The Launch of ITV 

25 November 2006

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

You Say

2 responses to this article

Jerry Ralph 3 September 2015 at 12:43 pm

Good to see these again, especially with the 60th anniversary of ITV this month. I bet there won’t be any pomp about the anniversary!

BTW what happened to “Television House”? The section seems to have gone!

Russ J Graham 3 September 2015 at 4:01 pm

Renamed: it’s now called “Rediffusion” – people asked us for a simpler structure.

Your comment

Enter it below

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Thursday 11 April 2024