AP mast (2K)

DIRECT TELEVISION from ALEXANDRA PALACE

by Arthur Dungate

A Horror of Advertising


In the 1950s the BBC was dead scared of any possiblity of advertising. I might say almost paranoid about it. In television, even the showing of film studio logos - such as 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros openings was banned and they had to be cut off. One of the projectionists in the Lime Grove Dubbing Theatre had the job of doing this. It even extended to the sponsored documentary films often shown in those days.

Shell logo (3K)

I remember once I was running one of Shell's documentary films one afternoon on EMI telecine in Lime Grove, and during transmission the order came from "above" that the end of the film must be faded out - because it ended with the Shell Logo.... It was just the logo, not even the name.....

I was rather upset about it and got up near the end of the film and asked someone else to do it..... That didn't go down too well. I thought it was stupid, and I have to say that in the course of time I seem to have been proved right. These things do go on the air today, and have done so for many years now.

However one thing I did agree with at the time was the decision in 1956 to cut the end of the 1940 Hitchcock film Foreign Correspondent. The film ends with Joel McCrea broadcasting to America from a completely un-BBC-like yet supposedly "BBC" radio studio! However in later years this film has been shown - and by the BBC! - uncut..... Times change, don't they!

[The BBC's attitude to music is mentioned in the section on Auntie BBC]

Foreign Correspondent (9K)
Hollywood's version of a BBC radio studio.....

The coming of ITV
Around the time that Independent Television was to start in London (1955) the two new television companies, Associated Rediffusion and ATV were urgently needing trained staff and were frantically "poaching" from the BBC. In what appeared to be a panic move all engineering staff in BBC television were required to sign an undertaking not to resign for at least two years....

At first I resisted, thinking this was not justified as I had no intention of leaving the Corporation, but the "management" informed me that it was either that, or "goodbye".... I signed.

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