Celebration of Early Television Days Coming To U.K. Big Screen

Non-news footage scheduled to unspool at BFI Southbank.


LONDON – The British Film Institute’s Southbank center will play host to a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the world’s first high-definition, regular public television service.

Along with the Alexandra Palace Television Society, the BFI will host a short season of early public demonstration films, plays, and documentaries plus rarely seen extracts from early films to mark the anniversary of the British broadcast in September this year.

The 1930’s witnessed feverish activity across the globe as inventors, technicians and entrepreneurs sought to create the world’s first public television service.

While great strides were being made in the US, Russia, Germany, Japan and France it was the U.K. which got there first.

While experimental services had been operating since the 1920’s, it was in November 1936 that the BBC launched the world’s first high-definition, regular public television service following test transmissions at Radiolympia in August of that year.

The BFI aims to celebrate the success with early footage shot and aired including non-news footage of events such as George Bernard Shaw on his 90th birthday (1946), Variety in Sepia featuring Adelaide Hall (from 1947), an experimental tele-recording of radio’s flagship comedy show of the time ITMA (It’s That Man Again) and scenes from the 1948 Olympics.