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Thames Television was the most notable of the new stations which came about because of the ITV franchise reshuffle of 1967 which saw some of the biggest changes that the network had ever experienced. The Independent Television Authority (ITA) were dissatisfied with the performance and management style of Associated Rediffusion (AR) who had previously held the weekday London franchise. At the same time they viewed in high regard ABC Television, who held the weekend franchise for the Midlands and North of England while having their main studio facilities in London, while also favouring the application for the weekend London franchise from London Weekend Television. Not wanting to lose the skills of ABC nor cause too much disruption to the television industry and studio facilities in London they suggested a merger between the latter company and AR and the result was Thames Television with a franchise for weekday London coverage.
The strongest player in providing networked programmes, the new station first went on the air on 30th July 1968 and the first episode of Coronation Street they broadcast was Episode 795 (31st July 1968).
London Weekend Television was one of four ITV television stations to begin colour transmissions on 15th November 1969 (a Saturday) but in the capital it was Thames who started broadcasts of Coronation Street in colour from Episode 928 (17th November 1969) (a Monday) onwards. The company was always at the forefront of industrial disputes at ITV and none more so than the 1979 ITV strike which began at the station and spread nationwide within days. As a result of this strike Episode 1935 (8th August 1979) was never transmitted in that region and remains the only episode of Coronation Street never seen by London viewers to this day.
The station lost its franchise in a controversial decision as part of the 1991 franchise reshuffle and its final programmes were transmitted on 31st December that year. Episode 3483 (30th December 1992) was the last episode to be transmitted by the station who were succeeded in turn by Carlton Television.
- Thames Television at Wikipedia.