ITV 59 - All Your ITV Favourites (And Eammon Holmes' Country Christmas Spectacular) Part Ten: Continuity Slides

Yes, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, especially if you’ve absolutely no interest in base sarcasm with occasional factual accuracy about old-skool ITV presentation techniques but have still read nine lengthy (or, in some cases, not so lengthy) posts about it anyway – the final part of our Rifle Through ITV’s Big Bin Where They Threw All The Old Test Cards And Things Like That Once They’d Stopped Using Them. And that final bit of old-skool presentation? Why, it’s ‘continuity slides’ – in other words, those captions with a show title and accompanying photo that they used to flash up either side of ad breaks. And - as is par for the course for this sodding series, which has arguably proved for once and for all that the BBC is inherently better that its ad-laden rival - how many of the initially-thought-of list of examples do you think we actually managed to find? Clue: it’s not many…

Most of the time, you knew exactly where you were with ITV's continuity slides, and to be honest the above examples, from The Fonz to The Bloke Who Kept Impersonating The Fonz About Ten Years After Happy Days Had Finished, while certainly interesting to see, are so rational and reasonable that - you guessed it - it's not really possible to make any surrealist or sarcastic observations about them. Whatever The Crunch Bird is, though, it can fuck off.

Unlike the BBC, who would often keep using battered old continuity slides long after hosts, logos, timeslots and even entire formats had changed, ITV would regularly update their photographic placeholders and sometimes it's even possible to chart the evolution of long-running shows through their slides alone. Take, for example, Name That Tune, the seemingly erosion-defyingly enduring game show in which contestants would affect to be able to identify An American In Paris from a single piano thud; here we can see slides for the show both in its Peter Cook-presented days, and from its later rebranding as just plain Name Tune.

Sometimes, though, you do have to wonder exactly what impression of the shows they were trying to give. Witness the special edition of News At Ten On Ice, or the one for Spitting Image in the week that every public figure went on fire in the style of Bengal Matches. As for Home To Roost, presumably they just couldn't find any publicity photos in landscape format.

Sport, on the other hand, was always a bit more tricky, but luckily there was a steady supply of instantly recognisable off-the-shelf sporting iconography to reach for. Take, for example, the footballer modishly treated with a Computer-Pixel-stroke-Astro-Turf effect, Jake The Peg playing centre forward for United FC, and the edition of handily-titled Match Time coming live from the International Rubik's Clock Championship Finals 1986.

Due to their origins in another medium, lack of recognisable series iconography, and inevitable rights-hands-change-related loss of original promotional materials, films were trickier still and some ingenious solutions had to be sought. Like, for example, the bewilderingly sinister branding of whichever film they were actually showing under the umbrella banner 'Mel Brooks', the League Of Gentlemen-eulogised blanket coverage for Ghosts, Monsters And Legends-heavy oldies in a regular timeslot as 'Appointment With Fear' (though the contemporaneous 'horror film' slide featuring disparately-sized illustrations of Dracula, a mummy et al with the word 'BRRRRR' was sadly nowhere to be found), and the towel-throwing-in last resort of just showing a pile of unspooled film to denote 'movies' in general. Apparently Sitting Target is a 1972 UK crime thriller starring Oliver Reed, Ian McShane, Edward Woodward, June Brown and Tony Beckley, TV 'Harrison Chase'. Well yeah, that's obvious to the casual viewer.

There were times, of course, when for one reason or another an actual photo from the actual TV show just wouldn't do, and the tactics that were adopted to get around this often had interesting results to say the least. While World Of Sport sensibly opted for a non-canon-hued variation of the show's trademark stylised 'S' - Dickie Davis presumably having held out for a greater percentage on the rights to his face - Francis Wheen's heavyweight aahhhhh-as-you-like eight-million part history of the medium Television was rather bafflingly denoted by a cartoon bird looking through a Fox's Glacier Mint, and good ol' boy-friendly hoedown All Kinds Of Country by a Glam Rocker's discarded Rickenbacker. It's something of a relief, then, to find this perfectly sense-making example for Live From Her Majesty's, featuring regular headliners Those Musical Notes In 'Showbiz' Straw Hats. You remember them!

Needless to say, by the late eighties technology was getting ever swankier and the slides ever more swish and sophisticated, as illustrated by these tasteful and to-the-point ad-straddlers for long-running yet long-forgotten Telly Addicts For People Who Think The Doctor Whos Were In Order Jon Pertwee William Hartnell Sendhil Ramamurthy 'Belouis' Some' No Don't Argue With Me I Should Know I Used To Watch It Etc Etc We Love TV, 'light side of soccer' I-don't-know-why-you're-going-Saint-they-won't-be-picking-you-style-gag-heavy playground-imitatable pre-match punditry Saint And Greavsie, Kennedy-deliquiesced early afternoon proto-UKIPpery Daytime, and lost in the mists of time game show Concentration, as apparently presented by that bloke who's always on 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

Hang on a minute... Parky? What's he doing here?! Don't start adjusting your set just yet - unfortunately, despite extensive research, it's proved impossible to locate that sophistication-era slide for The Bill featuring Bob Cryer in front of rolling clouds, so Mr. Parkinson has generously agreed to appear as an illustration in its place. Anyway, that's the last we'll be seeing of him.

Meanwhile, over at Channel 4, there was never any such eccentricity. They did their research, they got their proper cast-featuring still from the shows, and they promoted them without a hint of absurdity, inexplicability or just plain lack of relation to any recognisable programme contents.

And, well, that just about wraps it up for our lukewarmly recieved jaunt through ITV's non-programmey bits of days gone by, which only involved minimal borderline libel of Walt Disney. Thanks for joining us in all the ident-mocking fun, or if you will all the non-'mock'-mocking fun, which I'm sure you'll agree ha

hich is why there wasn't any room to talk about that annoying Granada thing with the window clea

y sound at all, just the still picture of The Fonz, as if to say "(.....................)amundo", and they went straight into the ad break; presumably he was too 'cool' f





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