Ulster Mirror. Programme 1

Ulster Mirror. Programme 1

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Ballykinler, Belfast, Belfast City Hall, Brookeborough, City Hall, Colebrooke Estate, Divis, Glencairn, Knocknamuckley, Portadown, Stormont, Various




26/11/1954 (first transmission)


14min 37sec




16mm, film

black and white





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This was the first locally produced BBC television programme in Northern Ireland. This episode shows Northern Ireland's first television transmitter, the modernisation of Belfast Roads, agriculture and the reconstruction of Portavogie Harbour.


Ulster Mirror Programmes were produced once a fortnight from Belfast between 1954 and 1956 as a reflection of some aspects of life in Northern Ireland. Programme 1 of the series was the first local television programme to be made by the BBC region. It was shown at 7pm on 26th November 1954 to NI viewers by the simple expedient of switchin off all television transmitters in England and Wales and running the film from London in the normal way. (The BBC wished to avoid any pressure from viewers to introduce similar local programess in other regions. For technical reasons, however, it had to be broadcast in Scotland also.) Only a silent camera was supplied to producer Harry Govan, so no interviews could be done. A local newspaper reviewer commented that the programme was a commendable effort to give us top quality television without all of the necessary technical resources being available.

Shot List

Interior and exterior views of the first television transmitter in Northern Ireland at Glencairn. This is a temporary transmitter housed in a van. It supplied tv to the Belfast area. Views of the construction of a permanent transmitter at Divis. 02:53 Duchess of Gloucester inspecting the Kings Own Scottish Borderers at Ballykinlar Camp. Speech by Duchess, and march past by regiment and army band. 04:45 Cobbled street (Newtownards Road?), McCreary tram (No 458), No 16 trollybus. Modernisation of the roads outside City Hall. Cobbled streets and tram lines being ripped up by what is called a 'toothpick' - an excavator with the bucket removed and replaced. Views of laying the new road. 06:58 Agriculture. Poor season because of rain. Potato picking in Co. Down, Ferguson tractorworkers drinking tea in field. 08:00 Coleraine. Potato picking. Drying out piles of potatoes in field, straw placed on top. 09:00 Portadown. Knocknamuckley (gilpin). Bramley apples. 10:00 Fruit canning factory - apples for catering trade. Interior. 11:21 Reconstruction of Portavogie Harbour on the Ards Peninsula. Previously harbour was only accessible for two hours at high tide. Possible re-opening of kippering factory. 13:05 Ulster Prime Minister, Lord Brookborough (Sir Basil Booke) and wife at house at Stormont, prior to leaving for Australia and New Zealand. In garden, sitting room and Lord Brookborough at his desk.


Producer Harry Govan; Researcher - Michael Simon; Restoration - David Dillon



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