by Arthur Dungate


A Television Gallery

Programmes and Intervals

In the early days of post-war television plays usually had an interval, during which a title slide would be shown. A minute or so before the play was to resume, a bell would sound (just as it would in the theatre) to warn viewers who might have gone to make the tea etc.


These titles, on 35mm film were shown from telecine, usually the studio Mechau.



Some plays might have an interval title specially shot. This play, "Almost Glory" was transmitted in May 1953, and this may be the only surviving relic of it.

At the end of plays a roller caption machine would provide a climbing title of the cast and credits. At times, a still frame end title would be superimposed from the studio Mechau.


On 12 December 1954 George Orwell's controversial play "1984" was transmitted, live from Lime Grove, and was to be repeated (also live) a few days later. After the first transmission there was a public outcry against its repeat and there were demonstrations of protest outside the Lime Grove studios. I was off duty the first night but when I went in the next day I ran the film inserts to see what all the fuss was about. My favourite bit was the "Hate 2 minutes" in which a crowd worked up their emotions by shouting "Hate, hate, hate".

Big Brother

"Big Brother" did not actually appear in the play but his image (on 35mm film) was shown on the "telescreens" at various moments.

In those days prior to the start of ITV in 1955 television had a very relaxed atmosphere. There were often pauses between programmes, usually filled by a film Interlude, but occasionally by a still frame.


Until 1954 there was no live television news, Television Newsreel (TNR) which ran from January 1948 until superceded by News & Newsreel in July 1954 was a topical magazine programme, so each evening just before television closed down, a sound recording of the 9pm Home Service radio news was broadcast.


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