GUERNSEY HISTORY 

25th July 1956
The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time

The BBC’s series of ambitious outside broadcasts from the Channel Islands drew to a close on 25 July 1956. On that night, it broadcast a 30-minute visit to Sark between 8.25 and 8.55pm. Such irregular timings weren’t unusual in the schedules back then.

Describing Sark as “that small unit of the Channel Islands which is still a purely feudal state”, the Birmingham Daily Post looked forward to the programme and, in particular Richard Dimbleby’s interview of Dame Sibyl Hathaway in her 17th century home, La Seigneurie. The newspaper promised that “she will recall some of her personal experiences of the war years when Sark was occupied by the Germans.”

Two thumbs up for the BBC

This latter point was particularly well received by The Guardian. Its unnamed “Radio Critic” (it was perhaps too soon to think of appointing a television critic) reviewed the programme in the following day’s edition and found it “much better value than the earlier programme about Herm”.

Apparently, this was largely on account of the fact that the earlier programme had had “too many bouts of conventional interviewing and too few views of the island”.

Perhaps the BBC thought the same when it watched it back, for the broadcast from Sark opened with a lengthy film showing the approach to the island. The camera then took viewers up the hill to the village and across La Coupee between Little Sark and Greater Sark.

Dimbleby’s interview was also, said The Guardian, “first rate”:

Mrs Hathaway talked about the island’s history and constitution and then of the German occupation in a crisp and confident way that made one feel the Germans did well to treat her with respect.

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