Film: 5845

Media | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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An Impression of Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC 1950's

Please note that there is no narration on this and the only sound is speech recorded by participants in the film.

Title on a background of a London street with bells tolling. View of outside of Broadcasting House. Empty corridor. Still of clock showing 12.00am. Still of door with sign "Light Programme Continuity Suite". Man leaves an office next to this door saying goodnight to unseen colleague and walks down the corridor. He stops, puts on a pair of glasses and looks at a sheet of paper on a clipboard on the wall to his right. The clipboard is one of a number on that wall. Man takes off his glasses replacing them in his jacket pocket and continues walking. Room with lots of electrical equipment at which three men are working. Still of empty corridor. Sign on pillar with arrow pointing left saying "Concert Hall". Auditorium - on a stage a suited man is seated at a grand piano playing notes. Still of Broadcasting House. Road sign - "Lime Grove". Still of building with sign above door of "BBC TV studios". Television lights being raised and lowered. Man dressed casually holds large piece of paper to which he is referring whilst giving directions to unseen lighting crew. Two men drag a cart into the studio. The cart contains leafless branches or a tree. Two men on overalls push what appears to be a model of a stable stall. Man in suit gives directions whilst a technician in the background moves lights hanging from the ceiling. View of the cart and branches being moved whilst a man shakes a sheet and lets it drop to the floor. Man directs positioning of lights up on a pulley system. He walks past the lights and then turns to face the camera where he is joined by another man. View of large unidentified building. Night time view of a large building with porticoed entrance. Sign on wall of building says "Bush House" (home of the BBC World Service) View of a back staircase to Bush House with a man walking down the stairs and walking away from building. Sign "British Broadcasting Corporation External Services" Machine whirring with two tapes going round. Next to it stands a man in front of a wall filled with electrical equipment. A woman sits at a desk with a microphone hanging in front of her and a record player to her right. The clock on the wall says 2.00am and a man can be seen in the room next door through a window. It is the General Overseas Service of the BBC. Still of clock showing 2.00am. Woman announces that this is The British Broadcasting Corporation and puts a record on. She then reaches for some papers on her desk.

Two men, one in shirtsleeves discuss the 2.00am broadcast. Both wear glasses and are in a room with desks and electrical/broadcasting equipment. Both carry clipboards to which they refer. They continue their discussion and then the man in shirtsleeves is left alone. The woman in the studio switches off the record. Man in front of panel with lots of dials and buttons. Woman in studio. Still of clock. Woman announces the time. Gentleman in front of a large microphone announces the news. Views of the news being read in Spanish. Still of clock saying 2.30am. Woman's hand turns a dial anti clockwise. Man gets up, gathers his papers and leaves room. Night shot of a city street and a woman on her own walking in the middle of the road. She turns right and enters one of the buildings.

Young man is seated at a desk which has three sides of dials. A man at a desk with a beard reads the news in Russian. Clock at 3.45am. View of landscape at night. View of room attended by one technician. The equipment is labelled. View of various labels called "Sender No 11", "Sender No 7" and "sender No 5". Technician monitors the equipment. Newsreader speaking in Italian. Room with many dials. News read by gentleman in unidentifiable eastern European language. Room with dials again. Still of tapes spooling. View of a darkened room with unknown electrical items in. Each item generates its own light and is labelled at the bottom with Marconi and a serial number. View of large transmitter being put together. Dawn in front of Broadcasting House and a piece of newspaper is blown about in the road.

An elderly, uniformed man is on the telephone behind a reception desk. View of entrance as three women enter the building. View of corridor with three women on their hands and knees cleaning the floor. A fourth woman enters the corridor carrying a bucket and walks towards the double doors at the far end of the corridor. More ladies arrive in the buildings entrance. Two men walk down the road. To the right of them is a sign "British Broadcasting Corporation Droitwich Transmitting Station". Man in lab coat closes door on cupboards containing equipment and dials. He makes a thumbs up signal with both hands to a colleague who is in another room. They are separated by a glass window. This older man turns to a console on his right turns two dials and flicks two switches. View of what appears to be turbines or generators. Close up of one of these busily whirring.

Sign "Moorside Edge Transmitting Station" Still of station. Sign "Lisnagarvey Transmitting Station" View of station. Sign "Penmon Transmitting Station" no view of station ! Still of flat landscape. Still of Broadcasting House. Curved corridor with man walking down it swiftly carrying folders. He enters room which is a broadcasting studio. Through the window another man is on the telephone. The first man, in a three piece suit sits at desk and goes to pick up his headphones. Two men in front of a desk with lots of wires, switches and dials. One is seated and wearing headphones. Three piece suit man has headphones on and switches on record player. There are men on the other room. The one standing is in his shirtsleeves and is plugging wires into a console. The console and actions look like those used on an old fashioned switchboard. A man in a waistcoat dictates to a typist seated next to him. A blonde man watches whilst in the background another man leaves the room carrying a sheaf of papers. All of the desks are strewn with papers and there is what appears to be two blackboards one either side of a clock. The typist finishes her typing and removes it from her manual typewriter. She hands it the man in the waistcoat who rises and hands it to the blonde man. The blonde man then leaves the room and waistcoat man sits down. Three piece suit broadcaster has his headphones round his neck and is handed a news broadcast by blonde man who then leaves again. Three piece suit man looks over what he has been given. View of river Thames, London, England from the south side opposite the Houses of Parliament. There is a boat motoring down the middle of the river. Panning of London skyline leading t roof of Broadcasting House.

Room of technicians in front of switchboard like equipment whilst a woman cleaner is on her hands and knees cleaning the floor. Another cleaner is in the background with a bucket. The carpet is being cleaned by a man with an upright vacuum cleaner. An elderly lady is on her knees in a corridor with bucket and cloth. She wrings out the cloth and begins to clean the floor. Behind her is another woman doing exactly the same thing. Three piece suit man reads the news. Another room with lots of technical equipment. Light goes on above a door and tapes start playing music. More women (or the same ones?!) clean more floors by hand. Two men discuss a broadcast. One in a waistcoat picks up the phone as a third man with pipe in mouth comes into the room carrying papers. View of lady wearing headphones at another desk. Pipe man bids her good morning and then takes off his jacket to revels braces. He puts his jacket over a chair back and then turns back to talk to Margaret along with man in jacket. View of Margaret adjusting record player. Pipe man shows a postcard to jacketed man who takes it from him to read. Still of empty corridor. View of antennae on top of Broadcasting House and panning of London skyline. View of busy city street with two tone double decker buses. To the right of the picture there is a small park with statues and fountain. This is not an aerial view but shot from somewhere high. Sign with crest and words "Northern Ireland". View of building with sign "British Broadcasting Corporation.

00:08:29. Two women walking into building. Clock says 9.00am on outside of building. A voice announces that it is time for "Housewives Choice" (and mentions jolly tunes!) introduced by Richard Murdoch. View of fairly busy street with men and women walking along the pavement. Two smiling men in anoraks walk towards a building. View of entrance has sign "Peter House". There is a doorman in uniform to the left greeting two men who are arriving in suits carrying hats and briefcases. View of lots of people arriving for work. Sign "Sutton Coldfield Television Station" Two men on bicycles and three on foot greet each other as they arrive for work. View of number 137 double decker bus to Highgate. View of BBC building.

