Thames Television was on air from 30th July 1968 right through to 11.50pm on 31st December 1992. In common with most broadcasting companies, Thames made use of continuity announcers to introduce its upcoming programmes. The announcers were obliged to appear on camera, or "in vision", to introduce every programme, perhaps after a quick flick through the TV Times to let us know which of our favourite shows might be coming up later.
 
In general, in-vision continuity was phased out across ITV during 1986/87, likewise the tradition of having the production company ident attached to the start of a show. Thames announcers gradually disappeared from view during daytime and primetime slots, but continued to appear on camera during overnight continuity until 1990. TV ARK has archived examples of both in-vision and out-of-vision continity, dating right back to 1969, so here are just some of the announcers who graced the screens of the Thames region.


David Hamilton was among the first announcers at Thames, having migrated to the company from ABC-TV's continuity team.


Click for larger image David Hamilton
19th July 1969
The earliest Thames continuity in our collection dates from 1969. Apologies for the poor quality of the recording, but considering its age and date, it's a corker! From 19th July, David Hamilton introduces the programme 'Performer and Composer' featuring Anthony Hopkins, and refers to Thames/ITN coverage of the Apollo 11 launch the following day. It's a true slice of history.

Click for larger image David Hamilton
18th January 1973 BBC Spoof
Click for larger image The TV Times article (link right) is of interest in that it depicts Hamilton seated in the early 70s Thames continuity suite, the backdrop for which was a blow-up of a seventeeth century engraving of London. The clip (left) is from series four of Monty Python's Flying Circus (BBC, 18/01/1973) in which Hamilton offers up a little spoof Thames continuity.

Surely the best and most endearing of all Thames announcers was Philip Elsmore? Perpetually avuncular on air, he managed to infuse each of his announcements with an air of saintly bemusement. Like David Hamilton, Elsmore had joined Thames at the very beginning, having been an announcer for ABC-TV in London. He made the very first announcement for Thames in 1968, and the very last in 1992. When Thames was off-air at weekends, Philip also announced for Southern TV until 1981. Originally from Worcestershire, Philip trained as an actor and since the demise of Thames, he has returned to that profession.


Click for larger image Philip Elsmore
1980 Stills
Click for larger image Two fascinating images from 1980, showing Philip at work in the Euston Road continuity studio. Click for enlargements and you'll see, in the left-hand image, the full skyline backdrop behind him. On the right is a view over his shoulder, showing us what the Thames announcers would have seen: camera, microphone, clock and output monitor. Images by Louis Raynor and many thanks to The TV Room website for sharing them.

Click for larger image Philip Elsmore
1976 & 1982
Click for larger image Philip's earliest announcements in our collection date back to Christmas 1976, as he introduces the Morecambe & Wise movie 'The Riviera Touch' (apologies for the poor quality of this clip); also to 5th January 1982, when he pops up in-vision to apologise for a technical breakdown and link into a trailer for 'Midweek Sports Special' with Brian Moore. The trail refers to F.A.Cup ties between Brighton & Barnet, plus Aston Villa vs Notts County.

Click for larger image Philip Elsmore
1983
Click for larger image Early morning links from 1983 in which Philip segues from 'Sesame Street' into a 'Mr Magoo' cartoon, and from that into a black and white film, 'Witness in the Dark' starring Conrad Philips and Patricia Denton.

Click for larger image Philip Elsmore
26th December 1983 & 1984
Click for larger image Boxing Day 1983 witnessed what was to be the last ever Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show, and Philip appears at the end in a spoof announcement. As he tells us about the edition of Des O'Connor Tonight due later that evening, Eric and Ernie walk behind him and snigger at the mention of O'Connor's guests. The second clip dates from 1984, in which our man introduces an edition of Blockbusters; the clip includes the Central TV moon ident.

Click for larger image Philip Elsmore
1984
One daytime afternoon in 1984, Philip has some time to fill before an edition of 'Sons and Daughters.' So there's time to play a clip from a new pop video. Please note that the video promotes a Gary Glitter song, although Mr Glitter does not appear in the clip. If you are easily offended by any mention of shamed entertainers like Mr Glitter then don't watch the clip. We apologise for the poor picture quality, which is affected by poor tracking on the Betamax tape from which this clip was sourced.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Thames News
1986
Thomas The Tank Engine
1986
Thomas The Tank Engine
1986
Thomas The Tank Engine
06/11/1986


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Thomas The Tank Engine
1986
Thomas The Tank Engine
04/12/1986
The Reluctant Dragon
December 1986
Night Thoughts
24/03/1987


Click for larger image Philip Elsmore
Final Thames Announcement, 31st December 1992
Philip Elsmore made the last ever live continuity announcement on Thames Television, on 31/12/1992. He was out of vision, but there's no mistaking his voice.
 
