Frequently, the Circle is asked for information about the music used by the various ITV companies at the start of their transmissions,
From the beginning, each ITV programme contractor had their own distinctive introductory sequence. In the early days, television sets took anything up to 20 minutes from switch-on to achieve electronic stability, and so TV stations would radiate some kind of Tuning Signal for about five minutes before the first programmes began. Where there were lengthy periods of close-down (between daytime and evening, for example) the Tuning Signal would be radiated at the start of each programme block.
The captions used for these sequences varied, but in the case of ITV there have been a number of distinctive designs. The first is best described as a simplified version of Test Card 'C', and was used until around 1960. The second - and best remembered - was nicknamed the 'Picasso' card because of its lack of symmetry:
When colour began in 1969, another rather unremarkable design made an appearance before the ITA switched to the use of a 'Transmitters in Service' caption:
Finally, a simple caption was shown which combined the contractor's on-screen symbol with the IBA symbol.
While all these captions were universal in design, the music was not. Each region enjoyed a variety of tunes, and in some cases the programme companies changed the music every few years. In the case of Border Television, they used three short pieces each day (to make up a five-minute sequence), and for their first few years of operation there were different music sequences for each day of the week - and two on Sundays!
Although some of the details are still either vague or unknown, years of patience have produced the following reasonably detailed listing, which you may find useful. If you can fill in any of the blanks, please contact the TCC.
The dates shown in brackets after the name of each ITV company are the day on which the company went into programme service. Record numbers are only shown where commercial recordings are still available.
The companies are listed in their "order of appearance" on the ITV network.
Click below to select the ITA / IBA company.
Click on the coloured horizontal lines between each section below to return to this list.
ASSOCIATED - REDIFFUSION (22/9/55)
Associated-Rediffusion has also used "Everywhere" by Eric Coates as start-of-day music.
ASSOCIATED TELEVISION (22/9/55)
(Known as Associated Broadcasting Company until 16/10/55)
ABC TELEVISION (17/2/56)
GRANADA TELEVISION NETWORK (3/5/56)
Music changed daily, played at opening and closedown, and included:
** two versions of the music were used: a bright one for opening and a slower, relaxed version at closedown
SCOTTISH TELEVISION (31/8/57)
TELEVISION WALES & WEST (14/1/58)
SOUTHERN TELEVISION (30/8/58)
For a brief period, Ivor Slaney's "Step Lively" was played with the Picasso card, but Southern soon reverted to the "Southern Rhapsody" by public demand!
TYNE-TEES TELEVISION (15/1/59)
ULSTER TELEVISION (13/10/59)
ANGLIA TELEVISION (27/10/59)
WESTWARD TELEVISION (29/4/61)
BORDER TELEVISION (1/9/61)
GRAMPIAN TELEVISION (30/9/61)
Grampian also briefly used Gordon Langford's "Hebridean Hoedown" before switching over to "Sounds On".
CHANNEL TELEVISION (1/9/62)
WALES (West & North) TELEVISION (14/9/62)
TWW also used various pieces at weekends, including Carlos Diernhammer's "Portales" and Syd Dale's "At Pepe's Place", which was then used by the interim service between TWW and HTV from March to July 1968.
HARLECH TELEVISION (4/3/68)
YORKSHIRE TELEVISION (29/7/68)
THAMES TELEVISION (30/7/68)
Summer 1970 only (temporary replacements for the above)
LONDON WEEKEND TELEVISION (2/8/68)
INDEPENDENT TELEVISION NETWORK (8/68)
CENTRAL INDEPENDENT TELEVISION (1/1/82)
TELEVISION SOUTH (1/1/82)
TELEVISION SOUTH-WEST (1/1/82)
CHANNEL FOUR TELEVISION (2/11/82)
Latest update: 03/06/20