The Light Programme—75 Years of Television

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Thursday, 3 November, 2011

Yesterday, at 3pm on November 2, 1936, the world’s first “high definition” television service began broadcasting from Alexandra Palace, high above North London.

High definition” in those days meant, at best, 405 lines and monochrome. The BBC Television Service was ridiculed by some – those operating it were referred to disparagingly as “The Fools On The Hill” – but of course, television became popular in due course, even though at its opening only about 300 members of the public could view the programmes, and only in the London area.

In honour of the 75th anniversary of the BBC Television Service, we’re playing a collection of light music today on Radio Riel’s Main Stream, including pieces of music that may be familiar, especially to older British listeners, as classics from the world of television and radio over the last three quarters of a century, written by some of the leading composers of the era, including Walton, Bliss, Coates and Addinsell. We’ll  hear music that accompanied Test Cards, programme theme music, opening and closing themes and much more.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of television in the UK, please visit the Transdiffusion web site, and especially the Baird sub‐site, which covers the period up to 1955. For those living in the UK, there is a special exhibition on the history of television at Alexandra Palace this weekend, November 5–6. More details are available here.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin and produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with our friends at the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can listen to the programme in‐world now at, or simply click here to start your player, if your browser is configured to do so. Listeners in the United States are encouraged to tune in using this link:

For more information on the Alexandrian Free Library, current exhibits and the work of Consortium members in general, please visit the Alexandrian Free Library website, or one of their branches in‐world.


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: