Yorkshire Television

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ITV Yorkshire (2002-)
Yorkshire Television (1968-2002)
{{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=Yorkshire Television.png|size=|sizedefault=frameless|alt=}}
Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire
Broadcast area Yorkshire from 1968,
Lincolnshire from 1974
First airdate 29 July 1968
Closed Lost on-air identity 27 October 2002 (known as ITV1 at all times)
Replaced Granada Television (Monday morning to Friday evening) and ABC Weekend Television (Saturday morning to Sunday evening)
Owned by ITV plc
Website itv.com/yorkshire
Former logo
Former Yorkshire Television logos.

ITV Yorkshire, previously known as Yorkshire Television and sometimes unofficially abbreviated to YTV, is the British television service provided by ITV Broadcasting Limited for the Yorkshire franchise area on the ITV network. Until 1974, this was primarily the three ridings of Yorkshire and associated areas served by the Emley Moor television transmitter. Following a re-organisation in 1974 the transmission area was extended to include Humberside, Lincolnshire and parts of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and North and West Norfolk, served by the Belmont transmitter.

The 1967 franchise round stipulated that the influential pan-North region, the licence for which was owned by Granada Television based in Manchester, had to be split up. Consequently it was decided that Granada would keep the North West franchise and a new franchise created for Yorkshire. Two consortiums applied for the franchise, Telefusion Yorkshire Ltd and Yorkshire Independent Television, the former having large financial backing (supported by the Blackpool-based Telefusion television rental chain) and the latter having the better plans (but fewer resources). Yorkshire Television itself was formed via a 'shotgun marriage' between the aforementioned two applicant groups. It went on air on 29 July 1968 from purpose-built colour studios in Leeds, the first of their kind in Europe. It also has smaller district offices in Hull and Lincoln.

On 1 January 2007, the company transferred its programme production business to ITV Studios Limited. As a consequence, Yorkshire Television Limited ceased to trade on 1 January 2007.[1] Yorkshire Television Ltd still legally exists, but its licence is now owned and operated by ITV plc under the licence name of ITV Broadcasting Limited (along with all the other ITV plc-owned franchises).


The 1967 franchise round stipulated that the influential pan-North region, the licence for which was owned by Granada Television based in Manchester, had to be split up. Consequently it was decided that Granada would keep the North West franchise and a new franchise created for Yorkshire. On 28 February 1967, national and regional newspapers carried numerous advertisements from the Independent Television Authority, each requesting applicants for various new ITV contracts, one of which was Programme Contractor for Yorkshire Area (Contract D) – All Week. Ten formal bids were received by the closing date; another less-serious bid, Diddy TV, headed by comedian Ken Dodd withdrew their application.[2][3]

Telefusion Yorkshire Limited, created by the Blackpool-based TV rental chain Telefusion, was chosen on the condition that it 'merged' with another applicant Yorkshire Independent Television. The latter, backed by a consortium of Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd]], other local newspaper groups such as the Huddersfield Examiner and the Scarborough Evening News, several Yorkshire-based Co-operative societies, trade unions and local universities were deemed by the Authority to have the better talent but suffered a lack of funding, whereas Telefusion had the backing of a cash-rich parent. The new venture initially chose the name Yorkshire Television Network but decided to drop the word 'Network' before going on air.[4] A few days after winning, the chairman Sir Richard Graham said: "We see ourselves as having a particular responsibility to convey to a mature audience the particular qualities and strengths of one of the most populous and most important ares outside London."[5]

The station began broadcasting on 29 July 1968 from brand new studios at Kirkstall Road in Leeds. Although they were purpose-built for colour production and equipped with £2.2 million of equipment, the majority of initial broadcasts were in monochrome until the ITV network formally launched its colour output on 15 November 1969. After an opening ceremony led by [The Duchess of Kent, the station's first programme was live coverage of a Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley. Other programmes broadcast on YTV's opening day included the first edition of its regional news programme Calendar, the station's first networked production – the 'Playhouse' drama Daddy Kiss it Better – and a light entertainment special, First Night, hosted by Bob Monkhouse.

