Tomorrow (September 22nd) is the 50th anniversary of ITV, the UK's first commercial television network.
Under ITV's original structure, Britain was divided-up into a number of regions, and the authorities (originally the Independent Television Authority, then the Independent Broadcasting Authority, then the Independent Television Commission and now Ofcom) granted licenses for companies to serve as the ITV franchisee in a particular region.
The first region to sign-on was the largest, Metropolitan London. London was split into two franchises, with one of them (Associated-Rediffusion) running the ITV service in London on weekdays; the other (Associated Broadcasting Company, which was forced by a British court to change it's name; it adopted Associated Television, better known as ATV) had Saturdays and Sundays.
At first, the three largest regions (London, plus the Midlands and Northern England, where ITV service was launched in 1956) each had two franchisees--one for weekdays, the other for weekends. The other regions were awarded a single franchise for seven-days-a-week broadcasting.
After 1968, the Midlands and Northern England each got a single ITV franchisee for the full seven-day week. Only in London did two franchises (beginning in 1968, the week was split as follows: one franchisee had Mondays through early Friday evening; the other had Friday evenings--including primetime--through sign-off Sunday) continue to exist.Click here for ITV's official 50th anniversary website
, which contains details of special events the network has been holding to celebrate this milestone.Click here for Transdfiffusion's website
, which has numerous articles and features about the history of British television, including a lot of material on the history of ITV and it's franchisees.