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First air date
|27 October 1959|
|Dissolved||lost on-air identity on 27 October 2002 (now known as ITV at all times)|
ITV Anglia, previously known as Anglia Television or Anglia, is the ITV franchise holder for the East of England. The station is based at Anglia House in Norwich, with regional news bureaux in Cambridge and Northampton. ITV Anglia is owned and operated by ITV plc under the licence name of ITV Broadcasting Limited.
ITV Anglia broadcasts to Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, northern Hertfordshire, northern Buckinghamshire, southern Lincolnshire, southern Rutland and a small part of southern Leicestershire. Its principal programme nowadays is ITV News Anglia which is split into two regional editions, both airing at 6pm on weekdays.
Anglia Television launched on 27 October 1959 as an independent company serving the East of England. At launch, Anglia broadcast from the Mendlesham Transmitter. It was soon joined by Sandy Heath and then Belmont. Under the chairmanship of Aubrey Buxton the station soon established a reputation for producing excellent drama, through a deal with then-ITV London station Associated Rediffusion. Anglia also established the long-running nature documentary series Survival. During the early 1960s, Anglia looked toward the unserved portion of south-east England, which was to be served by a transmitter at Dover, as a logical extension to its eastern bailiwick – however, the ITA decided to hand this part of the country to Southern Television instead.
In 1973, the IBA planned to transfer the Belmont transmitter which served Lincolnshire, north Norfolk and parts of the East Midlands, away from Anglia to Yorkshire Television. The public protested against such a move, especially in parts of North Norfolk. Anglia decided not to publicly fight the IBA plans, after a board member had agreed to produce a film for the IBA explaining why Anglia should be allowed to keep hold of the Belmont transmitter. On 1 January 1974, the transmitter was transferred; due to this change, Anglia's profits were cut in half – from £2.2 million down to £1.29 million. However, by 1976 Anglia had managed to improve its operations, posting results of £1.47 million. Anglia described the improvement as "satisfactory", and its prospects were considered encouraging.
In 1975, the technicians' union (ACTT) criticized Anglia over the amount of regional programming being produced at the station, stating it had been dramatically decreasing since 1970 to just five hours per week. The concerns were raised to the IBA, who they believed would be able to construe the rapid decline in programming as the failure of Anglia to not fully commit to its obligations for the franchise area. During December 1976, Anglia dropped the Thames children's series Pauline's Quirkes as it believed it was not achieving the best level of entertainment for its younger viewers, and denied the move was due to the high amount of criticisms over the content of the series. Thames said it was "surprised" at the decision, as the programme had rated well.
In the Autumn of 1977, a commercial Dutch Television company was recording Anglia television signals and transmitting its English programmes, including Coronation Street and Survival, to its viewers in Amsterdam. The Dutch government did not believe it was a violation of Dutch copyright law – EBU legal advisers held discussions about to how resolve the matter. In 1979, a survey carried out by the IBA highlighted Anglia was one of the best known ITV companies – Anglia claimed it was a testament and a strength of its commitment to strong local and national identity.
In 1980, Anglia successfully retained the franchise after defeating a challenge from East of England TV, who wished to operate from Cambridge. In addition, the IBA bowed to public pressure from 70,000 viewers around northern parts of Norfolk who were served by Yorkshire Television via the Belmont Transmitter; many of the viewers had gone to "considerable trouble and expense" to receive Anglia Television. Three new low powered relay stations were built, allowing easier access to Anglia transmissions.
On 9 July 1990, About Anglia was replaced by a new dual news service, with both editions of Anglia News broadcast from Norwich (long before this became standard practice in other ITV regions). Journalists were also based at seven regional newsrooms and a Westminster bureau. Anglia began providing separate news services for the East and West of the Anglia region. The two services were replaced with a single pan-regional service in February 2009 as part of major cutbacks to ITV's regional news output, but have latterly been restored as ITV News Anglia.
In 1993, Anglia forged a partnership with American pay-TV network HBO, owned by Time Warner. Under this arrangement, Anglia acquired half-ownership in Citadel, an HBO production subsidiary; Time Warner subsequently acquired 50 percent of Itel, Anglia's distribution unit. In addition, a new company was formed: Anglia Television Entertainment, 51% owned by Anglia and 49% owned by HBO. In 1993, the station took over the cartoon studio Cosgrove Hall, when it was sold off by its original owners, Thames Television, though it remained based in Manchester.
In early 1994, Anglia Television was bought by MAI (owners of Meridian Broadcasting), who merged with United Newspapers to form United News and Media. They were joined by HTV in 1996. In 2000, following United's aborted merger attempt with Carlton Communications, Granada plc bought the TV assets of United (but sold the broadcasting arm of HTV). In 2004, Granada finally merged with Carlton to form ITV plc, which ended Anglia Television's existence as a separate brand. During its period of UBM ownership, a 'youth' channel was launched to cable and satellite from Anglia Television's facilities, Rapture TV; some productions for the ITV network were also shared with Rapture, which was retained by UBM after the sale to Granada, but later closed down and its assets sold. Many early programmes for the newly launched Channel 5 were made at Anglia Television, as UBM also owned a stake in the channel (later sold to RTL Group).
