Incorporated Television Company


Lew Grade's production and distribution company, active over three decades producing programmes for Independent TV (ITV - Channel 3) and worldwide distribution. ITC did much of its production at Elstree Studios. It is now owned by Polygram International Television.

Lew also owned Associated Television (ATV), the Midlands franchise holders (transformed into Central TV as part of the 1981 franchise process). ATV had studios in Birmingham and at Borehamwood.

Some productions are credited to ATV but it's a very minor distinction which I'll ignore throughout this.


Lew Grade bought Northern Music from Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, and used it as his music distribution arm.

Later Michael Jackson bought it. Apple Corps has apparently tried to buy it but as of 1997 is seems Sony has the majority interest and MJ a minority interest.

Edwin Astley was the person most often credited as musical director on ITC productions and he wrote or commissioned many memorable tunes - ones included in any serious compilation of Sixties TV music. A bit of trivia: he's Pete Townshend's father-in-law.

He didn't write all the themes: for instance The Champions was by Tony Hatch (Downtown, Crossroads).



An aside - North American actors in Britain

In preparation
Much used by ITC to boost US sales prospects cheaply!

Department S

Two episodes of note:

Space: 1999

When the 2nd season of UFO wasn't wanted by the US networks, the heavy investment was switched into producing this. The first season had been a great success, however as the 2nd season was being planned, in 1976, the New York office of ITC insisted that Fred Freiberger be brought in to produce it. Gerry Anderson accepted this and became Executive Producer. However Fred plus New York influences changed the style radically: key, popular characters were eliminated and an exotic female shapeshifter introduced. The plots became banal, instead of the intelligent, thoughtful season 1 stories. An off-the-cuff remark from the head of NY ITC caused them to rewrite upcoming stories to add monsters, as he said they were all the rage in the U.S. When he saw the shows, he said "why have you put in monsters?" He went on to explain that monsters were now out of fashion.

What makes this particularly interesting is the similarity to what NBC & Paramount did to Star Trek in its third season.

NBC had given it the useless 22:00 Friday time slot, giving its 20:00 Monday slot to the new and higher-rating Laugh In. Gene Roddenberry, possibly as a bluff, refused to produce it personally for this slot and he ended up hiring Fred as Producer. Paramount reacted by slashing the budget, assuming the show would fail without Gene. The combination of all this led to many awful plots filmed on miniscule budgets.

Laugh In also caused problems for the US run of Season 6 of The Avengers - see A History of the Avengers

Page last updated 25-AUG-1997

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