Having dealt with the build up to the arrival of the BBC Television studio at St Catherine’s Close in Norwich here, it’s only right that we also have a look at the arrival of Anglia Television.
The background to the development of Commercial Television in Britain is long and interesting (and the role of people from Norfolk in it will almost certainly receive a blog post of its own), but for now the important thing to remember is that whilst other parts of Britain received ITV in 1955, a service that originated (and that was supposed to serve) Norfolk and the East Anglia region didn’t arrive until 1959.
So let’s have a look at how Anglia Television originally presented itself to the world, in a film produced for the Eurovision scheme and titled Introduction to Anglia(click to watch).
Having watched it I think the following points are interesting to consider:
- The voiceover acknowledges that ‘things are different in the country’ – This could be interpreted as a subtle attack on how the BBC had historically approached the East Anglia Region.
- Anglia wasn’t just interested in telling stories about the region, it was more ambitious, particularly in respect of its drama output – probably as a consequence of who was on the Board of Directors.
- Anglia House was, for its time, an incredibly advanced facility. In fact throughout its early history Anglia Television was a technologically adventurous company.
- The fact that Anglia was based in Norwich did not dictate that attention was only focused on Norfolk, its franchise covered a much larger geographic area. Although my project doesn’t deal with the issue, I think its interesting to consider whether it did manage to serve this vast area and whether people from other counties had a different relationship with Anglia than those in Norfolk?
- It’s easy to forget the scale of the task that faced Anglia Television and the ITA. The transmitter at Mendlesham was a huge undertaking and technologically complex due to issues of long term spectrum arrangements and the requirement to not infringe upon the territories of any of the other ITV companies – an issue that returned later in Anglia’s history too.
- And finally, the cheeky nod to ‘a good play on the BBC tonight’ never fails to make me smile – it just seems to be a typically Norfolk thing to do!
Despite the fact that this snippet of film pre-dates the arrival of television in the region, as mentioned at the end of the film, I wonder whether anyone in Norfolk did in fact see it? If it brings back memories for anyone then please consider getting involved with the project!