Monday, 18 May 2015

UK Television Programme Sales Figures for 1963/64 and a Bit More

75% of the world's television programmes have pretty much always been American. and during the sixties, the BBC may have dominated domestically but independent British TV outsold the BBC at a ratio of about 3:1. So 75% of British programmes sold abroad were ITV. Well into the mid-seventies Nigeria bought in 75% of its television. Out of 100hrs, 75 were from abroad 56.5hrs were of US origin 20hrs were British and only 5 hours were BBC. It's important to bear in mind that we are talking about Nigeria who had one of the highest ratios of foreign programming beaten only by SL and Rhodesia/Zambia. Ethiopia started off 50/50 but soon ended up buying in 70%. A mitigating factor here is that TIE sold its programming at a ratio of 60%US 40%UK. So when trying to work out the most likely place for a find I would say the place where TIE sold the most DW. Unfortunately, that is SL and I think we can rule them out, so where next? Ethiopia. I know this may sound contradictory to what I posted recently but there was great turmoil from the 1974 revolution which would have hampered any recall of the prints plus the station was slowly sliding into decline but they only bought up to the Chase?

BBC Foreign sales figures extracted mainly from the BBC yearbooks but also other places:

1960 550
1961 1200
1962 3000
1963 4500
1964 6975
1965 7426
1966 11,492
1967 12,072 - 12,352 (Exact figure not given)
1968 13,852
1969 16,180

Total 77,527 sales of programmes, not prints - just BBC. Plus there regularly 300 prints being circulated in a month IIRC

  • By 1972, 1,400 films and tapes were sent out from London every month
  • At the same time, a further 600 films and tapes were circulating between one country and another
"The exploit of television programmes was at first handled in 1958 with the establishment of a business manager post. This gradually expanded until the establishment of the Television Promotions (later renamed Television Enterprises) department in 1960 under a general manager. In its first year, the department saw the sale of 550 programmes overseas with a turnover of £234,000, with a further 1,200 programmes sold the following year. Radio programmes were only exploited on the same level with the creation of the Radio Enterprises department in 1965. However, following the retirement of the Radio Enterprises general manager in 1969, the two departments were merged to form the BBC Enterprises department."

The clipping on the left is from 1975 and shows an ever increasing market for TV Programme sales into the 1970's.

"The large foreign sales achieved by ITC during the British government's exports drives of the 1960s and 1970s led to ACC receiving the Queen's Award for Export on numerous occasions until ITC's association with the broadcaster and success actually led to the demise of both ATV as a broadcaster and ITC as a production company in 1982."
As we can see from the sales breakdowns (below) in 1963/64 the ITV material did best in the middle east and BBC material sold best in the more general category of 'Commonwealth'. 

Figures for COI material are below:

Here we have a more detailed BBC sales figures breakdown below:


Variety, 26 February 1964 newspaper clipping at and

National Archives file: FO 953/2202

BBC Yearbooks:

The Guardian Newspaper

Saturday, 16 May 2015

64,000 Film Cans

Two posts today, I really am spoiling you. I gave a lot of thought to what I was going to post but then realised it was all bollocks and posted this instead. A few people have said on very occasions this past month or so, "Have you found anything in your research that proves the Omnirumour?" Of course, the answer to this is no. Only one thing would prove the existence of more episodes and that is a clip of the episode itself. Although some would still claim that only the clip itself had been found. If a clip had surfaced somewhere nobody would dare post it as that could cause all sorts of potential problems or delays.

My personal paradigm is to try and disprove the most suspect rumours in order to sort the wheat from the chaff as it were. That which can't be disproved I then consider whether I personally believe it and there is a lot if you look that can't be disproved. So I see no need to be glum.

One thing that I think has been disproved is the notion of a TIE hub. It makes no sense logistically to insert an extra node into an ad-hoc distribution topology that already has plenty of redundancy. The costs of maintaining a facility and the return to the hub make economically unsound. Especially when there are statements like this one to consider:

As far as I can ascertain that is from early 1964 so there was plenty of time for things to change although I see no reason to suggest that TIE would suddenly switch from moving things from station to station as required to adopting such a nonsensical business model. Of course, there is always that blind spot. That unknown variable that we just can't predict or compensate for. I have been wrong before and will surely be so again but there is little that can be done about that. We don't always get to make decisions knowing all there is to know. Often we have to make choices without all the available information. If somebody said to you that your house was burning down would you demand proof or go back and check on your house? At the end of the day, nothing is lost through daring to be wrong.

