|And so it came to pass that on May 1st
1969, C.J. Curran, Director General of the BBC, saw the plans laid
down by his predecessor Hugh Carleton Greene come to fruition. This
was the first day in the life of BBC3, just five years after BBC2
came into the world before it.
The mission brief was a straight-forward one: to provide an engaging
mix of the entertaining and intellectual as seen on the other
two BBC channels. This wasn't just an excuse for showing repeats
of shows recently broadcast on BBCs 1 and 2 though: the emphasis
was put firmly on original programming wherever possible with
only minimal need to borrow from BBC3's sister channels.
Leading the forefront in colour broadcasting (a novelty at the
time), the 'third channel' burst onto our screens without the
threat of technician's strikes which had blighted the opening
night of many other channels of its day. Despite low audience
figures initially, many people eventually made BBC3 their channel
of preference because of its happy mixture of mainstream entertainment
and high-brow culture. And it all began like this...