Television and takeaways: how our lives have changed since the days of black and white TV

When I was a child growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, there were only three TV channels available. All programmes were in black white – unless that was the television!

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 8:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2021, 8:57 pm

I was 11 when we first got our first colour TV, I used to rush home from school just to watch it.

I remember at that time one of the big political parties was holding its annual party conference, so I was basically rushing home to watch a political conference, in colour.

It would have been nice if it was slightly more child-friendly, but that was overridden by the new novelty of colour.

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A family watching telly in the 1950s
A family watching telly in the 1950s

Before then, we were only able to access two channels, BBC 1 and 2, no ITV

When my school friends spoke about Calendar, I had no clue what they were talking about.

How often do families now gather round the table for a meal? Here is one miner's family in the 1980s eating dinner in the Kellingley Colliery miners' welfare soup kitchen.

When there was a programme you wanted to see you absolutely made sure you were there to watch it, as that would be your only chance, for some time.

You wished there could be some device to record the programme, or it be repeated again an hour later or later in the week, how great would that be?

Fridays were always a great day for television with one of the channels having a season of popular films such as Norman Wisdom, St Trinian’s, Carry On or The Beatles films, all seen as family friendly and humorous.

Back then you had to make a conscious decision to watch your particular programme or film, or miss it for an indeterminate period.

What I take from that era is that when a popular programme or film was shown either at the weekend or Christmas, like The Morecambe and Wise Christmas special, all the family would congregate in the same room together jockeying for position, and a seat – mums, dads, all the children all together.

Modern technology has seen a proliferation of programmes to see, infinite channels and platforms on which to watch them, catering to the wishes of the public.

Also most houses have several devices to watch TV on.

Which means on many, if not most, occasions families will very rarely spend time together even if they’re in the same house to watch TV.

This is also the same for meals, with people turning up or eating whenever they feel like, courtesy of the microwave or takeaways.

Technology has given us so many options when it comes to our viewing, or eating our meals, but has also brought separation to our family lives and in our own homes too.