The final Thames Television logo prior to losing its ITV franchise (1990-1992)
|Broadcast area||Greater London and Home Counties|
|Launched||30 July 1968|
The classic Thames Television logo (1968-1989) featuring the montage of London landmarks
|Closed||31 December 1992|
|Replaced by||Carlton Television|
|Owned by||BET, Thorn EMI (1968-1985), Independent (1985-1993), Pearson (1993-2000), FremantleMedia (2000-)|
Thames Television was a franchise holder of the British ITV television network, serving London on weekdays between 1968 and 1992. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Greater London is the top-level administrative subdivision covering London, England. " Home counties " is an informal phrase used to designate the group of counties that border or surround London, England. Events 1419 - First Defenestration of Prague. 1502 - Christopher Columbus lands at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off Year 1968 ( MCMLXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 406 – Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gallia. Year 1992 ( MCMXCII) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar) Associated-Rediffusion, later Rediffusion London, was the British ITV contractor for London and parts of Carlton Television is the British ITV franchisee for London and parts of the surrounding counties from 925am every Monday to 5 British Electric Traction Company plc, renamed BET plc in 1985 was a large British industrial conglomerate. Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics music defence and retail Pearson plc () is a London -based media conglomerate. It is the largest book Publisher in the UK, India, Australia FremantleMedia (previously known as All American Television, LBS Communications, and Pearson Television) is the content In Economics, a government-granted monopoly (also called a "de jure monopoly" is a form of Coercive monopoly by which a government grants exclusive privilege The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Independent Television (generally known as ITV) is a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters set up under the Independent London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. It was both a broadcaster and a producer of television programmes, making shows both for the local region it covered and for networking nationally across the ITV regions. The British Film Institute describes Thames as having "served the capital and the network with a long-running, broad-based and extensive series of programmes, several of which either continue or are well-remembered today. The British Film Institute ( BFI) is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to encourage the development of the arts of film television "
Thames covered a broad spectrum of commercial public-service television, with a strong mix of drama, current affairs and comedy. The company's logo remains widely recognisable and was accompanied by a fanfare called "Salute To Thames", composed by Johnny Hawksworth. A fanfare is a short piece of Music played by Trumpets and other Brass instruments frequently accompanied by percussion, usually for Johnny Hawksworth is a British musician and composer who has lived and worked in Australia since 1984
After Thames was acquired by FremantleMedia it was merged with another Fremantle company, Talkback Productions, to form a new company talkbackTHAMES. FremantleMedia (previously known as All American Television, LBS Communications, and Pearson Television) is the content Talkback Productions was formed in 1981 by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. Talkback Thames is a British television production company a division of FremantleMedia (part of the RTL Group) Consequently Thames no longer exists as a separate entity.
From launch in 1955 to July 1968, the Independent Television Authority (ITA) contract to provide programming on the ITV network for London on weekdays had been operated by Rediffusion. The Independent Television Authority ( ITA) was a body created by the Television Act 1954 to supervise the creation of "Independent Television" ( Independent Television (generally known as ITV) is a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters set up under the Independent Associated-Rediffusion, later Rediffusion London, was the British ITV contractor for London and parts of Geographical and structural changes in the network created by the ITA's 1967 invitation for applicants for new contracts for the right to broadcast on ITV (running from 1968 to 1974 and sometimes referred to as a 'contract round') meant that Associated British Corporation (ABC) lost both their contracts (sometimes known as franchises), serving the Midlands and the North at weekends, as these areas were to become seven-day operations. Associated British Corporation (otherwise known as ABC Television or ABC Weekend Television) was one of a number of commercial television companies set up in the 1950s
Consequently ABC applied for both the Midlands seven-day operation and the contract to serve London at the weekend, preferring the latter. It was widely expected that the company would be awarded the weekend franchise. However, after an impressive application, it was allocated to the London Television Consortium, led by presenter David Frost (amongst others). Sir David Paradine Frost, OBE (born 7 April 1939) is an English Satirist and Television presenter, famed as both a
ABC was a popular station, whose productions earned vital foreign currency. Station management and presentation style were well-admired and it could have been controversial to dismiss that as a result of administrative changes. It was equally difficult for ABC to win the Midlands seven-day contract as the existing five-days contractor ATV had also applied and was a large earner of overseas revenue, having won the Queen's Award for Export in 1966. Associated TeleVision Limited, best known simply as ATV, was a British ITV company from 1955 until 1981 The Queen's Awards for Enterprise is an awards programme for British businesses and other organizations who excel at international trade innovation or sustainable development Year 1966 ( MCMLXVI) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the 1966 Gregorian calendar.
