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.

Television marches on…

Television marches on…

In November 1936, Television moved up to Alexandra Palace and became a Service. From the bigger (but still cramped) studios the cameras recorded the opening ceremony by Major the rt. hon. george clement tryon, His Majesty’s Postmaster-General. 

Installed in its new home, Television also went out and about to bring great national events into the homes of the people…

(Left) The Royal Coach bearing Their Majesties, passes the television came­ras at Apsley Gate on the Coronation Route.

Television builds its playhouse

Television builds its playhouse

From the two Studios at Alexandra Palace come a hundred plays a year; drama in all its forms. One evening the realistic presentation of life on a transatlantic waterfront. On another, the forth of small talk in a Mayfair drawing room.

(Above) The Gentle People by Irwin Shaw set in a Brooklyn slum.

(Left) The Eternal Triangle set in London’s West End.

macdonald hobley (right centre), whose smile is familiar to every viewer, demonstrates, with a rare frown, that he is also an actor of talent.

Ballet finds new patterns

Ballet finds new patterns

Familiar favourites adapted to Television’s special needs; many thousands of new ballet-lovers won; world-famous choreographers creating original themes.

This is the tale of the five years 1946-1950.

(Right) nijinsky, the Master, visits Alexandra Palace a few days before his death to see his famous pupil Serge Lifar at a dress rehearsal.

(Below) Salome. One of the first first [sic] special ballets, which Celia Franca devised and danced. 

(Above) 1948. Suite de Blanc, by Serge Lifar. Danced by Yvette Chauvire and Company of the Theatre National de Opera de Paris.

(Right) 1947. Designs with Strings; Svetlana Beriosova and the Metropolitan Ballet.

Film in Television

Film in Television

(Above) Sir stafford cripps is interviewed by the B B C Television Newsreel camera. A commentator (right) records a sequence for London Town. Sound is added to this and similar items in Television’s own theatre at Alexandra Palace. Behind him, in the glass-enclosed ‘mixing room’, the engineers regulate the sound and add music and effects.