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1954: BBC launches daily TV news
The BBC has broadcast its first daily television news programme.

The 20-minute bulletin was read by Richard Baker and was introduced as an "Illustrated summary of the news... Followed by the latest film of events and happenings at home and abroad."

The present Television Newsreel programme, which is to be discontinued, is prepared in advance and contains news items which are often days old.

The new service is intended to be more up-to-date and will also eventually include studio interviews.

This is a start on something we regard as extremely significant for the future
BBC Director General Sir Ian Jacob
Tonight's edition began with news of truce talks being held near Hanoi and an item on French troop movements in Tunisia.

Richard Baker could be heard reading the news while a series of headlines, still photographs and maps were shown on the screen.

BBC Director General Sir Ian Jacob acknowledged last week there had been significant difficulties producing the new television bulletins.

"News is not at all an easy thing to do on television. A good many of the main news items are not easily made visual - therefore we have the problem of giving news with the same standards that the corporation has built up in sound."

He added that the format of the programme was likely to change, but said the BBC was committed to television news.

"This is a start on something we regard as extremely significant for the future," he said.

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Richard Baker reading the news
Richard Baker was the newsreader whose voice was heard behind the first bulletin



In Context
The first television news bulletin was not met with universal approval.

The programme was variously described as "absolute ghastly", "crazy" and "as visually impressive as the fat stock prices".

BBC Radio was also very sceptical of the new service and insisted it retain editorial control over the headlines and story content.

But between 1954 and 1955 the amount of television time devoted to news was doubled and in September 1955 Independent Television News launched its first service.

BBC television news has expanded considerably since its early days and is now available round-the-clock on BBC News 24. In July 2004, the corporation celebrated 50 years since the first daily 20-minute bulletin.

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