The outcome proposed by the ITA was a "shotgun marriage" between ABC and Rediffusion, the resultant company being awarded the contract to serve London on weekdays. A shotgun wedding is a Wedding that is arranged to avoid embarrassment due to an unplanned Pregnancy, rather than out of the desire of the participants Control of the new company would be given to ABC, a move unpopular with Rediffusion .
Rediffusion had believed that their contract renewal was a 'formality' and their application reflected this complacency: The company had treated the ITA high-handedly in interviews . In the early days of ITV the company had worked hard to keep the network on-air during financial crises that threatened the collapse of other stations, notably Granada . Granada Television is the United Kingdom ITV contractor for North West England. It was reported that Rediffusion's chairman Sir John Spencer Wills felt the ITA owed his company a 'debt of gratitude' for this, a comment which particularly annoyed the Authority. During the interview process several members of Rediffusion management also appeared in interviews for applicants for other regions (principally the London Television Consortium) as well as the interview for Rediffusion, leading the ITA to question the loyalty at the company .
In programming, Rediffusion was originally considered stuffy but in the previous contract round of 1964, it had re-invented itself (dropping the name 'Associated Rediffusion' in favour of the more swinging 'Rediffusion London') to reflect the cultural changes of the time, and output altered accordingly.
Questioning the ITA's decision Rediffusion attempted to slow down the merger: Only the threat of giving the licence solely to ABC made it relent. To assist Rediffusion financially the ITA insisted that the new company have two sets of shares, voting shares which would allow ABC to have control (with 51%) and 'B' shares which were to be split equally between the two, thus sharing profits fairly. The ITA also ordered the new London Weekend Television to purchase Rediffusion's old studios at Wembley, instead of ABC's facilities at Teddington which they had wanted . Teddington Studios is a large British Television studio complex located in Teddington, South-West London, providing studio facilities for programmes
This assisted the new company as well: the ABC/Rediffusion marriage meant the new company had studio overcapacity. ABC still owned facilities at Teddington, Aston (co-owned with ATV), Didsbury and sales offices in central Manchester while Rediffusion owned Wembley and Television House . Aston is an area of the City of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England. Didsbury (ˈdɪdzbəri is a suburban area of the City of Manchester, in Greater Manchester, England Television House, on Kingsway in London was from 1955 the London headquarters of Associated-Rediffusion, Independent Television News, the The stake in the Aston studios was sold to ATV while the Didsbury site, used for a short period by Yorkshire Television until their own studios were ready, was sold to Manchester Polytechnic. Yorkshire Television is the ITV contractor for the Yorkshire franchise Manchester Metropolitan University is a university based in the city of Manchester. The offices in Manchester were also sold.
The structure of the new company was also a problem. A merger between the two existing contract holders Associated British Cinemas (Television) Limited and Rediffusion Television Limited was impossible due to internal politics as was a merger between their respective parent companies Associated British Picture Corporation and British Electric Traction. The answer was a new holding company .
After some discussion as to the name of the new company - some directors favoured 'ABC London', while others suggested 'Tower Television' to reflect the Post Office Tower and the Tower of London - it was named Thames Television, after the River Thames. The BT Tower is a tall cylindrical building in London, England. Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London (and historically as The Tower) is a historic monument in central London The Thames ( is a major River flowing through southern England. This name had been considered and later rejected by London Weekend Television .
On Tuesday 30 July 1968 Thames began broadcasting to London, from the start of broadcasting on Monday until its handover to LWT at 7. Events 1419 - First Defenestration of Prague. 1502 - Christopher Columbus lands at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off Year 1968 ( MCMLXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. 00 pm on Fridays. (From 1982, the handover time was 5. Year 1982 ( MCMLXXXII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar) 15 pm). The opening week was disrupted by sporadic strike action; the following week, the action had spread to all of ITV and resulted in the creation of a management-run ITV Emergency National Service for some two weeks. The ITV Emergency National Service was the management response to the near-complete Independent Television technicians strike immediately after the 1968 franchise
Thames' corporate base was originally at Rediffusion's former headquarters Television House, Kingsway, until the opening of the newly-built Thames Television House on Euston Road in 1970. Television House, on Kingsway in London was from 1955 the London headquarters of Associated-Rediffusion, Independent Television News, the Euston Road is an important thoroughfare in central London, England and forms part of the A501. The company's main production base was at Teddington.
