The Launch of ITV

By David Laine

From the former Vintage Broadcasting site, we are pleased to present this short article that provides film and examples of the earliest days of ITV.

ITV started broadcasting to the London area on the 22nd of September 1955. The first programme was an outside broadcast from London's Guildhall of a dinner to celebrate ITV's launch.

Prior to the start of regular programmes, a trailer had been shown to give viewers an idea of what the new service would be like.

Immediately before the outside broadcast, a 4-minute film was shown, featuring scenes of London and voiced and written by Cecil Lewis.

Both the trailer and the film are available below for you to download and enjoy. The trailer was voiced by Leslie Mitchell and in it he refers to Associated Broadcasting. This was the original name of Lew Grade's company. Unfortunately its initials, ABC, were also used by another company, so after a court case, the original ABC changed its name to ATV.

Click on the screen shots below to view them, in MPEG 1 format.

Unless you have a very fast Internet connection, right-click the pictures below and choose "Save Target As" to download the file so you can view them off-line.

ITV Pre-launch Trailer

ITV Trailer
From the beginning ITV had a wide selection of UK-made programming. Click the image above to view the content. Filesize 8.8MB

ITV Opening Film

A very dignified beginning to British commercial television - how things change. This film preceded the live ceremony from the Guildhall and handed over to it. Click the image above to view the content. Filesize 9.3MB

The First Commercial

Of course, what everybody was waiting for was to see the commercials... Gibbs SR Toothpaste - the first ad ever shown on ITV, at 20:12 on the 22nd of September 1955. Filesize 1.94MB

News from ITN

From the start, the news on ITV was provided by Independent Television News: click above to view an early version of the opening titles. Filesize 573KB

For more on the opening of ITV, visit Television House.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System in general.

This article and its multimedia are copyright. Some rights reserved.

Article ©2006 David Laine

Compilation ©2006 Transdiffusion Broadcasting System

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