The Day of the Box

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | November 2, 2016 0

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80 years ago today – at 3pm, to be precise – the first British television programme was broadcast.

Calling all telly-lovers! If you can bear to drag yourself off the sofa and away from the box this evening, Ally Pally is celebrating 80 years since the very first live television broadcast – and you can still get your hands on tickets. It was not as reported in some of the British Press the world’s first TV broadcast, no, those pesky Americans got there first. Radio giant RCA began daily experimental television broadcasts in New York City in March 1929 over station W2XBS, the predecessor of current television station WNBC. telly2

The first broadcast took place at Alexandra Palace and the machinery looked like something out of an early episode of Doctor Who. The north-London landmark was responsible for the first ever television broadcast on November 2 1936. At 3pm that day the BBC Television Service launched and broadcast to just a few hundred viewers. Things kicked off with a speech from BBC chairman Mr RC Norman followed by a performance from West End star Adele Dixon. Not quite an episode of ‘Stranger Things’.

The listings for the first ever day of TV looked VERY different from today’s. Television launched 80 years ago today – and Radio Times carried the very first schedules. Of course, it wasn’t TV as we know it today on the Box. No Strictly, no X Factor. Back then there was just one channel, known as the BBC Television Service, and at the stroke of 3pm on 2nd November 1936, it began airing to just a few hundred viewers. telly3telly4tellyallypally

But it was a big occasion – marked by an extra special edition of Radio Times packed with features on the brand new medium of television. Take a closer look at RT’s famous cover and you’ll recognise the Alexandra Palace transmitter mast that made it all possible.

Tonight’s event will see comedy troupe Do Not Adjust Your Stage perform a night of improv shows inspired by TED talks about the history of television. Ticket-holders also get a 1930s-style cocktail and canapes on arrival.

But a lot can change in 80 years and TV is now a 24-hour affair stretched across hundreds of channels packed with non-stop programming to entertain millions of viewers each day.

Just think how far we have come on today, the Day of the Box. 

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The Skibbereen Eagle

In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

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