Balding broadcaster in front of microphone reads out dedications. View of woman with headphones turning on record. Two women have arrive din their office and are removing their coats. Dust sheets are taken off of cameras by two young men who then move the cameras out. A man pulling a trolley with two large wicker baskets on stops in front of the Wardrobe room which is opened by a woman. Two men in jumpers enter a room. As a man in a cardigan puts on a lab coat another man in a duffle coat enters the room. They talk. Balding broadcaster sits at his desk stirring the contents of his cup. Suited men walk through large doors. A television studio where three men are preparing equipment for use. Three women enter building - "BBC television studios". Other people are shown entering the gates of BBC Television Centre. Others including one on moped are shown arriving at "BBC Television Film Studios". Two men, one in a cap and carrying a parcel enter a lift. Others stand in front of a reception desk manned by two young ladies whilst another is directed to the desk by the doorman. Lots more people arrive for work. Balding broadcaster. View of a city skyline. Women in cardigan conducts survey with young housewife on doorstep. View of City. View of BBC building with people walking past. Vicar conducting religious service on radio. Seated choir practicing with conductor. View of Broadcasting House. Meeting of radio executives round large table Woman in short sleeved blouse is taking minutes in shorthand. Discussions take place. Several of the men in the meeting are smoking. Man walking down corridor. Woman leaves office and passes man in opposite direction. Another meeting this time conducted by a man with a moustache sitting behind a desk. (Richard Dimbleby appears at some point in this sequence). Two men are seated in high backed leather chairs in front of him. The same lady is to the side taking minutes. One man has white hair and the other is smoking. View of city street and traffic. Bush House. With lots of cars parked outside. Man in studio plays guitar. "British Broadcasting Services External Services" Two men in office, one is seated and has moustache the other is standing going through note son the desk and wears glasses. Another meeting that includes a seated man with glasses and cigarette and a man with his back to the camera who has a pipe. There are another six people seated round an oval table. They are all heads of broadcasting services for different countries in Europe including Russia, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Two people seated opposite each other with a microphone between them. The one facing the camera is an oriental man with moustache speaking Chinese(?). The other is a woman who is holding a script in oriental characters. Clock says 11.00am. Outside Broadcasting House with buses going past. Modern white, round building which is BBC Television Centre. Office within Television Centre containing four men. Two are working at desks on individual projects whilst the other two are standing together at a drawing board. The diagram on the board is about building a canal in the studio.

In a studio two horsemen in period uniform - seventeenth century. Overhead poles with microphones, at least two cameras with operators. In the background is some kind of building and to the side a road and scrubby verge have been created. The horsemen followed by a foot soldier walk and ride off to the left. Man scatters more dirt onto scenery consisting of hillocks and grass with a range of hills in the background. A man holding a clipboard discusses the scene with an actress dressed in costume an looking like a peasant - headscarf and dark dress.

Meeting room with three people seated at desk. One is a woman. All three are wearing headphones and it is an early method of conference calling. View of a dockyard and voice of Scottish member of conference call. Each member of the call is addressed in turn with a view indicating their location - unspecified city for northern caller; view of Birmingham for West Midlands; view of Bristol for West Country; Welsh city street, Wales. Back to the meeting room. View of corridor and back of a woman walking down the corridor. Another corridor with the back of the man walking down it. Two men having a discussion. Another meeting between four other men. View of London street. Newsroom in London. Man and woman sitting at desk with headphones on. A third man is standing to their right smoking a cigarette. In the telex room a man tears off a message and leaves the room with it. A second man monitors a row of telex machines along one wall. The message is delivered to a man sitting in an office with at least ten other people who are at their own desks. He reads the message and then picks up the phone to organise a reporter for a story of a plane crash in the sea off the Cornwall coast. A man called the Reporting Organiser picks up the phone on his desk. Behind him is a blackboard with the movements of reporters and correspondents on it. A woman is amending the detail. He puts down the phone after a brief conversation and immediately picks up another. He is arranging a priority call to the News Editor in Bristol. He then checks the whereabouts of the Air Correspondent with the woman at the blackboard whilst still on the phone. As he continues his telephone conversation the woman turns to the blackboard and erases the current information about the Air Correspondent and writes in new information. The man puts down the phone and speaks to the woman. She then leaves the blackboard and picks up the phone on his desk. The mans turns from his desk and opens a panel in the wall behind him. There is another woman sitting at a desk on the other side of the sliding panel to whom the man speaks and then closes the panel.
A man in an overcoat, carrying a bag hurries down the steps from a house. There is a car and driver waiting for him. He gets in to the car which drives off. Sign - "Plymouth City Centre 2m". The car is seen driving quite quickly down a dirt road. An office. In the background a person in the horizontally striped jumper is working at a desk. In front of him are two men both on the telephone. They are at Alexandra Palace. Plymouth Harbour. A man fastens a briefcase which is in the boot of a car. The boot also contains a tripod. The man closes the boot and then gets in to a Morris Minor 1000. The man with a moustache at Alexandra Palace is on the phone. He turns to speak with the other man who is also on the phone. Airport - the crew check over a bi-plane which the reporter in an overcoat approaches. View of the two men at Alexandra Palace. Sign sating "Bath". Man in Macintosh is dismantling a tripod on the roof of an outside broadcast van in front of Bath Abbey. He hands the tripod down to a colleague who puts in the back of the van. He then climbs down from the roof. The doors of the van are closed and the two men walk to the front of the vehicle. Alexandra Palace. A man in a duffle coat with slicked back hair and glasses gets out of a car at the airport. He walks towards the plane carrying a small case and tripod. At the plane door he joins two other men who start to climb into the plane. A man in an office is estimating distances on a map of the British Isles using a drawing pin.

