The Viewing Room


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ATC/Teledu Cymru

Independent Wales 1965 - 2004

Part 2: 1983 - 2004

Introduction

The new company's ident formed up on a gold and black background, with a silver bar emerging from the bottom... Teledu Cymru 1983 logo - image 1
Teledu Cymru 1983 logo - image 2
...turning into a 'T'...
...with two 'C's (one inverted) sliding in from either side... Teledu Cymru 1983 logo - image 3
Teledu Cymru 1983 logo - complete
...and being completed by the company's name. There were variations on this pattern - one where the background was light at the top and dark at the bottom, and another (rarely shown) where the background gradient was blue rather than gold). A fanfare of ascending chords marked the whole show, the first time sound was used with an ident.
They also had this rather neat clock based on the company's logo. Teledu Cymru 1983 clock
Teledu Cymru 1983 programme menu
The programmes hadn't changed very much, though. This was scarcely surprising given that money was tight, and that most of ATC's staff had been transferred over to the new licensee. The news and parliamentary report were now followed by all of 45 minutes of local programming (which could vary from current affairs to culture to old men who put ferrets down their trousers) ; then there was that soap, inching towards its twentieth year, a guessing game with a panel of celebrities, then the news headlines. On this particular Thursday, the bulletin was followed by an espionage thriller, then a new current affairs round-up "From Day To Day" at 10:15. The evening closed with a showcase of music from the annual Bala Fair and the closing headlines.
As successful as the new image was, it didn't stop the company junking most of it just three years later. Silver was in, darlings, even in Machynlleth, and so was drop-shadowed lettering. Teledu Cymru 1986 logo
Teledu Cymru 1986 programme menu
Shock, horror! There was now television on Sunday! The objections of the old puritans had finally been faced down. Not that the line-up was particularly attractive to most. This run-down shows it all too vividly ; the early evening news was followed by a cultural round-up of the week, Handel's "Messiah" performed by the Royal Court Choir, a religious discussion programme and the news headlines and weather, before the sinful few viewers were ushered off to bed at 10.15.
There were some useful innovations in programming, though, such as "Long Life", which gave a forum to that portion of the population over 60 to voice their experiences and concerns (usually a lot of complaining about how rude, inconsiderate and disrespectful the younger generation had become). Teledu Cymru 'Next' caption
Teledu Cymru 1989 ident
The silver look never really caught on with the viewers, and by 1989 it was all change once more. The logo remained, but now it was back to the Gold Standard on a black background.
Not that the programming showed much sign of changing. Oh, looky here! Guess what's on at 7:30! Twenty-four years on and still going, sandwiched on this occasion between a magazine programme and a murder mystery series. Viewers were allowed some amusement, though, with a comedy programme at 9:35 and a broadcast of highlights from a major music festival in Ireland, with the day's current affairs analysis squatting incongruously in between them. Teledu Cymru 1989 programme menu
Teledu Cymru 1989 fault
CTC was, of course, non-commercial, which left the vexing problem of how to fill gaps between programmes. One way was to show the station's logo, but transformed into various shapes and patterns by all this modern technology. Unfortunately technology runs like clockwork, that is to say that it goes "Cuckoo!" from time to time, and on one infamous occasion the folding, twisting and zooming of the logo stopped suddenly on this rather worrying transformation, and couldn't be restarted for some minutes. Press journalists, ever eager to twist the knife in the back of TV when they weren't appearing on it themselves, gleefully reported that small children had run screaming from living rooms from Flint to Ferryside. The head of the channel was summoned to an urgent meeting with the Minister...
CTC decided that they desperately needed to boost their public-service credentials to make up for lost goodwill. It got its chance in the October of 1990, when severe flooding disrupted much of the western half of the country. This caption shows red alerts for four rivers. Teledu Cymru flood warning caption
Teledu Cymru 1989 Bando caption
