Saturday, 9 May 2015

The 51st State of America

The idea of time travel fascinates pretty much everyone without exception, whether this is applied to a television show, novel, theoretical physics or just a pure flight of fantasy. The same could also be said for parallel universes where the familiar is replaced with a similar yet dissimilar version of its self. Where people are nice to each other, the sun shines, they drive on the right-hand side of the road, they say pants instead of trousers and have something called customer service. Sounds awful.

You don't have to go far to encounter some strange and unusual happenings. Did you know that former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson wanted the UK to become the 51st State of America? I will spare you the details but they are here if you are interested:

Something else you may not know is that, although, the first 625 line transmissions in the UK were in 1962 with a complete roll out by 1967 and the first colour transmission in the UK being the Wimbledon Tennis Championships of 1 July 1967 the BBC had actually hoped to be starting colour 525 line NTSC transmissions in early 1965. 

This as I am sure you are aware would have meant that we would have had colour Troughtons and about 50% of the Hartnells also in 525 line colour right? Wrong!

We can see from "Colour TV in the UK has been slow to get off the mark..." that there would have been other knock on effects. Satellite distribution didn't take off until the mid-seventies I did find in the National Archives a couple of newspaper cuttings that suggested it had been considered as early as 1967. The same year the above article is from. Additionally, the Telstar satellite was transmitting images from the US to the UK as early as 1962, and later live pictures from the 1969 moon landing:

Now, my knowledge of the technical ins and outs of this is non-existent but as this is just a bit of fun and not meant to be taken seriously I would suggest that had these events happened then there would have been no prints (or at least, fewer) sent around the globe. Remember some smaller countries were buying at less than the cost of a print because the print had already been paid from the previous sales. Would the emerging sub-Saharan countries have been able to afford the equipment to receive satellite transmissions?

It potentially leads us to a world where no or at least very few missing episodes would have any chance of being recovered ever and even now we would be watching NTSC transmissions. Thankfully, none of that ever happened.

Here is a bonus clipping for those interested: