1958

Switched On: Television joins the fold
To find a true landmark in home entertainment, you only need look to the broadcast of the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. In that moment, the steady growth of television in Britain exploded, with a corner of millions of front rooms across the country now given over to a TV set.

As television swept into British life throughout the 50s, it brought with it a transformation in both the range of programming and craft of programme making. From now on, public attention was clearly going to be shared between TV and cinema, and the British Film Academy was quick to respond.

In 1958, the British Film Academy merged with The Guild of Television Producers and Directors to become what was called The Society of Film and Television Arts – a single organisation continuing to support the talent who created what the public saw on-screen. However, the Academy and the Guild continued to hold separate awards ceremonies until 1970.

Image: David Attenborough winner of the Desmond Davis Award (Outstanding Contribution to Television) presented by HRH The Princess Anne in 1971.



1
BAFTA Archive

Video: The first televised British Film Academy Awards, broadcast by the BBC in 1956. Vivien Leigh presents an award to Sir Laurence Olivier, and Alec Guinness receives an award on behalf of Katie Johnson for her role in The Ladykillers (Source: BBC copyright material reproduced courtesy of the British Broadcasting Corporation).