1952 BBC TV programmes from Scotland

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March 1952: Launch programmes from Scotland

The following programmes were broadcast to co-incide with the official opening of the first Scottish television transmitters at Kirk o' Shotts. One of the BBC's four mobile outside broadcasting units based at Wembley, London, was sent to Scotland to facilitate the broadcasts.

  • Television Comes to Scotland, Friday 14 March 1952, 19:30–20:00
    Live from Studio 1 at Broadcasting House, Edinburgh.
  • Evening Service, Sunday 16 March 1952, 18:30–20:00
    From St. Cuthbert's Parish Church, Edinburgh. This programme was telefilmed (though it's not clear if it was broadcast live at the time).
  • The Old Lady Shows Her Medals, Wednesday 19 March 1952, 19:15–20:00
    A play by J. M. Barrie, from the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow.

A number of programmes from the BBC's Alexandra Palace studios in London took on a Scottish theme to welcome Kirk o' Shotts viewers. For launch night there was: In The News, in which Frank Byers chaired a discussion with four Scottish MPs (it was also telefilmed and repeated the following Wednesday); and Speaking Personally, in which Scottish actor Alastair Sim delivered a short talk about his experiences in several television plays. The following evening, Television Music-Hall from Liverpool "welcomed Scotland" with variety turns including The Glasgow City Police Champion Pipe Band.

August/September 1952

From the Glasgow Citizen's Theatre:

  • The Black Eye, Tuesday 12 August 1952, 20:45–22:30
    Play by James Bridie; adapted for television by James Crampsey; from Glasgow Citizen's Theatre.
  • A Parliament for Scotland?, Wednesday 13 August 1952, 20:15–21:00
    A discussion before an invited audience in the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow. Presented for television by James Buchan.

From the Edinburgh Festival:

The first of these programmes co-incided with the switching-on of the high-power transmitters at Kirk o' Shotts. Until this point programmes had been broadcast from the lower-power back-up transmitters, thus restricting their transmission range.

From the Radio Exhibition at St. Andrew's Halls, Glasgow:

  • A Perfect Picture, Tuesday 23 September 1952, 20:15–20:30
    Hints and suggestions on how to.tune your television receiver provided by an expert. (BBC records and newspapers of the time suggest this programme was called 'Meet The Visitor'.) The interviewer was [Alastair Borthwick]/
  • The McFlannels, Wednesday 24 September 1952, 19:30–20:00, OPT-OUT
    A visit behind the scenes to meet this famous family and their creator, Helen W. Pryde.
  • Scottish Country Dancing, Friday 27 September 1952, 18:45–19:15, OPT-OUT
    Bobby MacLeod and his Scottish Dance Band.

October 1952

November 1952

  • Scotland in October, Sunday 2 November, 19:30–20:00, OPT-OUT
    Macdonald Daly presents a survey of the month's events in and about Scotland.
  • A Matter of Belief, Sunday 2 November, 22:27–22:47, OPT-OUT
    The Rev. David Read, Chaplain to the University of Edinburgh, answers questions about Christian faith and living. From Studio 3, Glasgow.
  • Swimming, Saturday 8 November, 15:00–16:04
    A visit to Motherwell Baths, near Glasgow, to see part of a swimming gala, including exhibition races by some of Britain's leading girl swimmers. Commentators: Anthony Chapman, Harry Walker.
  • Scottish National War Memorial, Tuesday 11 November 1952, 21:45–22:05
    An Armistice Day visit to the shrine built in Edinburgh Castle to the memory of their country-men by Scots the world over. Commentator: Alastair Borthwick. Glasgow Herald TV review.
  • Music-Hall, Saturday 15 November, 21:20–22:50
    The first music hall programme to be televised in Scotland. From the Metropole Theatre, Glasgow. Presented by BBC producer Richard Afton, it starred Gracie Fields, who was making a concert tour of Scotland at the time, Harry Gordon, Robert Wilson, Jack Radcliffe, Tessie O'Shea, and Dave Willis, who emerged from retirement to make this televised performance.[1] Glasgow Herald TV review.

From St Andrew's Hall's, Glasgow:

  • Children's Television, Thursday 20 November, 17:30–18:00
    A special television performance to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Scottish Children's Theatre, featuring nursery rhymes, mime and short plays. From the Berkeley Hall.
  • Amateur Boxing: Scottish Western District Championships, Thursday 20 November, 18:35–19:15, OPT-OUT
    A visit to St. Andrew's Halls, Glasgow, to see the first half of the tournament. Commentators: Malcolm Turner, John Blair.
  • Amateur Boxing: Scottish Western District Championships, Thursday 20 November, 22:32–23:00, OPT-OUT
    A second visit to the Scottish Western District Championships at St. Andrew's Halls, Glasgow.

  • Other People's Jobs: The Miner, Tuesday 25 November, 20:15–20:50
    Television cameras visit miners at work at the coal face in Tillicoultry mine, Scotland. Commentators: Alastair Borthwick, James Buchan, Jameson Clark. First time television equipment had been taken down a coal mine.
  • Service for St. Andrew's Day, Sunday 30 November, 18:30–20:00
    From the Kirk of the Canongate, Edinburgh, conducted by the Minister, the Rev. Ronald Selby Wright, T.D. Preacher, the Rev. George F. MacLeod, M.C., D.D., Leader of the Iona Community.

December 1952

  • Association Football: Scottish Universities v. English Universities, Saturday 20 December 1952, 15:00–15:55
    First football match in Scotland to be televised. From the Westerlands Ground, Glasgow. Commentators: Peter Thomson and Kenneth Wolstenholme.
  • A Christmas Card from Korea, Thursday 25 December 1952, 21:15–21:30
    Television outside broadcast cameras, with James Buchan, visit a family in Scotland and bring greetings from their son serving with the Black Watch in Korea. Filmed programme.
  • Ice Hockey: Scottish Select v. Streatham, Saturday 27 December 1952, 15:00–16:15
    A visit to the Murrayfield Ice Stadium, Edinburgh, for the second and third periods of this match. Commentator: Johnny Kelly, Peter Thomson.
  • Watch-Night Service, Wednesday 31 December 1952, 23:40–23:59
    As part of the programme Bringing in the New Year, introduced by Richard Dimbleby. The watch night service was from Wellington Church, Glasgow, and conducted by the Minister, the Rev. E. D. Jarvis. (See 'City Service Televised', Glasgow Herald, 2 January 1953, 3.)


  1. 'Scots Transmission', Glasgow Herald, 28 October 1952, 2.