The BBC Story

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The first experimental television programme produced by the BBC was broadcast on 22 August 1932. The BBC’s involvement with John Logie Baird’s broadcasts on the 30-line mechanical system was an acknowledgement that the medium had a future; three experimental broadcasts, from studio BB in the basement of Broadcasting House, were produced by Eustace Robb.

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Baird, who now had the chance to advance his research, appeared on the first programme to thank the BBC, and said afterwards that the transmission was the best he had yet seen.

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As Robb got to grips with the limits of technology, he was able to bring musicians and dancers to the tiny audience of ‘lookers-in’ (as early viewers were known), as well as demonstrations of ju-jitsu, a performing sea lion, art, and fashion.
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Although Baird’s system eventually lost out to electronic television, it did lead to the introduction of the world’s first regular high-definition television service in 1936.