On this day in history : 5th July 1954 – The BBC broadcasts its first television news programme…. The twenty minute bullet-in is introduced by Richard Baker….

Richard Baker – Fair use

We are all very familiar with the format of today’s TV news programmes; the presenters, news stories from around the world and closer to home – and the film footage that almost always accompanies them…. But how different things were back then…. Richard Baker narrated the news story whilst a supporting relevant still photograph was broadcast for viewers to look at…. It was really like an illustrated summary of the news…. A customary news reel would be shown, usually with recorded commentary from John Snagge or occasionally Andrew Timothy….

John Snagge reading the news in 1944 – Public domain

The BBC’s new news programme certainly wasn’t popular with all…. Some described it as ‘absolutely ghastly!’ and ‘as visually impressive as the fat stock prices’…. BBC Radio 4 were also doubtful about this newfangled way of delivering news to the nation and insisted on keeping control over the editorial of the headlines and the programme content….

The very first programme to be broadcast included a story on French troop movements in Tunisia and covered the truce talks being held near to Hanoi…. The service was intended to be more up to date, as the previous ‘Television Newsreel’ programme often contained news stories several days old….

In 1955 other news readers were introduced, such as Kenneth Kendall – who was the first news presenter to be visually seen – and Robert Dougall…. Television news time also doubled during this period…. Shortly after this expansion by the BBC, on the 21st of September 1955, ITN launched their news programme….

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