ITA/IBA test cards (partially lost test cards; 1970s)

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Test Card Example.jpg

An example of a test card.

Status: Partially Lost

Back in the 1970s, television broadcasters used Test Card F-type ITA/IBA cards to aid in technical operation, and for placeholders in-between regular programming.


The Independent Television Authority (ITA; later renamed the IBA, or Independent Broadcast Authority to cover all forms of telecommunications) was a non-partisan governmental television overseer established in 1954 for the broadcast stations of the United Kingdom. At first designed simply to oversee the creation of ITV (Independent Television), they later took on new roles, such as censoring broadcasts, establishing run times for then-new programs, and regulating commercial advertising on television channels.

With the creation of the ITA through the Television Act of 1954 also came test cards. While not limited to the 1970s (ITA tuning signals were around as early as 1955), the prominence of test cards comes from the BBC in the early 1970s, depicting a young girl holding a homemade doll. Other test cards, made unique to ITA and IBA, remain lost to this day.

Found/Partially-Found Test Cards

  • HTV (ITA found, IBA lost)
  • Associated Television (ITA found, IBA lost)
  • Southern TV (ITA found, IBA lost)
  • Anglia TV (both found)
  • Tyne Tees Television (ITA found, IBA lost)
  • Yorkshire Television (ITA found, IBA lost)
  • Thames/LWT (both found)
  • Westward (ITA found, IBA lost)
  • Granada (ITA lost, IBA found)

(Known) Lost Test Cards

  • Border Television
  • Channel Television
  • Grampian Television
  • Scottish Television
  • Ulster Television