Thames's station and production identification sequences (idents) provided the station with some fame. For many years these would be aired both in London, where Thames would broadcast during the week, and throughout the country, animated before, and as a static image after, programmes produced by for ITV by Thames.
The first idents to be used comprised a plain screen with the words 'FROM THAMES' written in white in the Helvetica font, and a vignette that resembled the famous ident, containing famous London Landmarks. Helvetica is the name of a widely used Sans-serif Typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss Typeface designer Max Miedinger. In Photography and Optics, vignetting is a reduction of an image's brightness or saturation at the Periphery compared to the image center Both were accompanied by the tune 'Salute to Thames' written by Johnny Hawkesworth. The first ident was used to signify programmes made at Rediffusion's old studios at Adastral House, the latter shows that came from ABC's former Teddington studios. Television House, on Kingsway in London was from 1955 the London headquarters of Associated-Rediffusion, Independent Television News, the Teddington Studios is a large British Television studio complex located in Teddington, South-West London, providing studio facilities for programmes 
With the introduction of colour, the ident was remodelled on the vignette, this time using photographs rather than drawings. The ident was designed by agency Minale Tattersfield and used shots of famous London landmarks. The update was shot by stop-frame animation on 16 mm film, then again on 35 mm film in 1976 and was then digitized on computer in 1984. Stop motion (or frame-by-frame) animation is an Animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own All of these animations featured the same design.
In 1989 the station relaunched its ident, although by then animated idents on ITV would only be seen in their respective regions, with only a static production "end-caption" of a programme's producer being seen elswhere. In the 1989 variant, The famous London skyline was tapered down to an orange triangle or v-shaped point and was now on a blue background, with three blue waves across the centre to symbolise the river (as shown above). At the same time the famous tune was dropped.
A new ident was launched in 1990, featuring the some of the landmarks of the original sky-line, Big Ben, the dome of St Paul's Cathedral and Tower Bridge and included the triangle-shape featured on the previous attempt. The Clock Tower is the world's largest four-faced chiming Clock. St Paul's Cathedral, is the Anglican Cathedral on Ludgate Hill, in the City of London, and the seat of the Bishop of London. Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and Suspension bridge in London, England over the River Thames.
A special montage ended the station's last broadcast on New Years Eve 1992. The montage, variants of which were also aired in the last days of the station's broadcasts, comprised clips of notable Thames programmes, and included short segments of some of the station's previous idents. It was played to the song "I Only Want To Be With You" by The Tourists, and ended with a modified version of the ident used at the time and an announcer reading the line "Thames, a Talent for Television". The Tourists (1977 - 1980 were a moderately successful British pop band but are better known for two of their members ( Annie Lennox & David A This was followed by the sounds and an image of Big Ben, a common practise for marking the start of the New Year, which was also the time that Thames's ITV franchise would end  but not before ITN showed their news report called Into The New Year. The Clock Tower is the world's largest four-faced chiming Clock.
Thames is often quoted as a prime example of a good commercial public-service broadcaster with shows covering all aspects of the spectrum and the largest producer in the network. Its shows achieved massive audiences and are still remembered many years later. This is sometimes attributed to the culture of the company, which could be claimed to be a continuation of that at ABC. This station was more highly regarded by the ITA (amongst others) than the more downmarket and somewhat arrogant Rediffusion.
The ITA ordered ABC's Managing Director Howard Thomas to be appointed in a similar capacity at the new station. Howard Thomas CBE (c1909&mdash 6 November 1986) was a Welsh -born British Radio producer and Television ABC had majority control of the new company and the make-up of its board predominantly (and eventually fully) came from ABC. The use of ABC's studios at Teddington meant the workforce was predominantly ex-ABC (although those at Kingsway were ex-Rediffusion). However, with the inherited creative talent and facilities the opportunity bequeathed to the new station was enormous.
