Global vision - and cross-channel discord

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The first transatlantic TV picture from space, 1962.

Within days of Telstar's launch, the international cooperation upon which it relied was severely strained.

On July 11, 1962, the first test signals from the United States were received at Pleumeur-Bodou. The following day, signal tests from Britain and France were scheduled to be sent to the USA. The British signal was a short test address from GPO engineer Charles Booth.

The signal from Pleumeur-Bodou was more involved: a ten-minute musical program, including Yves Montant singing 'La Chansonnette.' This hardly seemed like a test program. To the British, this was a breach of the agreement not to send anything other than test programs across the Atlantic until the official launch of programming, and very much a case of stolen thunder.

They protested to the European Broadcasting Union, which eventually declared the incident to be a "misunderstanding."

How to cite this page


Alexander Badenoch, 'Global vision - and cross-channel discord', Inventing Europe,


  1. Schwoch, James. Global TV: New Media and the Cold War, 1946-69. University of Illinois Press, 2008.

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Opening Europe to 'Mondovision': the start of satellite broadcasting

After Sputnik, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before sounds and images would be coming from space. Many dreamed that this would unify the the peoples of the world if they could all receive the same signals. When Telstar, the first communications satellite, was launched, however, it also revealed divisions on the ground.

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Transatlantic broadcasts

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