Architect and Designer: Wells Coates, o.b.e.Theme: Malcolm Baker Smith


How it became possible to send moving pictures by radio is shown in the Communications Section of the “Transport” Pavilion. Here we are concerned with television as a new medium of entertainment — a medium that took scientists, engineers and producers, most of them British, a very short time to create.

Fifteen years ago, in 1936, the BBC installed the equipment that made television a practical medium of entertainment. Britain then became the first country in the world to operate a regular high-definition programme service.

The next stage was for the producers to evolve suitable techniques for production in this medium. This they did by drawing to a certain extent on the existing technique of the film, the stage and sound broadcasting, and developing some features that are peculiarly their own.

In the later 1930’s, five main patterns of television had begun to design themselves: news; documentary and education; drama; light entertainment; and outside broadcasts. The BBC mobile outside-broadcast vans brought drama and spectacle to the television audience, beginning in 1937 with the transmission of the Coronation procession of His Majesty the King. Then the war came; and 20,000 television screens went blank.

The BBC television service was formally reopened in June 1946. Now, in 1951, television is one of our well-established media of public entertainment and information. As such it will be playing a full part in the Festival of Britain, not only through its own studio performances but by vastly widening the audience for events arranged elsewhere.