Web Page No 2394
5th August 2017
First Picture: News Reel Mast
Second Picture: News Reel Camera
Third Picture: Radio Licence
Fourth Picture: Children’s TV Logo
For many of our parents in the late 1940s and early 1950s Television Newsreel took over from the Pathe, Universal and Gaumont News they were used to seeing in the local cinema.
Television Newsreel was the first regular news programme to be made in the UK. It was produced by the BBC and screened on the BBC Television Service (the only service available) from 1948 to 1954 at 7.30pm, it was made in the traditional cinema newsreel form but directed at the television audience. It covered news and current affairs stories as well as quirkier 'human interest' items, sports and cultural events. The programme's opening title sequence, featuring a film of the transmission mast at Alexandra Palace with the title revolving around it and it became a well-known image of the time. The theme tune was "Girls in Grey" by Charles Williams and played by the Queen's Hall Light Orchestra was also popular.. It was published by Chappell on one of its mood music records - it was not specifically written for the newsreel but composed during World War Two for the Women's Junior Air Corps.
Previously, the BBC had screened cinema newsreels from British Movietone News as well as sound-only news bulletins from BBC Radio. Following the resumption of the television service in 1946, after World War II a BBC Film Unit was set up to produce items on film, as opposed to the vast majority of the BBC's output of the time which was transmitted live via the electronic cameras of the Alexandra Palace studios.
The first Television Newsreel was shown on Monday 5th January 1948. Each edition was fifteen minutes long, and would consist of a number of different items and they tended to be fewer and longer in length than in cinema newsreels, most of which ran for only ten minutes. The items would have different presenters, and would be linked by a narrated voiceover. Editions would initially be broadcast on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings. From April 1950 a special Children's Newsreel edition would be shown on Saturday afternoons, for the benefit of the younger audience.
Items from the United States produced by the NBC network would often be used, as the BBC had a film exchange deal with the American broadcaster where they would swap film reports they had produced. From 1951, a weekly Newsreel Review of the Week was produced to open programming on Sunday evenings, compiling highlights from the previous week's newsreel features. These weekly editions would be presented by Edward Halliday, who sometimes appeared on-screen to link the various items.
Due to the pre-prepared nature of the Newsreel, topicality and coverage of breaking news stories was impossible, and it was not a true news programme as we would understand it today; it was regarded more as entertainment, with more serious news bulletins being produced by BBC Radio and sometimes broadcast on TV in sound only. The final edition was broadcast on Sunday 4th July 1954. The following Monday 5 July 1954, the first BBC News programme was broadcast, presented live in the studio by a newsreader (who was, however, initially unseen and unnamed, because it was felt that identifying the news with one personality would detract from its seriousness), who linked the reports in the manner now familiar for news broadcasting. The new programme was initially titled News and Newsreel, but after a short while the Newsreel portion was dropped, severing the last link with the Television Newsreel strand.
Children's Newsreel, which unlike the later Newsround made no pretence at being a serious news report, had begun in April 1950 and would continue until September 1961, outliving its adult parent by seven years.
Given that the programmes were pre-shot on film as opposed to being shown live, unlike most of the BBC's output from the late 1940s, examples of Television Newsreel do survive in the archives, some of the oldest pieces of BBC-produced television programming. Complete editions with the original linking narration are rare, however, as the individual reports were designed to be re-used in shows such as Newsreel Review of the Week and the end-of-year review Scrapbook, so reports were archived separately rather than as complete editions of the programme.
Many of the reports survive due to the negatives having been donated to the National Film Archive at the British Film Institute in the early 1950s – the first ever television material to be acquired by the archive, which now has an extensive collection of broadcast programmes. The BBC donated these on condition that they could have access to them whenever they desired, and more subsequently made copies of the donated films for their own archives.
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Great story about your fishing experiences, brought back many memories, thanks for that.
I recall having very little luck off the Eastern Road bridge, I preferred the bridge near Hilsea bus garage and the Lido - not off the bridge, but it had a sort of buttress which was relatively flat. The bridge was quite narrow and as the tide went out the flow of water was quite fast. So repeated casting with a large float was the method as it went with the flow. I caught many a very large eel that way. I even asked a policeman one day if he had a sharp knife as I couldn't get the hook out of an eels mouth! At high tide the method was to walk a hundred yards or so along the path of the inner creek, then use standard weight tackle, cast out into the middle. Flounders of a decent size were easy to catch that way.
Your tale of digging for the rag worm reminded me to, you had to watch out for the front end of those things as they had particularly strong and sharp pincers which would give you quite a nip if you weren't careful.
Hi Peter I attach a photo of two I-spy books I recently obtained. Both I-spy on a train journey.
One issued in the late 1950's by the News Chronicle and one in 2016 from Collins 60 years on.
The theme is the same the new product more glossy and surprisingly less interactive. It was harder to get your feather/certificate back then requiring 1250 points out of a possible 1500. Today its only 1000 points needed out of 3000. I think that says a lot!!!!!!!
Now the cost. The old one is one of the black and white issues costing six old pennies. The new edition Three pounds. The old coloured I-spy books were a shilling. So the coloured version has inflated by a whopping 600% !!!!!!!!!!
Now I began to think what other every day items have inflated at the same or similar rate.
Houses..... a semi detached house in Portsmouth in the 50's cost about a thousand pounds today that same house (40 Rectory Ave) might sell for 250 thousand so a 250 % increase and we know how out of line house prices are.
What else????? Fish and chips at Drayton was about a shilling for a good portion. Today that will cost you maybe one pound fifty. That's 300 %.
Not sure what the retail price index has done generally but it is certainly not 600% up in that period.
So those old I -spy books were a great buy back then. Fun, educational and got you walking around......something the kids of today need!!!!!
News and Views:
On this day 5th August 1960-1965.
On 05/08/1960 the number one single was Shakin' All Over - Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 05/08/1961 the number one single was Well I Ask You - Eden Kane and the number one album was Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Top Secret (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 05/08/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 05/08/1963 the number one single was Sweets For My Sweet - Searchers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story was Derby doping riddle.
On 08/08/1964 the number one single was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 08/08/1965 the number one single was Help - The Beatles and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Riviera Police (AR) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.