Carlton Television

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Carlton Television began broadcasting on January 1, 1993, as the third holder of the ITV franchise for London weekdays, after outbidding Thames Television, for which it had previously made two unsuccessful takeover attempts, in the auction-style 1991 franchise round. The company quickly became notorious for its various corporate acquisitions, which included fellow ITV stations Central and Westcountry, both of which were rebranded with the Carlton name on September 6, 1999, and the license and broadcast facilities of HTV, as well as the film libraries of both ITC Entertainment Group and The Rank Organization.

Carlton eventually ran into financial difficulties (spurred on by the sale of Technicolor Inc. to Thomson SA, a failed digital television joint venture with Granada named ONdigital, and an expensive TV rights deal with the English Football League), and on February 2, 2004, it merged with Granada to form ITV plc. Subsequently, the Carlton name was dropped from most uses, with ITV reinstating the Central and Westcountry names. The Carlton archive holdings (including the ITC, ATV/Central, Westcountry, HTV, London Films and Rank Organization libraries) are now the property of ITV plc.

1st ID (October 16, 1991)

Visuals: On a disorted background, the white man throws a roll of 1-inch type C videotape then it flies through the air spinning. Once that videotape reel has left the picture, the word "CARLTON" in Bembo zooms in below the top as two blue lines form, while the word "TELEVISION" in Times New Roman zooms in below the bottom blue line.

Variant: A still version was also used on the 1991 ITV franchise auction special shows.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: An announcer followed by a dramatic string note with timpani hits. The still variant has no audio.

Availability: Both the still and animated versions were seen on the 1991 ITV franchise auction reporting on local newscasts.

2nd ID (January 1, 1993-September 1, 1995)

Visuals: Over a purple background, "CARLTON" in a Gill Sans font is seen at the top left corner of the screen, with the "T" smaller than the other letters and resting in the "L". There is also a shadow of a fern plant taking up most of the screen, swaying ever-so-slightly. The 1989 ITV logo, with "Part of the" above it and "Network" below it, fades in while colored a transparent white in the bottom right corner.


  • If a show was either presented in Stereo or had subtitling available, a white box in the top right corner containing either "Stereo", "888", or both will be seen.
  • Sometimes, the 1989 ITV logo doesn't show up.
  • For the Londoner idents, or rarely on its own, the background color and also the shadowed object will change. The text color would also change to white for these, but it could also be in other colors.
  • In January 1993, 70 variants consisted of one or more people, representing "ordinary Londoners", fading in over the background and announcing to the viewer: "You're watching Carlton" or "This is Carlton, Television for London.", while sometimes the Carlton logo morphed into the word "LONDON" above.
    • For instance, the very first ident, broadcast a few seconds after midnight on January 1, 1993, featured town crier Maurice Jones shouting out the latter and ringing his bell three times, as the Carlton logo morphed into the word "LONDON" above.
  • In late 1993, the set was revised to only have 25 standard idents of people doing various activities, along with four montage versions. The background also changed to a marble-like texture. Different music was also used and the phrases were no longer used.
  • A 1994 Del Monte commercial parodied this series of IDs. The text "CARLTON" was changed to "CARTON", and The Man from Del Monte (played by Brian Jackson) appeared pouring juice into a glass cup. An announcer says "You're watching...Carton" at the end.

Technique: Live-action, produced by Lambie-Nairn. The first batch was directed by Daniel Barber, while the second batch was directed by Harry Dorrington.

Audio: A synth note combined with an 8-note fanfare usually played on a trumpet. The fanfare is also sometimes played on a different instrument. In the variants not featuring the Londoners, a voice-over would sometimes say either "You're watching Carlton, Television for London" or "This is Carlton, Television for London".

3rd ID (September 4, 1995-November 22, 1996)

Visuals: On a colored background of swirling white rays and lines, these lines slowly reveal the transparent Carlton logo from before, shining on the edges and casting shadows as well. After a bit, they fade to a solid white color as the rays and shining continue.

