It is difficult to imagine a time when there wasn’t television and this Wednesday 2 November marks the 80th anniversary of the start of broadcast television. Television sets however have origins dating back to the 19th century and a tangled history of development. They’ve changed a lot over the years from chunky pieces of furniture to sleek screens and there have been some things about them that certain generations might never quite forget!
We love our remotes (though some endlessly channel hopping people like them too much!) but consider just how people fared before they were invented. You actually had to get up out of your chair, cross the room and push a chunky button to change channel. This is why many people used to say they “only watched BBC” because they didn’t want to get up out of the seat. In the 70s people would create ingenious homemade devices to save them the mighty effort of rising from their beige sofas. Any long pole- a snooker cue perhaps or a brush handle - could be used to prod the buttons from a distance. This was in many ways the first remote. The actual first remote was attached to the set by a wire which could prove risky for Tiddles the cat if he didn’t see it or even short sighted Gran who’d be toppling over as she made for the sherry without looking where she was going.