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The Continuity Booth
ITV 1 - Westward
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One of ITV's legendary announcers, John Benson announced for ABC Television, in Manchester and Birmingham, from 1957 until 1966. In 1967, he was a presenter for the BBC Light Programme, and a relief announcer for Rediffusion in London.

He joined Thames Television when it took over the London weekday franchise from 1968. He also continued as a relief announcer for Westward, Anglia, Southern, Thames and TVS. Benson's voice-over credits include the introduction to Southern Television's final programme, It's Goodbye From Us, Anglia TV's Sale Of The Century, and Yorkshire TV's 3-2-1. John Benson died in 1995.
Image courtesy of Paul R Jackson.

Continuity announcer for ABC Television, TWW (Television Wales and the West) in 1958, and one of the first announcers and news readers on Anglia Television from its launch in 1959. During his time at the Norwich-based station, Colin also interviewed for news programmes and was a quizmaster. After leaving Anglia in 1964, Colin worked as an announcer/news reader for the overseas service of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and later that year moved to Tyne Tees TV in Newcastle as a continuity announcer and newscaster. As a freelance news reader, announcer, presenter and quizmaster between 1967 and 1975, Colin worked for several ITV stations, including Westward Television, Grampian and Border. He also worked for the BBC in Bristol, Southampton and London.

In 1975, Colin returned to radio (he had started his career as a disc jockey with radio stations in Africa), launching the new commercial Plymouth Sound station, where he presented The Sunrise Sound breakfast show for 18 months. In 1979, Colin moved to Nottingham's Radio Trent to present A Little Night Music each evening and Colin's Corner on Sunday afternoons. Between 1989 and 1996, Colin produced and presented The Golden Years on BBC Radio Nottingham, a request programme featuring the music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Colin has also freelanced as an actor, voice-over, narrator and speaker. His acting roles have included parts in Byker Grove, Coronation Street, Boon, Emmerdale Farm, Peak Practice, and the Tommy Cooper Show. In 2000, Colin starred as Chesney Allen in the theatre production of The Flanagan and Allen Story. He now lives in Nottingham with his wife, Judith, a former transmission loggist for Westward TV, where the couple met.

Westward Television in-vision continuity announcer and local programme presenter in the 1960s and early-1970s. She left the station to take up a job with the BBC nationally.
Fern Britton got her first television job with Westward Television in Plymouth as an in-vision continuity announcer and news reader from 1980. In 1982 she was a presenter on BBC South West's 'Spotlight' and a year later she was a newscaster for BBC TV's 'Breakfast Time'.

She was headhunted by TVS in Southampton by new managing director Greg Dyke in 1985 and became main co-anchor of the nightly news magazine, 'Coast To Coast', with Fred Dinenage. Fern left the company in the early-1990s and was soon back on national television, standing in for Judy Finnigan on ITV's 'This Morning'. She is best known for her role as host of the hit cookery game show 'Ready, Steady, Cook', and is currently co-host with Philip Schofield of ITV's 'This Morning'.
Image courtesy of Paul R Jackson.

Jenny Clulow was one of Westward's main in-vision announcers in the late-1970s. Jenny left the company before it lost its franchise to TSW, and re-appeared just over a year later as one of the continuity team on TVS when it displaced Southern in the South and South East in January 1982. She left TVS around the time the company dispensed with in-vision continuity in the mid-1980s. A trained actress, Jenny is probably best known for her role as the archetypal English beauty being courted by a silver-tongued Frenchmen in the long-running series of Cointreau advertisements through the 1980s. She's also had cameo roles in several popular comedy and drama series, such as Lovejoy (where she played a television presenter) and Keeping Up Appearances (her role was as an estate agent). Jenny also featured in Carry On Don't Lose Your Head in the 1970s.
A former fighter pilot, Guy Corey was Westward Television's first chief announcer, and the first voice to be heard on ITV in the South West when it went on air on 29 April 1961.
Jane Criddle was a Westward Television stalwart of the 1970s who moved to Southampton to in-vision announce for Southern Television in 1976/1977.
Former Westward TV continuity announcer who left to join BBC Radio 2. She also presented BBC TV's Play School in 1971 and was a BBC Radio 4 announcer, 1975 - 1979, and later a BBC Radio 4 producer with credits including Woman's Hour.
Image courtesy of Paul R Jackson.

Westward Television in-vision continuity announcer in the late-1960s.
Westward TV in-vision continuity announcer in the 1960s and early-1970s.
Alison Holloway started her television career amazingly young at the age of 17 as a continuity announcer and news reader at Westward Television. She was soon poached by HTV West in Bristol, at first joining the company as a reporter/presenter, but eventually graduating to co-anchor HTV News with veteran news reader Bruce Hockin.

Holloway remained with the station through most of the 1980s, combining her news duties with presenting many other local programmes for HTV West, including the 'Good Neighbour Show' and the networked 'Animal Express'. She left to join the newly-formed Sky News as one of its main presenters, but didn't stay for long, and for a while kept a low profile.

She re-emerged in 1993 as co-presenter of 'Meridian Tonight' from Maidstone, but after a short while left the company and the country for a new life in Los Angeles, where she still now lives. She was briefly married to comedian Jim Davidson, having met him whilst interviewing him for the entertainment slot on 'HTV News'. A whirlwind romance and wedding followed, but the marriage soon ended in acrimony, well documented by the tabloid press.

