Academics contribute to major project celebrating 80 years of British TV

Professor Helen Wood and Dr Jilly Boyce Kay from the School  of Media, Communication and Sociology have contributed to BBC History’s new archive to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the launch of the first British television service by the BBC.

The archive, ‘100 Voices that made the BBC – The Birth of TV’, has been launched to provide the public with access to archive material from the early days of television and the section ‘Watching at Home’ is provided by Helen and Jilly.

The archive, which can be viewed here, contains a wealth of video and audio footage which tells the story of television - including the invention of television, the opening night at Alexandra Palace in 1936, TV closure during the war and its resurrection in 1946, TV’s milestone moments such the Olympics and the Coronations of 1937 and 1953.

Professor Wood said: “We are really excited to be part of this BBC project celebrating the birth of television which also throws a spotlight on important developments in media history research. The work stemmed from an AHRC funded project on the ‘History of Television for Women in Britain’ and included research like this finding the voices of women in the Mass Observation archive.’’

Helen Wood recently published a paper considering the responses of women, many of whom describe themselves as housewives, in the 1949 Mass Observation Television Directive, in order to interrogate some of the broader assumptions around television's relationship with ‘the housewife’ as key to its success.

The BBC History archive project is a collaboration with The Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex; Centre for Media History, Aberystwyth University; Media and Communication, University of Leicester and The National Media Museum.