BBC celebrates 80 years of television

Dr Jamie Medhurst

Dr Jamie Medhurst

02 November 2016

A Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University has been part of an online history project to mark 80 years since the BBC broadcast its very first television programme.

Dr Jamie Medhurst is one of six academics who’ve written about key moments in the history of BBC television - from the Opening Night to the coronation of King George VI in 1937, the development of Alexander Palace and coverage of the 1948 Olympics.

Their articles have been published in a special section on ‘The Birth of TV’ on the main BBC website which goes live today (Wednesday 2 November) to celebrate the anniversary:

“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to contribute to this unique project marking the first 80 years of television on the BBC,” said Dr Medhurst who’s a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Aberystwyth’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television as well as Co-Director of the University’s Centre for Media History.

“As a group of media historians, we have had rare access to footage and documents dating back to the very early days when television had yet to win its place in the hearts and minds of the British public. It’s strange to think that when that very first television programme was broadcast back in November 1936, there were only about 400 television sets in existence and programmes could only be watched by people living within a 30 mile radius of Alexander Palace.”

The other academics collaborating on the project include Dr Alban Webb and Professor David Hendy from Sussex University; Professor Helen Wood and Dr Jilly Boyce Kay from the University of Leicester; and Dr Elinor Groom from the National Media Museum, Bradford.

As part of the 80th anniversary celebrations, Dr Medhurst will also give a research paper seminar on the early days of television. The seminar will be held in Room C4 in the Hugh Owen building at the University’s Department of History at 5pm on Wednesday 2 November and is open to all. 

Dr Medhurst is currently working on a book called The Early Years of Television and the BBC which will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2017.