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Aerial Journeys | Looking at the British landscape from the air

About this collection

Inspired by the television series 'Britain From Above', this collection brings together highlights from over 60 years of broadcasting from the air, narrated by some distinguished personalities.

Dating from 1949, it includes the test footage of the first live aerial broadcast and samples of the first major television series filmed entirely from the air. Included are also other ways the BBC has taken to the skies over the years, from hot-air balloon to RAF jet.

Documents also reveal the drama behind some of the ambitious broadcasts and a famous poet's involvement in this aerial story.

Aerial Journeys Collection

Picture of memo concerning operation Pegasus.

Operation Pegasus Memo

WRITTEN 1950
1 PAGE

The costs of the first live broadcast from the air.

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Picture of Radio Times article about an aerial journey over London.

From an Aeroplane over London

WRITTEN 1950
4 PAGES

A 'Radio Times' draft and article about the BBC's first live broadcast from an aeroplane.

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Handwritten text from part of a memo to production staff from the Head of Television Programmes

Operation Pegasus Causes Problems

WRITTEN 1950
1 PAGE

The Head of Television Programmes criticises 'Operation Pegasus'.

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A memo from the Head of Television in 1950.

Operation Pegasus Continues to Cause Problems

WRITTEN 1950
1 PAGE

Cecil McGivern finds further fault with 'Operation Pegasus'.

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A letter from poet John Betjeman, July 1968

A Letter from John Betjeman

WRITTEN 1968
7 PAGES

Ideas for the first 'Bird's Eye View' episode.

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Picture of a letter from Sir John Betjeman to a BBC producer.

A Letter from John Betjeman

WRITTEN 1968
1 PAGE

Helicopter filming causes problems for John Betjeman and chaos ensues at Longleat.

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A page from the BBC staff newspaper 'Ariel'.

BBC Staff Newspaper Extract

WRITTEN c. 1969
1 PAGE

A feature on 'Bird's Eye View'.

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