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Zooms, Frontcaps and Other Great Stuff

This page has been produced in conjuction with Chris Bowden-Smith of Transdiffusion, Gavin Sutherland, Joey Summerskill and Dave Jeffery.

If you can add any further information, please email me!

Here is Lew Grade's Associated Broadcasting Company logo. What's *this* all about?

Notice that the shadowed eye part of the ident has vertical lines very much thinner than on later versions.

(Image courtesy of the Transdiffusion archive)

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As a result of the Associated-British Corporation's court action, Lew Grade was forced to re-name the station Associated Television (ATV), and had five days to re-do all of their idents. This one was incorrectly drawn in the rush. The ATV name was used from 6th October 1955.

This logo is much wider than the ATV logo we know, and the letters are vertically symmetical, not so on later versions.

The MPEG downloadable here has no sound. As far as is known this was never broadcast in silence but it was used at start-up with the Sound and Vision start-up music (the film would have had to have been carefully timed to synchronise the Sound and Vision music (on gramophone) with the appearance of the letters 'ATV') and at closedown with the last part of Sound and Vision followed by the National Anthem.

At all other times the text 'Associated TeleVision Ltd' was not present on the ident but was accompanied by the ATV chimes.

Joey Summerskill says that for a while this ident was used at the same time as the ATV Three-Bar one below, although it was never attached to the programme film/tape.

MPEG available.


Variations on this, the Three-Bar ATV ident, were used for all frontcaps from (roughly) 1956-1959.

The MPEG here is the first variant used. Later on (about 1957-59) two other variants were used - one that said 'Midlands Monday to Friday' only on it, and another that said 'London Saturday & Sunday' only.

The Midlands version of the later variants was used for programmes broadcast during the week and the London one for programmes shown during the weekend.

The eyes look a bit 'pointy' on this ident.

MPEG available.

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This is the first of the ATV Zooms, the generic name given to ATV idents, as the ATV logo zooms in from the distance.

The Transdiffusion archives say that this was used from 1959 until July 1964.

The spaces for the letters are blank as it zooms, but the letters appear one at a time in time with the ATV chimes.

This was used on all ATV programmes.

Note the smaller diameter of the circles within the eyes compared with later versions.

MPEG available.

This Zoom, for the London franchise, is the first variant, which was used up to July 1964. It is not known exactly when it was introduced, but an educated guess puts it at 1959.

MPEG available.

(Image used with permission from Transdiffusion)

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The Transdiffusion archives record that this Zoom was used from July 1964 until the introduction of colour in November 1969.

Notice how the ATV shadowed eyes are bigger than in the previous variant.

These idents (both the Midlands and London versions) were introduced as a result of the franchise awards (announced by the ITA on 8th January 1964 and coming into force on the 1st August) and the region that the ITV companies were based in became more prominent on their idents.

It was used from July 1964 until the end of ATV's London franchise. London Weekend took over the London weekend franchise after Tuesday 30th July 1968.

There was another ident similar to this, says Chris, that was used for (for example) Star Soccer where the ATV ident would be in place and the word 'PRESENTS' (in the same typeface and size as the word LONDON) would slide in quickly from the right. No copy of this is known to exist - please get in touch if you have one.

MPEG available.

The ATV logo remained stationary whilst the word 'MIDLANDS' zoomed its way towards the viewer to end up like this.

There was another version of this with a slightly different 'S' in 'MIDLANDS.'

MPEG available.

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This Zoom is a black and white version of the famous 'In Colour' Zoom, with shortened music.

Joey says that it was used to precede black and white programmes shown after the introduction of colour.

She remembers that ATV got a bit slapdash in remembering to use this one before monochrome programmes and that ATV would proudly declare using the In-Colour Zoom that the next programme was in colour and then proceed to show a black-and-white programme!

Robert Greenway says "I remember two programmes, Cuddles and Company (Keith Harris and Cuddles) and Play Better Bridge - with Shaw Taylor, both of which (well into colour days) started with a static ATV logo and the music from the [vibraphone] onwards. The former not having a box round the symbol and the latter one having it.

"Anyone else remember this?"

MPEG available.

This is from the front of an advertising magazine. These were broadcast in the early days of ITV, but were forced off-air by legislation in the mid-1960s.

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This is likely to have been a one-off frontcap.

Robert Greenway adds "[This] may have come from The Strange World of Gurney Slade. It was repeated [in the early-mid nineties].

Here's an MPEG of an ATV optical, or break bumper, used for separating the adverts from the programmes or separating each ad.

Don't blink or you'll miss it!

If you were scared of the ATV ident when you were young, imagine yourself watching this when you were a kid!

This was actually coloured yellow-on-blue but time and encoding has taken its toll.

MPEG available.

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Medium quality version: 445kB

High quality, VideoCD resolution: 2.30Mb

4th January 2004

Here you can download the ATV 'In Colour' Zoom ident, the one everyone knows and loves!

It is referred to as a Zoom for historical reasons, as it doesn't actually do any zooming (although the light-spots zoom in, I suppose).

This Zoom ident has the 'light-spots' on a grey background.

Shift-click here to download an early orchestration of the music used with this animation.

The jingle used here is called Zoom 2 (Extended) - the actual composer's manuscript is below.

MPEG available


4th January 2004

This is another Zoom ident, this time with the light-spots on a light blue background.

If you know why there were two variations, one grey and one blue, please let me know!

I do know that a blue Zoom was broadcast before the last ATV Today - perhaps the blue Zoom is a later variant.

A possible explanation is that the blue Zoom preceded programmes made in Birmingham and the white Zoom came before programmes made at ATV's Elstree Studios in London.

Chris seems to remember that the blue Zoom preceded, more often than not, schools' programmes.

Of course, any (or none, or both) may be true, and the original purpose for there being two was abandoned, meaning that it was the programme producer's personal choice would be used.

Mark Boulton writes: "An important point to make about colour telecine machines from the 70s and 80s - whereas some machines (the more expensive), scanned all three primary colours (Red, Green and Blue) using dichroic filters and three separate tubes, some of the cheaper machines scanned only two of the primary colours (Red and Blue) - and Green was derived by subtracting the Red and Blue output from the monochrome output. Studio cameras also did this - Green was picked as the colour to derive since it has a higher luminance ratio than Red and Blue. Also, the monochrome tube used for the b/w image from which the green was derived would very often be a more old-fashioned (and hence cheaper), tube as developed for the black and white studio cameras.

"This resulted in some studio recordings and, some telecine outputs, to show a marked tendency towards a green wash where in actual fact the colour SHOULD be grey.

"The 'white' in the middle of the light-spots is brighter than the so-called 'white' background which actually a slight blue-green tint anyway. I think the 'green' tendency probably brings this out more. There is, however, probably more blue than green in the backdrop colour."

There was in fact more than one version of the In Colour Zoom made - more to come on that later, so it's entirely possible that a different coloured background was used as well. A deeper analysis is to come.

MPEG available.


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This Zoom has been restored by myself from a truncated
off-air copy. The first few frames have been manually recreated.
Can you tell though? :-)

 Medium quality version: 404kB

High quality, VideoCD resolution: 2.09Mb

4th January 2004

Shortly after ATV became Central in 1982, ATV's programmes for schools were shown with the Colour Zoom but with this slide preceding it.

As far as I can remember this went on until about 1984-ish.

Did this caption appear for general programmes or was it just shown for schools programmes? The thing is that schools programmes were the only type of programme repeated year on year; most programmes after 1982 would have been new or made with the Central ident for broadcast after 1982, so it may have been general practice but much rarer.

You can also download the full junction that this came from from one of the ITV Schools pages.

MPEG available.


Here's the manuscript for the music to the ATV 'In Colour' ident, so if you have some trumpets, trombones, some timpani and a vibraphone lying around you can recreate it in your own home!

It is dated 21st July 1969.

Gavin Sutherland says that "the jingle was [...] composed by Jack Parnell, and orchestrated by Wally Stott."

An early orchestration of this can be downloaded here.

It is thought that:

  • Zoom 2 (extended) is the In Colour Zoom music;

  • Zoom 2 is the music for the version of the In Colour Zoom for monochrome programmes (see above);

  • Zoom was just a name for the current ident (any animation with its jingle (as a package) after 1959) whichever it was.

Central's ident was also known as the Zoom internally, too.

Click on the image to see a bigger, more readable version.

DJ Spaceboy sent in a remix of the ATV Zoom 2 music - who'd have thought it possible?!

David Hemsley sent in a jingle that was used on Forces Radio BFBS that also boasts an imaginative use of Zoom 2!

(Thanks to Gavin Sutherland for the image)

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I didn't think I'd ever see this again - the logo-smashing introduction to the ATV Thursday Picture Show.

It's a fond ribbing of the famous Rank muscle-man-bashing-a-gong ident.

It's difficult to see here, but the gong-smasher here is a non-muscley man in an old-fashioned swimming costume and a cloth cap! The gong sound isn't so much a gong - more a tinkle :-)

There's a movie - shift-click to download! (399kb)

MPEG available.

The MPEG supplied here was a promo used by ATV to promote the new UHF Oxford transmitter.

It will have been broadcast shortly before the opening of the Oxford main station on 15th June 1970.

This has everything - the ATV logo, some funky music and it's about a transmitter!

The music is called X-Cert, composed by Johnny Hawksworth. [Simon McLean]

You can download a version with no voiceover on it by shift-clicking here.

What about a bit of fun with the promo? Try out your voiceover skills by having a go at the promo on the ATV Oxford page, which has a transcript and embedded file for your convenience (it's because of the unique way we're funded that makes it possible :-) ). Send in your efforts, and we'll post them here for all to enjoy!

Again, shift-click on the picture to download the movie. (903kb)

"...or even Princes Risborough!"

MPEG available.

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There is also a page about ATV Clocks, including a JavaScript working ATV Digital Clock and a Flash working 60s clock!

Click on the image to get to it.

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