• ITN airs its first news bulletin at 10pm on September 22nd. With Christopher Chataway as newscaster and the slogan ‘See It Happen’, it shook up the news industry with its ambition to bring the rigour of print journalism to television and set the standard for broadcast news.

    1955

    Independent Television News launches

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    Lynne Reid Banks was one of the UK’s first ‘girl reporters’. Revolutionizing the look of broadcast news, they were pioneers of the vox pop for ITN. She told the Guardian in 2011: “We forged intrepidly through strike-mobs, covered disasters, met VIPs in all fields, attended first nights (my speciality was showbusiness) and brought real people as well as the famous into the audience's living rooms.

    1955

    Lynne Reid Banks joins ITN

  • Previously a freelance scriptwriter for the BBC’s Newsreel, Barbara joined ITN at its launch and presented the midday bulletin. Barbara recalled: “The midday news was aimed mainly at women so it was much lighter in content than the main evening news, and it was decided it was inappropriate for women to be associated with disasters and war reports, so we focused on stuff like fashion and cookery.”

    1955

    ITN’s Barbara Mandell becomes the first female newsreader in the UK

  • Robin Day interviews President Nasser of Egypt during the Suez Crisis

    Robin Day’s style was ground-breaking - tough and exacting he didn’t pull any punches. His interview with President Nasser of Egypt was broadcast after the News at Ten on 1 July. It was a coup for ITN and Day, especially given that Egypt and Britain were still technically at war over the Suez Crisis at the time. During the interview Day asked Nasser about communism, Egypt's relations with Russia, relations with Israel and the Palestinian problem and the current situation regarding the Suez Canal. The cameraman was Cyril Page and the sound recordist Frank MacNally.

    1957

    Robin Day interviews President Nasser of Egypt during the Suez Crisis

  • Notting Hill race riots

    Racial tension boiled over in West London in August and lead to the some of the worst violence the country had ever seen. ITN ran an item that saw Reginald Bosanquet and black cricket commentator Ernest Eytle talk to the community in Notting Hill. Bosanquet interviewed black residents and Eytle spoke to the white people in the borough.

    1958

    Notting Hill race riots - ITN produces a special programme investigating racial tensions and rioting

  • ITN was the first commercial broadcaster to cover a general election in the UK. The ITV network provided election night coverage ITN in London. ITV was given permission by the Independent Television Authority to use all of the ITV companies on air in 1959 for election links to the main studio in London. Ian Trethowan was the presenter for the ITV coverage that saw Conservative, Harold Macmillian elected as PM. As the programme went on the air, Geoffrey Cox (Editor-in-chief of ITN) said to him: “I just want you to know, Ian, that the whole future of ITV is on your shoulders tonight.”

    1959

    ITN airs its first election special

  • Telstar brought the first TV picture across the Atlantic. Ian Trethowan was the UK presenter who described seeing a flicking image of a person sitting at a desk in the USA. Within a year, transatlantic TV would bring images of two major US stories: Kennedy assassination and what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    1962

    ITN broadcasts the first televised image from the USA

  • ITN’s Roving Report joined the Beatles on their last tour to the US. After Lennon’s infamous quote that the band was ‘bigger than Jesus’ the film called The Beatles in the Bible Belt documented the protests and record-burning that followed.

    1966

    ITN follows Beatlesmania to the USA

  • The UK’s first half hour bulletin that began as a three-month trial has become an institution. The headlines were read by Alastair Burnet: Railway strike called off; More fighting on the Suez Canal; The Queen Expo ’67 and Taylor in Wimbledon semi-final.

    1967

    ITN launches The News at Ten

  • The largest tanker ever to be wrecked spilt 120,000 tons of oil off the coast of Cornwall and the Scilly Isles. ITN reported on the RAF’s mission to bomb the wreck to reduce the size of the spill.

    1967

    ITN reports the Torrey Canyon oil spill disaster in Cornwall

  • 14.5 million viewers watched ITN’s coverage of the moon landing, beating the BBC in the ratings which only drew 12 million. Coverage ran for 10 hours but the caption machine churned out the word ‘Ouchdown’ to describe the greatest moment in space history.