00:20: 43. A Morris Minor and a lorry drive off a ferry and up a hill. There are two ships in the background and a battleship. A Morris Minor Traveller drives along a country road. A van turns a corner into a narrow road that gives a view of Plymouth Harbour. View of the sea and a ship at anchor. Sign "RAF Mount Batten" points left. View of reporter interviewing an RAF officer about the missing charter flight. In the background is a map of the British Isles, Europe and the surrounding seas. In another part of the office a female officer is writing on a blackboard. One male officer finishes writing a note and passes it to the young male officer standing to his right at the end of the desks. This officer takes the note and turns away reading it. He walks round the desk towards the reporter and the officer being interviewed. Clock says midday. Aerial view of land and sea. Panel with lots of switches and dials. Old man looking at them. View of other equipment and turbines in the room. View of radio mast. View of Trafalgar Square, London, England with the National Gallery immediately ahead. View of stage on which one man stands at a microphone. He is speaking. Behind him two men are seated either side of a woman. The two men and the woman are having a conversation. View of two men seated in a viewing room at the back of the theatre. View of stage. View of men in room. View of stage where the woman, dressed in a fur coat is now speaking at the microphone whilst the man who had been at the microphone now stands behind her with his arms folded. Back to room. Back to stage and a close up of the earlier scene of the woman at the microphone. Aerial view of River Thames, London, England with Waterloo Bridge in the foreground. View of BBC Television Studios.

Two horses being led onto a set past three men on their left who are having a discussion. An old fashioned caravan with "Mother Courage - General Mechant" on the side is pulled on to set by a man and a woman in mid-seventeenth century costume. There is a large wicker basket hanging from the back of the caravan. View of room with slots of small television screens being viewed by three people. Back to the set where a sound boom and trolley are moved forward. Back to room with television screens. Back to the set where two men dressed as soldiers from the English Civil War - leather jerkins and conical metal helmets run onto the set towards a line of washing which is fastened on a line strung between a cannon on wheels and the caravan. A woman in period costume is standing by the caravan (Flora Robson). In the background is a cluster of tents flying coloured pennants. The soldiers begin to unite the washing line as the woman comes towards them and begins to gather the washing off the line. View of camera moving backwards. In the room with the television screens three people compare what they are seeing on screen with their scripts. The soldiers run off. In front of the caravan stands an old woman with an old man. The older woman walks over to a young blonde woman who is sitting on a stool. She removes the feathered hat that the blonde woman is wearing and throws it to the floor speaking angrily. She then walks in front of the blonde woman. In the background is a woman in modern dress holding a clipboard. View of cameras. Room with television screens an one man watching. He gives directions to the woman with the clipboard who moves onto the set to demonstrate a pose. The young blonde woman picks up the hat and dusts it off. She then puts the hat back on. The older lady walks away to towards the caravan. Clipboard woman moves towards the blonde woman and puts her hand on the shoulder. A man in costume moves across the camera and the clipboard woman adjusts her position. The old woman moves to the front of the caravan. The scene is exactly the same as previously with washing hung between the cannon and the caravan as the scene is re-shot. Al action is identical until the woman goes to the blonde woman wearing the feather hat. The older woman removes the feathered hat. View of cameras. View of the three people reviewing the scene in the room with the television screens. View of a young man in a room enclosed on two sides by panels with lots of switches on. In front of him are lots of television screens. Scene of dark haired woman wearing the feather hat. She has a discussion with the old man who is squatting in front of the blonde woman who has her hair in pigtails. The dark haired woman runs in front of the blonde woman and old man. She then runs off stage. She runs back clasping the hat to her head and runs behind the caravan. The old man removes one of the blonde girls boots. As he does so the dark haired woman comes out from behind the caravan and is no longer wearing the hat. The old woman comes into view. The blonde woman puts down her boot and picks up a stocking. The old woman speaks to the dark haired woman. Clipboard woman comes to speak with the old woman. Clock says 1.00pm.