So what rumours do I think are credible? Well, the idea that 90 out of what was at the time 106 missing episodes being found is on the face of it rather borderline and considering how poorly Power of the Daleks and Evil of the Daleks were known to have sold then something rather unlikely has to have happened. So sticking to just the highly likely certainly isn't going to give us the full picture but for me it cannot be satisfactorily disproved.

I also find the high number of film cans and tapes (let's say 64,000 with a 54,000/10,000 split in favour of film prints) plausible. I also find the idea that it could all be British material plausible. Although I think the majority would be ITV material and not missing, then there are dupes to consider but the thing that amazes me about this one is the people are so keen to ignore the context of the 64,000 number. Finds in Australia and Hong Kong I also think are highly probable, although Australia would probably only yield a couple of stories at most and most likely from a private collector. Anyway, there are three rumours there and I am sure I could find more, such as anything Anneke Wills says for one.

So is not knowing a blessing or a curse? Probably a bit of both to be honest but I am as upbeat as ever. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of times I yearn for this to be over and one day it will but I am digressing. The point of all this is that some people I have spoken to have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of evidence whereas I see it as hope. Not being able to prove something is not necessarily such a burden.

The Best Things in Life aren't Always Free: The Rise of ETV

One of the reasons that companies, and even governments, were keen on getting into the television broadcasting business in Africa is because it was believed that Africa growth market for mass media. This proved to be incorrect. The main form of mass media in Africa then and now is Radio, followed by the newspapers, of which many were owned by Thomson.

Why did the Italian government offer the installation of a television station to the nation of Ethiopia for free? The benefits for them would have been broadly the same for any other government. The Japanese government helped fund the NEC bid for Pakistan television with the intent to win bids to supply the equipment. Similarly, the federal German Government gifted a transmitter to the Sudan and the British government also made a similar gift to Singapore as a token of goodwill. Under these circumstances, how could TIE and Thomson hope to compete?

TTI (& TIE) turned to the UK government for subsidies. They also attempted to sweeten deals by collecting revenue from licence fees, selling the stations advertising through TIE’s Sales subsidiary, and arranging manufacturer credit and loans for the host nation. And all in addition to offering cheap, accessible programmes, swiftly.

Thomson as the leading consortium member responsible for setting up ETV had tried to arrange a loan of £70,000 from the National Provincial Bank (who handled the Ethiopian Emperor’s private account) who sought permission from the exchange control section of the Bank of England who in turn required permission from the exchange control people at the Treasury who rejected the loan without appeal because “the grant of a loan to an overseas body would contravene the exchange control regulations”. T
he news was not well-received as Thomson had already promised to secure the loan on behalf of the Ethiopian government this obviously didn't go down well.

A few different solutions were proposed by the British government. These included allowing a loan for Thomson to buy foreign currency on the exchange. However, the idea of purchasing of foreign currency was rejected by Thomson because of the high commission fees and a lack of willingness to pay interest on payment to themselves. The national Provincial Bank also rejected the suggestion. The idea of Thomson writing off the £70,000 had itself had been considered but Thomson was contractually committed to establishing a television service in Ethiopia, a contract they went to great lengths to win, and it was in the interests of the British government that the project went ahead.

The Ethiopian Emperor's eventual decision to go ahead with Thomson was down to the extra services that Thomson could offer: A tailor-made station to be able to suit their budget (although a lot of stations were of the peg due to the unpredictable nature of the decision makers), training of staff, help setting up legislation and supply of programmes through TIE. Last but not least was the fact that the Emperor wanted the television service up and running in just three weeks in time for the anniversary celebrations of his coronation. Something the Italian government certainly wouldn't have had the experience technical know-how or connections to have been able to acquiesce. It wasn't free but it was working debt that through sales of advertising would hopefully pay for itself whereas the Italians would have given no help with the administration of the station or starting the television service running. So a mixture of long term planning and a customer is always right attitude saved the day.