Sport was a surprisingly recent addition to the schedules. The governing bodies had been very wary of allowing substantial coverage for fear that attendances at events would suffer. There was some relaxation of this attitude by now, however, and this caption trails highlights of the 1991 grand final of the national tournament of Bando (a game a bit like shinty or hurling) between the reigning champions from the central district of Arwystli and the upstart challengers from Erging in the south-east.
And if you missed the score, you could catch up from the late-night news headlines. These had always been voiced out-of-vision over captions like this one. Teledu Cymru news headlines caption
Teledu Cymru 1994 ident
The 1989 style proved remarkably popular and durable, and it wasn't until 1994, when a new programme director took over and decided (as they always seem to do) that he wanted to make his own mark, that it was retired. The change was quite radical, too. Out went the old logo after 11 years, to be replaced by this dragon. Both the dragon and then the name would fade into the picture.
Need I say that some things never change? Well, I needn't, not when you see this Wednesday-night menu. The early evening showed no change from 1989, and although some new comedy and quiz games intervened, followed by a sports round-up, there was still a current affairs programme ("The Front Page") sometime after 10. "Beyond The Door" at 11:15 was quite daring, however, being a behind the scenes look at the life of an ordinary family in a suburb of Machynlleth. Warts and all, much to the invented moral outrage of politicians and the press, and the titillated joy of the viewers. Teledu Cymru 1994 programme menu
Teledu Cymru 1995 ident
The new idents weren't really working, though, and a decision to remodel them was taken. Early 1995, then, saw a change of colour scheme. This was effective enough to take Teledu Cymru through to the autumn of 1997...
...When black was back. And gold, too. And another new logo. Yes, it looked like an 'M', but it was really just a reformulation of the old CTC logo of days gone by. Teledu Cymru 1997 ident
Teledu Cymru 'Autumn' caption
It was seldom seen on its own, though. Usually, it was to be found sitting in the corner of various views of the country, like this one. "Autumn on Teledu Cymru", it says, as if people couldn't guess what time of year it was.
Usually, however, they referred more to the time of day (although the cannier portion of the populace probably knew what that was without being told, as well). This is a "Good Afternoon" slide, shown in the run-up to the start of programmes. Teledu Cymru 'Good Afternoon' caption
Teledu Cymru 'Goodnight' caption
This little beauty ("Good Night") was a favourite with many, being shown at closedown.
Everything was thrown into turmoil in April 1999 when the King ("Peace Be On His Soul") died. This caption was the only thing broadcast during the day of the announcement, and programming was minimal for some days afterwards. Some were critical of the fact that the company had stuck its logo (however discreetly) on the screen at such a time, but most people's minds were elsewhere, and Teledu Cymru escaped. Caption announcing death of King Tomos I
Teledu Cymru millenium caption
So it was still there to mark the turning of the age at the end of 1999. This still from coverage of the national millennium party reads "Welcome to the 3rd millennium!" Note the digital clock in the top left showing that the Hour had only just arrived.
A new age, a new start. Well, all right, it took them about eighteen months to get around to it, and many wondered if it had been worth the wait when they saw the new ident. The Celtic Cross was a nice idea, but red lettering on green? Ych-a-fi! Teledu Cymru 2001 ident
Teledu Cymru 2001 programme menu
The programme menus were, thankfully, a little more muted, preferring blue text. For the very first time, the main news had been moved to 6.30, making way for a comedy drama ("Don't Kick A Wasps' Nest") aimed at teenagers. That bloody programme is still running, you notice (36 years and counting). Then a quiz game, the headlines and a programme of rather tame satirical comedy. A documentary strand leads us up to the current affairs flagship, but then a controversial film drama based on the mediaeval tales of the Mabinogi closed the evening. This was the most daring thing ever broadcast on television in Wales, as it contained some rather raw language and a few glimpses of naked flesh. Somehow, everyone survived the shock.

The imminent arrival of 2005 brings with it the biggest change in television in the country's history. The second channel will be re-opened, but this time as a network of regional and local stations. Some doubt if there will be an audience, but they were saying that about "Yng Nghysgod Yr Aran" in 1965...


Part 1: 1965 - 1982


All images and text Nigel Stapley 2006.