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TELEFUSION : 1980-1982
Graphics and text © Andy O'Brien
In November 1980, the IBA bit the bullet and stripped a company of its franchise licence for reasons too well known to repeat. And so, as TeleNorth sank under the weight of fines and lawsuits, the IBA asked ABC and Pennines to shoulder the burden of weekends across Northenmost England and the Borders of Scotland. The idea being that the combined resources of would prevent any one company being spread too thin.

Among other considerations was the identity of the temporary company. A slightly peculiar compromise was struck. ABC's name would be used, but with Pennines' logo and typeface.

ABC 1980

Design duties fell to the art department at Pennines. Julian Powell, fresh from redesigning the Pennines ident, produced this at short notice. There was some muttering that it looked like somthing from a 1930s railways poster (intended as a criticism, but taken as a compliment by Powell who had intended precisely such a look). But the critics weren't too vehement in their protests,. The design did the job and would be off screens by the end of 1981.

ABC 1980

As far as other aspects of design were concerned, new ideas weren't felt to be necessary. A minimal readjustment and a bit of electronic colour was used on the standard ABC style clock.

ABC 1980

By ABC and Pennines' usual standards, some presentation was basic. This programme slide would have been more suited to BBC 2.

While all this was going on, another company that had lost its franchise previously was looking for redemption on the network. After the collapse of its mismanaged television company, Telefusion had concentrated on developing electronics. After 12 years living down it's brief life on ITV, things had moved on sufficiently in the company to plan a new bid. This time, the knowhow and will were in place to fulfil the promises in the mission statement and the IBA were sufficiently impressed.

Telefusion 1982

Of the four new companies introduced in the franchise handover of 1982, Telefusion was undoubtedly the brightest. First seen on Saturday January 2nd 1982, the new ident not only blotted out memories of the tacky presentation of TeleNorth, but even the temporay ABC paled when compared to this. Telefusion especially made a splash in the North East. Because January 1st fell on a Friday, the new weekday company was allowed to wait until Monday January 4th for its launch. As a result, Telefusion debuted between the absurdly self-pitying last dat of Tyne-Tees and the comparatively sedate first day of North Eastern. With it's breezy, "Hooray, it's the weekend!" attitude, it easily outshone the outgoing and incoming weekday stations.

Telefusion 1982

And the time is just coming up to devastatingly unsubtle branding!

Telefusion 1982

The programme slide was a bit more successful.

Telefusion 1982

Before long, Telefusion unveiled its big idea. A regular late-night service. However, this meant cutting into hours that technically belonged to North Eastern and Border Television. So, with the permission of all concerned, a mini-startup was devised for the handover.

Telefusion 1982

After two minutes of the IBA card, there was a minute of Telefusion's special late-night clock. Do not adjust your set, the blurry look of the clock was achieved through a distorting filter, intended to make it look like a neon sign.

Telefusion 1982

And at 1am, a cut to Telefusion's late night ident.

Telefusion 1982

A morning's viewing. One new show, a second showing of last week's edition of Telefusion's movie show, a bit of news and a selection of golden oldies. Perhaps not the most exciting schedule, but the point had been made. 24 hour ITV was one big step closer.

LAST UPDATE: 31st May 2004

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