BBC Two was launched in 1964 as the UK´s third TV channel after BBC One and ITV.

BBC Two was scheduled to start broadcasting at 7.20pm on 20th April 1964, however, a huge power cut due to a fire at Battersea Power Station prevented the scheduled launch. The channel was eventually in full swing at 11am the following morning and the first programmed broadcast on BBC2 was the children´s TV programme, Playschool.

BBC Two was given the broadcasting rights over ITV by the UK government due to BBC One being the more popular TV station, thus becoming the third nationwide live TV channel in Great Britain.

During the power cut, BBC was able to broadcast infrequent bulletins on BBC2 through the Alexandra Palace news centre beginning with an announcement by the newsreader Gerald Priestland at around 19:25.

See the rare footage of the failed BBC2 launch in the video below with Gerald Priestland´s news bulletin.

BBC Two is home to many popular TV programmes including:

  • Who Do You Think You Are?
  • Line of Duty
  • Match of the Day
  • Have I Got News For You
  • Top Gear
  • Horizon
  • University Challenge
  • The Great British Bakeoff
  • Mock of the Week
  • Mastermind
  • Dad´s Army

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