Growing up in the 50's and 60's

What it was like being young in the 1950's - Telvision

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1950's - Early Kids Television

Children's Television in the 50's was pretty rationed

I mentioned in the Radio page that I listened to radio more than I watched TV.
This was due partly because as soon as you got home from School, you were outside and secondly TV was only transmitted for 39 hours a week until competition from ITV came along in 1955. Even then it was only increased to 49 hours.
There would be nothing on, then Children's TV for about 45 minutes, then the Interlude until the News.

However, I did watch a bit before going to School in 1953 and the pictures on the right tell the story of what!
You can see a few scenes from these on the 1950's TV Video Clips page.

What TV did do was to put faces to voices more and belive me, this didn't always work.
We had great fun watching Peter Brough's lips move when he did Archie Andrews!
Presenters would all have to have posh southern accents, short back and sides and rather heavy looking suits.
The women presenters would usually have to sit down, a bit like the Queen, wear picture design dresses and look 'woman'.


All this made it a bit conservative and held back. If you've watched any of Harry Enfield's sketches where he does the 1950's TV interview, that is exactly what it was like, monotone questions with what seemed extremely rehearsed answers!

What was clever though, was that most of it was live and I'm sure there are many Producers nowadays who wouldn't even attempt that.

One broadcast I can remember so well was the first four minute mile by Roger Bannister, someone EVEN HUGGED HIM at the end of the race (1954).

As the 50's progressed, ITV came along and gave the BBC the competition it needed.I'm sure that most people of my age group will remember the adverts more than the programmes! Ads like 'The Esso sign means happy motoring', 'Put a Tiger in your Tank', 'You'll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsadent' all spring to mind and if you're not careful, you'll be going round the house singing them in your head!

By the end of the 50's, TV was established and the old brigade who felt it was just an extra to Radio had to see this was to be the media of the future. Many American Cowboy series were brought in and the nation was to be captivated by Rawhide, Bonanza,

But, the Brit's were not completely standing still. The Benny Hill Show (1956), Dixon of Dock Green (1956 - 1976), The Black and White Minstral Show (1958 - 1978), Emergancy Ward 10 (introduced Charles Tingwall, Jill Browne,John Alderton, Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney, Bill Owen and many others 1958 - 1968).

The late 50's also saw the coming of the 'Comedy Series' with 'The Army Game' (Alfie Bass, William Hartnell and *Well, I only asked" Bernard Bresslaw"), 'The Larkins with David Kossof and Peggy Mount,
Bruce Forsyth compered 'Sunday night at the London Palladium' variety show whilst Eamon Andrews introduced us to 'This is your Life'.

Some were great programmes and some were memorable for the odd boob ups due to live TV. The odd bit of scenery moving, the door which wouldn't open and the view outside of 'the back door' showing a Stagehand sitting on a chair drinking a cup of Tea.
All this led to a wonderful pioneering type experience.

What did it do to leave a mark on a young boy or girl then? For me, not a lot really. I was still content amusing myself with outside influences such as Boy Scouts, singing in the Church Choir (well I turned up!) and going train-spotting.


Since those days it appears that TV Companies are doing their utmost to stop you going out and doing things and even to this day I probably only watch about two hours tops a day.

But there were some pretty good things though.
My favourite? -  early 50's 'The Flowerpot Men' and late 50's 'Crackerjack' and 'Robin Hood' with his merry men!!

Until 1954, newsreaders were anonymous and not Seen. Richard Baker became the first regular 'seen' Newsreader, followed shortly by Robert Dougall 



Andy Pandy

The Flowerpot Men

The Woodentops

Hank the Cowboy

Muffin the Mule

Hopalong Cassidy
'Clickety clickety clok'

Growing up in
50s and 60s
The 1960s

50's & 60's In the Blog

1960's Year by Year

'Mr Pastry' played by Richard Hearn entertained us for a number of years with mainly slapstick and 'Buster Keaton' type humour


'I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book'.
Groucho Marks