The Companies

From the souvenir programme given to attendees at the Guildhall on 22 September 1955

ASSOCIATED-REDIFFUSION LTD. is the result of the conjunction of two major enterprises in different fields of our national life: Broadcast Relay Service Ltd., with a long and valuable experience in sound broadcasting at home, in the Dominions and in the Colonies, whose Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. John Spencer Wills, M.Inst.T., is Chairman of the new company; and Associated Newspapers Ltd., who have built and maintained an unrivalled pioneering tradition in newspapers, whose Managing Director, Mr. Stuart McClean, is Deputy Chairman.

Our General Manager is Captain T. M. Brownrigg, C.B.E., D.S.O., R.N. (retd.), who after a gallant and distinguished career as a naval officer, was the first general manager of the New Town of Bracknell in Berkshire, where he achieved a notable success in creating good relations between the local community and the newcomers.

Our controller of programmes and production is Mr. Roland Gillett, an Englishman who, after sixteen years in films both in Britain and in Hollywood and wartime service in the Fleet Air Arm, became one of the leading television producers in the United States.

On foundations which we know to be sure we are launching what we believe to be a pioneering enterprise. Ours is a venture which all concerned enter with zest, with pride in having so magnificent a chance, and with faith in our own capacity to create and sustain—in an entirely new field—a public service which will be second to none.

We are neither timorous nor apologetic about what we are undertaking from to-night onwards. We believe — with all the vigour and seriousness we possess — in the new policy which Parliament has approved, which we to-night have the honour to initiate.

We believe that television can and will prove to be one of the most significant and exciting developments in human communication — in education, in entertainment and in the visual arts — since the invention of printing.

Believing as we do in the principles of competition and free enterprise, it is by the methods of competition and free enterprise that we intend to develop Britain’s new television service. We have neither the need nor the desire to imitate television in other countries; and, in that spirit of rivalry which has been the breath and stimulus of life in Britain for centuries, we welcome competition and we shall strive, in everything we undertake, to give a far better service than our competitors.

That, in simple terms, is our task and our aim. “You can never plan the future by the past,” said Edmund Burke. We know that we are facing the challenge of a new age. We know that we must adventure and explore. Television means the act of far-seeing. We shall try to create our contribution to to-morrow, we shall try to build to-day’s bright window into the future, with to-morrow’s methods and technique, and with to-morrow’s aspirations, dreams, hopes and ideals. In the homes and by the hearths of to-day, with new vision founded on our traditional national values and faith, we shall strive to serve the Britain of to-morrow.

The Companies

From the souvenir programme given to attendees at the Guildhall on 22 September 1955

The Associated Broadcasting Company brings to the field of independent television a Board of Directors whose combined experience in public service and entertainment is unrivalled.

A.B.C.’s Chairman, Prince Littler, has occupied a prominent place in the field of entertainment for many years and, among his other directorships, includes that of Moss Empires Ltd., Stoll Theatres Ltd., Associated Theatre Properties and many other theatre-owning and theatre-managing organisations.

A.B.C.’s Vice-Chairman, Norman Collins, a former director of the B.B.C.’s Television Service, has been in the forefront of the battle to bring independent television to Britain and has been closely associated with every stage of its development.

The Members of the Board of Directors and the Management Committee of A.B.C. include: the outstanding figure of the Variety world — Val Parnell; Richard L. Meyer, a pioneer in independent television; Harry Alan Towers, one of the foremost independent producers and distributors of radio and television programmes and Lew Grade — one of Britain’s leading agents and an important figure in the entertainment field.

A.B.C. has been entrusted, initially, with the responsibility of providing the programmes for the London Station on week-ends and for the Birmingham Station, Monday to Friday. It is, therefore, the only independent television programme contractor with a programme responsibility which extends over the whole seven days of the week.

A.B.C. has predominantly turned to the field of experienced technicians and producers and numbers among its staff some of the many whose knowledge of television extends back to its earliest days in Britain.

Heading its Light Entertainment Department is Bill Ward, associated with many of television’s best-known shows. Keith Rogers — another pioneer of television — heads the O.B. side; and, in the initial stages, his responsibility extends considerably beyond the Outside Broadcast field.

