New Directions, New Challenges
Edited By Stephen Cushion and Richard Sambrook
Chapter 6: The View from the UK: Sky News
← 72 | 73 →CHAPTER SIX
The View from the UK: Sky News
JOHN RYLEY, HEAD OF SKY NEWS
The first television broadcast I remember was Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral on January 30, 1965. I was three years old. My parents and I huddled around the tiny flickering black-and-white screen as the great man’s coffin was borne on a gun carriage from Westminster to St Paul’s. It was watched on television by 25 million people in Britain and an estimated 350 million around the globe. Such was the power of a shared event, even in those early, pioneering days of television.
In the years that followed there have been many more moments when TV brought us together: the moon landings, the splashdown of the crippled Apollo 13, Princess Diana’s funeral, the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks, the “shock and awe” bombardment of Iraq. We often refer to them as “where were you?” moments, though perhaps “who were you with?” moments is better because so often they were shared experiences. The arrival of Sky News, in 1989, and the other rolling news channels cemented in our collective consciousness the idea of witnessing events live, as they happened.
Half a century after Churchill’s funeral, almost every home in Britain has multiple TVs, yet an audience of 25 million for a single live event is very rare indeed. In recent times only the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics came close.1 The...
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