The station was hit hard when its transmitter mast at Emley Moor collapsed in March 1969 under a heavy build-up of ice, leaving the major part of the region uncovered by television broadcasts. However, a temporary mast was quickly erected and television to the West Riding of Yorkshire resumed, albeit with reduced coverage. From this, the company grew and by May 1970 the company was making profits of over £689,000 (2008 equivalent: £7.75 million).[2][6] After a series of temporary masts at Emley Moor, the current 275 metre reinforced concrete tower — topped by a 55 metre steel lattice mast — began transmitting in 1971, resuming full area coverage for the YTV region.

In June 1969, talks began between Yorkshire and Anglia about archiving cost cutting by sharing equipment and faculties. Neither company planned joint productions or a merger. The decision to form an association was purely down to the costs of the increase levy on the companies advertising revenue by the government, and the cost of colour TV. ITA stated there was no reason why the companies should not have talks about sensible economies that could be made, but would examine all details before any association were to be implemented.[7] In January 1970, a warning was given that regionalism would be abandoned and a forced merger with Anglia Television would happen unless the chancellor reduced the levy applied on advertising revenues, which was also not helped by the high cost with colour television and the introduction of UHF,[8] which the government agreed to a few months later.

With the introduction of UHF broadcasting, YTV had failed to gain the Bilsdale transmitter in North Yorkshire, which was allocated instead to Tyne Tees Television due to the transmitter's penetration into Teesside and County Durham. This seriously reduced YTV's monopoly commercial broadcast area. Partially to address this issue, in 1974 the Independent Broadcasting Authority reallocated the Belmont Transmitter, then served by Anglia Television, to YTV. Although the area served by Belmont was largely rural, it did cover the more industrial centres of Hull, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Lincoln and it was felt the region would be better served from Leeds rather than from Norwich.

Trident Television

In August 1970[9] following a reverse takeover Yorkshire Television was effectively merged with its neighbour Tyne Tees Television, when the two were brought under the control of Trident Television Limited, a company formed to deal with the problem of effective ownership of the Bilsdale transmitter and the allocation of airtime. It is often contended that the other point of the trident was intended to be Anglia Television, but that in the event Anglia was prevented from joining by the Independent Broadcasting Authority. However, it appears that the third 'point' was to be Trident's non-television interests and that Anglia were never considered as partners in the enterprise.

The two stations remained separately run and were required to demerge by late 1981 as a condition of the re-awarding of their ITV contracts from January 1982. Trident's majority shareholdings were sold although they retained ownership of studios and equipment which were leased to the respective companies.

On 28 March 1977, Yorkshire launched a six-week breakfast television experiment.[10] Good Morning Calendar is credited as being the UK's first breakfast television programme, six years before the launch of TV-am. The programme ran concurrently with a similar Tyne Tees programme, Good Morning North for North East viewers.[11] Both series ended after nine weeks on 27 May 1977.

Industrial relations

From its inception YTV had a turbulent relationship with the broadcasting unions (a common theme within ITV). Many employees at the new company were recruited from the Manchester and Birmingham studios of the former ABC Weekend Television and the London station Rediffusion; the upheaval of enforced job changes on these employees combined with a relatively new management of a new ITV station and huge investment by shareholders provided fertile ground for the unions.

In 1971, technicians broadcast a handwritten note that read "'Yorkshire Television have threatened to sack us, we are going on strike" six minutes before the end of "Kate". A black screen appeared before that evening's News at Ten was broadcast. The dispute was involving ACCT union members who had refused to work overtime due to pay rates.[12][13]

YTV was forced off the air by more industrial action over the whole of Christmas, 1978. This partially coincided with a two-day national shutdown of both BBC channels by strikes in December of that year, meaning that for those two days viewers in the region had no television at all. Many of ITV's Christmas programmes were eventually shown in the Yorkshire region in early 1979, after the dispute had ended.

In the ITV strike of 1979, the station, like the rest of the network, was off the air for over two months (although appeals by the West Yorkshire Police in their search for the murderer known as the Yorkshire Ripper were periodically transmitted during the strike.[14] However the dispute was more intense at YTV as the company's management were seen as instrumental in fighting the unions, especially the managing director Sir Paul Fox.

