AP mast (2K)

DIRECT TELEVISION from ALEXANDRA PALACE

by Arthur Dungate

Marriage, People, and Food


Working for the BBC in those days was generally regarded as something special. The Corporation had an air of great dignity about it then. But even so, things didn't always go right, and when it happened on air, then everyone knew about it.....

Billie Whitelaw and Peter Byrne (7K)

I remember one time at AP when I was doing the film inserts for the first programme of a series called The Pattern of Marriage. This was coming from one of the Lime Grove studios up to AP and I was connected to the Producer in the studio gallery at Lime Grove, a lady called Caryl Doncaster, by a control line. I remember a young actress called Billie Whitelaw was in it. Also Peter Byrne, who the next year would be in Dixon of Dock Green.

Anyway, rehearsals during the day had gone fine, but, unbeknown to us, while we were having our evening meal in the canteen at AP, the Producer down in Lime Grove had decided to shorten the ending film sequence and run this shortened version on her local studio Mechau telecine. Unfortunately, the message she sent to AP didn't reach us in CTR, so consequently, on transmission, when she said "Cue Telecine" I ran the film - but so did her local telecine..... Central Control at AP also hadn't received the message and so put my picture on air, but both soundtracks went out.....

angry Producer (5K)

She was screaming at me (over the Talkback) for me to stop, "Will Central Telecine please STOP"..... but I couldn't since my picture was on the air..... So viewers were treated to a double wedding ceremony on the sound, each sentence being heard twice.....

It was really quite hilarious, but the Producer was furious. "Central Telecine are complete and utter clots" she roared on the talkback, "I'll never use them again!". Tony Cheale our Shift Leader, immediately got on the phone to Lime Grove, but by the time he got through, they had all gone.....

man on phone (4K)

Personalities

Richard Dimbleby (3K)

One could bump into (almost literally) all sorts of well known people at AP. At times, in a corridor I'd leap aside to the wall as Richard Dimbleby swept by (he was a large man) accompanied by his Producer.

In the early 1950s Christopher Mayhew, who later became an MP (Member of Parliament), did a programme series called "International Commentary", one of the first current events programmes on television.

Christopher Mayhew (8K)

One of the early television Producers was a man called George Noordhof. He used to do a programme called "Science News". It must have been one of the first science programmes on television. One day, just after rehearsal, and I'd been running the film inserts for him, we met in the loo, just opposite Studio A, and he said to me "Telecine is difficult isn't it". "Oh do you think so?" I said. "Oh no, I don't think so" he replied. I never did discover just what he meant by that.....

I Believe it was Science News which reported an experiment in which a man was provided with a special set of glasses which included mirrors to invert the images his eyes received. All other light was excluded. At first this man was unable to move around due to the inverted images, but after a while his brain learned to compensate and he was able to go out normally and walk around. After some days, these special glasses were removed. At first, his brain was unable to cope, but again, after a while it had re-adjusted back to normal vision. An interesting experiment, but, I wonder, what did it prove?

Philip Harben (5K)

Cookery programmes in the early 1950s were presented by Philip Harben and it was when his programme was on that we wished Central Telecine wasn't down in the basement at AP. Studio A was up on the 2nd floor, and when the programme finished all the delicious food that had been cooked during the programme was set upon by the staff.

climbing stairs (6K)

But by the time we got there, rushing up those flights of stairs, - it was all gone.....

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