Individual directors whose services are available to A.B.C. include Bill Lyon Shaw, Denis Vance, Desmond Davis, Henry Caldwell, Dicky Leeman, Leonard Brett, Stephen Wade, Cecil Petty and many more.

A.B.C. has converted Wood Green Empire — one of the largest suburban Variety Theatres — into one of the most modern and best equipped Television Theatres in the world. It is from here that many of the top Variety Productions of A.B.C. will originate.

In addition, through the interests of its Directors, A.B.C. will have available many of the best known theatres in London and the Provinces, including the London Palladium, whence will originate, each Sunday night a Variety highspot — SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM. A.B.C. has recently acquired the British National Studios at Elstree — a fully equipped modern motion picture production centre where many of the television films which A.B.C. is presenting are being made. Through other Directors of A.B.C., the Company has a link with Highbury Studios and Nettlefold Studios — two other centres for the production of television films.

Many of A.B.C.’s major programmes will be produced for it by the Incorporated Television Programme Company Limited, with which Prince Littler, Val Parnell, Lew Grade and Harry Alan Towers are also associated. This Company, founded by public relations expert Suzanne Warner, adds further show-business strength through members of its Board, who include Hugh Beaumont, of H. M. Tennent Limited, Stuart Cruikshank of Howard & Wyndham Theatres, Phillip and Syd Hyams of Eros Films, John Schlesinger of the Schlesinger Organisation and Anthony Gishford of Boosey and Hawkes Limited.

The nerve centre of A.B.C.’s week-end operation is the modern control centre at Foley Street, London, within 200 yards of Museum Exchange — the nerve centre of the micro-wave and coaxial cable linking system of the G.P.O.

A.B.C. will also be developing a studio centre in Birmingham.

These are some of the personalities and facilities which together, will be ensuring that A.B.C. T.V. fills an important role in the pioneering and development of independent television in Britain.

Note: after less than a month on air and following a court battle with the Associated British Picture Corporation who owned the ABC cinema chain, Associated Broadcasting Company Ltd was renamed Associated TeleVision Ltd (ATV). It is not related to ABC Weekend Television, who provided the programmes at weekends in the Midlands and the North from 1956-1968, who were a subsidiary of the Associated British Picture Corporation.

TVTimes #1

HERE is TV Times No. 1 — a new paper heralding the opening of a sparkling new era in home entertainment.

Television is at last given the real freedom of the air. The event is comparable with the abolition of the law that kept motor-cars chugging sedately behind a man carrying a red flag.

Now it’s the “go” signal, the green light for TV, too — with no brake on enterprise and imagination.

So far, television in this country has been a monopoly restricted by limited finance, and often, or so it has seemed, restricted by a lofty attitude towards the wishes of viewers by those in control.

That situation now undergoes a great and dramatic change. Viewers will no longer have to accept what has been deemed best for them. They will be able to pick and choose.

And the new Independent TV programme planners aim at giving viewers what viewers want — at the times viewers want it.

★ ☆ ★

Standards will be raised by this new competitive spirit — with new opportunities for artistes, for writers and producers, and for technicians.

Famous showmen like Jack Hylton and Val Parnell will present on the television screen, as they now do on the stage, the highest paid stars of this and other nations. Such programmes will bring all the star quality of Command Performances into your home.

Also Independent TV really is… independent. It is independent of the advertising techniques used in America. Advertisements fit into the new British TV programmes just as they do into the pages of our newspapers and magazines. They will not detract from your pleasure. Indeed, they will enhance it by combining information with entertainment.

★ ☆ ★

So this, then, is the exciting prospect which comes with the advent of the new TV. And at a cost to a viewer of no more than the initial expense of converting or renewing the set and aerial already at home.

TV Times, official programme paper of Independent TV, will be your guide to better viewing. Each Friday TV Times will publish exclusively full details of the programmes for the week ahead. It will also be packed with stories and photo graphs of your TV favourites.

In this, our first issue, we extend a warm welcome to readers, and we confidently believe that as the new television grows into a nation-wide service TV Times will become a friend welcomed every week in increasing millions of homes.

TVTimes #1


BY its programmes, Independent Television will be judged. As now we pass from prophecy to performance, your pages — and the screen — will bring us the facts we’ve long awaited. May you bring us good news of good viewing to come.