In the 1980 franchise round several YTV staff submitted their own application for the Yorkshire franchise under the name of 'Television Yorkshire', Backed by Donald Baverstock and MP Jonathan Aiken who believed there would provide a better service[15][16] Yorkshire retained the franchise with no major changes except the same number of Relay transmitters ( Todmorden/Walsden) were transferred from Granada to Yorkshire.[17][18]


On 9 August 1986, Yorkshire Television became the first ITV company and the first British terrestrial television station to offer 24-hour broadcasting.[19] This was achieved by simulcasting the satellite station Music Box for a three-month trial, as permitted by the IBA. The all-night simulcasts continued until Friday 2 January 1987 - shortly before Music Box ceased operations as a broadcaster. Thereafter, Yorkshire ran a teletext-based Jobfinder service for one hour after closedown with a Through Till 3 strand on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights introduced a few months later.[20]

In 1982 after the split up of Trident television, Bass ( brewing and Leisure group) acquired a 20.93% share in Yorkshire TV. In July 1987, Bass sold the stake since it no longer fitted in with its operations. The Managing Director of YTV said: "We are very sorry to lose Bass as a shareholder, they have been very supportive to Yorkshire Television."[21] By the end of the year, YTV profits had increased to £13.94M, and it had become one of the largest suppliers of programmes to Channel 4.[22]

In March 1988, Paul Fox left the company to join the BBC, after spending 15 years as Yorkshire managing director.[23][24] A month later Paul Mckess reigned. A member of staff said "It comes as a surprise to us, but we don't think there has been a row or anything like that". Clive Leach became managing director.[25]

In preparation of the new ITV franchises the company started to cut cost which resulted in 91 voluntary redundancies, which only had a minor affect with slightly fewer programmes being produced.[26]

Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television plc

Following rule changes in 1992, the two stations resumed their alliance under the name Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television plc. This time around, the two stations were integrated to a far greater extent—following the takeover, 292 jobs were axed at the two broadcasters,[27] including 174 at Leeds, 115 at Newcastle with further thre from airtime sales in London. Various programmes which had previously been shown at a regional pace were suddenly jolted forward to the furthest ahead point among YTV and Tyne Tees. YTV had to lose over 200 episodes of The Young Doctors to reach the Tyne Tees stage of the serial. Similarly Tyne Tees had to lose over 50 episodes of Blockbusters and two episodes of Prisoner: Cell Block H. Other programmes were also affected.

On 6 December 1993, the North West franchise holder Granada Television launched a hostile takeover for LWT, worth £600m. LWT tried to outstep the takeover bid by holding talks with Yorkshire Television and Scottish Television.[28] Reports also suggested if LWT bidded for Yorkshire Television it would also form an alliance with Anglia who would takeover Tyne Tees Television.[29] By 7 January 1994 the merger talks between Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television had collapsed because it had proved impossible to reach an agreement on a suitable structure for the new company. A few days earlier Anglia had withdrawn from the proposed alliance, making an LWT takeover of YTV impossible.[30]

The company faced a large revenue shortfall in 1993 of around £15 million, caused largely by financial irregularities in advertising sales, where airtime was oversold. Generally the bids submitted by both YTV and the (then-independent) Tyne Tees were considered financially questionable, and the ITC is said to have come close to rejecting the YTV bid on financial quality grounds.[31] However, with London Weekend Television's airtime sales subsidiary Laser taking over the advertising responsibilities for the company, profits did recover by 1996, thanks to the cost-cutting measures implemented in the intervening years.[32]

Bruce Gyngell, the former chairman of breakfast station TV-am, became YTTV's managing director on 15 May 1995.[33] In 1996, Bruce Gyngell made the controversial move of re-branding Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television under the unified brand "Channel 3"[34] While Yorkshire used a scaled-back version of this branding (still using the classic logo and being verbally known as "Channel 3 Yorkshire"), Tyne Tees was re-branded as "Channel 3 North East". It dropped the familiar TTTV logo, and relegated the Tyne Tees name to secondary branding.

