|Based in||Elstree, London, Birmingham|
|Broadcast area||London (weekends, 1955 to 1968)
Midlands (weekdays, 1956 to 1968; all week, 1968 to 1982)
|Launched||24 September 1955 in London
17 February 1956 in the Midlands
All week in the Midlands from 29 July 1968
|Closed||28 July 1968 (London)
1 January 1982 (Midlands)
|Replaced||ABC in the Midlands on weekends from 29 July 1968|
|Replaced by||London Weekend Television in London on weekends from 2 August 1968
Central Independent Television in the Midlands from 1 January 1982
|Owned by||Associated Communications Corporation|
Associated Television, often referred to as ATV, was a British television company, holder of various licences to broadcast on the ITV network from 24 September 1955 until 00:34 on 1 January 1982. The company held the London weekend franchise from 1955 until 1968, when London Weekend Television took over, and from 1956 until 1982 in the Midlands region, initially weekdays only alongside ABC, before becoming full-time from 1968. The Midlands franchise was taken over by Central Independent Television, which was the renamed and reorganised ATV Midlands company.
The company was formed from the merger of the Associated Broadcasting Development Company, known as ABDC and under the control of Norman Collins, and the Incorporated Television Programme Company, known as ITC and under the control of Prince Littler and Lew Grade, two showbusiness agents.
Both companies had applied for a contract to become one of the new ITV stations. ABDC won the contract but had insufficient money to operate it; ITC failed to win a contract, mainly due to a perceived conflicts of interest resulting from the existing business operations of Grade and Littler. By the time of the merger ABDC were well advanced with their plans whilst ITPC planned to operate as an independent producer selling their shows to the new network contractors.
When financial problems hit ABDC the governing body of ITV, the Independent Television Authority invited Grade and Littler to join the ABDC consortium. This provided the money required and put Littler and Grade in real control of the new company, effectively sidelining Collins.
The new company was originally known as the Associated Broadcasting Company (and therefore ABC), but Associated British Corporation's parent company, who wished to call their station ABC and also ran a large chain of cinemas under those initials, successfully sued for prior ownership. The name change took place after ABC had been operating for three weeks; the new name chosen was Associated TeleVision Ltd, producing the initials ATV. The company's logo, originally designed for ABC and tweaked for the newly renamed ATV was a "shadowed eye", which was inspired by the CBS logo and reputedly designed by Lew Grade on a transatlantic flight back from the US. The logo is one of the most recognisable in broadcasting.
ATV (as ABC at first) began broadcasting in its own right on Saturday 24 September 1955 (after jointly presenting the network's opening night on Thursday 22 September). The name ATV was first seen in London on Saturday 8 October 1955. The company had won two ITV contracts, the weekend contract for London and the Monday–Friday contract for the Midlands. The latter service opened on 17 February 1956, with ABC providing the weekend programmes.
The new company ran into further financial difficulty due to the staggering losses of the first two years of ITV and the start-up costs. The London weekday contractor Associated-Rediffusion shouldered some of ATV's losses and further funding was achieved by selling shares in the company to the Daily Mirror newspaper. The company structure was changed several times until 1966, when ATV and ITC both became subsidiaries of the Associated Communications Corporation (ACC), formed by turning the old structure on its head. This marked the point where Lew Grade advanced from being the greatest influence over the company to taking actual control.
In the contract and region changes in 1968, ATV lost the weekend franchise in London to the London Television Consortium, who were later renamed London Weekend Television, but its Midlands contract was renewed for the full seven days instead. The weekday/weekend "split-service" ended in the North and Midlands with the 1968 franchise round, continuing only in the London area. At this point the company renamed itself as ATV Network Limited.
End of franchise 
During the 1970s ATV had received much criticism over its lack of local programming, particularly for the east of its region; such critics held that any local shows had a Birmingham-centric focus. In 1981 the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) decided that ATV's lack of regional programming and production (it had a major studio centre at Elstree in Hertfordshire, a legacy of its London contract and well outside of its Midlands franchise) was hampering the region, so it insisted that the new applicant for the franchise be more clearly based in the region and have separate facilities for the East and West Midlands.
ATV Midlands Limited, a shell company created by ACC solely for the franchise process, applied successfully for the contract. As a condition of its award, ACC was forced to divest itself of 49% of the company, relinquish executive roles, sell its studios in Elstree and rename the company to demonstrate that it was effectively a new business.