The Municipality Building in Addis Ababa
Despite all the behind the scenes turmoil, the station in Addis Ababa was up and running in just three weeks, and at that time held the record for being the fastest television station to be put together in the commonwealth. Housed in the Municipality Building with an initial transmitter strength of just .01 KW. Various corners had to be cut and ex-Thomson equipment was imported from the Thomson station in Kenya. The rest were flown in from London. The first transmissions were on the 2nd of November 1964, and so Ethiopian TV began putting out roughly three hours of programming a night with about half of it local programming, the rest imported. Originally all local programming was live until the studio managed to obtain a second hand and well used VTR.

The station's yearly income was £80,000 a year and local programming cost them £350 per half hour to make. An episode of Bonanza cost them £20. They also got a few free from the French Embassy in Addis Ababa, a French edition of Panorama every fortnight. Most evening though you could get Star Trek, UFO, Rawhide, Robin Hood, Dr. Kildare, The Defenders, Espionage, Flying Doctor or Land of the Giants in English with subtitling or dubbing. On average 60% of the programmes TIE supplied to their clients were US material and the rest British. Although, The Avengers didn't go down well with a large section of Ethiopian TV viewers were not keen on Steed's Judo practising female companion. Ethiopians had a strong sense of social responsibility and commitment to educational programming. Steptoe and Son were also frowned upon as was a football match that included scenes of rioting at half-time which fell victim to the censor's scissors. Canned content accounted for up to 75% of airtime in the early days with 25% of programming going out live.

From that auspicious start, the current landscape is quite unrecognisable. This is most likely due to the Marxist uprising 1974 which potentially means Ethiopia could have negated any recall of BBC material. Only transitioning to colour broadcasts in 1979, ETV only imports two percent of programmes currently and the quality of television is some of the worst in the world. Ethiopia only ever purchased Doctor Who up to and including The Chase although omitting The Time Meddler.

The current home of Ethiopian Television in Churchhill Road
Based on what I have written above I wouldn't dismiss anything being found in Ethiopia but unless there is some great unknown then I don't see how exactly anything would return from here but I am sure there is plenty of scope for a return of some sort.

Crazy Speculation:
In Ethiopian culture, it's deemed extremely impolite to turn down an offer. They take this to such an extent that when people were submitting bids to set up television they signed with Thomson but everybody else continued to think that they were in pole position to win the contract for some time after. Is it, therefore, silly to suggest that possibly they didn't want to screen Doctor Who anymore but through social custom and incompetent staff they continued to receive material that they weren't going to use? They settled the cost of programming on an annual basis along with the consortium fee, so it could have gone undetected for a while.


The Universal Eye: World Television in the Seventies by Timothy Green (May 1972)  Available on Amazon

Files from the National archives: FO 953/2203

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Sierra Leone: Pheonix or Final Resting Place?

In January 1999, Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown, came under a bloody three-week occupation. This was part of a civil war that had begun in 1991 and would last until 2002. During these three weeks, the SLBS studios and Gramophone library were destroyed.

The History:

Sierra Leone’s SLTV began in Freetown on the 27th of April 1963. SLTV jointly owned by the government (40%) and TIE Ltd, NBC, RCA and Thompson international holding owning the other 60%. This turnkey TV station was equipped with equipment for broadcasting films and live programmes but lacked any means of recording local programmes. This essentially limited the station to the role of exhibitor for the UK and US television producers the jointly owned SLTV.

During the next five years, SLTV provided a service which was on-air for 4-5 hours a day with 75% of its TV schedule being composed of imported material. This lasted until 1967 when NBC and RCA withdrew their interests and SLTV merged with SLBS (Sierra Leone’s radio station) for about six weeks. Due to difficulties they separated again until finally merging again in 1971. By this time, the television broadcasting equipment, after years of neglect, was in a state of disrepair. Attempts to create local programmes had been thwarted by a lack of equipment and properly trained staff. Until, in the same year, some second-hand foreign equipment was purchased including two videotape recorders.

Construction began on a new ‘Broadcasting House’ in 1974. Broadcasts continued from the old building and improved signal strength now allowed for transmissions to extend beyond Freetown. Frequent equipment and power failures resulted in frequent periods of dead air. Breaks in transmission lasted days, weeks or even longer. In one survey in the late seventies, only 0.6% of the population of Freetown responded that they were happy with the quality of the picture on their sets. Building work on the new structure was never completed. In the early-1980s, the roof of the original Broadcasting House collapsed during a storm with leaving all the stored equipment to be damaged beyond repair.

