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16 October 2014
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Television in N.I.

What was the first tv programme you watched? Do you remember the introduction of colour? Share your small screen memories here on Your Place and Mine.

The Arts

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Your Favourite Northern Ireland TV Moments

BBC NI Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC Television Service 'Black Mountain' Ident from the archives
BBC Continuity Ident from the archives
Ulster Television Ident from the 60's
BBC News Ident from the archives

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.

UTV Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC 2 Open University Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC TV Service Ident from the recent archives
BBC Six O'Clock News Titles from the archives
BBC Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC NI Continuity Ident from the archives
UTV Continuity Clock from the archives
Paul Clark and Kate Smith on UTV Live
BBC Continuity Ident from the archives

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.

BBC 'Balloon' Continuity Ident from the archives
UTV Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC Television Service Ident from the archives
The BBC Weather with Ian McCaskill
ITN News Service Logo from the archives
BBC NI Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC2 Continuity Ident from the archives
Early BBC Television Service Ident from the archives
BBC NI Late News Continuity Slide from the archives
UTV Continuity Ident from the recent archives

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...

Early BBC Television Service Ident from the archives
BBC Weather with Bernard Davey
BBC Television Service Clock Ident from the archives
UTV Reports with David Dunseith in the early 70's
BBC NI Continuity Rotating Globe from the 90's
UTV Silver 25th Anniversary Ident from the archives
Early Channel 4 Continuity Ident from the archives
BBC Continuity Slide from the archives
BBC NI Continuity Clock from the archives
BBC TV Service Ident from the recent archives

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 noise.

Until recently I could recall very little about the programs from the early 50’s. I came across an excellent site on the Net - which deals with 1950’s television etc. It has brought back all sorts of long forgotten memories.

Our set was a Pye V4 - Try 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 and installation.

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 .....

what`s your favourite ni tv moment?

Suggested Websites to see... Here are a few TV archive related sites that you might enjoy.
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