The moon landing marked the first all-night television broadcast in Britain on 20 July 1969. Families huddled in front of black-and-white sets, munching on sandwiches. Huge crowds came together to watch it in public places. Perhaps if the moon really was made of cheese, the astronauts would take a bite, too. Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys’ daughter was due to be born on the same day. He faced a difficult choice: hospital, to watch the miracle of birth, or home, watching a monumental moment in human history. The box won. “I think she understands…,” he says. Watching live footage was still relatively novel in 1969. It proved to be a powerful moment that was to inspire many future scientists and engineers. That shared experience still exerts a hold over our collective imagination. Bob Geldof ’s 1985 Live Aid concert was billed as a “global jukebox” and, with its ambitious satellite link-up, reached 1.9 billion viewers in 150 countries and raised £150m for poverty relief in Africa. Is there a more powerful instigator for change? A number of television firsts have also helped to break down social barriers. A 1968 episode of Star Trek is often referred to as the first interracial kiss ever broadcast, while ITV’s The Naked Civil Servant (1975), an interpretation of Quentin Crisp’s memoir, was in many ways the first celebration of homosexuality on British television. Russell
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH HAS TAKEN US TO REMARKABLE PLACES AND IMMERSED US IN SOME OF THE LEAST-KNOWN PARTS OF OUR PLANET.