The 50s were the ‘golden age of TV’


A new look at the era that saw Britain’s TV history take shape in the 1950s and 60s is shedding new light on the BBC’s most enduring programmes. 

The programme is BBC1’s Best of the 50s and Best in Britain and it chronicles the rise of the BBC from a struggling broadcaster to a global powerhouse. 

From the late 1940s until the early 1960s, the BBC produced some of the most influential, critically acclaimed, and commercially successful programmes in history. 

However, it was the BBC1s Best TV Show (BSTP) that launched a new wave of British popular culture, with its signature combination of drama, comedy, music, and satire. 

BSTPs were created to create a “brand”, a distinctive brand that reflected the essence of the brand in its home country, and the programme reflected the ethos of the country it represented. 

“It’s a wonderful way of saying, ‘This is what Britain is all about,'” Richard Harris, author of BEST of the BSTPs, told BBC Sport. 

The programme, which aired in 2017, is a brief introduction to the series of events that led to Britain becoming a global superpower. 

In its first season, the programme explored the changing relationship between the BBC and the government and the impact of the Cold War. 

There was a lot of discussion of the entrenchment of the BBC as a government broadcaster. 

Richard says it was an era of “big government, big media”. 

“People felt that they could be heard and that they were heard. 

But also, it had a sort of dark side.” 

It was also a time of huge change. 

For the first time, people were being bombarded by television programmes. The first Doctor Who special, the first BBC drama, was a huge success and helped to create an “instant culture” in Britain. 

And the BBC also found itself in a position of power and powerlessness. 

BBC2 was the first channel to be launched, and its success led to a “national conversation” about the BBC. 

Despite its early successes, BBC was in the midst of a period of political frenzies which saw the broadcaster take on an even more powerful role in British life. 

By the early 1950s, Bertie Wooster was promoted to Vice-Chair of the Board of Broadcasting Board of Control (BBBC), and he was soon appointed President of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 

Brenton Lynd was appointed General Secretary of The Communications Board and became President of The Board for Communication in Britain and in the United States from 1951 to 1958. 

At the same time, Lord Bernard Humphrey became President  of BBC Scotland. 

As President, Bernhard Hundt was charged with overseeing the BBC’s broadcasting and its broadcasting distribution to the rest of the UK and the world. 

During Hindenburg and the War Hulme was accused of disgraceful conduct at BBC in 1948 and a number of former BBC employees were accused of falsifying their accounts for a government funded airship and later for staging a protest in Scotland.

The BBC also suffered a series of public scandals during the war when Bethan Bickley was arrested for treason and accused of leaking confidential information about British war operations to an enemy of Britain.

In 1954 Benny Hill was murdered by a fellow BBC employee during an interview with an ex-enemy in the Broadchurch production and an alleged covert plan to assassinate Prime Minister Adolf Holland was uncovered in a new series of broadcasts. Meanwhile the Broadcasting Board was under increasing pressure from Labour and the Conservative National Party for  more broadcasts and for a greater role in British political life.

Despite the increasing pressure on the organisation by the Communities and Communities Committee (CNC), the programme was given continuity in 1954 and 1957 and continued to produce 

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