News at Ten is the flagship evening news programme on British television network ITV, produced by ITN and founded by news editor Geoffrey Cox in July 1967. The bulletin was the first permanent 30-minute news broadcast in the United Kingdom, and although initially scheduled for only thirteen weeks due to fears that its length would turn viewers off, the bulletin proved to be highly popular with audiences and became a fixture of the ITV schedule.
News at Ten rose to popularity for its winning combination of in-depth, analytical news coverage and populist stories. It simultaneously helped popularise newscasters such as Alastair Burnet, Andrew Gardner, Reginald Bosanquet, Sandy Gall, Anna Ford, Alastair Stewart and Trevor McDonald into well-known television personalities.
When the bulletin was axed in 1999 in order for primetime entertainment programming to air uninterrupted, there was a public outcry. ITV reluctantly brought the programme back – under the name ITV News at Ten – in 2001, airing it at 10pm for a minimum of three nights per week, but eventually replaced it with the ITV News at 10:30 in 2004. It was not until January 2008 that News at Ten was reinstated to the ITV schedule. The programme is currently presented by Tom Bradby.
News at Ten is famed for its use of the Big Ben clockface, the headline “bongs” and the dramatic and familiar theme music, all retained and reworked into various guises across five decades.
From 1967 to 1992, its opening and closing themes were straightforward excerpts from The Awakening, a piece of library music composed by Johnny Pearson. In 1992, composer Dave Hewson was appointed to produce a new arrangement of The Awakening. Since April 1995, Hewson has produced several rearrangements of the famous theme for all ITV News programmes. [Wikipedia]
Watch some of the News At Ten opening sequences through the years on the Davidjr YouTube Channel.