30 October

The first star of reality television requires a bribe to appear on screen.

October 30, 2009 · 2 min read

Fifteen-year-old office boy William Taynton became the first person to appear on television on this day on 1925, when John Logie Baird successfully transmitted his image from one room to another.

‘I was vastly excited and ran downstairs to obtain a living object. The first person to appear was the office boy from the floor below, a youth named William Taynton, and he, rather reluctantly, consented to subject himself to the experiment.

‘I placed him in front of the transmitter and went into the next room to see what the screen would show. The screen was completely blank, and no effort of tuning would produce any result.

‘Puzzled, and very disappointed, I went back to the transmitter, and there the cause of the failure became at once evident. The boy, scared by the intense white light, had backed away from the transmitter. In the excitement of the moment I gave him half a crown, and this time he kept his head in the right position. Going again into the next room I saw his head on the screen quite clearly.

‘It is curious to consider that the first person in the world to be seen by television should have required a bribe to accept that distinction!’


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