Today is the 60th Anniversary of the Queen’s coronation in 1953 – but more importantly (sorry Your Majesty) it marks the moment that TVs became part of our daily lives as millions gathered round the goggle-box to watch Elizabeth II crowned. Radio was huge before TV and got audiences that make the mind boggle – streets must have been empty when “The Goons” were on – but TV opened up the world to us in a different and much more exciting way.
Even in the last thirty years during my lifetime we’ve seen huge changes and developments in TV that would astound Logie Baird and Co. The current interactive, High Definition, 3D, Multichannel circus we live with now is amazing and I really believe that we are getting some of the best programmes and documentaries we’ve ever had. Not just the level of the technology that continues to improve and deliver astonishing images into our homes, but the access we have to our world. Yes the internet does that too, but in comparison TV’s structured and more defined views on the world we live in delivers more entertainment and ideas than the web. This is beginning to change with lots of original programming for internet services and media providers but TV showed us the world first in a way that no-one ever expected.
I remember satellite link ups took ages and had constant delays – now with the technology available we have instant access to anywhere in the world and the news opens up stories to us like never before; we indulge in international drama and comedy from every corner of the planet; we have views of wildlife and nature that no-one has ever had before and it’s a brilliant thing. Without sounding clichéd, for me TV is the people’s medium as it allows everyone to access these things from the comfort of their home. From the Moon Landing to 9/11 we’ve watched history unfold before our eyes on this black mirror in the corner of the room. It is still the point in the house that the family will sit round and watch the big shows of the day because it allows us to share our passions and experiences in a way that apps and PCs cannot do.
Where the future of TV is going and how it will adjust to he ever-changing on demand services available is not clear, but we know that it has outlived many other forms of media and I think it will always be in our lives. Sixty years ago it brought the country together to watch our monarch step up to be inaugurated and over the years that has not changed – in the last couple of years the Royal Wedding, “Africa” with David Attenborough, Super Saturday at the London Olympics and following the Arab Spring across Africa into the Middle East we have still gathered round to watch and learn and be entertained by it. Yes we can be guilty of watching too much of it at times but it is a friend and companion to many, a point of contact for some families, the source of information and news for many and a place at which we can all come together.