ITV News Meridian

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ITV News Meridian
ITV News Meridian.png
Format Regional News
Presented by Sangeeta Bhabra
Fred Dinenage
Country of origin England, UK
Original language(s) English
Production
Executive producer(s) Robin Britton (Head of News)
Location(s) Whiteley, Hampshire, England
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes (main 18:00 show)
Production company(s) ITV Meridian
Broadcast
Original channel ITV Meridian, ITV Central
Picture format 576i (SDTV 16:9)
Original run 4 January 1993 (1993-01-04) – present
Chronology
Related shows ITV News, South Today, South East Today
External links
Website

ITV News Meridian is the regional news programme for the ITV Meridian region and part of the ITV Central region, serving South East England.

The news service is produced and broadcast from ITV Meridian's studios in Whiteley, near Fareham with reporters also based at bureaus in Didcot, Brighton, Maidstone, Poole and Reading. The Head of News is Robin Britton who previously launched Thames Valley Tonight and the West edition of Meridian Tonight.

Overview[edit]

January 1993 – December 2006[edit]

Meridian's flagship regional news programme was launched as Meridian Tonight on 4 January 1993 – three days after Meridian replaced TVS. Three sub-regional editions of the programme were simultaneously, from studios in Southampton, Maidstone, and Newbury; the original set design was by Eye-Catching Design.[1] The three original sub-regional services for Meridian News/Tonight were:

ITV Meridian updates during GMTV in the South Coast and West sub-regions were shared while the South East received its own bulletins.

Presentation for all three services moved to new smaller studios at Whiteley, near Fareham on Saturday 4 December 2004; the studios in Southampton and near Maidstone were closed at this time. News gathering operations in all areas were retained.

In December 2006, the updates during GMTV became pan-regional. Weekend bulletins had become pan-regional across the South Coast and South East only, whilst the West retained its own weekend bulletins right up until 3 December 2006, when ITV Thames Valley was launched.

December 2006 – February 2009[edit]

On 4 December 2006, the long expected merger between West and the ITV Central South sub-region took place, forming the non-franchise ITV Thames Valley news service, broadcasting Thames Valley Today/Tonight from the same studio at Whiteley. The merger saw Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Swindon area being added to the region for news purposes. The former ITV Central South sub-region headquarters at Abingdon was retained as the main news gathering base for ITV Thames Valley, but the studio presentation facility was mothballed.

Bulletins during GMTV became pan-regional across the entire combined ITV Meridian and ITV Thames Valley areas, and branded as GMTV News. Weekend bulletins continued to be separate Meridian News (pan-regional for South Coast and South East) and Thames Valley Today/Tonight services.

February 2009 – September 2013[edit]

At the end of 2008, in light of a restructuring through the ITV regional news network, around 100 staff across the three sub-regional news services in South East England were made redundant. A single edition of Meridian Tonight for the entire region was launched on 9 February 2009. Within this, two sub-regions created – West (comprising the former South Coast and Thames Valley sub-regions) and East (South East sub-region).

The then remaining sub-regional elements were:

  • The opening 15 minutes of the main 6pm programme.
  • Full late night bulletins on weeknights, following ITV News at Ten.
  • Localised weather forecasts.

Both sub-regional editions utilise exactly the same presenter(s) and studio/set, therefore one of the two opt-outs – depending on the day's news – is pre-recorded 'as live' shortly before broadcast.[2]

In February 2010, the programme won the Royal Television Society's Award for Best Nations & Regions News Coverage.[3] On Monday 14 January 2013, the news service was relaunched and rebranded as ITV News Meridian.[4]

September 2013 – present[edit]

On 23 July 2013, proposals for a more localised Channel 3 news service were approved – ITV News Meridian extended the South and South East opt-out services by an extra five minutes during the half-hour 6pm programme, in addition to separate lunchtime and weekend bulletins for the two regions. A Thames Valley service was also reintroduced, consisting of a ten-minute opt out within the 6pm programme for the South and a late bulletin after News at Ten. The two late night bulletins are retained for the South and the South East, in addition to the new Thames Valley bulletin.[5] The expanded sub-regional service launched on Monday 16 September 2013.

Broadcast times[edit]

ITV News Meridian airs on ITV Meridian seven days a week.

On weekdays, three short bulletins are broadcast during Daybreak at 6:07am, 7:07am and 8:07am with a 3-minute lunchtime bulletin at 1:55pm, following the ITV News at 1:30. The main half-hour programme airs at 6pm with a 5-minute late bulletin, following the ITV News at Ten. At weekends, two 5-minute editions of ITV News Meridian are broadcast – one later on Saturday afternoons and another on Sunday evenings.

Sub-regional bulletins in the South and South East consist of the first 20 minutes of the 6pm programme on weekdays and all shorter bulletins outwith Daybreak. The Thames Valley area receives a ten-minute opt-out during the 6pm programme and a full late night bulletin on weekdays.

