HTV (originally Harlech Television, later HTV Limited and HTV Group plc and now ITV Wales and West Limited) is the ITV contractor for Wales and the West of England, owned by ITV plc. It took over from TWW in 1968. Its headquarters are based in Cardiff & Bristol. As of 29 December 2006, the company re-named as ITV Wales and West Ltd.
Initially the station used its full name (after the head of the company, Lord Harlech), but from the introduction of colour in 1970 it became HTV. The company won its franchise in circumstances which angered its predecessor TWW and the Independent Television Authority offered them an opportunity to buy shares in HTV, an offer which was declined. TWW left its franchise five months early, selling the remaining air-time to Harlech. This resulted in an emergency service as Harlech were not ready to go on-air.
In 1984 HTV opened new £14m studios at Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff to replace those inherited from TWW at Pontcanna.
HTV operates two separate services: ITV1 Wales (formerly "HTV Cymru Wales") in Wales, and ITV1 West (previously "HTV West", then briefly 'ITV1 West of England') in the West of England area.
Since 28 October 2002, the full name "ITV1 West" has only been seen before local programming on that channel. At all other times, the station is simply called ITV1. However, the name ITV1 Wales is seen before all programmes.
While ITV1 West has shared a team of announcers with the other ITV1 regions in England, since 28 October 2002, ITV1 Wales continued to have its own team of continuity announcers until 16 January 2006, when Welsh continuity was transferred to the main ITV1 announcer team in London. Although only being verbally referred to before regional programming, the channel continues to be visually identified as "ITV1 Wales".
The name HTV has not disappeared completely; it continues to be seen on programmes made for S4C, and some off-air branding also remains under the HTV name. Following the change to the single ITV1 branding, 'HTV' was kept for its news programming, but this was dropped on 2 February 2004, in favour of ITV Wales News/ITV West News.
HTV's main programmes include Wales Tonight (ITV1 Wales), The West Tonight (ITV1 West), The Ferret, and Nuts and Bolts. HTV does not now produce much in the way of regular network programming, although it did continue to commission Movies, Games and Videos for some time. Previously, there have been several major HTV commissions for the network, including Robin of Sherwood, Wycliffe and children's programmes including Rubbish, King of the Jumble, The Slow Norris, Captain Starr, and Dog & Duck; HTV also produced the game shows Definition (originally hosted by Don Moss and later Jeremy Beadle), Three Little Words (co-hosted by Ray Alan and his wife Barbie) and Keynotes, co-produced with Reg Grundy Productions.
Since 1982, HTV has provided Welsh language programming to S4C such as Cefn Gwlad, Hacio and Y Byd ar Bedwar, although this is now commissioned rather than produced in-house. Prior to S4C's introduction, HTV's evening news had to be split into two fifteen-minute bulletins, presented from the same studio and separated by an advertising break: Y Dydd (The Day) in Welsh, and Report Wales in English.
In 1996, HTV was taken over by United News and Media plc (now United Business Media plc). In 2001, Granada Media plc bought United's television interests, but at the time competition regulations limited the extent to which one company could control the ITV network, and were consequently forced to give up one of its by then many ITV franchises. The result lead to a break-up of HTV whereby its broadcast facilities and Channel 3 broadcast licence (and hence its advertising revenues) were sold to Carlton Communications plc, owners of Carlton Television, whilst the majority of production facilities were retained by Granada. Unlike Carlton's other ITV acquisitions, which were rebranded to use the Carlton name on screen, HTV's identity was retained on-air until 27 October 2002 when the 'ITV1' brand was introduced to most of the network.
Granada and Carlton were subsequently permitted to merge in 2004 to form the single company ITV plc, which now owns all of the ITV franchises in England and Wales, and consequently re-united the two separated parts of HTV.
HTV Wales can be received across the UK and Ireland and further afield via satellite on Sky Digital. Its terrestrial signal can also can be received in southeastern parts of Ireland, where it is retransmitted on UHF by so-called 'deflectors', although this is because the UTV region was not historically receivable in those areas by any means in order to be rebroadcast.
ITV Wales News
Its flagship programme is known as Wales Tonight. All other news bulletins are known as ITV Wales News
- Jonathon Hill
- Lucy Owen (nee Cohen)
- Ruth Wignall (weather)
- James Wright (weather)
- Charlie Neil (weekend weather)
- Emma Jesson (weekend weather)