Aerial view of the Atlantic coastline near Plymouth. Bi-plane landing. Car driving in aerodrome. Bi-plane taxiing. Man taking tripod out of boot of car. Two reporters climb out of the bi-plane. The reporters board an RAF plane called a Shackleton which is searching for the missing charter flight. The man at the car and another from the office walk towards the plane. View of Shackleton taking off. Camera man at side of runway. Aerial view of the RAF plane over the sea near Cornwall.

Trombones playing and being conducted very enthusiastically. Sign "On the Air". Band playing. Man in room with view of band in front of him stands in front of a panel with lots of dials. Scene of not very appetising food in BBC canteen. Scenes of people collecting cutlery and eating in the canteen. London street with buses and pedestrians. Men in public house enjoying a pint of beer. Staff in canteen serving up lunch. Man playing drums. Man playing double bass. Man seated with cigarette in mouth and clipboard on lap. He lights a colleague's cigarette with a match. Two women in pub. The blonde one is wearing pearls and the other has on white gloves. Man drinking half a pint of lager. View of crowded public house. Very crowded canteen. Man at telephone booth which gives incoming calls only. Man with large moustache at piano. Three trumpets play. Man is still in phone booth. Lots of scenes of people in canteen talking with friends and eating. Man adjusts dials for band. More people in canteen including one man in a kilt and a black man. The man in the booth is still on the phone. Everyone is still eating and talking. A man looking like Rhett Butler in the canteen collecting his lunch. Man drinking Coca Cola from a bottle with a straw. Man adjust volume for clarinet. Actor dressed in armed forces uniform has lunch. A man dressed in Victorian costume eats. Actress in mop cap drinks milk. The Rhett Butler look alike eats his steamed pudding. Man plays double bass. Stop watch on a chain. Man and woman watching the band. Two men watch the band. Two men walk on a pier leading to the River Thames carrying a camera. Rowing eight on River Thames. Camera crew setting up equipment on a boat. Presenter announcing what listeners have just heard the band playing. The presenter is wearing a cardigan with dodgy collar. Conductor, conducting next piece of music. Stopwatch. Woman keeping an eye on the clock which says 1.45pm. Man turns dial labelled human vocals. View of announcer waving clipboard around as he announces the next piece of music.

View of small park area with Big Ben, London, England in the background. Television broadcaster announcing the days programmes for schools will include Transport and Communication presented by Arthur Garrett on the History of the Motor Car. He is sitting in an old car which is a convertible. Arthur Garrett is in the drivers seat. It is the first motor car to be mass produced. He gets out of the car and crouches by the wheel to demonstrate the design. He then moves to the front of the car to demonstrate the crank handle starting the motor. View of rowers again. View of broadcaster making test transmission on a boat called the Santosi. Three men, one in a white raincoat, one with a pipe and the last with moustache discuss arrangements for the broadcast of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race. Close up of man with moustache talking. View of television boat from riverside as it moves off in to the river. Discussion between commentator and producer of television team. Close up of commentator discussing arrangements. Star and Garter pub on the Thames at Putney. View of camera positioned on bridge over river. View of boat with cameras. Back to close up of commentator. View of BBC crews on boats motoring down the river. Broadcaster in studio. Peter O'Sullivan at the Lincoln Handicap Races, Lincoln Racecourse, Lincolnshire. View of crowd and racetrack. View of camera. Cables. Crew inside van. View of camera and cameraman on top of van positioned to see horses as they race. The van drives backwards. View of horses under starters orders. Race starts. View of car with commentator in and van with camera on. Close up of commentator in car. View of race. Close up of commentator. View of van and car. View of horses. Back in studio where a man with headphone on is watching the transmission of the race. View of van. View of inside of van. View of commentator. Van and car. View of horses in final furlong. A camera man on top of scaffolding with view of race. Two broadcasters in the stands both wearing hats. BBC building. Sign "Recording in Progress". Is lit up and a man is recording the transmission of the horse race. They stop taping and phone to say that the recording has happened and that they are testing it to make sure the quality is OK.

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