Thames also benefited from benign shareholders. There were just two shareholders at the company, these being the former owners of Rediffusion, British Electric Traction, and the owners of ABC, the ABPC, later to become (via mergers) Thorn EMI. British Electric Traction Company plc, renamed BET plc in 1985 was a large British industrial conglomerate. Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC originally British International Pictures (BIP was a British film production distribution and exhibition company Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics music defence and retail
The two companies allowed Thames independence (although in later years there were accusations that they both treated the company as a cash cow). In business a cash cow is a product or a business unit that generates unusually high Profit margins so high that it is responsible for a large amount of a company's operating This allowed the station to establish separate divisions to focus on particular genres. Euston Films was established in 1971 by independent producers financed by Thames and specialised in drama output while Cosgrove Hall was created to produce children's animation. Euston Films was a British Film and Television production company Cosgrove Hall Films is a British Animation studio based in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, England that is a major producer of children's The children's department also spawned the independent production company Tetra Films, which would later revive two classic Thames children's programmes for ITV - The Tomorrow People (1992-5, in association with Thames-owned Reeves Entertainment and also for Nickelodeon) and, less successfully, Rainbow (1994/96, for HTV). The Tomorrow People is a children's science fiction television series, devised by Roger Price which first ran between 1973 and 1979 Alan Landsburg Productions was an independent TV production company founded by Alan Landsburg in 1971 Nickelodeon (commonly referred to as Nick) is an American Cable television network owned by Viacom International, founded in 1977 as Pinwheel Rainbow was a British Children's television series, created by Pamela Lonsdale, which ran twice weekly at 1210 on Tuesdays and Fridays on HTV, now legally known as ITV Wales and West, is the ITV contractor for Wales and the West of England.
Like most of ITV, Thames was beset by conflicts with trade unions, notably the Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians (ACTT) - indeed, the worst strike to hit the network originated at Thames. The Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians (ACTT was a Trade union in the United Kingdom. Failure to reach agreement on pay increases and shift allowances in the 1979 pay round, resulted in technicians switching off power to the transmission facilities at the Euston Road centre on 6 August. Events 1538 - Bogotá, Colombia, is founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. After management restored power, the technicians walked out. Within four days the whole of the ITV network was off-air after the ACTT asked members at other companies to walk-out in claim for a 15% pay rise. The network was off the air for ten weeks. 
In 1984 another strike was called, this time over the use of new cameras and editing equipment along with overtime payments for transmission staff. The technicians walked out for two weeks but the station was off the air for just one day as management and administration staff took over their roles. 
Despite its stature as the network's senior company Thames did on several occasions court controversy.
In 1985 the company made a deal with international distributors for US production company Lorimar to purchase the upcoming series of the popular US drama Dallas, at that time transmitted on BBC1. Lorimar was an American Television production company that was later a subsidiary of Warner Bros Dallas is a highly popular long-running American prime-time television Soap opera that originally ran from 1978 to 1991 This broke a gentlemen's agreement that the two networks had, in which they would not poach each others' imported shows; in this instance, Thames paid $60,000 a show compared, to the $33,000 that their rivals had been paying. A gentlemen's agreement is an informal Agreement between two or more parties The deal was announced in a blaze of publicity and immediately brought condemnation, not just from the BBC but also from other ITV stations who feared the BBC would react by poaching their imports, thus pushing up prices (imported shows being cheaper than home-made productions).
The BBC delayed transmission of the episodes of Dallas that they already had, stating they would begin broadcasting them at exactly the same time Thames broadcast their new purchases. Ultimately, pressure from other ITV companies (notably Yorkshire) forced Thames to sell them back to the distributor at an enormous loss, and the status quo was restored. Yorkshire Television is the ITV contractor for the Yorkshire franchise
Morecambe and Wise
In 1978 it pulled off a genuine coup when it secured the services of leading British entertainers Morecambe & Wise, in a deal which made front-page newspaper headlines. Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, usually referred to as Morecambe and Wise, were a British comic Double act, working in variety, radio Film The stars of the BBC1 Christmas schedules, their shows attracted tens of millions of viewers and decimated ITV's own offerings. Having worked with the BBC since 1968 (when they left the ITV company ATV after they would not make their shows in colour), it was the ability to offer the pair a chance to make a film through their Euston Films subsidiary that clinched the deal. Associated TeleVision Limited, best known simply as ATV, was a British ITV company from 1955 until 1981 Sadly, though, the shows were not considered as good as those they made for BBC1. Their leading scriptwriter, Eddie Braben, did not initially make the journey to ITV, and combined with Eric Morecambe's failing health, the shows never repeated the audiences they once achieved. Eddie Braben (born 31 October 1930 in Liverpool, England) is a comedy writer and performer who has provided material for such figures as Productions were delayed while Morecambe recovered from surgery for his long-standing heart complaint; in 1984, it finally claimed his life. The film that he and Wise had so wanted to make - Night Train To Murder - was eventually screened on the afternoon of New Year's Day 1985. Night Train To Murder was the last work that Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise worked on together before Eric's death in 1984.
