The BBC and the Coronation

A day’s television never to be forgotten

For a certain generation, watching the television began with the Coronation. Prior to 1953, ownership of a TV set was the preserve of the few, mostly concentrated in the south east of England. However, things were about to change. Plans for the TV coverage of the Coronation alerted the British television manufacturing industry to a potentially enormous sales opportunity.

Even before the extent of the coverage was known, the prospect of the live transmission was thrilling the country. The BBC, the Government, and The Royal Family approached televising the Coronation with some trepidation. Should cameras be allowed into Westminster Abbey? If allowed in, how near could cameras get to the Queen? 

30 years after the Coronation, the BBC looked at why the event made such an impact on Britain and the world. Here are some highlights from the programme, which includes interviews with spectators, and insights into the BBC's live coverage. 

Memories and highlights of the 1953 Coronation
Peter Dimmock, former Head of BBC Television Outside Broadcasts explains how the Coronation Day transmission was staged, and explores his determination to get the best shots of the Queen for viewers at home.

Coronation documents

Further reading