[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
50 years of ITV: Your memories
John Thaw and Kevin Whately in Inspector Morse
As ITV marks 50 years of television what do you think are the successes of the broadcaster?

The network brought ad breaks to British television along with famous programmes like Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Upstairs Downstairs, Duty Free and Inspector Morse.

The long-running soap Coronation Street beat Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and A Touch of Frost to take the accolade of ITV's greatest show in a poll to mark the 50th anniversary.

What do you think of ITV's first 50 years? What are the best and worst ITV programmes? What does the future hold for the broadcaster?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion received so far:

This topic was suggested by Marcus, Wales
Did ITV's awards ceremony justify many of the names voted?

I used to like 'Minder' with George Cole and Dennis Waterman but it seems to have been overshadowed by 'Only fools and horses' (which had a similar theme, ie misadventures of a spiv and his long-suffering partner).
David B, London, UK

The worst ITV programmes are the adverts. They have never appealed to me and I have never actually brought anything as a result. Mind you saying that, I recently cancelled my Sky Digital subscription as I never get time to watch any TV.
CB, Stevenage, UK

I loved the Professionals and the New Avengers. More of the same please, instead of nightly soaps and reality TV junk.
Neil Small, Scotland

I rarely watch either BBC or ITV anymore. It seems they find a series or presenter who people like then give them maximum exposure to a point we are sick to death of seeing them - Ant and Dec being a perfect example. I used to love Inspector Morse, Soldier Soldier and London's Burning, but once the main characters left the shows rather than calling it quits, ITV tried to keep them going by introducing new characters which just didn't work.
Sarah, Chester, UK

As an ex-pat living in Sydney, I can assure you that even ITV at its worst is infinitely superior to the mind numbing dross of Australian TV. Count your blessings.
James Sidwell, Sydney, Australia

ITV was a pioneer and in the past there have been some great programmes
Chris Parker, Bucks
ITV was a pioneer and in the past there have been some great programmes. The thing about ITV is that they took risks, the Sweeney was totally groundbreaking and it upset a lot of the establishment because it portrayed what life was really like not the cosy view which was expected. Sadly today ITV is just like so many channels, repeats. Out of the 80 or so channels we have, repeats of quality programmes are usually the only thing worth watching. I understand a new 'repeats' channel ITV4 is coming soon. Great, more Morse.
Chris Parker, Bucks

In my mind they offer absolutely nothing to me as a network. There is no imagination or originality in their programming; which is represented in the apparent down turn in their audiences. ITV has had its fifty years and now watch the other networks provide what the viewer actually wants.
Simon, London

Running home from school in the seventies at lunchtime to watch Rainbow.
Graham, UK

Midsomer Murders is quality entertainment, and one of the few current programs that I watch on ITV.
Peter C, Derby, England

It's actually sad to watch ITV in it's present state; I'll be the first to admit that News at Ten could be annoying when you where watching a film but at least you knew that it would be "news", at the moment it seems like a celebrity update or ad for an ITV show and to be frank ITV seems to do nothing for new talent, it's all David Jason or some other actor on a golden handshake deal. That said, I will always watch it when Prime Suspect is on.
Maddy, Bangor, Northern Ireland

At least, on ITV we don't have to pay a licence fee for watching (or not watching) the never ending drivel.
Elizabeth, Newtown abbey

It's got a great balance of shows
Matt, Angus, Scotland
May I be the first to not be a misery guts and congratulate ITV. It's got a great balance of shows, from Tonight With Trevor McDonald to fun programs like Pop Idol, and it's just as good as it ever was. Looking forward to another 50 years.
Matt, Angus, Scotland

I hardly ever watch ITV now but I fondly recall the old black and white shows from my childhood, the Avengers with Honor Blackman and then Diana Rigg, I was allowed to watch some of Sunday Night at the Palladium, my favourite was Rolf Harris doing his huge paintings. I wonder if they were in colour. And of course Topo Gigio the puppet Italian mouse. Was the Saint with Roger Moore BBC?
Meg, Grantham

