful attempts to outbid Thames beforehand). Afterwards, Thames continued on solely as a production company.
1st Logo (July 30, 1968-1969)
Nicknames: "Rising Buildings", "Early Rising Buildings"
Logo: In an oval-shaped frame, a group of buildings meant to represent London (from left to right: BT Tower, Big Ben, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Tower Bridge) quickly rise up from the middle of the screen. In the bottom half, another set of buildings rise upside-down, giving the effect of a reflection. The word "THAMES" in Helvetica appears in both images, then fades out from the reflection, leaving the right-side-up word. This logo was in black and white, as colour broadcasting was not introduced on ITV until November 15, 1969 at the earliest.
- At first, only London got the standard logo. The rest of the United Kingdom simply got a plain black screen with the words "FROM THAMES", which revealed itself by "opening" vertically, and was the only one of the original Thames idents without a skyline until the name-only logo was introduced in 2001.
- A still version of the variant above exists.
FX/SFX: The right-side-up and upside-down buildings rising together. For the "non-London" variant, the black screen "opening" vertically and revealing itself.
Music/Sounds: A loud eight-note horn fanfare, known as the "Salute to Thames", composed by Johnny Hawksworth. The first four notes would be played on a tenor saxophone (the fourth one sounds like a duet with another instrument), and the last four notes would either be played on a trumpet or a French horn.
Music/Sounds Variant: A re-arranged version of the fanfare was also used.
Music/Sounds Demo Variants: According to the TVArk website, a test version of the animation was discovered on a Thames demo videotape from 1967 with twenty-two separate tunes dubbed onto the animation, including predecessor ABC Weekend's chime tune; several variants of what would eventually become the standard Thames logo music in 1968 were also used.
Availability: Extinct. It is preserved on sites such as the aforementioned TVArk.
Editor's Note: None.
2nd Logo (November 15, 1969-1992)
Nicknames: "Rising Buildings II", "Buildings Out of the Water"
Logo: A colorized version of the previous logo, but it now has a sky background and looks more like a reflection in the water. Slight changes in definition of the image and such were made over the years, but this is basically how the logo went.
Trivia: According to the Thames Logo Parade website: "The animated ident was created just as you would imagine. The top half of the image was laid flat and filmed from above. A sheet of foil was used to provide the reflection and was at a slight angle from the perpendicular (hence the tall vertical structures bend in towards St. Paul's dome in the reflection for a more realistic effect). Using stop-frame animation produces the appearance of movement. The skyline image did not have the letters on it. The letters were filmed separately using the same process and then the negatives from both films were married together to produce the final effect. Treating the letters separately allowed for the reflected letters to be faded out."
Variants: There were quite a few variants of this logo:
- The bottom reflection was distorted for a brief period of time.
- One variant had the right-side-up "THAMES" text fade out at the same time as the reflection text, resulting in the logo being textless.
- A still variant was seen on Man About the House.
- In 1980, there was a "night-time" version of the logo, with darkened buildings and a night sky. It was primarily seen preceding Armchair Thriller. It was also used for mid-1980s overnight links, with the silver text "Into the Night" sliding in below; other versions were seen before different overnight "strands".
- Another variant was a Christmas version from Teddington in Middlesex, where Thames' studios were in use. It read "Merry Christmas - THAMES - Teddington".
- A variant was made for a special Russian-themed week in 1989, with the reflection of the landmarks replaced with a reflection of Russian landmarks (including the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral), and Thames in the reflection written out in Russian (as "ТЭMС", which is pronounced "Téms"). A version of this that inverted the sides (the Russian side on top and the Thames logo on the bottom, albeit with the reflection inverted) exists on a promo to promote this.
- During the Colour Strike (industrial action taken by all ITV companies between November 13, 1970 and February 8, 1971), all shows were broadcast in black-and-white instead of colour.
- The Kenny Everett Video Show had many comedic variations of this logo:
- The standard version had Everett bursting through a large-scale version of the logo, which ripped like paper. At the end of the show, the video was played in reverse, giving the appearance that Everett was "fixing" the torn logo. This variation had an extended version of the "Salute to Thames" jingle, with a comedy sting at the end.
- A variation of this played the video with no jingle, and after Everett had "fixed" the logo, his voice was heard saying "Is that what you wanted?" to which the audience shouted "YES!", which was followed by him saying "Good!".
- Another Everett variant has him performing an "Action Replay" of the Thames logo in slo-mo, with added comedy sound effects.
- Everett was also responsible for an "adult" version of the logo, which replaced the buildings with a multitude of women's breasts. This was only seen on a fake promo at the beginning of an episode.
- A variation similar to Everett's was used at the end of Thames' 1984 Christmas tape, with another person bursting through the logo, uttering "Shoulda made this at Tyne Tees, man. Goin' down the bus club, get some proper tunes".
- On Pauline's Quirks, the logo animates as normal, then all of a sudden, Pauline Quirke, dressed up as King Kong, comes out of the ocean and eats and destroys the logo.