Stuart Hutchison, a popular announcer of the 1960s and 1970s on Westward Television who moved to the other side of the camera to concentrate on scriptwriting. Stuart liked to keep his hand in and remained as a relief announcer for both Westward and TSW into the 1980s. We're sorry to report that Stuart Hutchison died in October 2003.
Sheila Kennedy, who later made a name for herself as an announcer on ABC Television and then Thames, landed her first television job with Westward. Hotfooting it straight from a career as a theatre actress, Sheila was the first female presenter on the new Westward Television, and proved a real hit with viewers. She became very closely associated with Gus Honeybun, and also contributed articles to Westward's own local television listings magazine, Look Westward.
Jan Leeming announced for Westward Television in 1965 and stayed for about a year before pursuing her career on larger ITV stations, such as Granada, HTV West (news reader, 'Report West'), and then BBC News, where she was one of the main news readers in the early-1980s. She was also a presenter of BBC Children's TV's 'Tom Tom', 1970; BBC TV's 'Pebble Mill At One', 1976 - 1978 and a BBC Radio 2 announcer in 1980.

Jan was a BBC TV news reader from May 1980 until April 1987. She was on duty on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1980, when the longest ever news flash occurred when the SAS ended the Iranian Embassy siege. Famously, she carried on reading the news when a studio bulb broke shattering hot glass down onto her during the news summary within Grandstand in 1982. She was also a contributor to ITV's 'This Morning' in 1988 and 1990.
Image courtesy of Paul R Jackson.

Helen McDermott graced Westward TV screens in the 1970s, jumping ship in 1979 to the safer haven of Anglia Television, which she joined as a continuity announcer and news reader. Helen is still at Anglia, as the anchor of the East edition of the company's main evening topicality programme, Anglia News.
Image courtesy of Paul R Jackson.

Westward Television in-vision continuity announcer in the 1960s.
One of the first group of Westward Television in-vision continuity announcers in the early-1960s.
David Rodgers joined Westward Television as a teenager, presenting and reporting for Young Eyes, Westward's innovative teenage magazine programme (produced by Angela Rippon). This experience soon landed him a regular presenting job, as a continuity announcer, news reader, and local programme presenter, including the enduring and highly popular Westward quiz show, Treasure Hunt. He became the regular host of Westward Diary's hour-long Friday edition, Weekend Diary, and was frequently the news reader on the other weekday programmes, fronted by veteran anchorman, Kenneth Macleod. He switched to TSW when it took over the South West franchise. For them, he was an announcer, news reader, and co-host with Judi Spiers of the Friday evening What's Ahead programme. David moved to local radio, founding Orchard FM to successfully win the Taunton/Somerset franchise in 1989. Over the next few years, the Orchard media group blossomed, buying up several stations across Devon and Dorset. In 1994, Gemini (an Orchard media company) won the East Devon franchise previously held by DevonAir, where Rodgers had been a regular presenter of the Sunday request show. David sold his radio interests to the GWR group in 1999, and the last we heard was running GWR's South African radio interests.
Roger Shaw joined Westward Television from the start - April 1961, and took over the chief announcer's job from Guy Corey where he remained until the company lost its franchise to TSW in 1981. Like most of the station's announcing and presenting staff, he moved to the new station when it officially picked up the reins from Westward in January 1982. Before the handover he presented a half-hour tribute to Westward Television - 20 Years Of Westward. He remained as chief announcer for TSW until he retired in the late-1980s, but well before that he seemed to restrict his role to the daytime continuity slot, leaving the primetime shifts to colleagues Ian Stirling and Ruth Langsford. Roger was an announcer of the old school with perfect annunciation, authority, warmth and a great on-screen presence. Since retirement, he has been absent from the airwaves, as far as we know, but if you look carefully he can be seen in the audience during TSW's final broadcast on 31 December 1992. He was also interviewed for Carlton TV's 40 Years Of ITV In The South West documentary.
Judi Spiers was one of the most popular announcers on Westward TV, landing the job as a relief announcer in 1977 after replying to an advertisement in the local Plymouth Evening Herald. Her zany sense of humour and cheeky, irreverent approach to the job - particularly the Gus Honeybun birthdays slot - won her many fans, and her role soon grew from the typical continuity announcer/news reader to Westward's homegrown action girl.

For TSW, in addition to her announcing and newsreading duties, she hosted the weekly Friday 'What's Ahead' entertainment guide with fellow announcer David Rodgers; and the regular 'Mr And Miss' TSW beauty contests. She also had her own TSW produced nationally syndicated chatshow - Judi! - which ran for six shows. She appeared as the news reader in TSW's nationally networked drama series, 'Heather Ann', in 1983.

Judi left TSW c. 1986 to pursue a national television career with the BBC, co-presenting 'Pebble Mill At One' and 'Open Air' on BBC One. She moved to BBC Radio 2 with her own Saturday morning show in the early-1990s, and also continued with televison work, including the nationally networked TVS production, 'Scavenger Hunt'.

Judi is now the regular mid-morning presenter on BBC Radio Devon, pens her own column in the monthly Devon Life magazine, and also presents for ITV 1 Westcountry.
Image courtesy of Graeme Maver.

One of the best known faces on South West television, Ian Stirling joined Westward Television as a continuity announcer in 1976 and transferred to its successor, TSW, in January 1982. Ian took over from Roger Shaw as chief announcer when he retired in the late-1980s, and even before then was certainly the mainstay of TSW's announcing staff, hosting most of the weekday primetime announcing slots, until its franchise ended on December 31 1992.

A popular presenter and local celeb, he was often seen out and about in the westcountry, making personal appearances and supporting charity events. Ian regularly presented for TSW's successor, Westcountry Television, hosting a tribute slot for 'local heroes', and also the regular Friday arts, leisure and entertainment guide. In 2001, he fronted Carlton Television's '40 Years Of ITV In The South West' documentary series.

Ian Stirling retired in 2003 and moved to northern France. He died on 30 June 2005.

Westward Television in-vision continuity announcer in the 1960s and 1970s.