ITV at 60: Celebrating the anniversary of Britain's longest-running commercial TV channel (photos)

ITV was born out of the Television Act of 1954, which sought to break up the BBC's monopoly on British television and provide it with a commercial competitor, supported by advertising. ITV broadcast for the first time 60 years ago today, 22 September 1955. The first advert, shown at 8.12pm local time, was for Gibbs SR toothpaste. Take a look back at some images from the archives showing ITV's most notable moments.

Ann Hogarth, with husband Jan Bussell, co-creator and operator of Muffin the Mule, pictured here with Rufus the Clown cutting a celebratory cake before their first ever appearance on ITV in 1956.J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images
The Adventures of Robin Hood, with Richard Greene as the titular star, was one of ITV’s first major successes. Here actor Alexander Gauge, who played Friar Tuck, shows the healthy appetite that won him the part.Keystone/Getty Images
Miss Independent Television 1957, Deirdre Ottewell, poses with a television camera.Derek Berwin/Fox Photos/Getty Images
ITN and ITV broadcast teams prepare for a dummy run before their first general election coverage in 1959.George W. Hales/Fox Photos/Getty Images

ITV will be running a series of special programmes to mark the anniversary, including a special live hour-long episode of its long-running soap opera Coronation Street.

Media executive Lew Grade, the main power behind ITV franchise ATV, relaxes during a company strike.Express/Getty Images
Hundreds of fans surround The Beatles during rehearsals for their ITV showcase Round The Beatles in 1964Central Press/Getty Images
Alastair Burnet and Harold Wilson prepare for a 1964 interview in the ITV studiosMcKeown/Express/Getty Images
Violet Carson, nationally known as Coronation Street character Ena Sharples, was a fixture in the show from its first episode in 1960 through to 1980.Wood/Express/Getty Images
Hughie Green, Barbra Windsor, Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd promote ITV's Christmas programming for 1969Frank Barratt/Keystone/Getty Images

You Saw Them Here First: The Hall of Fame will see some of British TV's biggest names inducted into ITV's Hall of Fame, before being confronted with clips of their first appearances on national TV. Bruce Forsyth, Philip Schofield and Barbara Knox are among the stars honoured.

Jimmy Tarbuck and Bruce Forsyth enter the festive spirit prior to their roles in ITV's 1970 Christmas programmingMike Lawn/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Shirley Crabtree, better known as Big Daddy, was the standout star of World of Sport's wrestling segments, earning famous fans including Margaret Thatcher and the Queen MotherAllsport
The cast of long-running cop drama The Bill, captured in 1988. The show ran for 26 years and gave acting breaks to the likes of Sean Bean and Keira Knightley.Douglas Doig/Express/Getty Images
The gentle Yorkshire-based police show Heartbeat, starring Nick Berry as PC Nick Rowan, ran from 1992 to 2010. Upon its cancellation, fans ran lengthy "Save Heartbeat" campaigns, to no avail.Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A Radio Times poll to mark the anniversary saw 1980s Germany-based comedy-drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet named as the greatest show in ITV's history, beating out competition from Thunderbirds, Coronation Street, Inspector Morse and The Prisoner.

Queen Elizabeth II meets Liz Dawn, who plays Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street, as part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations. Duckworth made her final appearance in the show in 2010, as a ghost.Chris Young/Pool/Getty Images
Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly pose with British Comedy Awards in 2004. In the past decade they have become perhaps ITV's signature light entertainment hosts.Claire Greenway/Getty Images
The leaders of the main seven political parties at the 2015 General Election meet for an ITV leaders debate, the only time David Cameron and Ed Miliband engaged each other on TV in that electoral campaign.Ken McKay/ITV via Getty Images
The ITV logo above Media City in Salford Quays.Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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