In 1989, and to great surprise, Thames sacked Benny Hill, who had been a stalwart at the station since its launch in 1968. Alfred Hawthorne Hill ( 21 January 1924 &ndash 19 April 1992) better known as Benny Hill, was a prolific English It was widely believed that he was dismissed because of the trend (started in the 1980s) of political correctness: that Hill's shows were considered, in some quarters, as sexist and outdated. Political correctness (adjectivally politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term applied to Language, ideas policies or behavior Whilst this may have had some bearing, Thames' decision was also taken on financial grounds; Hill made far fewer shows than is commonly believed (only 58 hour-long episodes were made during the show's 20 year run, an average of around 3 a year)- he was kept in the public eye by considerable repeat showings, and re-editing of hour-long productions into a half-hour format. Although this kept costs down (and became a huge overseas money-spinner, especially in the United States), it meant that over time, viewers became aware of the repetition, and audience figures, both in the UK and abroad, began to decline. It was felt that Thames, in those circumstances, could not justify giving Hill a new contract.
Bill Grundy and The Sex Pistols
In 1976, the station's local evening news programme Today made national newspaper headlines after guests, punk band The Sex Pistols, uttered obscenities on the live show; they were last minute guests when original booking, the rock band Queen, had to pull out. The Sex Pistols are an English Punk rock band that formed in London in 1975 Queen were an English rock band formed in 1970 in London by guitarist The Sex Pistols were being interviewed by host Bill Grundy when the verbal tirade began. William "Bill" Grundy ( February 20, 1923 - February 9, 1993) was a British television presenter and the host of Thames Television Grundy made it quite clear that he didn't like the group, and started to goad them about their lifestyle. When singer Johnny Rotten uttered the word 'shit', Grundy asked him to repeat it, and proceeded to try and 'chat up' two ladies (one of whom was Siouxsie Sioux) who had accompanied the group onto the set. John Joseph Lydon (born 31 January 1956 in London England also known as Johnny Rotten, is a British Rock musician best known as lead vocalist for the Punk Susan Janet Ballion The situation 'escalated' and one band member Steve Jones was heard to call him a 'dirty old man' and a 'fucking rotter'. Stephen Phillip Jones (born 3 September, 1955 in Shepherds Bush, London) is an English rock Guitarist At a subsequent investigation, Grundy claimed he had allowed the bad language as he wanted people to see the Sex Pistols for who they were, although there were allegations that Grundy had been drinking; he introduced the group as '. . . being drunk as I am'. The transmission was not stopped, as there were only 30 seconds to the end of the show, and producers feared trouble in the studio if the show was suddenly halted. Grundy himself was suspended for a while, and when he returned, Today was axed soon afterwards; his career never recovered.
This Week: Death On The Rock
The company's most controversial act (and perhaps its bravest) was the documentary "Death On The Rock", part of the current affairs strand This Week. Death On The Rock was a controversial and British Academy Television Award -winning episode of Thames Television 's Current affairs strand This Week was the name of a weekly current affairs series screened on the ITV network in the United Kingdom, produced for the network by The programme questioned the authority of British troops who had gunned down a group of suspected Provisional IRA members who were allegedly planning a terrorist attack on a British military ceremony on Gibraltar. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (Óglaigh na hÉireann ( IRA; also referred to as the PIRA, the Provos, or by some of its supporters as the Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion Gibraltar (dʒɨˈbrɒltər is a British overseas territory located near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar The documentary was regarded almost as an act of treason by many Conservative politicians, and newspapers such as The Sunday Times. The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is a Political party in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is a Sunday Broadsheet Newspaper distributed in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The station, along with the IBA who stood by it, came in for tremendous criticism from those quarters.
