Myths about the BBC 

7 December 2005

William Hartnell as Doctor Who

Doctor Who’s first episode was repeated a week later due to power cuts interrupting the first showing.

Myth Source: Urban myth

The BBC claimed at the time that the episode was repeated due to popular demand and “the interest generated” by the show.

However, some months later, it was revealed that the repeat was due to damaged audience figures on the first showing because of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy less than 24 hours before.

Power cuts did, of course, interrupt the launch of BBC2 five months later.

Welsh-language programmes were output by BBC-1 in the sixties and seventies in England only for the benefit of viewers in the Welsh borders.

Myth Source: Urban myth

Welsh-language programming also appeared in England (and occasionally Scotland, though not Northern Ireland) as a public service to Welsh speakers outside of Wales. Additional service in border areas was an indirect bonus.

BBC2 began in 1967

Myth Source: The Daily Telegraph

BBC2 began in 1964; it went colour in 1967.

The Avengers was made by the BBC

Myth Source: Viacom press release

‘The Avengers’ was made by ABC Weekend Television. Not the BBC, and certainly not ATV, no matter what Lew may have suggested.

ITV pioneered ‘Tonight’ and ‘Panorama’, the popular current affairs programmes

Myth Source: The Guardian

The BBC created ‘Tonight’ to fill the ‘Toddlers Truce’. The BBC also created ‘Panorama’, presented by Richard Dimbleby. ITV responded to Panorama with Associated-Rediffusion’s ‘This Week’.

Although BBC-TV and ITN broke into regular programmes on 22 November 1963 to announce that President Kennedy had been shot, the two networks stopped their own coverage shortly thereafter to rebroadcast via satellite non-stop coverage of the assassination

Myth Source: Urban myth

There was no way either network could have done that. At the time, there was no television broadcast satellite in geostationary orbit over the North Atlantic.

Early satellites could broadcast between the US and the UK for only about fifteen minutes at a time once every hour and a half.

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