The Bits in Between...

The Bits in Between...

An interview with Andrew Martin a BBC preservation expert

Andrew Martin, an expert from the BBC's archives, tells us why the bits in between television programmes aren't just the times you can nip out and make a cup of tea.

Transcript

Announcers

From when television started, I mean, in this country in the 1930s, there was a need for linking material between programmes just to kind of announce them.
(film clip)
Television was almost like a variety bill in the theatre where, you know, an item would come on, somebody had to say what it was.
(film clip)
They would talk about the whole evening's programming.
(film clip)
Most of the time it was just somebody showing up, you know, you actually saw them on the screen, which you don't get any more.
(film clip)
Eventually this was phased out too; by about 1965/66 there was just a sort of graphic image with a kind of disembodied voice, as we know now.
(film clip)
The announcers in the early days, I mean going back to the 1930s, were actually celebrities in their own right. You got people like Leslie Mitchell, who'd been a newsreel announcer.
(film clip)
They had to look good but they also had to speak well. They had to speak clearly.
(film clip)
And they were obviously of a certain class background, you might say.
(film clip)
But they would audition for them and, you know, it was quite a sought-after thing to be. They got masses of fan mail; they got recognition all over the place. It was an era when television celebrity was really invented and they were among the people who were the most recognised because they were people who appeared every day.


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