A Personal Foreword
In the first place, why a picture-book? Simply because pictures are the raw material of television. They are television. And merely to write about television and then add a few pictures as an afterthought is the wrong way round.
Accordingly, what the compilers of this booklet have done is to choose 120 pictures from the earliest studio beginnings down to the present day (with a glimpse of the future of things in the new Lime Grove studios and the White City permanent centre) and then add a few lines of comment in explanation. That is the right way.
In the result, television picture book really shows you what television is like. That is important because some of you who find yourselves with this book in your screen may never have seen television at all. And if you are one of these, I recommend you to turn to pages 45-47 to see what television looks like on the screen. You can come back later to the photographs of national events, sporting occasions and studio productions that go to make up the programmes.
There is one thing that this Picture Book cannot do, and that is to show you the pictures in action. Only a television receiver can do that. And already the Alexandra Palace and Sutton Coldfield transmitters have brought television within the range of 17,000,000 viewers.
But the story does not end there. By 1954, television will be available to more than eighty per cent of the population of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And by then television will have become so much a part of the national life that there will be no need for explanatory forewords like this one.
NORMAN COLLINS, Controller bbc Television
Photographs by hugh tosh and roynan raikes, BBC staff photographers, Picture Post Library, British Insulated Callender Cables, Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. Screen Tele-snaps by john cura. Script by david clayton.