They still make some good stuff such as Midsomer Murders and Wire in the Blood. I must admit to even liking Heartbeat - rather predictable but beautifully produced nonetheless. What they need is more quality programmes like these and less dross.
Matt F, Bristol, UK

Good motor racing coverage. The rest on ITV1 is rubbish. I agree with what Steve G in Birmingham said about Jeeves and Wooster Why is that only repeated on ITV3?
James, Whitstable, Kent

I wouldn't normally be seen dead watching ITV, it's so downmarket. But I have to admit, the one thing they did a better job of than the BBC was the Grand Prix coverage. ITV's programme was far more entertaining and respectful of the sport. However, the ill-timed adverts were and remain a major irritant.
Colin Jackson, Telford

I miss the good drama they used to produce
Beryl Shannon
All those reality shows are demeaning and insulting to the intelligence of most of us. I loved the old drama series, Morse, Sherlock Holmes and the rest. I miss the good drama they used to produce. Coronation Street has always been a favourite of mine. I now live in Canada and I absolutely love watching it on our dour Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Beryl Shannon

Seems odd that people moan about the amount of reality shows etc yet they seem to get the best viewing figures. Put yourself in the position of the programme makers, would you take something off your schedule that did well? The answer to that is no. Best programmes have the best actors in them such as David Jason, worst programmes are anything with the word `celebrity` in the title. Unfortunately for ITV that accounts for 90% of it's programmes.
Peter, Cheshire, UK

I rarely watch ITV anymore. There is just not the quality that there was when Morse was on, even Coronation Street has lost all appeal now.
Sarah, Milton Keynes, UK

I think "Strange But True" was one of their best ever programmes. Why don't they repeat it/make some more/release them on DVD?
Philip Lickley, York

In my opinion, almost 99% of TV programmes today are drivel - on all channels. ITV, however, is the absolute pits; nothing but 'celebrity' based shows and soaps. The channel that brought us the best show ever - The Prisoner - now reduced to a selection of 'An Audience With' and audience-clapping-along shows. Take it off the air.
Alex, Portsmouth, UK

The thing that made ITV different was the fact it was so regional
Matt, London
The thing that made ITV different was the fact it was so regional and each company reflected its region in all that it did. I was brought up in TVS land and remember the stark comparison between Newsroom South East from Herts compared to Coast to Coast from Maidstone talking about places I knew. Add regional documentary strands etc and the channel was unique. But that's all gone now and we all know who to blame for that - a certain Mrs M Thatcher and the 1992 franchise debacle.
Matt, London

I haven't watched an ITV programme religiously since Inspector Morse completed its run. I do enjoy the repeats of old ITV Drama on ITV3. (Even Campion was on there, and that was a BBC show). In 1989, ITV succeeded in putting the nail in the coffin of Doctor Who. Now look who is back on BBC1 to give ITV the kick up the behind they need to give us some decent programmes for a change.
Daniel Billing, Bath, UK

ITV or ITV1 now has totally lost its regional identity and it shows. Bring back the old ITV (Central, HTV) etc with proper on-screen idents and bring back the clocks too!
Andrew, Worcester

To be honest, ITV doesn't really have anything to celebrate anymore - it's a tacky, centralised mess, and I'm, by far, a BBC zealot. The only asset it had was the individual regional identities, which they're gradually phasing out. They not only provided programming for parts of the country, but provided job opportunities in broadcasting, other than in London (where it all seems to be now). We need regional television, but the powers that be, don't seem to agree.
Matt, Devon

Years ago I loved Morse, Soldier, Soldier and a Touch of Frost. Now I only like Rose and Maloney, which in itself is a good idea which could have been executed a lot better. I think that now we have digital television, the quality of programming on the old analogue channels has been diluted.
Claire Cobb

I find the pseudo outraged chattering in most of the posts on this page hysterical and indicative of the misunderstanding most people have of the media market. The reason ITV don't make programmes with the content of BBC 2 and Radio 4 is simply because we already have BBC 2 and Radio 4 to cater for that market. ITV is a mid-market broadcaster that produces a lot of entertainment shows and viewers within that market like it as is displayed by ITV's viewing figures over the years. Those complaining about ITV output on this page should simply switch over to another media outlet that suits them and contains their snobbery. It's not illegal to have a channel making entertainment programme for entertainment's sake.
Paul Hughes, London

As a child in the sixties, I was not allowed to watch ITV because my parents considered it vulgar! Needless to say I watched as often as possible!
John McIntosh, Edinburgh, Scotland

The best thing about ITV now is the adverts
Alfie Noakes, North of England, UK
Programmes like Cracker and Minder were excellent. But these days they either show Ant & Dec, reality shows or Pop Idol rubbish. The best thing about ITV now is the adverts (and of course Patsy Kensit).
Alfie Noakes, North of England, UK

Benny Hill was always high on my list of favourites. A cheeky, saucy, chappie straight out of the seaside postcard. Then PC got in the way and British humour died with it.
Paul Robinson, Grimsby, England

The three best from ITV were Spitting Image, Prisoner and of course Endeavour Morse himself. These programmes were so good I always thought they were BBC productions!!!!
Eric, Lincoln

ITV is a joke! Just fifteen years ago, you had great shows and great dramas that were really worth watching. Now it's all about celebrities, and other reality-based shows. In comparison to Five, ITV pales in comparison. It's a shame that the better shows on ITV3 and ITV4 aren't shown on ITV1, then I might bother tuning in.
Jon Dracup, Birmingham, West Midlands

I still thank ITV for having the faith in its audience to run Morse for a full two hours - at a time when convention had it that we all had the attention span of a goldfish. The BBC still thinks we do, of course. Then again, I can't forgive ITV for the endless drivel diet of reality TV, the cult of the (non-entity) celebrity and game shows - all of them!
Mark, Reading

Sadly it appears ITV no longer produces quality programmes the likes of Morse, Jewel in the Crown and even let the BBC take over Auf Wiedersehen Pet. I think the dreadful programme which appeared on Sunday evening "Avenue of the Stars" was a fair testament to the state of ITV. Was there any rehearsal? Did they tell the people collecting awards what they were there for?
Graham, Stockton, UK

ITV suffers the same "disease" as the other channels. Cheap "reality" shows, an overabundance of second rate soap and a lack of good drama. Even with 100+ channels, there's very rarely anything worthwhile on TV except for UK Gold! That about says it all!
John Scadden, Basingstoke, Hampshire

I worked for Associated Rediffusion 57 - 66 (then became Rediffusion) in studio and OBs. Little did I realise how important milestones some programmes would become. R-S-Go; Pinter plays; Churchill funeral and so on. Perhaps we all see the present as not at all momentous with some vivid exceptions on the world stage.
Mike Draper, Orpington, Kent, England

ITV has to play to the mainstream audience
Rob Taylor, Lancashire
Reading many of the comments from other people, it's easy to get the impression that ITV hasn't been all too successful in recent years. It is very easy to look back and think that the older programmes are much better than today's offerings of "I'm A Celebrity" but I think if people were to take a step back, they would realise this is not the fault of ITV, but of the audience in general. As a commercial broadcaster ITV has to strike a fine balance between the needs of the viewer and that of the shareholder. Like any other business it needs to make money to survive. Unlike the BBC, which has the ability to make programming for select groups, ITV has to play to the mainstream audience. It needs to generate a larger audience to generate larger advertising revenues in what is an ever increasingly difficult market.
Rob Taylor, Lancashire

How did the Sweeney not make it to the top 10 ITV programmes? ITV seems to cater for the lowest common denominator and now the content is so poor, it is almost a cheek to broadcast that awful commercial with all the 'stars'. Bring back the test card!
Lee, Hastings

ITV was always an opportunity to make money but it was set up with strict guidelines as to its public service remit. Since the Broadcasting Act of 1990 (a piece of surgery that removed ITV's backbone of Thames Television) and the deregulation that has ensued, an effective alternative to BBC television has all but disappeared as the free market dictates ITV's programme content and digital technology provides more channels but less choice.
Nicholas Dicker, London

I remember when ITV was 'regional'. Companies like Thames, LWT, Anglia and ATV making top-notch comedy, drama and factual programmes. Since the Carlton/Granada leadership it has become nothing more that a downmarket 'tat-TV' station.
Darran Woodland, Chelmsford, Essex

Everything was better in the past. Summers were always hot and dry and it was all fields when I was a lad. Oh yeah - and bring back national service and the birch!! Seriously - there was always rubbish and good stuff on ITV, as with the BBC, it's just that we choose to forget the rubbish! Anyway, one man's meat is another man's poison, as they say. Some of the progs cited by others as classics I regarded a terrible and I'm sure the same would apply in reverse. It's the ads that really get on my nerves though!
Bill Tacey, Redditch, England

In those days we had small, friendly regional stations that each produced quality local programming
Dan Parr Feris, Sidmouth, Devon
I was brought up on those most individualistic ITV stations, Westward and TSW, so my happiest memory is, of course, the great Gus Honeybun. In those days we had small, friendly regional stations that each produced quality local programming (not just a twenty-five minute news bulletin) and yet as a network produced superb entertainment, news, drama and documentaries (yes, real documentaries, remember them?). ITV has done something which is commercially quite bizarre. In the face of increased competition it has thrown away its USP. If the new ITV plc wants to succeed, it should turn back to the regions.
Dan Parr Feris, Sidmouth, Devon

ITV is my favourite channel and I've always been an incredibly loyal viewer with ITV1. The Bill is one of my favourite programmes; I've watched this show since it began in 1983 and never stopped watching it ever since. I've loved watching shows like Emmerdale and Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, Saturday Night Takeaway and I'm a Celebrity. To ITV delivers the best and always the best to a mass audience which makes it the people's channel.
John Ledward, Stafford, England

It's not a good idea for ITV to 'celebrate' by showing clips from all the old shows - it reminds us how good some of the old programmes were, and how badly the current output of soaps, 'reality', house-buying and auctions/car-boots plus the never-ending shows with 'celebrity' or some superlative in the title compares. Please can we have more repeats (OLD ones)? To be fair, the BBC has an awful lot of dross as well - again wall-to-wall antiques and house-buying.
Nigel Callaghan, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

My memory of ITV is a long decay into mediocrity. It is turning into an American TV station - focusing solely on being more outlandish and extreme than their rivals. Cold Feet, A Touch of Frost and At Home with the Braithwaites are the only bright spots on a very bad ten years.
John Harding, Bolton, UK

I suppose it must be pure nostalgia but for me the heyday of ITV was definitely the 60s. Ready Steady Go, all the Gerry Anderson puppet shows - which peaked with Thunderbirds, the tacky game shows hosted by Hughie Greene, as well as Ena Sharples running the Street, all seem a lot better looking back than they probably were!
Louis Berk, London

Tiswas, Tiswas, Tiswas, Tiswas, Tiswas. The best TV programme ever.
Sue, London

Shouldn't this be an obituary? Once the only real rival to BBC, now it struggles to keep pace with Channel 4, Five and Sky One in quality terms. It only has two assets left that keep the viewing figures at least tepid - Coronation Street, and the fact that it is still available on Analogue (can I hear the clock ticking on that one...?). ITV's current recipe is too short termist - The Beeb have already realised that repeat after repeat drives people away, and celebrity antics and trashy pseudo-documentaries convince no-one.

I don't watch much British TV in general as its all reality shows or depressing documentaries. I much prefer American programmes like 24, CSI, ER, The X-Files, Frasier and Friends. At least they are original and well made. I do enjoy any David Attenborough programmes on the BBC and I do watch Corrie on ITV, but that's about it. Let's face it, all the best programmes were in the past and all the new stuff is shoddy in comparison.
Lou, Lowestoft

There have been plenty of quality ITV programmes - Inspector Morse, Cracker, Cold Feet, Spitting Image, Poirot - but none of them seem to be on now. That would explain why I can't recall the last time I watched ITV.
Katherine, London, UK

The problem seems that people remember the good programming and forget the drivel around it
Richard, UK
The problem seems that people remember the good programming and forget the drivel around it. It's the same for any channel making new programming, some will work some not. That said there are fewer good programmes today especially on ITV because the advertising revenue is more thinly spread so less risk is taken. So lots of channels means lots of cheap, nasty and popular programming.
Richard, UK

Carter and Reagan, Bodie and Doyle, Arfur And Terry, Morse and Lewis - ITV need you now more than they ever have before.
Steve, Manchester

The glut of soaps, reality shows and chat/Trisa type shows is a real turn-off of ITV1 for me. Worst Programme on ITV1 has to be GMTV, thrash, trite and imbecilic. For me the best ITV ever did was The Avengers, with The Prisoner a close second.
Kev, Bushey UK

ITV's glory days have long since passed away. Too many of the network's highlights were produced in the 70s and 80s - The Sweeney, The Professionals, Minder, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, The New Statesmen and Spitting Image. The number of quality sitcoms ITV produced were few and far between. And when they did produce quality sitcoms the controllers wouldn't recognise this - remember what happened to Men Behaving Badly? ITV is no longer relevant and it only has itself to blame.
Stephen Hinde, Hawkwell, Essex, England

As a recent graduate, I'd have to say This Morning is ITV's best show. Still essential student viewing.
David, Brighton, UK

There are a lot of people who seem to think ITV is garbage and unwatchable. I won't disagree totally with that, but it must be said that the BBC is far worse. Definitely time the license fee was abolished and pay per view is the sole means of income and financing. Let's face it, Sky One, Hallmark, FX all produce programs far superior to ITV and BBC with no income from the license fee, and those programs are eventually sold to ITV and BBC to late for me as I've already seen them, why should I pay twice.
Keith, Sunderland, UK

Ant and Dec should be locked up and the key thrown away. The only good programmes have been those same few everyone mentions, Morse, Frost, Cold Feet, Kavanagh, Chancer (never repeated on ITV1 and we missed the last episode when our video was stolen while we were on honeymoon! Outrageous) Everything else is pants packed with 50:50 split of airtime on ads.
CCC, England

My favourite shows are Minder, Saturday Night Takeaway and The Sex Pistols legendary appearance on the today programme. Or anything with Rik Mayall. Worst shows are Pop Idol, X-Factor or anything that Simon Cowell has had a hand in. One show that has made me smile though is Spitting Image which I didn't like when I was younger (mainly because of the puppets!) but over the last few years I've begun to admire the repeats and the biting satire that it created I hope it comes back also bring back the regions ITV's not been the same without it. That said perhaps it is important to move with the times and gets rid of those ridiculous reality 'celebrity' shows. Thanks for putting the Sex Pistols into the UK Walk of fame they deserve it cos they rock!
Gavin Culloty, Birmingham, UK

ITV's quality dramas died when John Thaw died.
Matt, Wakefield

The ads are the best bit, except for all the personal loan ads, injury claim ads, car insurance ads, stair lifts ads, walk-in bath ads.
Tim Smith, Leicester, UK

I find that the BBC has better programming due to having no advert breaks. ITV really lost its way in the latter part of the 90s.
Dan, Glasgow, Scotland

I thought that the point of ITV was that it was to be a local TV service
Richard, Chichester, UK
What I find amusing about ITV at the moment is their almost constant backslapping and self congratulatory manner when in fact they have very little to brag about. I thought that the point of ITV was that it was to be a local TV service. However, since Carlton bought everyone up this is surely not the case.
Richard, Chichester, UK

TV has never been the same since John Birt took over. He ruined BBC, dumbing down everything. The future looks bleak.
L Stenner, UK

I hardly ever watch anything on ITV, it's turned itself into a children's channel.
Andrew M, Walsall, UK

I watch ITV2 and ITV3 far more often than ITV1 - repeats of old programmes being far more appealing than the new stuff. Even Coronation Street's become unwatchable! ITV need to pull their socks up.
Lucy Jones, Manchester

ITV has never been the same since the 1991 franchise awards. We lost Thames, TVS and TV-am and gained Carlton and GMTV. Carlton is just plain poor and has since bought out the other companies, closed down their production offices and left us with a schedule dependent on soaps and cheap celebrity fillers while GMTV has never been anything more than a pale imitation of TVAM. I doubt ITV will make it to sixty.
Philip Prise, Aberdeen, Scotland

ITV was doomed as soon as they handed Home and Away over to Channel 5. It's just never been the same since.
Rhys, Gloucester

With so much garbage on TV nowadays, I either listen to the radio, or download anything I wish to watch off the internet (American television programmes only). You don't need a licence, and there's so much more thought gone into the programmes that the difference is amazing. Where are the programmes now like we had even twenty years ago? How many of today's programmes will be revered like Dad's Army, Morse, The Prisoner, and so on. Not that many I suspect.
Dave, Ramsgate, England

They missed out on some of the better shows they made and put some of the more recent drivel in the list instead. Where was Sapphire and Steel? Jeeves and Wooster? The Charmer? Those 3 shows were better than Heartbeat, I'm a Celebrity and Footballers' Wives on their own!
Steve G, Birmingham

ITV's best years are sadly behind them. It is now sliding into trashy rubbish. ITV needs to wake up and smell the coffee and start producing quality otherwise it's going to lose not only more viewers but also advertisers revenue as well.
Mark, Tyne and Wear

I used to watch a lot of telly, would just come home and slob out in front of the box, watching any old rubbish. Now, I ensure my social life and exercise are such that I rarely watch television, especially ITV. Whenever I do turn on the box, there's hardly anything worth watching, and what there is, is usually on the BBC. Don't subject yourself to the drivel that is passed off as quality entertainment - it's mediocre at best and there are far more interesting and useful things to do!
Luke, London, UK

Anything that John Thaw or David Jason starred in.
Helen, Wakefield UK

I do urge ITV to get back to quality broadcasting
Mike, London, UK
Happy birthday ITV but I do feel that standards in commercial broadcasting have gone downhill. It is a very sad state of affairs from the very same channel that gave us 'World In Action', 'The Sweeney', and 'Brideshead Revisited' is now inflicting the nation with trashy reality shows usually plagued with celebrity non-entities with little or no talent whatsoever. I do urge ITV to get back to quality broadcasting because with what ITV has achieved in the last 50 years, there is no excuse not to.
Mike, London, UK

I rarely watch ITV anymore - Morse, Frost and Midsomer Murders are always a good bet, as are some one-off dramas (Footprints in the Snow was excellent last week) and series such as Cold Feet and William and Mary, (although the latter was spoiled by being resurrected for a second series). Even the Bill was good years ago until they turned it into a soap. "Celebrity" Love Island is no question the lowest point so far. Could we please have more intelligent drama and less Emmerdale and Coronation Street double-bills!
Mary, Gloucester

I honestly can't remember the last time I watched ITV. The programming they have now and have had for the last 10-15 years have just been cringe-worthy, I could never understand why anyone would watch them, especially the Saturday Night line up (Blind Date, Ant & Dec etc).
Chris Rumble, Watford, UK

Watching the "best of ITV" last week just really brought home how downmarket ITV is sliding. Long gone are the serious documentaries and current affairs programmes (World in Action, anyone? Tonight doesn't even come close) and all we get now is meaningless reality/celebrity/true life drivel. About the only bright spot on this desperately failing channel is Corrie.
Darren McCormac, London

