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!’


Am I a modern slave?

Lyn Caballero describes her experiences as a migrant domestic worker and explains why domestic workers are campaigning for immigration policy change

Political blackness and Palestinian solidarity

The question of Palestine has become a black political litmus test, argues Annie Olaloku-Teriba, defining the very nature of black identity and politics

After the virus: no return to the old economy

As the Covid recession hits, Adam Peggs lays out alternative economic proposals the Labour left should be demanding


In and against, and outside, the party

Following major defeats, the left on both sides of the Atlantic must urgently get stuck into community organising, movement building and political education, argues Joe Guinan

A tribute to Mike Cooley

Co-creator of the Lucas Plan, Mike showed how the immense talent of workers could be deployed for social use rather than private profit, writes Phil Asquith

Build small, think big

Phillip O’Sullivan looks at the role of community energy groups in disrupting the energy status quo

Only fearless, independent journalism
can hold power to account

Your support keeps Red Pepper alive