Anglia Television no longer makes a significant content contribution to ITV nationally (the last major programme being Trisha, before it moved to Channel 5) and the semi-independent Anglia Factual brand, which supplied content for Discovery Channel in the USA, Channel 4 and Channel 5 in the UK and other broadcasters worldwide, was closed in January 2012 with any returning series re-allocated to either the London or Manchester factual departments. Notable series included Animal Precinct and Animal Cops for Animal Planet, Monkey Kingdom for Channel 5 and Real Crime and Survival with Ray Mears for ITV (credited as ITV Studios). Commercial Breaks, the now-defunct commercial production agency owned by ITV's sales division, was also based in Norwich.
In 2006, ITV plc swapped subsidiaries, which involved renaming Anglia Television Ltd as ITV Broadcasting Limited and vice versa. However, due to Ofcom licensing regulation, the new Anglia Television Limited could not take up the franchise, which means that the East Anglia franchise was effectively transferred to ITV Broadcasting Limited. All other franchises then owned by ITV plc were transferred to ITV Broadcasting Limited in December 2008. Thus, technically the former Anglia Television Limited (as ITV Broadcasting Limited) now holds all eleven regional ITV licences in England, Wales and southern Scotland; the other three ITV plc-owned licensees, Channel Television Limited , ITV Breakfast Broadcasting Limited and UTV Limited, were acquired after 2008. The current Anglia Television Ltd is listed on www.companieshouse.gov.uk as a "non-trading company". All other regional companies owned by ITV plc that had their licences transferred to ITV Broadcasting Ltd are listed on that website as "dormant company".
Throughout Anglia's existence, the company has retained its headquarters at the historic Anglia House building in Norwich, which contains four studios and offices for the company. As Anglia's production grew the company also expanded, buying a former bowling alley in Magdalen Street in the late 1970s and creating a further studio, referred to as 'Studio E'. While larger productions moved here, as did the news service in 1999, some smaller productions (such as regional programmes) continued at Anglia House.
In recent years though, and especially since the formation of ITV plc, the need for studio space has become unnecessary. In 2006, Anglia sold its Magdalen Street studio complex (which included its newsroom and twin news studios) to Norfolk County Council, which, with the help of the East of England Development Agency, created EPIC – the East of England Production Innovation Centre. Intended as an "incubator" for small creative and media enterprises, Studio E (formerly home to Trisha) is now available for hire as an independent facility. One of the first tenants of EPIC was Televirtual, a company formed out of Broadsword Productions which made Anglia's popular children's show Knightmare. A major education partner at EPIC is the Norwich School of Art and Design, which has based its Foundation Degree in Film and Video at the centre since September 2007. As a consequence of the sale, Anglia News moved back to a new state-of-the-art facility at Anglia House. The studios was also the home of ITV’s WOS Wrestling
Anglia's original ident was a silver statue of a knight on horseback At the end, the camera zoomed in on the pennon atop the knight's lance, which showed the station's name. An arrangement by Malcolm Sargent, of Handel's Water Music was played over the film. The Anglia knight logo became so closely identified with the station that when Anglia produced a book to mark its fortieth anniversary in 1999, it was entitled A Knight On The Box. Before the ident, the channel's start-up music was Ralph Vaughan Williams' Sea Songs, which was used from 1959 until the early 1980s. With the introduction of colour television on ITV in November 1969 (although not in the Anglia region until October 1970) , the ident was remade with constant lighting, and the knight constantly rotating on a turntable – a longer version of the ident was used at the start of the day's transmission until the mid 1980s.
On Monday 21 March 1988, the knight was replaced by a new identity a quasi-heraldic stylised 'A' made of triangles, designed by Robinson Lambie-Nairn at a cost of £500,000. The ident was accompanied by a deep sombre jingle composed by Nic Rowley and remained in use until 8 November 1999, when (along with most other ITV companies), Anglia took the Hearts idents, which featured the stylised "A" – albeit in a square rather than a flag – and were used until 2002.
On 28 October 2002, Anglia lost its on screen identity in favour of the ITV1 brand, with regional idents only before regional programming. This regional ident featured the Anglia name below the ITV1 logo against a blue background covering half of the screen, with a celebrity covering the other half. The Anglia logo could still be seen on screen as part of the news service and on the purple end boards used by the Granada companies introduced in 2001. In 2004, with all English and Welsh-based companies now owned by ITV plc, the station lost its separate identity. The station was officially branded as ITV Anglia, and the stylised 'A' logo was dropped as the company logo, with the on screen name used less and less, and dropped entirely by 2006.
Much of Anglia's back catalogue is now held and preserved at the East Anglian Film Archive. A number of Anglia Television's productions including The Way We Were, Bygones and Anglia At War have been released on DVD. A compilation of the first years of Anglia TV's local news, Here Was the News was also released in 2009.
Some of Anglia's best known programmes were: