Part 1: First with the news

Following the sad news about Sir Christopher Chataway, we republish this 2005 interview with him remembering ITN's opening night

30 Second Guide

Thames logo

Thames (1968-1992)

Thames was the third of 4 new companies to come on air in 1968 after the ITA had redrawn the ITV network.  Thames was a joint company formed by the former Saturday and Sunday Midlands and North contractor, ABC, and the former London weekday contractor Rediffusion.  The company was 51% owned, and completely controlled, by ABC.  Thames was the first company to have a chronological split that occurred during the day - previously, split regions were Monday-Friday and Saturday-Sunday operations.  Thames handed over to LWT at 7pm on Fridays (later moved to 5.15pm) and resumed broadcasting on Mondays.  Thames began operations from Rediffusion's Television House and ABC's Teddington studios.  Television House was vacated when Thames Television House on the Euston Road in London was opened in the early 1970s.  It is often said that the then-government changed the ITV contracts system in the 1990s as part of a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise Thames.  Industry rumour has always suggested that the ITC was pressured to drop Thames in 1992 and also to turn down their application to become Channel 5 in the mid-1990s.  Thames lost their ITV contract to Carlton and ceased broadcasting at midnight on 31 December 1992.  The company has had an afterlife as an independent producer, now part of Fremantle Media and called talkbackThames.  Famous figures in Thames included Howard Thomas, Brian Tesler, Richard Dunn and Jeremy Issacs.  Famous programmes included This Week, The Bill, The World at War, This is Your Life and Magpie.

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