Discovery (TV) is an ITV schools TV series from the 1950s and 1960s, covering Biology, Chemistry, Computers, Electronics, Engineering, Geology, General Science and Physics for further education students.
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," 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, 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. 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.
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" 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. 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).
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. 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. 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."
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. 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."
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. 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.
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 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..
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." 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. An almost complete list of speakers can be found in this site's episode guide to Discovery.
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.
Film clips were also used increasingly throughout the series, "including some that (had) never been shown publicly before," 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.
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."
Machines for a New Age
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." 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)". 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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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 (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.
- Barrie Heads (1959-1960)
- Douglas Terry (1960-1961)
- Max Morgan-Witts (1962)
- Jack Smith (1962-1967)
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
- About other regions taking Associated-Rediffusion's programmes: quotes from Paul Adorian in Times (1957a), Sidney Bernstein quote from Gough (1957)
- Information about Granada "watching and waiting" from Times (1957b)
- "Granada, whose finanical position was extremely precarious in the early period" according to Weltman (1978) p.11
- 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
- "To foster the academic study of television" quote from Times (1957b)
- Information about appointment of Donald MacKay and "Granada Chair" name from Gough (1960b)
- 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.
- Advert quotes from Granada (1959). This advert is shown towards the top of this page.
- "The Granada executive" quotes from byline to Barry (1959). Sir Gerald Barry identified as "educational adviser" to Granada in Weltman (1968) p.12
- 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
- Richard Woodhead quote from Gough (1960a)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gerald Barry quotes on the purpose of the programmes from Barry (1959).
- Content of Patrick Moore programme based on Crossley (1961) p.10
- 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
- Increasing use of films and "never shown publicly" quote from Crossley (1960) p.20
- 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
- "Independent and separate" quote from Beverly (1960) p.7 - given as a quotation from the producer Douglas Terry.
- 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.
- Content and details of the link-up in Machines for a New Age: What Next? from New Education (1965) and Visual Education (1965)
- Coverage of the Discovery Early Bird recording from New Education (1965) and Visual Education (1965).
- 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
- Information about live performances of Associated-Rediffusion programmes from Warren (1967) p.33.
- Information about telerecorded repeats of BBC programmes based on Radio Times listings
- Details of the BBC Discovery series from teacher's notes to that series from Summer 1968 and Spring 1971.
Some random programmes for age 16-19 from the 1950s
|Talks for Sixth Forms|
|BBC Schools Radio|
|For Sixth Forms|
|BBC Schools TV|
|Religion and Philosophy|
|BBC Schools Radio|