A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1949.

As you can see below, not much has changed.  In 1949, the Soviet Union blocked access to BBC broadcasts.  In 2022, the Russian authorities blocked access to the websites of BBC and a range of other media outlets.   Ironically, the BBC were still able to broadcast into Russia - using shortwave radio, the technology from which access was removed all those years ago.  You can't stop the signal.

Sutton Coldfield Transmitter

Radio Times: "On Saturday, December 17, television takes a giant stride forward when the BBC begins broadcasting from Sutton Coldfield — the world’s most powerful television transmitter. Here, Sir Noel Ashbridge tells you something about the transmitter and, what is very important, its expected service area; he also outlines the BBC’s plans for bringing television to eighty per cent of the country’s population by 1954."

"The 40th anniversary of the first television broadcast by the BBC using the Sutton Coldfield transmitter."
[BBC Rewind]

Numerous photographs of the transmitter from across the decades.

"Being fairy-stories told to the author as a young engineer."


From presenter Jeanne Heal, a transcript for the programme, Designed for Women.
[London Transport Museum][BBC Programme Index]

"This recording was made in January 1949 and in it we hear Brian Johnston begin speaking inside the mess room of the fire brigade station at Chiltern Street in central London. Johnston explains that the BBC are going to put through a 999 call to see how quickly the fire brigade can make it to Broadcasting House in Portland Place, about half a mile away as the crow flies."
[Sound Survey]


"(Fred) Hoyle (pictured) had a talent for making complex scientific concepts comprehensible to the lay man, and he gave a number of ‘popular’ talks about astronomy on the radio."
Hoyle coined "the big bang" to describe the origins of the universe during a BBC talk.
[St John's College, University of Cambridge]


"BBC Newsreel looks at some of the BBC's new outside broadcast unit, equipped with the most modern apparatus - to ensure that British television remains one of the most advanced systems in the world."
[BBC Archive][BBC Programme Guide]

"We take it for granted nowadays that we can experience the thrill of sporting events in our living rooms, but in the early days of television it was very much a novelty."
[BBC Archive][BBC Programme Guide]

"Thanks to a post on May 15, 2022 by Carlos Lopes on the The Time Machine - H.G. Wells Face Book Group I was made aware of a book with six photos of the miniature time machine that was used in the 1949 BBC production."
[The Time Machine Project][BBC Programme Index]


"Mr. John E. Haire (Wycombe) The question I wish to raise keeps us in the ethereal atmosphere of our previous discussion but shifts the location from Scotland to Russia. I wish to draw the attention of the House to the continued jamming of B.B.C. broadcasts by the Soviet." (HC Deb 30 July 1949 vol 467 cc2953-66)

"The most important single achievement of the year was the broadcasting of the Olympic Games in the summer of 1948; the full coverage of these events for BBC listeners at home and overseas and the provision of facilities for the many visiting broadcasters who came to this country to report the games for their own countries. set the BBC a task of exceptional magnitude to which much care was given."

"Too often the theorists of British Commonwealth relations think and write of the Crown as if it were an abstraction, a mere constitutional device. "