Were you pally down at the Ally?

OU television programmes were made at Alexandra Palace, North London, between 1971 and 1981 and then were made at a brand new production centre built at Walton Hall. Although Ally Pally was where the first public television transmissions were made, by the time the OU came along it had only used for news broadcasts for many years and once BBC TV News moved to the TV Centre in 1969 it faced closure. The OU helped preserve its use but, from 1977, when worked started on the new studios in Milton Keynes, the relationship was destined to end. In 1980 Haringey Council took over Alexandra Palace from GLC for £1. It needed £8.5million to pay for repairs and there was then a serious fire. The money was found to rebuild and in 1996 the Department of National Heritage conferred Grade II listed status on Alexandra Palace.

You can see an interview with Bob Rowland, the Head of the Open University Production Centre in 1981, here. The Alexandra Palace Television Society aims to preserve, for present and future generations, the oral and written history of the pioneers who inaugurated the world’s first, regular, public high-definition television service from Alexandra Palace, North London, in 1936. It has uploaded 85 pictures related to the former broadcasting studios where many OU programmes were made. See here.

If you have recollections of working at AP, do let us know.

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