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Fifties Television

One of the early TVs in Britain in the fifties was the Bush model shown above, with EMI, Cossor, Baird and Ferranti making similar designs. They had about ten or more valves and either a 9-inch display or a 3-inch display which reflected off a mirror and projected onto a matte screen made of celluloid. Many users bought a glass magnifier lens which clipped onto the screen to make it appear to be 12 inches when larger new models started to be sold in shops. 

In the early fifties there was only one broadcast channel, the BBC. In the beginning, TV was only broadcast after 5pm for about three hours and all the programming was performed live from the London studio. As programming became more varied the Radio Times was published with the schedule which now included afternoon broadcasts of Andy Pandy, a puppet show for children. When programs were not being performed the Test Card was broadcast and later, images of goldfish swimming in a glass tank kept the viewing audience fascinated.

Breakdowns were a common occurrence and a printed card would appear on live performances stating "Normal Service Will Resume As Soon As Possible". This became a catch-phrase with the public in the fifties as a grudging symptom of post-war Britain when railways and other services were interrupted.

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Created before 2012