ATV stopped broadcasting at 00:34 on 1 January 1982. The new company's name was registered as Central Independent Television plc and the new logo, advertised as being a UFO, appeared six hours later, on 1 January 1982. Central inherited the studios at ATV Centre, Birmingham and ATV Elstree along with land that ATV Midlands had purchased for their new Nottingham studio centre. The new company also maintained control of ATV's news archive and regional programmes, plus programming already in production or being shown at the time of changeover; the rest of the ATV archive was sold on by ACC.
ACC later divested itself of the remainder of Central after the Australian investor Robert Holmes à Court staged a boardroom coup and forced Lew Grade to cede control. ACC remained in control of ITC and Stoll-Moss Theatres until ITC was sold to Polygram International Television — coincidentally bringing Lew Grade back into control of ITC until his death in 1998. Stoll-Moss Theatres, the last remaining part of ACC, was sold to the Really Useful Group in 2001.
Carlton Communications had spent much of the 1980s and 1990s buying up the intellectual property of the former ACC, including the rights to the ATV logo and company name, the ATV news archive (via its purchase of Central) and finally both the ATV and ITC archives, before itself being swallowed-up by Granada.
Recent changes have seen Granada PLC take over Carlton, and all of ATV's national archive programming has been taken into their ownership. The regional news archive from ATV and Central, plus some regional programmes, are now stored at the Media Archive for Central England in Nottingham. This archive is located at Nottingham University
ATV's headquarters and main studios were based at Elstree, London and were the home to both Midlands and London divisions. It was here that the majority of ATV's earlier programming was made and distributed.
Meanwhile, ATV's studios in the Midlands were located in Aston, Birmingham and were jointly owned by ATV and ABC under the banner Alpha Television. These studios supplied both ATV and ABC, and supplemented production from Elstree. In readiness for colour television, a large new 'state of the art' television studio was built by ATV, known as ATV Centre and located off Broad Street, near the centre of Birmingham. The site replaced the Aston studios, which were disposed of. The Broad Street site was in use until 1997 although two of the production studios had been 'mothballed' in the early 1990s as demand for production studios fell. The former ATV Centre is currently in the process of being demolished to be replaced by the Arena Central development. The Alpha Tower will survive as it is a listed building.
A documentary about the Broad Street studios complex has been in production since early 2007. Entitled 'From ATVLand In Colour' (referring to the nickname used on Tiswas, and the building being purpose-built for colour broadcasting), the documentary features presenters, actors, announcers and behind-the-scenes staff talking about their time working in the studios, and the programmes that were made there. Contributors include Chris Tarrant, Shaw Taylor, Jane Rossington and Bob Carolgees. The documentary series will be released by Mace - Media Archive for Central England on Monday 19 September 2011 
In the 1981 franchise review, the IBA ordered that if ATV Midlands were to keep the franchise, the Elstree centre would be sold and that a new studio centre be built in the East of the region. ATV Midlands, now renamed Central Independent Television, needed an immediate start for separate East and West Midlands facilities. The new East site was chosen for Lenton Lane, Nottingham and the land had been bought while ATV was still in control. However, planning issues delayed construction at the Nottingham site so Central purchased an independent production studio in the city (at Giltbrook) to act as its East Midlands newsroom. Industrial action prevented this centre from being used however, with the new studios ready by the time it was resolved.
In 1983 the Elstree centre was sold to the BBC for an undisclosed sum, and the centre remains in their possession and is now the famous home of the soap EastEnders. In 1984 the East Midlands Television Centre in Lenton Lane, Nottingham was opened by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The studio was eventually sold off to the University of Nottingham as an independent facility and as the home of the Media Archive for Central England, where ironically most of ATV's and Central's programmes were acquired.
ATV's logo has always consisted of a shadowed eye, inspired supposedly from the logo of CBS. This shadowed eye with the letters ATV inside came to represent the company. The first ident featured a single eye shape, moving to reveal the shadowed eye, and animating so that each of the letters ATV animate in accompanied by one of the three musical notes on the ident score. The caption below read Associated TeleVision Ltd., the only time the station's full name was displayed in an ident. The shadowed eye however was out of proportion, attributed to the hurry to redraw the ident following the name change from ABC.
Shortly after the launch of the Midlands franchise, the ident was again changed to an ident consisting of five stripes. Three of four vertical stripes contain the letters ATV, which animate in to the same musical score, with the other vertical stripe housing the logo and the stations airing times, either displaying both or those of the region being viewed in. the final stripe is horizontal, with the caption 'Presents' inside.
The next ident, launched in 1959, featured the shadowed eye zooming into the screen, whilst the familiar letters animate in as in the previous versions. This was altered in 1964 to add either the region name below it, or the word 'Presents' if the programme was an outside broadcast.
