If ITV were to regionalise once again, I would very much doubt that each region would end up with its own studio complexes once again. Yes, I sure do miss being on holiday in Whitley bay, and walking just up off the quayside in Newcastle, and seeing the Tyne Tees Studios on City Road. The same that the Southern/TVS/Meridian complex at Southampton is no longer there, or for that matter Derrys Cross in Plymouth (due to be a housing scheme, which I think should be called Westward Court), but even if we did have a proper regional ITv structure again, the fact that there is so little in terms of regional variations, and also the fact that a lot of the peak programming is now dominated by stuff being shown five days a week, means it'll never be the ITV of the 1980s.
As I said many posts ago there are still a lot of long memories of old ITV and a lot of wistful thinking. Those days are long gone and as much as many want the "good old days" to return the cold hard fact is that ITV is now as "national" as it can be and is keeping its threadbare PSB commitments to keep their hands on the high EPG positions they hold. Sad but true.
You make very good points Neil. The only way that we could ever return to the ITV of the 1980s, is if a lot of content was freshly made for ITV2-4, regional variations on ITV were increased, and if the likes of the soaps were reduced to perhaps twice a week each. Given the latter bring in viewers, and thus advertising, and given a percentage of stuff has to be made by outside companies, we'll not have the ITV of the 1980s. Yes, it was great while we had it, but ITV changed. It changed, not just because of the 1991 franchise auction, nor the ownership changes, but what viewers were wanting changed.
Add to that also, in the 1980s, the only competition ITV had for advertising revenue were a couple of Sky channels, and cinemas, and it was no surprise that each region was able to command such vast production centres, as they were virtually producing everything for themselves, and some stuff for channel 4. As Sky expanded, advertising revenue was being sought after more, and in 1993 Channel 4 sold its own airtime, adding further competition. In reality, ITV wasn't able to afford to keep the likes of City Road Newcastle, especially as regional programming became fewer and further between.
I'll look at it in another aspect; I liked the original yellow, blue and white livery of the ninety metrocars of the Tyne and Wear Metro. But, as the years went on, the cars needed refurbishing, and the livery was changed to reflect this. The people could tell what was a refurbished car, by the livery. Times change, nothing we can do about it sadly, yet ironically, we sometimes want to modernise things.