    1969

    ITN’s coverage of the moon landing wins the ratings battle with the BBC

  • ITN brought some colour to the General Election that saw a surprise victory for Conservative’s Edward Heath over incumbent Labour leader Harold Wilson, not only in the form of banter between David Frost and Alastair Burnet, but also because the images were in technicolour for the first time.

    1970

    ITN broadcasts its first General Election in colour

  • One of ITN’s biggest scoops was capturing footage of planes hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine being destroyed on a remote airstrip in Dawson’s Field, Jordan. Palestinian cameraman Ghassan Dallal shot the footage with Michael Nicolson reporting the release of the 300 hostages and the destruction of the planes that happened afterwards. Under Dallal’s silent footage is an interview with Air Stewardess Roma Thadaney talking about the hijacking.

    1970

    Michael Nicholson scoops exclusive footage of the Dawson’s Field Hijacking

  • Gerald Seymour reports for the News at Ten as bullets are fired by the British army during its worse ever confrontation with the Catholic people of the Bogside in Northern Ireland. What started as a civil rights march resulted in 13 deaths and multiple casualties and led to two major inquiries.

    1972

    Gerald Seymour reports from the Bogside on Bloody Sunday

  • This horrific war produced many shocking images, but it’s the picture of nine-year-old Kim Phuc running from a napalm attack on her village in Trang Bang captured by ITN cameraman Alan Downes that endures. The war continued for three years but the power of TV images helped turn public opinion in the US against the conflict.

    1972

    Alan Downes films napalm victim Kim Phuc during the Vietnam War

  • Journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein rocked the Nixon administration by breaking the Watergate bugging scandal. In 1973, ITN's Michael Brunson interviewed the two Washington Post journalists. In 1974, Nixon resigned.

    1972

    Journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein rocked the Nixon administration

  • The BBC team in Cyprus at the time decided to pull out as nothing seemed to be happening with the local crisis at the time. They discovered a civilian plane was leaving for the UK and drove off to catch it, without letting Michael Nicholson know. As he and his crew drove off they suffered a puncture a few miles from Nicosia. As they stopped to change the tyre, the Turkish paras started to drop down into the adjacent field. Mike walked up to the Turkish commander and said "Morning Major from ITN British Television. Welcome to Cyprus". The film was shot by Alan Downes. They then raced to the airport and got the film on an RAF plane,” remembers Duncan Jones, former ITN cameraperson and editor.

    1974

    Michael Nicholson greets Turkish army as they invade Cyprus

  • Six gunmen took occupants of the Iranian embassy in London hostage on 30 April. On 5 May, the SAS dramatically ended the siege. ITN captured unique footage of the mission because it was the only news outlet to have smuggled a camera around the back of the building. The newsflash attracted 11m viewers and won an RTS Award for ITN.

    1980

    The Iranian Embassy siege in London

  • On ITN’s 25th anniversary the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the ITN offices on Wells Street. They were greeted by a cheering crowd, packed into a tiny lift and taken to the newsroom to meet the team.

    1980

    The Queen visits ITN’s offices to mark its 25th anniversary

  • In 1980, Jon Snow became involved in the rescue of passengers onboard the British cargo ship Atlantin which was trapped in the Shatt al Arab waterway between Iran and Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war. Jon swam out to the ship at low tide with an Iraqi commando to agree a signal to lower the lifeboats the following day, nearly getting swept into the Iranian line of fire in the process. It was one of the first times an electronic camera had been used on a foreign assignment, with its superior night-time capabilities. Had it been on film, News at Ten viewers would not have seen the people on board climb to safety.

    1980

    ITN captures dramatic rescue footage during Iran/Iraq war

  • ITN was out in force to cover the royal wedding in partnership with Thames TV. Instead of just talking heads, packages included vox pops with the crowd, backgrounders on guests, designers and contributors plus aerial images and commentary from a Goodyear Airship.

    1981

    Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral

  • Channel 4 News went on air for the first time on November 2nd 1982 presented by Peter Sissons, Sarah Hogg and Trevor McDonald.

    1982

    ITN wins the contract to make Channel 4 News

  • “The Ministry of Defence was very reluctant to allow any TV personnel aboard the fleet that sailed to the Falklands,” remembers former ITN cameraperson and editor, Duncan Jones. “In the event a BBC crew was allowed on board with Michael Nicholson from ITN and Brian Hanrahan from the BBC. ITN Engineers were sent to Ascension Island so the video tapes could be transmitted to London by satellite.” (In the footage, Michael Nicholson reports.)

