A great little find from the archives was recently shared on Twitter by STV Footage Sales. Better Viewing was made by STV in 1957 to help their viewers understand how to get the most from their televisions – explaining for instance the importance of good aerials and properly tuning sets. Sadly the original audio is lost.
However, as little of STV’s early days survives, all finds like these are of historic interest. Good reception was very important to STV. The Blackhill transmitter didn’t behave quite as anticipated in 1957: the result was that reception in Ayrshire and Dundee (which officially became part of Grampian’s area later) was not as good as had been hoped for. Amongst the sequences in this programme is a map showing what, one assumes, were the areas of relativity good reception and those which were problematic.
And another little curiosity: the clip proves beyond doubt that the initials STV were always used as an abbreviation for the station – the letters are on the cameras. Initially Scottish Television mostly used its full name or referred to its frequency – Channel 10. However the initials were clearly an acceptable contraction. In the early 70s though things were turned around – STV became the common name for the station although the full name was still used occasionally before being reinstated in 1985. The name STV was strictly off limits from then until 2006.
As always with archive like this, there is so much to learn. It is often the surviving recordings of the programmes which were unremarkable at the time – not the high-profile or lavish productions – which tell a historian far more about what TV was actually once like.
PICTURED: Better Viewing, STV. SUPPLIED BY: Online/STV Footage Sales. COPYRIGHT: STV.