Associated-Rediffusion was the first ITV company to go on air, providing London's first weekday service. A-R launched with a gala performance, presented jointly with ABC, on Thursday 22nd September 1955.


Click for larger image Associated-Rediffusion
1955-1964
The A-R ident was a static white star on a black background, accompanied by a jaunty fanfare. It reminds me of the sound made by a bugle horn, but with added beeps, the morse code signal made by tapping out the initials "A" and "R". Incidentally, this is A-R's second ident - the original looked identical to this, but the jingle was different.

Associated-Rediffusion Clock
1956-1964
A-R modelled itself on the BBC, and its formal time piece really smacks of Auntie. It was known as "Mitch", after its designer Leslie Mitchell, the pre-war BBC presenter who became A-R's Head of Presentation. The clock debuted in October 1956. When A-R changed its name on April 6th 1964, Rediffusion's managing director Paul Adorian handed it over to London's Science Museum, where it became the first ITV exhibit. Today, Mitch resides in the National Film and Television Museum, Bradford.

Click for larger image Associated-Rediffusion Test Card
1950s
Not a huge amount to say about this... it's a test card, and a very fine one at that. Notice the fine grain, the detailed contrast bars, the superb design at work in this 50s design icon... My thanks to Vintage Broadcasting and David Laine for donating the image.

ITV's first franchise renewal round took place in 1964. All companies survived bar one, Wales (West & North) Television, which had found itself in severe financial difficulties. It was bought out by TWW. (See TVARK's section on ITV Wales.) The A-R of old had been dubbed "The BBC with adverts". Now it took the chance to be less stuffy and drop the 'Associated' moniker...


Click for larger image Rediffusion London
1964-68
Click for larger image Rediffusion Television Ltd adopted the on-screen identity of Rediffusion London. Its first ident featured the star spinning on a black background (as in the still/clip link left) with a seven-note fanfare composed by Johnny Dankworth. This was relegated to regional use only in 1965. Most people are familiar with the networked ident, retaining the fanfare but using a grey background (still/clip link right).

Click for larger image Rediffusion Break Bumper
1960s
You could blink and miss this. To signify the start of an ad break, this star - known officially as Rediffusion's 'adastral' - would flash up from the middle of the screen and disappear again. A classic image, which has come to signify ad breaks of all kinds, even after it disappeared from our screens in 1968.

Rediffusion Television Clock
1964-1968
Rediffusion London's swinging 60s minimalist clock was finished off with a helpful 24-hour display, described in newspapers of the time as "the 24-hour Continental system". The question I want answered is, did this clock ever make its way into safe storage at the Science Museum? That's a rhetorical question by the way, no postcards please...

Click for larger image Rediffusion Start Up
1960s
The Rediffusion morning start-up sequence was very similar to ATV's London weekend sequence, as this nifty recreation shows. Hardly surprising, as they shared the same transmitter in Croydon, hence the Picasso card tuning signal, pictured. A recorded announcement by Redvers Kyle leads into Johnny Dankworth's full length march, "The Widespread World of Rediffusion", followed by the spinning Rediffusion star. Incidentally, the Rediffusion star would spin constantly, in the opposite direction to the Associated Rediffusion star!



Rediffusion Continuity - Wimbledon 67
1967
Over a static slide, the legendary Rediffusion announcer Redvers Kyle trails coverage of Wimbledon 1967. If you've ever wondered what Redvers looks like, he is pictured below with Rosemary Horstmann and their Rediffusion colleagues on the set of A Year of Observation, an educational series dating from 1957. Redvers is centre frame, gazing down at the globe. (Courtesy of Rosemary Horstmann)


A hefty percentage of the original programme archive of ARTV and Rediffusion London was destroyed very soon after the company lost its franchise in 1968. The remains are held in private collections and at the National Film Archive, within the British Film Institute; copyright in the original programmes is held by Archbuild Ltd of London.
 
During the 1990s, Victor Lewis-Smith, the broadcaster and TV critic, bought the rights to the name Associated-Rediffusion. His Cumbria-based company Associated-Rediffusion TV made the series "TV Offal" for Channel Four and "Ads Infinitum" for BBC2. These series made a virtue of recycling poor-quality clips derived from long-forgotten TV adverts, idents, title sequences, music videos, gag reels and 'Christmas Tapes', re-dubbed and accompanied by sarcastic, knowing commentaries.
 
In recent years AR-TV Productions has broadened its scope, to encompass documentaries on a range of human interest and Arts topics. For example a profile of Benjamin Pell, the noted collector of garbage; the complete Organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach (BBC2), and a touching insight into the early years of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, entitled "Alchemists of Sound" (BBC4). Alas, the directors of the company have asked us to remove clips and stills of their programmes and new graphic identities from this page.