80th Anniversary of the BBC Television Service

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Donald Binks

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80th Anniversary of the BBC Television Service

PostFri Oct 28, 2016 7:47 pm

"
"Friday Night is Music Night" - John Humphrys presents a special concert to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the first regular television service.

"Your Name: John Humphrys
Occupation: Journalist and broadcaster
And your specialist subject: 80 years of British television...1936 to the present day"

It all started on Monday, 2nd November 1936 from a make-shift studio in the south east wing of Alexandra Palace in North London. Ally Pally as it was and still is known today. It wasn't a new invention by any means - experiments had been on going around the world since the 1850s to perfect and broadcast television pictures. In this country the work of John Logie Baird pushed the way forward and this November day was momentous as it marked the start of the world's first regular television service and it was called BBC Television. This title was to last until the arrival of the BBC's second television channel in 1964 and this first channel was re-named - BBC One.

That first schedule featured a variety show featuring singer - Adele Dixon; comedians - Buck and Bubbles; Chinese jugglers - the Lai Founs and the BBC Television Orchestra. There was also a new magazine programme "Picture Page" featuring switchboard girl Joan Miller. The broadcasts ran for just 4 hours a day. Small fare for the 15 thousand television sets receiving the pictures at the time. But there was much to look forward to - Tuesday's schedule offered a display of Champion Alsatians from the Metropolitan and Essex Canine Society Show and Hollywood stars Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyons.

Since then, of course, there's been a media revolution - you can catch up; download and watch online - how old fashioned it seems to think that viewers made an appointment to watch our schedules. But the last 80 years produced a wealth of comedy, drama, music, documentary, sport, natural history and news programmes.

Tonight BBC Television's older sister service - BBC Radio- celebrates 80 years of great television and musical moments with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland. The show includes musical themes from Quatermass; Monitor; Poldark; Mastermind; Vision On; Monty Python's Flying Circus and Blue Planet.

And casting an inquisitive eye and ear over the proceedings and no doubt adding the occasional pithy comment - John Humphrys.

During the interval we revisit Alexandra Palace to discover some more television history.

Concert recorded on 25th October at the Mermaid Theatre in London.

The programme is available here and should be available until the end of November 2016.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07znc3n
"
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Donald Binks

"I was in love with a beautiful blonde one time. She led me to drink. It's the only thing I'm thankful to her for."
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wingate

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Re: 80th Anniversary of the BBC Television Service

PostSat Oct 29, 2016 2:05 am

There is a special commemorative programme on BBC4 this Wednesday at 9pm
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Donald Binks

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Re: 80th Anniversary of the BBC Television Service

PostMon Oct 31, 2016 5:46 pm

wingate wrote:There is a special commemorative programme on BBC4 this Wednesday at 9pm

\
from the blurb about it all:-
"
In a unique experiment, Dallas Campbell, Professor Danielle George and Dr Hugh Hunt join forces in an attempt to re-stage the very first official broadcast on British television, exactly 80 years after it made history.

The very first official broadcast came from Alexandra Palace on 2nd November 1936 - but there are no surviving recordings. To find out just what went on, this 21st-century team attempts to piece back together and recreate every aspect of the show from scratch - from the variety acts to the cameras - using the original technology and filming techniques to capture the excitement of the day.

It's not going to be easy. At the dawn of TV, two rival camera technologies competed live on air to take control of the fledgling industry. The system that went first on opening night was a seven-foot tall mechanical monster built by John Logie Baird's company. It was called the 'Flying Spot' and at its heart was a huge steel disc spinning almost at the speed of sound - meaning mechanical engineer Hugh had better be careful as he attempts to resurrect it. Meanwhile, Danielle finds out how the rival and highly experimental, all-electronic camera system had problems of its own.

The team uncovers the mixed influences of high-minded radio and bawdy variety shows on early TV, at a time when it was still a science experiment and not a mass medium. They seek advice from pre-war television pioneers, including Logie Baird's former assistant, now aged 104 but still full of handy tips about how to build a mechanical camera.

Dallas learns just how much harder his job would have been 80 years ago, when the very first television announcer Leslie Mitchell was plastered in bizarre make-up and given a cue for 'action' that bordered on physical assault! Dallas also meets one of the performers in front of the camera on the original night - now in her nineties - to find out what it was like to be part of television history.

As they prepare for broadcast, the team discovers a story of cogs and gears, electron beams and dancing girls - and one mad night that, for better or worse, helped invent television as we know it.
"
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Donald Binks

"I was in love with a beautiful blonde one time. She led me to drink. It's the only thing I'm thankful to her for."
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brendangcarroll

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Re: 80th Anniversary of the BBC Television Service

PostSun Nov 06, 2016 6:32 am

The BBC4 TV programme attempting to "recreate" the first telecast was unbelievably naff and overlong. Needless to add, the young artists that were hired to impersonate Adele Dixon, Leslie Mitchell, Buck & Bubbles et alia failed miserably to emulate the style and flair of the 1930s.

The Movietone News short subject which did a far better job, recreating the first programme with the original performers was only glimpsed briefly. The BBC is afraid of screening old black and white films in case the audience turns off, preferring to create modern reproductions of the original in order to be "acceptable" to a modern audience.

At 90 minutes, this programme was unbearable.
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Donald Binks

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Re: 80th Anniversary of the BBC Television Service

PostSun Nov 06, 2016 1:36 pm

brendangcarroll wrote:The BBC4 TV programme attempting to "recreate" the first telecast was unbelievably naff and overlong. Needless to add, the young artists that were hired to impersonate Adele Dixon, Leslie Mitchell, Buck & Bubbles et alia failed miserably to emulate the style and flair of the 1930s.

The Movietone News short subject which did a far better job, recreating the first programme with the original performers was only glimpsed briefly. The BBC is afraid of screening old black and white films in case the audience turns off, preferring to create modern reproductions of the original in order to be "acceptable" to a modern audience.

At 90 minutes, this programme was unbearable.


Yes, I must agree with you there. I was constantly shouting at them to "get on with it!". There was so much time wasted leading up to the programme that they were supposed to be presenting, that by the time we did get to see "the programme" there was no time left.

If I was to give the exercise any credit it would be for a couple of things. Firstly it was interesting to see John Logie Baird's Heath-Robinson contraption producing mechanical television - and the reminiscences of his now 104 year old assistant. Other than that it was a load of pfaff.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"I was in love with a beautiful blonde one time. She led me to drink. It's the only thing I'm thankful to her for."

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