7.5 Highlights From 75 Years Of BBC TV

By Sam Gibbs on at

The BBC is celebrating its 75th television anniversary today, and instead of presenting it with a zimmerframe and turning its hearing aid up a few notches, we decided to look through the archives for our personal highlights from three-quarters of a century of British broadcasting.

The first TV broadcast was made on the 2nd of November 1936, but before that the then-used Baird system was used to make test broadcasts on the 26th of August 1936:

It was onwards and upwards from there, so here are our 7.5 highlights to celebrate 75-years of TV from the BBC...


1.) Blue Planet

David Attenborough has probably featured in more of the best BBC TV than anyone else, and the Blue Planet, which charted the life and death of ocean-going life, was probably the best.


2.) Spring Watch

Love it or hate it, Spring Watch is a British institution. We've got Bill Oddie as its current champion, but Chris Packham takes the crown with his shoe-horning of The Smiths song lyrics into each show throughout the 2009 season.


3.) Have I Got News For You

Have I Got News For You

The BBC makes some really good comedy panel shows, but Have I Got News For You is without a doubt the best of the lot. This 'webisode' featuring Brian Blessed is worth a watch if you've never seen it.


4.) Tomorrow's World

This long-running and sadly canned technology show from the BBC was forward-thinking and brought technology into the mainstream over 38 years. It's funny to look back at what they thought the future held for us all. This office of the future is an absolute classic.


5.) Guy Goma Gaffe

When a BBC News producer mistakenly put taxi driver Guy Goma in front of the camera instead of the technology journalist that they were supposed to interview, history was made -- for both Goma, and Guy Kewney, who was supposed to be interviewed about the Apple Corps vs. Apple Computers court case.


6.) Children In Need / Comic Relief

Every year the BBC goes on a massive charity drive for those less fortunate than ourselves. Children In Need and Comic Relief have seen bastions of news, entertainment and sport make complete arses out of themselves for decades and is the highlight of the comedy year for a lot of people. But for me, Robert Webb takes the crown with this daring skit.


7.) Red Dwarf

A classic piece of hilarious British sci-fi, Red Dwarf is without a doubt the best TV show the BBC ever made, and deserves to be watched and re-watched forevermore.


7.5.) The BBC Test Card

Although we don't see it anymore, the test card was broadcast when the BBC went off air at night. Seems like a foreign concept these days -- a channel that doesn't broadcast 24-hours -- but back in the day, the test card was a staple of out of hours TV. If the BBC continues to bleed though, we could well see a return to this classic.

Did we miss any of your favourites out? Let us know below what your 7.5 picks would've been.