The world of British television off and on the screen, as it was sixty years ago.

Commercial Breakdown

The Observer provides a short but handy guide to Commercial TV. Much of the information will be familiar to readers of Zero Minus Sixty, but some bears reproduction (or repetition) here.

Referring to the control of Independent Television Authority, it says that the ITA has “a Board of ten members, somewhat comparable to the Board of Governors of the BBC”. The board’s chairman is Sir Kenneth Clark, its Director General Sir Robert Fraser.

The guide mentions that the ITA owns the transitting stations but does not make any programmes, those are produced “by four privatetly financed companies known as ‘Programme Contractors’.” After the two London contracts go on the air, the midlands’ broadcasts should start early next year while broadcasts to the north west should begin in the spring of 1956 and to Yorkshire by the end of next year.

It also gives additional details of Associated Broadcasting’s programmes, namely:

  • Michaela and Armand Denis with their jungle films
  • Saturday Showtime, starring Harry Secombe
  • TV Playhouse – one hour plays
  • Sunday Afternoon, with Dame Edith Sitwell, Tom Driberg, Anthony Wedgewood Benn and others
  • Free Speech, with Sir Robert Boothby, W. J. Brown, Michael Foot and Alan Taylor
  • Stage One – half-hour plays featuring Sir Ralph Richardson, Robert Mitchum, Edward Arnold and others
  • Going Shopping with Elizabeth Allan
  • Adventures of Noddy, puppet series featuring an Enid Blyton character
  • Roy Rogers, a new cowboy story every week
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood, a film serial
  • Sunday Night at the London Palladium, with stars like Gracie Fields, Bob Hope, Norman Wisdom, Johnnie Ray and Richard Hearne
  • Theatre Royal – famous stars including Eric Portman, Margaret Leighton, Donald Wolfit, Wendy Hillier and Flora Robson in half-hour plays
  • I Love Lucy – the show which has topped the poll for America’s favourite comedy programme for the last five years

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