This weeks Sunday Scribblings prompt - Vision
In 1934, following the first public demonstration of television, Isaac Shoenberg turned to his team of engineers and said “Well gentlemen, you have now invented the biggest timewaster of all time. Use it well”
The editor of the Manchester Guardian newspaper said a year later –“Television. The word is half Greek and half Latin. No good will come of it”
And so public service broadcasting was born. In the UK the British Broadcasting Corporation was set up and in March 1936 the first television programme went to air.
It was a live broadcast from the Radio Olympia exhibition called Here’s Looking at You and stared Miss Lutie and her Wonder Horse Pogo, a vocal trio called The Three Admirals and a couple of tap dancers. The whole thing was kicked off by singer Helen McKay who warbled the theme song. This short clip shows those first moments.
By November of that year the Beeb (sorry –The BBC!) had really got into its stride and was transmitting a news programme and a documentary and a ventriloquist as well as other fascinating programmes.
The link man, or the continuity announcer as he was know, was Leslie Mitchell. He was a dapper man with piercing eyes and a pencil line moustache. After seeing a film of the first day he was heard to say “There was a little man with bow legs and a bowler hat – who the hell was that?” “It was you Leslie!” came back the reply!
Television in Britain continued as something of a Cinderella service for the next few years, but its defining moment came on June 2 1953 with the live broadcast of the coronation of our present monarch – Queen Elizabeth 2nd. That was when a television set first took up its position in our front room, as well as many others country wide.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Despite the onset of commercial TV in 1954 and the onslaught of hundreds of new pretenders in recent years, the Beeb remains the most respected and revered broadcaster in the world. And it’s still to this day free of adverts!
But let me take you back to those early days with a short promotional film called ' Vision on Sound on' which shows some behind the scenes footage whilst the BBC Song is sung for your delectation and entertainment.
‘Conjured up in sound and sight
By these magic rays of light
That bring television to you’