My memories are relived every day with the constant barrage of repeats we have to endure. Give us a break and come up with something new!
Paul S, Essex

When I was a little girl we couldn't get ITV on our telly so I had to go upstairs to watch with Grandma - and her favourite Saturday afternoon viewing was the wrestling. I well remember sucking mint imperials with her to a commentary about full locks and half nelsons and scenes of large men in swimming trunks flinging each other about - Giant Haystacks, Mick McManus and Big Daddy among the more memorable competitors. Tag matches were the most exciting. Nowadays I rarely watch ITV - too many 'lowest common denominator' programmes, repeats and so-called reality TV, which is really a cheap and contrived method of hoping for fireworks between sad people craving their 15 minutes of fame.
Sass, Somerset, UK

It's easy to be snobbish about ITV
Steve H, Hull UK
It's easy to be snobbish about ITV. Yes, it gave us man-o-man, yes it is responsible for its fair share of tack (Blind Date) and sugar coated niceness (Where the Heart(beat) is)but it also gave us Minder, the Sweeney, the Professionals, Cracker, the Prisoner, Gerry Anderson and some superb boxing and football memories. We can forgive them for Jeremy Beadle, stars in their eyes, self congratulatory awards ceremonies.
Steve H, Hull UK

Sadly, quality TV has died with the advent of reality TV programmes and distasteful television such as Footballers Wives. On the plus side though, the Champions League coverage has been good if rather sporadic.
Zak Kahn, Glasgow, Scotland

Seeing as only ITV seem to have the rights, Bond Movies are a great reason to tune in
Paul Cook, London, UK

Best ITV show ever is still Cracker
Ellie, Wales
Best ITV show ever is still Cracker - there hasn't been a crime series since that has come close to matching its genius during the peak of the Jimmy McGovern penned episodes. The worst would have to be drivel such as Pop Idol or Celebrity Love Island!
Ellie, Wales

We should not be celebrating the achievements of an organisation that has blatantly turned it's back on regions outside of London. 20 years ago, Central TV in Birmingham produced such classic shows as Morse, Auf Wiendersehen Pet, Spitting Image, etc, etc. Today, it's been pillaged by Carlton and reduced to a mere news studio. Shame on you ITV.
David, Shropshire

ITV produced some great TV. The Benny Hill Show, and On The Buses were superb. Now, sadly all we have is reality TV and soaps. The News at Ten - brilliant programme, but re-branded into something infinitely inferior.
Paul, Wales

I can't remember any really good home grown TV from ITV.. the beeb however keep churning out the best.. One foot in the Grave has me crying with laughter, Basil Fawlty, Blackadder et al! Pity that they seem only to be on UK Gold these days though
KB, Kent

ITV has produced some jewels, like Morse and Coronation Street
Pete, Selby, UK
ITV has produced some jewels, like Morse and Coronation Street, made more valuable by the huge amount of dross that surrounds them. The worst programmes? Most of what has appeared on Saturday evening for the last 50 years, especially anything that featured Bruce Forsythe, Benny Hill or Sid James.
Pete, Selby, UK

ITV is just a celebrity channel now. Gone are the days where the presenters or stars of programmes used to be doing it to entertain the viewers and not worry too much about their stardom or viewers ratings. There is nothing fun or interesting to watch anymore. Instead we a stuck with people who want to be celebrities and as a result we are stuck with cheap looking and boring programmes that have nothing of interest for the viewers to watch.
Charles, Crawley

Seemingly, not too many Granada/LWT shows there. My favourites being Jeremy Brett as Shelock Holmes, David Suchet as Poirot. Worst shows? Where shall I start? You've Been Framed, Beadle's About and any of the audience participation shows!
David Paul Morgan, Cardiff, UK

Best simple, Inspector Morse and A Touch of Frost. Both brilliantly acted by the late John Thaw and David Jason. The worst any soap, they are simply drivel TV for people with no intelligence. As for Ant and Dec getting second? Well that just proves people don't know what quality television is, that has to rank as even more rubbish than any soap.
David Quinton, Wigan, England