From SIR KENNETH CLARK, Chairman of the Independent Television Authority.

THIS, the first issue of TV Times, gives me the opportunity to send the good wishes of the Authority to all who are working in Independent Television. May their efforts during the past year be crowned with the success they deserve.

From SIR ROBERT FRASER, Director-General of the Independent Television Authority.

OF course, Independent Television had to have its own programme journal, and I send my congratulations to those who have produced it — what a job it must have been in the time available. My best wishes for bounding circulation figures.

From FELIX AYLMER, President of the British Actors’ Equity Association.

ALL good wishes to the first Press organ of the newly-won Freedom of the ether! The actors stand ready to help.

From SIR SEYMOUR HOWARD, Lord Mayor of London.

AS Lord Mayor of London I extend a cordial welcome to the new television service which will be inaugurated at Guildhall on Thursday night.

It is fitting that Independent TV should have its start in the capital — also the heart of the Commonwealth — where enterprise and free choice are so highly prized.


FOR the writer, the musician, the singer, the actor, indeed for any artiste, the advent of commercial television is a most encouraging prospect — competition is essential to the life of the arts. So may I wish at the outset of this great adventure a splendid future for it?

From SIR ALAN HERBERT — A telegram in verse.


TVTimes #1

THE mews cottage in Kensington has a colour scheme in white, yellow and black. Decor is by Dainton.

Against this lively background film producer Norman Williams sighed. “I’ve been known as Mr. Dainton for ages,” he said. “Now, I suppose, they’ll call me Mr. Norton.”

For Mr. Williams is married to 24-year-old film and stage actress Patricia Dainton, who is to portray the young housewife, Sally Norton, in Britain’s first daily TV serial, Sixpenny Corner.

Scottish-born Patricia is a young housewife herself and has a 13-month-old daughter, Tetrina.

The fictional Sally is warm, pretty, likeable, with a bubbling personality.

So is Pat Dainton, who is undismayed at the prospect that her own identity may become submerged in the character she is to play in the serial, which will be screened five mornings a week.

“I shan’t mind even if people always think of me as Sally Norton and not Patricia Dainton,” she says.

The life, love and tribulations of newlyweds Bill and Sally, will be a human, true-to-life story set against a dilapidated garage (Sixpenny Corner) which Bill manages in the town of Springwood.

Bill and Sally live in a bungalow near the garage.

Sold papers

HOWARD PAYS is Bill. He does not resemble Mr. Williams.

At 12 Pat Dainton sold newspapers to earn 5s. a week pocket money. At 17 she was a film starlet.

Her big chance came when Ivor Novello recommended her for the feminine lead opposite Dennis Price in the film of “The Dancing Years.”

LUCILE BALL is unquestionably the first mother to have made a million out of TV. And the first actress to have had a baby on the date laid down in a TV script.

The million will be multiplied, because “I Love Lucy” has been the top TV favourite in America for four years with more than 40,000,000 people enjoying its weekly romps.

And the contract, due to end this year, guarantees Lucille and her husband, Desi Arnaz, over £3,000,000 for their TV shows alone.

In American shops you can buy a wide range of gifts sponsored by “Lucy Rickardo” — the character Lucille Ball has made famous.

The nursery furniture followed the birth of Lucille’s son, exactly as provided in the script. As soon as Lucy and Desi knew that they were going to have a second child, the story line of “I Love Lucy” was changed to fit the circumstances.

And America loved it.

On 13,000,000 TV screens “Lucy Rickardo” went into hospital one January evening and had a baby boy. Next morning all America read in the newspapers that Lucille Ball had had a baby boy, weight 8 lbs. 9 ozs. And TV only claimed it as a coincidence that both were boys!

Now Lucy Rickardo and her husband Ricky come to Britain to cheer our Sunday evenings.

Fell in love

THE orange-haired actress spent years in Hollywood struggling for fame. Then she met Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III, a Cuban band leader.

They fell in love. Lucille flew to New York and they were married at five a.m.

Desi and Lucille worked out a variety act and went on tour with it. They tried radio. Then came TV and “I Love Lucy.”

In four months “I Love Lucy” was at the top of the “View Parade.” There it has been pretty well ever since. Lucy’s income now tops £10,000 a week.