Newstalgia Reference Room with a BBC World Service documentary on the evolution of TV and Politics in Great Britain. It traces the initial development of TV and the general avoidance of it as a political medium all the way until the 1970's. First broadcast on December 31, 2000.
December 28, 2011

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Believe it or not, the very first televised Political debate in Britain happened in 2010.


Say what you want to about our brand of highly marketed politics, it has been a virtual stranger in other parts of the world. Television as a tool for "getting the message across" was something avoided in Britain up until the advent of Margaret Thatcher. Prior to that it was the occasional odd televised Press conference and holiday message. But mostly it was ignored and viewed much the same way as one would view bacteria.

In retrospect, it was really only during the time of the 1960 election that TV became a medium of great potential in U.S. politics, and people like JFK who saw that potential ran with it. It has never been the same since.

Here is a radio documentary first aired by the BBC World Service on December 31, 2000 which traces the evolution of TV and Politics in Britain from the post-World War 2 period all the way up to Tony Blair - at the time of this broadcast there still were no televised debates as those didn't happen until 2010.

It's a fascinating comparison in just how the message is put across and how image has shaped our politics in a much more all-encompassing way than in other countries.

It could probably explain why there's been a recent trend in Britain to have all politicians looking somewhat the same, just as we do.

Heaven help the world from the invasion of the clueless and ruthless Pretty People. But alas, I'm afraid it may be too late . . . .

Can you help us out?

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