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Television Wales and the West

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Television Wales and the West - (TWW) was the British "Independent Television" (commercial television) contractor for the "South Wales and West of England" franchise area 1956-1968 (franchise awarded October 26, 1956, started transmissions on January 14, 1958).

Geography required that the "South Wales and West of England" franchise would be operated differently from any other franchise, as VHF transmissions from one side of the Bristol Channel could easily be received on the other side. This resulted in TWW setting up a "dual franchise", with a service for South Wales being originated from Cardiff and a service for the "West of England" from Bristol, together with a common "General Service".

In January 1964, TWW was required to take over the franchise of its' neighbour, Teledu Cymru - Wales (West and North) (WWN) when that company became the only ITV company to ever fail financially.

Although TWW did not produce many programmes for the ITV network, its local programmes were well-regarded, so it came as a great shock when TWW lost its franchise in the 1967 franchise review, in favour of the Harlech Consortium whose bid promised a glittering future of star-filled entertainment and quality documentaries. TWW's response was in effect to throw a temper tantrum -- despite the ITA offering to order Harlech to buy TWW's studios and take on all the TWW staff, and a later offer to let TWW buy 40% of Harlech's stock to guarantee a profit and a connection with the television industry, TWW spurned all these peace offerings and instead quit its franchise early, selling the last 5 months to Harlech for 500,000, despite Harlech not being ready to start broadcasting at the time. Following the intervention of the ITA, a temporary service was set up - "Independent Television Service South Wales and West" broadcasting from the old TWW Pontcanna studios in Cardiff and staffed by ex-TWW staff until Harlech (soon renamed "HTV") was ready to take over its franchise early, on 20 May 1968.