Colour TV Comes to Town

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Location

Birmingham City University Curzon Building

4 Cardigan Street

Birmingham

B4 7BD

United Kingdom

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Event description
A celebration of the launch of colour TV on BBC1 and ITV.

About this Event

Your Master of Ceremonies are Tony Currie and Claire Bueno.

Join Kaleidoscope and the Broadcast Engineering Conservation Group for an experience never to be forgotten.

• A charity event in aid of the RNLI. Entrance is free

• A full day of screenings of colour television material, most unseen since transmission. Some never seen at all getting their world premiere today

• An array of guests who worked with early colour television

• A display of fully working original colour sets where you can watch more original colour television programmes

• A display of working early broadcast colour cameras, backed up by an original Southern Television Outside Broadcast Truck

• A wider display of television cameras through the years including early monochrome cameras as well creating a true historical timeline

• For those travelling down on the Friday afternoon, join us for a live outside broadcast on ITV News celebrating the actual day ITV went colour

• A special Souvenir Booklet reproducing original ABC Television colour TV documents created for the IBA when test transmissions had begun

The official launch dates of colour were:

• BBC2 - 01.07.1967

• BBC1 - 15.11.1969

• ITV - 15.11.1969

Both the BBC and ITV had been using colour film for some years before the arrival of colour television broadcast live as outside broadcasts or from studios.

Test transmissions were underway at the BBC from the 1950s onwards. Many of these colour tests will be seen today on the original television sets displayed.

ITC made some episodes of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot in colour as early as 1956; there was a pilot called The Fox in 1957; Gerry Anderson went into colour with Stingray in 1964. Many series like The Baron, Man in a Suitcase and The Saint were made on colour film, but only seen in colour by viewers on later repeat runs. Lew Grade was ever mindful about the need for colour if he was to sell to the American market.

ATV at Elstree experimented with making videotape programmes in PAL monochrome 405 line and simultaneous NTSC colour 525 line from 1965 onwards. The colour and black and white cameras being placed alongside each other to achieve a similar shot. The London Palladium Show with Roy Orbison was an early experiment, but many other programmes followed.

On 1 July 1967, BBC2 launched Europe’s first advertised full colour service (though not all items were colour yet) with the Wimbledon tennis championships, presented by David Vine.

On 15 November 1969, colour broadcasting went live on the remaining two channels, BBC1 and ITV. Only about half of the national population was brought within the range of colour signals by 15th November 1969. Colour could be received in the London Weekend Television / Thames Television region, ATV (Midlands), Granada (North-West) and Yorkshire TV regions. ITV’s first colour programmes in Scotland appeared on 13 December 1969 in Central Scotland; in Wales on 6 April 1970 in South Wales; and in Northern Ireland* on 14 September 1970 in the eastern parts. Channel TV had to wait until 1976!

*Divis' coverage area as being Greater Belfast and surrounding areas (It didn't cover all of the East of the region).

Both main channels went colour at 12.00 midnight on 15.11.69.

Monday 17.11.69 commenced the first colour full week!

The first official colour programme on BBC1 was a concert by Petula Clark from the Royal Albert Hall, London, broadcast at midnight on 15/16th November 1969. This might seem an odd hour to launch a colour service, but is explained by the fact that the Postmaster General’s colour broadcasting licence began at exactly this time.

Granada planned to do the same as the BBC by repeating some famous music programmes filmed in colour, but it never happened. A union dispute led to the cancellation.

The first official colour programme on ITV was on Sunday 15.11.69. Each region did something different.

For London they had an RAC Road Report at 09.30 am, followed at 09.35 by The Growing Summer, London Weekend Television’s first filmed colour production for children, repeated in an edited version, starring Wendy Hiller. This was followed at 11.00 by Thunderbirds. The episode was ‘City of Fire’, which also became the first programme to feature a colour advertisement, for Birds Eye peas.

ATV began at 09:45am with Thunderbirds first and showed this advertisement first in the episode ‘Cry Wolf’ as they had a different schedule.

The first ITV network colour programme was World of Sport and later The Royal Variety Performance on the Sunday evening.

Colour TV licences were introduced on 1 January 1968, costing £10—twice the price of the standard £5 black and white TV licence.

Friday 15th November 2019

5pm onwards Preparations and transmission of live ITV News Outside Broadcast. No ticket needed.

Saturday 16th November 2019

10am Presentation Links originally transmitted 17.11.1969. Monday night. The first week of colour broadcasting. An evening of colour programming on BBC1. Sadly it only survives as a monochrome telerecording. But this is the only black and white film you’ll see today 

10.20am Short Story

Three Card Trick

Written by Jack Gerson

Gordie Harry Towb

Fred Jill Gascoine

Bervie Victor Maddern

Charles Gregory Saint John Oleander Patrick Newell

Designed by Ron Franchetti

Executive producer Liam Hood

Produced by Ted Williamson

Directed by Ted Williamson

A Scottish Television production.

Originally transmitted 22.04.1971

Early colour production for STV.

10.50am Once More with Felix

Written by Joe Steeples

Host Julie Felix

with Julian Bream and Tom Paxton

Music director John Cameron

Designed by J. Roger Lowe

A BBC production for BBC 2.

Originally transmitted 18.01.1969

11.10am Apollo 12

Complete programme about the Apollo 12 Moon mission.

Moon Walk Special

Presenter Cliff Michelmore

Presenter James Burke

Moon Expert Patrick Moore

Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Expert Geoffrey Pardoe

Consultant, Aviation Physiology Squadron Leader Tony Nicholson

Scientist Astronaut Curtis Michel

A BBC production for BBC 1.

Originally transmitted 19.11.1969

11.40am Between the Programmes

The continuity clock for an Apollo 11 broadcast is one of only two pieces of actual colour videotape continuity that survive from the entire late 1960s. The other is a weather caption going into Colour me Pop - Small Faces.

Plus the first ever colour advert on ITV for Birds Eye Peas; and some more unique colour adverts showing on ITV in the same week.

11.45am Brian Tesler, former Chairman and Managing Director of LWT, recalls in a specially-recorded new interview how colour came to ITV. Brian was Head of Programmes at ABC and Thames Television when the switch-over happened.

Array Productions for Kaleidoscope Television.

Midday: The Launch of Colour TV at ITV

In the late 1970's a search was conducted at Thames Television for the ABC colour demonstration tapes that had been recorded in the 1960’s but they could not be found because in 1969 the Production Controller who was ex ABC, now Thames believed that the years of ABC programmes in the archives would never be shown again and so he called for ‘skips’ to be brought to the tape library and he had them all 'junked'. The contents of those tests have been deemed lost forever, until today. ITA Chief Engineer Howard Steele talks to ITV staff explaining how colour TV will transform ITV. He describes, with photographs, the progress of colour research at ABC. In glorious colour from the LWT 'World of Sport' studio in the old Rediffusion studios at Wembley, this fascinating talk was transmitted on the morning of C Day. It was broadcast on closed circuit to every ITA Regional Operations Centre's and to all the ITV studio centres that were going into colour. That was quite a feat in itself as a great many GPO circuits were only temporary due to the colour upgrade required. It lasts exactly 20 minutes as a thirty minute Lines Booking on the Network was required for it.

Originally transmitted 15.11.1969 internally only.

It is hoped that Howard’s son Mike might be able to join us on the day to see this landmark broadcast which many television historians are unaware ever took place.

This programme will be introduced by Norman Green. Norman Green started his career at EMI Research Laboratories working on military projects including television cameras for the Black Knight rocket, pattern recognition (AI) and a universal logic element and it was here that he worked on a daily basis under Dr. Eric White, one of Isaac Shoenberg's original television system design team.

He then moved to The Central Research Laboratories of the Rank Organisation where he worked on diverse projects such as very high speed computer printers, character generation, fibre optics and laser technology.

In 1964, Norman joined the Engineering Department of ABC Television where he worked on the investigation of various colour systems, with particular reference to viewing conditions for film in television. He later designed the first computer controlled presentation and master control system in Europe for Thames Television.

In 1972 he was appointed the first Head of Engineering for the Independent Television Companies Association (ITCA), now the ITV Network Centre where he was responsible for the Engineering Secretariat serving the 15 ITV Programme Companies and ITN. His responsibilities included the management of ITV's three technical development laboratories situated in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Four times in 7 years they won the Royal Television Society Geoffrey Parr Award for technological excellence.

