Media Index
England Football Online
Page Last Updated 8 May 2014
 
 

Euro
1938-39
1950-55
1960-65

World Cup
1947-50
1955-60
1965-70

Media Coverage
England on Television
(1950-55)

The commentators in italics are probable, but not confirmed.

Picture supplied by tv50.org.uk
Just as the BBC began to extend its football coverage, the Football League began to raise concerns about the effect that live television had on attendances at other games being played at the same time. Negotiations thus began over which games were allowed to be broadcast. The England v. Scotland international of 1951 became the first high-profile casualty of this new battle, due to a full league programme being played on the same day. The following year's FA Cup Final also fell foul of the negotiations, eventually leading to all subsequent finals being moved to the end of the season so as not to clash with any other games.

Internationals were restricted to second half coverage only, Scotland's biennial visit not included. Wembley's schools internationals continued to be broadcast, as did one or two amateur internationals (including the first match outside London, at Leicester) but after a season without any full internationals on TV (1952-53), the FA's 90th anniversary celebrations brought the cameras back to Wembley, just in time to witness the Hungarians' historic demolition of the national team and because the BBC were now recording games on film, they were able to show them again in the evening. Initially, just the second half was repeated. At this stage there were no editing facilities to be able to create a highlights package within a few hours. The Hungary game was shown again in its entirety, however, and would remain long in the memory.

The 1954 World Cup finally brought live football from abroad to the nation, and it was from Switzerland that the pictures were beamed, thanks to the new Eurovision network. Only one game at a time could be broadcast and fortunately, England's dramatic eight-goal extra-time thriller in their opening match against Belgium was chosen. English viewers were not so lucky for their next game, with an incredible 8-3 victory by hot favourites, Hungary, against West Germany in Basel being the pick (the Germans turned the tables on Hungary by surprisingly beating them in the final). England, meanwhile, were beating their Swiss hosts in Bern and viewers in Switzerland had their own live coverage of the game. Three days later, the BBC brought us up to date with a ten-minute film report of England's victory.

Fortunately, England's quarter-final was chosen for broadcast across Europe. Strangely, for such an important game, with England pitted against the defending World Champions, Uruguay, the BBC opted to show only the second half live. Was it, perhaps, the closing stages of the Wimbledon tennis championships that had taken priority, with Maureen Connolly poised to win her third successive title at the age of 19? No, it was a children's television programme!

In the following season, the visit of the new World Champions to Wembley ensured live coverage of the whole game against West Germany. England's new 'Colts' team (the Under-23s) were also thrust into the limelight, appearing live from Glasgow in a 6-0 victory, whilst the problem of not being able to provide live coverage of the full international with Scotland was solved with the compromise of a recording of the second half being broadcast on the Saturday night. The reinstatement of the Scotland fixture onto TV screens coincided with England's biggest ever victory (at that time) against the old enemy, so it was an undoubted success.

Thanks to Robert Pedley for discovering that the World Cup game with Switzerland was broadcast live by the host nation..

1950-51

261

Wednesday, 22 November 1950 -
England 2
Yugoslavia 2 [2-1]
Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, London - Kick-off 2.15pm GMT
Television (BBC) - 2:45pm - 3:55pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
(last hour only)
Other England Internationals Saturday 20th January 1951 - Amateur
Filbert Street, Leicester (second half only)
England 4 Wales 1 - BBC - 3:20pm - 4:10pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
 
Saturday 7th April 1951 - Schoolboys
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
England 3 Wales 0 - BBC - 2:45pm - 5:00pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme

263

Wednesday, 9 May 1951 - England 2 Argentina 1 [0-1]
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London - Kick-off 3.00pm BST
Television (BBC) - 4:10pm - 5:00pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
(last half-hour only)
1951-52

265

Wednesday, 3 October 1951 - England 2 France 2 [2-2]
Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, London - Kick-off 3.00pm BST
Television (BBC) - 3:45pm - 5:00pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
(second half only)

268

Wednesday, 28 November 1951 - England 2 Austria 2 [0-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London - Kick-off 2.15pm GMT
Television (BBC) - 3:00pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
(second half only)
Other England Internationals Saturday 5th April 1952 - Schoolboys
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London (second half only)
England 1 Scotland 0 - Television (BBC) - 3:55pm - 5:00pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
1952-53
Other England Internationals Saturday 28th March 1953 - Schoolboys
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London (second half only)
England 3 Wales 3 - Television (BBC) - 3:50pm - 5:00pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
1953-54