In the early days the station continued to keep formats inherited from its parents. These included the variety show Opportunity Knocks, the last series of The Avengers and the detective thriller Callan (all ABC). Opportunity Knocks is a UK Television Talent show originally hosted by Hughie Green. The Avengers was a British Television series featuring Secret agents in 1960s Britain. Callan was the title of a British television series set in the murky world of espionage that aired on ITV broadcasting over four seasons spread out between One of these shows was the comedy Do Not Adjust Your Set (Rediffusion) - nominally a children's show, but actually an important forerunner of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Do Not Adjust Your Set ( DNAYS) was a children's television series produced originally by Rediffusion London, then by the fledgling Monty Python’s Flying Circus (also known as Flying Circus or during the final series just Monty Python) is a BBC Sketch comedy Also The Sooty Show, which had been cancelled in 1967 by the BBC, aired on Thames's first day and despite Harry Corbett's retirement in 1975, the show continued with his son, Matthew Corbett, until November 1992, a month before Thames closed down (moving to Granada shortly afterwards). The Sooty Show was a British children's television series aired on the BBC from 1955 to 1967 and from 1968 to 1992 on ITV, featuring the popular Harry Corbett OBE (born Bradford, West Yorkshire, 28 January 1918 &mdash died 17 August 1989) was an Matthew Corbett (born 28 March 1948) in Guiseley, West Yorkshire, born Peter Graham Corbett, is an English television Granada Television is the United Kingdom ITV contractor for North West England. Similarly the company took over the entertainment show This Is Your Life after the BBC had axed it, where it ran for 26 years on ITV (the last two years as an independent production for Central, after the loss of Thames' broadcasting licence). This Is Your Life is a television documentary series airing in the United Kingdom originally on BBC Television, and now ITV. Central Independent Television, more commonly known as Central and now legally ITV Central Ltd, is the British Independent Television contractor When the show moved back to the BBC, Thames continued to produce it until it was axed again in 2003 (it has since been revived once again, this time by ITV Productions and SMG Productions for ITV in 2007, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald). Granada Productions is one of Europe 's leading commercial television production and distribution companies SMG Productions is the network television production arm of the STV Group plc, and incorporates Ginger Productions. Sir Trevor McDonald OBE (born George McDonald on 16 August 1939 is a Trinidadian -born British Journalist and Television presenter
Other important Thames shows included: The award-winning documentary series This Week (known as TV Eye between 1979 and 1985), the controversial drama The Naked Civil Servant, the long-running Rumpole of the Bailey, the game shows Strike It Lucky, Give Us A Clue and Name That Tune, the dramas Rock Follies and Danger UXB, and the globally-popular Benny Hill Show. This Week was the name of a weekly current affairs series screened on the ITV network in the United Kingdom, produced for the network by Year 1979 ( MCMLXXIX) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1979 Gregorian calendar) Year 1985 ( MCMLXXXV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar) The Naked Civil Servant is the first volume of an Autobiography by the Gay icon Quentin Crisp. Rumpole of the Bailey is a British Television series created and written by British writer and barrister Sir John Mortimer, Strike It Lucky ( later Strike It Rich) was a popular British television Game show from 1986 Give Us a Clue is a televised Game show version of Charades that was first broadcast on ITV from 1979 to 1992 Name That Tune was a television Game show that put two contestants against each other to test their knowledge of Songs. Rock Follies, and its sequel Rock Follies of '77, was an innovative and groundbreaking Comedy musical Drama shown on Danger UXB was a 1979 British ITV television series about a squad of Royal Engineers with the duty of defusing Unexploded ordnance The Benny Hill Show is a British Comedy television show starring Benny Hill and various comedy character actors
One of its' finest productions was The World at War, an authoritative look at the Second World War using much unseen footage and interviews with those involved at the very highest level. The World at War is a 26-episode television documentary series on World War II, including the events leading up to it and following in its wake The show, narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier, was first commissioned in 1969 but took four years to produce (such was the in-depth examination) and cost a record £4m to make (approx £32m at today's prices). Laurence Kerr Olivier Baron
