Pressure Group: The Campaign for Commercial Television in England

Pressure Group: The Campaign for Commercial Television in England

Pressure Group: The Campaign for Commercial Television in England

Pressure Group: The Campaign for Commercial Television in England

Excerpt

On July 30, 1954, the bill creating the Independent Television Authority became law, thereby ending the monopoly of broadcasting which the British Broadcasting Corporation had sustained for twenty-seven years. The first commercial broadcast from the London station of the new Authority went on the air fourteen months later, September 22, 1955, and by 1961 some ninety-five per cent of the population was within reach of the ITA operating stations.

Unquestionably the passage of the Television Act is one of the most interesting and significant political actions of the post-war period. Not only did it arouse a most bitter and prolonged political debate, but it marked a decisive change in what had been considered a peculiarly British social invention, the BBC. Its importance goes far beyond any question of the merits of commercial versus public service broadcasting, for to many it seems to symbolize a change within the Conservative Party and gives expression to an accumulation of influences which are shaping the future of British society.

This is a political study, an attempt to present the history of the events, forces, techniques involved in the passage of a single controversial legislative act. It is an effort to reconstruct the course of events leading to a quite drastic institutional change. The focus of the study is on the political and, to a lesser extent, on the social factors involved. It does not attempt to evaluate the merits of the change in the pattern of British broadcasting, beyond presenting the arguments of . . .

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