ITV News Meridian celebrates 30 years of broadcasting news and programmes across the South

  • ITV News Meridian's Derek Johnson looks back at 30 years of broadcasting

ITV News Meridian is marking a milestone this January, as it is 30 years since Meridian first broadcast news and programmes across the South, South East and Thames Valley.

The very first programme was presented from Winchester Cathedral at midnight on 1 January, 1993.

It was called 'The First 10 Minutes' which was a summary and preview of the station's output.

'The First 10 Minutes' was a star-studded affair with celebrities such as Mel Brooks, Meryl Streep and Tracey Ulmann wishing Meridian all the best for the future.

The first Meridian news programme broadcast from Southampton, with Fred Dinenage and Debbie Thrower presenting. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The new broadcaster Meridian had won the franchise to broadcast programmes to Southern England from TVS.

TVS took over from Southern Television which was the first ITV licence holder for the region.

The launch saw three news programmes broadcast from studios in Southampton, Maidstone and Newbury.

Many of the presenters would have been familiar to viewers as they had already worked for TVS.

Matt Teale and Sangeeta Bhabra became ITV News Meridian's new presenting duo in 2022. Credit: ITV News Meridian

How did ITV News Meridian get its name?

The name Meridian can be traced back to Greenwich in London.

The Meridian line in Greenwich represents the Prime Meridian of the world, Longitude Zero (0° 0' 0").

Every place on the Earth is measured in terms of its angle, east or west, from this line.

The line cuts through the heart of ITV News Meridian's broadcasting region, which is how it came to bear its name.

Since 1884, the Prime Meridian has served as the reference point for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

ITV News Meridian's gallery team prepares for the news programme at 6pm. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The TV landscape has changed drastically in three decades.

The studios are now fully digitised and ITV News Meridian also broadcasts news programmes in HD.

There is also this online news service running alongside the TV output.

However, the guiding principle remains the same three decades on, to cover the news and to hopefully bring a smile to people's day.