Here is the story

Here is the twenty-year-old story of BBC television told in pictures.

It is a story of small beginnings, many changes, great progress. It starts at No. 16 Portland Place, London, W.1, and then moves up to a hill in North London. It continues in the roominess of Lime Grove at Shepherds Bush. Someday, soon, White City will be Television City serving the whole nation.

Four people in front of a curtain with a portrait-oriented illustration on an easel behind them

The Play – then and now

In 1930 a Nevinson drawing for a backcloth, a plain curtain behind.

In 1950, elaborate sets, skilled lighting, depth, atmosphere, favourites of the West End; a recent production of The Chiltern Hundreds.

Experiment – expansion – more experiment…

Experiment – expansion – more experiment…

In 1934 at 16 Portland Place, the props were makeshift, and the Easter-egg shaped microphone was always within view.

Lighting, makeup, scenery, camera positions, each presented problems to be overcome.

(Right) In 1950 at Lime Grove, Studio D. 5,400 square feet of floor space. Room to move. Room for more experiment…

Song, dance and laughter

Song, dance and laughter

To the television screens of the early 30’s came the favourite entertainers of the day, measuring their talents in a strange new world.

(Above) sandy powell and company brought the End of the Pier with them to Portland Place. 

Now there is a two-way traffic between the West End and the Television Studios. Fame today may first come from appearances before bbc cameras. These in turn have gone out, wherever possible, to the theatres themselves.

(Left) Camera and crew soar high above the heads of a youthful audience whilst cecil landeau‘s Christmas Party is performed at the Cambridge Theatre in January 1950.