The test cards shown when not broadcasting, used by engineers to tune the picture.
I do not remember us having a television in my very early years, they were expensive to own and most people chose to rent a set rather than buy one. But I do remember us being given my Grandparent's old black & white set when she upgraded to a brand new colour television set in about 1967 when colour broadcasting first really began.
In my early childhood years there wasn't much on the television as TV was only broadcast for just a few hours a day, broadcasts would often stop throughout the day, TV started about 10.30 - 11am with Schools programs and news bulletins and then it would go off again till after lunch. It would then return with the News, (although we lived in London it would also be followed much to my great-grandmother's delight by the News in Welsh).
We only had 3 channels, BBC1, BBC2, and ITV. Some channels were broadcast on the 405 line system and others on the 625, which meant you had to flick a switch between the two.
The first TV I had of my own, given to me by an uncle so I could watch it in my bedroom. It was called a Portable, but 'Luggable' might of been a better description as it took two to lift it. They were an accident waiting to happen, made of thick cardboard wrapped in Lino that smelled awful as the valves inside got hot. It took ten minutes to warm up before a picture started, and reception needed constant retuning.
But at least I was able to watch Tommorows World and Top of the Pops.
My parents spent their time watching an old Black & White portable.
We had an endless selection of black & white televisions over the years, my parents bought their first colour television in about 1975. Back then they spent a lot of the time at the 'Menders' as parts used to overheat.
The colour TV was kept in the 'Best Room' and rarely used, instead they would sit in the Dining room still watching in black & white on the small Fergusson portable.
Children's television was limited and restricted to just a couple of hours per day, Apart from the occassional Schools Program specifically aimed at schools there was nothing on until around lunchtime, on each school day there was usually a small slot for the younger viewers known as 'Watch with Mother'. These were mostly puppet or animated programs, such as Andy Pandy; The Flowerpot Men; The Woodentops; Camberwick Green; Trumpton; Ivor the Engine and Pogles wood.
YOU WERE EITHER A BLUE PETER KID OR A MAGPIE KID!
Television broadcasting was almost in a 'set format', everything had it's slot and was eased between the News which seemed to dominate the television schedule. Afternoon television mainly consisted of Horse Racing, Saturdays were 'Sport' days, and did little to cater for children or those who were not interested in Wrestling or Football.
Children's TV was on for only a short time each day, 'Watch with Mother' which came on just after lunch and which showed programs such as 'The Woodentops', 'Andy Pandy', 'Pogles Wood' and 'Tales of the Riverbank' but then went off. Then there would be programs aired between 4pm and 5.45pm, starting with a story read out on 'Jackanory' and 'Play School for the very small', followed by 'Blue Peter', 'Crackajack', 'Animal Magic'. 'Out of Town', 'Vision on' or 'Magpie', the evening children's tv always culminated with an episode of 'The Magic Roundabout' or 'Captain Pugwash' just before the evening news at 6pm.
Early weekday evenings had 'Coronation Street' and sometimes one of the police series such as Z-Cars or Softly Softly, but on a Saturday these police shows changed to 'Dixon of Dock Green'. Saturdays also had 'Dr Who' The weekend typically had episodes of 'The Saint', 'The Prisoner', 'Danger Man', and there was normally a comedy program later in the evening such as 'Harry Worth Show', 'Till Death Us Do Part' , 'The Dustbin Men', 'The Liverbirds' or 'The Likely Lads'.
Sunday afternoons if lucky you would get a film with one of the Tarzan's, Johnny Weissmuller, Gordon Scott or Ron Ely. or maybe an episode of Daktari, but the early evening was filled with religious programs such as songs of praise. Following these was the big show of the time 'Sunday night at the London Palladium', which I was occasionally allowed to stay up and watch when there was Topogigio or Lamb Chop on it.
Topogigio was a French Mouse puppet created by Maria Perengo, voiced by Giusseppe (Peppino) Mazzullo
In August 1968 we emigrated out to Eastlakes just outside of Sydney in Australia.
There were a few more television channles than ywe had in the UK, one was nothing but News, another played almost back to back Skippy, Flipper, Daktari and Tarzan.
THE WORKS OF SYLVIA & GERRY ANDERSON
The biggest influence on me as a child was the many programs made by Sylvia & Gerry Anderson.
They were far ahead of their time and produced far more than the ones shown above.
IT HAD NOT CHANGED MUCH 4 YEARS LATER !
CAN BE ENLARGED VIA CONTROLS
Instead of voice-overs like today, there used to be actual presenters introducing each program sat behind a desk with a telephone.
The evenings broadcasting finished way before midnight, even at weekends, closedown was always preceeded by playing the Royal Anthem, a goodnight message from the presenter and then after a minute an ear-piercing whine started which was designed to make you quickly switch off.