ITV: the Programmes and the Companies 

27 September 2021


Programmes on Independent Television


Under the Television Act the Independent Television Authority is required to provide public television services of information, education and entertainment. The Authority appoints the programme companies which provide services in the separate regions, and must ensure that the programmes maintain a high general standard of content and quality. It has the advice of specialist committees and a General Advisory Council.

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.



Independent Television’s Regional Services


The federal structure of Independent Television is one of its most important features. Each of the 14 programme companies provide a service to meet the needs of people in its own area and programmes are produced at studio centres at Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Carlisle, Dover, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Plymouth, St. Helier and Southampton.

Some programmes are seen locally. Others are networked throughout the country.



ITA logo

The 14 programme companies appointed by the Independent Television Authority:

  • Provide ITV’s programmes;
  • Sell time to advertisers;
  • Pay a rental to the Authority;
  • Pay an Exchequer levy based on advertising receipts.

The Independent Television Authority:

  • Builds, owns, and operates the transmitting stations which bring ITV to 98 per cent of the population;
  • Selects and appoints the programme companies;
  • Controls the programmes;
  • Controls the advertising.


70 Brompton Road, London SW3.
Knightsbridge (01 KNI) 7011

Regional offices at Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Carlisle, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Plymouth, St. Helier and Southampton.


The following section is commentary from our expert writers

Russ J Graham writes: Independent Television was under attack again. Having survived the rigours of the one-sided Pilkington Report three years earlier, and the arrival of Lord Hill with a brief to smarten up the network, there was now a Labour government, hostile to commercial broadcasting.

Not, however, as hostile as it had been in the 1950s, when party policy was nationalise ITV and hand its operations over to the BBC. Now the party was just… uncomfortable with the whole idea. Worse, the least comfortable and most hostile person on the government benches, Tony Benn, was the minister responsible for broadcasting. (His successor during 1966, Edward Short, was only slightly less hostile and piloted the legislation that killed off the off-shore radio stations.)

Whenever ITV was under attack, the Independent Television Authority always came out fighting on their behalf. It lobbied, its members wrote letters to The Times and the Daily Telegraph, the chairman gave interviews where he relentlessly pointed out the good things ITV was doing, the Director-General went out onto the lecture circuit to explain to the great and the good, or at least their sons in university, that ITV was A Good Thing.

It also cranked up its publicity machine, producing books, booklets, leaflets, guides, maps, and all manner of other material that could be posted out to the interested public, reminding them that ITV was already doing the good things the politicians and the columnists wanted it to do.

This leaflet – about 3″ by 7″ (7.5cm x 17.5cm) and folding out into 6 panes, printed with two spot-colours – was one of the things they produced. And they possibly produced it in a hurry: I wonder how many were distributed before anyone noticed that TWW’s entry shows a news studio with a very prominent map of the North East of England, whilst Tyne Tees is illustrated with a picture of prominent Welsh actor Stanley Baker?



You Say

1 response to this article

John King 5 August 2022 at 1:19 pm

Tony Benn, in an article about television broadcasting in 1965 actually said he was in favour of more television hours, lifting the restrictions that were currently in place. That article is available here on Transdiffusion.

So, he said the words ITV wanted to hear, but did no action to help. The draconian rules on broadcasting hours on TV would remain until a conservative government under Edward Heath abolished them in 1972, giving ITV the chance at last to provide a proper daytime television service, something they had been having in the USA since the early 1950s.

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