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THAMES TELEVISION : 1955-1968
Graphics and text © Dan Evans

Thames Television 1955

Having been outbid for the Yorkshire franchise by Hemdale Pictures, the Associated British Picture Corporation was forced to merge with Associated Rediffusion if it were to stand any chance of winning the London weekday licence. The resulting company became known as "Thames Television and Cinema", or TTC for short. The logo, pictured left, was based upon the unused triangle emblem that ABC had designed for its TV services. The original TTC ident consisted of the letters "TTC" appearing one after the other in time to the ABC chimes. The logo then zoomed back to reveal the lettering.

Thames Television 1955

The original production slide.

Thames Television 1955

TTC's first on-screen clock. This was a mechanical model set upon a wall and filmed. Note the shadows behind the hands.

Thames Television 1959

TTC's main studios were based in Teddington, and had been commissioned by ABC in anticipation of their franchise award. Many programmes were made here over the years, including a new childrens programme called "Magpie", which began in 1959. Magpie was ITV's rival to Blue Peter, and the first presenters were Robert Hartley and a very young Maggie Henderson. Pictured left is a still from the shows original titles. The theme music was an arrangement by Eric Coates of Rossini's "Thieving Magpie" overture. In 1963, Magpie's original format was beginning to look dated, so the show was given a complete re-vamp with new presenters and a new, contemporary theme tune. Blue Peter was suddenly left way behind.

Thames Television 1964

Following the franchise renewals of 1964, TTC decided it was time to modernise its image. The triangle was retained, but the TTC lettering had gone. In its place was the company name in full, and on-air, the station would be simply referred to as "Thames". A new ident was filmed. Nothing special, it was little more than a screen-wipe revealing the logo. To accompany this new logo, Johnny Hawkesworth was commisioned to compose a jingle that would last for a very long time. This fanfare was called "Salute to Thames".

Thames Television 1964

This clock was used from 1964 to 1968. Like the previous timepiece, it was mechanical. This clock was unusual in the fact that it carried a 24-hour digital display. This clock is now at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Thames Television 1964

Thames used two production slides from 1964 until 1968. There were no rules about their use and it was wholly down to the discretion of the producer.

Thames Television 1964

Here is the alternate slide. In 1968, following the further renewal of its franchise, Thames dropped the cinema references from its name, and the triangle logo was retired, but little did anyone know that the triangle would be resurrected in 1989...

LAST UPDATE: 6th October 2002

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