Television certainly loves its anniversaries and this Easter Sunday the BBC will be celebrating another milestone.
It was exactly fifty years ago that it was planned to launch Britain’s third TV station. Unfortunately a power cut meant that it was on April 21 that the first full programme – Playschool – appeared on BBC2.
However not every viewer back then could see the new channel as it required the purchase of a new TV set. BBC2 was transmitted on 625 lines rather than the 405 lines that the other two channels used. In July 1967, BBC2 was the first British channel to start transmitting colour programmes - more than two years before the other two. In its earliest days BBC2 was known as the channel where the intellectual programmes could be found. There was a lot of emphasis placed on the arts and on documentaries. There were a number of very famous drama and comedy series which originated on BBC2 before appearing on BBC 1 to much acclaim. Music in all its forms was celebrated there and a number of very interesting programmes from around the world found themselves in the schedule. BBC2 is celebrating its very distinguished history on Easter Sunday from nine o’clock with a special quiz show hosted by Dara O’Briain where two teams of celebrities will be competing against each other. In addition, Richard Osman (of Pointless fame) will be sharing lots of interesting facts. A number of well-known personalities will be putting in an appearance including David Attenborough, who was the excellent second BBC2 controller. But what people will no doubt be most eager to see, will be all the clips from their favourite BBC2 shows. Ian K