By Rob Turnock
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Extra info for Television and Consumer Culture: Britain and the Transformation of Modernity
Yet this is to misunderstand long-term developments in British broadcasting more generally and television in particular. In the first instance there was already competition in British broadcasting in the 1950s. This was between the three BBC radio services (the Light Programme, the Home Service and the Third Programme), the commercial Radio Luxembourg being transmitted from abroad, and BBC television itself. Secondly, part of the BBC’s philosophy, as evidenced by the three radio services, was based on choice.
Although individual actors might earn less for a single programme hour, they would certainly benefit from having continuous employment and a regular, stable wage. The advent of serialization certainly had a number of advantages, yet this was particularly consolidated by the increased use of recording 43 Television and Consumer Culture technology. The development of recording television programmes will be explored in more depth in Chapter 3, but it is worth noting here that recording helped facilitate a mode of production that was more efficient in its use of staff, crew, cast, studio space and equipment as and when they were available.
As I discussed earlier, the BBC as an institution was no stranger to competition. Not only had the BBC faced competition from English language 38 Rationalization radio services from abroad since the 1930s, but radio and television producers faced competition from each other within the BBC. Producers working in television had been competing with the BBC radio for audiences since the start of the high-definition television service in 1936. On ITV’s opening night in 1955, for example, BBC television did not just face competition from the new commercial service but also with BBC radio, which killed off the character of Grace Archer in the long running soap The Archers.