Granada plc and ITV plc

In 1997, Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television plc was acquired by Granada Group plc (now ITV plc). Granada's first move was to scrap the Channel 3 branding, starting from 9 March 1998. However, dual branding with the "ITV" name was introduced a year later.

In 1998, transmission control and presentation for all of Granada's stations in the North of England moved to Yorkshire, with the creation of the Northern Transmission Centre. This highly automated server based system was the source to Border, Tyne Tees and Granada as well as the Yorkshire regional output. The continuity department closed down in 2002 after a unified presentation department for ITV1 in England was set up by the London News Network in London.

On 28 October 2002, Yorkshire Television was rebranded as ITV1 Yorkshire. The "Yorkshire" does not appear, even before regional programmes; only the name "ITV1" is shown. The famous chevron continued to appear after programmes made by ITV Yorkshire, until 31 October 2004. Today, programmes made at the Leeds studios by ITV are credited to ITV Studios.

The licence for Yorkshire is now held by ITV Broadcasting Limited, part of ITV plc.[1]


The studios were built on 5 acre of slum clearance land on Kirkstall Road, purchased from the former Leeds Corporation.

Construction commenced in early 1967. A mild winter aided building work and by mid-1968 studios one and two were equipped for transmission (studios three and four being completed by early 1969). During construction, pre-launch shows were produced at the ABC studios at Didsbury, Manchester while a former trouser-press factory next to the Leeds facility was used as an administration centre.

The studio was officially opened by The Duchess of Kent on 29 July 1968. It was the first purpose-built colour television production centre in Europe and cost over £4 million to build and equip (2008 equivalent: £50 million[6]). Equipment was installed by EMI Electronics and contained seven 2" Quadruplex VTR machines, six telecines and twelve cameras. The cameras were a mixture of Marconi MkVII's and EMI 2001 models.

The regional news show Calendar was produced at the centre for many years but in 1989 was moved to a dedicated newsroom and broadcast facility based in a converted ice rink next to the main studios.

Recent productions include Countdown (which has since moved to The Manchester Studios), the revived Bullseye , Mastermind (while asbestos was removed from The Manchester Studios in 2006), My Parents Are Aliens, new Channel 4 gameshow Win My Wage and a new children's comedy-drama for Cartoon Network called My Spy Family. The site is now home to continuity for ITV's northern transmission areas (although this is now managed, along with its southern counterpart, by Technicolor Network Services [2]) and a number of independent producers. The production facilities are marketed as The Leeds Studios and sister companies ProVision, Film Lab North and The Finishing School occupy adjacent buildings, although the operation continues to be widely referred to as the Yorkshire Television studios or YTV.

In March 2009, ITV plc announced that the Leeds Studios were to be largely closed in an effort to save costs following a reported loss of £2.7 billion for 2008.[35] However, seven months later ITV changed its mind, choosing instead to close the nearby studios dedicated to the production of Emmerdale and transferring production of this programme to Kirkstall Road which would be upgraded for HDTV production.[36]


Yorkshire Television's on screen identity has always revolved around the use of the station logo: the chevron. This yellow symbol was seen on nearly all Yorkshire television's station identification films, or idents for short. The first symbol used was a black and white chevron, formed by slit-scan techniques and accompanied by an orchestral version of the tune "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'a"t, a famous tune in Yorkshire. This music was later to become the station's signature tune. This ident continued until Colour television arrived to the region in the 1970s. The new colour ident featured the yellow chevron on a black background with the caption Yorkshire Television Colour Production, which would appear suddenly, along with a simplified version of "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at". This ident was modified in 1981, so that the caption Colour Production was changed to In Colour, and in 1982 the colour caption was removed altogether. This new version also featured a deeper tune than previous.

Supplementing the ident throughout this period were idents promoting the station's coverage, with the slogan Serving Six Million Viewers. One version, in 1983 featured a giant chevron logo, made up out of smaller chevrons, and another in 1986 featured the view zooming in from space, to the earth, to Britain and finally to the Yorkshire TV region, which then flipped over, becoming the chevron. This last version was computer animated, with 3D-style lettering and chevron. For the most of the time, Programme slides were used into most programmes expect the news.

In January 1987, Yorkshire Television introduced a new ident, entitled Liquid Gold, featuring a pool of liquefied gold, with the chevron rising up from it, and rotating into the sky, where the station name joins it. This ident features a fully orchestrated version of the theme tune and reportedly cost £40,000 to make in 1986. This was occasionally supplemented by a large rotating chevron over a gradiented blue background, used over continuity. Ident was not used before programmes produced by YTV which was still introduced over a slide, probably because they didn't want to crash two chevron logos.

In 1 September 1989, Yorkshire Television adopted the first ITV generic look, featuring the large ITV logo, which the company used until October 1994. Addition still ident was used with just the chevron, on the genric look background. The segment of the 'V' in the ITV logo denoting the region, featured the left segment of the chevron. This was modified in 1991 when the chevron would increase the size from the V to replace "ITV" on screen. The whole package was used by Yorkshire Television, and an adapted version, where the whole chevron appeared in the V segment before moving into centre screen, was used before regional programming.

Upon YTV dropping the generic look in October 1994, a new ident was introduced, featuring a textured background with a strip across the centre of the screen containing images of the region itself, with the chevron placed in the centre of the strip. The most noticeable thing about his ident set was the smooth nature of the chevron's appearance, and also the fact that this was the only ident ever used by Yorkshire that did not feature the On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at theme music. Instead a smooth orchestral jingle was used, that mixed with the relaxed ident gave the station a relaxing feel. The background was later changed from a cream to a light blue, and variations on the theme for special occasions and yearly themes were also introduced.

However, the look was not to last. On Monday 2nd September 1996, Yorkshire adopted a new branding package, based on the concept of Channel 3. The new look was fully implemented in the Tyne Tees region first during the first week in September, with all on-screen branding being replaced by giant numeral '3', and the Tyne Tees brand became secondary, however the look was only partially implemented in the Yorkshire region. The entirety of Yorkshire's Channel 3 look included an ident where the chevron span against a light blue background with numeral '3's covering the background. Another ident featured the chevron with the '3' numeral embossed on the side, which the camera would then zoom into, before revealing a spinning numeral 3, which in turn had YTV chevron on the middle of the 3 and when zoomed into, the chevron re-appeared spinning against the background. The look also heralded the return of the On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at tune, which was now noticeably higher in pitch.

The Channel 3 look was dropped on Monday 9th March 1998, following Granada's acquisition of Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television, with the look returning to a spinning chevron against a misty blue background, light blue during the day and dark blue in the evenings. In 1999, Yorkshire Television adopted the second generic look, based on the theme of hearts, which was used for the entirety of the branding period before network programming. However, for local programming, Yorkshire created their own ident featuring a background of spinning chevrons, with pictures of the region featuring inside a central box. In 2002, the brand was dropped in favour of a national ITV1 identity, in which local regional identities were dropped except before local programming, when the Yorkshire name appeared below the ITV1 logo only. These regional idents however were dropped by 2006.

Former announcers

  • Pete Haslam (promo voiceover, 1999 – c.2007)
  • Peter Lewis (late 1960s)
  • Keith Martin
  • Maggie Mash (1988–2002)
  • Nick Oliver
  • Karen Petch
  • Paul Lally (c.1968 – 1990s)

  • Ian De Stains (1968–1970)
  • Paul Kaye (c.1970s – 1980)
  • Helen Aitken (1995–2002)
  • Roger Tilling (1998 – c.2000)
  • Colin Weston (freelancer)
  • Stephen Whitlock (1992–2004)

Regional news programmes

Calendar (1968-present)


