ITV work in progress
When ITV received the go ahead to start transmission in 1955, the new companies scrambled to get the necessary equipment to fulfil their pledges to provide the programmes set out in their submissions to the Independent Television Authority. Marconi and Pye were already supplying OB units to the BBC as well as exporting units to the world market. Suddenly they had a new market in their home country and they rose to the occasion by supplying a total of some eighteen Mobile Control Rooms and ancilliary equipment to allow the fledgeling ITV companies to bring us live programmes from all over the UK. Unlike the bespoke units delivered to the BBC, many of the ITV OB units were of a standard design. In the first round of ITV franchise bids, fourteen regional companies were set up. covering Enland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Through the next two rounds of franchise bids a further nine companies would be formed.
THE FIRST FOURTEEN REGIONAL TELEVSISION COMPANIES
ABC TELEVISION 1956-1968
ABC's main base was at a coverted cinema at Didsbury, Manchester. The original three Marconi 3 camera OB units were based here. A Videotape Unit was added later which also had 2 Marconi Mk III cameras. In 1965 the Company ordered 3 Marconi OB units from Marconi equipped with a total of 15 Mk V cameras
ANGLIA TELEVISION 1959-2006
Channel Television 1962 -2011
In the 1990s Chaneel Television converted a caravan to be a mobile control room
Border Television 1961-2002
In 1987 Border Television took delivery of a 3 camera OB Unit
Grampian Television 1961-2006
Granada TV 1956-2002
Rediffusion started with 2 three camera outside broadcast units. One was supplied by Pye and the other by Marconi. Each unit did not have a number but were called by a colour although their liveries were either blue or blue with a bare alloy body below the middle line. The Marconi Unit (green) covered the opening speeches at the Guildhall in London on the opening night of ITV in September 1955. The same evening, the Pye Unit (blue) covered a fashion show and the opening party of ITV at the Mayfair Hotel in Piccadilly. Another two Marconi Units (White and ?) joined the fleet soon afterwards and all were then equipped with 4 cameras.The Marconi Units were in use right up to the end of Rediffusion in 1968. In 1966 Rediffusion bought another unit from Marconi equipped with 5 Marconi Mk V cameras. This unit was used by the Marconi Hire Division before the sale. It subsequently was sold to LWT.
Scottish Television 1957-
Scottish Television started with one 3 camera OB Unit. By 1967 a 2 camara unit had been added. Both these units were monochrome. Also in 1967 a 4 camera colour unit was ordered from Marconi equipped with Mk VII cameras.
Southern Television 1958-1982
TWW had a 4 camera OB unit with a separate VTR Van
Tyne Tees Television 1958-
Ulster Television 1959-
In 1980 Ulster Television invested in a 3 camera OB Unit
Westward Television 1961-1981
Westward Television took delivery of a 2 camera lightwieght OB Unit just before it lost its franchise.