Talented television 

30 July 2023 tbs.pm/79707


In 1992 we lost a much loved giant in TV broadcasting as Thames Television, the company serving London on weekdays from July 1968, closed down at midnight.

TVTimes listing for The World at War

TVTimes listing for 31 October 1973

It was a company created by two previous ITV giants ABC and Rediffusion, subsequently inheriting the strengths of both and thus going on to become a major powerhouse in the ITV network, producing light entertainment shows from the likes of Benny Hill, Kenny Everett, Tommy Cooper and Morecambe and Wise, in depth historical documentaries such as The World At War and Hollywood as well as true investigative journalism in TV Eye and This Week.

There were also quality drama productions such as Edward and Mrs Simpson, Rock Follies, Rumpole of the Bailey, Minder and The Naked Civil Servant along with the crime action series like The Sweeney, Van der Valk and The Bill. The ABC/Rediffusion combination meant that Thames could turn their hands to anything and yet still manage to provide top quality regional programmes for London. The loss of their franchise was a major blow to television as a whole.

On the last night, the company’s CEO made a closing announcement, followed by a brief montage of some of Thames’ finest moments soundtracked by The Tourists’ “I Only Want To Be With You”. This was followed by a short news bulletin from ITN allowing Thames to distance themselves from handing over to their successors, Carlton TV, at the chimes of Big Ben.

While all of this was going on in London two other companies (TVS in the south of England and TSW in the south west) were also saying goodbye to their audiences for the same reason. The in-depth investigative journalism of This Week would be replaced by things like Tonight With Trevor McDonald looking at the state of Posh and Beck’s marriage.

The decline of quality television started here…


Geoff Nash is a Staff Editor at Transdiffusion


You Say

3 responses to this article

Paul Wheeler 30 July 2023 at 4:17 pm

Definition of optimism-

Wife turns to husband and says, ‘I wonder if there’s anything good on Carlton tonight’.

Arthur Vasey 31 July 2023 at 2:04 am

“… the CEO MAKED a closing announcement?”

Shouldn’t that read “ … the CEO MADE a closing announcement?”.

Russ J Graham 31 July 2023 at 1:35 pm

Editing error. Corrected.

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