Current on air team[edit]

News presenters[edit]

Person Title(s) Related note(s)
Sangeeta Bhabra Main presenter Lunchtime/late bulletin newsreader (alternating)
Fred Dinenage
Amanda Piper Daybreak opts newsreader

Weather presenters[edit]

Person Title(s) Related note(s)
Luke Castiglione Weather presenter Newsreader/production journalist
Philippa Drew Freelance contract
Simon Parkin
James Wright Freelance contract

District Correspondents[edit]

Person Title(s) Related note(s)
Mel Bloor Reading Correspondent
Juliette Fletcher Freelance contract
Kate Bunkall Thames Valley Correspondent
Heather Edwards Freelance contract
Penny Silvester
Andy Dickenson Brighton Correspondent
Malcolm Shaw
Charlotte Wilkins
Martin Dowse Bournemouth Correspondent Newsreader/stand-in presenter
Nashreen Issa Kent Correspondent
David Johns
John Ryall
Derek Johnson Maidstone Correspondent
Sarah Saunders Newsreader
Tom Savvides
Divya Kohli Abingdon Correspondent

News Correspondents[edit]

Person Title(s) Related note(s)
Richard Jones News Correspondent
Nia Mason Newsreader
Andrew Pate
Sally Simmonds
Richard Slee Freelance contract
Kerry Swain Newsreader/stand-in presenter
Sally White

Specialist Correspondents[edit]

Person Title(s) Related note(s)
Christine Alsford Education Correspondent
Social Affairs Correspondent
Sarah Gomme Sport Correspondent Newsreader
Chris Maughan
Phil Hornby Political Correspondent Newsreader/stand-in presenter
Mike Pearse Transport Correspondent
Stacey Poole Health Correspondent Newsreader/stand-in presenter

Former on air team[edit]

Graphics[edit]

Upon launch of the three regional news services in 1993, Meridian made the decision that all three programmes would share the same titles, music and name. Upon the launch of Meridian Tonight in 1993 until c.1996, the programme titles featured a large translucent Meridian logo flipping over to reveal and yellow and blue map of the region. Accompanied by a trumpeted fanfare the region lights up with several dots, marking Meridian's news-gathering centres, and three pulses marking, Southampton, Maidstone and Newbury: the locations of each of the three programmes. Each respective region would then zoom into their region of the Meridian region before the flipping logo reveals the programme name, separated by a horizontal line, at the end of the sequence.[6]

The title sequence and music was changed c.1996 to a blue and gold background variant featuring a partly obscured circle displaying news related imagery, before flipping to reveal the centre of the Meridian logo falling back into the centre of the line separating the programme name.[6]

The look was changed once again in March 1999 with the new titles featuring a vibrant purple background being changed into yellows and reds to form the Meridian logo. The music remained the same, but was enhanced to be more dramatic with a voiceover at the beginning declaring "This is Meridian Tonight". The programme name now featured the Meridian logo above, or to the side of the programme name and appearing as a DOG in the bottom left corner of the screen throughout the programme. The last Meridian individual look was introduced c.2002 and featured two translucent halves of Meridian's logo merging and moving together against a purple backdrop. The end board of the sequence saw to two-halves move closer against a stripe of red and yellow colour against the Meridian Tonight name.[6]

Following the merger of Granada PLC and Carlton Communications in 2004 to form ITV plc, Meridian has used generic title sequences adopted across the ITV plc network of ITV stations. In 2004, this featured a blue and yellow look concentrating on vertical columns of translucent squares displaying images of the Meridian region, before ending with four square ITV logo over a map of the UK made out of squares. This was altered following the change of ITV logo to a sequence showing footage of the region and ending with the name over a light blue and turquoise cylinder, and further altered in 2010 to match the new ITV News style. This latest style featured a yellow and translucent black colour scheme and again focusing on footage of locations within the region.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "News/Factual/Corporate Set Design". eye-catching design. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Seventeen regions into nine: How the updated ITV local news services will run Caitlin Fitzsimmons, The Guardian, 17 February 2009
  3. ^ http://www.rts.org.uk/Info_page_two_pic_2_det.asp?art_id=8113&sec_id=3888.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ ITV launches rebrand on air and online, itv.com, 14 January 2012
  5. ^ OFCOM sets out licence terms for ITV, STV, UTV and Channel 5, OFCOM, 23 July 2013
  6. ^ a b c d Hale, Ben and Hackett, Steve. "Meridian News". TVARK: The Online Television Museum. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
BBC Wales Today
RTS: Television Journalism
Regional Daily News Magazine
(South edition)

2004
Succeeded by
BBC Wales Today
Preceded by
The West Tonight: Weston Pier Fire
RTS: Television Journalism
Nations and Regions News Coverage
(Justice for Hannah – South edition)

2010
Succeeded by
Spotlight: The Iris Robinson Investigation