Your Favourite Northern Ireland TV Moments
The BBC Northern Ireland TV series, "Window on the World", took a look at what affect television has had in NI.
People's memories of seeing the famous test cards for the first time, staying up to watch the Alex Higgins and Denis Taylor snooker match and the horror of the troubles brought directly into our living rooms.
People take the media for granted these days - with cable and satellite television we get a choice of dozens of channels to watch. But back in the early days how would we have coped....with one?
2003 marks 50 years of television in the province and we want to hear from
you. The memories can come from both BBCNI and Ulster Television. They can
be from any era and from any genre.
Here are some examples to start you off :-
Teatime with Tommy... Romper Room... The Kelly Show... Anderson on the Box... The Barry McGuigan chat show... Go for it...
The your place and mine team has been busy digging in the archives to bring you some great news nostalgia.....
Nine gems of news reports from the days of Scene around Six.
and the story of how TV News in Northern Ireland developed from 1954 to the present day. ...
See the very first news report in colour.
Drama and Comedy
The Jimmy Young Show... The Comedians... Hole in the Wall Gang... Over the Bridge... The 'Billy' Plays... Ties of Blood... Contact... Ballykissangel...
Factual and Documentaries
Home Truths... Land and Larder... Country Times... Sky High...
Mary Peters wins gold in 1982... George Best playing for NI... .Joey Dunlop... NI beats Spain at the World Cup in 1982...
Get in touch
This is obviously only a small selection of the thousands
of hours of TV down the years. So tell us your
favourites. Submit your stories and comments
by filling in the form at the bottom of the page.
Tom Graham - February '05
We got our 1st television at about 10.30pm on the night
before the Coronation in June 1953. It’s amazing
how some things stand out in your memory! Apparently
the demand for sets was so great that manufacturers
and retailers had trouble keeping up the supply. The
only reason we got ours in time was that my father knew
a technician who installed sets. He delivered one to
us which should have gone to someone else!
One the day ours was the only set in the street. All
the neighbours came to watch - including those with
whom we were not at all friendly! Complete strangers
came to the door and asked if they could watch for a
while. There were not enough chairs in the living room,
so people stood around the walls. My mother and the
other women took turns at making tea, some went home
and brought back scones and biscuits. The boys found
the whole thing quite boring, so we spent much of the
day playing football in the park opposite.
The set was placed as far from the window as possible,
but the curtains had to be drawn and the room blacked
out. In daylight the picture was almost invisible. Cars
in those days did not have electronic suppressors on
their ignitions. Every car that passed obliterated the
picture with “snow” and caused a loud buzzing
Until recently I could recall very little about the
programs from the early 50’s. I came across an
excellent site on the Net - www.whirligig-tv.co.uk which
deals with 1950’s television etc. It has brought
back all sorts of long forgotten memories.
Our set was a Pye V4 - Try www.thevalvepage.com For
a very nice picture and information on this and other
sets of the era.
I recall my parents saying it cost £70. The set
apparently cost £48/10/11 + Purchase Tax - Purchase
Tax on televisions at that time seems to have been 35%!
which brings the cost to £65/9/11. The rest I
guess the rest was the antenna and the cost of delivery
To put £70 into perspective, the average weekly
wage in the UK in 1953 was just over £9. In Belfast
it was probably a good deal less than that.
Out of curiosity, I went to my local TV retailer to
see what about 8 weeks of average weekly wage would
buy here in Australia today. The result is quite amazing.
The V4 had a 14”(35cm) screen. I could buy at
least 45 sets with a 34cm screen, colour, with remote
for the same real price as the V4 in 1953! I won’t
even attempt to list all the combinations of Wide Screen,
Plasma, LCD, Rear Projection etc which could be bought.
The Pye could only pick up the BBC. When UTV started
in 1960 we needed to replace it. Sets must still have
been expensive, but the main problem was repairs. I
recall that the Pye broke down several times. It sat
in the corner until my parents could afford the cost
of fixing it. They rented the next set, just because
the rental included the repairs. For a short period
we rented a set which had a coin operated mechanism
like the old gas meters! Several times we ran out of
“two bob bits” in the middle of my fathers
favourite shows, and that was the end of that idea!
A few years later a rumour swept the street at one
family had a colour TV! They had bought from a mail
order company a “special “ screen which
fitted in front of the set and produced colour pictures
from the black and white! It was a complete fraud. It
was a sheet of transparent plastic with thousands of
tiny pyramids on the back. The pyramids refracted the
light from the screen into the colours of the rainbow.
People were very innocent in those days!
Auditioning for "Tommy's Toyshop", stories about the station logos .... this page has been evoking memories for you. Find out more .....
Suggested Websites to see... Here are a few TV archive related sites that you might enjoy.
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