    1982

    ITN reports from HMS Hermes during The Falklands War

  • UK Prime Minster, Margaret Thatcher, and, POTUS, Ronald Reagan, enjoyed what became known as ‘a special relationship’. Washington Correspondent, Jon Snow reports their first kiss.

    1984

    President Ronald Reagan and UK Prime Minster Thatcher’s nurture a special relationship

  • Alastair Stewart, John Suchet, Jon Snow and Trevor McDonald report fall of the wall that had divided Berlin for more than 25 years.

    1989

    The fall of the Berlin Wall

  • In 1990 Sir Trevor was the first person to interview Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in South Africa. Trevor McDonald became the solo anchor of News at Ten in 1992 and became synonymous with ITV News’ output and landmark interviews that also included former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

    1990

    Trevor McDonald defines a decade of news

  • “Together with cameraman Steve Harrow, producer Mike Gillings and reporter Sandy Gall we set out into the Saudi desert avoiding roadblocks to await the Allied forces attack on Iraqi-held Kuwait,” recalls Duncan Jones, who was the sound recordist in the team. “Officially, the press was only allowed to have access via the 'embed' system. Cameraman Nigel Thomson and reporter Paul Davies were given military uniforms and the rank of Captain, and accompanied the British Army wherever they went. As a result, they missed a lot of the action, so it was decided we would circumvent the rules and drive out into the desert, but it still meant we had to avoid Saudi press officers. Camping out in the desert is not much fun as it gets cold at night and it sometimes rains. At one point we joined Saudi forces at the front line, where we experienced some incoming shelling. Luckily the shells landed in the desert a little way away so we were just showered with sand. We beat a hasty retreat! A few days later we arrived in Kuwait City 24 hours after the Iraqis had left. ITN had three crews in the city ahead of both the BBC and Sky News. The Kuwaitis were jubilant to see us and handed out sweets and showered us with kisses. We filmed the Kuwaitis burning Iraqi flags and images of Saddam Hussein.”

    1990

    First Gulf War

  • Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadizic, allowed Penny Marshall and her team to look around camps where Bosnian men were being held. The harrowing images they recorded of the starving Muslim men in the camps for News at Ten helped persuade US President George Bush that Western military action was needed.

    1992

    News at Ten’s Penny Marshall reports from Bosnian Serb’s detention camps

  • Cameras used by broadcast media were accidentally left rolling after Michael Brunson concluded his interview with PM John Major about winning the confidence vote over his handling of the Maastricht Treaty, known as the Treaty of Europe. The conversation between Brunson and Major was available to several broadcast news outlets and was leaked to the press. Reports that Major called Eurosceptic cabinet members ‘bastards’ plunged his leadership into crisis.

    1993

    Maastricht Treaty: Tory Party divided over Europe

  • Colin Baker covered the horrific attack for ITN that saw a local man randomly open fire on children in class, killing 16 children and their teacher. The massacre is one of the most harrowing events in Britain’s modern history and Baker’s coverage won awards for its sensitivity towards the traumatised community.

    1996

    A gunman attacks a school in Dunblane, Scotland

  • 5 News launched on 30 March 1997 amid a fanfare provided by the Spice Girls who were at the peak of their fame, presented by Kirsty Young perched on top of a desk, instead of behind one – something which generated acres of press coverage at the time.

    1997

    Launch of 5 News

  • News that Princess Diana had been involved in a car crash in Paris broke in the early hours of Saturday 31 August. ITV News’ Dermot Murnaghan and royal correspondent Nicholas Owen rushed to the studio to present ITN’s rolling coverage as did production teams and journalists. The scene of silent mourners at Kensington Palace conveyed the magnitude of the story. Owen said ITN captured the mood of the day: “That’s one of ITN’s strengths. Strong presentation in the studio allied with a close rapport with the public.”

    1997

    Princess Diana is killed in a Paris car crash

  • As optimism was fading for a peace agreement for Northern Ireland, the announcement came at 5.36pm on Good Friday. ITN’s John Irvine reported the historic moment for News at Ten.

    1998

    An agreement is signed that brings peace to Northern Ireland