282

Wednesday, 21 October 1953 -
England 4 Rest of the World 4 [2-3]
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London - Kick-off 2.30pm GMT
Television (BBC) - 2:20pm - 4:10pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
10:05pm - 10:50pm
(second half recording)

284

Wednesday, 25 November 1953 - England 3 Hungary 6 [2-4]
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London - Kick-off 2.15pm GMT
Television (BBC) - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
(second half only)

9:15pm - 10:45pm
(full game recording) - see transcripts below.
Other England Internationals Saturday 27th March 1954 - British Amateur Championship
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London (second half only)
England 1 Scotland 4 - Television (BBC) - 3:45pm - 5:00pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
 
Saturday 3rd April 1954 - Schoolboys
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
England 1 Scotland 0 - Television (BBC) - 2:50pm - 4:30pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
World Cup Finals 1954

Switzerland

288

Thursday, 17 June 1954 - Belgium 4 England 4 [1-2] AET [3-3]
Sankt Jakob Stadium, Basel - Kick-off 6:10pm BST
Television (BBC) - 6:05pm - 7:55pm (overran to approximately 8:30pm)
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme

289

Sunday, 20 June 1954 - England 2 Switzerland 0 [1-0]
Wankdorfstadion, Bern - Kick-off 5:10pm BST
HIGHLIGHTS ONLY
Television (BBC) - Wednesday 23rd June
8:20pm - 8:30pm

(recorded highlights)
Notes The World Cup tie between Hungary and West Germany in Basel was shown live by the BBC at 4:45pm, whilst England were playing in Bern.

290

Saturday, 26 June 1954 - Uruguay 4 England 2 [2-1]
Sankt Jakob Stadium, Basel - Kick-off 5:00pm BST
Television (BBC) - 5:45pm - 6:45pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
(second half only)
1954-55

292

Wednesday, 10 November 1954 - England 3 Wales 2 [0-1]
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London - Kick-off 2.15pm GMT
Television (BBC) - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
(second half only)

9:45pm - 10:30pm
(second half recording)

293

Wednesday, 1 December 1954 -
England 3
West Germany 1 [1-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London - Kick-off 2.00pm GMT
Television (BBC) - 1:55pm - 3:40pm
commentator
Kenneth Wolstenholme
9:30pm - 11:00pm
(full game recording)
Other England Internationals Wednesday 19th January 1955 - Under-23
Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, London
England 5 Italy 1 - Television (BBC) - 9:45pm - 10:30pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
(second half recording)
 
Tuesday 8th February 1955 - Under-23
Shawfield Park, Glasgow (second half only)
Scotland 0 England 6 - Television (BBC) - 8:15pm - 9:00pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme

Wednesday 23rd March 1955
Hillsborough, Sheffield (second half only)
England B 1 West Germany B 1 - Television (BBC) - 8:45pm - 9:30pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme

294

Saturday, 2 April 1955 - England 7 Scotland 2 [4-1]
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London - Kick-off 3.00pm GMT
HIGHLIGHTS ONLY
Television (BBC) - 10:35pm - 11:20pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
(second half recording)
Other England Internationals Saturday 23rd April 1955 - Schoolboys
Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
England 6 Wales 0 - Television (BBC) - 2:50pm - 5:00pm
commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme

Wednesday, 25 November 1953

England 3 Hungary 6

(BBC commentary transcript - Kenneth Wolstenholme)

Just as they were about to kick-off, Puskas began juggling with the ball in the centre circle...

England, then, defending the goal to our right, and now there's an exhibition of ball control. Just look at that from the inside left, Puskas. Well, (if) we see a great deal of that, I think we're gonna have an awful lot of trouble holding these unbeaten Hungarians.

After Hidegkuti had shot Hungary in front in the first minute...

Well, everybody has always said, these continentals can't shoot, but if that's a sample of what we're going to have this afternoon, then England are going to be in dire trouble. 1-0 after 45 seconds, then, for Hungary.

After Puskas had left England captain, Billy Wright, on the seat of his pants, before firing Hungary's third.

...and that was Puskas, the inside left and captain, who scored that one, and my goodness, if he can turn on tricks like this, we ought to have him on the music hall! I've never seen such tremendous ball control as that exhibition of that back-heel and the quick shot. 3-1, then, for Hungary.

After Puskas had scored again...

Well, before the game, everybody was telling me that it was a lot of ballyhoo about these Hungarians, England would win. Well, here we are, 27 minutes gone, 4-1 down.

With the score at 5-2...

They seem to play football as the Harlem Globetrotters play basketball, this Hungarian side.

   

GI