Independent Television in the…
1950s 1960s 1970s 1990s

The Television Act 1954 was a British law which permitted the creation of the first commercial television network in the United Kingdom, ITV. It created the Independent Television Authority (ITA) which would closely regulate the new commercial channel in the interests of good taste, and award franchises to commercial companies for fixed terms.

The Sound Broadcasting Act 1972 gave the ITA responsibility for organising the new Independent Local Radio (ILR) stations. The ITA became the Independent Broadcasting Authority.


  • October 2: The first ITV Telethon is held, in the Thames/London ITV region only.
  • December 28: The IBA announced it had reviewed ITV licences again, for contracts beginning January 1, 1982. Dual regions would be created (Wales & the West, South & South East, and East & West Midlands) and the companies operating those regions would provide a regional news service for both. In addition, franchises were affected thus:
    • ATV was re-awarded the dual Midlands region but would have to be renamed Central Independent Television.
    • Southern Television lost its licence in favour of South & South-East Communications (later renamed Television South).
    • Westward Television would be replaced by Television South West (TSW).
    • A new nationwide breakfast television service was awarded to TV-am.
    • Trident Television was ordered to release Yorkshire Television and Tyne Tees Television allowing them to be independent of each other again.
    • The Bluebell Hill transmitter in Kent was transferred from Thames Television/LWT to TVS, to increase the size of the South East sub-region.


  • August 11: Television South West (TSW) took over Westward Television but continued to use the name until the end of the year.


  • January 1: Westward Television is officially renamed Television South West (TSW).
  • November 2: Channel 4 is launched.


  • February 1: TV-am is launched.


  • March 27: The Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher initiated the Peacock Committee, a review into the financing of the BBC. Led by Professor Alan Peacock, the other six members included television presenter Judith Chalmers. The government had expected the committee to report that the television licence fee used to fund the BBC should be scrapped. However, the Peacock Committee favoured retaining the licence fee as they believed it was the ‘least worst’ option. The findings formed the Broadcasting Act 1990, which saw the abolition of the IBA and it being replaced by the Independent Television Commision (ITC) and the Radio Authority, which would be regulating with a “lighter touch”. Among the reports recommendations were:
    • Not less than 40% of the BBC’s and ITV’s output should be sourced from independent producers.
    • The transmission space used by the BBC and ITV overnight should be sold.
    • ITV franchises should be put out to competitive tender.
    • Channel 4 should be able to sell its own advertising.
  • October 29-30: Thames broadcasts its second ITV Telethon.


  • August 9Yorkshire Television became the first ITV company, and the first British terrestrial television station, to offer 24-hour broadcasting. This was achieved by simulcasting the satellite station Music Box for a three-month trial, as permitted by the IBA.


  • January 2Yorkshire Television ends their 24-hour broadcasting experiment shortly before Music Box ceased operations as a broadcaster. Thereafter, Yorkshire ran a teletext-based Jobfinder service for one hour after close-down with a Through Till Three strand on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights introduced a few months later.
  • April 25Central Independent Television began extending its programming hours to 3am on week nights and 4am at weekends, airing its own schedule of films, series and hourly Central News bulletins entitled More Central.
  • JuneThames Television‘s Into the Night strand began with broadcasts originally running until around 4am.
  • August 17Thames Television‘s Into the Night strand was extended to provide a full service.
  • August 28Anglia Television, Thames Television and LWT began 24-hour broadcasting – Anglia originally opted to air Night Network on weekends alongside its own overnight schedule on weeknights while LWT filled the post-Night Network slot with a short-lived Thru to 6 strand.
  • September: ITV Schools programming is transferred to Channel 4.
  • NovemberTyne Tees Television experimented with 24-hour transmission when in it began airing its own teletext Jobfinder service between close-down and 6 am.


  • January 25TVS, which also aired Night Network at weekends, started its own Late Night Late strand.
  • February 13: A short-lived joint schedule was introduced by Central, Granada and Scottish Television when the companies began full 24-hour transmission but was abandoned within a few months. During this time, all three stations provided local presentation. Central continued to air its own overnight service until 1995.
  • May 29Yorkshire Television reintroduced a full through-the-night service,  this time consisting of films, imports, series and networked original programming.
  • May 29-30: The first national ITV Telethon is broadcast.
  • June 20: TVS had been gradually extending its Night Network and was now running a full 24-hour service, simulcast on Channel Television.
  • August 22HTV Wales and HTV West began broadcasting its own Night Club service.
  • September 2Border, Grampian, Tyne Tees and TSW began 24-hour broadcasting with the introduction of Night Time, a part-networked service provided by Granada Television’s presentation department in Manchester and intended to help the smaller ITV stations who were unable to provide a service of their own.
  • October 3: Ulster joins the Night Time service.


  • March 31: Night Network ceased broadcasting.
  • September 1: ITV introduced its first official corporate logo and national on-air identity, to unify the network under one image while still allowing for regional identity. However, six companies refused to use their versions of the generic ident (Granada Television, TVS, TSW, Anglia Television, Channel Television and Ulster Television), preferring to stick with their distinctive on-screen branding.

History of ITV courtesy of Wikipedia

Independent Television in the…
1950s 1960s 1970s 1990s