Discovery (TV)

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Discovery (TV)
Discovery - book.jpg
ITV Schools
Company:Granada
First run:
24th September
1959

-
15th March
1967

Repeated until 30th November 1967

(9 school years)
[more][less]
Episodes:161 episodes
Duration:30 minutes, 25 minutes
Subject:Science: Biology, Chemistry, Computers, Electronics, Engineering, Geology, General Science, Physics
Audience:Age 16-19
Language:In English
Browse programme data
8 images from this programme

Contents

Discovery was Granada Television's very first series for schools, and for the first few years it was only broadcast in the North and West of England, and Wales. Each half-hour episode was a lecture given by a scientist or professor on a particular topic to do with science. It was intended to make the very highest expertise available directly to sixth formers, as well as the very latest scientific advances, the sort of information which textbooks could not convey. There was no attempt to fit the series into the existing school curriculum, the topics chosen were simply meant to be meaningful enough, and the speakers important enough, to satisfy teachers.

Schools programmes from Granada

Schools programmes were first introduced to ITV in Britain by Associated-Rediffusion in May 1957. At that time there were just three companies broadcasting on weekdays to make up the ITV network: Rediffusion in London, ATV in the Midlands and Granada in the North of England. By February 1957 ATV had agreed to broadcast the schools programmes with Rediffusion, but Granada was not so decisive. Their chairman Sidney Bernstein told the TV Times that "Granada are preparing plans ... for their own television educational programmes,"[1] and they ultimately did not take the programmes from London. Granada said that they preferred to give the question of school television more thought and preparation[2], rather than jumping in as Rediffusion had done, although the precarious financial situation of the company at the time may be a more realistic explanation for Granada not pursuing the experiment[3]. While the first British schools programme, Looking and Seeing, went out in the rest of the country Granada screens remained blank, and as more regional companies such as Scottish Television and Southern Television started up over the next few years, they all included the schools programmes in their schedules, while Granada remained the sole objector[4].


Press advert for the launch of Discovery

On the day after Associated-Rediffusion and ATV's first transmission, Granada declared that their contribution to education should be "to foster the academic study of television"[5] by establishing an academic post to study television at one of their local universities, and awarding research scholarships on the subject of television. The academic post, Research Chair in Communication at the University College of North Staffordshire and known as "the Granada Chair", was eventually taken by Dr Donald MacKay in 1960[6]. Ironically perhaps, given that the academic chair had diverted Granada's attentions from setting up schools television in the first place, MacKay would present a schools programme for Granada once they did get underway (New Ways of Studying the Brain, 17 November 1960).


Sir Gerald Barry (right) with one of Discovery's first presenters.

Granada finally threw their hat into the ring of schools broadcasting on 28 April 1959, when they announced plans for a series of television science programmes for sixth form students to be put out in cooperation with the British Association[7]. Granada's publicity for the launch of this first programme, to be called Discovery, made it quite clear that the company did not intend to fall in line behind the pioneering Rediffusion. "How most effectively to fit (television) into the general pattern of education... has still to be discovered," their adverts said, with no mention of the 3 years of experience thus far achieved by the other ITV companies, not to mention the BBC.[8] And rather than referring to the Schools Committee established by their London counterparts Granada appointed their own educational adviser, Sir Gerald Barry, proudly identified by the TV Times as "the Granada executive who is responsible for the new Discovery educational programmes."[9]


The educational value of the programmes was emphasised relentlessly, with no less than 12 full articles in the TV Times during the first year of broadcasts, written by or about the scientist conducting that week's Discovery programme[10]. At the end of the second term they ran a news item proclaiming that the series had helped a student from Leeds Grammar School to gain an open scholarship at Oxford. The student, Richard Woodhead, was quoted to say "In the examination I used the advanced, up-to-date material from the lectures (...) in the first series of Discovery programmes. It is the sort of information that you couldn't get from text books - not yet, anyway - and it helped me a great deal."[11]


TV Times (Northern Edition) listing for the very first episode, and the first schools programme on Granada television

From the outset Granada's programmes were carried on Television Wales and the West as well as Granada itself, initially on Thursdays at 11:40am, repeated the following Monday at the same time. The following year the Monday transmission was moved to 10am, and a further repeat on Friday introduced at 1pm. TWW was also carrying the schools programmes from Associated-Rediffusion in the afternoons. In autumn 1961 the major ITV companies finally agreed to present a united schedule of schools programmes and Discovery reached screens in the rest of the country, now broadcast on Tuesdays at 2:53pm with a repeat still in its original timeslot on Thursdays[12]. This was not the final resolution to the problem of network differences however - throughout the 1963-4 school year ATV in the Midlands did not broadcast Discovery, effectively replacing it with their own science series Movement, although it returned the following year. I believe that when Discovery moved to Wednesdays in most of the country in autumn 1965, it continued to be broadcast one day earlier on Tuesdays in the Granada region. And Associated-Rediffusion made plans to drop the series for the 1966-7 school year, at the same time as Granada said they would drop three of Rediffusion's series, a situation which was only resolved on the intervention of the chairman of the Independent Television Authority[13].


It turned out that 1966-7 was the last year for Discovery as the series did not return the following year. Granada continued their interest in sixth form science lessons, however, and soon introduced a new and even more long-running series called Experiment.

The Programmes

The idea of Discovery was for famous and eminent scientists to give an illustrated lecture on their field of speciality. This idea is remarkably similar to the BBC's very first experimental sound broadcasts to schools in 1924, some 35 years earlier, which relied on experts such as the composer Walford Davies discussing music and the naturalist E. Kay Robinson natural history, valuing the expertise of the speakers above any relevance or connection with the listening pupils, until the Kent Report in 1928 inspired a change of course.[14].

