IN Glasgow, crowds gathered outside the shop windows of electrical-goods dealers, with TV sets in operation. It was March 14, 1952, and the much-anticipated launch of the BBC television service in Scotland.

Television arrived in Scotland, this newspaper wrote that morning, “after 29 years of sound broadcasting and it would, of course, have been here much earlier but for the Second World War. It has weathered a long passage in its coming, not always smooth, and attended by numerous frustrations ...”

The launch was the fulfilment of a promise made in Glasgow on March 8, 1948, by Sir William Haley, Director-General of the BBC, that television would be brought to Scotland when labour and materials were available, The Lord Provost of that time, Sir Hector McNeill, said he hoped that it would be colour television - “a dream which has not come true,” said the Herald, “nor will do so for some years”.

As an online BBC article about the history of the BBC in Scotland puts it, “Television had a sombre start in Scotland with the broadcast of the funeral of King George VI on 15 February 1952. Four weeks later the Kirk O’Shotts transmitter aired Television Comes To Scotland from Edinburgh’s large music studio to the whole of the UK”.

One of the dignitaries present in the Edinburgh studio was James Stuart, the Secretary of State for Scotland. The new medium, he said, was a most remarkable development of modern life.

The first person to face the viewers was Mary Malcolm, a well-known announcer, and grand-daughter of Lillie Langtry, the actress and socialite who had been Edward VII’s mistress.

Malcolm is pictured with, from left, Alistair Macintyre, chief TV announcer for Scotland, James Stuart, and Lord Tedder, vice-chairman of the BBC board of governors.

The very first pictures seen were the BBC coat of arms and views of Big Ben and the Thames.

Lord Tedder said that many Scots would now be able to “look in”on great events both far and near, and to share with London, the Midlands and the north of England, programmes that had already attracted more than 1.25 million TV licence holders. “You can get home entertainment of great variety - something, we hope, for all tastes and all ages of the family”.

The reception of that first programme was described as “excellent” in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth, Montrose and Dumfries, “good”in Oban, and “variable” in Aberdeen, Peterhead and Pitlochry.

The speechifying did not impress the Bulletin newspaper , which said that the programme had been “dreich and unimpressive” for the first 20 minutes while the opening speeches were made ... Neither in word or appearance did these convey any sense of history”.

But then it all bucked up, with a delightful display by eight Scots country dancers, performing the Dukes of Edinburgh and Atholl and a strathspey.