You, too, can have your own TV circuit 

5 July 2017

From the TVTimes Northern edition for 18-24 February 1962

How would you like to have your own personal television camera that you can plug into one of those blank channels on your television set?

To be able to see, at the turn of a switch, how that delicious meal is coming along in the kitchen, or to reassure yourself baby is sleeping soundly, despite a barrage of gunfire in Rawhide. Or just to satisfy yourself who your visitors are when the doorbell rings?

All this is possible with a transistorised television camera being produced by a Nottingham electronics firm, a subsidiary of Granada. This camera is eventually likely to put “home television” within the reach of most viewers for, as chairman Norman Rutherford says: “With increased production we hope to bring the price down to 25 guineas each.” At that price these cameras could become as much a part of the average home as a tape recorder.

Among the first customers will be some of our television personalities.

You would think actors and actresses, interviewers and quizmasters would be glad to forget all about television once they were away from the studios. Not a bit of it…

The thought of being able to turn their own homes into miniature TV studios has excited their imagination — and their ingenuity.

For years, home movies have been a hobby with people in show business. There seems little doubt that, before long, do-it-yourself television will be just as popular.

Gerry Loftus thinks the TV eye the perfect answer to baby-sitting. Here are his two sons, one-year-old Gerard (left) and three-year-old Patrick

One of the new television personalities, Bob Holness, compere of Granada’s Take a Letter, would like one of the cameras to do his “homework” — practising how to get out of awkward situations that might confront him on the air.

Said Bob: “However professional you appear to be on the screen—and I’m not particularly referring to myself, because I’m a new boy—you always face the danger of feel ing too experienced and too relaxed.

“You need to be kept on your toes — and this is how this camera would be ideal.

“My wife, Mary, is my severest critic and she would sit in front of the set to tell me where I went wrong.”

Young Gerald Loftus in his cot – the ever watchful TV eye may be upon him

Sam Kydd — Croaker Jones of Mess Mates — likes the idea so much that he wouldn’t be satisfied with just one camera “I could do with one in each room,” he said. “They would be just the job to keep an eye on my seven-year-old son Jonathan.

“That still wouldn’t be enough. I would need one in every flowerbed in the neighbourhood, to make sure he wasn’t tramping through someone’s prize dahlias.”

Too ambitious? Not for these cameras. They may look like toys, but they have a range of up to 200 yds.

And the addition of a simple booster, the size of a couple of matchboxes, can push the range up to five miles.

For Bill Grundy’s family a wary TV eye on the wine cellar would be the choice. From left|: Dorothy, 14, Timothy, three, Anthony, 13, and Mrs Jean Grundy

Some of the Northern TV personalities have been trying out the camera. Sports Outlook‘s Gerry Loftus had one focussed on the cot of his one-year-old son.

“It’s the perfect answer to baby-sitting problems,” said Gerry. “We don’t even need to ask the neighbours to sit in. All we have to do is run an extension lead to their house and plug it into their television set.”

There are no real-life children problems for Pat Phoenix, who plays Dennis Tanner’s harassed mother in Coronation Street. But she could do with a couple of miniature cameras all the same.

“I’d use them to keep an eye on Mr. Smith,” she said at her Georgian house in Sale, Cheshire. “He’s my pet corgi, and he finds the brook at the bottom of my garden irresistible. If I don’t keep a close watch on the little rascal, he ends up soaked to the skin, and then comes trampling through the house, covering the carpets with mud.”

Pat Phoenix would like a TV camera on Mr. Smith, her pet corgi

Brian Inglis of All Our Yesterdays and What The Papers Say sees a great future for the camera in the kitchen. “I would use it to keep an electronic eye on the cooking,” he said.

“When we have a dinner party my wife can stay and have a drink with the guests and be able to see on the screen whether something is due to be turned, or whether a pan is boiling over.”

Corgi view of the TV eye – Pat Phoenix’s Mr. Smith again

My last call was on People and Places man Bill Grundy.

“Two for me, please,” he said. “One perched over the front door so that I can see who my visitors are. If Gay Byrne or Chris Howland should dare to darken my doorstep I’ll just sit tight and pretend I’m not in!

“The other would be fixed permanently in the cellar to save me trudging down a flight of stone steps every time I want to see if a bottle of wine is ready for drinking.”

You Say

1 response to this article

Pete Singleton 5 July 2017 at 9:42 pm

I remember a closed circuit camera in a store in Liverpool City Centre (was it Bon Marche maybe?) that had a monitor in a different part of the store. A friend and I took turns in making silly (‘Jekyll and Hyde’-type) faces at the camera, whilst the other one of us would run round to look at the monitor… We were about 14 at the time (1965).

Oh how we laughed! (and frankly, were amazed at the technology!)

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