The birth of television broadcasts

On this day 64 years ago, the BBC was first broadcast across the Channel. British viewers were able to watch a fireworks display and torchlight procession in Calais, France, as pictures were beamed back from mainland Europe.

New technology was needed for the event, with five portable radio-link stations being set up along the route from London to Calais, as the working range for radio masts at the time was only 40 kilometres (25 miles). The event also marked 100 years since the first message was sent on submarine telegraph cable from England to France.

Credit Oxyman

Credit Oxyman

Below are some key events in the history of television and radio broadcasting:


14 November 1922: First-ever BBC broadcast

26 March 1923: First daily weather broadcast

18 March 1947: First Party Political broadcast

9 June 1975: First live radio broadcast from House of Commons


5 January 1948: First transmission of TV new programme: Newsreel

27 August 1950: First cross-Channel transmission

2 June 1953: Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation is televised

1955: Launch of ITV

1964: Launch of BBC2

21 November 1989: House of Commons first first shown on TV

9 November 1997: Launch of News 24