ITV used to be good, in the days of Minder (original), the Sweeney, the Professionals, etc. There was an option to BBC, when there were much fewer channels. I don't recall watching ITV for ages now - its all soap or drama soaps (bad girls, footballer wives, etc). The few serious dramas they do have are bland an uninteresting - seeming to recycle the same actors and characters. The BBC and Channel 4 offer much more, even Channel 5 is better.
Grant, London

It seems that John Thaw was personally responsible for about 25% of ITV's quality output. With his sad death, reality TV has filled the gap. My partner loves the X-factor and I can't resist the constant repeats of the James Bond films....if it wasn't for these I'd never watch ITV at all. Its a pretty sad state of affairs.
Peter, Nottingham

The 70s were the great era for ITV; The Big Match, the Sweeney and the Professionals. Inspector Morse was the best Drama Series of the 80s too. I think the days of "light entertainment" are numbered though, ITV seem to have lost their way now with endless soap and reality TV. I hardly ever watch it.
Anon, UK

Surely everything is relevant. If this poll had been taken in ten or even five years time then the Ant and Dec show probably wouldn't have made the list (never mind second). The level and age of voters (there being more 'Yoof') means that a programme such as this is going to poll more votes than classic programmes, such as Morse or Upstairs, Downstairs which are, by comparison, yesterday's viewing. Where would Coronation Street have come if it had of ended five years ago?
B, Merseyside

Saturday evenings with Dempsey and Makepeace. A woman to aspire to and a devilishly handsome young man to feast your eyes on. Oh, and some stunts thrown in. What more could a young girl want! Happy days!
Sarah, Epsom, Surrey

I had to turn over from the ITV 50th anniversary last night - it was badly put together, and badly presented, I sat on my sofa embarrassed for them all. Come on ITV you've had 50 years to rehearse last night's program. I expected more.
Andy UK, Herts

There are not enough TV programmes being produced to warrant the amount of channels available to us. The only channels worth watching are the UK terrestrial channels and even they cannot supply enough quality TV. Programmes like wife swap and TV's naughtiest blunders are just mind rotting trash, all they achieve is a method to fill the evening with some brain numbing fodder that passes time until bedtime. Turn the telly off and lose some weight.
Richard, High Wycombe, UK

The best ever ITV program? Rising Damp The worst ever? On The Buses. Quite frankly, despite always having superior viewing figures, ITV has never been a patch on the BBC.
Phil, London, UK

In my opinion, ITV has never topped The Prisoner
Martin White, Cambridge
In my opinion, ITV has never topped The Prisoner (come to think of it, neither has any other network). They should consider ditching endless variations on the reality format and devise new mind-blowing and daring drama.
Martin White, Cambridge

For me, ITV is bizarre. When I was growing up (in the 1980s) ITV used to be a major competitor to the BBC for our viewing time, particularly in the evenings and weekends with seemingly any number of appealing shows. These days, with the exception of the motor sport - which isn't nearly as good as the former coverage on BBC (Formula 1) or Channel 4 (WRC) - ITV is irrelevant to me.
David, Cambridge, UK

The Kavanagh series were excellent. John Thaw and his colleagues had the gift of being able to portray characters that were simultaneously persuasive, witty and vulnerable. His contribution will be greatly missed. I also miss World in Action, which was (as far as I remember) ITV's only decent attempt at weekday current affairs programming. The lifestyle show called Tonight with Trevor McDonald is hardly an adequate replacement.
Ceri Thomas, Conwy, Wales

Personally, I have no good memories of ITV, it provides tabloid-esque programming for a tabloid reading population. Aside from some sports I don't think I've watched it for years. The Beeb, and to some extent Channel 4 are much better.
Trem, Manchester, UK

50 years of being nowhere near as good as the Beeb? Channel 4 is better than ITV too. Long live the license fee and American imports.
James, Bradford, England


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific