Re: 1990 franchise round - why Thames lost
The "Death on the Rock" documentary:
< Big Maggie was watching you
[I had heard this theory a number of times before - Wikipedia link added as an easy reference for people wanting to know more - the loss of the franchise is mentioned]
Another high bidder that lost out in the 1990 round was Telewest's bid for the South West ITV franchise. Telewest had the highest bid of £16m (IIRC), but their business plan included relocating studios from Plymouth to Exeter which didn't go down so well. The franchise went to Westcountry who bid about the same £8m as the incumbent TSW had; but TSW lost out because they apparently hadn't pulled their weight on making programming for the ITV network.