You'll find more information about Philip in the TV ARK Presenters' section; more clips in the Thames Continuity pages relating to Closedowns and Christmas, and on our Comedy page he is attacked by Kenny Everett.



The Irish broadcaster Peter Marshall was born in Derry. Originally an actor, he became an announcer at Ulster Television in 1967, then in 1970 he moved to Anglia TV. After a brief spell at Southern Television, he joined the Thames team from 1976 right up until its final day in 1992. During those 16 years he also announced for ATV and HTV West, and presented a weekend show on BBC Radio 2. His presentational style on Thames took the form of a rogueish patter, with a pleasing sense of fun. He could be innocently cheeky with the kids at lunchtime but still with a twinkle in the eye for the watching mums; as the evenings wore on he became more and more satirical. Always very welcome in the living room.


Click for larger image Peter Marshall
1980 & 1982
Click for larger image Our earliest clips of Peter date from 1980 and 1982. Above left, a segue from a TV Times advert into an edition of The Benny Hill Show. Apologies for the poor video quality of the clip, which turned up recently on Betamax. Above right, Peter introduces the final episode of The Video Age in January 1982, the Anglia TV series in which Patrick Stoddart reviewed home video releases.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Unknown Central TV concert
02/05/1982
The Nation Decides
10/06/1983
News at One
31/05/1984
The Shillingbury Tales
1985


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Potty Time
1986
Disney Time
1986
Skating from Richmond
1986
Daytime
1986


Click for larger image Peter Marshall
1986 / 1987
Click for larger image tie, and these last two clips show him in action introducing 'Thomas the Tank Engine', on 11th December 1986; plus the children's series 'Creepy Crawlies' in 1987. There are more Peter Marshall clips elsewhere in our Thames Continuity pages.


Beginning his career as a journalist and later a DJ on Radio City and Radio Caroline in the 1960s, Tom joined the in-vision continuity team at Thames in 1979. He was to remain for the best part of ten years, during which time he also announced for ATV and HTV West. In presentation terms, Tom combines Peter Marshall's cheekiness with Philip Elsmore's wisdom and throws in lashings of his own good humour. He also has more savoire faire than his colleagues, always very smartly turned out with a handkerchief in his breast-pocket, and one never sees him sporting woolly jumpers or odd combinations of shirts and ties.


Tom Edwards
1979
Our earliest clip of Tom dates from his first year in the presenter's chair. It is taken from an off-air recording made at Southern Television's offices in 1979, recently donated to TV ARK. Tom's tanned and coiffed and all ready for House Party!

Click for larger image Tom Edwards
1981
Click for larger image Another morning of ITV schools' programmes comes to an end, and Tom is here at lunchtime to introduce the shows still to come. As the years go by, Tom makes very few changes to his cheerful greeting. For some reason, mention of Bonnie Scotland and the folk who live on the Glendarroch Estate in afternoon soap 'Take The High Road' almost causes him to corpse!

Click for larger image Tom Edwards
1984 / 1985
Click for larger image From 8th March 1984, shortly before a closedown, Tom links into 'Night Thoughts'. A year later, following a trail for 'Afternoon Plus', Tom introduces a TSW production. Apologies for the poor quality of this ex-Betamax recording.

Click for larger image Tom Edwards
1984 & 1985 Faults
Click for larger image Two great clips donated by Robert Barrett, showing Tom struggling manfully in the face of technical breakdowns. The 1984 clip involves a power cut, while a festive glitch on 30/12/1986 goes on for such a sustained and awkward period in front of the live camera, Tom has no choice but to read out numerous pages from the good old TV Times!

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Thomas The Tank Engine
1986
Thomas The Tank Engine
1986
Thomas The Tank Engine
30/10/1986
Thomas The Tank Engine
December 1986


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Blockbusters
1986
Jamie & The Magic Torch
1986
Puddle Lane
December 1986
The Home Cookery Club
1987


Click for larger image Tom Edwards
1987 Night Time
During a late shift in 1987, Tom finds himself introducing The Curse of Frankenstein, a classic Hammer Horror flick from 1957. I wonder if it was a thirtieth anniversary commemorative screening? Tom's comments and delivery make this my favourite announcement of all time: "If I were you, I'd watch it with a friend..."

