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BBC celebrates 75 years of television with Alexandra Palace event

By
Old TV

© Rex Features / Everett Collection

The BBC will today mark the 75th anniversary of the first regular 'high definition' television broadcast at Alexandra Palace, the venue where it was staged.

On November 2, 1936, the television revolution was launched after the first broadcast in high definition was conducted at the North London venue, reports BBC News.

The term high definition was used in the 1930s to differentiate the broadcasts from previous systems, which used mechanical technology that delivered as few as 30 lines of resolution.

High definition has been reintroduced since the late 1990s to denote the next-generation of broadcast technology that delivers a significantly sharper resolution than standard definition.

In 1936, only a single channel was broadcasting for two hours a day to an audience of hundreds, but today there are hundreds of channels airing programming to millions.

A series of activities will go ahead this weekend at Alexandra Palace to mark the anniversary, including the public being able to tour the studios that were used by the BBC until 1981.

Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace was the BBC's primary broadcasting base until the late 1950s, but with a break during the Second World War when the transmitter was commandeered to defend London from Nazi bombing raids.

Over the years, the venue has hosted broadcasts of various acclaimed shows aired by the BBC, including Muffin the Mule and the Open University.

"The BBC's place in the history of Alexandra Palace was sealed when the first public service broadcast in the world was made from the building in 1936," said Alexandra Park & Palace Trust chairman Matt Cooke.

The head of BBC History Robert Seatter said: "On this momentous 75th anniversary, we are delighted to be working with Alexandra Palace to open up these unique studios where television really began."

London Mayor Boris Johnson added: "The 75th anniversary of the world's first television broadcast service by the BBC from Alexandra Palace is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on London's role as a pioneer and innovator."

Next October, the digital switchover will complete in Northern Ireland, marking the end of analogue TV signals and the start of the digital TV era.

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