In 1987, the government sold the colour PAL transmitter that had been installed in 1978. At this point, all transmissions ceased until the television service resumed in 1993 with the backing of a private consortium from Hong Kong. The consortium began work on a second new ‘Broadcasting House’. This was adjacent to the abandoned project that began in 1974. In 1995, the original new Broadcasting House was converted to class rooms for a local university who vacated the premises in 2009 with ownership of the building reverting to SLBS. 2010 saw the SLBS replaced SLBC

The Rumour:

We had a first hand account and a dated description of what was seen. This was passed onto Steve Roberts and the description described "the first one with the white hair" and the story was "about cavemen living in a wilderness outside a futuristic city who were captured and put in a machine and tortured."

The date then given was 1982/83 and was for that single story. The information was forwarded to Steve in 2009.


In addition to the above quote from Paul Vanezis, Richard Molesworth states: 

“Certain records were also found, which indicated that the fate of the 16mm prints of certain stories sent to Sierra Leone was uncertain: 'Galaxy 4', 'The Myth Makers', 'The Massacre', 'The Savages' & 'The Celestial Toymaker' were the stories in question. This certainly tied in with the report of the 1980s screening. But it was very clear that if these films were still in the country in the 1980s, then they were later destroyed during the war in the 1990s.”

And onto yet another statement by an authority on the subject, during a  Facebook Q&A Philip Morris Director of TIEA stated:

"Hi Michael yes I have found evidence of audition prints.Yes I have visited sierra leonne .and I do posses there programme traffic records .I can tell you all Doctor Who prints were sent back to london in 1974.”

And further to that, Philip Morris in December 2016 had this to add surrounding the events in 1999:

 "People always thought that Sierra Leone had… there was a fire there, they had… the story with Sierra Leone, I was there, I worked quite closely with the head of their station. Their archive (Gramaphone Library) had been destroyed. The story is that it was destroyed by the head of the rebel group because he thought that they had some film of him which would then go to the UN and he’d be tried for war crimes. So he decided to shoot a mortar shell at the big metal shed which was the archive (Gramaphone Library). Burnt it to the ground. However, there weren’t any Doctor Who episodes there. They were returned to London in the early seventies. And from then… well, we don’t know what happened. It’s all right saying well they’ve gone back to London and been destroyed, well were they? We don’t know. There’s no-one can tell you that for sure."

In an attempt to add some clarity, the observations of Wolfgang Bender should be noted. This comment in particular is intriguing:

“Wolfgang Bender’s (1987) meticulous inventory of SLBS’s Gramophone Library further testifies the relatively broad output of popular records, both local and from other African countries, during the 1950s and early ‘60s. Besides the mass-produced Tin Pan Alley sounds and the growing number of released maringa, highlife, calypso, palm wine etc. songs, Freetown’s music and recording scene of the 1950s was further eked by a number of traditional musicians from upcountry. The B-Side of Bender’s (1988) collection of 1950s’ recordings from Freetown indicates a wide range of musicians from the provinces who came to the city’s studios to record their performances.”

A poster by the name of Jason Mahoney Jason Mahoney on had this to contribute: 

“Had a reply from that German professor who copied some African music from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service gramophone library that was destroyed in 1999. He confirms that he only dealt with African music and that no film material was kept in the gramophone library.

He also states that there was a separate TV building to the gramophone library. The gramophone library was a kind of shed whereas the TV building was constructed from concrete.

I've got another contact to try who should be able to provide further information.

I also notice my post about Sierra Leone over at MEF has quietly been deleted. No matter, it's recorded here for posterity and is based on a post from GB anyway.

One final bit of information. The German Professor recalls a large fire in the early 1990's at a TV station in Accra, Ghana (GBC) where a lot of tv and film footage was destroyed.”

And then another post fills in detail, here:

Jason Mahoney » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:21 pm
“Sierra Leone.

Some interesting information, not concerning Doctor Who but to do with the archiving of materials. I have referred previously to the archiving of the contents of the Sierra Leone Gramophone Library (destroyed in the civil war in January 1999). Copies were made of some of the contents of the library prior to this and then these were later used to restore some of the destroyed music collection in Sierra Leone.

