The world of British television off and on the screen, as it was sixty years ago.

Set List

The Guardian’s London Staff report that commercial television’s first night will begin at Guildhall and “will be graced by the presence of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Lord Mayor of London, the Postmaster-General and Sir John Barbirolli with his orchestra. The Hallé will play Elgar’s ‘Cockaigne’ and ‘God Save the Queen’, the Lord Mayor will make a speech and then the programme proper will begin.”

The remainder of the evening will continue as follows: “From Guildhall the viewers will be taken to Wood Green Empire for a variety show; next will be a programme in which some of our greatest actors and actresses will give excerpts from their favourite plays. The list is: John Gielgud, Edith Evans, Pamela Brown, Alec Guinness, John Clements and Kay Hammond. Next comes a championship boxing match between Terence Murphy and Lou Lazer (which will last for fifty-minutes if there is not a quick knock-out), a news bulletin, a cabaret, trailers of the next day’s programmes and a religious epilogue. All the normal advertisements will be carried (none from Guildhall) and the proceeds will go to charities chosen by the Lord Mayor.

The Guardian also reports on what it considers to be a positive influence of television: more “serious” books are being borrowed from libraries. A result of Animal – Vegetable – Mineral is that archaeology is now “extremely popular” with borrowers at Manchester Central Library. Nottingham Library has also witnessed a steady rise in the numbers of “books other than novels” borrowed during the last five years. The same report also records that: “those who are encouraged to become television ‘stars’ also seek the help of the libraries. So many young people recently went to Manchester Central Library in preparation for a BBC audition they they hoped to take part in that the library staff had to gather them together in an alcove and make them share the limited number of books available.”

Associated-Rediffusion has weighed in on the debate about the 14-day rule. While not suggesting that they will break it, one of The Guardian’s London correspondents was told “that every time [A-R’s] contributors – on the news side, naturally, rather than among the entertainers – are compelled to skirt round an important issue because of the Postmaster-General’s ukase a clear announcement will be made. The public will be told repeatedly when matters of public interest may not be discussed on television.”

The Times carries the news that the BBC television has announced plans for television broadcasts from Ireland, before the end of the year. The BBC engineers “plan to transmit the programmes in Ireland by microwave links to the Divis transmitter and thence to a point on he mainland. From there they would be carried by microwave to Kirk o’Shotts for onward transmission.” Testing will commence in early September.

Today’s Times  comes with a 24-page Radio and Television supplement to tie in with the National Radio Show at Earls Court which will run from 24 August to 3 September. There’s much to digest in here so I’ll go through its contents over the next few days, but with around half of the pages consisting of advertisements, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at some of the television sets which are presently available. All of these are advertised in the supplement, though some of the information has had to be gleaned from elsewhere. I haven’t yet worked out what proportion of sets currently available to buy are listed here. A few further notes follow the table.

Maker’s
Name
Model Screen Size
(inches)
Price
(Guineas)
Style
Cossor 938F 14 69 Table
Cossor 937 17 80 Table
Cossor 939F 17 102 Console
Decca DM14 14 67 Table
Decca DM17 17 79 Table
Decca DMC17 17 87 Console
Decca DMC/D17 17 102 Console/Doors
Ecko TC220 21 140 Free-Standing
Ferguson New Standard 998 12 49 Table
Ferguson New Standard 204 14 63 Table
Ferguson Nine Star 203T 14 67 Table
Ferguson New Standard 14 73 Console
Ferguson New Standard 206 17 73 Table
Ferguson Nine Star 205T 17 77 Table
Ferguson New Standard 244 (HL) 14 88 Console/Doors
Ferguson Nine Star 235T (HL) 17 94 Console
Ferguson New Standard (HL) 17 100 Console
Ferguson Nine Star 245T (HL) 17 105 Console/Doors
Ferguson Nine Star 247 (HL) 21 135 Console
Ferguson Nine Star 14 ?? Console
Ferranti 14T5 14 66 Table
Ferranti 17T5 17 78 Table
Ferranti 20T5 20 95 Console/Doors
Ferranti 17K5 17 99 Console/Doors
Ferranti 21K5 21 129 Console/Doors
G.E.C. BT1252 14 65 Table
HMV 1840 14 67 Table
HMV 1841 14 78 Console
HMV 1842 17 79 Table
HMV 1843 17 110 Console/Doors
Ultra VT8-15 15 67 Table
Ultra WT9-17 17 87 Console

Ferguson produce a bewildering number of variations with 14″ and 17″ tubes in table-top, console and doored-console versions. Cross these six combinations with two ranges – New Standard for those living where reception is good, and Nine Star for those in more troublesome areas – and add to that the fact that most (and possibly all) console/doored-console sets can be bought with or without Ferguson’s HaloLight surround which is supposed to improve clarity of the picture and you get somewhere in the region of 20 models before any 21″ sets are brought into consideration. Only combinations which are explicitly mentioned in their advertisement(s) are listed here.

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