ITV 50 Years of Fame: Things You Didn't Know About ITV

From Rolf Harris to The Sex Pistols, toilet bowls to Taggart, take a tour of 50 years of commercial broadcasting in the UK.

1. The first ad on British television was a 60-second spot for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

2. At ITV's launch, the price of a peaktime ad was £975 for 60 seconds and £650 for 30 seconds.

3. First-night advertisers included Esso, Cadbury, Guinness and Surf.

4. A 25-year-old Rolf Harris appeared in ITV's first week on air.

5. Ford was the first motor company to appear on ITV. Its ad was produced by an unknown 23-year-old designer called Terence Conran.

6. Pinewood and Shepperton studios refused to adjust their normal tariffs to makers of commercials.

7. Early TV advertising was tightly regulated. Washing powders that claimed to "wash whiter than white" were banned by the Independent Television Authority.

8. The ad for The Sex Pistols' 1977 album Never Mind the Bollocks was banned.

9. Early ad breaks could occasionally cause embarrassment. A boxing match cut to a break just as the commentator was exclaiming: "Now the other boy's nose is bleeding too." The picture showed a seal waddling across the screen, balancing a glass of Guinness on its nose.

10. ITV didn't reach the Isle of Man until 1961, when it became part of Border Television.

11. A ban on showing toilet bowls in ads was lifted in 1972.

12. ITV's ad revenue broke the £1 million-a-week barrier in 1960.

13. When it launched, ITV was referred to as CTV, ITA or simply "the other side".

14. ITV ratings peaked at 23.8 million viewers for the England v Argentina World Cup match on 30 June 1998.

15. Although The Benny Hill Show flopped at first, it became a hit and ran from 1969 to 1989, making it one of ITV's longest-running programmes.

16. The first Friday night game show on ITV was Take Your Pick. TYP and Double Your Money were core parts of ITV's early schedule and never left the ratings charts in their 13-year run.

17. The first TV programmes to feature the name of a brand in their title were Gillette World of Sport and the Pepsi Chart Show in the early 90s.

18. Sunday Night at the Palladium ran from 1955 to 1974 and, at launch, 84 per cent of viewers tuned in.

19. The first episode of Coronation Street was broadcast in 1960.

20. In 1989, 5,000 people answered Corrie's call for a new cat to grace the show's opening credits. The producers eventually chose Frisky, a tortoiseshell.

21. Ford created a media first with a competition over the 2005 Easter bank holiday that gave away a Ford Focus. The "advertainment" invited viewers to enter a competition and the winner was announced later that night.

22. Cadbury first sponsored Corrie in 1996 in the biggest UK TV sponsorship deal of all time.

23. The newly built Emley Moor transmitter near Huddersfield was rebuilt after a storm in 1969 and remains the tallest freestanding structure in Britain.

24. When ITV was ten years old, the number of homes able to receive the channel had risen from 188,000 at launch to 12 million.

25. In 1969, colour arrived at ITV but only between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of homes possessed a colour set at the time.

26. The first colour TV ad was for Birds Eye peas and was transmitted on 15 November 1969.

27. In 1979, Granada's most expensive and longest-running drama was A Family at War.

28. In 1968, electronic meters were installed in 2,650 homes to measure the minute-by-minute viewing habits of 7,790 people. Today, the panel comprises 5,100 homes.

29. In 1973, Gerald Pasqua booked a seven-second TV spot on Thames TV to sell his house. The ad cost him £380 and the house sold for £85,000.

30. The first sponsor of an ITV programme was Powergen in 1989. It continues to sponsor ITV's national weather reports.

31. Colour TV licences overtook black and white ones in 1977, when 9.9 million people bought a colour licence at £12 and 8.1 million paid £9 for black and white.

32. In 1972, Coca-Cola launched its TV commercial "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" on ITV. The song was released as the single I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing by the New Seekers and went to number one.

33. Thirty-one years later, Lynx emulated this with its Pulse TV campaign spawning the number-one hit Make Luv.

34. Prince Charles gave his first public TV interview in 1969 to Brian Connell of ITV and Cliff Michelmore from the BBC, discussing his views on Welsh nationalism and education.

35. Anglia TV's first season of Tales of the Unexpected included appearances from Joan Collins, Sir John Gielgud and Timothy West and was ITV's most expensive project.

36. The Bill began life as a one-off play called Woodentop as part of a 1983 series called Storyboard.

37. ITV2 launched in 1998 with a mix of drama, comedy, sports, movies and events.

38. On 1 November 2004, ITV3 launched with repeats of hits such as Inspector Morse and A Touch of Frost.

39. Taggart started life as a three-part, thriller called Killer in 1983 but changed its title and went to series in 1985.

40. Spitting Image ran from 1985 to 1996 and was the brainchild of Martin Lambie-Nairn, the founder of the eponymous on-air branding specialist.

41. The phrase "trial by television" was coined in 1967, when David Frost began grilling people in front of a studio audience for The Frost Programme on ITV.

42. On ITV3's first night, Unilever booked the entire first break for a range of brands including Persil, Lux, Comfort, Lynx, Dove, Sure and Flora.

43. Virgin was the first advertiser to book the entire first break of an ITV2 show, Rebel Billionaire, starring Richard Branson.

44. Unilever was ITV's largest advertiser from 1955 to 1985.

45. Benylin bought the first ad in the first break of The Coughing Major, a programme that exposed Major Charles Ingram's attempt to cheat on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.

46. The first interactive ad ran on ITV1 in 2001. Unilever was first again this time with ads for Olivio and Colman's.

47. In 2004, McCain became the first advertiser to take the entire centre break of Coronation Street across the ITV network.

48. Radio Times' and TV Times' duopoly on publishing weekly listings ended in March 1991.

49. During 2005, viewers saw their own short films showcased on ITV during Cobra Beer's sponsorship idents for the movie output on ITV2 and ITV3.

50. In 2003, London Pride became the first advertiser to use live graphic overlay technology. The ads ran during England's Rugby World Cup matches from the quarter-final stages and superimposed the latest match score on to the final frames of the ad.

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