Pathe: Radio Caroline 1964; radar led to TV.

15 Aug

Jay answered the question via the good old fashioned phone, yesterday evening. Question: What was the deal about OUTTAKES in regard to Jay’s work at Pinewood, with a team of others, transferring Pathe news footage to a medium that was internet-able? The clarification was requested by Vincent. This is as far as I can make it out:

The big deal was the Radio Caroline coverage done by Pathe. You simply search for the famous offshore free radio station of the 1960s and where you find mute footage, those are the outtakes, silent but visually informative. That’s all it was. It’s enough.

is the general site, but the specific site is

We also discussed ‘The Fool On The Hill’ being a doco on U-Tube in seven parts, just search the title, in seven parts about John Reith and the way some switched-on Defence Committee insisted upon the television research and development going ahead in the 1930s. Here’s the first three I clicked:

Reith did not have any interest in radio with pictures, the pretentious fool. But the Beeb were forced by Defence to co-operate with Baird (predictable deadloss from the start) and EMI-Marconi to develop TV. Baird was soon consigned to his rightful home, the junk heap of shame.

The cathode ray tube, however, was brought forward to a point where UK led the world. The Brits had heard of Nazi interest in Radar and, despite Chamberlain-esque suck-up-and-Hitler-will-leave-us-alone idiocy, wanted to be prepared and able to see Luftwaffe (the W is pronouced like a V, as in VIM scouring powder, please) bombers on the way, ju-ust in case.

Alan Yentob (late) did the yap-over I understand. The doco is old but rivetting. One detail is that Maureen Lippman, widow of Jack Rosenthal who wrote the book from which the doco took the info, points out that their house overlooked Alexandria Palace, where the Beeb television department was consigned by chieth Reif. Out of sight. Out of mind. The future ignored. Go away. Er, no, it was here to stay.

BBC Television (1936 to 1939) was closed down for the war. It was said to be to prevent Nazi bombers homing in. But, The Fool On The Hill tells us, UK was using the TV antenna to return, back the Nazis, their vector beam (along which bombers travelled to London) which had the effect of mucking things up (a tiny bit). Some of you probably understand how that works.


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