31st August 1957

Scottish Television takes to the air

Scottish Television was once one of three franchise holders broadcasting independent television to Scotland, alongside Grampian Television and Border Television. It took to the air at 6.12pm on Saturday 31 August 1957, opening with an hour-long celebration of the country called This is Scotland.

Broadcasting from Glasgow

Previewing the launch night schedule, that day’s Broughty Ferry Guide and Advertiser noted that its “first programmes reflect all aspects of national life” when “the first Scottish Television programmes will go out from Glasgow’s converted Theatre Royal, now one of the most up-to-date television studios in the world… This is Scotland introduces the new service with the cream of Scottish variety talent, and famous personalities in Scottish life… Scottish literature and industry will be represented, too, and, to point to the fact of Scotland’s tremendous contribution to the world of science, there will be a representation of Scottish inventors.”

A Scottish invention

Were it not for those ‘Scottish inventors’ Scottish Television might not have existed at all. Helensburgh’s John Logie Baird, invented the first practical means of transmitting and receiving television pictures.

The Mirror, on launch day, revealed that “Scottish Television Ltd has one of the world’s most powerful transmitters, capable of reaching seven out of ten Scots”. However, watching it wasn’t as simple as switching on and tuning in. On the same day, the Coatbridge Leader spoke to a television dealer who explained that “two things have to be done to the average set in order to get Channel 10 [on which Scottish Television broadcast] – new coils have to be inserted and a new aerial has to be erected.” Ninety percent of televisions that were seven or more months older would need new coils fitting, according to the same source.

Launch of Scottish Television

The Independent Television Authority’s outgoing chairman came to Glasgow for the launch and took a pop at the BBC, with the following day’s Weekly Dispatch quoting him saying that “though the worst of the variety programmes on [Scottish Television] will be rather foolish and vulgar, they will be no worse than those to which you have become accustomed by our august rival.”

Scottish Television changed its name and on-air identity to STV in 2006.



Other events that occured in August

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