It seems this was not a one-off project but part of a systematic approach throughout Africa. Music collections from Ghana, Malawi, and Rwanda were also archived by the 'African Music Archive' in Mainz. Germany. There were also plans to preserve collections in Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (separate state, formerly Zaire), more from Ghana, and Nigeria.
What this shows is that in the 1980s / 1990s there was a concerted effort to archive or back up these music collections. If only the BBC or other party had done the same for Doctor Who''s Missing Episodes.
What's also interesting is that apparently there was a lot of "bootlegging" going on (illegal copying of material).

Here's a couple of pictures from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service in the 1980's. Music and radio related I'm afraid but gives you a taste of the facilities.”

"To reiterate the gramophone library was located in the Original Broadcasting House 1. But music collections were backed up and stored elsewhere before they were destroyed in 1999."

Suspicion Over The Timeline:
Elsewhere on the Missing Episodes Forum Dec 16, 2011 Paul Vanezis stated that:

"Guys, seriously, there is nothing there anymore. If we had the slightest inkling there was we would go personally.

There are no missing DW films in Sierra Leone. The station was shelled and burned down. Any film was destroyed entirely. I admire your enthusiasm for the search, particularly after the latest recoveries, but energies need to be expended elsewhere.


Much later on PMF (April 2014) Snacky presented a photo of Philip Morris outside the gates of the new Sierra Leone television station:

Check the metadata on the photo. The date says January 25, 2012, shortly after Paul Vanezis had denied that Phil had ever been there. Time stamps can be forged, of course, but why would it be forged to an earlier date? Rigelsford supposedly said Phil Morris had just come back from Sierra Leone when he gave that picture to Aron recently, but the date was much earlier.”

I think I see one possible reason why TIEA was in SL in Jan 2012:

"For now, the SLBC is running old programs of its two predecessors, and as such, it cannot yet be described as the new voice of a free Sierra Leone. Indeed, Kaikai appealed to Sierra Leoneans to be patient; he said the SLBC needs at least 18 months to become fully functional internally and another six months or so to develop an original slate of programs."

(Page has since been removed, but archived here:

It is possible that TIEA could have been helping with the SLBC get on its feet after the restructuring and rebranding away from SLBS. And of course taken the opportunity to delve into the archives.

Still speculation was rife on the MEF:

"Rubbish! The television vaults at Sierra Leone are far from destroyed! I known of two people who are employed as researchers there and I was in touch with them only two years ago. I did ask then about the rumours about the civil war reducing the building to rubble but they denied this saying that only the entrance suffered damage during a mortar attack. The complete destruction reported widely stems from propaganda stories initiated by the opposition forces (they also reported the apparent destruction of other landmarks). I will definitely ask them next time I contact them to enquire exactly what’s in the archives. It’s probably more a case of what has been saved to this day than what’s been blown to smithereens."

In the End:

I doubt there is much room for any missing television material to have remained but there is always the possibility of a small number of prints to have survived somehow. Though let's not forget the stories of the Doctor Who serial 'The Savages' having been screened in Sierra Leone in the early eighties, but you can read more about that here:


Jason Mahoney and (All Rights Reserved © 2015 & ™ by Jason Mahoney) :

National Archives file: FO 953/2155, CO 1027/503, DO 191/235

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Kenya see what I did there? (Updated)

In 1959, David Stirling resigned as chairman of the Capricorn Society. In the same year, Stirling went on to form Television International Enterprises. As the Director of the TIE, the responsibility fell to him to bid for the contract to set up Rhodesian TV. This failed. Richard Hughes, in his book, Capricorn: David Stirling’s African Campaign, suggests the reason for this was “Probably because the government, not unreasonably from their perspective, thought he would use it to further his radical politics”.

Success arrived with the opening of the television station in Nairobi, October 1962. The first transmitting station, set on a farmhouse in Limuru, transmitted with a 15 mile range. This, however, was no unmitigated success. Upon winning the Rhodesian contract, RTV bid to open the new station in Kenya. The bid failed due to the tactics employed during negotiations.

