Tonight’s TV… in 1955 

23 September 2014

19550923 The TimesFrom The Times for Friday 23 September 1955 comes this run down of what you could be watch and listening to. Things worth noting:

  • The short broadcasting day. The Home is up first at 6.25am, and off by 11.15pm. The Light wakes at 9am and is off by midnight. The Third doesn’t arrive until 6pm, and is gone before midnight
  • Television also has restricted hours – 7½ a day excluding religion, outside broadcasts and sport
  • The Times is unsure how to depict the two television services. Yesterday it was “Television” and “Commercial Television”. Today it is “Television” and “ITA Service”
  • BBCtv gives a sound-only repeat of the Home Secretary (one of the last “National Liberal” senior post-holders in Conservative governments, Gwilym Lloyd George) talking about civil defence, aka nuclear war. A talk by a senior cabinet minister was thought to be politically neutral – he was speaking to the nation as a minister of the Crown, not as an MP – so there was no right of reply for Mr Attlee
  • Television, of both types, is off-air 6pm-7pm: the so-called “toddlers’ truce”, to allow middle class mothers to put children to bed without the distraction of programming. It also ensured that working class families who had their high tea between 6pm and 7pm would sit at the table rather than eating while watching. The hand of paternalism was strong in the years following World War II
  • Your two doses of ITN news are at 7pm and 10pm, each for just under 15 minutes; the news is at 7pm and 10:45pm on the BBC and again is around 15 minutes long


With thanks to Andrew Hesford.

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