Thames produced a number of sitcoms including Father, Dear Father, Bless This House starring Sid James, George and Mildred, After Henry, Never the Twain, and Love Thy Neighbour, with its controversial take on racial issues. Father Dear Father was a British Television Sitcom produced by Thames Television for ITV Bless This House is a British sitcom that aired on ITV from 1971 to 1976 Sid James (born Joel Solomon Cohen; 8 May 1913 &ndash 26 April 1976) was a South African Actor, who made George and Mildred was a British sitcom produced by Thames Television that aired from 1976 to 1980 Never the Twain was a British sitcom produced by Thames Television, created by Johnnie Mortimer and starring Windsor Davies as Oliver Love Thy Neighbour is a British sitcom which ran from 13 April 1972 to 22 January 1977, made by Thames Television Less well-known is its adaptation of Andy Capp, starring James Bolam. Andy Capp was a short-lived British sitcom based on the cartoon Andy Capp. James Bolam (born 16 June 1938) is an English Actor and Singer, best known for his roles as Jack Ford in When the Boat Comes Two of its more recent sitcoms found more success when they transferred away from ITV - Men Behaving Badly, which moved to the BBC in 1994 and Is It Legal?, which moved to Channel 4 in 1997. Independent Television (generally known as ITV) is a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters set up under the Independent Men Behaving Badly is a British comedy --created and written by Simon Nye--that follows the lives of beer-guzzling flatmates Gary Strang and Tony Smart Is It Legal? is a British Television Sitcom set in a Solicitors office in Hounslow, West London, that ran from Channel 4 is a public-service Television and Radio broadcaster in the United Kingdom centred around a television channel of the same name which began Both were written by Simon Nye and co-produced by independent company Hartswood Films. Hartswood Films is a British television production company founded and run by producer Beryl Vertue. It also produced the children's show Magpie, intended as a rival for Blue Peter. Magpie was a Children's television programme shown on ITV from the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s Blue Peter is a BBC Television programme for children It is shown on CBBC, both in its BBC One programming block and on the Thames became a significant contributor to the ITV network and its shows (most notably The World at War and The Benny Hill Show) became worldwide award-winning successes. Unusually for a commercial broadcaster it also produced lavish versions of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu, is a Comic opera in two acts with music by Arthur Sullivan and Libretto by W A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, suggested by " The Knight's Tale " from
In addition to its evening and peak time programming, Thames changed the face of daytime television in Britain. Afternoon Plus brought the art of intelligent interviewing to a wide and growing audience.
Thames' subsidiary production company Euston Films produced many of Thames' highest-profile contributions to ITV network programming. Euston Films was a British Film and Television production company These included The Sweeney (1975-78), Minder (1979-94) and Quatermass (1979). The Sweeney was a British Television Police drama focusing on two members of the Flying Squad, an elite branch of the Metropolitan Minder was a British Comedy-drama about the London criminal underworld. Quatermass (also known as The Quatermass Conclusion or Quatermass IV) is a British television science fiction
In 1985, Carlton Communications launched a take-over bid for Thames after Thorn EMI and BET decided to sell. Carlton Communications Limited (previously Carlton Communications plc was a British media company Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics music defence and retail British Electric Traction Company plc, renamed BET plc in 1985 was a large British industrial conglomerate. This was blocked by both Richard Dunn, Chief Executive of Thames, and by the IBA. A chief executive officer ( CEO) or chief executive is typically the highest-ranking corporate officer ( executive) or administrator The Independent Broadcasting Authority ( IBA) was the regulatory body in the United Kingdom for commercial Television ( ITV and Thames then proceeded to have a management buyout and were floated on the Stock Exchange. The London Stock Exchange or LSE is a Stock exchange located in London, England. It is said that Carlton Chief Executive Michael Green talked to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the matter, which in turn may have helped to shape the 1990 Parliamentary Act which replaced the IBA with the Independent Television Commission and the change in franchise allocation procedures. Michael Philip Green (born 2 December 1947) is a British businessman The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the political leader of the United Kingdom Margaret Hilda Thatcher Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925 The Independent Television Commission (ITC licensed and regulated commercial Television services in the United Kingdom (except S4C in Wales
In 1992, Thames lost its (by then renamed) 'Channel 3' franchise to broadcast to London during weekdays as a result of losing the silent auction used to renegotiate the expiring contracts (previous contract tenders had been based on merit alone - the record of incumbents against the potential of new applicants - with no cash element). "Auctioneer" redirects here For the DC Comics supervillain see Auctioneer (comics. The successful company was Carlton Television, a subsidiary of Carlton Communications and headed by Michael Green. Carlton Television is the British ITV franchisee for London and parts of the surrounding counties from 925am every Monday to 5 Michael Green may refer to Sports Michael Green (Australian rules footballer Michael Green (field hockey (born 1972