Trivia: This set of idents was produced by the promotional team at Central Television, which Carlton acquired in 1994, so it's no real coincidence that the aforementioned background colors are the same as the colors of the Central "cake" IDs.


  • "888" fades in on the top right corner like before if the following show has subtitling available.
  • Alternatively, a different long version is used. The background is different, featuring blocks of transparent glass rotating in the background, as six glass bars can be seen in descending size. These slowly spread out and rotate towards the screen to reveal that it's the Carlton logo, and it stays on-screen while it shines. Another variant also has an alternating hue in the background, and it effectively flips the animation at the end.
  • A variant has a purple smoky background and the letters appearing in a slow flash of white before quickly dissolving.
  • In both cases, the background can be one or more of six different colors, which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A "futuristic"-styled tune with ethereal synths, phaser noises, and orchestral and jazz instruments, while being backed by a continuity announcer. The long version uses different music. On Carlton Video VHS releases, silent.

Availability: This was also seen on certain Carlton Video VHS releases from the time-period until 1999. These include the 1996 UK VHS release of Tots TV: Snowy Adventure, and the 1997 UK VHS releases of Tots TV: Fluffy Little Chicks and Other Stories and Rosie & Jim: Boat Building and Other Stories, respectively, among many others.

4th ID (November 25, 1996-September 3, 1999)

Visuals: Just the Carlton logo on a colored background, the combination differing depending on the variant. A soft spotlight also shines across the background. The logo is usually presented in a large myriad of different animated scenarios, over 50 of them. An example would be the "Generic" ident, where the Carlton logo in yellow is seen on a red background. The logo zooms in except for the "T", which morphs into the "T" of the 1989 ITV logo, and then the rest appear around it.


  • Much like the other IDs prior to these, "888" (later changed to "Subtitles" beginning in May of 1999) is displayed in the top right corner if a show has subtitling available.
  • In late 1998, the URL "" appears on the bottom of the screen in white, but was later changed to "" beginning in mid-July 1999.
  • The "Generic" ident was updated on 5 October 1998 with a different end result and color scheme to match the new ITV logo at the time.

Technique: Digital 2D animation, directed by Charlotte Castle at Lambie-Nairn.

Audio: A four-note theme which comes in different sounds for the animated variants.

5th ID (September 6, 1999-October 27, 2002)

Visuals: An animation of heart shapes is shown off in varying different styles; at the end of it, a star shape appears in the upper right part of it and glows brightly before the screen flashes white. It then brings forth a differently-colored background with revolving Carlton stars (which is a five-pointed star with another five-pointed star cut out of it), with the flash receding into a blurry white version of it that focuses in, where it also has the "CARLTON" text along with the 1998 ITV (later 2001 ITV1) logo below it. A byline reading "" is also seen below. The logo continues to glow a hazy white aura around the edges.


  • Starting in the middle of October of 1999, the Carlton logo is larger.
  • The logo exists in both 4:3 fullscreen and 16:9 widescreen aspect ratios.
  • "Subtitles" can also be seen in the top right corner if either the following show or movie contains any subtitling information available.
  • Later on, the URL "" also appeared via a flash of white light before shining with vertical bars of light after a bit. This was removed in October of 2001 and replaced with the "" URL animation.
  • A New Years variant has the end result filled with chroma-keyed sparklers raining down.
  • Before an airing of Star Wars in 2002, the background was instead a realistic starfield that zoomed in slightly.
  • For the local idents, the background color might be orange/gold, blue and purple/blue/orange. The final variant also introduces a transparent star that also appears and quickly rotates around the logo as well.
    • The background sometimes can get stretched a bit.
    • Most of the time, the animated background can be squished a bit.
    • Another version has the logo sandwiched.

Technique: CGI, done once again by Lambie-Nairn.

Audio: A four-note theme followed by the last three notes played in different styles.

Audio Variant: There would also be an announcer announcing the show or movie airing on UK broadcasts.

Availability: Appeared in the regions Carlton owned (London Weekdays, Central, Westcountry and eventually Wales/West on July 2, 2001 after Carlton purchased HTV in October of 2000 due to rights reasons).

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