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    The Golden age of British television Essay

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    ITV as a commercial television had an absolutely different goals than BBC, it wanted to catch the people’s attention, and they wanted them to watch their advertising, so their main focus was on the entertaining programmes. Instead of creating their own film etc. ITV was mainly buying American shows, for instance westerns such was ‘Gun Smoke’ or ‘Wagon Train’. Despite of this ITV brought some entirely new programmes as well, fantasy, dramas, imaginative and adventurous series. Getting then over the realism in television, presented by examination of the provincial everyday life, British people will get something a bit different.

    And yet we can see how it had changed them. The Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel in ‘The Avengers’ performed clearly feministic with her chic, intelligent, independent, upper-class female assistant of John Steed, played by Patrick MacNee. All of this symbolised changing, modern attitudes in the pre-feministic times. In the time when almost all women started to realize that they are not just a piece of furniture or kitchen equipment, this model woman meant lot to them. Many women wanted to be like her, they wanted to change the situation of unhappiness, live without satisfaction and rights.

    Television was not just forming the nation, but its was a ‘mirror’ of the nation’s mood as well. Then when the ‘swinging sixties’ came, television was there, watching, controlling and spreading the excitement all over the Britain. Very popular music show ‘Ready, steady, go! Which bring to the people not just live music, but ‘a studio audience dressed in the latest ‘mod’ fashions, dancing latest dances and speaking the latest slang… ‘ and spread ‘popular culture to audience around Britain’ (Christopher, D. : British Culture; An introduction’, page: 116)

    Also the late 1960’s and early 1970’s often called ‘ golden age’ of sitcoms (the most popular and controversial as well was ‘Till death us do part’) with its really huge audience ‘of some 15 million’ BC (Christopher, D. : British Culture; An introduction’, page: 117) Also there was a rise of satirical shows such as ‘That was the week that was’, ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’, ‘Dad’s Army’. Nonetheless a huge number of Gerry Anderson’s puppet shows were also produced, for instance, ‘Fireball XL 5’ or ‘Stingray’. Source: http://www. museum. tv/archieves/etv/B/html/britishprogra/britishprogra.

    htm (20. 10. 2005) With the boom of fashion, style, music, fun there is another important event in the live of television and its audience coming. After the addition of the second BBC channel BBC2 in 1964 , there was another, more important thing and it was when two years later (1967) the coloured TV was introduced Source: http://www. museum. tv/archieves/etv/B/html/britishprogra/britishprogra. htm (20. 10. 2005) And now one would think that this should be a starting point for even greater success and popularity of the British television. It is a paradox, but it did not happen.

    Facts are showing that people still were buying TV sets during the 1980s, some of them have even more than one at home, but the great boom of TV buying was definitely gone. The television was coloured now, more than that there was a real ‘channels boom’, people have wide choice of programmes, the specialized channels were established, and there was something for almost everyone on TV by the 1990s. There is no wonder that popularity of British terrestrial television was on a decline. The television itself was not any longer one of the few sources of information, education and entertainment.

    When internet became to ‘rule the world’ television lost a lot of its position. It is not expensive anymore and because of economical progress there is no need to be limited just to the one television in one room. People also lost their trust to the programmes they see on ‘telly’ nowadays. Because of the huge number of commercial channels the quality of programmes decline as well. Even thought nowadays people still do watch British terrestrial programmes (BBC, BBC2, ITV etc. ) the majority of the nation is already ‘caught’ by the ‘rubbish’ programmes provided by hundreds of commercial channels.

    In my conclusion I would like state that to me it really seems that the ‘Golden Age of British Television’, meaning British terrestrial television was taking part since the very beginning of the 1960s, then continued through the 1970s and began to slightly decline during an early 1980s and is still on the decline till nowadays. The 1960s and 1970s brought a triumphal period for the British television, never before as well as never afterwards was the TV such a powerful tool to ‘rule’ and influenced people, in a good sense I mean.

    Because of BBC independence on the advertising, it could have achieved these great goals without problems. They did not have to be bothered with competition and they do not have to fight for the people’s attention. It was a perfect atmosphere for creating such a valuable programmes and producing such magnificent films. I am not really sure if people of those days really appreciate what they have, because they did not really have anything to compare with, but I think that they still knew what did TV brought to them. How it formed their values and how many good things happened because of that impulse television gave to them.

    I feel the necessity to mention that despite of the actual decline, despite of the fact that it lost its strong position almost completely, BBC is still trying to hold the classical, television ‘upper-class’ tradition. ‘The Golden Age’ will probably never come back, but I see this as a great attitude and something very valuable. For some people British terrestrial television means a lot, and that is what counts.

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