ITV Telethon

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The ITV Telethons were three charity telethons organised and televised in the United Kingdom by the ITV network. They took place in 1988, 1990 and 1992. Each lasted for 27 hours and all were hosted by Michael Aspel.

Thames Telethon

The ITV Telethon originated from the 10-hour 'Thames Telethon', which ran in the Thames/London ITV region only, on 2 October 1980. Thames broadcast another Telethon on 23 October 1985.

ITV Telethon

Logo for 1990 event

The US-style continuous broadcast raised £1.25 million, and was considered such a success that a 27-hour marathon was broadcast across the entire network from 29 to 30 May 1988, involving participation and input from all of the regional broadcasters around the country. It had the aim of raising money for disability charities across the United Kingdom.

A further two ITV Telethons followed in 1990 and 1992, the latter raising £15m. Michael Aspel was the frontman for all three. Telethon helped thousands of charities in the UK. Many local ITV companies like Tyne Tees Television and Television South West contributed from company profits. In the TVS region alone TVS donated £1 million from its own charity, the TVS Trust, in late May 1990.citation needed

Like the telethons in the US, the ITV Telethons also offered regional cut-ins by ITV companies all over the country, featuring personalities and local celebrities from that region such as the late Richard Whiteley for Yorkshire Television or Ruth Madoc for HTV Wales.

Criticism and the end of ITV Telethon

The plug was pulled after the 1992 telethon possibly due to the then recession which resulted in the ITV Telethon raising less money in 1992 than in 1990 and a culture change seen at ITV after franchise changes in 1993.

Other factors which have contributed to the ending of this event had possibly included protests from a group of disability rights activists from the activist group, the Campaign for Accessible Transport, later known as the Direct Action Network. This had included a demonstration outside of LWT's Kent House where the main broadcast was located during the 1992 Telethon and two demonstrators had intruded on the studio when the broadcast took place.

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