Sir Edward Appleton talking to camera surrounded by scientific apparatus in one of the first term's programmes from 1959

There were two purposes for the programmes, explained by Gerald Barry in a TV Times article accompanying the launch: "to stimulate emulation by bringing the young scientist into direct contact with the minds and personalities of the most eminent and successful scientists of our generation," and "to give students the opportunity of hearing at first-hand just what these men are doing and thinking about the scientific future."[15] Incidentally the scientists were all men, with the sole exception of Professor Dame Katherine Lonsdale who presented a single programme in 1962.

As well as being prominent academics some of the speakers have become household name experts: Heinz Wolff presented on human stress in 1960, Desmond Morris talked about apes in 1963, and Patrick Moore discussed the moon in 1961, telling viewers about a mysterious red cloud observed by Dr Kozyrev, whom Moore visited at a Russian observatory, a phenomenon which had not been witnessed before or since.[16] An almost complete list of speakers can be found in this site's episode guide to Discovery.

Peter the panda bear receives treatment on a heart-lung machine

The content of the programmes could perhaps be as wide-ranging as the presentational styles of the various lecturers. Interesting anecdotes about scientific research were a fundamental aspect of the series, and photographs, models and diagrams were of course popular throughout its history. There were also some more interesting techniques employed from time to time. Victor Rothschild discussing spermatozoa in 1960 demonstrated a large, wriggling "working model" of a sperm tail he had constructed - a clip of this model, from the 30 Years of ITV Schools documentary, can be viewed on the TV Ark website. In 1961 the Department of Surgery at the University of Manchester gave a demonstration of a heart-lung machine by performing a mock operation on Peter, a toy panda who "had the stuffing knocked out of him." They gave Peter a heart made of modelling clay with plastic tubing to represent the main arteries, and went through the procedure of a full operation[17].

Film clips were also used increasingly throughout the series, "including some that (had) never been shown publicly before,"[18] but it was graphics produced specially by Granada that stood out the most. The graphics designer became a significant role on Discovery in Spring 1962 when Max Morgan-Witts became producer and continued when Jack Smith took over later in the year. Graham Adshead contributed to a large number of episodes, and Donald Stevens and John Leech also worked on the series, but the most familiar names associated with the programme were Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall, later to found the great animation company Cosgrove Hall Films, who worked spearately but contributed to over 50 episodes of Discovery between them.

R. J. C. Harris employs chalkboard diagrams to demonstrate the use of anti-metabolites to fight cancer in a programme from 1961

The series was accompanied by teacher's notes from the very beginning, something which neither Associated-Rediffusion nor the BBC managed satisfactorily at the outset of their television services. In response to feedback from questionnaires completed by teachers and pupils during the first term of broadcasts the notes were made more comprehensive from Spring 1960 so that teacher could give "a greater degree of preparation."[19]

Machines for a New Age

Discovery presented by scientists in Manchester and Massachusetts, by satellite

Discovery alternated between all major fields of science - biology, chemistry and physics. Each programme was "independent and separate, though some of them (dealt) with aspects of science which are closely related."[20] In Summer 1965 though the series diverged to cover a single topic, with a single presenter, over the whole term. The subject was electronic computers and the presenter was the computer scientist Professor Stanley Gill, who had already presented two programmes on the subject for Discovery in 1962 and 1963. The unit was collectively titled Machines for a New Age.

This unit looked at the history of computers, programming and the modern uses of computers. But the culmination of the series and its highest point was a programme billed in the TV Times as presented by "Stanley Gill (in England), Robert Fano and Charles Lang (in the US)"[21]. Gill presented in Granada's television studios in Manchester as usual, and he was linked to his American colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by the Early Bird communications satellite to discuss modern uses of computers at M.I.T. and experiments the scientists were undertaking.[22].

Journalists were flown up from London for this prestigious, international event, and bore witness to all the technicalities of setting up the link. Reportedly the satellite was booked for 30 minutes, and 10 minutes passed before Granada received the sound - while they could see the American scientists on a large screen and Professor Gill idly bounced on the balls of his feet, the studio was treated to French pop music inadvertently added to the signal on its long path from Boston to New York to Maine, to France to London and finally by landline to Manchester. They had a telephone line backup connection to use in case the satellite failed entirely. When the problem was located and fixed in France New Education wrly noted suspicions of "some diabolic Gaullist ambush to rob this historic link of its potency." But the enterprise was worthwhile and the same reporter praised such a "spectacular kind of (educational) broadcasting," and a review in Visual Education said that it "(brought) home the true excitement and immediacy of the latest developments in science," - exactly the reaction Discovery always sought[23].

The programme was pre-recorded, as were all episodes of Discovery and transmitted on 15 June 1965, some 10 days before the famous Our World broadcast used the same satellite for a live, global television entertainment show. But this was not the first time the satellite was used for school education - in May 1965 it linked a high school in Wisconsin, USA, with a lycée in Paris, France for an hour-long intercontinental lesson[24].

The computer programmes were repeated in Spring 1967, and joined by a second series of Machines for a New Age programmes, this time presented by Dr T.G.P. Pickavance and examining an "atom-smashing machine" (or proton synchrotron) called NIMROD. As it transpired these were the final episodes of Discovery.

Episodes

Here is a list of all weekly broadcasts of the Granada schools science series Discovery, including repeats and, where known, Out of School broadcasts for parents and teachers to preview the programmes during the school holidays. All new episodes are highlighted and repeats are indicated.

At the time Discovery was on, programmes were not shown on all the different ITV stations at the same time, or even on the same days. In this list, all dates for the first two years are for the Northern region (Granada), as this was one of the only stations showing Discovery. From Autumn 1963 onwards the dates are for the London region (Associated-Rediffusion) - I have checked that these dates were the same in the Midland region (ATV), with the obvious exception of 1963-4, when ATV did not show Discovery.

The Archive column links to the archival records at either the Granada archive listing at itnsource.com or the online BFI Film & Television Database for episodes which are listed in those sources. Archive links are only given for the first broadcast of each episode, not repeats. There are two episodes in Spring 1965 which I have indicated are repeats, but records in the Granada archive listing at itnsource.com say the episodes were orginally broadcast on those dates. I would assume that the episodes were slightly edited or brought up to date, which is why Granada have listed them as new episodes and I have not. It is possible that the programmes were in fact remounted with the same lecturers. If anybody has more information to help clarify any of these issues, please get in touch by email or on the forum.

Num Title Presenter Archive Broadcast
1. The Art of Scientific Investigation Sir Edward Appleton 24 Sep 1959
2. Radio Astronomy and the Universe Prof A. C. B. Lovell 1 Oct 1959
3. Nucleic Acids Prof Sir Alexander Todd NFA 15 Oct 1959
4. Molecules and Inheritance: DNA Dr S. Brenner 22 Oct 1959
5. Exploring Space Prof H. S. W. Massey 29 Oct 1959
6. The Ionosphere Sir Edward Appleton 5 Nov 1959
7. The Science of Life: Accident or Design Sir James Gray NFA 12 Nov 1959
8. Science and the Nation Sir Ben Lockspeiser 19 Nov 1959
9. Evolution: Appearance of Design in Living Things Prof C. H. Waddington 26 Nov 1959
10. How Nuclear Power Stations Work Sir John Cockroft 3 Dec 1959
11. The History of the Earth Prof P. C. Sylvester-Bradley ITV 21 Jan 1960
12. The Changing Face of the Earth Dr T. F. Gaskell 28 Jan 1960
13. The Earth's Climate Prof Gordon Manley 4 Feb 1960
14. The Upper Atmosphere Prof D. R. Bates 11 Feb 1960
15. Messengers from Space Dr J. Baldwin 18 Feb 1960
16. The Oceans Dr G. E. R. Deacon 25 Feb 1960
17. Life on Earth Dr Errol I. White 3 Mar 1960
18. Minerals and How They Are Found Dr T. F. Gaskell 10 Mar 1960
19. Using the Land Wisely Prof Dudley Stamp 17 Mar 1960
20. Tasks for the Future Sir Edward Bullard 24 Mar 1960
21. Life on Other Planets Dr Peter Alexander 12 May 1960
22. Ageing Process - How and Why Living Creatures Grow Old Dr Alex Comfort 19 May 1960
23. Computer Memories Dr D. B. G. Edwards 26 May 1960
24. Spermatozoa Lord Rothschild ITV 2 Jun 1960
25. E=MC2 Dr Eric Mendoza 9 Jun 1960
26. Big Molecules Sir Harry Melville 16 Jun 1960
27. Measuring Human Stress H. S. Wolff 23 Jun 1960
28. New Techniques in Archaeology Dr E. T. Hall 30 Jun 1960
29. Semi-Conductors Dr H. K. Henisch 29 Sep 1960
30. The Structure of Liquids Prof J. D. Bernal 6 Oct 1960
31. Photosynthesis Prof Helen K. Porter 13 Oct 1960
32. Eye Movements Dr D. H. Fender ITV 20 Oct 1960
33. Plant Growth Substances Prof R. L. Wain 27 Oct 1960
34. Neutron Damage in Solids Dr H. M. Finniston 10 Nov 1960
35. New Ways of Studying the Brain Prof D. M. MacKay 17 Nov 1960
36. Beyond Iron Filings Prof L. F. Bates 24 Nov 1960
37. The Structure of Liquids Prof J. D. Bernal 1 Dec 1960
38. Telescopes and Astronomy Dr Richard Woolley 8 Dec 1960
39. Low Speed Aero Dynamics Dr T. R. F. Nonweiler 12 Jan 1961
40. Electroluminescence Dr H. K. Henisch 19 Jan 1961
41. Thin Films Dr O. S. Havens 26 Jan 1961
42. Harvesting the Sea part 1 Sir Alister Hardy 2 Feb 1961
43. Animal Behaviour Dr R. A. Hinde 9 Feb 1961
44. The Heart Lung Machine 16 Feb 1961
45. Time Measurement Dr L. Essen 2 Mar 1961
46. Harvesting the Sea part 2 Sir Alister Hardy 9 Mar 1961
47. Chromosomes Prof Paul E. Polani 16 Mar 1961
48. High-speed Cinematography John Hadland 23 Mar 1961
49. The Heart Lung Machine 27 Apr 1961
50. Hydraulic Research Fergus Allen 4 May 1961
51. Selenography Patrick Moore 11 May 1961
52. Cancer - The Nature of the Problem Dr R. J. C. Harris 18 May 1961
53. Low Temperatures and Ultimate Order Dr Nicholas Kurti 1 Jun 1961
54. Servor Mechanisms Dr D. H. Fender 8 Jun 1961
55. Ion Exchange Dr T. R. E. Kressman 15 Jun 1961
56. The Roosting Habits of Startings Observed by Radar Dr Eric Eastwood ITV 22 Jun 1961
57. Rutherford and the Birth of Nuclear Physics Prof B. H. Flowers ITV 19 Sep 1961
Rpt of 24. Spermatozoa Lord Rothschild 26 Sep 1961
Rpt of 9. Evolution: Appearance of Design in Living Things Prof C. H. Waddington 3 Oct 1961
Rpt of 28. New Techniques in Archaeology Dr E. T. Hall 10 Oct 1961
58. New Fibres and Their Uses Prof J. B. Speakman 17 Oct 1961
59. The Theory of the Photographic Process Colin Ronan 24 Oct 1961
Rpt of 19. Using the Land Wisely Prof Dudley Stamp 7 Nov 1961
Rpt of 11. The History of the Earth Prof Sylvester Bradley 14 Nov 1961
Rpt of 12. Earth's Changing Face Dr T. F. Gaskell 21 Nov 1961
60. Telemetry E. S. Mallett 28 Nov 1961
61. New Techniques in Steel Making Dr J. H. Chesters ITV 16 Jan 1962
62. Endocrinology 23 Jan 1962
63. Bird Migration as Observed by Radar Dr E. Eastwood 30 Jan 1962
64. Controlling Plant Diseases Prof R. L. Wain 6 Feb 1962
65. Astronomy on the Edge of Space Dr H. E. Butler 13 Feb 1962
66. Masers Dr O. S. Heavens 20 Feb 1962
67. Embryology Prof D. R. Newth 6 Mar 1962
68. Metals and Alloys Dr H. M. Finniston 13 Mar 1962
69. Hypnosis and Selective Deafness 20 Mar 1962
70. Curved Space and the Fouth Dimension Prof G. J. Kynah ITV 27 Mar 1962
71. The Genetic Code Dr Sydney Brenner 1 May 1962
72. The Challenge of Thermonuclear Research Dr Gordon Francis 8 May 1962
73. Chlorella - One Cells With Many Uses Prof G. E. Fogg 15 May 1962
74. Studies of the Solid State Prof Dame Katherine Lonsdale 22 May 1962
75. The Nature of Glass Prof R. W. Douglas 29 May 1962
76. The Formation of Rain and Snow Prof B. J. Mason ITV 19 Jun 1962
77. Reflexes and the Human Brain Dr E. M. Glaser 18 Sep 1962
78. Fluorine Prof R. N. Hazeldine 25 Sep 1962
79. Statistics in Scientific Research Dr D. J. Finney, FRS 2 Oct 1962
80. Cables Across the Severn Dr D. A. Davies 9 Oct 1962
81. Weeds and the Struggle for Existance Prof J. L. Harper NFA 16 Oct 1962
82. Communication Satellites Donald Wray 23 Oct 1962
83. Insect Populations Prof G. C. Varley 6 Nov 1962
84. How a Computer Works Dr Stanley Gill 13 Nov 1962
85. The New Technology of Zinc 20 Nov 1962
86. Science and the Conservation of Antiquities Dr A. E. Werner 27 Nov 1962
87. Linear Induction Motors Dr E. R. Laithwaite 15 Jan 1963
88. The Behaviour of Ants Dr John Sudd 22 Jan 1963
89. The Formation of Rocks Dr W. S. Mackenzie 29 Jan 1963
90. Engineering for Water T. E. S. White 5 Feb 1963
91. Waves and Particles Dr A. Herzenberg 12 Feb 1963
92. Programming a Computer Dr Stanley Gill 19 Feb 1963
93. The Properties of Plastics and Rubbers Brian Warburton 5 Mar 1963
94. Why Atoms Combine Prof C. A. Coulson 12 Mar 1963
95. Some Recent Work on Friction Dr D. Tabor 19 Mar 1963
96. Apes and Art Dr Desmond Morris 26 Mar 1963
97. The Chemistry of Dyeing Prof R. H. Peters 30 Apr 1963
98. Superconductivity Dr Eric Mendoza 23 Apr 1963
99. Insect Mimicry Prof P. M. Sheppard 14 May 1963
100. The Physics of Clothing W. H. Rees 21 May 1963
101. Air Pollution C. F. Barrett 11 Jun 1963
102. Glaciers Dr John W. Glen 18 Jun 1963
103. High Vacuum Dr O. S. Heavens 17 Sep 1963
104. The Evolution of Walking Dr John Napier ITV 24 Sep 1963
Rpt of 61. New Techniques in Steel Making Dr J. H. Chesters 1 Oct 1963
Rpt of 76. The Formation of Rain and Snow Prof B. J. Mason 8 Oct 1963
105. Thunderstorms and Lightning Prof B. J. Mason 15 Oct 1963
106. A Problem in Engineering Prof R. E. D. Bishop 22 Oct 1963
107. Evolution Observed Dr D. Nichols 5 Nov 1963
108. Some Problems of Corrosion (unconfirmed)* Dr D. N. Layton 12 Nov 1963
109. Selenography Patrick Moore 19 Nov 1963
110. Visual Perception Dr A. R. Jonckheere 26 Nov 1963
Rpt of 103. High Vacuum (Out of School broadcast) Dr O. S. Heavens 3 Jan 1964
111. The Spawning Behaviour of the Atlantic Salmon Dr Jack W. Jones 14 Jan 1964
112. Ultrasonics Alan Crawford 21 Jan 1964
113. Air in Motion John Allen 28 Jan 1964
114. Flow Patterns in Furnaces Dr J. H. Chesters 4 Feb 1964
115. The New Look in Inorganic Chemistry (1) Prof J. Lewis 11 Feb 1964
116. Learning From Starlight Prof J. Ring ITV 18 Feb 1964
Rpt of 75. The Nature of Glass Prof R. W. Douglas 3 Mar 1964
117. An Age-old Problem in Plant Disease Prof J. Colhoun 10 Mar 1964
Rpt of 63. Bird Migration as Observed by Radar Dr E. Eastwood 17 Mar 1964
Rpt of 116. Learning From Starlight (Out of School broadcast) Prof J. Ring 6 Apr 1964
118. A Million Amps, A Million Volts Prof J. D. Craggs 28 Apr 1964
119. Energy and Life Prof H. L. Kornberg 5 May 1964
120. Shock Waves Prof N. H. Johanmesen 12 May 1964
121. The New Look in Inorganic Chemistry (2) Dr M. Tolse 19 May 1964
Rpt of 70. Curved Space and the Fouth Dimension Prof G. J. Kynch 9 Jun 1964
Rpt of 83. Insect Populations Prof G. C. Varley 16 Jun 1964
Rpt of 78. Fluorine Prof R. N. Hazeldine 22 Sep 1964
Rpt of 91. Waves and Particles Dr A. Herzenberg 29 Sep 1964
Rpt of 94. Why Atoms Combine Prof C. A. Coulson, FRS 6 Oct 1964
Rpt of 74. Studies of the Solid State Prof Dame Katherine Lonsdale 13 Oct 1964
Rpt of 86. Science and the Conservation of Antiquities Prof A. E. Warner 20 Oct 1964
Rpt of 99. Insect Mimicry Prof P. M. Sheppard 3 Nov 1964
Rpt of 81. Weeds and the Struggle for Existance Prof J. L. Harper 10 Nov 1964
Rpt of 96. Apes and Art Dr Desmond Morris 17 Nov 1964
Rpt of 73. Chlorella - One Cells With Many Uses Prof G. E. Fogg 24 Nov 1964
Rpt of 88. The Behaviour of Ants Dr John Sudd 1 Dec 1964
Rpt of 98. Superconductivity Dr Eric Mendoza ITV 19 Jan 1965
Rpt of 87. Linear Induction Motors Prof E. R. Laithwaite 26 Jan 1965
Rpt of 95. Some Recent Work on Friction Dr D. Tabor 2 Feb 1965
122. The Velocity of Light Prof O. S. Heavens 9 Feb 1965
123. Elementary Particles Prof R. J. Blin-Stoyle 16 Feb 1965
Rpt of 80. Cables Across the Severn D. A. Davis ITV 2 Mar 1965
124. Servo-Mechanosms Dr D. H. Fender 9 Mar 1965
125. Jet Engines Prof J. H. Horlock 16 Mar 1965
126. A Project in Engineering Design John Martin & Geoffrey Pearse 23 Mar 1965
127. Motorway Design J. W. Ward 30 Mar 1965
128. Machines For a New Age 1: The Speed Revolution Prof Stanley Gill ITV 23 Apr 1965
129. Machines For a New Age 2: The Anatomy of Computers Prof Stanley Gill ITV 11 May 1965
130. Machines For a New Age 3: Programming Prof Stanley Gill ITV 18 May 1965
131. Machines For a New Age 4: Computers Are Useful Prof Stanley Gill ITV 25 May 1965
132. Machines For a New Age 5: More About Programming Prof Stanley Gill ITV 1 Jun 1965
133. Machines For a New Age 6: What Next? Prof Stanley Gill ITV 15 Jun 1965
Rpt of 115. The New Look in Inorganic Chemistry (1) Prof J. Lewis 22 Sep 1965
Rpt of 121. The New Look in Inorganic Chemistry (2) Dr M. Tobe 29 Sep 1965
134. Sodium W. H. Wilson NFA 6 Oct 1965
Rpt of 119. Energy and Life Prof H. L. Kornberg 13 Oct 1965
135. Photosynthesis E. R. Redfearn NFA 20 Oct 1965
Rpt of 111. The Spawning Behaviour of the Atlantic Salmon Dr Jack W. Jones 27 Oct 1965
Rpt of 107. Evolution Observed Dr D. Nichols 10 Nov 1965
Rpt of 104. The Evolution of Walking Dr J. Napier 17 Nov 1965
136. The Artificial Kidney 24 Nov 1965
137. Are Wild Animals Dangerous? John Hillaby 1 Dec 1965
Prev of 138. The Role of the Engineer (Out of School broadcast) Prof R. E. D. Bishop 30 Dec 1965
138. The Role of the Engineer Prof R. E. D. Bishop 19 Jan 1966
139. The Post Office Tower G. R. Yeats & H. C. Adams 26 Jan 1966
140. The Victoria Line H. G. Follenfant 2 Feb 1966
141. Bridging the Severn Sir Gilbert Roberts 9 Feb 1966
142. High-Speed Marine Craft A. Silverleaf 16 Feb 1966
143. Engineering Design of a Hospital Bed L. Bruce Archer ITV 2 Mar 1966
144. The Cruachan Transformers A. B. Madin 9 Mar 1966
145. Helium Purification Plant for the Dragon Reactor S. B. Hosegood 16 Mar 1966
146. A Machine Tool in Industry H. A. Jackson 23 Mar 1966
147. Hydrostatic Transmissions Donald Firth 30 Mar 1966
Rpt of 147. Flow Patterns in Furnaces (Out of School broadcast) Dr J. H. Chesters 14 Apr 1966
Rpt of 116. Learning from Starlight Prof J. Ring 4 May 1966
Rpt of 100. The Physics of Clothing W. H. Rees 11 May 1966
Rpt of 113. Air in Motion John Allen 18 May 1966
Rpt of 120. Shock Waves Prof N. H. Johannesen 8 Jun 1966
Rpt of 114. Flow Patterns in Furnaces Dr J. H. Chesters 15 Jun 1966
Rpt of 101. Air Pollution C. F. Barrett 22 Jun 1966
148. Adaptation Prof A. J. Cain 21 Sep 1966
149. Evolution Does Occur - The Fossil Record Dr David Nichols 28 Sep 1966
150. Darwin and Wallace Caroline Medawar 5 Oct 1966
151. Heredity Prof J. Maynard Smith 12 Oct 1966
152. Natural Selection in Animals 1: Animals Prof P. M. Sheppard 19 Oct 1966
153. Natural Selection in Animals 2: Plants Dr A. D. Bradshaw 26 Oct 1966
154. The Effects of Natural Selection on Behaviour Dr J. H. Crook 9 Nov 1966
155. Speciation Prof A. J. Cain 16 Nov 1966
156. Evolution in Primates 1 Dr J. R. Napier 23 Nov 1966
157. Evolution in Primates 2 Dr J. R. Napier & Sir Peter Medawar 30 Nov 1966
Rpt of 128. Machines For a New Age 1: The Speed Revolution Prof Stanley Gill 11 Jan 1967
Rpt of 129. Machines For a New Age 2: The Anatomy of Computers Prof Stanley Gill 18 Jan 1967
Rpt of 130. Machines For a New Age 3: Programming Prof Stanley Gill 25 Jan 1967
Rpt of 131. Machines For a New Age 4: Computers Are Useful Prof Stanley Gill 1 Feb 1967
Rpt of 132. Machines For a New Age 5: More About Programming Prof Stanley Gill 8 Feb 1967
Rpt of 133. Machines For a New Age 6: What Next? Prof Stanley Gill 15 Feb 1967
158. Machines For a New Age 7: What is a Proton Synchrotron? Dr T. G. Pickavance ITV 22 Feb 1967
159. Machines For a New Age 8: How was NIMROD Designed and Built? Dr T. G. Pickavance ITV 1 Mar 1967
160. Machines For a New Age 9: How is the Research Done? Dr T. G. Pickavance ITV 8 Mar 1967
161. Machines For a New Age 10: The K7 Experiment Dr T. G. Pickavance & Dr J. J. Thresher ITV 15 Mar 1967
Rpt of 161. (unknown repeat) (Out of School broadcast) 29 Mar 1967
Rpt of 134. Sodium Dr W. H. Wilson 19 Apr 1967
Rpt of 161. Some Problems of Corrosion Dr D. N. Layton 26 Apr 1967
Rpt of 118. A Million Amps, A Million Volts Prof J. D. Craggs 3 May 1967
Rpt of 103. High Vacuum Dr O. S. Heavens 10 May 1967
Rpt of 122. The Velocity of Light Prof O.S. Heavens 17 May 1967
Rpt of 112. Ultrasonics Alan Crawford 24 May 1967
Rpt of 148. Adaptation Prof A. J. Cain 21 Sep 1967
Rpt of 149. Evolution Does Occur - The Fossil Record Dr David Nichols 28 Sep 1967
Rpt of 150. Darwin and Wallace Caroline Medawar 5 Oct 1967
Rpt of 151. Heredity Prof J. Maynard Smith 12 Oct 1967
Rpt of 152. Natural Selection in Animals 1: Animals Prof P. M. Sheppard 19 Oct 1967
Rpt of 153. Natural Selection in Animals 2: Plants Dr A. D. Bradshaw 26 Oct 1967
Rpt of 154. The Effects of Natural Selection on Behaviour Dr J. H. Crook 9 Nov 1967
Rpt of 155. Speciation Prof A. J. Cain 16 Nov 1967
Rpt of 156. Evolution in Primates 1 Dr J. R. Napier 23 Nov 1967
Rpt of 157. Evolution in Primates 2 Dr J. R. Napier & Sir Peter Medawar 30 Nov 1967
  • * - I do not know for sure which episode was shown on 12 November 1963. Some Problems of Corrosion was repeated on 26 April 1967, and I do not know when it was first shown. Matching up these two facts, I have assumed that Some Problems of Corrosion was first shown on 12 November 1963.


What is a Repeat?

At the time when Discovery thrived in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the act of repeating a programme was not as simple as playing the same bit of film or tape again. In these early days many programmes were shown live and never recorded at all. When Associated Rediffusion began broadcasting its schools programmes twice each afternoon in the autumn of 1957, the programmes were actually performed twice, live, one after the other[25].

However at the precise same time, autumn 1957, the BBC began showing a schools programme called Science and Life on Wednesdays and repeating it on the following Monday by means of a telerecording[26] (i.e. a recording on film).

Many episodes of Discovery were repeated, and for the purpose of this site I am assuming they were all actual repeats of videotape, or perhaps film, recordings of the original episodes. When the series began to be transmitted nationally in Autumn 1961, 56 lectures had already been shown in the Granada and TWW regions alone, and with national screens available Granada began repeating a selection of previous lectures. Half of the programmes shown that term were repeats.

There is strong evidence in the TV Times credits for the series to show that these really were "repeats". The five repeated episodes in the autumn term of 1961 were all credited to be directed by Barrie Heads, who had directed the original episodes, while the new episodes were all credited to be directed by Douglas Terry, who had taken over on the series the previous year.

There is one exception, the episode titled The Heart Lung Machine, which was listed to be shown on 16th February 1961, and another episode with the same title on 27th April 1961, on both occasions listed in the TV Times (Northern Edition) to be presented by an member of the Department of Surgery of the University of Manchester. This could perhaps have been a two-part lecture, similar to Harvesting the Sea delivered in spirng 1961 by Sir Alister Hardy, but this was clearly billed in the TV Times as Part 1 and Part 2. There may have been a problem with the original lecture (this was the panda bear surgery episode described further up the page) - perhaps in securing the unnamed presenter from the University of Manchester - causing it to be postponed, or it may have been remounted due to strong interest in the topical issue. Whatever the circumstances, I have assumed that these programmes were different and counted them as two separate episodes.

Contributors

Producers

  • Barrie Heads (1959-1960)
  • Douglas Terry (1960-1961)
  • Max Morgan-Witts (1962)
  • Jack Smith (1962-1967)

Directors

  • Peter Cuff (1959)
  • Eric Price (1959-1960)
  • Derek Bennett (1960)
  • Eric Harrison (1960, 1965)
  • Peter Mullings (1960-1967)

In The Archive

Although some of the lectures in this series were repeated up to a couple of years after their first broadcast, Discovery was by its very nature a contemporaneous series whose value lay in providing the latest academically valuable information. So although the programmes were all recorded originally - I believe all of the Discovery lectures were pre-recorded weeks or months in advance of transmission - it seems there was little point in keeping recordings of the old episodes as there would be no real reason to ever re-show them.

Out of 161 episodes produced, just 23 are listed as surviving in the Granada TV archives, as a representative sample of lectures from across the years. A further 5, different episodes are listed as surviving in the National Film Archive. The earliest surviving episode seems to be Nucleic Acids, episode 3 from the first series. The only full run of programmes to survive intact are the historically important Machines For a New Age units from 1965 and 1967, which exist complete in the Granada archive.

The BBC Discovery

Pupil's pamphlet to the BBC radio series Discovery

No sooner had Granada's Discovery series left the air than the BBC launched a new radio science series for primary schools titled Discovery. The BBC schools Discovery series began in Autumn 1968 as a replacement for the earlier series Junior Science. It was aimed at 9 to 11 year olds, far younger than the Granada series' audience of sixth formers, and planned for use by all primary school teachers, be they science specialists or not[27].

The BBC (but not its schools department) had used the title before, for a short documentary film series by Heinz Sielmann shown on Friday evenings in 1961-2, and it was of course a fairly common title used since then for other television programmes. If this website ever comes to cover the BBC Discovery schools series in more depth, there will be a separate page about it.


