The Great British Broadcasting Competition

  • A multi-disciplinary analysis of the emergence of BBC television
  • Donald F. McLean
  • Media History, April 2017, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13688804.2017.1312319

What is it about?

The business reasons behind the decision to start the BBC television service in 1936 remain unclear despite the volume of literature on the subject. Additionally, controversy has persisted regarding foreign involvement in what has been considered a fully British system. What is apparent from the literature is an emphasis placed on the technical development, generally under-representing other aspects of television. A new multi-disciplinary approach is proposed and applied here to explore the circumstances around the emergence of the service, together with hitherto neglected industry aspects: the business and commercial issues relating to broadcaster and suppliers. This paper highlights the primacy of the BBC television service as providing the first instance of what became a common template for live television creation whilst illustrating, with new evidence, foreign influence on British engineering development for the BBC service.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Donald F McLean