Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Colour TV Arrives In Britain!
Although colour tests were shown before and after normal programme hours by the BBC in the late 1950s,using the American NTSC system, it wasnt until 1967 that they decided to launch the UKs first regular colour television service, using the European PAL system, this being on Ist July, on the newcomer channel, BBC2, when 7 hours of colour programmes were shown, much of it from Wimbledon, and in the weeks that followed, up to 10 hours were shown each week, however, it wasnt until December 2nd 1967 that the "full-time" colour service began, the programme chosen to mark the occasion being "Billy Smarts Circus" at 6.30pm.
At that time, colour was still very much in the "novelty stage" and specially made colour sets started to appear in the shops in the early part of 1967 in preparation for this, however, they were extremely expensive, both to buy and to rent, and very unreliable also, unlike today, you just couldnt buy one, take it home and plug in, it had to be carefully set up by an experienced engineer, using the famous Test Card F with the girl, clown, and blackboard!
And as colour was only available on BBC2, BBC1 and ITV not "going colour" until November 1969, many people preferred to wait until the early 1970s, when it became more affordable and reliable!