The company's most recognisable ident however is the one launched in 1969. Called Zoom 2, it was the ident that heralded colour to the region for the first time. Starting with three lightspots that combine to form six colours and the caption 'In Colour', the three lightspots fully merge forming a single cream dot which then animates out into the ATV shadowed eye, fully formed. The score for the ident featured brass, drums and vibraphone in a twelve beat fanfare for the station, by Jack Parnell and arranged by Wally Stott. In addition to this, a variation was produced which only featured a black and white version of the final animate into the shadowed eye for programmes still being shown in black and white. This ident was used from the introduction of colour in 1969 right until the ATV name ceased to be used in 1982.
Names used 
- Associated Broadcasting Company Limited (1954–1955)
- Associated TeleVision Limited (1955–1964)
- Associated TeleVision Corporation (1964–1966)
- Associated Communications Corporation (1966–1982)—parent company
- ATV Network Limited (1966–1982)
- ATV Midlands Limited (1981) - This is the company that was renamed to Central Independent Television from 1 January 1982, and was the licence holder for the Channel 3 Midlands region service until November 2008, when the licence was transferred to ITV Broadcasting Limited.
- Associated Broadcasting Company (24 September 1955–2 October 1955)
- Associated TeleVision (8 October 1955–11 February 1956)
- ATV London (18 February 1956–28 July 1968)
- ATV Midlands (17 February 1956–29 July 1968 but referred to in continuity until 1981)
- ATV Network (29 July 1968–1 January 1982) (always branded on-air as simply 'ATV')
- ABC (24 September 1955–2 October 1955)
- ATV (8 October 1955–1 January 1982)
Selected programmes 
- Astronauts - series 2 (1983) made by Central
- ATV Today
- Bullseye The 1st series (1981) - subsequently made by Central
- Carry On Laughing
- Celebrity Squares
- Crossroads - subsequently made by Central
- Disraeli Portrait of a Romantic
- Edward the Seventh
- Emergency Ward 10
- Family Fortunes (1980–1981) - subsequently made by Central
- General Hospital
- Julie on Sesame Street
- Lunchbox with Noele Gordon
- Honey Lane
- Meet Peters and Lee
- New Faces - subsequently made by Central
- Sapphire & Steel
- Saturday Variety
- Sunday Night at the London Palladium
- The Adventures of Robin Hood
- The Cliff Richard Show
- The Golden Shot
- The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine
- The Muppet Show
- The Strange World of Gurney Slade
- Tiswas - subsequently made by Central until ending in mid-1982
- Toyah 1980 documentary
- Two Of A Kind (1961)
The majority of ITC programmes were first broadcast by ATV and distributed in the UK by them. Similarly, ATV's productions were distributed by ITC outside of the UK, with most ATV idents replaced with those for ITC.
Other Ventures 
ATV Music 
As a side note to ATV's television activities, the company also set up a music publishing division. This was known as ATV Music and existed initially to publish TV-related music, such as theme tunes, composed by its in-house composers. It was formed after ATV acquired a substantial share of Pye Records. This company was eventually split away from the parent company and went through numerous different owners as well as buying into other established music publishers including Northern Songs, which was the Beatles' publishing company. ATV Music eventually settled into the hands of Michael Jackson before being merged into Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
See also 
- Central Independent Television
- London Weekend Television
- Associated British Corporation
- ITV (TV network)
- History of ITV
- Associated TeleVision history at Independent Teleweb
- 'From ATVLand In Colour', a documentary about ATV and Central's Broad Street studios
- Meldrum, Darren. "ATV". The Ident Zone. MHP. Retrieved 8 October 2011. Contains images and RealMedia videos of some of ATV's idents.
- Barnes, Steve. "ATV Idents". TVARK. Retrieved 8 October 2011. Contains authentic videos of these idents.
- Bernard, Marcus. "ATV London". TVARK. Retrieved 8 October 2011. Contains authentic videos of these idents.
- "ATV Idents and Clocks". TV Room. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- Robertson, Jason. "Zooms and other great stuff". subTV. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- Doyle, Jack (7 July 2009). "Michael & McCartney, 1990s-2009". The Pop History Dig. Archived from the original on 27 October 2010. Retrieved 13 Nov 2010.
- (Official site)
- sub-TV (unofficial history site)
- ATV Today
- Independent TeleWeb ATV history page
- Associated TeleVision at TV Ark
- ATV Land - an unofficial fan site