Image: an early experimental colour programme, c. late 1950s.
BBC One launched a full colour service on 15 November 1969. At midnight, An Evening with Petula - Petula Clark in concert from the Royal Albert Hall, was the first transmission. The channel then closed down until 10am. Programmes showing in colour on the 15th included Star Trek and Dixon of Dock Green, The Harry Secombe Show and Match of the Day, plus the feature film The Prisoner of Zenda.
The launch of the colour service was preceded by a promotional programme Colourful One, in which Julian Pettifer looked forward to the advent of colour on BBC One, and Maurice Wiggin of the Sunday Times offered an analysis of the pros and cons of colour broadcasting.
The new service was also extended to ITV, bringing it and BBC One in line with BBC Two, which had been offering colour programmes - including Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and The Eurovision Song Contest - since 1967. BBC One was initially only available in colour to about 50% of households, as transmitter upgrades took time to install, but by 1978, 11 million homes had a colour licence as viewers saw for themselves the benefits of colour television.
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