BBC Two is the second flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more “highbrow” programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC’s other domestic TV and radio channels, it is funded by the television licence, and is therefore free of commercial advertising. It is a comparatively well-funded public-service network, regularly attaining a much higher audience share than most public-service networks worldwide.
Originally styled BBC 2, it was the third British television station to be launched, and Europe’s first television channel to broadcast regularly in colour. It was envisaged as a home for less mainstream and more ambitious programming, and while this tendency has continued to date, most special-interest programmes of a kind previously broadcast on BBC Two, for example the BBC Proms, now tend to appear on BBC Four instead.
- April 20, 1964: Scheduled to launch at 19:20, there was huge power failure at around 18:45 that affected the BBC’s Television Centre. Broadcasting was able to continue from Alexandra Palace but all attempts to show the scheduled programming failed and the launch was officially postponed at 22:00 until the following morning.
- April 21, 1964: By 11:00 the following day, power had been restored to the studios and programming began, thus making Play School the first programme to be shown officially on the channel. The launch schedule, postponed from the night before, was then successfully shown that evening, albeit with minor changes. In reference to the power cut, the transmission opened with a shot of a lit candle which was then sarcastically blown out by presenter Denis Tuohy.
- July 1, 1967: During the Wimbledon Championships, BBC 2 became the first channel in Europe to begin regular broadcasts in colour.
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