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REDIFFUSION WEEKEND : 1968-1993
Graphics and text © Andy O'Brien
In 1968, the ITA shocked everyone and gave the London weekday franchise to ABC-Capital. Rediffusion were gone from London's screens, but a small measure of salvation was available. To vary the programming and tone of presentation in each region and to make each company work a little bit harder for viewer loyalty, the ITA did an about-face on it's early plan to restrict weekend only franchising to London and decided to extend weekend companies to the whole country (except N Ireland and the Channel Islands), though in broader regions than the weekday ones. So in England for instance, London Weekend were self explanatory, ABC-Weekend had the Northern England franchise, the lamentable TeleNorth operated in the Tyne-Tees/Border area, Central took the Midlands/East Anglia area and Rediffusion managed to keep their hand in broadcasting by taking the Southern England weekend franchise.

Rediffusion Weekend 1968

The new ident, an attempt to breakaway from the stuffy image which Rediffusion felt was to blame for their losing the London franchise. While still keeping the same grey background and black stripe, the 'adastral' was slightly slanted and repositioned and a new italicized typeface was employed (presumably in the hope of making the company seem more forward looking). The familiar jingle was rearranged, underpinned with a military snare-drum beat, making it all seem faintly scary.

Rediffusion Weekend 1968

Pictured here is the "South West" variant for the more localized programming across the split-region (news bulletins etc.). "South" and "South East" versions also existed.

Rediffusion Weekend 1968

A programme slide. Columbo was a popular US series from the early 60s, a spin off from an episode of The Chevy Mystery Show, starring Bert Freed as the tenacious and menacing Lieutenant Columbo. It's repeat showing here in 1968 was probably in anticipation of the ill-fated TV movie revival starring Peter Falk as an unusually pixieish interpretation of the detective.

Rediffusion Weekend 1968

The clock.

Rediffusion Weekend 1968

The production slide.

Rediffusion Weekend 1969

While the new style Rediffusion was a success, the attempt to be less stuffy had become a little wearing. Amid the popularity were some dark mutterings of Rediffusion being 'gimmicky'. Certainly some of the continuity and presentation bordered on the hyperactive. The move to colour saw a more sober style introduced. There was still a certain briskness encouraged, but the watchword was 'tasteful'. So while the design was a return to the more solid old design, the colour scheme was eyecatching compared to the blue and yellow favoured by most companies.

Rediffusion Weekend 1971

The production slide abandoned the word 'weekend'.

Rediffusion Weekend 1971

The colour clock, with a more subtle red and white colour scheme and the name not entirely in capitals. As this clock was mainly used before the news that may explain the slightly subdued look.

Rediffusion Weekend 1972

IAn example of a typical Saturday night's viewing in the early 70s.

Rediffusion Weekend 1973

A programme slide featuring Rediffusion's almost supernatural ability to choose film stills that didn't quite relate to main action. If there was a dream sequence or any kind of scene that departed from the general tone of the film, Rediffusion would use it to advertize the movie.

Rediffusion Weekend 1982

Rediffusion entered 1982 with a new look, to better compete with the young whippersnappers that the franchise round brought in.

Rediffusion Weekend 1982

The new style programme slide was a little simpler than before.

Rediffusion Weekend 1982

 

Rediffusion Weekend 1986

Rediffusion went computer generated in 1986. And just like the change from black and white to colour, a bold design was replaced with a rather sedate and stiff look.

Rediffusion Weekend 1986

Some people complained that there was too much empty space at the bottom of the logo. But this wasn't an accident. The gap was for the easy placement of regional identifications.

Rediffusion Weekend 1986

 

Rediffusion Weekend 1989

Rediffusion's concession to the generic logo. However, for regional idents the 'ITV' would be replaced with the usual 'South-East', 'South-West' or 'South' identification.

Rediffusion Weekend 1993

With the takeover of Anglia, Rediffusion's Southern England franchise rebranded to 'Rediffusion South'. This was a source of confusion as the old 'Rediffusion South' sub-region was now renamed 'Rediffusion South Central'. As with the Rediffusion Anglia ident, local landmarks were incorporated. Due to the coverage area of the weekend franchise, room was made so that two different parts of Southern England could be featured at a time, avoiding any accusations of bias towards one part of a region. Here we see Penzance Harbour and Canterbury Cathedral.

Rediffusion Weekend 1993

For primetime, this look was adapted to the controversial 'Now and Next' aspect. An idea later picked up by other companies.

LAST UPDATE: 23rd June 2003

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