What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

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GarethR
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What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by GarethR »

This may have been mentioned elsewhere, but what was broadcast on BBC-2 in the days or weeks prior to the official opening night? Any promotional material, or caption cards saying "BBC-2 begins on 20th April" or anything like that? The impression given is that there was nothing bar the test card and unbilled test programmes.

TonyCurrie
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by TonyCurrie »

Image

This was mostly what was on screen, along with a series of test films, some from commercial companies and some full-length Feature Films, all of which latterly were billed in the London & South east Edition of "Radio Times"

RobinCarmody
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by RobinCarmody »

(xpost)

Some of the test films were billed in the London edition of Radio Times ...

Saturday 4th January 1964

9.00 am Test Card and Music
9.15 am Film: The Way to Wimbledon
9.32 am Test Card and Tone
10.05 am Films: Severn Westward and The Wallace Collection
11.00 am Test Card and Tone
12.00 noon Films: Cranwell and Reflections in a Village
1.00 pm Test Card and Music
2.00-8.00 pm Films:
2.00 Double Dynamite
3.25 The Schools
4.45 Network
5.20 Steel Goddess
6.20 Farewell My Lovely

Of the ones I know from this list, The Way to Wimbledon was a BBC TV film shown frequently in the early 1950s, and Reflections in a Village was a BBC film shot in 1959 and shown in April 1960 (CountryFile did an update on its location - somewhere in Kent I believe - in 1999). The Schools would have been a 1962 BBC film - I think one of Richard Cawston's - and Farewell My Lovely obviously needs no introduction.

Monday 6th January 1964

9.00 am Test Card and Tone
9.15 am Film: Tennis Highlights 1953
9.28 am Test Card and Tone
10.05 am Films - Passport: Bernese Oberland and S.S. British Sovereign
11.00 am Test Card and Tone
12.00 noon-1.00 pm Films - Adventures in Industry: Prospecting for Oil and Machines and the Farm
2.00 pm Test Card and Music
3.00 pm Films - The Artist Speaks: Kenneth Armitage, Song of the Clouds and Michael Faraday 1791-1867
4.00 pm Test Card and Music
5.00-8.00 pm Films:
5.00 The Glory That Was Greece: Age of Minos
5.35 Amersham Bridge
5.45 Nine Centuries of Coal
6.20 Bringing Up Baby

Some of these were made by the BBC itself (The Artist Speaks and The Glory That Was Greece are in this category I think) but many were made by the multitude of sponsored film units which existed at the time and whose work was re-evaluated by the BFI a few years ago. "Amersham Bridge" I am pretty certain is really the British Transport Films production Bridge 114. Nine Centuries of Coal is in the BFI's Mediatheques I think (insert obvious "we didn't reach the tenth" joke here) and judging by its length, Bringing Up Baby presumably is the Howard Hawks film - the outlier in this company.

Tuesday 7th January 1964

9.00 am Test Card and Tone
9.15 am Film: Operation Bar Frost
9.29 am Test Card and Tone
10.05 am Films - Passport: Brittany and Origins of Coal
11.00 am Test Card and Tone
12.00 noon-1.00 pm Films - Adventure in Industry: New Methods at Work and Hold Back the Sea
2.00 pm Test Card and Music
3.00 pm Films - The Artist Speaks: Reg Butler, Journey into the Weald of Kent and Bars of Silver
4.00 pm Test Card and Music
5.00-8.00 pm Films:
5.00 The Glory That Was Greece: Age of Victory
5.40 Fisherfolk of Bombay
6.00 H.M.S. Ark Royal
6.35 Affair with a Stranger

I'm guessing the Brittany film was from the BBC series Passport. Journey into the Weald of Kent was an oft-shown (Betjeman-narrated) trade test film in later years which used to be on YouTube but has now disappeared. Fisherfolk of Bombay is presumably this: http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/22530

Wednesday 8th January 1964

9.00 am Test Card and Tone
9.15 am Film: Do You Remember
9.24 am Test Card and Tone
10.05 am Films - Passport: Norway and Mr Marsh Comes to School
11.00 am Test Card and Tone
12.00 noon-1.00 pm Films - Adventure in Industry: Test Tube Textiles and The Right Line
2.00 pm Test Card and Music
3.00 pm Films - The Artist Speaks: Anthony Gross, A Peaceful Revolution and A Ship Comes to Antwerp
4.00 pm Test Card and Music
5.00-8.00 pm Films:
5.00 The Glory That Was Greece: Age of Civil War
5.40 Every Valley
6.00 The Big Sky

Do You Remember is most likely this: http://nicwhe8.freehostia.com/btf/produ ... BT153.html . Mr Marsh Comes to School has Reginald of that ilk - best known as the boss in Terry and June, but also (and tellingly in terms of the underlying politics of his archetype) a Nazi collaborator in It Happened Here and an authority figure paranoid about a working-class takeover in Mutinies, a 1974 Centre Play - giving now rather patronising advice at a secondary modern, though it was directed by the highly praised John Krish. A Peaceful Revolution is probably this: http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/20291 . Every Valley is a BTF film in South Wales, available on one of the BFI's DVD sets.

Thursday 9th January 1964

9.00 am Test Card and Tone
9.15 am Film: Holiday Shift
9.30 am Test Card and Tone
10.05 am Films: Passport - Portugal and Energy for Europe
11.00 am Test Card and Tone
12.00 noon-1.00 pm Films: Scientific Curiosities - Cold, Traders in Leather and Isle of Man T.T. 1950
2.00 pm Test Card and Music
3.00 pm Films: The Artist Speaks - Joseph Herman, Beauty in Trust and A Day of One's Own
4.00 pm Test Card and Music
5.00-8.00 pm Films:
5.00 Stanley Spencer: Cookham Village
5.30 Zambesi
5.55 A Potter's World
6.30 Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House

Beauty in Trust is a rather melancholy Betjeman film from 1959 in the same series as Journey into the Weald of Kent: very much of the era when it seemed that nothing could stop the demolition of country houses. A Day of One's Own is a wonderfully evocative BTF film from 1955 which is on DVD.

Friday 10th January 1964

9.00 am Test Card and Tone
9.15 am Men of the Mersey
9.27 am Test Card and Tone
10.05 am Films - Passport: Cote d'Azur & Corsica and New Lease of Life
11.00 am Test Card and Tone
12.00 noon-1.00 pm Films: Southern Gateway, Overhaul and Royal Trains
2.00 pm Test Card and Music
3.00 pm Films: The Artist Speaks - Victor Pasmore, Twilight Forest and Around a Gum Tree
4.00 pm Test Card and Music
5.00-8.00 pm Films:
5.00 Stanley Spencer: War and Peace
5.30 The Sea Tower
5.50 Men of Corby
6.25 Badman's Territory

Overhaul is clearly this particular BTF film: http://nicwhe8.freehostia.com/btf/produ ... BT168.html . I had thought Men of Corby might have been a sponsored film from the steel industry but I'm guessing it's this: http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/280366 .

Some other BTF films were shown in these early 1964 trade tests - I believe The Heart is Highland and Diesel Train Ride (which latter always makes me imagine Tim Westwood as a baby, because it begins in 1959 Lowestoft) were among them.

GarethR
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by GarethR »

Cheers chaps!

So quite a lot to watch, but nothing specifically promoting what BBC-2 was going to be showing. I suppose C4 was the first channel to run that sort of material before launch?

Brock
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by Brock »

GarethR wrote:Cheers chaps!

So quite a lot to watch, but nothing specifically promoting what BBC-2 was going to be showing. I suppose C4 was the first channel to run that sort of material before launch?
Did Channel 4 run any promos before opening? I don't remember them.

Clive
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by Clive »

Yep, in-between the test card on an hourly basis they ran some previews of what programmes would be appearing. It used to be on Youtube but I can't find it at the moment. If you search for "Channel 4 Tuning In promo 1982 (2)" then all is explained, although I don't know where this was transmitted, would be strange if this also aired on C4 as that would imply you had already tuned in your telly.

Michael C
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by Michael C »

Clive wrote:Yep, in-between the test card on an hourly basis they ran some previews of what programmes would be appearing. It used to be on Youtube but I can't find it at the moment.


"Channel 4 Preview from 1982" brings up a pre-launch promo, of which there were quite a few. S4C's seemed a bit more modest, with their entire drama output represented by a brief clip of a car speeding off into the night!

TonyCurrie
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by TonyCurrie »

Clive wrote:.... I don't know where this was transmitted, would be strange if this also aired on C4 as that would imply you had already tuned in your telly.
There was a major advertising campaign to get viewers tuned in well beforehand, which is one of a number of reasons why the test transmissions went on for a very considerable period.

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Brock
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by Brock »

Ah, thanks. Our local relay transmitter didn't carry Channel 4 when it launched, so the only way we could receive it was by using an indoor aerial and pointing it at the main Crystal Palace transmitter. Consequently I wouldn't have seen any of Channel 4 before the launch.

How long before the launch did the promotions start? Or did it depend which transmitter you were tuned to?

I can't imagine that BBC2 would have done anything like that before its launch - that type of extended promotion didn't exist back in the 60s as far as I know.

brigham
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Re: What was broadcast on BBC-2 before the opening?

Post by brigham »

Looks like it was worth having after all... at least until Opening Day.

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