Click for larger image Tom Edwards
1988 Hollywood Beckons
Sensing the end of the in-vision era, Tom made the decision to leave Thames TV in 1988 and move to Los Angeles. His change of broadcasting scene was prompted by a brief presenting assignment he undertook in LA just prior to his departure, when he recorded some links for use overnight on Thames, in the studios of Casey Kasem's Production 'America's Top Ten'. Could this tan be for real?



Click for larger image Patricia Yorston
1987
The original 3am Girl, Patricia Yorston was most often to be seen hosting the overnight shift, introducing ante-diluvian British horror movies and imported US sitcoms. Patricia must have been quite fearless, since she was always inviting security guards, print workers and other assorted insomniacs to write in. In common with her colleagues on the Thames team, Patricia also announced for HTV West at weekends and she later became a news anchor. This clip shows her introducing the 1965 Sherlock Holmes movie 'A Study in Terror'.

Click for larger image Patricia Yorston
1987
Click for larger image Here's an example of Patricia prompting viewers to send in their letters. I wonder if they ever sent her anything more provocative..? This all takes place in front of Hammer Film Production's 1966 film 'The Gorgon'.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Vampire Circus
15/10/1987
Fifty Years On
15/10/1987
Magnum P.I.
1988
America's Top Ten
1988


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image From Beyond The Grave
1988
The Sicillian Cross
1988
The Lost Boys (Video)
1988
Three's Company
1988



Sally McLaren's announcing career took in both Thames and TVS.


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Cartoon Time
1987
Dracula
1988
Prisoner Cell Block H
23/03/1990
The Twilight Zone
1990




Click for larger image Victoria Crawford
1987
Victoria announced in-vision for both Thames and HTV West in Bristol, most often on the overnight shift. As can be judged by her reaction to 'The Twilight Zone' below, she's clearly not a fan of the horror content that was so much a staple of the Thames overnight service. She seems much happier with fluffier films, like this Lewis Gilbert effort, 'Friends'.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Shakin' Stevens
1987
America's Top Ten
1987
Asylum
1987
Fifty Years On
1987


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Donahue
25-08-1987
The Twilight Zone
25-08-1987
The Abominable Dr Phibes
August 1988
Dr Phibes Rises Again
August 1988



A former professional model, Lorna Stevens announced for both HTV West and Thames TV, before moving to the HTV weather department in 1993 for both West and Wales forecasts.


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Blood on Satan's Claw
17/03/1988
The Crunch Birds
17/03/1988
WKRP in Cincinatti
17/03/1988
Fifty Years On
17/03/1988



Evadne Fisher worked as a continuity announcer for Central TV in the mid-80s before moving to London to host late night slots on Thames in around 1989.


Click for larger image Evadne Fisher
1989 & 1990
Click for larger image Evadne's in-vision here announcing an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in July 1989, along with a competition connected with the 21st anniversay of Thames. A year later, our clip shows her introducing Murphy's Law...



Click for larger image Vivien Stuart
1984
Vivien Stuart was a prolific announcer during the 1980s. Not only did she cover daytime shifts on Thames TV, she also worked for Central TV as an announcer and newsreader. The BBC also made use of her voice skills: for TV announcements in 1983, as a presenter and announcer on Radio 2 from 1980-82, and as a reader on BBC TV's 'Points Of View' in the late 1980s. On BBC TV she was a relief weather presenter on 'Breakfast Time' in 1988.
 
Here she can be seen on Thames circa 1984, introducing an episode of 'Sons and Daughters.'


Click for larger image Jenny Ogwen
1986
The Thames continuity suite made occasional use of Jenny Ogwen, who was normally to be seen on HTV Wales (1984-92) and later on S4C as a weather presenter until 2004. She is also mother of broadcaster Rhodri Williams, and ex-wife of Euryn Ogwen Williams, a producer and presenter in the HTV region.
 
Other announcers to have worked for Thames TV include John Benson, Guy Blackmore, Sheila Kennedy, Mark Lipscombe and Sarah Lucas. Donations to TV ARK of in-vision clips featuring any of these announcers would be much appreciated.