Following the sad news about Sir Christopher Chataway, we republish this 2005 interview with him remembering ITN's opening night
Comment and Opinion
30 Second Guide
Associated-Rediffusion and Rediffusion London (1955-1964 and 1964-1968)
Rediffusion was the first ITV company, coming on air from the Croydon transmitter on Thursday 22 September 1955 to serve London on weekdays. In its first incarnation, as Associated-Rediffusion, it has retrospective reputation for being upmarket and heavyweight. In its post-1964 incarnation as Rediffusion London, it has a reputation for being downmarket and lightweight. Neither are accurate, except in terms of presentation and even that is a matter of degrees. Both versions of Rediffusion followed a plan of show popular (and even populist) programming in the first part of the evening to attract viewers and revenue. These viewers were then expected to stay for the later part of the evening, where heavyweight documentaries and dramas were shown, paid for by the mass-audience programming earlier. This clever strategy did not find favour with the ITA, who in 1964 considered combining Associated-Rediffusion with another applicant for the contract in order to shake them up. This did not happen then, but in 1968 the ITA combined Rediffusion London with ABC to form Thames Television. Famous figures in Rediffusion included Captain Thomas M Brownrigg DSO RN (Rtd), Redvers Kyle, Muriel Young and Brian Masters. Famous programmes included This Week, The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten, Double Your Money, Take Your Pick and People in Trouble.
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