The Small Screen in Britain (1951) …

The Small Screen in Britain  (1951)  …


Murphy TV (1951)

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was established in 1927 to develop radio broadcasting, and inevitably became involved in TV in 1936.


Television caught on in the United Kingdom in 1947, but its expansion was slow. By 1951, with only 2 transmitters, near London and Birmingham, only 9 percent of British homes owned a TV. The United Kingdom was the first country to have a regular daily television schedule direct to homes and it was the first to have technical professions to work on TVs.


Pye TV’s – 1951 brochure

Televisions were very expensive back in 1951. This Pye television with a 10×8 inch picture would have set you back 76 guineas. The average weekly wage was in the region £5.8s. That’s about 3 months wages! 


Less expensive televisions were available such as those featured in Pye’s 1951 catalogue above. Each model had 2 choices pre-tuned to either London or the Midlands. They came with two ontrols: volume/on-off and picture contrast. Most had 14 valves which had to warm up before it worked.


Well … if you click on the link below you can find out the listings for every day in 1951. I was born on 20th November 1951. I suppose I could have watched Andy Pandy! (Note: using this link you can also see the BBC Broadcast Daily Schedules for 1936-1939 & 1945-1964.)


16 responses to “The Small Screen in Britain (1951) …

  1. Actually a couple of quite interesting-sounding programmes, here. I bet The Education of Girls was an eye-opener and I like the sound of John Bull’s Other Alphabet. With all the repeats and revivals going on at the moment, we might just get to see these little gems again!

  2. It is amazing how this all developed!

  3. We didn’t get a TV in our home until the late 1950’s, and I have no recollections of watching it! I do remember my Gran (who lived with us) watching Sunday Night at the London Palladium! It was memorable because she used to applaud and wave at the performers in the belief that they could see her! Any attempt to explain the principles of TV were lost because “Of course they can see me. Look…. they are waving to me!”

  4. Wow, you’re so advanced! I didn’t see TV until 1960 or 1961 – it took a while to reach NZ. It promptly became a status symbol, because of the expense. In fact, there were rumours that some people had TV aerials on their houses, but no TV set inside.

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