J.C.R. Proud, television adviser to the secretary for technical cooperation, had this to say in a letter to Alan Bates the Financial Secretary of Mauritius in November 1961:

J.C.R Proud also had this to say of TIE to P R Noakes of the Colonial Office:

TIE’s ability to bicycle film prints quickly and cheaply was a major factor in winning the contract to set up the television service in Mauritius. This became a significant selling point for TIE and Thomson. Possibly, even vital when competing against governments offering free television stations to developing countries, usually so that companies in their countries would acquire turnkey leases and contracts to supply equipment.

Paying advertisers are one of the main sources of income for a television broadcaster. And the maximum amount of revenue requires the biggest audience that you can attract with as many of the best quality programmes that you can at least afford. It’s an ongoing cost. Whereas a TV station is one lump sum that the Stirling consortium was prepared to help with by training staff, obtaining and setting up equipment, drafting legislation, securing loans and manufacturer credit. Programmes are what prompts people to buy a television set that requires a license which at least in part helps with the running cost of the station. In the end, it was TIE’s ability to provide cheap programmes from the world’s leading lights of television at a lower price than they could afford to get by themselves coupled with the ability to sell advertising spots that won the contract to install  Ethiopian television. In theory, this all sounds fine and well but in practice, it wasn't without its share of problems.

In the top image, Interlude films are mentioned this is another term for COI (Central Office of Information) films which were distributed by CETO (The Centre for Educational Television Overseas). On average 40-50 of these films were made a year and produced by the BBC or sometimes independent television companies. Mainly for educational purposes and were often distributed for free or at very little cost.

The following extract is from 'Broadcasting in Kenya: Policy and Politics 1928 - 1984' by Carla Wilson Heath:

During the sixties, Kenya bought in about 60% of its television programmes as their facilities had not been designed for extensive local production and mostly stuck to a diet of light entertainment with Tom Jones, Rolf Harris, the Andy Stewart show, the Planemakers and Not in Front of the Children from the UK, plus selected episodes of Peyton Place and Disneyland. The reason for this being that the censors in Kenya took the power of television as propaganda very seriously.

Here is a quote by James M. Coltart - Managing Director of the Thomson Organisation - in 1963:

"Recently in Britain an organisation was set up by the Nuffield Foundationin conjunction with independent television companies, the B.B.C. the Governmentand others, a Centre for Educational Television Overseas and thisorganisation has been operating now for a year in the preparation of educationalprogrammes for overseas television. Some of those programmes are on filmand some as package deals for local production. They also have their programmedirectors visiting country after country arranging seminars witheducationalists and assisting the local television stations with live educationalproductions."

Unfortunately, these well-meaning directors and engineers would often pick up various illnesses, helping to spread them from one local population to another as they passed through one African nation to another.

So that is one problem solved. I would also like to point out that we can see that TIE planned to bicycle the prints round, at least, four countries. Not out the woods yet, though ...


Capricorn: David Stirling’s African Campaign by Richard Hughes

Broadcasting in Kenya: Policy and Politics 1928 - 1984 by Carla Wilson Heath

The Universal Eye: World Television in the Seventies by Timothy Green (May 1972)  Available on Amazon

James M. Coltart - African Affairs, Vol. 62, No. 248 (Jul., 1963), pp. 202-210Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal African Society

Files from the National archives: CO 1027/312, CO 1027/498, CO 1027/513, FCO 141/12179, FO 953/2155

Guildhall Business Library Part.3 (Updated)

I had planned to write a third part to this trilogy because let's face it, two-part trilogies are a bit crap. What I had not expected was to be writing one quite so soon. However whilst going through some of the documents I had gathered from the National Archives I came across this:

As you can see this draft letter (I can't find the final version) states that "it had been circulated anonamously [sic] to Saherholders [sic] and Associates of Television International Enterprises...". Which reminded me of this:

As you may have guessed I am not comfortable with business terminology nor do I feel I am I business minded, but the phrase "Financial interest in T.I.E" to my mind suggests that Thomson Television (International) had either shares or some sort of financial investment in TIE Ltd.

David Stirling founded the Capricorn Society and ended up resigning as Chairman of the Society in 1959. That year, following gambling losses he was obliged to note 
John Aspinall - I owe you £173,500 in the accountant's ledger. Capricorn and his fondness for gambling had left him short of finance and starting Television International Enterprises Ltd had been a way of making ends meet. From the above image, I would infer that he had obviously required financial help to get off the ground. This would suggest a loan, joint ownership or TTI having acquired shares in TIE.

