The Good Ship Westward

On this day in 1961, Westward Television took to the air, serving the South West of England for just over 20 years.

Westward Television’s corporate branding focused around the sea, and mainly used a ship emblem for their on-screen look. The first ident featured an image of a boat on the water, before replacing the image with a stylised ship image in a circle, complete with Westward legend and channel nine and twelve identifiers (representing the Stockland Hill and Caradon Hill transmitters of the time), to a tune of four chimes.

This was replaced in the mid-1960s by a model of the Golden Hind, shot against a black background with a simple Westward caption beneath accompanied by the Holly and the Ivy tune on brass instruments. This ident was altered slightly in the late 1960s to update the font to Compacta Bold.

When colour television came to the region on 22 May 1971, the Golden Hind was re-shot against a blue background with the caption altered to include a small stylised ship image in a box in the lower left corner, followed by an outlined ‘Westward TV’ caption, with TV in red. The tune that accompanied the colour television ident was originally a nautical fanfare on brass instruments, based on the song “Come Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl”, arranged by Paul Lewis. This formed part of a longer ident theme titled An English Overture, which was used at the start of each day’s broadcasts. The short ident theme was changed around 1978 to a seven note fanfare. This was Westward’s final ident and remained with the company until the end of the franchise.

On 28 December 1980, while the ITV network was showing Drake’s Venture (Westward Television’s two-hour filmed drama to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe, starring John Thaw), ITN broke into a commercial break to announce that ATV was to undergo major changes and Southern and Westward had not had their licences renewed by the IBA; the south-west franchise was awarded to TSW (Television South West).

Following the loss of its franchise, Westward’s management decided to sell up quickly, and the company (including its staff, premises and programme library) was purchased by TSW, early in 1981, for £2.38 million. TSW continued using the Westward name and symbol on screen until 31 December 1981; thereafter, it was re-branded on screen as TSW.

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