Sources

  • Appleton, Edward (1959) 'Science for Sixth Forms' in TV Times (Northern Edition) no.203 20-26 Sep 1959 pp.6-7
  • Barry, Gerald (1959) 'What? Who? Why? When?' in TV Times (Northern Edition) no.203 20-26 Sep 1959 p.6
  • Beverly, Alan (1960) 'Sixth Forms Get a Wider View' in TV Times (Northern Edition) no.256 25 Sep-1 Oct 1960 pp.6-7
  • BFI Film & TV Database (for NFA catalogue listings)
  • Crossley, Tony (1960) 'Teachers Support Science TV' in TV Times (Northern Edition) no.220 17-23 Jan 1960, pp.20-21
  • Crossley, Tony (1961) 'Mapping the Moon' in TV Times (Northern Edition) no.286 23-29 Apr 1961 pp.10-11
  • Gough, John (1957) 'Looking Around with John Gough' in TV Times (Midlands Edition) 1 February 1957 p.4
  • Gough, John (1960a) 'Looking Around with John Gough: TV helped' in TV Times (Northern Edition) no.230 27 March-2 April 1960, p.6
  • Gough, John (1960b) 'Looking Around with John Gough: TV probe' in TV Times (Northern Edition) no.236 8-14 May 1960 p.4
  • Granada (1959) 'How Can TV Best Help Teach? One answer to the problem' advertisement in Visual Education, September 1959, p.9
  • ITN Source (Granada TV archive catalogue)
  • New Education (1965) 'Notes' in New Education, June 1965 p.30
  • Times (1957a) 'School Television Experiment' in The Times 20 February 1957, p.4 col.D
  • Times (1957b) 'Academic Study of Television' in The Times 15 May 1957, p.6 col.A
  • Times (1959) 'News in Brief: Television science lessons' in The Times 29 April 1959, p. 8 col.C
  • TV Times Northern Edition, TV listings 1959-1961
  • TV Times Midlands Edition, TV listings 1961-1967
  • TV Times London Edition, TV listings 1961-1967 (via TV Times Project database)
  • Visual Education (1965) 'First use of "Early Bird"' in Visual Education June 1965 p.21
  • Warren, Charles (1967) "Independent School Television - The First Ten Years" in Moir, Guthrie (ed) Teaching and Television: ETV Explained London: Pergamon Press
  • Weltman, Joseph (1978) 21 Years of Independent Television for Schools, 1957 to 1978 as published with Independent Broadcasting no 16, May 1978, London: IBA
  1. About other regions taking Associated-Rediffusion's programmes: quotes from Paul Adorian in Times (1957a), Sidney Bernstein quote from Gough (1957)
  2. Information about Granada "watching and waiting" from Times (1957b)
  3. "Granada, whose finanical position was extremely precarious in the early period" according to Weltman (1978) p.11
  4. Information about other regions taking schools programmes while Granada didn't based on TV listings for major regions in The Times, and Weltman (1978) p.11
  5. "To foster the academic study of television" quote from Times (1957b)
  6. Information about appointment of Donald MacKay and "Granada Chair" name from Gough (1960b)
  7. Date and details of Granada's initial announcement of Discovery from Times (1959). I can find no further reference to the involvement of the British Association, although Sir James Gray, President of the Association for 1960 according to Barry (1960), did present one of the first term's programmes.
  8. Advert quotes from Granada (1959). This advert is shown towards the top of this page.
  9. "The Granada executive" quotes from byline to Barry (1959). Sir Gerald Barry identified as "educational adviser" to Granada in Weltman (1968) p.12
  10. 12 TV Times articles in the first year - statistic based on me browsing the Northern Edition of the magazine. In the interests of verifiability, the full list is: 20 Sep 1959 pp.6-7 'Science for Sixth Forms' by Sir Edward Appleton; 11 Oct 1959 p.22 'Chemistry Means Colour - Plus' by Sir Alexander Todd; 25 Oct 1959 p.15 'Britain's part in Exploring Space' by L. J. Carter; 15 Nov 1959 p.15 'Front-Room Boy of Science' by Maurice Goldsmith, on Sir Ben Lockspeiser; 22 Nov 1959 pp.18-19 'How I Became a Scientist' by Professor C. H. Waddington; 29 Nov 1959 pp.12-13 'It's a Scientist's World' by Arthur Garratt, MBE BSc A Inst P. (explaining the opportunities for sixth formers in the science field); 07 Feb 1960 p.19 'Filling the Gaps in Space' by Ray Chapman; 21 Feb 1960 pp.20-21 'Secrets from Seven Miles Deep' by Ray Chapman; 20 Mar 1960 p.14 'Down-to-Earth Science' by Sir Edward Bullard; 08 May 1960 pp.6-7 'Life on Other Planets' by Dr Peter Alexander; 15 May 1960 pp.6-7 'How Long Can We Live?' by David Nathan; 05 Jun 1960 p.9 'If Light Had a 30 Limit' by Ray Chapman
  11. Richard Woodhead quote from Gough (1960a)
  12. Information that TWW carried Discovery, and that it carried A-R programmes, and about the Network Education Sub-Committee (referred to here as the major ITV companies agreeing to present a united schedule) from Weltman (1978) pp.11-13. For more on the NESC decision see Jase Robertson's summary of Weltman's text at the Transdiffusion website.
  13. Information about ATV dropping the series in 1963-4 based on TV Times (Midland Edition) TV listings. The different timeslots from 1965 is only my theory (see the introduction to the episode list for reasoning) and I have not checked it. Information about ARTV threatening to drop the series in 1966-7 based on Weltman (1978) p.15. I think that A-R may have successfully dropped Discovery in the autumn and spring of that year but restored it in the summer - that may be why there are no listings for those two terms in my episode list as I based my list for all of 1965 and 1966 on London region listings via TV Times Project database. I will verify this with the Midlands and/or Granada region listings as soon as possible and update this artice.
  14. Cited speakers from the early days of BBC sound broadcasts were the first two to speak to schools, on 4 April 1924 and 11 April 1924 respectively, and both would give further broadcasts in the early days, Walford Davies especially on the London, Cardiff and Daventry stations for some years to come. Brief comments on the content based on Somerville, Mary (1947) 'How School Broadcasting Grew Up' in Palmer, Richard School Broadcasting in Britain, London: BBC. The 1928 report was Carnegie (1928) Educational Broadcasting: Report of a Special Investigation in the County of Kent during the Year 1927 Dunfermline: Carnegie United Kingdom Trustees, commonly referred to as the "Kent Report". This website currently lacks coverage of the early days of schools broadcasting, but will include it eventually.
  15. Gerald Barry quotes on the purpose of the programmes from Barry (1959).
  16. Content of Patrick Moore programme based on Crossley (1961) p.10
  17. Content of Spermatozoa programme based on clip from schoolstv.com/TV Ark. Content of The Heart-Lung Machine programme based on Crossley (1961) p.10
  18. Increasing use of films and "never shown publicly" quote from Crossley (1960) p.20
  19. Information that teacher's notes were available for Discovery from the first broadcast from Granada (1959); that they were "more comprehesive" from Spring 1960 and "greater degree of preparation" quote from Crossley (1960) p.20
  20. "Independent and separate" quote from Beverly (1960) p.7 - given as a quotation from the producer Douglas Terry.
  21. TV Times presenter credit for Machines for a New Age: What Next? based on Midlands Edition listing for the repeat on 15 February 1967. I have not yet checked billings for the original broadcast, except via TV Times Project database.
  22. Content and details of the link-up in Machines for a New Age: What Next? from New Education (1965) and Visual Education (1965)
  23. Coverage of the Discovery Early Bird recording from New Education (1965) and Visual Education (1965).
  24. That Machines for a New Age: What Next? was pre-recorded is confirmed by the fact that a picture of the broadcast was published in New Education's June 1965 issue, before the programme was transmitted. That Discovery programmes in general were pre-recorded is confirmed by the listing for a 1962 episode on the online BFI Film & Television Database, which gives a recording date of 28 August 1962 for the episode transmitted on 16 October 1962, and the obvious use of editing on the clip from Spermatozoa on the schoolstv.com/TV Ark website.
    Details of Our World from the free online version of the BBC Programme Catalogue. Details of the USA-France use of Early Bird in May 1965 based on Wedemeyer, Charles A. (1967) 'The Future of Educational Technology in the U.S.A.' in Moir, Guthrie (ed) Teaching and Television: ETV Explained London: Pergamon Press, p.142
  25. Information about live performances of Associated-Rediffusion programmes from Warren (1967) p.33.
  26. Information about telerecorded repeats of BBC programmes based on Radio Times listings
  27. Details of the BBC Discovery series from teacher's notes to that series from Summer 1968 and Spring 1971.


More Programmes

Some random programmes for age 16-19 from the 1950s

Discovery (TV)
ITV Schools
1959-1967
Science
The Artist in the Modern World
ITV Schools
1959
Art
For Senior Secondary Schools
BBC Schools Radio
1949-1954
Miscellany
For the General Sixth
BBC Schools Radio
1954
Miscellany
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