In the 1968 franchise round, ABC experienced a major setback as they lost both their weekend franchises. However, the Independent Television Authority (ITA) sought to prevent their loss, and proposed a merger between ABC and Rediffusion, with ABC holding a 51% majority ownership. Although some in the industry viewed the merger as an ‘unhappy marriage’, it resulted in the creation of one of the network’s most successful franchises.
Thames Television launched on July 30th, 1968 with a live broadcast of cricket and went on to produce a variety of well-received shows across different genres. Despite controversies, such as their coverage of the Sex Pistols and attempts to adapt the popular show Dallas, Thames made a lasting impact with the ground-breaking documentary ‘Death on the Rock’ for the ‘This Week’ programme.
Despite the government’s objections, the programme remains a notable moment in the history of Thames Television. Sadly, the franchise came to an end on December 31st, 1992. Since then, Thames has continued to make its mark, having played a role in launching UK Gold and contributing programmes to both the BBC and ITV. Today, the Thames name is owned by Fremantle, which continues to use it, as well as that of its sister company, Euston Films, for its productions.