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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The day ITV broke out

My grandfather always called ITV "the soap programme". Not that "soap opera" was common parlance in September 1955 when ITV was launched but it was assumed that any TV which wasn't funded by a licence fee was paid for by detergent advertising, which was to a certain extent true.

In our house we only had BBC. When ITV first arrived in 1955 we didn't have it. That must have required a different aerial. We didn't get that until years later. I remember I was at a friend's house and tried to wangle myself permission to stay for tea to watch "Champion The Wonder Horse". My friend's mother said, why didn't I go home because, you never know, you might be able to watch it there.

I trudged home reluctantly and found my mother and sister having tea in front of the newly-adapted TV and, magically, "Champion The Wonder Horse".

Meals were never taken in front of the TV in my house. This was a very special day. Two channels. Bewildering choice.