London celebrations

Shipley House was the first location outside of London to receive the BBC TV broadcast

It has been another bumper year for TV and film shoots in Bradford, says Professor David Wilson. The West Yorkshire city and its wider district have proven to be a hot spot for screen projects in recent years, particularly with the growth of streaming services, as filmmakers want to use areas such as Bronte Country or the center of Little Germany.

This is well deserved, as Bradford’s contributions to the magic of sound and vision are considerable.

One of the boroughs in his district, Shipley, had its own particular impact: the first television broadcast received outside London by the BBC was from a house in the borough, and later the native Tony Richardson was a pioneer of British social realism. movies.

These stories will be explored in an interactive screening of Richardson’s 1961 film, A Taste of Honey. Participants will meet in Shipley Market Square at 6.30pm on Friday and will be led to the screening of the film at the Kirkgate Center by a storyteller, who will share details of the town’s contributions to television and film.

David Wilson, Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, outside City Hall. Photo by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Professor Wilsondirector of Bradford UNESCO City of Film and expert advisor on the subject, says: “I think it’s really important, actually, that we sometimes stop and look back at what contribution the city and the townspeople over the years.”

The research into Shipley’s connection to the big and small screens was carried out by the Bradford UNESCO City of Film team as part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s national festival of the humanities, which kicked off the last week and continues through Saturday.

The festival is run by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, with support from Research England, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. The University of Bradford has been chosen as the ‘hub’ for the festival, with a special program of events celebrating the BBC’s 100th anniversary.

As part of the events, Bradford City of Film released a podcast featuring Dr Mark Goodall, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Design and Technology at the University of Bradford, and special guest Iain Logie Baird, the grandson of John Logie Baird, an inventor. of the TV.

Tony Richardson, director. Photo: AP.

On the podcast, Iain explains how the Bankfield Drive house of Sydney Wright, manager of the radio department at Christopher Pratt & Sons furniture store in Bradford, was on October 8, 1929 the first place to receive a BBC television broadcast outside of London. .

Scottish inventor John Logie Baird first demonstrated his working television set in 1926 and three years later it was decided that the BBC would broadcast television regularly, with programs made by the Baird company.

Iain says it is important to note that the BBC was simply allowing the Baird company to use its transmitters, and the BBC did not start producing regular television programs itself until August 1932, using a studio at Broadcasting House.

However, the official launch of Britain’s first television service took place on September 30, 1929, and the event in Bradford about a week later was organized by Harry J Barton-Chapple, who had taught electrical engineering at Bradford Technical College between 1922 and 1925 before joining Baird’s firm in 1928 as a technical adviser and publicist. Because of his time working in Bradford, Mr Barton-Chapple knew Mr Wright and his house was chosen to receive the broadcasts.

At the time of Shipley’s receipt, sound and picture could only be delivered separately (until March 1930) as only one transmitter was available – 2LO, then located on the roof of the Selfridges Oxford Street store in London – and what those in Mr. Wright’s House saw was basic: first a portrait of Prince Edward, then, to show movement, one or more people in the studio moving their heads and making facial gestures. The images were interspersed with audio commentary at around two o’clock. minute intervals. But almost a century later, it was a hugely important moment in television.

Later Shipley native Tony Richardson rose to prominence making social realism films like A Taste of Honey in 1961 and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner in 1962. But it was his 18th century comedy Tom Jones in 1963 which won four Oscars. – Best Film and Best Director for Richardson, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.

Professor Wilson, who says the creators of upcoming shows such as Netflix thriller Bodies and ITV’s Malpractice have recently filmed in Bradford, draws a comparison to the director’s techniques and the creators he works with today.

“With A Taste of Honey, it’s pretty well documented that it was one of the first times he was filming on location, really, and again, it’s well documented that he didn’t want to go back into the studio after having made this film because he realized the authenticity of making this kind of content on location. And of course that ties into what we do with the film office,” he says.

“I think that element of social realism that you get with those kitchen sink movies like A Taste of Honey, filmed mostly in and around Manchester, is still there today.” He adds: “The sound of people’s shoes on the ground, the stone steps – the elements that places can bring to the story. When people understand, they really understand and that’s part of the reason why many people keep coming back Bradford is because of the kind of diversity of locations we have to offer.

The ‘Shipley Sound and Vision’ podcast is on YouTube or Spotify. Friday’s free event is sold out, but check for feedback by searching www.eventbrite.co.uk.