  1. Directors Report and Financial Statements, Yorkshire Television Limited, Year Ending 31st December 2006
  2. 2.0 2.1 Baren, Maurice (2000). How It All Began in Yorkshire, Volume 2. Dalesman Publishing. ISBN 1-85568-183-8 Template:Only in print.  Template:Page needed
  3. ITV: who wants what. The Times, Tuesday, 30 May 1967
  4. New men in television. The Times, Tuesday, 13 June 1967; p. 3
  5. Presenting Yorkshire to Britain. FROM OUR NORTHERN CORRESPONDENT. The Times, Friday, 16 June 1967
  6. 6.0 6.1 Historic inflation calculator: how the value of money has changed since 1900 | This is Money
  7. Yorkshire, Anglia in TV link talks.BY BROADCASTING CORRESPONDENT. The Times (London, England), Saturday, 7 June 1969
  8. TV crisis may force mergers.By DAVID WOOD The Times, Thursday, 1 January 1970;
  9. Yorkshire and Tyne Tees TV plan to merge. By ROSS DAVIES. The Times, Friday, 21 August 1970; p. 17;
  10. Yorkshire's forthcoming experiment in breakfast viewing may sound the ... Fiddick, Peter The Guardian (1959-2003); 21 February 1977;
  11. Piercy, Robert. "Yorkshire TV News". TVARK. http://www2.tv-ark.org.uk/itvyorkshire/news.html. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  12. TV blackout as viewers see warning of strike. The Times, Saturday, 10 July 1971
  13. "You can't touch me, I'm part of the union". Trasndiffusion.org. http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/insidetv/history/union.php. 
  14. "Yorkshire TV timeline: Highs and lows of 40 years on air". Yorkshire Post. 4 March 2009. http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Yorkshire-TV-timeline-Highs-and.5039878.jp. 
  15. Starter's orders for the great ITV stakes The Guardian (1959–2003); 10 May 1980;
  16. Briggs, Asa; Spicer, Joanna (1986). The Franchise Affair. Century. ISBN 0-7126-1201-7 Template:Only in print. Template:Page needed
  17. ITV's framework for survival in the eighties: Expectations of a harsh ... The Guardian (1959–2003); 25 January 1980;
  18. £5m for staff who seek TV franchise.By Kenneth Gosling. The Times, Monday, 12 May 1980;
  19. Regional Television Variations. The Times, Saturday, 9 August 1986; p. 32
  20. Television and radio. The Times (London, England), Friday, 30 January 1987; p. 43
  21. Bass nets £25m in YTV stake sale. By Our City Staff. The Times, Saturday, 25 July 1987;
  22. Yorkshire TV tunes in £13m. Michael Tate. The Times, Tuesday, 15 December 1987
  23. Fox returns to BBC in top job. Andrew Billen. The Times, Thursday, 10 March 1988
  24. The Fox back in the Bush. Bryan Appleyard. The Times, Wednesday, 20 April 1988
  25. Second top executive resigns from Yorkshire Television. Cliff Feltham. The Times, Friday, 22 April 1988
  26. Redundancy plan pegs profit rise to 15.6% at Yorkshire. Rosemary Unsworth. The Times, Thursday, 15 December 1988
  27. Television jobs to go. The Times, Saturday, 7 November 1992;
  28. Martin Waller "Granada set to launch bid for LWT", The Times, 6 December 1993, p.36
  29. Carl Mostished "Granada hits out at LWT triple alliance", The Times, 13 December 1993, p. 36
  30. Susan Gilchrist "Collapse of merger talks puts LWT under pressure", The Times, 7 January 1994, p. 23
  31. Dawtrey, Adam (9 November 1993). "U.K.'s Tyne Tees TV faces year loss". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR116745.html?categoryid=19&cs=1. 
  32. "YORKSHIRE TYNE TEES TELEVISION PRE-TAX UP 40%". PRN Newswire. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=27248. 
  33. Horsman, Mathew (2 May 1995). "Yorkshire snaps up former TV-am boss Bruce Gyngell". Independent on Sunday. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/yorkshire-snaps-up-former-tvam-boss-bruce-gyngell-1617892.html. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  34. http://www.brandrepublic.com/news/58464/
  35. "Troubled ITV cuts jobs and costs". BBC News Online (BBC). 4 March 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7922770.stm. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  36. "ITV's Leeds base saved in £5m refurbishment". Yorkshire Post. 3 December 2009. http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/rip-yorkshire-tv/ITV39s-Leeds-base-saved-in.5883990.jp. 

External links

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