The BBC Story

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The Wimbledon Tennis Championships, shown on BBC Two, marked the beginning of regular colour television in Britain.

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David Attenborough, then controller of BBC Two, announced that the channel would initially broadcast in colour about five hours a week. By December 1967, 80 per cent of programmes were in colour.

The original December launch date was moved to July so the BBC could claim to be Europe’s first colour broadcaster. France, Germany and Holland – who had planned an autumn launch of their colour services – were all beaten to air. In Britain, with fewer than 5,000 colour sets in circulation, the audience was small. Yet the period up to the full launch offered manufacturers a chance to prepare for the sale of the new sets that were required.

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Wimbledon was also one of the earliest outside broadcasts. In 2011, the BBC broadcast the finals in 3D.