Factsheet 1966: Independent Television Programmes 

16 August 2018 tbs.pm/66489

Under the Television Act of 1964 the Independent Television Authority is required to provide public television services of information, education and entertainment.

The programmes are produced by fourteen contractors (the programme companies) appointed by the Authority to provide services in thirteen separate areas. The Act requires the Authority to ensure that the programmes maintain a high general standard of content and quality and to satisfy itself, so far as possible, that nothing offensive to good taste and decency is broadcast; that the programmes contain a sufficient amount of news, British material and local interest; and that impartiality is observed in matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy.

The programme companies must consult the Authority in advance about their programme schedules. Within the approved schedules, the Authority may subsequently call for detailed information about particular programmes, or a company may itself seek the views of the Authority about a particular programme.

The Authority has the advice of specialist committees, dealing with Education, Religion, Charitable Appeals, and Advertising. In addition, the Authority has a General Advisory Council with membership drawn from all parts of the country and from many different occupations.

The Authority’s views on programme policy are made known to the programme companies through the Programme Policy Committee, which contains senior executives of all the companies, sitting under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the Authority.

In any one service area, viewers of Independent Television can see about 67 hours of programmes each week. The total output of the system, in all the 13 regions, is about 200 hours a week of different programmes. The companies themselves produce about 135 hours of this total, the remainder being purchased from other sources. This is a larger output than that of any other television service in Europe and one of the highest in the world.

About one third of the programmes are of a serious or informative nature. The average balance is this:

per cent
News and news magazines 7
Documentaries and news features 12
Religion 5
Adult education (including repeats) 5
School programmes (including repeats) 9
Children’s programmes (a) informative 2
Children’s programmes (b) entertainment 9
Plays 6
Drama series and serials 18
Feature films 8
Entertainment and music 11
Sport 8



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