In 1932 BBC Television began broadcasting a regular channel, which later became BBC One, but it was not until 1936 that electronically scanned television began from Alexandra Palace. Television broadcasts were suspended during World War II but in 1948 the BBC Television Service resumed broadcasting and the sale of televisions began to increase. What television programs do you recall from your time at Mayfield?

1950 Bush Television

1950 Bush Television

1950 By January 1st 1950 there were only 340,000 television licence holders and just two television transmitters broadcasting to Greater London and the recently added Midlands area.

1953 The year in which television truly arrived. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was the event that convinced the masses that Television was as essential as Radio. For many, the first experience of watching football on TV was the 1953 FA Cup final in which Stanley Matthews and Blackpool defeated Nat Lofthouse and Bolton Wanderers 4-3.

1954 The Grove Family, regarded as Britain’s first soap, begins airing.

1955 ITV launches, ending the BBC’s 23-year long monopoly on British television.

1956 Hancock’s Half Hour, regarded as the first modern sitcom which began on BBC Radio, is transferred to BBC television.


Tony Hancock

1957 The Sky at Night, the longest-running television programme hosted by the same presenter, Patrick Moore, begins on the BBC.

1958 Blue Peter, the world’s longest-running children’s programme, is first broadcast by the BBC along with long-running various sport show Grandstand.

1960 Coronation Street, Britain’s longest-running television soap, debuts on ITV.


Coronation Street Cast

1961 The Avengers and Points of View debut on British television.

1962 The satirical show That Was The Week That Was begins.

1963 The science fiction series Doctor Who is aired for the first time and the satirical show ‘That Was The Week That Was’ comes to an end.

1964 Long-running music and football shows Top of the Pops and Match of the Day are both launched.


Top of the Pops logo

1965 ITV’s Saturday afternoon World of Sport programme begins airing with Eamonn Andrews presenting.


Eamonn Andrews

1966 Cathy Come Home, possibly the best-known play ever to be broadcast on British television, is presented in BBC One’s The Wednesday Play anthology strand.

1967 BBC Two begins colour broadcasting at the Wimbledon Championships and Patrick McGoohan’s cult television series The Prisoner debuts on ITV and News at Ten is also launched on ITV.

1968 Popular BBC sitcom Dad’s Army begins.

1969 Regular colour television broadcasting begins on BBC One and ITV, and the world watches footage of the 1969 moon landing.

1970 The BBC Nine O’Clock News goes on air for the first time.

1971 Launch of the Old Grey Whistle Test, popular comedy show The Two Ronnies and the popular series Upstairs, Downstairs.


The Two Ronnies

1972 Debut of BBC One’s Newsround and ITV’s Emmerdale Farm, both of which continue to air to the present day.

1973 Debut of Thames Television’s critically acclaimed documentary series The World at War.

1975 The popular sitcom Fawlty Towers first appears along with The Good Life for the first time on British television screens, as well as the police drama The Sweeney. 1975 also sees the first transmission of a James Bond film on British television.

1976 Punk group the Sex Pistols cause a storm of controversy and outrage in the UK by swearing well before the watershed on the regional Thames Television news programme Today, hosted by Bill Grundy but Grundy, who had goaded them into doing so, is temporarily sacked making the news programme Today come to an end.

1978 Anna Ford becomes the first female news reader on ITN and the first of ITV’s ‘An Audience With…’ is aired, presented by Jasper Carrott.


Anna Ford

1979 Robin Day presents the first edition of Question Time and Terry Wogan presents the first edition of Blankety Blank.

1980 Launch of Newsnight, the first televising of Watchdog, Family Fortunes and Play Your Cards Right both debut on ITV and the first BBC Children in Need telethon.


Television 1936 To 1980 — 5 Comments

  1. 1950 to 1956 children’s tv programme Whirligig hosted by Humphrey Lestocq

  2. I remember the ‘Army Game’, late 50’s, featuring among many Alfie Bass and Bill Frazer. The latter owned a sweet shop in Ilford Lane.

  3. We didn’t have a television in our house until 1960, it was in black and white, so excited when I came home from school and it was there.

  4. I remember lots of programmes from the seventies, such as Morecomb and Wise, the Professionals, Porridge, Love Thy Neighbour. I still think that British comedy is the best.

  5. A question very often posed in game shows is who was ITN’s first female newsreader? The answer usually comes out as Anna Ford, as above. But she wasn’t the first one. ITN’s first female newsreader was Barbara Mandell. I think most people usually think of the gorgeous Anna because in the early days ITV was only received in the London area before the network expansion of the late fifties. I did have the pleasure of working with the BBC’s Angela Rippon while an associate producer at Radio 2 in Bristol where we produced the Radio 2 Arts Programme in 1991. Angela and I did remain in touch for many years and very often guesting “down the line” on my own programmes on commercial radio later. She was – and still is – the hallmark of a true professional.

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