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Associated-Rediffusion

 

Rediffusion London logo, c. 1967

Associated-Rediffusion was the British Independent Television (commercial television) contractor for London, on weekdays between 1954 (transmissions started on September 22, 1955) and 1968.

Captain Thomas Brownrigg RN (Retired), the general manager of Associated-Rediffusion from 1955 had a very clear idea of what his new commercial television station was to be like -- the BBC Television Service, with advertisements. To this end, the station had a heraldic-style on-air clock, referred to as "Mitch" by staff after chief station announcer Leslie Mitchell[?] who had not only made the first announcement when A-R went on the air in 1955, but had done the same when the BBC TV service started in 1936. A-R was determined to be the long arm of the 1930s extending into the 1950s, continuing the notion that Britain and the Empire counted for something in the world. The company was based at Television House, Kingsway, London, which previously had been known as Adastral House when it was the headquarters of the Air Ministry - this gave its name to A-R's logo, the 16-point Adastral Star, which appeared at the start and end of each commercial break. (The motto of the Royal Air Force is "per ardua, ad astra" - "through adversity to the stars").

In 1964 the directors had a change of heart, pensioning off Captain Brownrigg to the south coast and a directorship of the TV Times[?], and rebranding the station as "Rediffusion, London", with a very hip 1960s style, the face of swinging London in the shiny prosperous new Britain. However, the new Rediffusion did not survive for long -- in 1967 the Independent Television Authority announced that there was no place for Rediffusion in the redrawn franchise pattern. The parent company, BET[?], took a minority stake in the successor company, Thames Television, which was formed from a merger of Rediffusion and ABC Television, while most of the staff went to work for London Weekend Television.

James Thurber once claimed that "Associated-Rediffusion" sounded more like a rare neurological disorder than a television company.

The name "Associated-Rediffusion Television" is now owned by Victor Lewis-Smith.

Programmes produced by Associated-Rediffusion included Double Your Money[?], Take Your Pick[?], Ready, Steady, Go![?] and At Last the 1948 Show.



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