The Emergence of Television as a Mass Communication Medium Was the Key Turning Point in Improving the Leisure Opportunities for the Ordinary Pe

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The Emergence of Television as a Mass Communication Medium
Was the Key Turning Point in Improving the Leisure Opportunities for
the Ordinary People of Britain

I believe the emergence of television as a mass communication medium
was the key turning point in improving the leisure opportunities for
the ordinary people of Britain. I believe this turning point was not
its first broadcast in 1936 but the introduction of ITV in 1956. I
think television is only just the most important factor, there are
other factors that also had a large effect on improving leisure
opportunities for the ordinary people. Other reasons why leisure
opportunities have improved are: increasing income, a reduction in
working hours, the development of the cinema, improvements in
education and the invention of youth culture. I interpret the
'ordinary people of Britain' as the working and lower-middle classes
because this definition encompasses the majority of the British

British television broadcasting began in 1936. Initially there was
only the one channel run by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) so
there was no choice of what to watch and the reception was not very
good at all. The Director-General of the BBC John Reith fully intended
television to follow in the footsteps of radio, in the sense that he
wished it to be used to educate the masses. The emphasis was not at
all with providing the ordinary people with their programming
preferences, but with attempting to educate them in the areas of
politics, history and high culture. To begin with very few ordinary
people could afford a television and the necessary license. The 30s
and 40s were...

... middle of paper ...

...f youth culture and improvements in education all affected
leisure opportunities none have been so significant as the emergence
of television. Television has played the key role over the last 50
years in terms of reflecting the values established in the 1950s and
the cultural changes that took place after the war. As a result
television is now the most popular form of entertainment for the
ordinary people of Britain with over 95% of households owning a
television set.


T.O'Sullivan, B.Dutton & P.Rayner, Studying the Media - (2nd edition,
Arnold, London, 1998)

A.Marwick, British Society since 1945 - (Penguin, 1982)

P.Johnson ed. 20th century Britain; Economic, Social and Cultural
Change - (Longman,


The People's Amusement - BBC History Magazine

The Showbiz Set - Channel 4

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