"Compared to the regular programmes that started later, there was a high proportion of film in these experimental shows: indeed the first item broadcast, on 26 August 1936, was a Paul Rotha documentary film, Cover to Cover.
"This was followed by the first proper live programme, with singer Helen McKay. This was interrupted by a technical fault (as the start of the transmission had also been). It was followed by an excerpt from the feature film First a Girl, then another outing for Miss McKay preceded a longer programme of film excerpts, including Charles Laughton in Rembrandt, and Paul Robeson in Showboat.
"And that, lasting a little over one and three-quarters hours including tuning signals and breakdowns, was the first day of high-definition television."
TV Although the launch of television broadcasts is celebrated on the 2nd November each year, there were a number of unofficial test transmissions beforehand, providing an diet of documentaries, film and comedy. Andrew Martin writes on the BBC Genome blog:
Posted on Friday, November 04, 2016