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Quicklook at Television by Brian Robb

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Chapter Three: Pre-war TV programmes

BBC

The first BBC TV service would run for three years before the Second World War, with the number of viewers rapidly increasing from a few hundred to around 23,000. The number of television sets estimated to be in use by September 1939 was 20-25,000 (compare that with the nine million radio licences held by the British public at the same time). A major driver of the sales of new television sets was the live outside broadcast of the Coronation of George VI on 12 May 1937. Receivers could cost up to £100, the price of a small car at the time, so their sales were rather limited.

Nearly all television was broadcast live during this period, including drama. This was the case well into the 1950s. The “live” nature ...

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