The laboratories activities covered a wide spectrum of projects embracing new audio, video and data systems such as Teletext pand Audio Description for the Blind and solving particular problems for the ITV Network. They were responsible for the development of the first all digital (Rec. 601) video studio control suite in the world and designed Europe's first mobile 1250 line HDTV production and post-production facility.

As Head of Technology for ITV, Norman was a member of many National and International committees concerned with the technical standardisation of television and was a member of the European Broadcasting Union's Bureau where he represented all British Broadcasters, both radio and television, including the BBC.

After the change of ITV Franchises in 1992, Norman left the Network Centre in 1994 and became a consultant. Work for the ITC, BBC, ITFC and the DTI followed. At the Department of Trade and Industry he was Project Manager of the Interactive Multimedia Digital Test Bed Project that supported many projects related to the launch of Digital Television Transmission in the UK.

42 years ago he received the Fellowship of the Royal Television Society for an outstanding contribution to the development of television and in 2011 he received the RTS Tony Pilgrim award which recognised an outstanding contribution to the Society.

12.20 This Is Your Life – Des O’Connor

Written by Tom Brennand

Written by Roy Bottomley

Presenter Eamonn Andrews

with Des O'Connor

Devised by Ralph Edwards

Produced by Robert Tyrell

Directed by Margery Baker

A Thames Television production.

Originally transmitted 19.11.1969

Introduced by Steve Minchin who worked on this first colour series for Thames Television.

Steve will be interviewed afterwards alongside Paul Marshall, about their work on early colour television.

Paul Marshall began a 40+ year electronic engineering career with The Marconi Company. He is still working in Research and Development for video displays technology used in professional Flight Simulation. He has restored to operational condition a vast quantity of broadcast TV equipment, including three large vintage outside broadcast units, telecines, VTRs and dozens of broadcast TV cameras. He is a founding partner of specialist facilities company Golden Age TV LLP and also Chairman of the Broadcast Engineering Conservation Group. As a mature student, he completed a part-time PhD researching the early history of TV awarded by the University of Manchester in 2011.

Steve Minchin started in TV as a cameraman at A R -TV at Wembley in 1955 until 1968 when he moved to Thames TV (although he kept the same office being based at Television House in Aldwych, London - they just changed the sign over the door!). After being a studio based cameraman, he moved into OB's while at A R - TV and was ITV Sport's main OB director at Wembley for the 1966 World Cup Final and then the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Steve left Thames in 1992 when the franchise was lost and he went freelance. Steve's claim to fame is that he is the only OB director to have worked on the 1966 World Cup and all the Miss World contests.

1.10pm Comfort Break

1.15pm Working with Colour: A presentation by John Henshall.

John Henshall, President of the Guild of Television Camera Professionals (gtc.tv), photographed the development of colour television at the BBC, from first seeing experimental colour at BBC Manchester as a teenager through to working for BBC Television when colour started. This unique photographic record has never been fully seen by lecture audiences. Here John explains how colour came to the BBC.

1.45pm Play School

Created by Joy Whitby

Presented by Miranda Connell

Presented by Lionel Morton

A BBC production for BBC 2.

Originally transmitted 18.11.1969

2pm Origami

Presenter Robert Harbin

Designed by Chris George

Produced by Jess Yates

Directed by Jess Yates

Introduced by Yasuko Nagazumi

A Yorkshire Television production.

Originally transmitted 23.04.1969

Do you have your square of paper at the ready? Join Kaleidoscope for real audience participation as you can make your origami animals following Robert Harbin’s instructions. Paper available for you to join in! A prize will be given for the best origami animal.

2.10pm Toilet Break

2.15pm Peter Purves

Peter Purves needs no introduction. His face as a presenter on Blue Peter is instantly familiar. His other credits include Doctor Who, Kick Start, Armchair Theatre and The Villains.

Peter worked in television during the switch-over from monochrome to colour, though Blue Peter waited nearly a year before switching. Find out today why they waited.

3pm Break

3.10pm Blue Peter

The first ever edition in colour. A new series starts with the RNLI in the spotlight, as they were many times before and afterwards on Blue Peter.

