Television Act 1954

United Kingdom legislation

The Television Act 1954 was a law in the United Kingdom allowing the creation of the first commercial television network in the country, ITV. It was repealed by the Television Act 1964.

Television Act 1954
Royal assent30 July 1954

Until late 1955 (when the first ITV stations launched) the British Broadcasting Corporation was the only TV station that existed in the UK. The Conservative government wanted to create commercial television in the UK but this was objected to, since the only example of commercial television at the time was in the US, which was widely seen as "vulgar".

The solution that the government came to was to create a new agency called the Independent Television Authority that would regulate the channel and award franchises.

The franchises started to be awarded in 1954 with the final franchise being awarded in 1961 and by 1962, all franchises were on air. The first advertisement on ITV was at 8:12pm on the 22nd September 1955. The advertisement was for Gibbs SR toothpaste.