- In 1980, a special version of this ident was used to introduce The Dick Emery Hour: the logo plays as normal, then the camera zoomed in on the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. Emery's buck-toothed vicar character then stepped out from behind the columns and welcomed viewers to "an hour of comedy and music". Oddly enough, on this version, the reflection of the "THAMES" lettering at the bottom of the screen does not fade away.
FX/SFX: The right-side-up and upside-down buildings rising together, the "THAMES" lettering rising with them and the reflection of the lettering fading away. The picture of the Thames skyline was designed by Minale Tattersfield.
Music/Sounds: Same as the last logo.
- By 1971, the re-arranged version was used more often.
- On The Kenny Everett Video Show, the tune was extended slightly; there are at least two different endings that were used on the show. Everett would also occasionally subvert the tune by humming it in a campy way, or playing it in slow-motion with the addition of comedy jingles and canned laughter.
- On The Dick Emery Hour, the jingle was played on a church organ.
- A version with an acapella rearrangement of the jingle was also used on the 1980 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special; the animation remained the same, but a male voice choir (rumoured to be The Mike Sammes Singers), sang "Here they are now, Morecambe and Wise!" to the Thames tune.
- In the mid-1980s, Des O'Connor Tonight featured a different version of the jingle (performed by the studio orchestra which appeared in all his shows).
- A low tone version of the fanfare also exists, which appears on the 4:3 print of the 2017 UK Network Blu-ray release of Jack the Ripper (1988).
Music/Sounds Trivia: The theme to this logo appears in the first episode of the infamous Netflix series Neo Yokio.
Availability: Extinct, but has been preserved on websites like TV-Ark.
Editor's Note: This is a fondly remembered logo to a generation of British TV fans who grew up with television during this time.
3rd Logo (July 31-September 1, 1989)
Nicknames: "Rising Buildings III", "CGI Rising Buildings", "Thames Triangle", "CGI Thames Triangle", "Thames XXI", "Thames' 21st Anniversary"
Logo: Against a black background, a triangular shape rises into view from the centre of the screen. As it reveals itself, it looks somewhat like an upside-down Christmas tree shape (two triangles joined together), and the upper triangle has an abstract version of the Thames waterfront scenery against a blue skyline. The lower one is gold in colour, and contains the words "THAMES XXI" ("XXI" is the Roman numeral for 21). As the logo rises, it too has a reflection, though it does not last when it is completely formed.
FX/SFX: Very good computer-generated animation, which is a modernisation of Thames' "Rising Buildings" design.
Music/Sounds: An orchestral version of the Thames fanfare, with a newly-composed six-note ending. A continuity announcement would follow.
Availability: Very rare. It was only seen in the United Kingdom as a special ident for Thames' twenty-first anniversary, but it's preserved on sites like TVArk.
Editor's Note: None.
4th Logo (September 4, 1989-November 1, 1991)
Nickname: "ITV Generic"
- Sometimes, ORACLE 888 would appear underneath the logo for programmes featuring subtitles.
- A still version also exists which is used in some junctions.
See ITV for descriptions.
5th Logo (September 3, 1990-December 31, 1992)
Nicknames: "CGI Thames Triangle II", "Thames Triangle II", "Thames' Final Stand"
Logo: The camera goes through a three-dimensional image of London. As it pans away, one of the buildings "fades" into the ident, which is now on top of a blue triangle. On the triangle are the words "THAMES TELEVISION" in a Friz Quadrata font. The background is again a skyline.
Variant: Sometimes, "888" would also appear on the triangle underneath the words for programmes featuring subtitles.
Trivia: This ident was originally seen before local programmes, but was eventually used before all programmes from November 4, 1991 to December 31, 1992, following the announcement of Thames' franchise loss to Carlton on October 16, 1991.
FX/SFX: The panning over the towers and fading into the triangle. A very nice combination of live-action and CGI.
Music/Sounds: An updated orchestral score.
Music/Sounds Variant: In December 1992, a more festive version of the 1990 fanfare was used, which was heard the last time this logo was seen.
Availability: This was also a London-only station identity, due to the reason covered for the 3rd logo, so it is extinct, but it is preserved on sites like TVArk.
Editor's Note: None.
6th Logo (December 31, 1992)
Nicknames: "Thames Video Wall", "Thames Triangle IV", "A Talent for Television"
Logo: A background consisting of various programme scenes configuring themselves into a video wall appear on the screen. As the wall goes out of focus, the Thames triangle fades onto the centre of the screen.
Trivia: This was originally taken from a promotional music video which Thames aired in the run up to its closure.
Variant: There was a version of this logo which featured a byline that faded in under the Thames Triangle logo and stated: "Thames. A Talent for Television."
FX/SFX: The programme clips forming a wall, then going out of focus as the Thames Triangle logo fades in, and the "Talent for Television" byline appearing.
Music/Sounds: A synthesised moderate-tempo brass and string fanfare. This was the third and final Thames ident to not use the "Salute to Thames" fanfare. The music video advert which used this featured a cover of "I Only Want to Be with You" by The Tourists, and the video wall/logo appears during the last line of the song.
- This was a London-area-only ident, and was seen on The Bill and This is Your Life.
- However, it is preserved on websites such as TVArk.
Editor's Note: None.
- Thames on TVARK