Neither side was particularly happy with this state of affairs, but neither wanted to mount any kind of challenge, and agreed to try to make it work. A complicated structure was created, where the new franchise was vested in a company jointly owned by holding companies ABC Television Ltd and A-R Ltd, effectively husks of the original organisations. The parents held the rights to the existing material.
The other main difference from the previous pattern was that the new weekday franchise had lost Friday nights, with the changeover to London Weekend to take place at 19:00.
Thames took over the franchise from Rediffusion on 30 July 1968. Programmes were disrupted on the very first day as part of a strike by the technician's union, which plagued the whole of ITV for about a month, during which time an emergency service was transmitted to the whole country by ATV and Thames management, from the old ATV suite in Foley Street.
Through the late 1970s and early 1980s the parent companies seemed to lose interest in actively developing Thames, using it as a cash cow to fund other developments. The company was wracked with continual internal disputes. Nevertheless they managed to retain their franchise in 1981, although a little more of Friday was hacked from their broadcasting hours. This was helped by their only opponent bidding also for the London weekend franchise. The London franchise area had been reduced by the move of the Bluebell Hill transmitter to the South East of England area, served by TVS.
In 1985 Carlton Communications made a takeover attempt. Carlton obtained the agreement of EMI and BET that they would sell their shares, and gained an understanding with some members of the IBA that the takeover would not be blocked, as Carlton was a public company, while Thames was not. However, Thames' management, in particular Richard Dunn felt somewhat aggrieved that their two shareholders had behaved in this manner, and appealed directly to the IBA, who proposed a compromise solution: Carlton to own 49% of the company, with the existing shareholders owning 25.5% each. However Carlton was not interested and the deal lapsed.
Later just before the 1991 franchise round Carlton again tried a purchase which in the end did not go through, but BET sold its shares to Thorn EMI.
Thames Television is now a subsidiary of Pearson Television , who also own a small part of BSkyB, all of Grundy Television, and a 30% share in Channel 5.
Croydon 9V 30/07/68 - 3/1/85
Crystal Palace: 23H 17/11/69 - 31/12/92 Bluebell Hill: 43H 25/02/74 - 31/12/81