Odds and Ends

The Opening of the Television Service, 2.11.1936 - Running Order

This is the running order for the programmes which marked the opening of the BBC's regular public high-definition television service from Alexandra Palace. The aim was to provide two hours of programmes each day, from three to four in the afternoon and from nine to ten in the evening. The Postmaster-General, G. C. Tryon opened the service. The Chairman of the BBC's governors said "We believe that these proceedings will be remembered in the future as an historic occasion, not less momentous and not less rich in promise than the day, almost fourteen years ago, when the British Broadcasting Company, as it was then, transmitted its first programme from Marconi House." The programme was broadcast twice, using the competing Baird and Marconi-E.M.I. systems. Sir Henry Greer, chairman of the Baird Televsion Company, and Alfred Clark, chairman of E.M.I., spoke via their respective systems. The speeches were followed by light entertainment provided by Adele Dixon and Buck & Bubble, two American comedians and dancers.

This document was issued by the BBC's Television Productions Manager, Mr. D. H. Munro on the 30th October, 1936.


Will you please note that on the Duty Sheet previously issued for this week all items shown under Monday, 2nd November previous to the 5 o'clock rehearsal for 'Picture page' are cancelled. The amended programme order and staff arrangements are shown as under-noted:-



10.00-11.30 M.-E.M.I. Studio.     Rehearsal.      Mr. Dallas Bower's Programme
Artists:- Adele Dixon Dressing Room 9
  Buck & Bubbles Dressing Room 2
  Television Orchestra

10.00 Engineers required. Camera and Sound set up as arranged at preliminary rehearsal for Opening Ceremony, on Saturday morning, October 31st.

Artists not to be made up.
Stage Manager
Reserve Announcer
Property Master
Scene Attendants

-   Mr. Pringle
-   Mr. Leslie Mitchell
-   Miss Elizabeth Cowell
-   Judd
-   Thurston and Cridland
-   Cornish
-   Lee and Hutchings

  Upright piano required (to be tuned Friday morning, October 30th).

Television Orchestra set up behind the second tabs (no Production lighting or make-up).

Mr. Bower's artists to work in the area between the first and second tabs.

  No.1   -   Truck   -   Bliss
  No.2   -   Announcements   -   Wright
  No.3   -   Reserve (Telephoto Lens)  -   Tong.
Senior Studio Engineer   -   Mr. Campbell.


All Studio furniture, cameras, sound and lighting equipment to be in approximate position by 10.00 a.m. in order that the rehearsal may commence punctually.


Orchestral instruments and any necessary equipment to be moved to Stage 'A' in the Baird I.F. Studio; Upright Piano moved to Stage 'B' in the Baird I.F. Studio.

11.45 (onwards) M.-E.M.I. Studio clear for Mr. Ambler and Mr. Baker, and the setting up of the Television Receivers and seating for the afternoon demonstration. Mr. Pringle and staff will arrange the necessary rostrums and screens.

12.00-1.00 Baird Studio Repeat Rehearsal of
Mr. Dallas Bower's Programme.

  Repeat of rehearsal of Mr. Dallas Bower's Production
as 10 o'clock in M.-E.M.I.

Sound and Vision Engineers required.

Artists not to be made-up.

  Stage Manager
Reserve Announcer
Property Master
Scene Attendants
-   Mr. Bax
-   Mr. Leslie Mitchell
-   Miss Jasmine Bligh
-   Calfe
-   (New men - 2)
-   Cornish
-   Bentley and Plater.
  Senior Studio Engineer -   Mr. Bridgewater.

It will be necessary to do a Sound Test on the Television Orchestra at the conclusion of Mr. Bower's rehearsal in order that the microphone position for:-
   (a) Miss Bligh's Announcements   3.35 approx. -
   (b) The Orchestra                       3.50     "
can be determined.


Mr. Bax's staff report for duty in Baird Studio.

Artists' and Announcers' make-up call.
(Miss Moir to assist Miss Allan).

2.30 Miss Cowell's make-up to be completed (M.-E.M.I.), in order that she may be present in the M.-E.M.I. Studio at 2.30 to receive guests.

2.45 Mr. Mitchell's and Miss Bligh's make-up to be completed (Baird Spotlight).

3.00 Miss Adele Dixon's and Buck and Bubble's make-up to be completed (Baird I.F.).

2.30-3.00 Reception of Platform Party by D. Tel. in the Baird Studio, signing of Visitors' Book, photographs, etc., as rehearsed.

(Miss Ware to see that the distinguished Visitors' Book is taken to the Baird Studio by 2.30. Mr. Bax to have arranged a small table, blotter, pens, ink, etc., and should be responsible for the receipt of this book, and its return to Miss Ware).


Seating plan


1. Mr. R. C. Norman - to introduce
2. Major the Right Hon. G. C. Tryon, M.P. who, in turn, will introduce
3. The Right Hon. Lord Selsdon, K.B.E.
4. Sir Harry Greer, D.L., M.P.
5. (NOT SPEAKING) The Right Hon. Lord Inverforth.

2.45 BAIRD - Film Loop -
and tuning note.


Opening Announcement - Leslie Mitchell (reserve announcer, Miss Bligh) - announcement as under-noted:-

'This is the B.B.C. Television Station at Alexandra Palace.

'To-day the Television Service is to be opened by the Right Hon. G. C. Tryon, M.P., His Majesty's Postmaster-General. Major Tryon will be introduced by Mr. R. C. Norman, Chairman of the BBC, and will be followed by the Right Hon. Lord Selsdon, K.B.E., Chairman of the original Television Committee, and now of the Television Advisory Committee. On the platform with these speakers are the Right Hon. Lord Inverforth, Chairman of the Marconi-E.M.I. Television Company, and Sir Harry Greer, D.L., M.P., Chairman of the Baird Television Company.

'We have had to make a change in the programme as published in the "Radio Times". The opening programme is to be televised twice; firstly by the Baird system; then, after an interval of thirty minutes, by the Marconi-E.M.I. system.

'After the speeches, the latest edition of the British Movietonews (sic.) will be shown; then Adele Dixon, and after her Buck and Bubbles; both these performances will be accompanied by The Television Orchestra, conducted by Hyam Greenbaum. After this there will be an orchestral interlude in sound only by the Orchestra until 3.50 p.m. Will you please be ready to switch your sets over from Baird to Marconi-E.M.I., after Buck and Bubbles have finished their performance, and we have made a further announcement.

'To summarise. Your sets should be switched on to the Baird system until about half-past three, and should then be changed over to the MArconi-E.M.I. System for a repeat programme.

'Ladies and gentlemen: The opening of the BBC Television Service.'

(immediately followed by Opening Ceremony on cues, as rehearsed.)


OPENING CEREMONY - Speeches (as rehearsed).

D. Tel. Will escort the Platform Party from the Studio by the door nearest the Baird Control Room, and he should enter the Marconi-E.M.I. Studio by the middle door. Mr. Madden and Miss Cowell should be available at this time, i.e., 3.18 - approximately to show the Platform Party to the seats reserved for them in front of the receiving sets.

3.17 approx. BAIRD - Film

British Movietone News (9 minutes approx.)



Adele Dixon; Buck and Bubbles; The Television Orchestra.

(Mr. Dallas Bower's Production, as rehearsed).

3.34 approx. BAIRD SPOTLIGHT

Announcement - Leslie Mitchell (reserve Announcer - Miss Bligh).

'You have been watching the opening programme of the London Television Service, by the Baird system. Will you now please switch your sets to the Marconi-E.M.I. System, by which a vision signal will be radiated at a quarter to four. From now until ten minutes to four there will be a musical interlude in sound only, by The Television Orchestra. At four o'clock the opening programme will be repeated by the Marconi-E.M.I. System

D. Tel. at end of Baird Vision Transmission to be responsible for escorting the Platform Party from viewing position, to platform position M.-E.M.I. Studio.

3.35-4.00 Query photograph of Platform Party in M.-E.M.I. Studio.

Lee to act as D. Tel's runner in M.-E.M.I. Studio.


Will Mr. Greenbaum and Mr. Hartley make certain that The Television Orchestra remain in the Band Room until called at approximately 3.15 p.m., as we wish to keep the Studio absolutely clear during the Official Opening Ceremony of Artists, Orchestra, etc.

Similarly will Miss Allan and Miss Moir please arrange that Miss Adele Dixon and 'Buck and Bubbles' keep to their dressing-rooms until called at approximately 3.15 p.m.

Miss Allan and Miss Moir to arrange Adele Dixon's, 'Buck and Bubbles' and Leslie Mitchell's make-up to be changed from Baird I.F. to Marconi-E.M.I. immediately they have finished the Baird Vision Programme at 3.34 approx. Leslie Mitchell will be required first. He should be available in M.-E.M.I. Studio at 3.55 at latest.

3.55 Leslie Mitchell in M-E.M.I. Studio at latest.

4.15 Adele Dixon, and 'Buck and Bubbles' to be available in M-E.M.I. Studio at latest.

When called the Orchestra should enter the Baird Studio by the large door nearest the Band Room, which will have been bolted from the inside during the Opening Ceremony, and the Entertainment Artists should enter the Studio by the small door nearest the Baird Control Room when Miss Allan and Miss Moir see the Platform Party have left the Baird Studio.

Every effort should be made to keep the Studio Corridor clear of unnecessary groups of artists, orchestra and staff.


from -


Announced by Jasmine Bligh.

In addition to announcing the items as under-noted, Miss Bligh's interpolated announcements will refer briefly to the change of system and programme to be televised from four o'clock onwards.

PROGRAMME - BBC Television Orchestra.

1. March (from the film 'Things to Come') (Arthur Bliss)
       (published by Chappells) 3 mins. 30 secs.

2. Folk Song Suite (Vaughan Williams)
       (a) March 'Seventeen Come Sunday'
       (b) Intermezzo 'My Bonny Boy'
       (c) March, 'Folk Songs from Somerset'.
       (published by Boosey & Hawkes) 8 mins. 45 secs.

3. Five Interludes (from 'The Beggar's Opera)
       (Frederick Austin)
       (published by Boosey & Hawkes) 5 mins. 00 secs.

Mr Greenbaum - to note carefully that as near as possible this Sound Programme should conclude at 3.50.

At the conclusion of this Programme, Miss Bligh to remove her Spotlight make-up and proceed to the Restaurant for Hostess duty.


Seating plan


1. Mr. R. C. Norman - to introduce
2. Major the Right Hon. G. C. Tryon, M.P. Who, in turn, will introduce
3. The Right Hon. Lord Selsdon, K.B.E.
4. The Right Hon. Lord Inverforth.
5. (NOT SPEAKING) Sir Harry Greer, D.L., M.P.

3.45 approx. M.-E.M.I. VISION SIGNAL radiated - Film Caption:-


N.B. This will be radiated with the Sound Programme from the Baird Studio in the background until 3.50 p.m. At. 3.50 p.m., the Sound Programme should have finished. The Engineers will disconnect the Baird Sound Circuits, and switch over to M.-E.M.I.

On this being completed, the tuning-in signal will be radiated over the M.-E.M.I. Sound system, and a test announcement by Leslie Mitchell from the M.-E.M.I. Studio at approximately -

3.55 approx. which will refer to the Opening Ceremony repeat at 4 o'clock, will be radiated - sound only. Tuning-in signal should be resumed after this announcement.

3.55 approx. (3.35) Mr. Pringle's M.-E.M.I. Studio Staff report for duty to this Studio on the conclusion of the Baird Vision Transmission. (This is necessary, as I do not wish this staff to be present in the Studio earlier owing to the guests viewing the Baird programme there).

3.35 approx. Mr. Bax's Baird Studio Staff to be responsible for returning the Upright Piano to the M.-E.M.I. Studio at this time.

3.50 approx. (3.50) Mr. Bax and Baird Studio staff to strike orchestral instruments and have them taken along to the most easterly door of the Marconi-E.M.I. Studio and held there in readiness until the M.-E.M.I. Opening Speeches have concluded at approximately 4.16. The instruments, stands, etc., will be put into position as at the morning rehearsal, behind the second tabs, during the showing of the British Movietonews (approximately nine minutes available).

4.00 OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT - Leslie Mitchell (reserve announcer - Elizabeth Cowell) Camera 2.

The usual two minute warning to studio will be given and Mr. Mitchell will announce on cue from the camera-man (Wright).

'This is the BBC Television Station at Alexandra Palace.

'At three o'clock this afternoon, the Television Service was opened by the Postmaster-General, using the Baird system. The opening programme will now be repeated by the Marconi-E.M.I. System The order of the programme is the same. First, the Postmaster-General will be introduced by Mr. R. C. Norman, Chairman of the BBC, and will be followed by Lord Selsdon, Chairman of the Television Advisory Committee. On the platform with these speakers are Lord Inverforth, Chairman of the Marconi-E.M.I. Television Company, and Sir Harry Greer, Chairman of the Baird Television Company.

'The speeches are followed by the latest edition of The British Movietonews; then Adele Dixon, and 'Buck and Bubbles', both accompanied by the Television Orchestra.

(Approx. time - 50 seconds)

4.01 approx. At the end of the announcement, over to camera 1 for Opening Ceremony routine, as rehearsed Saturday morning.

OPENING CEREMONY - Speeches (as rehearsed Saturday morning).

4.16 approx. FILM

British Movietone News (9 minutes approx.)

4.25 approx. ENTERTAINMENT

Adele Dixon
'Buck and Bubbles'
The Television Orchestra

Announcer - Leslie Mitchell (reserve - Elizabeth Cowell)

(Mr. Dallas Bower's Production, as rehearsed).

4.33 approx. CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENT - Leslie Mitchell (reserve announcer - Elizabeth Cowell).

Mr. Mitchell, on cue from the Stage Manager, will walk on to rehearsed position, and announce:-

'So ends the opening programme of the BBC Television Service. The next programme will be televised at nine o'clock this evening, by the Baird system.

'Good afternoon, everybody'.


EMERGENCY ARRANGEMENTS IN THE CASE OF TECHNICAL BREAKDOWNS - Details of these arrangements will be circulated only to Staff concerned later.



(to be handed over by respective gramophone operators:-)
1. Suite - "Facade" (William Walton)
  HMV ( Part 1........... 4 mins. 40 secs.
  C.2836 ( Part 2........... 4    " 05    "
  HMV ( Part 3........... 3    " 35    "
  C.2837 ( Part 4........... 3    " 10    "
2. Mediterranean (Bax)
  HMV   2    " 50    "
3. Midnight Rose (F. d'Erlanger)
  HMV ( Part 1........... 4    " 05    "
  C.2683 ( Part 2........... 3    " 20    "
4. A Song before Sunrise (Delius)
  HMV   4    " 50    "

BAIRD - Taylor
M.-E.M.I. - Keatley

Here are a couple of photos of the Alexandra Palace transmitter hall in the 1930s.

Alexandra Palace transmiiter hall

Alexandra Palace transmiiter hall