Whatever happened to Vera?

Henderson, Jo (2013) Whatever happened to Vera? View, 2 (4). pp. 45-50. ISSN 2213-0969

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Abstract

The road to technological progress is littered with unsuccessful prototypes and their inventors. In British television there is perhaps no better example than John Logie Baird, universally recognised as the successful inventor of the technology, but not of the successful business model. Another, lesser known, casualty is the Vision Electronic Recording Apparatus (VERA), developed within the BBC Design Unit between 1952 and 1958. VERA had the potential to change the production and working practices of British television, in ways yet to be imagined or apparent, but just as it reached completion it was superceded by an American import.

This article, based entirely on secondary sources, seeks to illuminate and narrativise some of the threads in the hidden, or certainly largely unexplored, history of video in British television, to identify a pathway for further development of this research, notably at the BBC Written Archive at Caversham.

The start date of 1955 recognises the ending of the BBC’s television monopoly and the changes and shifts that the BBC had to adjust to as broadcasting became a duopolistic and unionised industry. The end date reflects a point where the quality of ‘non-broadcast’ video technology reached the standard that had previously been set as the broadcast minimum by the broadcasting unions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Netherlands License.
Uncontrolled Keywords: British television, video technology, working practices, unionised production facilities
Subjects: Media
Media > Media history and theory
Depositing User: Dominic Walker
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2017 12:56
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2017 12:56
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/3375

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