This occurrence was seen as controversial by many and highly significant by most given Thames's history within ITV, both as a long-standing franchisee within its own right; its heritage from the start of the network, through its founding parents ABC and Rediffusion London; the fact that it was one of the major contributors of content to the network; and due to the auction method used to conduct the new 'franchise round' - a significant change from previous rounds, brought about by the 1990 Broadcasting Act. The Broadcasting Act 1990 is a law of the British parliament, often regarded by both its supporters and its critics as a quintessential example of Thatcherism
Consequently, the franchise loss became a subject of political debate, with changes brought about by the 1990 act being cited as the primary reason for an operation such as Thames being able to lose its licence to broadcast. That the then Conservative government had passed such an act, caused accusations of direct responsibility to be levelled on former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in particular, who had presided over its creation. Margaret Hilda Thatcher Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925 Opinions vary on the matter of political motivations; some cite the documentary "Death On The Rock", which may have caused displeasure to the then government, whilst others link it to a more general ideological dislike of the way ITV had been run at the time, with 'excessive over-manning' and the fact that programme production was generally limited to franchise holders (sometimes critically referred to as barriers to entry) being seen as examples of why more commercial freedom and competition was needed within the network. Death On The Rock was a controversial and British Academy Television Award -winning episode of Thames Television 's Current affairs strand In Economics and especially in the theory of Competition, barriers to entry are obstacles in the path of a firm which wants to enter a given Market An auction could be argued as being very much in the spirit of this style of thinking.
The amount that Thames offered to pay for its franchise was significantly less than the money offered by other companies, and although a 'quality of service' threshold was a part of the auction, this was not sufficient to save Thames. Since both Thames and Carlton were deemed to have passed the quality threshold, the franchise was awarded to Carlton for having submitted the higher cash bid. Some commentators consequently speculated that Thames had fallen victim to a 'government vendetta', whilst others felt that the auction had been won fairly.
In addition to Thames's departure from the network as franchise owners, it could also be argued that an equally significant part of the changeover was the fact that its replacement, Carlton Communications, broke away from the traditions of the 1968 and 1982 franchise rounds, in not acquiring and taking-over the bulk of it predecessors' studios, facilities, work-force and infrastructure (the studios at Teddington continued as independent facilities and are now part of the Pinewood Group). Carlton Communications Limited (previously Carlton Communications plc was a British media company Instead, Carlton chose to commission the vast majority of its production content from third-parties; not only had ownership changed, but so too had the nature of a large part of ITV's operation. The 1990 act, again, could be cited as being responsible for this, with previous franchise rounds having specific stipulations preventing this from happening, whereas the latter act could be seen as encouraging this. Although Carlton initially stuck to its practice of outside-commissioning, it later acquired Midlands franchisee Central Television, and hence became one of the UK's largest commercial producers. Central Independent Television, more commonly known as Central and now legally ITV Central Ltd, is the British Independent Television contractor
After 1992, Thames continued to produce programmes for the ITV network and other UK and international broadcasters, a notable example being the long-running police drama The Bill. The Bill is a long-running British Television Police procedural, named after a slang term for the police. However the company radically changed: The offices at Euston Road were sold and subsequently demolished (the site has been re-developed as Triton Square and is now the registered headquarters of Abbey bank). Abbey, formerly Abbey National, is one of the largest banks in the United Kingdom The studios at Teddington were sold to a management buy-out team and are now part of the Pinewood Group, owners of both Pinewood and Shepperton Studios
The company itself changed hands a number of times: it was owned by Pearson Television in 1996, which is now FremantleMedia, part of the RTL Group; Fremantle also acquired TalkBack Productions and merged the two companies under the new name talkbackTHAMES in 2003. Pinewood Studios is a major British Film studio situated in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire. Shepperton Studios, located in Shepperton, Surrey, England is a film studio with a long history of film making FremantleMedia (previously known as All American Television, LBS Communications, and Pearson Television) is the content FremantleMedia (previously known as All American Television, LBS Communications, and Pearson Television) is the content RTL Group ( is Europe's largest TV radio and production company and is majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. Talkback Productions was formed in 1981 by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. Talkback Thames is a British television production company a division of FremantleMedia (part of the RTL Group)