INJUSTICE’ TO TWW
our TV Staff
EARL OF DERBY, Chairman of Television Wales and the West, last
night described the ITA’s decision not to renew its contract
from July next year as capricious and a monumental injustice.
a reply to a letter from Lord Hill, Chairman of the ITA, giving
the reasons for the Authority’s decision, Lord Derby said that
it was true that he and a handful of original founder investors
had made a good deal of money. But this had no relevance for the
great majority of the present shareholders who bought their
shares on the Stock Exchange. Lord Derby pointed out that if the
Authority thought there were promises and prospects for the
company, which were not being fulfilled then it owed a duty to
draw the company’s attention to them.
it was we did everything we thought you were asking us to do and
were totally reassured by the statements made by you and on your
behalf, including replies to categorical inquiries by me on
three occasions in the last year about whether our service was
Derby said the Television Act envisaged successive con-tracts
and nobody had imposed any obligation on Lord Hill to unseat a
satisfactory contractor without a word of warning after previous
reassurances that they were happy with their work.
said he regretted Lord Hill’s failure to consider the
predicament in which the staff of TWW had been placed by his
sense of total insecurity had now been engendered in 500 very
loyal people who had not only worked for the company but for the
Authority over the years.
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so it begins. TWW and its Chairman, Lord
Derby, were unable to believe what had just happened to
them. TWW had been in place from 1958, had been praised by the
ITA for its work and had absorbed the loss-making Wales (West
and North), thus preventing the death of the only ITV station to
All of this would have normally kept TWW in place to this day.
But then along came Harlech.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor for glamour, Geraint Evans
and Wynford Vaugan-Thomas for local weight and solid, local,
financial backing, Lord Harlech had assembled a consortium that
could have taken on any company with ease.
the face of this, TWW, solid, steady and dependable, looked
plain, conservative and boring. Harlech's consortium anticipated
almost every paragraph of TWW's submission, pointing out the
Wales and West-led nature of themselves against the London-run
opposition; noting the innovation and talent, the hope for a
network position that they had against TWW's 'slow and steady'
the hare and tortoise race, the hare won this time. At the
beginning of the 21st Century, this comes as no surprise to us.
At the time, the 'mini-BBCs' dotted around the country had
thought they were permanent. To find they were not merely
temporary, but also dispensable, came as a shock.
would be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the gallows. The
'open letter' from Derby to Hill here was just the beginning.