History of the BBC

History of the BBC

The story of BBC Television -
Development timeline

1873 - The selenium photocell is developed after experimenters discover its electrical properties when exposed to light

 

1884 - In Germany, Paul Nipkow develops the first television image scanning device, a disc containing holes arranged in a spiral

 

1897 - Another German, Karl Braun, develops the cathode ray tube, in which a stream of electrons can be directed to create an image on a screen

 

1906 - A giant leap in radio technology with Lee De Forest's triode valve, capable of amplifying weak, long-distance signals

 

1906 - Harry Round of the Marconi Company develops the radio telephone, paving the way for sound broadcasting

 

1923 - Encouraged by early results, Scottish inventor John Logie Baird applies for a patent for television

 

1925 - Baird Television Ltd is created after the inventor generates a television image - the face of a puppet called Stookie Bill

 

January 1926 - Baird demonstrates the transmission of a television image to members of the Royal Institution in London

 

March 1925 - Baird's system is demonstrated at Selfridges

 

June 1926 - Post Office issues a licence for Baird to transmit an experimental service

 

May 1927 - the first demonstration of television outside Britain, conducted by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company

 

1927 - American Philo Farnsworth demonstrates an electronic television system using cathode-ray tubes

 

February 1928 - Baird transmits television images across the Atlantic

 

June 1929 - Baird begins experimental transmissions using the BBC's 2LO transmitter

 

July 1930 - The first television play, Pirandello's The Man with a Flower in his Mouth, is broadcast

 

April 1931 - Vladimir Zworykin begins experiments in America on an advanced cathode-ray tube, the Iconoscope

 

December 1931 - Isaac Shoenberg is granted an experimental licence for an electronic system being developed by EMI at Hayes, west London

 

1932 - The BBC takes over programme making from Baird in a television studio at Broadcasting House

 

1934 - First successful demonstration of electronic television at EMI

 

1935 - EMI teams up with Marconi to develop a complete broadcasting system

 

1935 - the Selsdon Committee recommends a minimum standard of 250 lines, and trials, side-by-side, of the rival systems

 

Summer 1935 - work begins on broadcasting facilities at Alexandra Palace

 

1936 - Leslie Mitchell moves over from BBC radio to become the first star of television as presenter of Picture Page

 

August 1936 - The BBC offers a first glimpse of the service in Here's Looking at You, a demonstration programme at RadiOlympia introduced by Elizabeth Cowell

 

2 November 1936 - Launch of television as we know-it - a regular service in ‘high definition'. Picture Page featuring Joan Miller was an early success.

 

May 1937 - First major outside broadcast: Coronation of King George VI

 

1 September 1939 - the service closes as the nation braces itself for war

 

1943 - With victory in prospect, the Hankey Committee is set up to plan for the return of television after the war

 

7 June 1946 - Jasmine Bligh reopens the television service with the words 'Hello everybody, do you remember me?'

 

1948 - Television news begins with the launch of Newsreel, a weekly bulletin of filmed reports

 

1949 - A new transmitter at Sutton Coldfield spreads television beyond London for the first time

 

2 June 1953 - For the first time Radio takes a back seat as the nation clamours to see the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on television

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