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.
- Coronation Route mapFollow the procession with the original Radio Times route map.
- Coronation Day transmissionsSee how the BBC organised the transmission of the Coronation.
- The BBC and the Coronation - galleryA look in front of and behind the cameras of the BBC's 1953 outside broadcast, with images from the BBC Photographic Archive.
- Television's Crowning MomentFrom the Story of BBC Television
- Two CoronationsDr Alban Webb explores the evolution of television between the 1936 coronation of King George VI and the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
- The Coronation and the BBCMatt Verrill reviews two BBC publications about the corporation's coverage of the Coronation in 1953.
- A timeline of Queen Elizabeth IIA timeline of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, from BBC Teach