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BBC Television Newsreel cameraman'BBC Television Newsreel'

Not until 1948 was a new programme specifically for television news started. This was Television Newsreel, which, as its name suggested, was a newsreel compiled specifically for television.

Senior journalists from the established newsreels were recruited to produce the broadcast and they followed the same pattern as the cinema newsreels.

Television Newsreel was not topical. The same edition ran twice a week.

'BBC Television News'

Until 1954 television news as such did not exist; at the end of every evening there was simply a repeat reading of the main radio news, while the screen showed a BBC card. Even when television began to broadcast its own news from Alexandra Palace, the newscasters at first simply read a commentary without being seen on screen.

"Here is an illustrated summary of the news," announced Richard Baker on the first night. Not until September 1955 did they appear before the camera, though they were still unnamed. Later that month independent television was launched, and ITN set a new style with reporters such as Robin Day, Ludovic Kennedy and Christopher Chataway.

Click Here! The End of Rationing - 1954 Television News Item

Robert DougallIn 1956 Robert Dougall, Richard Baker and Kenneth Kendall were chosen by the BBC to meet the challenge from ITV. Only at this stage did the BBC allow the newscasters' names to be known. These were the days before Autocues and Teleprompters, with the newsreaders reading directly from a script.

BBC TV News from 27th February 1958, read by Robert Dougall (part 1)

(part 2)

BBC Television News was 50 years old on 5th. July 2004

Click Here! BBC Television News Theme

It was in 1957 that the first woman read the news in the BBC Television Service: Armine Sandford, one of a team of four who presented the West Region's daily television news bulletins from the Bristol studios.

Nan Winton was best known for being the first female national newsreader on BBC television.
She was a BBC TV continuity announcer from 1958–61 and also an experienced journalist who had worked on
Panorama and Town and Around. She was given the job to read the 6pm news and weekend bulletins on Sunday evenings from 1960-61.

George Cowling'The Weather Forecast' The very first weather forecast to be televised featured a shadowy hand sketching isobars on a chart while an off-screen voice, backed by a segment of soothing music, supplied some pertinent information. A sad-faced Yorkshireman by the name of George Cowling contributed the first in-vision forecast on January 11th. 1954. "The change", explained the Radio Times, "is designed to stress the continuity of the reports provided; the forecaster will show, for example, how the weather expected tomorrow is conditioned by the weather experienced today." More information about the history of the BBC's Weather Forcasts may be found on the BBC website here.

When ITV began in 1955, Independent Television News (ITN) provided the news and called their newsreaders "Newscasters". These included Robin Day, Ludovic Kennedy, Reginald Bosanquet, Tim Brinton, Huw Thomas and Alastair Burnett. ITN also presented documentary series such as 'Roving Report' (1957-1964) and 'Tell the People'.

ITN also had female newscasters, Barbara Mandell and Lynne Reid Banks, from its launch in 1955.

Click Here! Tell The People video clip

More information about the History of BBC News broadcasting can be found here

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