Presented by Valerie Singleton

Presented by John Noakes

Presented by Peter Purves

with Walter Cornelius

Editor Biddy Baxter

Production team Geoffrey Wilson

Production team Michael Cook

Production team David Brown

Production team David Langford

Production team Mike Beynon

Assistant producer Alan Russell

Assistant producer John Adcock

Produced by Rosemary Gill

Directed by Alan Russell

Film sequences directed by Geoff Wilson

Film sequences directed by John Adcock

A BBC production.

Originally transmitted 14.09.1970

3.40pm The arrival of colour in Wales: HTV Welsh transmitter films.

Found at the BFI National Archive, not previously on their catalogue, a cheesy and upbeat advert for colour television coming to Wales and features the ident HTV 'the best picture in colour for you'.

Recorded 28.02.1973 and transmitted multiple times

3.50pm Afternoon Tea.

Join us for scrummy cakes from the RNLI.

4.20pm Z Cars - The Senior Partner episode 2

This is the earliest surviving colour Z Cars and has never been repeated because it’s only held as a studio recording. Kaleidoscope has used the original script to recreate this edition and create a new episode two so it can be screened today.

Written by Leslie Duxbury

Det. Insp. Goss Derek Waring

Det. Sgt. Stone John Slater

Sergeant Bert Lynch James Ellis

Police Constable Newcombe Bernard Holley

Police Constable Skinner Ian Cullen

Police Constable Quilley Douglas Fielding

with Walter Sparrow, Eve Pearce, Michael Coles, Stuart Henry, Barry Tobin and Martin Skinner

Format by Troy Kennedy Martin

Theme music by Bridget Fry

Theme music by Fritz Spiegl

Associate producer Ian Strachan

Produced by Ron Craddock

Directed by Noel Lidiard-White

A BBC production for BBC 1.

Originally transmitted 13.10.1970

4.50pm The Small Rebellion of Jess Calvert

A lost Rediffusion play in colour!!! Filmed using the experimental Electronicam process. and not seen for over 50 years, this play was discovered on the original 35mm and 16mm prints by Norman Green in the mid 90’s as part of his project of documenting the history of the technical development of television in moving pictures. One of Kaleidoscope’s greatest finds, because it was never transmitted. It was broadcast in monochrome. This colour version appears to be a condensed version of the play seen on ITV which was shown at The International Broadcasting Convention in 1968 and Film 69.

Written by Alec Travis

Jess Calvert Anne Stallybrass

Jim Ryder Bryan Pringle

Sam Calvert Richard Warner

Franz Muller Horst Janson

Sophie Muller Hana Maria Pravda

June Mason Georgina Simpson

Karl Paul Hansard

Ada Savoury Gabrielle Daye

Rita Foley Bridget Armstrong

The Vicar Trevor Baxter

Otto Frederick Schiller

Designed by Fred Pusey

Executive producer Peter Willes

Directed by Peter Moffatt

A Rediffusion Television production.

Original play transmitted 07.08.1967

Electronicam version untransmitted

Read all about it here: http://www.britishtelevisiondrama.org.uk/?p=6434

5.15pm Goodbye Again

Colour footage of Pete and Dud recovered from the USA on 2” videotape and never seen in the UK!

A complete Goodbye Again made at ATV Elstree for transmission in America; and found by Kaleidoscope in the USA. Many classic sketches filmed on colour cameras simultaneously as ATV recorded monochrome pictures for UK broadcast. Plus……. New footage shot specially for America and never seen in the UK to link the sketches! Classic sketches in colour including John Cleese in a cameo role.

Written by Peter Cook

Written by Dudley Moore

Various roles Peter Cook

Various roles Dudley Moore

The Dudley Moore Trio with John Cleese, Jack Parnell and his Orchestra

Executive producer Bill Ward

Music associate Jack Chivers

Designed by Peter Roden

Produced by Shaun O'Riordan

Directed by Shaun O'Riordan

An ATV production.

US tx date: 07.05.1969

UK tx date: Untransmitted

6pm Late Night Line Up (in Scotland)

The earliest surviving complete BBC closedown in colour completes our event.

Originally transmitted 03.09.1971

Date and Time

Location

Birmingham City University Curzon Building

4 Cardigan Street

Birmingham

B4 7BD

United Kingdom

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