In the first part of my posting about Guildhall library I did mention I was rather pushed for time so had been planning to visit again to tie up some loose ends. I also stated that I had checked the Stock Market Yearbooks. While it is possible that I could have missed the name Television International Enterprises in the yearbooks it is also necessary to look briefly at what a limited company actually is, even if only for my benefit.


Private company limited by guarantee

This is a company that does not have share capital, but is guaranteed by its members, who agree to pay a fixed amount in the event of the company's liquidation. Charitable organisations are often incorporated using this form of limited liability. Another example is the Financial Conduct Authority. In Australia, only an unlisted public company can be limited by guarantee.[1]

Private company limited by shares

Has shareholders with limited liability and its shares may not be offered to the general public. Shareholders of private companies limited by shares are often bound to offer the shares to their fellow shareholders prior to selling them to a third party.[2]

Public limited company

Main article: Public limited company
A public limited company can be publicly traded on a stock exchange; this is similar to the U.S. Corporation (Corp.) and theGerman Aktiengesellschaft (AG).

Now, ignoring the PLC part because it isn't relevant, it is possible that Thomson could have been a guarantor for any necessary loans that Stirling would have required whilst setting up TIE or there could have been a limited number of shares created at the inception of the company which TTI could have been in possession of. Either way, another trip to Guildhall is required. Who exactly were these shareholders?

Updated: Whilst going through file DO 191/234 from the National Archives concerning Thomson's involvement with television in Pakistan I found that Thomsons had a 15% stake in the Pakistan national broadcaster on a debenture basis and I believe that any financial backing to TIE from TTI would have been done on the same basis but don't know for sure. I thought that was noteworthy. One of the reasons that TTI was brought on board the Pakistan venture was because of its access to programming supplied by TIE and TIE did supply with programmes exclusively Pakistan for a period. One of those programmes was Basil Brush, as well as some COI stuff.

Also, in Smear!: Wilson and the Secret State by Stephen Dorril and Robin Ramsey it states: "Stirling also set up a commercial television company, Television International Enterprises, with funding from Lord Thomson of Times newspapers."
As a bonus I have included this newspaper clipping as a clue to what the next post will hopefully be about:


Smear!: Wilson and the Secret State (Paperback)

by Stephen Dorril (Author), Robin Ramsey (Author)
National Archives files: DO 191/234

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The 51st State of America

The idea of time travel fascinates pretty much everyone without exception, whether this is applied to a television show, novel, theoretical physics or just a pure flight of fantasy. The same could also be said for parallel universes where the familiar is replaced with a similar yet dissimilar version of its self. Where people are nice to each other, the sun shines, they drive on the right-hand side of the road, they say pants instead of trousers and have something called customer service. Sounds awful.

You don't have to go far to encounter some strange and unusual happenings. Did you know that former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson wanted the UK to become the 51st State of America? I will spare you the details but they are here if you are interested:

Something else you may not know is that, although, the first 625 line transmissions in the UK were in 1962 with a complete roll out by 1967 and the first colour transmission in the UK being the Wimbledon Tennis Championships of 1 July 1967 the BBC had actually hoped to be starting colour 525 line NTSC transmissions in early 1965. 

This as I am sure you are aware would have meant that we would have had colour Troughtons and about 50% of the Hartnells also in 525 line colour right? Wrong!

We can see from "Colour TV in the UK has been slow to get off the mark..." that there would have been other knock on effects. Satellite distribution didn't take off until the mid-seventies I did find in the National Archives a couple of newspaper cuttings that suggested it had been considered as early as 1967. The same year the above article is from. Additionally, the Telstar satellite was transmitting images from the US to the UK as early as 1962, and later live pictures from the 1969 moon landing:

Now, my knowledge of the technical ins and outs of this is non-existent but as this is just a bit of fun and not meant to be taken seriously I would suggest that had these events happened then there would have been no prints (or at least, fewer) sent around the globe. Remember some smaller countries were buying at less than the cost of a print because the print had already been paid from the previous sales. Would the emerging sub-Saharan countries have been able to afford the equipment to receive satellite transmissions?

It potentially leads us to a world where no or at least very few missing episodes would have any chance of being recovered ever and even now we would be watching NTSC transmissions. Thankfully, none of that ever happened.

Here is a bonus clipping for those interested: