1957 – programmes for schools pioneered

1957 – programmes for schools pioneered

Despite the financial losses, there was no loss of the pioneering spirit. In February, an Education Advisory Council was set up to advise on schools programmes. The first of these was screened on May 13 under the banner ‘ITV goes to School’. Since then, the company has established the following ‘firsts’ in school broadcasting: the first science programme for primary school children (‘The World Around Us’, 1959); the first foreign language series (‘Chez les Dupre’, 1960); the first programmes for less able children (‘You and the World’, 1964); the first religious series (‘Crossroads’, 1964); and the first for infants (‘Finding Out’, 1964).

On September 19, 1957, the company also became the first to take out a £2 million policy on 2,000 guests. A galaxy of stars and distinguished members of the press, business and advertising worlds sailed down the Thames in a tribute to all those who had helped make the programmes of the first two years a success.

The company’s variety artists that year included Arthur Askey, The Crazy Gang, the Lyons family, Max Wall, Alfred Marks, Denis Lotis and Robert Dhéry. On the more serious side, the first screening of films made for television by the British Film Institute at the National Film Theatre in December included films made by the company’s features department.

There was a happier note at the second annual general meeting in November, when the chairman reported that the company was now operating ‘at a satisfactory profit’. Advertisement bookings were increasing and while the audience in 1955 had been under three-quarters of a million, it was now approaching 5½ million. The loss for the year was £1 million.

Greenhill Primary School class

In 1957 Rediffusion gave 100 television sets to schools in the London area. Now 2,150 schools and colleges can receive transmissions in the area out of around 11,400 in the whole country. Here pupils at Greenhill Primary School, Harrow, watch a programme in the ‘Finding Out’ series.