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Creator / Thames Television

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"A Talent For Television."

Thames Television was a licensee of the ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 at 7pm until 11:59 PM on 31 December 1992.

Formed as a joint company, it merged the television interests of British Electric Traction (trading as Associated Rediffusion) owning 49%, and Associated British Picture Corporation (trading as ABC Weekend Television) owning 51%. It was both a broadcaster and a producer of television programmes, making shows both for the local region it covered and for networking nationally across the ITV regions. The British Film Institute describes Thames as having "served the capital and the network with a long-running, broad-based and extensive series of programmes, several of which either continue or are well-remembered today."


Thames covered a broad spectrum of commercial public-service television, with a strong mix of drama, current affairs and comedy. The company's logo remains widely recognizable and was accompanied by a fanfare called "Salute to Thames", composed by Johnny Hawksworth.

On 16 October 1991, Thames learned it had lost its London Weekday ITV franchise to Carlton Television, which would take over at midnight on 1 January 1993. It's a long and complicated story, and 3 other ITV franchises; TV-am (National Breakfast), TVS (South and South East of England) & TSW (South West England), also lost their franchises. But either way, after it lost its franchise, Thames reorganized itself on becoming the independent production company it still is today. (Many claim that the real reason Thames was kicked out was because of their documentary "Death on the Rock" blowing back into a big scandal, pissing off Margaret Thatcher, who decided to deregulate the system to punish Thames {the major union issues Thames and ITV in general suffered from was another mark against them in her eyes}).


Thames in the 1990s continued to provide programming to ITV (albeit via other companies presenting it on their behalf) and to other UK networks. They attempted to get back into the broadcasting game by partnering with Moses Znaimer to create localized versions of Toronto's Citytv across the UK, but their bid failed; the license went to another consortium that wound up launching Channel 5 in 1997.

After Thames was acquired by Fremantle Media it was merged with another Fremantle company, Talkback Productions, to form a new independent production company Talkback Thames; consequently, Thames ceased to exist as a separate entity. However, it was announced on 22 November 2011, that from 1 January 2012, the Thames brand was to be revived and Talkback Thames has now been split into four different labels; Boundless, Retort, Talkback and Thames within the newly created Fremantle Media UK production arm.



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