FROM THE ARCHIVE OF: Dave Baldwin

Nationwide goes behind-the-scenes on the launch day of BBC Breakfast Time.

VIDEO: Nationwide reports on the launch of BBC Breakfast Time. Presenter: Richard Kershaw. Reporter: Hugh Scully. TX DATE: 17th January 1983. COPYRIGHT: BBC. VREF: 25471-01.

Video content

[00:00:00] PROGRAMME: Hugh Scully went behind-the-scenes to observe the launch day preparations for BBC Breakfast Time, in what was regarded as the most important development in UK TV since the birth of BBC Two.

Hugh’s report begins at 2.30am in one of the programme’s offices. There’s an awareness that the launch day audience will potentially be quite large – the continuing battle will be to retain those numbers.

We then see Frank Bough getting his wake-up call and subsequently at home, getting ready to head off to the studio, half-an-hour away. The last time Frank was up this early for a TV broadcast was for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.

We get a glimpse of Francis Wilson rehearsing his weather forecast, with the new cutting edge graphics. Francis’ style and presentation is original, we’re told. In a brief interview, Francis says that he won’t be talking about isobars but rather weather terms that people can relate to.

We get a brief glimpse of one of the pre-broadcast briefings with Ron Neil, editor BBC Breakfast Time. Ron says that the programme will go out of its way to ensure a very relaxed approach.

There’s an interview with the programme’s astrology presenter, Russell Grant. He talks the programme’s plans to have him visiting people on their doorstep

BBC Breakfast Time is, we’re told, unashamedly the tabloid of television – nearer in style to The Daily Mirror than The Times.

Editor Ron Neill comments on a survey in the morning papers that suggests only 4 out of 10 people may watch – “that’s an awful lot of people,” he says.

We then see some shots of the programme’s VT area and are told that there’s been a substantial investment in new technology. Hugh tells us the programme has the most sophisticated electronic newsroom in the world.

We see a quick demonstration of one of the uses of the new computer system – to supply a detailed personal profile for guest, Sir Harry Secombe.

We see Sir Harry Secombe arriving at the studio. There’s also footage of Norman St John Stevas arriving at the studio – he appeared on the programme to provide a review of the day’s papers.

We then see a shot of the gallery as the programme comes on air. We then see a portion of the opening titles and a brief snippet of the start of the programme.

Reporter Hugh Scully tells us that this is the biggest investment by the BBC since the launch of BBC Two – and asks Ron Neill if it’s worth it.

Ron naturally claims it is absolutely justifiable – and points out that the licence fee hasn’t been raised to support it. He says the programme will provide 650 extra hours of programming per year.

Acknowledgements

FEATURE IMAGE:
PICTURED: behind-the-scenes at BBC Breakfast Time. COPYRIGHT: BBC.

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